Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

The husband and I have an agreement. He goes to play Dungeons and Dragons with his friends, and I get a day alone to do what I want. One of my favorite things to do is to go to the movies, buy the food I want, and watch something that he might not necessarily want to see. This past week that movie was Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Who allowed this much fun to be smushed into one movie? Where do I even start? All of the combinations were absolutely spectacular. I usually detest and avoid movies with Jack Black in them but he was fucking brilliant in this movie. How did they hold it together long enough to film any of his scenes? I wouldn’t have been able to stop laughing long enough to say my lines.

To whom in the casting department do I address the Edible Arrangement in appreciation for casting The Rock and Kevin Hart together? Aggressive Kevin Hart and shy/timid The Rock interacting throughout was just…comedy gold. It was golden. It was everything.

I would also like to send up a #blessed for Amy Pond’s abs and legs as well as whoever decided the most beautiful Jonas brother should be involved. The gift of Hanks the Lesser at the end was also a delicious surprise.

What makes this movie is the idea that the teenage characters discover how to be better people by inhabiting their opposites within the video game Jumanji. The challenges of the video game allow them each to believe that they can be more than what they are, and they become fast friends as a result. This could have been SUPER corny or obvious, but the movie handles it in a way that we see the lesson, but the dance fighting makes it a funny and enjoyable lesson to learn and can reach both adults and teens alike.

So when the husband got home that evening after playing his lawful-evil paladin I said that the movie was so fun, and that I would be willing to go see it again if he wanted to go. You should head out and see it too; you will have such a good time. Come back and let us know what you thought!

 

The Last Jedi

It can be a difficult task to write a review about something which expands on a source of childhood joy. When I thought about going to see this movie, the one thing I braced myself for was the idea that Luke would die as Obi-Wan did, or worse yet, as Darth Vader did. I couldn’t take an unfair death for Luke, I couldn’t accept it. It was my only worry heading into the theater.

Here is where the spoilers start, so if you’ve managed to get this far without experiencing any, please stop reading and go see the movie.

I needn’t have worried. To be honest the movie, which I expected to feel like The Empire Strikes Back, felt more like a Disney cartoon mini-series where we all learn lessons and are hopeful for the future. A bit early in this trilogy for that feel.

Poe learns a lesson about leadership!

Rey learns a lesson about balance!

Finn learns what matters!

Rose becomes a hero!

The children are our future!

Do you guys even remember how The Empire Strikes Back ended? Luke’s hand was sliced off, Han was frozen in carbonite, the rebellion was suffering, we’ve learned some very important information and been betrayed, we’ve met Yoda, we’re worried about Luke. I can only imagine how people cried out for episode 6. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT OMGWTFBBQ!!!

This movie was all over the place. The side quests were distracting and confusing. Why is Brienne even in this series if we only see her like 3 times and is in that shiny suit the whole time? Is she even a villain? Who cares? Also who cares about Rey anymore? I 100% figured there was going to be a “my father is also your father” reveal in this movie and I was disappointed. Rey is 100% a Solo, whether she is Ben’s twin or younger sibling I’m not sure  yet, but that knowledge has to be given to me in the next movie or I’m gonna be real mad. There is no cliffhanger in this movie like Empire. Everyone is together, everyone is safe, Luke’s story has come to a conclusion. What am I looking forward to in the next episode, the directors and writers dealing awkwardly with Leia? No thank you.

The brilliance in this movie is not in the new. To be honest none of the new characters stayed with me, and without seeing the movie again I would be unable to recount their antics with any reliable detail. The brilliance in this movie is in the old favorites. Mark Hamill provides us with some of his best acting here. I loved the conflict in him in dealing with his failure. He’s not only failed Ben, Leia, and Han, but he’s failed all the Jedi that came before him. He cannot live with this, and so he exiles himself, cuts himself off from the Force, and resolves to die angry and alone. I see you Luke.

Rey comes, of course, but her persistence isn’t what wins Luke over as we expect. She leaves to help her friends and face Kylo Ren, much like Luke does in The Empire Strikes Back after they escape from Hoth. What changes Luke’s mind is a visit from Yoda. This encounter is hands down the best part of the entire movie. Yoda’s wisdom, his reminder to Luke that failure is the best teacher, his recognition that yes, Luke did mess up, but he should have learned from it and continued to do, for there is no try – all of it just washed over me as clearly as a sermon in a church might. I cried because it was like Yoda was talking to me. Sometimes to move forward, we just need someone to look at us and say “It’s gonna be okay, everybody fucks up. It’s whether or not you learn from it and move forward as a better person that matters.”

