A Lot to Love, in Many Genres

aladdin

What to Watch in the Theater:
Aladdin (R) is in theaters now. Although some of us aren’t fans of the Disney live action remakes, we found this musical to be a fun re-telling. We were initially concerned about Will Smith stepping into Robin Williams’ shoes as the genie, but he brings his own flavor to the role, without stepping on any toes. Naomi Scott really shines as Jasmine, with the addition of a female empowerment anthem to the soundtrack. Yes, there’s a LOT of CGI here, but it adds rather than detracts, enhancing the Disney magic of it all. In our library, this one can live in harmony with the animated original.
Our rating: 4.67 out of 5

ma

Ma (R) opens today. A grown woman returns to her hometown with her teenaged daughter, who makes new friends pretty quickly. They are happily astonished to find refuge with a woman named Sue Ellen, who buys them alcohol and offers her basement for their parties. Of course, it’s not that simple, as piece by piece we learn the backstory of how the various characters are intertwined. We were intrigued to see Octavia Spencer as a villain, and this film definitely pours on the jump scares, creepiness, and a bit of gore. While the plot unravels in a pretty obvious direction, there are still some surprises.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5 

rocket

Rocketman (R) opens today. This biopic leans heavily on fantasy to tell the story of Reginald Dwight’s upbringing, and how he became Elton John. There are bound to be comparisons to Bohemian Rhapsody, with overlap in timeframe and management, but there’s no glossing over the sex, drugs & rock’n’roll here – hence the R rating. This is a fun showcase for John’s earlier work, with songs fit in where they are appropriate to the storyline, rather than chronologically. In addition to re-creations of his actual appearances, we get some fantastical production numbers accompanying the biographical info. Taron Egerton really shines, fully embodying the lead superstar role.
Our rating: 4.67 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):

The Perfection (TVMA) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. This is the story of cellist Charlotte, who just wants to make things right after having to pass on her big break to take care of her ailing mother. She inserts herself back into the lives of her former teachers and the prodigy who took her place, Lizzie. Things get pretty twisted from there, including some gross and gory scenes. Plot twists and flashbacks abound, making this movie a compelling and thrilling ride.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, the latest DVD and Blu-Ray releases, what’s coming to Netflix and Hulu in June, and more.