What to Watch in the Theater:
Anna and the Apocalypse (R) is in theaters now. Although we were split on the rating for this one, we could all agree to describe this film as “Shaun of the Dead” meets “High School Musical.” Teens Anna, John, Steph and Chris find themselves separated from their friends and loved ones when the zombie apocalypse strikes. There’s high school drama, as each has their own issues to deal with, but those fall by the wayside as they band together to journey across town and try to survive their shared ordeal. Of course there’s a lot of violence, but the gore seems less shocking because of the camp-ness. It’s a little distracting when they burst into song while fighting off zombies, but it’s a fun romp full of quirky British stuff, violence, music, teen angst and bad language.
Our rating: 4 out of 5
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (PG) opens today. Going in, we wondered if we needed another animated version of Spider-man, or another origin story, for that matter. In this film, Miles Morales is a middle schooler who (of course) gets bit by a genetically modified spider. Not only does he gain powers, but he also briefly meets the “real” Spidey, before having to take over for him. The bad guy, KingPin, is trying to open a portal to parallel universes, and in the process, different forms of Spider-Man from those universes make their way into Miles’ Brooklyn one. The characters are interesting, and there are different goals and storylines woven together. Miles is still learning to use his powers, while trying to work with the other heroes. It’s a combination action-adventure and coming of age story that doesn’t disappoint.
Our rating: 4.33 out of 5
What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (PG13) is streaming on Netflix. ANOTHER live action Jungle Book? Although there’s some impressive motion capture and a great voice cast, our one and only will forever be the original Disney animated version. We weren’t even big fans of the Disney live action version. This one has a side plot about a hunter and Mowgli’s experiences in the man village, which adds an interesting little twist, but not enough to keep us fully engaged. The human-like facial expressions of the animals are a little too weird for us, although we admire the technology used to produce it.
Our rating: 2 out of 5
Dumplin’ (PG13) is streaming on Netflix. Wait. Didn’t Netflix already DO something about beauty pageants? (Yes, it’s called Insatiable, and it’s an adult-themed series.) In this film, we meet a dysfunctional family headed by former beauty queen Rosie, played by Jennifer Aniston. Her daughter, Willowdean, is mourning the loss of her aunt (Rosie’s sister) who practically raised her while her mom was busy running a pageant. She and her aunt, Lucy, shared a love of Dolly Parton, and the movie is filled with Dolly’s music, including new pieces. Will doesn’t fit the normal profile of a beauty contestant, and decides to enter the pageant as a protest. She’s joined by other misfits from her school, and their journey of self-discovery is a compelling one. Full of healing, inspiration, good music and positive messages, we judge this one a winner.
Our rating: 4.67 out of 5
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