Successfully Reinventing Stories


What to Watch in the Theater:
The Lion King (PG) is in theaters now. We didn’t think this “live action” (spoiler alert – there is NO live action anywhere in the film) retelling would measure up to the original, but we were pleasantly surprised. The scenes are so beautiful, it’s like watching a nature documentary. The music is just as good as the original (because it’s all the same songs, plus a new one by Beyonce). And best of all – the lip moving is so well done, it’s not like all those talking animal movies where it’s so horrifying that you can’t stop looking at their mouths. Plus Seth Rogen is absolute genius as Pumbaa, and there’s an awesome homage to another Disney movie. This one can feel the love in our movie collection, right next to the original animated version. Hakuna Matata indeed.
Our rating: 4.67 out of 5


Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (R) opens today. This Quentin Tarantino film adds a stellar cast to a historically-accurate (or nearly so) 1969 Hollywood. In doing so, fictional characters add their stories, influencing factual characters, so that parts of history play out differently. It’s a perfect example of fact meets fiction. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt acting together so closely is a treat, and Margot Robbie is lovely and talented, as usual. It’s fun to compare that Hollywood to the way it is today, and we enjoyed the portrayals of actors from that time. And of course it wouldn’t be a Tarantino film without some scenes of horrific violence.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Secret Obsession (TV14) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. Brenda song stars as a young woman trying to piece her life back together after an accident, which has left her with a form of amnesia that causes her to forget recent things in her life, like her new husband. Their life seems perfect – if only she could remember it – but was it really? Of course, all is not what it seems, and she’s in serious danger. Although some parts are predictable, the suspense was pretty good, and it was interesting to see how it played out. We did feel there were some loose ends, but not enough to detract from the overall story.
Our rating: 3.83 out of 5

Replicas (PG13) is available for rental. Keanu Reeves stars as a scientist working on a way to load a dead human’s consciousness into an artificial body. When his family is killed in a tragic accident, he must quickly perfect his technology, and pair it with his co-worker’s cloning expertise, to bring them back. Although Keanu isn’t the most believable scientist, this role does suit him, and there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on here, with a great deal of suspense and some twists and turns we didn’t see coming.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

Plus box office results, news from Comic-Con, and what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray.