Shazam (PG-13)

Based on the characters created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck, co-written and adapted by Henry Gayden, directed by David F. Sandberg and starring Zachary LeviAsher Angel, Mark Strong, and Jack Dylan Grazer, Shazam is the story of a 14 year-old turned sudden superhero.

At first sight of the poster for this movie, I had less than zero desire to watch. There he was, splashed across both elevators of the AMC 25, looking like a tool.

Regardless of your Marvel or DC loyalties, if you don’t enjoy this movie (at least to some degree – even if you rated it a 6 out of 10), it is my duty to inform you that your inner 14 year-old is deceased. Time of death – TBD. Manner of death – most likely, murder by adulting. This is not like having a broken funny bone people. This is serious. You need to go back to the future or the past, or whatever you need to do and figure out exactly when this tragedy occurred, find that 14 year-old inside yourself, revive him or her, and watch Shazam again. You can thank me later.

I enjoyed this movie because it is well cast, fun, sort of goofy but not too goofy, light but not too light (thanks to those lovely demons), didn’t take itself so seriously and didn’t try too hard. It has that “for children of all ages” feel to it. It’s like a whimsical spoof and I really did feel my 14 year-old-self enjoying every (Hold up. Did I just type “every?” I meant, “most.” Let’s not get carried away here. Although, thinking back, I don’t remember one, single eye roll during this entire movie, which is extraordinary for me during a superhero flick. Also, I do remember smiling through much of it and even when I wasn’t smiling I was paying full attention. Not one yawn or watch check through the whole affair. Perhaps I enjoyed it more than I even realized…Whoa!) minute of it!

Imagine if you had somehow acquired superpowers when you were 14 years old and the subsequent jerk you would have become – but for a good friend and/or family member keeping you grounded and saving you from yourself (that is, if he didn’t turn into your “yes man” and contribute to your eventual demise).

Hmmm… Mystical growth spurt; best friend enjoying the fruits of that growth at first; things/protagonist change and the friendship deteriorates as the good friend tells some hard truths the protagonist doesn’t really want to hear about him turning into an a-hole; something happens to let the protagonist know he needs his best friend or that his behavior is/was wrong. A big part of the humor relies on the protagonist making these awkward, comical adjustments to his new body/status. A movie with a message about friends and family. Sound familiar? It should. It’s the plot to Big! And that’s another part of why I enjoyed this movie so much. (This dawned on me long after watching.)

Shazam earned 8.5 out of 10 bloops for the refreshing awakening of my 14 year-old self, if only for a couple of hours. Shazam is a good movie worth seeing in a theater, particularly if you have youngsters to take. The demons are frightening for younger ones, I’d give it 7 years old and up to avoid any nightmares depending on your kid, of course. And please don’t think it is a movie “just for boys”. It isn’t. Take the girls too. They’ll have a good time as well.

******

Here’s what you should really do, if you can: Tell your kids they should call their grandparent(s) and invite them to the movies so the grandparents can have their 14 year-old selves come out and play too! Grandparents are not going to say no. They’ll be thrilled the kid(s) called and invited them. Then you get a couple of hours to yourself! Pretty clever plan, eh?

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

Other Reviews (Please excuse the look of this section. It is a work in progress.)
Dumbo
Us
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood
The Wife
If Beale Street Could Talk
What Men Want
Eighth Grade                          Vice                                                     Roma
Mary Queen of Scots            Widows                                              The Favourite
Green Book                            Halloween                                         Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody            Beautiful Boy                                    The Hate U Give
First Man                                Assassination Nation                       The Oath
A Star is Born                        The House with a Clock in Its Walls  A Simple Favor

The Predator                           BlackkKlansman                              Support the Girls
Peppermint                             Christopher Robin                            Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders      RBG                                                     Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You               
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage                                   A Quiet Place                                   Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time                  Lady Bird                                          I, Tonya
The Florida Project                 Black Panther                                  Molly’s Game
The Post                                    Phantom Thread                             Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World  Coco                                                   The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist                 Call Me By Your Name

REPORT THIS AD

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The Shape of Water                Marshall                  The Man Who Invented Christmas

Victoria and Abdul                 Thor: Ragnarok                    Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!                                     It                                             Good Time
Atomic Blonde                         Dunkirk                                 Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming   The Big Sick                          Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me                       It Comes at Night                  The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman                    Everything, everything        King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw                                           Kong: Skull Island              Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts    A Cure for Wellness           Get Out
Hidden Figures                      Fences                                   Moonlight
Hell or High Water                Loving                                  La La Land
Lion                                          Manchester by the Sea     Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge                      Nocturnal Animals            Captain Fantastic
Elle                                           Jackie                                    I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster

Dumbo (PG)

Written by Helen Aberson/Harold Pearl, Directed by Tim Burton, and starring Colin FarrellMichael Keaton and Danny DeVito, Disney’s Dumbo is the tale of a flying elephant who saves a struggling circus which lost performers and an audience due to WWII. When the small circus is acquired by a slick entertainment conglomerate, Dumbo and his friends discover the new circus owner’s dark agenda.

