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Cinemaholics Review: Sicario: Day of the Soldado

soldado

Sam Noland is back on the show again for the first time in a while to help us review Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s surprise 2015 hit. You’ll notice this is an extra-long episode of the show (mainly by accident), and part of the reason is because our Day of the Soldado review might just be our longest one yet that doesn’t include spoilers. We had a fascinating discussion about the movie, coming at it from about as many angles as you can imagine.

We had a lengthy movie news segment as well, which you’ll see in the show notes for the image. Plus an early mini review for Ant-Man & The Wasp that leaves out any and all spoilers. From there, our mini reviews got pretty laid back, especially once Sam broke out the Jeff Goldblum impression. While editing this episode, I couldn’t help but save it all and let you hear the full version.

Question for you: What is your favorite Jeff Goldblum movie?

Go on…Cinemaholics Review: Sicario: Day of the Soldado

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2018 Movie Power Rankings

2018 movie

Oh, how time flies. This is my fourth year doing these “power rankings,” so most of you know the drill. I’ve watched enough movies at this point in the year to unveil my rankings, and I’ll continue to update this list as I watch more films until the end of December.

One notable difference this year is that I’ve cut down a bit on written reviews on this site, so the best way to find out what I think of these flicks beyond a letter grade is by checking out past and present episodes of Cinemaholics. I also keep up with everything on my Letterboxd (a social network for filmgoers).

How these rankings work: 

Go on…2018 Movie Power Rankings

2017 Movie Power Rankings

2017 Movie Rankings

It took a while, but I’m finally ready to unveil my movie power rankings for 2017, which will be updated as I continue to watch more films throughout the year. With this list, you can briefly glimpse my favorite movies of any given year and how they compare.

Below are my rankings so far, with some of them linked to either a written review or Cinemaholics podcast episode.

Go on…2017 Movie Power Rankings

Do Critics Think You Should See ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’? — The Pixar Detectives

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is about to hit wide release, and the critics are already sharing their take on the Marvel sequel. To keep you unspoiled,  I compiled some of the best reviews of the film and shared the numbers, especially against how they stack up against the first Guardians and other big Marvel films.

It was a great discussion featuring some interesting speculation about the future of the franchise, and we ended things by digging into a “Did you know that?” about the first Guardians of the Galaxy. For example, did you know that Guardians is the second highest-rated film in the MCU?

 

This week’s giveaway was a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 shirt with the Awesome Mix as a graphic. We already have a winner, so be sure to tune in live with us every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. (Pacific) for a chance to win. Simply like Super News on Facebook to stay connected with us for new episodes.

We give away Pixar-related goodies like shirts, books, blu-rays, and tons more. And we’re always open to new suggestions for prizes you all might be interested in! Plus, Super News has tons of other shows and live-streams for Disney, gaming, and a ton more. See you all next week!


Thanks for reading this. To get updates on my theories, books, and giveaways, join my mailing list.

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

Cinemaholics: The Fate of the Furious, Free Fire, Sandy Wexler, 13 Reasons Why

This week, the Cinemaholics become, as Vin Diesel would put it, faaammmmillllyyyy. By reviewing The Fate of the Furious, the eighth installment of the little cars franchise that could. I’m joined this week by Will Ashton (CutPrintFilmWe Got This Covered) and Maveryke Hines (our producer) for a fast talk about the franchise at large, how we rank the movies, and of course, a featured review for the new film.

Later, we tackle plenty of other big releases. Free Fire from A24 and starring Brie Larson gets a mini review, along with The Discovery, a Netflix original starring Jason Segal, Rooney Mara, and Robert Redford. We spend a lot of time debating Adam Sandler’s new Netflix movie, Sandy Wexler, which divided the Cinemaholics quite fiercely. And we also dive a bit into the first half of the first season of 13 Reasons Why, a new Netflix series starring Dylan Minnette (a name we all get wrong during the show).

EMAIL US YOUR FEEDBACK & QUESTIONS: cinemaholicspodcast [at] gmail.com 

Go on…Cinemaholics: The Fate of the Furious, Free Fire, Sandy Wexler, 13 Reasons Why

Are Critics Wrong about Beauty and the Beast and Iron Fist? – Cinemaholics

On the latest Cinemaholics, Will Ashton and I review Beauty and the Beast and Season 1 of Iron Fist. In doing so, our main question is whether or not critics and audiences are right to be so divided on these movies.

Later, we dig into some mini reviews for Big Little LiesThe Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Nintendo Switch, and Wilson, which stars Woody Harrelson. Hope you enjoy our ranting.

YOU TELL US: Do you think Beauty and the Beast and Iron Fist deserve their mixed reviews? And what did you think of either of them?

Email us your feedback so your voice can be heard next week: cinemaholicspodcast [at] gmail.com

Go on…Are Critics Wrong about Beauty and the Beast and Iron Fist? – Cinemaholics

‘Beauty And The Beast’ Is A Decent Musical Trapped Inside A Dull Remake

beauty and the beast

There’s no major, heavy-handed flaw that brings down Beauty and the Beast, the latest of Disney’s live-action remakes. Rather, this film falls apart from its own weight of bad decisions, made very carefully to not to mess with one of Disney’s most beloved classics too much for fear of losing the same magic that brought animated films to the prestigious forefront of Hollywood.

