Sometimes Older is Better

captive

What to Watch in the Theater:
Captive State (PG13) is in theaters now. After the initial invasion scene sets up a couple of the characters, this dystopian sci fi mainly takes place 9 years after aliens have taken over earth. We meet a variety of characters, but the main ones are teen Gabe, whose brother was a legendary rebel, and the cop (played by John Goodman), who keeps an eye on him. Although the new alien government believes they squashed the rebellion, it is alive in the shadows, and we learn more about its members as the movie plays out. The movie starts pretty slowly, and gets more interesting as things come together. Unfortunately, the payoff doesn’t make up for the earlier lack of momentum.
Our rating: 2.83 out of 5

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Gloria Bell (R) is in theaters now. This independent or art film, starring Julianne Moore as the title character, chronicles a short period in Gloria’s life. She’s a divorcee with grown kids, relatively comfortable with her life but still missing something. Her one true passion is dancing, which she fulfills by visiting night clubs. When she clicks with a recently divorced man, they start a relationship, but his baggage complicates things. This “woman of a certain age” film will resonate with a certain group, who may be reminded of themselves, their relationships, or their own journeys toward a more fulfilling life.
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Kim Possible (G) is now available on DVD. There’s nothing wrong with this Disney Channel Original Movie. It’s perfectly good entertainment, about a female teen and her sidekick, who battle her evil nemeses (the plural of nemesis) while in high school and accompanied by a naked mole rate. The problem is, we’re HUGE fans of the original animated series. Special effects and wire work just can’t take the place of animation, and the character/plot changes alter the original story. Kim may be a little more relatable here, when she’s upstaged by a friend and loses her confidence, but that works against our previously held beliefs that KP was pretty infallible, except when it came to things like dating and the occasional pimple. Then, she was much more superhero-like, living a double life as an A student/cheerleader, who saves the world in her spare time. While there was a small update needed to bring Kim into the present day, we feel they changed her too much.
Our rating: 2.17 out of 5

In Time (PG13) is available on DVD. In this futuristic story from 2011, life on earth resembles present day, with a big twist. People stop aging at 25, and time is the new currency. There’s a big disparity between the haves and have nots, divided into time zones where the wealthy could live forever and the poor could (and do) die any minute. While we had questions about the technology for transferring time between people, we thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Justin Timberlake’s Will receives a new lifetime from a stranger. While that opens new doors for him, he realizes he must try to fix the system. With the daughter of a wealthy man (played by Amanda Seyfried) along as collateral, he becomes a literal time bandit Robin Hood. This was a fun watch, especially considering we missed it the first time around.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

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

Searching for Someone to Share Our Soul

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What to Watch in the Theater:
Five Feet Apart (PG13) is in theaters now. This film about teens with Cystic Fibrosis gives a pretty accurate portrayal of life with the disease, providing an effective vehicle to raise awareness about CF. We come to care about the young characters, watching Stella and Will bond after at first not getting along. It’s pretty classic teen drama and romance as they fall in love, but in a hospital setting, unable to physically touch each other as they must maintain a six-foot distance apart at all times. It’s a bittersweet story of love and loss, as they learn to open up to each other and discover which risks are worth taking. There’s some heavy stuff here, but it’s presented well. Bring tissues!
Our rating: 3.67 out of 5

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Us (R) opens today. From the mind of director/writer/producer Jordan Peele, comes the followup to his much-acclaimed Get Out. This one didn’t floor us quite as much, but it was definitely creepy, with a seriously disturbing plot and the all-important twist at the end. It’s more thriller than horror, just like Get Out, but with a lot more gory violence. It could’ve used a bit more backstory, after the mid-movie reveal, so we left the theater with some questions. It was still a thrilling watch, and the cast did an excellent job portraying dual roles. We look forward to seeing what Jordan does next (especially The Twilight Zone series).
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Nobody’s Fool (R) is on DVD. We’re big fans of Tiffany Haddish, and the trailer for this one gave us big expectations for some comedy, especially with Tyler Perry involved. The plot, about a beautiful, successful woman obsessing over a man who may or may not be catfishing her, was hard to swallow. Tiffany and Whoopi were there for comedic relief, but they were totally wasted in this movie (and not the way Whoopi’s character was). It just wasn’t funny AND included some really unnecessary adult material. Don’t waste your time on this one.
Our rating: 0.83 out of 5

The Iron Giant (PG) is available on DVD. Twenty years out, and we can see why this animated film is considered a classic. It was a box office failure in its day, but the combination of voice talent (Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr.), a real retro animation feel, and the genius of a pre-Pixar Brad Bird has endured the test of time. The story takes place in the Sputnik era of the late 1950s, when a young boy meets a robot, who could be from outer space or a cold war weapon – even the iron giant doesn’t know what his purpose is. As their relationship grows, we learn more about what powers us as humans, and the choices we have to make.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5

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

Family Fun with a Serious Dose of Girl (and Dog) Power

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What to Watch in the Theater:
Captain Marvel (PG13) is in theaters now. This is the long-awaited backstory for the most powerful Marvel hero AND the first standalone female superhero movie in the MCU. Those are big shoes to fill, but this movie does not disappoint. We get not only a new character, but possibly (hopefully) a savior for the Avengers. Carol Danvers (or Vers, as she’s known for most of the film) is incredibly strong but also flawed, trying to piece together her memories and gradually make sense of the last six years of her life. This movie pairs 90s style with pop culture references, gives us a glimpse of the past for familiar characters, and provides a whole lot of action. Questions are suitably asked and answered, and we can’t wait to see how Captain America fits in with the rest of the Avengers. Don’t miss the opening credits homage to Stan Lee, and OF COURSE, stay till the very end of the credits for clues to the continuation of the story.
Our rating: 4.33 out of 5

