Title: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, Emile Hirsch
Your adoration for Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood, is going to be very reliant on how much you love Tarantino. I guess, to be fair, most of his films are like that. However, a lot of Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood, feels very self-indulgent. More so than normal for Tarantino. It reeks of a film that only Quentin Tarantino can get away with...and he knows it. He knows that his devoted fans will love it no matter what, and his critics will critique it no matter what. So the hard part, is separating the two forces. Where the film succeeds, is in the stellar performances by Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio. The two, carry this thing all the way to the finish line. It's because of them, that this works at all. Margot Robbie, does a fine job as well. Tarantino does, what Tarantino does. While I don't think it truly works, overall, it's enjoyable to watch. The film is immensely overstuffed. He tugs you along here and there, but nothing every really amounts to much. There's a lot of waiting for the "point" to happen. You feel a lot of the run-time here. While that's typical of Tarantino, the material isn't quite as good and the entertainment factor, is kind of hit or miss. Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood is still entertaining overall, thanks in large part to its performances. While I think that a lot of what happens here is a bit messy, it's a fascinating mess to watch at times.
Title: The Lion King
Director: Jon Favreau
Starring: Donald Glover, Beyonce', Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, John Oliver, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, James Earl Jones, Keegan-Michael Key, John Kani
"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to thing if they should." 2019's The Lion King is one of the most bizarre movie-going experiences I've ever had. The original The Lion King isn't just one of my favorite animated films of all-time, it's one of my favorite movies of all time. It is still to this day, one of the only films that can make me weep like a little bitch. The movie does something to my soul. It digs deep into me like few films ever have. 2019's The Lion King, for all its photorealism, is almost completely devoid of all emotion. Sure, the effects wizardry on display is something quite extraordinary. However, there is something so soulless about these characters, it's really hard to grasp onto anything. Nostalgia, plays a big part in getting enjoyment out of The Lion King. Favreau, obviously knows the ropes when it comes to the effects here. He's taken what he learned from The Jungle Book, and improved on that tenfold. That being said, throughout the course of the film, one can't help but wonder why they just copied and pasted the original films' script. The original is so ingrained into my brain, it is really hard for me to hear the exact same movie coming out different voices. It is literal the same movie, almost shot-for-shot, with a few new things thrown in for good measure. The line deliveries here, are really weird as well. To reiterate what I said before, a lot of this feels very lifeless. The stilted delivery, almost feels like a conscious choice here. The animals act like real animals, and they very rarely show any emotion in their facial expressions. The mix doesn't really work, with a few exceptions. Enter Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, who both inject a spirited liveliness into their performances. They basically saved the film for me. Chiwetel Ejiofor, is also good as Scar, but not nearly as memorable as Jeremy Irons. I actually really liked how they handled the Be Prepared scene. Overall, The Lion King isn't exactly bad, and it's not exactly good. It's not quite Psycho remake territory, but it teeters on that a lot. It's an odd experiment of a film, that I'm curious to see how it stands the test of time.
Director: Alexandre Aja
Starring: Kaya Scondelario, Barry Pepper, Ross Anderson, Ami Metcalf
Crawl is a movie where if you don't get the joke in the opening scene, you're not going to get it at all. Aside from that, Crawl is a mostly effective, thrilling "B" film. Alexandre Aja, is no stranger to fun, over the top horror thrills. Crawl lives somewhere in between Aja's The Hills Have Eyes remake, and his Piranha 3D remake. I was a little disappointed in how subdued Crawl is, given what Aja has given us before. That being said, Crawl is entertaining, if at times a little clunky in its execution. Kaya Scodelario, is great here, and Barry Pepper, does a nice job as her dad. The father/daughter story going on here, is done really well, aside from some of it being a little too heavy handed. Scodelario and Pepper sell it all, despite some of the shortfalls. The alligators, are done mostly well. Some of the effects on them aren't exactly the best, and it can take you out of the movie sometimes. However, it's the effective way Aja sets up the thrills, that will work around some of the CGI that isn't quite up to standard. Overall, Crawl is a fun, tense "B" film, with some disappointing points in its execution. It's a summertime popcorn flick, which brings the goods it promises.
Title: Spider-Man: Far From Home
Director: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Marisa Tomei
I personally realized while watching Far From Home, that I don't think I totally connect with any of these new characters. There's something about how they are portrayed, that just doesn't totally click with me. And I don't think that will ever change. That being said, I enjoy what Tom Holland does with the character. While I still feel that his nervous, borderline neurotic delivery gets a little annoying, he does a decent job in the role. Despite my issues with the characteristics of some of these characters, all are pretty much likable which helps. I found most of Far From Home to be fine. The story gets a little dragged on too much, and it tends to linger on plot threads way too long for my taste. If you are totally invested in the relationship between Peter Parker and Tony Stark, I suppose one would get much more out of what's being done here. Jake Gyllenhaal, as Mysterio, is probably the best possible way this character could have been portrayed on screen for a modern age. Gyllenhaal, is strong, if not a little hammy in some places, but it works quite well. I thoroughly enjoyed some of the surprises they had here. That mid-credit scene is quite good. Far From Home feels like it's stretching a lot to get to its point. It feels far too long than it should, and it doesn't quite reach the heights it sets out to climb. Easter eggs, and fan-service, aren't quite enough for me though. A lot of stuff in Far From Home, tends to get a little fan service-y for my tastes. Overall, Far From Home is an enjoyable entry in the franchise. It's a fun time.