Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Michael Keaton, Nicole Parker, Finley Hobbins
Well, at least they did Dumbo right. The flying pachyderm and most shots with him in it, are the best thing this movie has going for it. Unfortunately, we have to spend the rest of the film's runtime with a plethora of horrible characters, a DOA screenplay, and a lethargic Tim Burton, trying to remember how to direct a movie. Seriously, what happened to Tim Burton? Most of Dumbo is missing that Tim Burton flare. Outcasts are what Tim Burton does best, and he bungles it here. The Dreamland stuff is the closest thing we get, and that comes way, way, way, into the film. Every actor here, minus Danny Devito, is either on autopilot, or sleepwalking their way to the finale. Most of Dumbo is so damn dull, it hurts. There's so much potential here, but nothing is ever really satisfying. The pacing is weird, and there is something off all the way through this thing. However, everything involving Dumbo, is done right. Despite some wobbly effects work, every time "Big D" bats an eye, you are back into the movie. Dumbo is hands down, one of the worst live-action Disney remakes to date. It's bound to be forgotten in the annals of history. In fact, I've already forgotten it.
Director: Jordan Peele
Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Evan Alex, Shahadi Wright Joseph
There's no doubt, that Jordan Peele, is a gifted and talented filmmaker. His love of film combined with a keen eye for making them, solidifies he's here to stay. Here's the thing with Us though; parts of the film ooze brilliance, and other parts are an absolute mess. Oddly, when the film is crushing under its pretentiousness, you can almost feel Jordan Peele reach out from the screen and grab your hand, reassuringly, as he tugs you along this journey. Us, is a journey. How you react to this journey, is going to depend on you. Some people are going to absolutely hate this movie. Others, will be confused. Still others, will leap for joy. I fall somewhere in the middle. Lupita Nyong'o, and Winston Duke, are an absolute joy here. Nyong'o, gives a stellar performance. Duke, reminded me of Clark Griswald a lot, and it 100% works. The kids, are fantastic as well. All the performances are solid. Where Us falters, in its story. Peele, tosses out a lot of the foundation in solid storytelling, for something that is anchored by the visuals. Us, is visual storytelling. The viewers mind is left to fill in a lot of the story, based on what we're seeing on screen. Peele, is putting a lot of trust in his audience to just take it all in, and come along with him. It's ambitious, which I admire. However, it doesn't always work. I do think Us offers enough of a showcase for Jordan Peele as a filmmaker, which is really the star of the show here. This is also a film that begs you to see it more than once, which I am going to have to do.
Ttitle: Captain Marvel
Directors: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Lashana Lynch, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg
Not only is Captain Marvel one of the weakest entries in the MCU, it's also one of the shoddiest made. It's a shame, as this character has so much potential. Captain Marvel is horrendously all over the place. Tonally, it's a mess and directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, are almost clueless as to how to juggle any of this. It's painfully obvious at times, the two are way out of their league here. Also unfortunate, is Brie Larson. She is such a wonderful actress, but throughout most of this movie, she felt miscast and out of her element. I'm still trying to process if this was her fault, the screenplay, or the directors here. I hope that in Endgame, she had better guidance from the Russo Brothers. Something was just off here. Captain Marvel isn't a total loss though. It still has moments that salvage some entertainment out of this mess. Samuel L. Jackson is fun as a younger Nick Fury (even if some stuff here seems like a retcon). One of the biggest problems, is Captain Marvel can't decide what kind of film it wants to be. Overall, Captain Marvel is a mostly forgettable entry in the MCU.
Director: Joe Penna
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen
Arctic is methodical, tense, taught, and effective. The film is part Cast Away, part Gravity, part The Grey and part 127 Hours, thrown in for good measure. Mads Mikkelsen, is more than capable of carrying this film all by himself. Arctic has very, very little dialogue and that technique, only brings the audience into the survival journey even more. There is one element you might think will go one way, but thankfully it doesn't go that way. This obviously isn't the first survivalist film we've seen, it's definitely one of the best. While a few of the beats can get a little repetitive, the film manages to keep the narrative moving. You are with Mads, every step on this journey, and you want this man to succeed. That brings us to the ending, which may divide some people, but I enjoyed it. Arctic, is one of the best. It's a great journey.