Full disclosure, I’m no Disney fan nor fan of fairy tales. I’m the mom who told my daughter’s teachers to inform me if they were planning on ready any fairy tales in class because I didn’t want her listening to that drivel without me being there to explain the drivel. I’m also the mom who let it be known there was no Santa Clause, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, but that’s another story for another movie and another time. Nevertheless, she lived through it, and grew up to be an outstanding, well-adjusted, well-rounded, independent thinker, and a positive contributor to society. On to the review,,,

Burton hasn’t been burning up the cinema lately, having last directed Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children (2016) (my review in the link), but with “Dumbo” he shows a lot more restraint and is better off for it. He still resorted back to his old bag of tricks, but it felt nice here, not forced.

Given our recent consciousness regarding animal abuses at circuses and zoos, “Dumbo” isn’t the choicest material to attempt to “freshen up” but Burton did what he could. I’m sort of hoping this is the last go round for this story because knowing what I know now, Dumbo made me cringe at times. The story puts us in a “when you know better, you do better,” situation.

The opening credits were so cheesy I thought I was in for a true disaster and was poised to go for my refund. Then Colin Farrell showed up and did absolutely nothing to change my mind. But somewhere along the way things improved for a decent second act and the ending sort of evened things out to average.

As far as the acting, the adult veterans dominate the space and leave very little for up and comers to do.  I was staring at Nico Parker reminding me of a young Angelina Jolie through the entire film and it ate at me until I had to know who this kid is related to. It turns out her mother is Thandie Newton.  (Hmmmm… Could it be that Thandie and Angelina resemble one another and I never noticed? This thought may cause you to snicker a bit, but go watch The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) or even Imitation of Life (1959) and tell me there aren’tat least two frames where Lana Turner looks just like Beyonce in the face.)  I don’t know how well the young lady can act, because of the limitations of this material. She didn’t stink up the place though, so there’s that at least,  Finley Hobbins, the young man who plays Parker’s brother, contributed even less.

Technically, there is nothing wrong with Dumbo, but neither is there anything particularly special about it. The effects are fine. Dumbo’s flying is fun. There are a couple of laughs. There are a couple of moments of suspense. The ending is, of course, a pat, Disney-happy ending where the good guys win and the bad guys get punished somehow. Meh!

Dumbo earned 6 out of 10 bloops. It was okay but could have been better (always consider the source).  When it is smart to leave a movie in the original era in which it was set, one has to question whether a remake is even necessary. Perhaps as one moviegoer who is not only genuinely tired of remakes, but also a person who believes some material should just be left alone, I could have done without this one altogether.  The kids may enjoy it and it is entertaining enough for you not to fall asleep, if you’re not too tired. …What a glowing endorsement!

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

Other Reviews (Please excuse the look of this section. It is a work in progress.)
Us
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood
The Wife
If Beale Street Could Talk
What Men Want
Eighth Grade                          Vice                                                     Roma
Mary Queen of Scots            Widows                                              The Favourite
Green Book                            Halloween                                         Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody            Beautiful Boy                                    The Hate U Give
First Man                                Assassination Nation                       The Oath
A Star is Born                        The House with a Clock in Its Walls  A Simple Favor

The Predator                           BlackkKlansman                              Support the Girls
Peppermint                             Christopher Robin                            Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders      RBG                                                     Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You               
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage                                   A Quiet Place                                   Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time                  Lady Bird                                          I, Tonya
The Florida Project                 Black Panther                                  Molly’s Game
The Post                                    Phantom Thread                             Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World  Coco                                                   The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist                 Call Me By Your Name

REPORT THIS AD

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The Shape of Water                Marshall                  The Man Who Invented Christmas

Victoria and Abdul                 Thor: Ragnarok                    Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!                                     It                                             Good Time
Atomic Blonde                         Dunkirk                                 Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming   The Big Sick                          Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me                       It Comes at Night                  The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman                    Everything, everything        King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw                                           Kong: Skull Island              Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts    A Cure for Wellness           Get Out
Hidden Figures                      Fences                                   Moonlight
Hell or High Water                Loving                                  La La Land
Lion                                          Manchester by the Sea     Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge                      Nocturnal Animals            Captain Fantastic
Elle                                           Jackie                                    I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster

Us (R)

Written and directed by Jordan Peele, and starring Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke, the highly anticipated “Us” (I saw it nearly two weeks ago. Apologies for the delay in posting) has finally arrived. You’ve probably seen a trailer or already read or heard what it’s about, but I don’t think the plot should be laid out until you see it (if you care to) – but I can still critique it without giving too much away.

The acting is good. Lupita plays her dual roles well but the evil one is stronger. I mean, it’s definitely the more interesting one. But, is it? Winston Duke provides comic relief as Adelaide’s clueless, nerdy, big for no reason, rendered nearly useless early on, husband. Shahadi Wright Joseph does a notable job. That young lady has one of the most authentic and laughable eye rolls I’ve seen in a good long time.

The writing is uneven at times, as some of the action, imagery and symbolism is outstanding, and some is… how should I put it? Not. The images of Lupita fighting/hunting a version of herself to the death to save her self/family/humanity while wearing shiny gold chains/bracelets/shackles/handcuffs – depending on your interpretation, is nothing short of dazzling.

There is some exceptional foreshadowing used in many instances that provide clues that one will only grasp onto in hindsight. In this way, the story is unpredictable, but in other ways it is textbook predictable. The purposeful way the audience is frustrated by that foreshadowing – either because certain characters should or should not have done certain things or the way they did them – all makes sense in the end. In this way, “Us” is a movie that may make you think. Not about anything profound exactly, but more about how well the script is structured. The ending is tied up brilliantly and a quality “lightbulb” moment is provided, but by the time I got there the movie had already been too muddled for that important moment to pack the punch that it should have.

This socially conscious Invasion of the Body Snatcher’s (+meets any horror movie where a family/class/group of any sort takes a vacation and/or road trip) remix is great, if that is exactly how one views “Us.” Otherwise, it’s sort of a mess. This movie becomes its own worst enemy as it gets bogged down in a tangle of messaging, metaphors and symbolism that led to me to care less about the intended meaning of the story. I understood the commentary, messages, etc., I just couldn’t find myself caring about them. Maybe that says more about me than it does about this movie, but the execution of it all just didn’t pull me in.

I came here for horror. And I got some. But I also got a lot of other “extra” stuff I just wasn’t interested in. I literally, physically, had to fight myself not to walk out after an hour and a half. The movie “only” had 26 more minutes and that 26 minutes felt like an eternity! I know I shouldn’t compare movies, but here I go anyway: In comparison to the clear-cut narrative of Get Out (my review in the link) where I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next and fully invested as if I knew those characters personally, the narrative of “Us” is the “un-clear cut” opposite. And that would be okay if rather than finding the depth/density/gymnastics of this story telling entertaining, I found it rather tedious. “Us” feels unnecessarily complicated. Sometimes less is more. This is one of those times.

I’m proud of anyone who gets their movie made and Peele told his story, his way. I’m happy Lupita got a headlining role which she carried well. All those bunnies and not a drop of rabbit poop on the floor was quite impressive.

Alas, you know how it goes. Everything is subjective. You may like “Us” more than I did. I’ve heard the word “masterpiece” thrown about, and while I disagree, it will be a very long time (at least until it streams) before I give “Us” a second watch to confirm my first impression. To each his own, different strokes, blah, blah, blah, so on and so on, and whatever.

“Us” earned 6 out of 10 bloops because I do believe it is “good” but could have been better, but there is something masterful in the intricacy of the story telling that brings it up to 7 bloops. So I guess that averages out to 6.5 bloops in the end. It isn’t perfect, and has quite a few great, positive qualities. It just didn’t come together for me. I may have been pulled in for a minute or two, here and there, but I was never fully invested nor transported out of my seat into the action. I was just another woman in a theater watching a movie.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

Other Reviews (Please excuse the look of this section. It is a work in progress.)
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood
The Wife
If Beale Street Could Talk
What Men Want
Eighth Grade                          Vice                                                     Roma
Mary Queen of Scots            Widows                                              The Favourite
Green Book                            Halloween                                         Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody            Beautiful Boy                                    The Hate U Give
First Man                                Assassination Nation                       The Oath
A Star is Born                        The House with a Clock in Its Walls  A Simple Favor

The Predator                           BlackkKlansman                              Support the Girls
Peppermint                             Christopher Robin                            Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders      RBG                                                     Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You               
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage                                   A Quiet Place                                   Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time                  Lady Bird                                          I, Tonya
The Florida Project                 Black Panther                                  Molly’s Game
The Post                                    Phantom Thread                             Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World  Coco                                                   The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist                 Call Me By Your Name

REPORT THIS AD

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The Shape of Water                Marshall                  The Man Who Invented Christmas

Victoria and Abdul                 Thor: Ragnarok                    Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!                                     It                                             Good Time
Atomic Blonde                         Dunkirk                                 Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming   The Big Sick                          Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me                       It Comes at Night                  The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman                    Everything, everything        King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw                                           Kong: Skull Island              Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts    A Cure for Wellness           Get Out
Hidden Figures                      Fences                                   Moonlight
Hell or High Water                Loving                                  La La Land
Lion                                          Manchester by the Sea     Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge                      Nocturnal Animals            Captain Fantastic
Elle                                           Jackie                                    I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster