Friday, February 28, 2020

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In March (2020)

According to Cat

20 - Final Kill (3/6)

Production/Distribution: TB Films, Benetone Films, Legion XIII, Standing O Productions, Cinedigm
Director: Justin Lee
Writer: Justin Lee
Actors: Billy Zane, Randy Couture, Danny Trejo, Dr. Drew Pinsky, James Russo, Ed Monroe, Lauren Francesca, Edward Finlay, Danielle Gross, Paige Sturges
Genre: Action
Rated: Unrated
Length: 80 minutes

IMDb Blurb: An aging protection specialist takes on one last job before retirement, protecting a couple who stole eight million dollars from a ruthless crime family.

Spring is finally beginning to peek through, and what better way to kick that off than some action?!

Regardless of the substance of the plot for this film, the cast alone makes it worth watching just to see what they’re up to. I mean, seriously, I am intrigued as to how these puzzle pieces fit together with this story. Then there’s Danny Trejo (The Ridiculous 6, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, 3 from Hell). He’s known for being in some ridiculous movies – but also some really good ones. This one looks like it’s worth giving a chance.

19 - Hooking Up (3/20)

Production/Distribution: Yale Productions, SSS Entertainment, SSS Film Capital, BondIt Media Capital, Buffalo 8 Productions, Highland Myst Entertainment, Sprockefeller Pictures, Saban Films
Director: Nico Raineau
Writer: Nico Raineau, Lauren Schacher
Actors: Brittany Snow, Jordana Brewster, Vivica A. Fox, Sam Richardson, Amy Pietz, Anna Akana, Rob Moran, Shaun J. Brown, Jenna Laurenzo
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: R
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: Bailey (Sam Richardson) and Darla (Brittany Snow) embark upon a misguided and mutually deceitful form of therapy, one in which they must drive across the country re-enacting Darla's colorful history as a sex addict. As their true motivations for the road trip come to light, the unlikely pair force one another to confront their issues, discovering that there might actually be more to love than just sex.

Underneath the somewhat raunchy premise of this story lies a touching story. No, I don’t mean physically touching, either. That comes with the territory! Aside from that, the journey of a guy coming to terms with cancer and a girl trying to work through her past to make good in her present is heartwarming – especially if they find something special along the way.

At the very least, this movie should be great for some laughs. Maybe it’ll surprise us with something more3 substantial than fluff.

18 - First Cow (3/6)

Production/Distribution: Film Science, A24
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Writer: Jonathan Raymond, Kelly Reichardt
Actors: John Magaro, Orion Lee, Rene Auberjonois, Toby Jones, Ewen Bremner, Scott Shepherd, Gary Farmer, Lily Gladstone, Dylan Smith
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 122 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A skilled cook has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant also seeking his fortune; soon the two collaborate on a successful business.

I have to say that the premise of this movie is certainly original. You won’t – or shouldn’t – find anything cookie-cutter here. Huzzah for new ideas! Hollywood has earned a cookie. I digress.

Aside from the more serious personal story between the cook and the Chinese immigrant, there seems to be a slight thread of comedy laced in regarding the cow. I am really interested in seeing how this all plays out. It’s not going to be your average western.

17 - Stargirl (3/13)

Production/Distribution: BCDF Pictures, Gotham Group, Hahnscape Entertainment, The Walt Disney Company, Disney+, Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Julia Hart
Writers: Kristin Hahn, Julia Hart, Jordan Horowitz, Jerry Spinelli
Actors: Darby Stanchfield, Giancarlo Esposito, Grace VanderWaal, Shelby Simmons, Karan Brar, Graham Verchere, Maximiliano Hernández, Kimberly W Sandefur, Damian O'Hare, Stacy Johnson, Stephanie Hill, Gavin White, Juliocesar Chavez, Nicole Webster, Artemis, Annacheska Brown, Collin Blackford
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rated: PG
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: A boy becomes intrigued by a mysterious and quirky student named Stargirl and spends his time trying to know more about her.