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Wonder Park (PG) opens today. This heartwarming animated film follows June, whose vivid imagination takes over her childhood – and home – when she joins with her mother to design an amusement park and populate it with fun characters. When her mom gets sick and has to leave home for treatment, June turns her back on the project, removing all reminders of that happiness from her life. June comes across a real Wonderland in the woods, where the characters are in danger and the park is in disrepair, and she helps them bring the place back to life. The park is full of fun characters, and the journey helps June cope with her mom’s absence. This is great family-friendly entertainment that shares a message about the important role wonder plays in our lives.
Our rating: 4.75 out of 5

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Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (PG) opens today. This modern re-telling of the first Nancy Drew book has a very different aesthetic is very different from the 2007 Emma Roberts vehicle. Nancy is younger and perhaps more relatable in this one, but doesn’t face the consequences for her crimes (pranking, picking locks, etc.). Although she IS helping people with her sleuthing, this gives a mixed message when she’s so easily excused and thus comes across as irresponsible. Nancy is always an inspiring character, using her brain to follow clues and help people along the way. This would make a good TV series (reboot), with each story wrapping up in less time.
Our rating: 3.67 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Benji (TV-PG) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. Joe Camp, creator of the much-loved 1974 original and all its sequels, teams up with his son and Jason Blum (that was a surprise!) to bring back the furry friend we didn’t know we’d been missing. While it will be nostalgic for parents who grew up with the original, this movie stands in its own right, because the tale of connection between kids and dogs is timeless. There are no talking dogs here, just an incredibly talented Benji, who springs into action to save the kids who took him in. He fills a void in the family’s life with love and devotion, and keeps the audience engaged with good clean family entertainment.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

Plus box office results and our interview with Matt Johnson, Visual Effects Supervisor for Mary Poppins Returns (available now on digital and out on DVD/Blu-Ray/4K Ultra HD March 19th).

There’s Something Fishy Going On

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What to Watch in the Theater:
Greta (R) is in theaters now. This suspenseful film is carried by an over-the-top performance by Isabelle Huppert in the title role. Chloe Grace Moretz plays a young woman named Frances, who befriends a lonely older woman after returning a purse she found on the subway. The relationship takes a turn when Frances discovers that Greta is manipulative, but it’s too late – she’s already become the object of Greta’s obsession. This thriller pushes all the right buttons, with jump scares, suspense, and a title character whose actions we can’t anticipate –  yet without a lot of gore. Even Jennifer liked it, and she doesn’t do horror films.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

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Cold Pursuit (R) is in theaters now. Liam Neeson’s character, Nels the small-town snowplow driver, exacts revenge on the drug dealers who killed his son. This isn’t your typical Neeson action film – he has NO prior training in special ops or anything. He’s just an angry guy bent on payback, who knows where to bury the bodies. It’s not just violence, but also a bit of comedy, as title cards help us keep up with the rising body count. Nels unknowingly sets off a turf war between rival drug cartels, which makes the premise even more interesting. And there’s a touch of sweetness, involving a young son. Neeson says it’s his final action film, but we’d be down for more like this.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
The Meg (PG13) is on DVD. We just HAD to watch it, after interviewing HP about the special effects! An undersea research facility (and the rest of the ocean) is in danger, after an experiment unknowingly unleashes a behemoth of a shark (actually a prehistoric megalodon) from the previously unexplored depths of the ocean. Jason Statham’s character, Jonas, is their only hope. It’s a fun actioner full of everything you’d expect – a billionaire, a father/daughter research team with granddaughter in tow, team members with a wide variety of personalities, an ex-wife, a giant beast, lots of people in a lot of danger, and a flawed hero. We’re not going in the ocean any time soon!
Our rating: 3.83 out of 5

The Little Mermaid (live action 2018) (PG) is streaming on Netflix. This film is NOT a live action remake of the classic Hans Christina Andersen (or Disney) tale, and we’re still not really sure what it IS. Perhaps and attempt at a new fairy tale, about a little girl with an ailment, her loving uncle, a circus, and a real mermaid in jeopardy. Aside from the low-budget production values (they must’ve spent it all on Shirley Maclaine’s wrap-around), the story goes from plodding to confusing, with a song thrown in the middle and a hint of romance. It’s a mishmash that’s hard to get through.
Our rating: Skip it!

The Little Mermaid (1989) (G) 30th anniversary edition is now available on DVD/Blu-Ray/digital/4K. This Disney classic returns with some new bonus features, including behind the scenes footage, Alan Menken and some Disney leading ladies, and lots of fun facts about the movie. You can also watch it in sing-along mode – if you don’t already know all the words to the catchy soundtrack! Disney princesses have certainly evolved in the last 30 years, with new goals beyond marriage to a prince. Still, this fun family film is a great addition to any video library, and we thoroughly enjoyed revisiting it.
We recommend this movie.

Plus box office results and what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray.