New Releases for the Week of August 3, 2018


CHRISTOPHER ROBIN  

(Disney) Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Mark Gatiss, Jim Cummings (voice), Brad Garrett (voice), Peter Capaldi (voice), Sophie Okonedo (voice), Toby Jones (voice), Bronte Carmichael. Directed by Marc Forster

An adult Christopher Robin struggles to balance his career and his family having left his childhood imagination behind. When his family leaves for a weekend holiday without him when work requires him to stay, he encounters his childhood friend Winnie the Pooh who helps him reclaim the joy in life.

See the trailer, interviews, video featurettes and B-roll video here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Drama
Now Playing: Wide Release

Rating: PG (for some action)

The Darkest Minds

(20th Century Fox) Bradley Whitford, Mandy Moore, Amandla Stenberg, Gwendoline Christie. In a dystopian future, young people begin to develop amazing powers before they turn eighteen. Adults, fearing their own children, seek to lock them in camps and keep them prisoner. A resistance group aims to allow teens to take charge of their own lives. In other words, every parent’s nightmare.

See the trailer, clips, interviews and B-roll video here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Science Fiction
Now Playing: Wide Release

Rating: PG-13 (for violence including disturbing images, and thematic elements)

Eighth Grade

(A24) Elsie Fischer, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Jake Ryan. The eighth grade is something of a transition between childhood and teenage years. An introverted young girl has felt every humiliation possible in her disastrous grade eight year. All she can do is hope to survive her last week of school before starting fresh in high school.

See the trailer, interviews and a video featurette here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Drama
Now Playing: AMC Altamonte Mall, AMC Disney Springs, AMC Universal Cineplex, Cinemark Artegon Marketplace, Regal Pointe Orlando, Regal The Loop, Regal Waterford Lakes, Rialto Spanish Springs Square

Rating: R (for language and some sexual material)

Generation Wealth

(Amazon) Limo Bob, Florian Homm, Tiffany Masters, Jaqueline Siegel. The super-wealthy of the United States is the wealthiest and most privileged class to ever exist in the world. This documentary investigates the pathologies that created that class.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Documentary
Now Playing: Regal Winter Park Village

Rating: R (for strong sexual content, nudity, disturbing images, and drug material)

The Spy Who Dumped Me

(Lionsgate) Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Gillian Anderson. After Audrey is dumped by her boyfriend, she finds support and solace in her best friend Morgan. However, it turns out that Audrey’s ex is a spy and the two women are drawn into his shadowy world with absolutely no skills and no experience. Apparently Melissa McCarthy was unavailable for this one.

See the trailer, clips, interviews, video featurettes and B-roll video here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Spy Action Comedy
Now Playing: Wide Release

Rating: R (for violence, language throughout, some crude sexual material and graphic nudity)

ALSO OPENING IN ORLANDO/DAYTONA:

Boundaries
Chi La Sow
Death of a Nation
Goodachari
Karwaan
Kusina Kings

ALSO OPENING IN MIAMI/FT. LAUDERDALE:

1945
Chi La Sow
Death of a Nation
Fanney Khan
Goodachari
Karwaan
Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan

ALSO OPENING IN TAMPA/ST. PETERSBURG:

Chi La Sow
Death of a Nation
Fanney Khan
Goodachari
Karwaan
Mulk
Urban Country

ALSO OPENING IN JACKSONVILLE/ST. AUGUSTINE:

Chi La Sow
Death of a Nation
Fanney Khan
Goodachari
Kusina Kings
Mulk

SCHEDULED FOR REVIEW:

Christopher Robin
The Darkest Minds
Eighth Grade
Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan
The Spy Who Dumped Me

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The Tigger Movie


Fun fun fun fun fun!

Fun fun fun fun fun!

(2000) Animated Feature (Disney) Starring the voices of Jim Cummings, John Fiedler, John Hurt, Nikita Hopkins, Ken Sansom, Peter Cullen, Andre Stojka, Kath Soucie, Tom Attenborough, Frank Welker, Geoff Koch. Directed by Jon Falkenstein

Bounce!! Bounce!! Bounce!! Most of us grew up with Winnie the Pooh and the ultra-hyper frenetic Tigger. Some of us were fortunate to relive those days in the Hundred Acre Wood through small children of our own (or in my case, one borrowed from my sister). But while Pooh always seemed to headline the various tales, the most popular character from those toons always seemed to be Tigger. Therefore, it is most fitting that he, at last, gets a movie of his own.

