REVIEW: Mulan (2020)

Liu Yifei as the title character in ‘Mulan (2020),’ available on Disney+. — Photo: Disney / Disney+.

Directed by Niki Caro — Screenplay by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Lauren Hynek, and Elizabeth Martin.

Niki Caro’s Mulan is an adaptation of the late 1990s Disney animated film of the same name, which itself was based on the story of the folk heroine Hua Mulan. Caro’s film tells the story of a Chinese woman, Mulan (played by Liu Yifei), who disguised herself as a man and enlisted herself in the Imperial Army to protect her frail and injured father, Zhou (played by Tzi Ma), even though she knew it would bring dishonor to her family. In the film, while fighting alongside other brave soldiers, she must do all that she can to save China from an invading army that is fighting alongside a witch (played by Gong Li). Continue reading “REVIEW: Mulan (2020)”

REVIEW: The Grudge (2020)

Theatrical Release Poster – Columbia Pictures

The following is a review of The Grudge — Directed by Nicolas Pesce.

Though I haven’t rewatched it in years (for reasons that will become apparent in a moment), I think that Takashi Shimizu’s Sarah Michelle Gellar-led 2004 American remake of Ju-On: The Grudge is really effective. To be perfectly honest with you, it frightened me so much when I saw it at age eleven that it gave me nightmares. I thought about it for weeks. The creepy imagery still freaks me out. So, when I heard that up-and-coming filmmaker Nicolas Pesce was making a new film in the series, I was both nervous, scared, and intrigued. Unfortunately, I don’t think Pesce was able to breathe new life into the horror subgenre once ruled by Ju-On and Ringu. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Grudge (2020)”

REVIEW: The Upside (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – STX Films / Lantern Entertainment

The following is a short review of The Upside — Directed by Neil Burger.

A remake of Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano’s French film, Intouchables, from 2011, Neil Burger’s The Upside follows Dell Scott (played by Kevin Hart), an African-American father on parole, who is hired to be the caregiver of the quadriplegic millionaire Phillip Lacasse (played by Bryan Cranston), who, after having lost his wife, has lost his will to live. Together, they form an — according to this film’s cliched formula — unlikely friendship from which they both learn a lot about life and culture. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Upside (2019)”

REVIEW: Hellboy (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Lionsgate

The following is a review of Hellboy (2019) — Directed by Neil Marshall.

In 2004 and 2008, Oscar-winning auteur Guillermo del Toro brought us two critically well-received comic book monster movies about Mike Mignola’s Dark Horse Comics creation ‘Hellboy,’ a red Nazi-summoned half-demon that fights for the human race against monsters and other dark forces. Even though del Toro is a beloved figure and his films are still held in high regard, del Toro’s request for a third film was denied. Instead, producers decided that it was time to replace the first two films’ auteur — del Toro, who had a real, recognizable love for his creatures — and its indispensable leading man, Ron Perlman — who was absolutely perfect in the role — in a new reboot of the franchise. Continue reading “REVIEW: Hellboy (2019)”

REVIEW: Pet Sematary (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Paramount Pictures

The following is a review of Pet Sematary — Directed by Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmeyer.

A couple of months ago, I decided to rewatch Mary Lambert’s 1989 adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. My father is a big fan of that film, but, I hadn’t seen it in years, and I barely remembered if I even liked it. Much to my father’s disappointment, I really didn’t enjoy rewatching Lambert’s film. This experience, I’ll be honest, actually made me more excited for this year’s remake. Perhaps I would now get the Pet Sematary film to ‘call my own.’ While I ultimately do, based on my first viewing, believe Kölsch and Widmeyer’s 2019-version is better and more effective than Lambert’s film, I was still very disappointed by what they gave us here. Continue reading “REVIEW: Pet Sematary (2019)”

2019 Film Preview, Pt. 2: Original and Awards Films – Special Features #39

In this, the second and final part of my 2019 film preview, I will discuss and present you with the most interesting 2019 non-tentpole films, as well as the films that may be talked about during awards season 2019. Now, just to get this out of the way, I will only mention adaptations if, and only if, I think they have Oscar potential, as the wise men and women call it.  Continue reading “2019 Film Preview, Pt. 2: Original and Awards Films – Special Features #39”

REVIEW: A Star is Born (2018)

Theatrical Release Poster – Warner Bros. Pictures

The following is a review of A Star is Born — Directed by Bradley Cooper.

There is a scene towards the end of the film, where Sam Elliott’s character gives a speech about twelve notes, an octave, and the same story being told over and over again. This feels like first-time director Bradley Cooper’s attempt to justify remaking the A Star is Born story for the third time — the industry is cyclical and only the artists can make new attempts unique.
Continue reading “REVIEW: A Star is Born (2018)”

REVIEW: Suspiria (2018)

Theatrical Release Poster – Amazon Studios

The following is a review of Suspiria — Directed by Luca Guadagnino.

The original Dario Argento Italian horror classic Suspiria is one of those films horror fanatics scream from the rooftops for you to watch. For the longest time, I was one of those who ignored that call. To prepare for Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 reimagining of the same name, I finally decided to sit down and watch Argento’s film, and while I didn’t love it as much as its disciples do, I recognized it as a stunning stylish classic with a frightening musical theme, but the dialogue and the acting left something to be desired. Continue reading “REVIEW: Suspiria (2018)”

Remakes at the Oscars – Special Features #31

This year, Bradley Cooper is giving us his highly anticipated directorial debut with his version of A Star is Born. Notice how I said ‘his version?’ Good, well, the fact of the matter is that Cooper’s A Star is Born is the third remake released of the 1937 William Wellman romance drama. So, what does that mean for its Oscar chances? Can a remake be nominated for, or even win, the biggest categories at the Oscars? Well, let’s see.  Continue reading “Remakes at the Oscars – Special Features #31”

REVIEW: Pete’s Dragon (2016)

UK Release Poster – Walt Disney Pictures

The following is a review of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon – Directed by David Lowery

Disney’s Pete’s Dragon is a re-imagining of the 1977 comedy musical of the same name. It is not a remake, which I assumed it was until I saw the new film. The original film was about an orphan who is adopted into an abusive family. The 1977 version is a mostly forgotten film, which I remember watching but hardly remember for anything really. That probably tells you why it took me this long to finally watch David Lowery’s re-imagining. Continue reading “REVIEW: Pete’s Dragon (2016)”