Luke’s re-acceptance of the Force and his journey to face Kylo Ren, protect Leia, and the rebellion is everything. It was just everything he was capable of and more. He was the Jedi I dreamed he would become after Return of the Jedi. He was strong and clever and finally one with the Force. And I cried again when he disappeared into the wind, having cemented his legend and the fact that the Jedi may be gone, but the spirit of that old religion lives on. I left the theater wanting nothing more than the requisite amount of midichlorians in my system so I could be a Jedi. I left wishing that Luke and I had been given more time.

This movie was a mixed bag with gems hidden throughout that were bright enough to make up for the parts that were dull. Go and see it because you have to, it’s Star Wars for crying out loud, but when you’re done ask yourself, “Do I really need an Episode 9”? The answer might surprise you.

 

Doctor Strange

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Oh man do I love me some Bandybars Candycorn. From Star Trek to Sherlock I will go watch just about everything he is in. He’s multifaceted, he’s brilliant, and watching him act is watching a work of art come to life right in front of you. I wish we could have seen him live while we were in London, but his Hamlet had already left the theaters.

I also enjoy the Marvel movies. Wait…let me qualify: I like the initial Marvel movies, the first ones of each series. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Avengers – all the non sequels are excellent. I was nervous about this movie though, because Doctor Strange is a little off the beaten path for most fans, but he’s necessary to the Infinity Gauntlet storyline leading up to the Infinity War movies so, here we go.

gauntlet

Once you get past Butterball Clickerflick being a rich egomaniac who drives distracted and basically ruins his career, we see him get to become a real boy with empathy under the tutelage of Tilda Swinton, who is actually pretty hilarious for being a terrifying white lady. He learns to use magic through two finger brass knuckles and uses his amazing intelligence to read all the things and almost mess up some stuff by sniffing too far into things that have created the nemesis they are fighting.

read-all-the-things
Shout out to Hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com

It’s basically a movie about a magical Iron Man: the intelligence and cockiness without the high tech inventor skills, but also finding a way to hold onto his attitude while using it for good instead of assholery. Even the cape offers some levity, I think I laughed harder at the cape than anything else in the movie.

The ending is good, and there are two credits scenes, one at the beginning and one at the end. It was an enjoyable movie, but I left at the end feeling the weariness that comes from seeing the same formula, the same story, the same shit over and over.  How many Spidermen are we going to have to sit through before they get it right? Do we really need more Thor movies? What happens when this is all over? What will be the next money grab, the next multiverse of movies and sequels? J.K. Rowling is already trying to get that cash with this new Fantastic Beasts thing (5 more of them? FIVE?) and I’m just not about that life.

Despite all that it was a fun movie, and I was glad I went to see it. This Thanksgiving season when you need to get out of the house, let Benedict Cumberbatch entertain you for a couple of hours. We have tough times ahead, take your joy where you can find it.

Captain America: Civil War

Marvel truly has the superhero market cornered. From the Avengers, to Deadpool, to the tv series Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and the upcoming Punisher series enjoyment can be found at every turn. So when the next release date approached, I was very excited to experience the next thrill ride that Stan Lee had prepared for me.

I have to admit that I was a bit underwhelmed, which is understandable because this is one of those pesky “leading up to the next one” movies. Exciting, but not too exciting because we have things to introduce you to that you need to remember for later. This includes T’Challa/Black Panther. *praise hands*

T'Challa
YES GAWD I WILL REMEMBER

I honestly didn’t realize that Tony Stark had so many parent issues. The number of decisions he makes on pure reaction instead of calculation in this movie gave me whiplash. And no one ever took enough time to explain to anyone why Bucky Barnes’ situation was less than clear. It seemed like it would be pretty easy to provide evidence about the brainwashing (no real spoiler there…this story isn’t super spoiler filled).

Perhaps the most welcome and fun surprise was the sunshine brought in by the casting for Spiderman. The voice, the persona, the fact that we don’t need his origin story AGAIN (ugh), and the fact that Aunt May is like an aunt as opposed to a grandmother, all makes this fresh and new without getting bogged down in the mud. His innocence also makes him a target for manipulation by Stark, which I think he will learn and grow from in the future.

Also bringing in comedic relief was Paul Rudd, who just rocks the Ant Man character. When you go, bring orange slices. You’re going to need them. 🙂

All in all, this was another enjoyable Marvel romp, however it was slightly disconnected due to the Iron Man emotional issue catastrophe decisions, so by the end you don’t really feel any kind of resolution. That’s okay though, because this movie isn’t about resolution, it’s about leading us to the impending Infinity War. My body is ready.