The original conception hasn’t changed at all, really. A young, beautiful girl living in a small French village finds herself the prisoner of a cursed prince who was transformed into a beast for being vain. They have to fall in love in order to break the spell, and his castle’s magical servants — a collection of humans transformed into the prince’s belongings in case that wasn’t subtle enough — orchestrate elaborate ways to bring these two mismatched people together.

This is, of course, a remake that feels far more faithful to the word, in that a vast majority of this film is a recycled mess of frames, songs, characters, and ideas that are mixed together with a few more expanded subplots that try to explain the world of Beauty and the Beast better than previous adaptations. For what it’s worth, this is a longer movie that lets the characters breathe when necessary.

The trouble is that Disney’s answer to defending this remake’s existence is by over-explaining the exposition of this world and its inhabitants, robbing us of any nuance or mystery as full character motivations are described by either voiceover or ham-fisted declarations more suitable for a stage play. There’s a good effort here, though, to fix some of the perceived problems of the 1991 adaptation, like toning down the unlikable nature of the Beast earlier and with less violence on his part, so his budding relationship with Belle can be more believable and fleshed out.

beauty and the beast

In a better movie, that might have been enough to give Beauty and the Beast a real purpose for taking a victory lap, as the film also manages to pull off some impressive musical beats that show off director Bill Condon’s best work from Dreamgirls. Sadly, it seems this movie also inherits his romantic habits from the two Twilight films he directed, in that Dan Stevens and Emma Watson (who play the titular characters) are the weakest points of a movie that absolutely relies on their chemistry to succeed.

That’s not to say either performer does a terrible job here. Dan Stevens (Legion, Downton Abbey) does fine work trying to imitate the emotive Beast from the animated film, and it’s not his fault he can’t possibly measure up to Glen Keane’s legendary character. For what the film is trying to be, Stevens does a serviceable job bringing a CGI beast to life under what must have been a huge budget.

It’s Emma Watson (Harry PotterBling Ring) who seems unprepared to carry this film as the heart of its romance. She’s more passionless film critic than audience surrogate, frequently turning her nose to obviously wondrous set pieces and working off of a very limited range of expressions and vocabulary. It doesn’t help that her singing is a bit on the lump side as well, pushed harder by obvious autotune that doesn’t blend well with the superior voice work happening all around her.

Worse, there’s not much done here with the Belle character. Beast gets a new musical number and some chances for identity beyond being mean and clumsy. In this film, he’s a bit of a reader, so he and Belle have something conceivable to bond over. But Belle is a poorly written presence by comparison, often reminiscent of the kind, but independent Belle from the 1991 version without much else to cling to aside from the introduction of a forced backstory involving her life in Paris. None of these threads come together well, making for a more forgettable character than this tale deserves.

beauty and the beast

Still, there really isn’t anything atrociously bad about Beauty and the Beast apart from how tragic it is as a missed opportunity for Disney’s live-action retreads. Rather than upgrade the classic with authentic accents and an updated, more modern story (seriously, there was a great opportunity to pivot the villain, here), the film seems more content on going through the motions as best it can without the luxury of animation to make itself more enchanting. Luke Evans (Dracula Untold) as Gaston is about the only actor who tries to bring some worldly relevance to his role, while still hamming it up alongside the somewhat subdued and one-note LeFou, played by Josh Gad (Frozen).

When Beauty and the Beast does manage to pull off genuine moments of wonder, it’s every bit as likable as its predecessor. But the movie never surprises and it certainly never surpasses what it’s borrowing from. Granted, it’s beautifully realized and the production design is a positive step forward for Disney films, but nothing here is satisfying enough to make up for the fact that this is a revisionist tale lacking true vision.

Grade: C

Extra Credits:

  • I have to be honest, that’s a graceful “C.” I had a terrible experience with this film, despite its high points. It violates the don’t make them want to see the original version during the entire movie rule.
  • Another missed opportunity is in how the original Beauty and the Beast had some progressive flourishes, like how Belle was more interesting than previous Disney damsels.  But this new film does very little to innovate, aside from a more diverse cast and an awkwardly executed LGBT inclusion that seems to forget it exists most of the time.
  • I didn’t have time to get to the rest of the cast, and it’s seriously one of the better aspects of the movie. Kevin Kline as Belle’s father, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere (terrible French accent aside), and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts just to name a few. The film does well to give everyone their moment to bask.
  • Oh, let’s not forget about Sir Ian McKellan, who played Cogsworth. Funny enough, he turned down the role for the animated version.
  • This film was in postproduction for 18 months. And it shows.
  • The ‘Gaston’ scene is the best one, in my opinion. They added cut lyrics from the original to make it longer and edgier.

    Thanks for reading this. Seriously. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. 

    Or just say hello on Twitter: @JonNegroni


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