This movie looks cute. I’m glad that Disney+ is developing new content such as this. Aside from having access to the vault of older movies, it really needs to provide some quality new content to keep subscribers happy in-between seasons of The Mandalorian (2019-). I digress…

The story of two quirky kids meeting and developing a friendship (or something more) is always a fun story for myself and my family. We’re all quirky here! That being said, I’m wondering if this is a musical or not – the trailer seems to hint that it is. Disney can’t help but make them – and I love them for it. All the same, I have hope that it will augment the story rather than interject in a disconnecting manner.

16 - The Roads Not Taken (3/13)

Production/Distribution: Adventure Pictures, BBC Films, British Film Institute, Chimney Pot, Film i Väst, Glasal Films, HanWay Films, Head Gear Films, Ingenious Media, Metrol Technology, Sverige Film, La Terraza Films, Washington Square Films, Bleecker Street Media, Filmcoopi Zürich, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, GEM Entertainment, Diamond Films
Director: Sally Potter
Writer: Sally Potter
Actors: Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Salma Hayek, Branka Katic, Laura Linney, Dimitri Andreas, Katia Mullova-Brind, Milena Tscharntke
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 85 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Sally Potter's film follows a day in the life of Leo (Javier Bardem) and his daughter, Molly (Elle Fanning), as he floats through alternate lives he could have lived, leading Molly to wrestle with her own path as she considers her future.

Here we have a pretty solid drama with an outstanding cast. It almost seems like the father in the story is living in alternate realities when he zones out of the one he’s physically in. What I’ve read seems to indicate that it’s all happening in his mind – but the sci-fi lover in me hopes that he really is.

It’s interesting to see how someone’s life might have diverged based on different decisions. There have been several movies over the years that explore just that. This certainly seems to be a fresh take on that.

15 - The Burnt Orange Heresy (3/6)

Production/Distribution: Indiana Production Company, MJZ, Rumble Films, Achille Productions, Ingenious Media, Sea Around Us, Best Film, GEM Entertainment, Sony Pictures Classics, Cinéart
Director: Giuseppe Capotondi
Writers: Scott B. Smith, Charles Willeford
Actors: Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debicki, Donald Sutherland, Mick Jagger, Rosalind Halstead, Katie McGovern
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 99 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Hired to steal a rare painting from one of most enigmatic painters of all time, an ambitious art dealer becomes consumed by his own greed and insecurity as the operation spins out of control.

There are several reasons I want to watch this movie and would steer others in its direction. Foremost, however, is the fact that Mick Jagger (Enigma, The Man from Elysian Fields, The Bank Job) has a major role in the forefront of the story.

I’m not entirely familiar with some of the movie roles he’s had over the years but they’re usually small parts in the background, from what I can tell. That means this might just be his most significant acting role since he was in Freejack (1992).

I was getting sinister vibes from him in the trailers. I can’t wait to see this one.

14 - Radioactive (3/20)

Production/Distribution: STUDIOCANAL, Working Title Films, Shoebox Films, Pioneer Stilking Films, Amazon Studios, Kino Films
Director: Marjane Satrapi
Writers: Jack Thorne, Lauren Redniss
Actors: Sam Riley, Rosamund Pike, Anya Taylor-Joy, Simon Russell Beale, Aneurin Barnard, Katherine Parkinson, Sian Brooke, Jonathan Aris, Corey Johnson, Cara Bossom
Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: 109 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A story of the scientific and romantic passions of Marie Sklodowska-Curie (Polish scientist) and Pierre Curie, and the reverberation of their discoveries throughout the 20th century.

I’m a sucker for historical drama and period pieces. Marie Curie was such an influential person in the progression of scientific understanding. I believe that the production team here has picked a solid cast and offered a strong story to give us a glimpse into her life.

