Mary Poppins Returns but Brought Nothing New: A Review

✯✯✯

The original Mary Poppins is often recognized as the crowning live-action achievement of Walt Disney’s career, and is also most notable for being the only Disney production to earn a Best Picture nomination during his lifetime. But so fervent was author P. L. Travers’s dislike of the changes that Disney made to a story that she once created, we wouldn’t end up seeing another Mary Poppins film until much later. So it only leaves me wondering what can be pulled off with a belated sequel, 54 years later. But how exactly would such a long wait between the two films provide, especially when trying to reach out for a newer audience with Mary Poppins Returns? Trying to recapture the charm that Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke have only ever made so distinctive would be one challenge, especially with trying to reach another audience, and Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda make the very best of it here. That alone could provide a lot for some viewers but I was only ever left wondering what else would be coming by in order to allow this story to feel so distinctive from its predecessor after so long.

Continue reading →

A Quiet Place – Review

✯✯✯½

I can’t help but feel that there’s at least a little bit of irony in the fact that the best film to have ever come into contact with the name Michael Bay would be called “A Quiet Place.” But knowing Platinum Dunes’s own track record with horror film remakes I was skeptical of what A Quiet Place would even be like given its high concept. But to see that something of this very sort would have been written and directed by John Krasinski of all people, I kept thinking of a certain bit from The Office in which everyone was quiet in order to achieve their longest silent streak (which is a very funny bit). I kept thinking of it because Jim led the whole team on that streak, and now here he is, making and starring in a horror movie that takes said bit to a whole new level. And what he presented this time only makes oneself feel so stressful within the moment.

Continue reading →

Edge of Tomorrow – Review

✯✯✯✯

I wouldn’t have thought that Edge of Tomorrow would have turned out nearly as fun as it was from looking at the ads alone, but I saw it in theaters anyway particularly because I happen to like Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, in spite of their runs of misses throughout their careers. In an age where action blockbusters have grown to become rather repetitive, Edge of Tomorrow shines from the many coming out during the summer, for it managed to provide the fun which I was awaiting amidst a sea of mediocrity. Watching Edge of Tomorrow did indeed prove an assumption from the advertising to be wrong, and revisiting it now after not having seen it since theaters proved it still held up rather well as one of the better blockbusters from recent years. Continue reading →

The Wind Rises – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

The words “Hayao Miyazaki’s swan song” should be enough to get a fan who was so closely connected to his works (speaking merely for myself in this case) even before having seen The Wind Rises. As a child, together with watching Pixar movies regularly in theaters, I would also find a way to access the films of Studio Ghibli, for they had opened my eyes to watching anime. I remember having seen Spirited Away at the age of 6, and nearly ten years after my first viewing the experience still retains the magic I remember from that moment, and I’ve become a big Hayao Miyazaki fan ever since. It was then, I found how watching The Wind Rises at such a late point after his retirement (I only saw it for my first time last year), it made me feel I wasn’t a fan dedicated enough. It was a beautiful swan song, it really felt like a fitting way for a great artist to tell his followers a heartbreaking goodbye, and the thought of it still brings me to tears. Continue reading →

The Five-Year Engagement – Review

I’m pretty sure the apt title can describe the experience of watching The Five-Year Engagement because every excruciating minute just left me waiting for the end. I guess me generally not being a fan of Judd Apatow-produced romantic dramedies can be one thing but even some of his weaker ones have some heart to them which I can appreciate yet in here, perhaps the lack of engagement (that joke was set to be made at least once) with how everything is flowing was sure to take me out for every bit of it grew to be nothing short of aggravating. I can admit the cast had me rather interested and it looked harmless enough from a few trailers, but seeing the final product was unbearable. Continue reading →

Charlie Wilson’s War – Review

✯✯✯✯

There’s a beauty to hearing the words scripted by Aaron Sorkin, knowing that they always move at a pace that keeps every scene moving at rapid fire, and paired together with the direction of Mike Nichols, the results are truly nothing more than satisfying. For his final film, Mike Nichols leaves on a rather pleasing note and while it may not reach the heights that he has set behind in his past with classics like The Graduate or Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, it goes to show that throughout his career, he’s maintained a consistent level of quality from film to film and would never let anything have him stoop down. Continue reading →