Another odd mix at the theater this week, but unlike last week, the box office numbers will be big. First we have the absolutely adorable The Peanuts Movie. I was hoping to really enjoy the film and I have to say, I really did. It really is super cute and a perfect family film. I’ll start with the negatives first because there are a few. One, this is more a personal thing, I just don’t love the fully computerized animation of today. Charlie Brown and the gang looked great growing up, today’s look just doesn’t do it for me. The biggest negative is probably the score. There’s nothing wrong with the score per se, but when I think Peanuts, I think great music and score. There’s some of today’s type music in it and sure the kids will probably like it, but I didn’t. As for the positives, well, it’s a great Charlie Brown story. There’s action with the Red Baron, there’s a love story, there’s all the side characters, a dance, the school, ice skating, kite flying, everything you want in a Charlie Brown story. In fact, the film is pretty much three separate acts tied in together with Snoopy’s imagination running wild in the sky. As an adult who grew up with the gang, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The kids sitting around me laughed and seemed to love it too. If your kids aren’t familiar with Snoopy and Charlie Brown, take them to it, it’s a great introduction. If you are an adult and don’t have kids, see it yourself too. I walked out of the theater saying it was adorable and that’s the perfect word for it, adorable. 4/5 Stars, MUST SEE FAMILY FILM!
Next we have Spectre. I’m in the minority that thought Skyfall was overrated so I had hesitations going into the latest James Bond film. An early review called it the best Bond film ever and after seeing it, I firmly believe the person that wrote that has never seen a James Bond film, ever. Not only is this not the best Daniel Craig James Bond film, it’s barely entertaining. Craig has run his mouth about wanting his reign as Bond to end and hopefully it does. He goes through the motions in this movie and seemed completely bored the entire time. The opening sequence is great and I thought it was going to surprise me, but from that point onward, it was completely lackluster. Christoph Waltz should be one of the greatest Bond villains of all time, but he was totally wasted here. His character’s reasoning for being evil is totally out of a spy spoof. Waltz was perfect for the film, shame the film wasn’t perfect for him. Director Sam Mendes gives us lots of wide, epic shots with helicopters and boom cranes, but the story seems rather generic. The 00 program might get shut down and replaced with technology and an ever watching eye type program and there is a secret society that controls everything and has an octopus logo. Hail Hydra! No, but I thought the same thing. The movie is at least 20 minutes too long, maybe closer to 30. The gadgets are ok, the cars are cool, but nothing we really haven’t seen before. Bond sleeps with his women as usual and again, it’s nothing we really haven’t seen before. I will say Dave Bautista was pretty good. He doesn’t say a whole lot, but made a decent henchmen type. Other than that, it did nothing for me. I sat there bored for most of it, but it’s Bond and it will open big. Expect it to battle The Peanuts Movie for box office king. 2/5 stars.
Third we have Spotlight. The film will get many award nominations and deservedly so. It tackles the true story about the Boston Globe busting open the Catholic priest scandal that ravaged Massachusetts for decades. The Globe had an investigative team called Spotlight and after years of rumors and pay offs, the story finally broke wide open thanks to their investigation. Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci, Liev Schreiber, Brian d’Arcy James and Billy Crudup star. I’m from Boston and know the story well and the film is a painful watch. Not because it’s bad, far from it, but because of everything that happened in my home state. At first Spotlight thinks it’s only a couple of priests and finds out it’s dozens more. Then they realize it goes much higher up the food chain including Cardinals and more. Dozens of victims were bought off or never told their story because you didn’t say things like that in Boston. To this day people still don’t believe it happened. The ensemble cast is fantastic and I expect Ruffalo and Keaton to get a lot of attention come award season. The cast should be thanked for bringing this story to light and showing victims that they aren’t alone. A difficult watch, but a must watch. The cast is perfect and really brings home the size of the investigation and just how far the cover up went. 3.75/5 stars.
Last we have The Wonders. If you see this movie, please let me know what it’s about. I watched it and have no idea. Allegedly it’s about a family of bee farmers in an isolated Tuscan countryside, but I didn’t get it. There’s a camel for no reason. A reality TV show that shoots in a cave. A bunch of young kids in their underwear that made me uncomfortable. The oldest daughter goes back to the cave to find a boy and I think she sleeps with him, I really didn’t get it. I didn’t understand any of it. Why a camel??? It’s one of those movies pretentious people will say is great, but no one understands. The cinematography and setting is nice, but that’s the only positive I have for it. I didn’t get the point whatsoever. Not a clue about this movie. 1/5 stars.