13 - Hunter’s Moon (3/24)

Production/Distribution: BondIt Media Capital, Buffalo 8 Productions, Delian Productions, Rooster Films,Scatena & Rosner Films, Stoic Films, Grindstone Entertainment Group, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Director: Michael Caissie
Writer: Michael Caissie
Actors: Thomas Jane, Jay Mohr, Sean Patrick Flanery, Katrina Bowden, Amanda Wyss, India Ennenga, David Labrava, Spencer Daniels, Daniel R. Hill, Will Carlson, Emmalee Parker, Anthony J. Sharpe, Lexi Atkins
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 82 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A sheriff makes a strange discovery when he's gets called to an orchard where three teenage sisters have been attacked by a band of young delinquents.

What better to do on a chilly spring night than curl up with someone and enjoy a horror movie that involves both scary situations created by humans and also a deadly creature! I love how you only hear the sounds of the monster in the trailer, and catch only glimpses of movement. I hope that lasts as long as possible in the film so that the suspense and tension builds up before they reveal the scary big bad, if they do at all. I just hope they’ve put enough work into it so that it’s not anticlimactic.

Aside from that, it looks interesting.

12 - The Way Back (3/6)

Production/Distribution: Warner Bros., Warner Bros. Pictures, Spyglass Media Group, BRON Studios, Mayhem Pictures, Pearl Street Films, Creative Wealth Media Finance, Filmtribe, Jennifer Todd Pictures
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Writers: Brad Ingelsby, Gavin O'Connor
Actors:  Ben Affleck, Al Madrigal, Michaela Watkins, Janina Gavankar, Glynn Turman, Da'Vinchi, Hayes MacArthur, Rachael Carpani, Todd Stashwick, T.K. Carter, Marlene Forte, Melvin Gregg, Lukas Gage, Caleb Thomas, Jeremy Ratchford, Chris Bruno, Yeniffer Behrens, Will Ropp
Genre: Drama, Sports
Rated: R
Length: 108 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A former HS basketball phenom, struggling with alcoholism, is offered a coaching job at his alma mater. As the team starts to win, he may have a reason to confront his old demons. But will it be enough to set him on the road to redemption?

I believe I’ve said before that sports movies generally aren’t my thing – but I’ll end up watching them anyway. I often end up liking them in spite of myself. My husband is really into things like basketball and football – as long as his teams are playing. Here, we have a movie that falls decidedly into the realm of a sports movie he’s really going to want to watch – and I’ll be watching with him.

That being said, I feel like this has the potential to be a really heartwarming story of growth – both for the team and for the coach getting his life back on track.

11 - Military Wives (3/27)

Production/Distribution: 42, Ingenious Media, Koliko Films, Tempo Productions Limited, Bleecker Street Media, Imagine Filmdistributie Nederland, Atelier de Film UNATC, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Leonine
Director: Peter Cattaneo
Writers: Rosanne Flynn, Rachel Tunnard
Actors: Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Jason Flemyng, Emma Lowndes, Gaby French, Greg Wise, Lara Rossi, Amy James-Kelly, India Ria Amarteifio, Laura Checkley, Roxy Faridany, Robert Whitelock, Colin Mace, Beverly Longhurst, Sophie Dix, Lila McNamara, Charlie Price, Teresa Mahoney, Sebby Wilson, Emmanuel Akinbami
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 112 minutes

IMDb Blurb: With their partners away serving in Afghanistan, a group of women on the home front form a choir and quickly find themselves at the center of a media sensation and global movement.

This movie combines two of my favorite things – British comedy and singing. I miss my choir days and find myself drawn to movies like this so that I can enjoy the experience vicariously.

The premise here of military wives banding together to not only pass the time while their loved ones are deployed but also bring joy to people is touching. My only complaint here is that we have to wait until almost the end of the month to watch it!

