12/21 Movie Trip

Paul McGuire Grimes from Paul’s Trip to the Movies reviews three new releases! MARY POPPINS RETURNS (theatrical release) Mary Poppins is back on the big screen in an all-new adventure thanks to Disney and director Rob Marshall. This new film takes place a couple of decades after the original one, and Michael and Jane Banks are all grown up. Michael is a widower with three kids. He’s facing a financial crisis and is told by the bank that they will repossess their childhood home if he can’t come up with the payments. It’s up to Mary Poppins and her friend Jack the lamplighter to come save the day. -Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Julie Walters -Written/Directed/Choreographed by Rob Marshall who’s no stranger to movie musicals after directing Chicago, Nine, and Into the Woods -Felt right back on Cherry Tree Lane thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s opening number. Warm and cozy feeling full of nostalgia -Go in with an open mind. This is a new Mary Poppins adventure. You can’t replicate 50 years of watching the original and apply that right away with this movie. -New score composed by Marc Shaiman in consultation with original composer Richard Sherman, so the music has that same tone and feel. You’ll hear some of the original themes in the overture -Speaking of the music, every number takes you back to the old MGM Hollywood musicals full of spectacle and high production quality, including the show-stopping 11:00 number “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” -Mix of live action, modern day CGI effects, and it once again uses the 2D animation that many of us grew up with in the original Mary Poppins and other Disney animated films like Pete’s Dragon or Bedknobs and Broomsticks. -Emily Blunt is practically perfect in every way as Mary capturing that sassy attitude we love about her. Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Full of adventure, whimsy, joy, and most importantly heart providing that escapism we could all use right now. RATING: 4.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS AQUAMAN (theatrical release) Aquaman is the latest in the DC Extended Universe following Justice League where we first got to know this character. Jason Momoa returns as Aquaman and is called into action to be the hero he’s meant to be despite not wanting the responsibilities. There’s a war brewing between the humans and the species that lives below the water. Arthur/Aquaman is considered a half-breed as his father was human and his mother came from the water. He may be the only one to unite both sides when his brother, King Orm, wants to start a war and be ruler of all. Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman -Most people will go in skeptical given the nature of it being a superhero movie under water. Frankly, those are the scenes that work the best. When director James Wan and his creative team just go all out and have fun, it’s exciting to watch them bring this world of Atlantis to life. It’s absurd with them riding giant sea horses and sharks, but who cares? They give it this glowing, neon Avatar-like look to it. -The actors all move much like they would if they were actually filming underwater and once they pop up to the surface they’re completely soaked and their hair is a mess. It’s little touches like that I appreciated as they’re not pretending like real physics and science don’t matter. -Jason Momoa is having a hell of a good time playing the brawny, shirtless hero that is Aquaman. His charm and enthusiasm make up for the fact he doesn’t really have to act at all in the movie. -Another stand out is Nicole Kidman who plays Aquaman’s mother. It’s a small role, but she brings enough humanity to her. -Could use another round of editing as its way too long. There are characters, whole action sequences that could be cut. I lost track of how many different underwater kingdoms they travel to on top of where they go above the surface. -You have to go in with an open mind much like you would with a Marvel movie set in outer space. You have to leave any sort of realism at the door. -Gives the superhero genre a fresh feel with new creatures, characters, and vibe we haven’t seen before. Don’t bother seeing it in 3D, makes some of the effects look cheap. Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Not as good as Wonder Woman, but better than most in the DC Universe. RATING: 3 out of 5 TICKET STUBS SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (theatrical release) Miles Morales is a young kid who’s been transferred to new private school and has a hard time fitting in. While out late one night creating graffiti in the subway station, he’s bitten by a radioactive spider. He’s suddenly gifted super powers, but he doesn’t quite know what to do with them until he learns about the death of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He feels the calling to become the new Spider-Man but first needs to go through some training with an unexpected mentor. -Featuring the voices of Shamiek Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Bryan Tyree Henry, Mahershala Ali, Zoe Kravitz, Nicolas Cage, and Lily Tomlin as trusty Aunt May -Even though it’s animated, it lives within the Spider-Man universe that we’re used to as there are references to past events we’ve seen before in the other movies. It comes with self-deprecating humor at times in PG rated Deadpool type of way. They know we’ve seen the origin story before and they play into it. -Animation is stunning with a mix of styles and designs with part of it directly adhering to the look of a comic book but lifted onto the big screen. We see Miles’ inner thoughts appearing above his head in thought bubbles along with the use of panels to give different angles to the action. -This particular story and the use of alternate dimensions wouldn’t work as well in a live-action setting. You can bend the rules and veer from realism a bit more willingly when working with animation. -The movie’s themes are one giant learning lesson for kids. Its as if education and teachable moments are more important than just giving them an entertaining movie. -Miles learns that we can all be Spider-Mans even if you’re not Peter Parker. Spider-Mans can come in any shape, form, race, or creature like we see with Spider-Pig, Spider Man-Noir, Spider-Gwen or even an anime version of Spider-Man. We all have a different look and special power to make us the heroes in our world -We can’t be the heroes in our story until we’ve had a few successes, failures, and taken a giant leap of faith. -Ends with a lovely tribute to creator Stan Lee who passed away earlier this year. Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? One of the best animated movies of the year. RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS

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