Bounce!! Bounce!! Bounce!! Here, Tigger (Cummings) has been told, not unkindly, by his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood that they simply can’t keep up with the spring-bottomed cat because they aren’t Tiggers themselves. This sends Tigger into a right funk; he feels keenly the loneliness of being the only one … the solitary Tigger. With his little buddy Roo (Hopkins), he goes out in search of his family tree just as winter is setting on. His friends Pooh (Cummings again), Piglet (Fiedler), Owl (Stojka), Eeyore (Cullen) and Rabbit (Sansom) all try to help, but their best intentions go awry.

Bounce!! Bounce!! Bounce!! There are quite a few things going for this flick. First, the characters are familiar, so they can get on with the story from the get-go. Secondly, the film is fortunate to have Richard and Robert Sherman, who wrote many of Disney’s most beloved songs, writing several tunes here.

Bounce!! Bounce!! Bounce!! The animation style is primitive by today’s computer-driven standards, but in an odd way that fits Pooh to a T. Pooh looks best in an environment that looks not unlike a child’s watercolor painting, and they manage that effect here. It looks hand-painted, the way animated features were done back in the day.

Bounce!! Bounce!! Bounce!!There is quite a bit of fun going on, particularly during the hilarious Tigger Family Reunion scene, which includes Tiggers in the guise of Marilyn Monroe and Jerry Springer among others. Overall, the mood that is generated here is so warm and quite comforting that several adults in the audience we saw it in the theater back in the day were nodding off with their little ones.

Bounce!! Bounce!! Bounce!! Far too many of the people who originally voiced these beloved characters have passed on, and although John Fiedler is ageless as Piglet, sorely missed are Paul Winchell and Sterling Holloway. However, the Japanese and American animators managed to recapture much of the languid, rainy afternoon feel of the original cartoons, which makes this a recommendation all on its own. When re-viewed recently, I felt that same familiar sleepy-bye-time malaise come over me and quite frankly that can be a good feeling. Not that this movie puts you to sleep mind you – it just makes you feel like a little kid again which as far as I’m concerned is priceless. There is enough action here though to keep most tots awake throughout.

Bounce!! Bounce!! Bounce!! Be warned; true Tigger fans might find this movie addicting in subliminal ways. I wish I’d known; I’m still trying to get Da Queen to stop bouncing.

WHY RENT THIS: Great bonding opportunity between parents and kids. Wonderful warm rainy day naptime warm blanket feeling. Fiedler is wonderful. Lovely artwork.

WHY RENT SOMETHING ELSE: Definitely aimed for a certain age group and/or Pooh fans. Primitive animation by modern standards.

FAMILY MATTERS: Suitable for everybody.

TRIVIAL PURSUITS: The first Disney movie in 29 years (1971’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks) to feature songs by the Sherman brothers.

NOTABLE HOME VIDEO FEATURES: A Kenny Loggins video (with partner Jim Messina he once recorded the classic “House at Pooh Corner”) as well as a sing-along song, a storybook, a game and a feature on how to make your own family tree. The 10th Anniversary DVD Edition also includes a couple of bonus episodes from the New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh animated series. The Blu-Ray edition includes a roundtable discussion among the filmmakers and some footage from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in a series of ten “mini-adventures.”

BOX OFFICE PERFORMANCE: $96.2M on a $30M production budget.

FINAL RATING: 6/10

NEXT: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair

Winnie the Pooh


Winnie the Pooh

WInnie the Pooh scurries about the Hundred Acre Wood in search of Hunny.

(2011) Animated Feature (Disney) Starring the voices of Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson, John Cleese, Tom Kenny, Travis Oakes, Bud Luckey, Jack Boulter, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Wyatt Dean Hall, Huell Howser. Directed by Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall

The thing with classics is that they simply don’t bear remaking or rebooting. They were done correctly the first time out; is there a compelling reason to try to capture lightning in a bottle again?