10 - Lost Girls (3/13)

Production/Distribution: Archer Gray, Langley Park Pictures, Netflix
Director: Liz Garbus
Writers: Michael Werwie, Robert Kolker
Actors: Thomasin McKenzie, Amy Ryan, Gabriel Byrne, Dean Winters, Lola Kirke, Kevin Corrigan, Oona Laurence, Miriam Shor, Rosal Colon
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 95 minutes

IMDb Blurb: When Mari Gilbert's daughter disappears, police inaction drives her own investigation into the gated Long Island community where Shannan was last seen. Her search brings attention to over a dozen murdered sex workers.

I can’t imagine what I would do if my daughter were missing. Stories like this just tug at my heart and send that thread of fear through me as I watch. That old ‘what if’ feeling creeps up and claws at your insides.

I am already invested in this story and am burning to find out how everything turns out for this mother and her daughter. Hoping for the best but steeling myself for the worst.

9 - Vivarium (3/27)

Production/Distribution: Lovely Productions, Fantastic Films, Frakas Productions, PingPongFilm, XYZ Films, Saban Films, Les Bookmakers, The Jokers, Vertigo Releasing
Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Writers: Garret Shanley, Lorcan Finnegan
Actors: Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, Jonathan Aris, Olga Wehrly, Eanna Hardwicke, Senan Jennings, Molly McCann, Danielle Ryan, Shana Hart, Jack Hudson
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Rated: R
Length: 97 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A young couple looking for the perfect home find themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighborhood of identical houses.

This has to be one of the most original horror movie concepts that I’ve seen in a while. We’ve all passed through (or lived in) neighborhoods where the houses appeared to be a bit cookie-cutter-like. Military base housing and apartment complexes also have a homogenous feel to them. This movie just takes it to a whole new level.

I’m dying to find out the story behind what happens to the characters. If I can’t find someone to drag to the movies with me for this one, you can bet I’ll be streaming it on demand as soon as I can.

8 - Escape from Pretoria (3/6)

Production/Distribution: Arclight Films, Spier Films, Premiere Picture, Beagle Pug Films, Particular Crowd, Footprint Films, Batrax Entertainment, Dutch FilmWorks, Inopia Films, Momentum Pictures
Director: Francis Annan
Writers: Francis Annan, LH Adams, Karol Griffiths, Tim Jenkin
Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Ian Hart, Daniel Webber, Nathan Page, Stephen Hunter, Mark Leonard Winter, Ratidzo Mambo, Jeanette Cronin, David Wilson, Adam Ovadia, PJ Oaten, Martin Ayles, Lliam Amor, Lenny Firth, Paul Harvey
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 106 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Based on the real-life prison break of two political captives, Escape From Pretoria is a race-against-time thriller set in the tumultuous apartheid days of South Africa.

Generally, we can all agree that apartheid was horrible. It’s not something that’s given the spotlight in cinema, however. The cast here is spectacular and the story is moving. It’s definitely worth a watch – especially as this movie is based on a book written by a man who lived through this experience.

7 - Resistance (3/27)

Production/Distribution: Pantaleon Films, Vertical Media, Bliss Media, Epicentral Studios, Ingenious Media, Riverstone Pictures, Rocket Science, Bliss Media, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, IFC Films, Warner Bros.
Director: Jonathan Jakubowicz
Writer: Jonathan Jakubowicz
Actors: Jesse Eisenberg, Ed Harris, Edgar Ramírez, Clémence Poésy, Matthias Schweighöfer, Bella Ramsey, Géza Röhrig, Karl Markovics, Félix Moati, Alicia von Rittberg, Vica Kerekes, Tobias Gareth Elman
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Rated: Unrated
Length: 120 minutes

IMDb Blurb: The story of a group of Jewish Boy Scouts who worked with the French Resistance to save the lives of ten thousand orphans during World War II.

Jesse Eisenberg (American Ultra, The Art of Self-Defense, Zombieland: Double-Tap) has been a busy bee. This is the 2nd movie on this month’s list he’s starring in.

World War II is a poignant topic for me – not only for the horrors that were inflicted on everyone in the warzone and their families – but also because of my grandfathers’ participation in the combat. It all hits close to home.

