A Beautiful Day for a Story

beautifulday

What to Watch in the Theater:
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PG) opens today. This is not a biopic or documentary about Mr. Rogers, but rather a glimpse into a portion of his life and work, that shows the effect he had on others. This film takes us on a journey of the unlikely development of a friendship between Fred Rogers, and the Esquire Magazine writer sent to profile him. Joel is skeptical about the saintly children’s TV host, and although he’s been assigned to do a puff piece, he wants to do his customary digging up dirt. As he delves deeper into the man’s world, Joel learns more about himself than he expected. This is a beautiful, heartwarming film full of hopeful messages, and Tom Hanks is extraordinary in the role of Mr. Rogers.
Our rating: 4.75 out of 5

knivesout

Knives Out (PG13) opens on the 27th. This comedic murder mystery, with a large cast of (mostly) family suspects, calls to mind quite a few past ensemble mysteries – from Agatha Christie to Clue. When rich Harlan Thrombey appears to take his own life, famous detective Benoit Blanc finds everyone had something to gain from his death. Of course there are the stereotypical hangers-on in the family, and everyone has secrets, which are revealed in comical fashion. This film gives us much to laugh about but not too much to ponder over. It’s an entertaining ride, but the reveal could’ve come later and the twists could’ve been twisty-er.
Our rating: 4 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Lady and the Tramp (PG) is streaming exclusively on Disney+. This live action remake of the beloved animated classic brings up the common question these days – did we really need a new version of this story? It’s not a bad movie, and the human cast is good (especially the relentless dog catcher), but the “live action” (at times too heavy on the CGI) animals talk, which is not our cup of tea. Although it follows the original’s storyline pretty well, this one includes some race and gender changes, to make the story more current. Some of the updates work (Jock) and some don’t (cats), we’d just rather stick with the original.
Our rating: 1.83 out of 5

Klaus (PG) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. This animated film is a fresh new take on the Santa Claus origin story. Jesper is the lazy, entitled son of the Postmaster, who assigns him to the post office in Smeerensburg, an icy remote island where the inhabitants are constantly feuding. There he meets toymaker, Klaus, and comes up with a scheme to generate letters, so he can fulfill his duty and return home. Of course, things don’t go quite the way he planned. This is a fun and heartwarming story that will make a nice addition to your holiday family entertainment.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, the latest movie trailers and what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Links we mentioned on the show:
For Disney Channel open casting call for kids 8-16, click here.
For the Get Paid to Watch Hallmark Christmas Movies contest, click here.

Dangerous Elements in Multiple Genres

playing

What to Watch in the Theater:
Playing with Fire (PG) is in theaters now. This movie is a double “fish out of water” story. When three young siblings end up stranded at a firehouse, not only are THEY out of their element, but so is Supe (played by John Cena), the very serious, dedicated leader of the Smokejumpers. His crew more easily welcomes the distraction of the kids, although they cause all kinds of trouble. There are lots of laugh out loud moments, with physical comedy and gross-out gags, plus some comedic personalities. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a fun family film without a significant helping of heartwarming.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5

charlies

Charlie’s Angels (PG13) opens today. I don’t know if we needed another film in this franchise, but this one is a wild adventure that fulfills all the needs we never knew we had. A global Townsend Agency with multiple Bosleys takes what originated as a successful 70s TV show, and skyrockets that into James Bond-like territory. These ladies are female action heroes, with the wardrobe and gadgets of Super Spies! While the fighting features much more weaponry than the 70s or 2000s versions of the franchise, it’s thrilling to watch these women get the job done. AND the plot is twisty, which is always a bonus!
Our rating: 5 out of 5 (Max actually gave it a 6.5)

drsleep

Doctor Sleep (R) is in theaters now. This sequel to the Shining features a grown-up Dan (Ewan McGregor), who’s been trying to avoid his “Shine.” He meets a girl with similar powers, and must help her avoid capture by the True Knot, a cult of beings that feed on the Shine. Bad things happen to good people, and there’s a lot of creepiness here, although it’s not as scary as the original. The psychic connections offer an interesting premise, and the True Knot is definitely evil, but the movie doesn’t get super scary until Dan and his new friend take a step back into his past.
Our rating: 4.125 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Let It Snow (PG13) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. From the get go, this movie felt like another teen angst piece, with a holiday setting. We meet several teens in a small town, whose lives are intertwined because it’s a small town, and they have different storylines ranging from unrequited love to best friend crush to accidental meeting with celebrity. There’s a bit of originality here and there, but the material is pretty formulaic.
Our rating: 2.67 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, the latest movie trailers and what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Let the Holidays Begin

motherless

What to Watch in the Theater:
Motherless Brooklyn (R) is in theaters now. This crime drama follows a detective named Lionel (Edward Norton), who has Tourette syndrome, as he tries to solve the murder of his boss, Frank (Bruce Willis). Set in the 1950s, this film is dark and gritty, showing the corruption and race relations in New York at that time. It’s a thrilling story, with lots of twists and turns, and an Oscar-worthy performance by Norton.
Our rating: 4.75 out of 5

LastX

Last Christmas (PG13) opens today. Our first holiday movie is one we’ve been eagerly anticipating. Beside the title track, this RomCom features a soundtrack of George Michael songs, because lead character Kate (Emilia Clarke) is obsessed with his music. She works in a year-round Christmas store, but has lost her way in life, since experiencing a serious illness. Then she meets Tom (Henry Golding) and he shows her the fun little things she’s been missing in life. We knew there were twists coming, but the story wrecked us anyway, and we loved every minute of it!
Our rating: 5 out of 5 (Max actually gave it a 7)

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Driven (R) is available as a rental. This film is partially based on the true story of John DeLorean and his interaction with an FBI informant, which led to the former’s arrest and trial. As usual with this type of movie, some characters, details and dates differ from what actually happened. It’s an interesting look at a relatively short period of time, full of excess, deception and accusations. We’re not used to seeing Jason Sudeikis in a more dramatic role, although his character also provided some comic relief.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

The Cabin in the Woods (R) is available as a rental. This horror film somewhat spoofs the genre, as it shows people orchestrating stereotypical horror situations from a control room, in an effort to appease more powerful beings. When someone survives their scenario and begins to wreak havoc on the system, the entire world may be in danger. This is a fun premise, with a lot of gore, and a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, the latest movie trailers and what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray.

To Reboot or Not to Reboot?

countdown

What to Watch in the Theater:
Countdown (PG13) is in theaters now. In this horror movie, an app predicts when people will die, and then, using mysterious ways, ensures that they do. When young nurse, Quinn, learns she has only three days to live, she works with someone who has a similar death time, to try to beat the system. It’s a thrilling ride, full of twists and turns, plus seriously evil forces teaming up with technology.
Our rating: 4.75 out of 5

tdf

Terminator: Dark Fate (R) opens today. This is not a reboot, but a continuation of the original franchise – taking place after T3. Grace has been sent back in time to protect Dani, and encounters both Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), while running from the newest model of Terminator. The premise is interesting, and it’s kind of fun to see what happened to the original characters since the earlier movies in the franchise. There’s kick-butt action, with a bunch of female protagonists, which not only harkens back to Sarah’s origin story, but also gives us a glimpse into a (possible) even more female-centric future for the franchise.
Our rating: 4 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Dolemite is My Name (R) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. Based on a true story, this movie marks Eddie Murphey’s triumphant return, as he plays Rudy Ray Moore, a singer/comedian turned movie maker, whose Blaxploitation films were rude, crude, cheaply made, and seemingly a lot of fun. In a similar style to The Disaster Artist, but much more entertaining, we watch as Rudy creates the Dolemite character, recruits a group of supporting players, and makes his first film. The cast is amazing, and we enjoyed learning about a genre we had never explored.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5

Hellboy (R) is available as a rental. This reboot provides more of an origin story for Hellboy, and David Harbour plays the character well, with a twisted sense of humor. We like Ian McShane as his human father figure. This one is based more directly on the comics, with a much darker look and scarier monsters.  The story is a gory mess, full of so many different types of evil (including Nazis), that it’s hard to follow the main plot about the reassembling of a dismembered sorceress. We would’ve preferred a sequel, with the original star (Ron Perlman), or at least the pairing of Harbour with the original creative force/director (Guillermo del Toro).
Our rating: skip this one

Plus box office results, movie news, what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray, and what’s coming to Netflix.