Of course there is. Here, the essence of the Disney classic Pooh movies is recaptured, from the story that moves along like a lazy summer day to the beautifully drawn but deceptively simple animation. The story isn’t terribly complicated – Pooh is out of honey and goes to find some, leading to a series of misadventures. There is also a subplot of Eeyore’s tail being missing; sharp-eyed viewers will be able to find it but most will not. And no, I’m not giving you any hints.

John Cleese proves to be a wonderful successor to Sebastian Cabot as the movie’s narrator and like the Disney classics, the animators aren’t above reminding you that Pooh originally began life as a book. There is nothing frightening here in the least, even the dreaded Backson, which is the Heffalump of this movie.

I found myself missing the classic character voices, from Paul Winchell as Tigger (Jim Cummings here) to Sterling Holloway as Pooh (Cummings again) to John Fiedler as Piglet (Travis Oates in this version). Your kids, however might not have that issue but be warned that you might wind up comparing the modern cast with the classic one. It’s an occupational hazard for rebooting a classic.

Whether or not Disney continues to create Pooh films will probably depend on the home video sales; quite frankly the movie underperformed in a disappointing summer when put up against the last Harry Potter film and flashier kid fare that was marketed to near distraction. This movie however does at least bring viewers back to a kinder, simpler time and kinder, simpler movies. It’s a quiet alternative to the CGI-heavy pop culture icons that are mostly what we get in animated features these days, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I heartily recommend this for parents of younger children; it is a nice way to keep them occupied while you take a break from being a parent and get to be a kid again yourself.

WHY RENT THIS: Wonderful nostalgia factor. Lack of stunt voices and simple animation makes this a pleasure for adults.

WHY RENT SOMETHING ELSE: The story is a bit too reminiscent of past Pooh classics. Ideal entertainment for kids six and under and their parents who adored the Disney classics; not so much for those who didn’t.

FAMILY VALUES:  Extremely family friendly.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT: The familiar Winnie the Pooh theme is sung on the soundtrack by actress Zooey Deschanel and musician M. Ward, better known as She and Him. They also contributed the end credits song “So Long.”

NOTABLE DVD EXTRAS: There is a wonderful featurette on the history of Pooh from his origins in the A.A. Milne stories to the wonderful Disney classics. There’s a sing-along feature to the movie that you can activate where the lyrics will appear for each song and Christopher Robins balloon helps kids sing the lyrics in time to the movie. There are also a couple of animated shorts (one Pooh-related, the other one which played in the theaters with this movie) and an odd featurette on how to create the perfect Pooh-themed nursery for your new baby – assuming you have one. If not, there are instructions on how to go get one (just kidding).

BOX OFFICE PERFORMANCE: $33.2M on a $30M production budget; the movie was unprofitable on its theatrical run.

FINAL RATING: 6.5/10

TOMORROW: The Emperor’s Club

New Releases for the Week of July 15, 2011


 

July 15, 2011

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2

(Warner Brothers) Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Tom Felton, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Warwick Davis, Jason Isaacs, David Thewlis, every actor in Britain. Directed by David Yates

Do you really need a synopsis for this one? Honestly, seven films in the can and you have to think about it? You know you’re going to see it and if you’re not, it’s not like a plot summary is going to change your mind. Bad wizards beat the crap out of good wizards leading to one whale of a final battle. Two men enter, one man leaves. You’ve read the book – now see the movie!

See the trailer, promos, featurettes, clips and interviews here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: PG-13 (for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images)

A Better Life

(Summit) Demian Bechir, Jose Julian, Delores Heredia, Carlos Linares. An illegal alien in Los Angeles works his cabeza off for a better life for him and his teenage son but must contend with the ever-present threat of deportation, gang violence and a stolen truck. Along the way the father and son reconnect and discover that making it in the land of plenty takes plenty of strength.

See the trailers, interviews and clips here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Drama

Rating: PG-13 (for some violence, language and brief drug use)

Winnie the Pooh

(Disney) Starring the voices of Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson, Tom Kenny, John Cleese. A.A. Milne’s beloved children’s storybook characters return to the big screen in this hand-drawn animated feature in which the denizens of the Hundred Acre Wood attempt to procure for Eeyore a new tail. The trailer had me reaching for a bowl of Cream of Wheat and a glass of chocolate milk.

See the trailer, featurettes, interviews and clips here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Animated Feature

Rating: G