This film focuses on an element within the time of the war that doesn’t get a lot of attention. I will gladly spend two hours witnessing the story of how some Jewish Boy Scouts saved so many kids. I was impressed with the trailer, and have high hopes that this movie will deliver. These stories aren’t told often enough.

6 - Spenser Confidential (3/6)

Production/Distribution: Film 44, Netflix, Original Film
Director: Peter Berg
Writers: Robert B. Parker, Ace Atkins, Brian Helgeland, Sean O'Keefe
Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Colleen Camp, Alan Arkin, Bokeem Woodbine, Winston Duke, Iliza Shlesinger, Post Malone, Marc Maron, Michael Gaston, Cassie Ventura
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Mystery
Rated: R
Length: 110 minutes

IMDb Blurb: When two Boston police officers are murdered, ex-cop Spenser teams up with his no-nonsense roommate, Hawk, to take down criminals.

Once upon a time, I would giggle when I heard that Mark Wahlberg (Mojave, Deepwater Horizon, Instant Family) was in a movie. It took a while for him to ditch his Marky Mark days. Currently, he’s a bankable blockbuster headliner. Then again, he impressed me long ago with his performance in Fear (1996). I digress… It’s great to see him in this Netflix original. He does well in the wronged good-guy roles.

I especially enjoyed his interactions in the trailers with Winston Duke (Person of Interest, Us, Nine Days). I loved the chemistry of their pairing as mission partners. There are also a number of other recognizable faces in this film – one who shows prevalently in the trailer. It’s exciting that I can stream this one right away without having to go out and hassle with crowds at a theater.

5 - Extra Ordinary (3/6)

Production/Distribution: Blinder Films, Umedia, Screen Ireland, Inevitable Pictures, Epic Pictures Group, uFund, Wildcard Distribution, Cranked Up Films, Umbrella Entertainment, Universum Film
Directors: Mike Ahern, Enda Loughman
Writers: Mike Ahern, Enda Loughman, Demian Fox, Maeve Higgins
Actors: Jamie Beamish, Will Forte, Barry Ward, Claudia O'Doherty, Maeve Higgins, Barry Murphy, Risteárd Cooper, Terri Chandler
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Romance
Rated: R
Length: 94 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Rose, a mostly sweet and lonely Irish driving instructor, must use her supernatural talents to save the daughter of Martin (also mostly sweet and lonely) from a washed-up rock star who is using her in a Satanic pact to reignite his fame.

I have to say that the trailer for this movie had me in stitches right away. The concept feels fresh, and the combination of Horror with Comedy is one of my favorites. It helps when you’re laughing through things that might otherwise be nerve-wracking.

It’s March, after all, so why not have some wacky madcap involving an Irish character? Extra Ordinary is releasing early enough in the month that it will be available for St. Paddy’s Day!

4 - Onward (3/6)

Production/Distribution: Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney Studios, Forum Hungary, Kinomania, NOS Audiovisuais, Walt Disney Studios Japan
Director: Dan Scanlon
Writers: Dan Scanlon, Jason Headley, Keith Bunin
Actors: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, John Ratzenberger, Tracey Ullman, Mel Rodriguez, Octavia Spencer, Lena Waithe, Ali Wong
Genre: Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy
Rated: PG
Length: 102 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers embark on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there.

Disney/Pixar has been teasing us for months and months regarding the release for this movie. I’m giddy that they’re finally sending it out to the masses. (I mean, really, if they pull back now, they’re going to feel silly about all those Happy Meal toys. Just saying.)

Onward looks like a lot of fun. I’m hoping that there are some crazy out-takes on the DVD when it eventually comes out, as well. Between Tom Holland (In the Heart of the Sea, Pilgrimage, Spies in Disguise) and Chris Pratt (Movie 43, The Magnificent Seven, Passengers), the comedy here is going to be on-point. It is going to be fun to see their characters banter together as brothers as they go on their adventure.

3 - Bloodshot (3/13)

Production/Distribution: Sony Pictures Entertainment, Bona Film Group, Columbia Pictures, Cross Creek Pictures, One Race Films, Original Film, The Hideaway Entertainment, Valiant Entertainment, A Really Happy Film, China Film Group Corporation, Distribution Workshop, Sony Pictures Releasing, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International
Director: David S. F. Wilson
Writers: Jeff Wadlow, Eric Heisserer, Bob Layton, Don Perlin, Kevin VanHook
Actors: Vin Diesel, Sam Heughan, Eiza González, Guy Pearce, Michael Sheen, Talulah Riley, Toby Kebbell, Lamorne Morris, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Siddharth Dhananjay, Alex Hernandez
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13
Length: 109 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Ray Garrison, a slain soldier, is re-animated with superpowers.

Not only is this what looks to be a kickass comic-book movie, but it’s also featuring Vin Diesel (Riddick, Guardians of the Galaxy, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage) doing what Vin Diesel does best – action with alpha swagger. I’m also excited that Outlander’s (2014-) Sam Heughan (Doctors, When Starlight Ends, The Spy Who Dumped Me) is among the cast here as well. I am interested to see where his role falls within the story. This is, I’m afraid, a comic that I am not familiar with.

Unfortunately, for that reason, I can’t advise one way or another if the film is staying true to the source material or taking the story in a different direction. Fans of the comic will need to make that call for themselves. I’ll cross my fingers for you that there will be plenty of Easter Eggs for you to discover.

Either way, I’m glad more comic properties are finding their way to the screen with blockbuster treatment.

2 - A Quiet Place: Part II (3/20)

Production/Distribution: Buffalo FilmWorks, Paramount Pictures, Platinum Dunes, Sunday Night, Paramount Pictures, CJ CGV Viet Nam, Eagle Pictures, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International
Director: John Krasinski
Writers: Scott Beck, John Krasinski, Bryan Woods
Actors: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Brian Tyree Henry, Noah Jupe, Djimon Hounsou, John Krasinski, Lauren-Ashley Cristiano, Zachary Golinger
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.

I had a long debate with myself regarding the placement of this film on my list. I have to say that A Quiet Place (2016) is among my favorite horror movies of all time. All signs point to success for this sequel, so far. I am crossing my fingers and toes that it won’t fall prey to sequelitis.

That being said, I’d say that this easily ties for first place on my list. It landed only at #2 because it’s one I’ll have to watch alone or with a friend, and this list’s #1 is a movie I can watch with my family. I digress.

The trailers for A Quiet Place 2 seem to indicate that we’ll get some back-story on the killer creatures – at least on their emergence – as well as answering the question of what happened after the credits rolled on the first movie. I can’t wait!

1 - Mulan (3/27)

Production/Distribution: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Jason T. Reed Productions, Good Fear Content, B&H Film Distribution, Forum Hungary
Director: Niki Caro
Writers: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Elizabeth Martin, Lauren Hynek
Actors: Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Gong Li, Yifei Liu, Nelson Lee, Jun Yu, Jimmy Wong, Doua Moua, Ron Yuan, Tzi Ma, Rosalind Chao, Xana Tang, Pei-Pei Cheng, Arka Das, Roger Yuan, Jenson Cheng, Jen Sung, King Lau, Gary Young, Chen Tang, Owen Kwong, Jackie Cheng, Maynard Bagang
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Family, Action
Rated: PG-13
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father. A live-action feature film based on Disney's 'Mulan.'

I have been dying to see this live-action treatment for Mulan ever since Disney announced that they were going to be revisiting many of their classics in this way. The story is epic and lends well to the live cast performance – not only with cast possibilities but also amazing cinematography opportunities.

The trailers so far have only underscored this feeling for me. The visuals are stunning, and I feel that I can easily get swept away and forget that they’ve written out the part of the guardian dragon. I get it and don’t fault them for it. I just am crossing my fingers that there won’t be a sense of loss for that aspect of the story. I’m sure they’ll make up for it in another area.

I’m excited to see this movie with my family the first chance I get.

Movies to Look out For
According to: Selina

Final Kill .20
 Hunter's Moon .19
The Way Back .18
Phoenix, Oregon .17
Extra Ordinary  .16
Stargirl .15
The Wild Goose Lake .14
Escape from Pretoria .13
Misbehaviour .12
Lost Girls .11
Swallow .10
Hooking Up .9
Spenser Confidential .8
Radioactive .7
Onward .6
Resistance .5
Bloodshot  .4
Vivarium .3
Mulan .2
A Quiet Place: Part II .1

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Descendants 2 (2017)

Streaming Service: Disney+
Movie Name/Year: Descendants 2 (2017)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Family
Length: 111 minutes
Rating: TV-G
Production/Distribution: Disney Channel, Disney-ABC Domestic Television, Disney XD, American Broadcasting Company (ABC), Freeform, Lifetime, Disney Cinemagic, Disney+, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Walt Disney Television
Director: Kenny Ortega
Writer: Sara Parriott, Josann McGibbon
Actors: Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson, Booboo Stewart, Mitchell Hope, Brenna D’Amico, Melanie Paxson, Thomas Doherty, Bobby Moynihan, Dylan Playfair, Dianne Doan, Jedidiah Goodacre, Zachary Gibson, Anna Cathcart, Dan Payne, Keegan Connor Tracy, China Anne McClain, Whoopi Goldberg

Blurb from IMDb: Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay try to adjust to life in Auradon, but Mal becomes overwhelmed with pressure and returns to her roots.

Selina’s Point of View:
I liked the first Descendants (2015) movie and I expected to like this sequel. I try to go into film as cold as possible – I don’t even watch the trailers ahead of time unless it’s for a top 20 – but it’s impossible in this case.

I watched the original Descendants for this blog, but you might have noticed that only Cat wrote about it. That was the night that a pipe burst under the foundation of my house and my first floor flooded. I felt pretty much the same as Cat did, though. It was cute. Though I would have scored it a little lower than her, and I did think it bordered on too cringey in some scenes.

That said, I have a much higher opinion of Descendants 2.

The first thing I noticed was that the songs were a much higher quality. There was some seriously good music in this film. I’m definitely going to have a few lyrics stuck in my head. I didn’t really experience the same thing with the first one. If you played the soundtrack to the first movie for me, I might not be able to place any of it… but the second one I might even sing along to. It’s almost like they put more effort into the second film’s music.

I also didn’t feel like there was nearly as much cringe in Descendants 2. In fact, everything about it seemed so much more like a Disney movie. You could still feel the ‘Disney Channel’ aspect to it, in the way that everything was stripped down to the G-ist of G ratings, but otherwise it just had a higher quality.

There was a message here that I really liked, and it’s one that I don’t think enough pop culture touches on. In a lot of films, books, and even songs, you see it said that changing yourself is bad. In Descendants, however, Mal changed for the better – so Disney couldn’t really go there. They’d already showed a healthy form of change, saying that people shouldn’t change at all would have contradicted that.

Instead, the movie shows that you can evolve without changing every single thing about yourself. That’s important. Evolving is VERY important. If I was the same person I’d been as a teenager… that would be awful. In other ways, I’ll always try to be as unapologetically myself as possible.

It’s important for kids to know that sometimes change is good – but that it doesn’t mean the stuff you love has to change as well. It’s a good “be the best version of yourself” lesson. I have to acknowledge that.

I liked Descendants 2. I think it was a better movie than the first one. I am looking forward to seeing the third one, though there will be a bitter-sweetness to it. I don’t see how they could possibly continue past that film without the talented Cameron Boyce (Mrs. Fletcher, Steps, Jessie). I don’t think he’s replaceable.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 71%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 71%
Metascore – 47/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.5/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4/5

Movie Trailer: