Ralph Breaks The Internet, The Nutcracker And The Four Realms & The Grinch Movie Reviews

Three more quickies today as I try to catch up on reviewing the 2018 films I’ve seen. Two of these were okay (just okay) and one was pretty dreadful…

Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018)

Directed by Rich Moore & Phil Johnston

Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Six years after the events of “Wreck-It Ralph,” Ralph and Vanellope, now friends, discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure.

My Opinion:

I love the first Wreck-It Ralph. I think it’s easily one of the better Disney films of recent years and I appreciated that it felt like such an original idea. Hell, it’s almost as good as Pixar’s films! (Almost). And being a lover of the Eighties, I of course loved the classic video game element. Therefore, it was likely that I wouldn’t enjoy this sequel as much. It doesn’t have the magic of the first film (as is often the case with sequels). And it also loses the simple video game innocence of the first film by making the Internet the focus of this one (and having all the brand names in your face constantly). I hate the Internet. Okay… I’m on it all the damn time… (like now). But I’d still rather be living in the pre-Internet Eighties again.

I’ll start with the best thing about this sequel: Ralph & Vanellope. I love these characters and they’re just as loveable in the sequel as in the first film. Actually, Vanellope is even better in this one – she’s much sweeter since becoming friends with Ralph. They make this movie worth watching and I did really enjoy seeing them again even though I didn’t like the story itself all that much. I also enjoyed the “Oh My Disney” bit. It kind of goes against saying I wasn’t crazy about all the commercialism but I admit that I love Disney. I’m a Disney whore! I love going into the damn Disney Store. I’m such a child. So, I did really like seeing Vanellope with all the Disney princesses. Those bits were a lot of fun and I liked spotting so many other Disney characters & references. Oh and I loved that one cameo (don’t want to spoil it)! Screw it – This is a Disney film. They’re allowed to Disney-fy the crap out of it! I liked those bits just fine.

Where it fails is when it talks about eBay & memes & viral videos & etc etc etc. And the end gets a bit bizarre and didn’t really work for me at all. I really missed the innocence of the first film. This was okay but where can they go from here? It was just a little disappointing but my expectations weren’t too high anyway since Disney sequels are rarely all that great. Oh, but the end credits scenes were brilliant! There are two: one partway through the credits and one at the very end. I highly recommend staying for them as they’re pretty much better than the entire movie itself.

My Rating: 7/10

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms (2018)

Directed by Lasse Hallström & Joe Johnston

Based on The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffmann & The Nutcracker by Marius Petipa

Starring: Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew Macfadyen, Richard E. Grant, Misty Copeland, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
This is a retelling of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and Marius Petipa’s The Nutcracker, about a young girl who is gifted a locked egg from her deceased mother and sets out in a magical land to retrieve the key.

My Opinion:

Wow – this has very negative reviews & ratings on IMDb. I don’t fully understand why. I think people were definitely too harsh on this one. No, it’s certainly not great and is quite weak for a Disney film but it was lovely to look at and had a fun story. Hell, I enjoyed it more than that live-action and completely pointless Beauty And The Beast. At least this is a story I didn’t already know and isn’t a re-hash of a far superior film.

Maybe the story was a little too weird for audiences these days? People don’t really go for anything slightly bizarre anymore. As I said, it’s quite a lovely looking film and I liked that it felt a bit like Narnia at first. It makes for a good winter movie in the lead up to Christmas. I also thought the main girl was very good, just as she was in Interstellar (she was the only good thing about that overblown Nolan film).

And Morgan Freeman is in this. Yay! (Am I allowed to admit to loving him again yet? Are people over the “oh my god, he said flirty things to women!” bullshit?). And Helen Mirren – I like that saucy minx too. Unfortunately, Keira Knightley is in this as well. Have I mentioned that she annoys me? (Yes, I have. Many times). Speaking of her and how I said in my previous review that I’m a Disney whore: Knightley recently got on her high horse again and said she doesn’t let her kid(s?) watch Disney movies because they’re a bad influence and blah blah blah. Screw that. How about you talk to them & teach them the difference between reality & fantasy and then let them watch what every other kid watches and enjoys? Are they not allowed to watch this movie, then???

Anyway. This movie was okay but it was also missing something. I can’t quite figure out what it was missing, though. It has the right elements to make it a family classic but it’s already fading from my mind only a few weeks after seeing it. Maybe it’s Knightley’s fault! Her role is too big. She got on my nerves, especially with that stupid voice she put on. Yeah, let’s blame her. Otherwise, this is a decent enough family Disney movie that doesn’t quite deserve the horrible reviews it has had.

My Rating: 6.5/10

The Grinch (2018)

Directed by Scott Mosier & Yarrow Cheney

Based on How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely, Angela Lansbury

Narrated by Pharrell Williams

Music by Danny Elfman

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows the Grinch as he plans to ruin Whoville’s Christmas celebration by stealing all the town’s decorations and gifts.

My Opinion:

Ugh. No. Okay – I’m a big fan of the 1966 American TV classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Who isn’t?! That show has been a yearly American tradition for ages now. It’s one of the most beloved holiday TV specials. That’s why they shouldn’t have done this film. They were never going to live up to something that is, quite frankly, almost complete perfection.

Speaking of movies fading from my mind only a few weeks after seeing them, I can barely remember a thing about The Grinch now. I remember liking his adorable and long-suffering dog Max, but the same goes for the 1966 version anyway. I think the biggest problem with this version is this: The Grinch isn’t enough of an asshole. TV Grinch was gloriously mean. Then, to make it even worse, this movie added a bullshit backstory to help explain why The Grinch is a bit of an asshole. We don’t need a stupid backstory! Can’t someone just be an asshole for the hell of it? I mean, I’m a bit of an asshole for no good reason. This is probably why I’ve always slightly preferred The Grinch before his heart grows. He’s damn funny at the beginning of the 1966 version. He’s boring as shit in this lifeless adaptation.

Oh well – I guess it’s still not as bad as that Jim Carrey monstrosity, which is one of my most-hated movies of all time. Just leave The Grinch the fuck alone, Hollywood. That’s what he wants anyway! Oh, and why the hell did they have Pharrell Williams only narrate this movie and not do the music as well? His music is one of the things that makes Despicable Me so great. Illumination is clearly never going to live up to that film ever again.

My Rating: 4.5/10

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Watched, Read, Reviewed: November 2018

Happy December, everyone! Is winter over yet? Oh man – I’m mega late with this update & it’s now almost January. That’s even worse than December. Have I mentioned that I hate this cold & dreary time of year??? Well, here’s what I watched & read way back in November…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED

Bohemian Rhapsody – 7/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

**I’ll try to review all the below 2018 releases in full later so I’ll only talk a little about the two I saw at home.

A Star Is Born – 8/10

Mirai – 7/10

Ralph Breaks The Internet – 7/10

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms – 6.5/10

The Boat That Rocked (aka Pirate Radio) – I’d always wanted to check this out sometime as I find the pirate radio thing that happened in the UK fascinating. I love the spirit of pirate radio. Sticking it to corporate radio bullshit! And I’ve always had a thing for Pump Up The Volume (I think it was a teenage nerd dream of mine to be Slater’s anti-establishment pirate DJ in that). This movie was pretty bloody awful, though. Could they really not just make a movie based on the true story of pirate radio, which would be thoroughly interesting, instead of an overlong piece of fiction filled with hateful characters? What I find most fascinating, however, is just how much the world has changed in the ten years since this was released. This couldn’t be made in the same way now as there’d be a huge backlash due to how the female characters are portrayed (and a scene involving Gemma Arterton is rapey beyond belief). I have to get the hell off the internet sometimes when I see words like “woke” and “problematic” and I just want to puke. I’m Gen X and rude as fuck and offended by nothing so, if I found this movie slightly uncomfortable in 2018, I’m hoping that the people who use those words never check it out. I’ll say two good things about it, though: Philip Seymour Hoffman was really good and the soundtrack was AMAZING. Holy hell! Richard Curtis must have some serious connections to have gotten the rights to so many great songs for this film (I looked it up – there are 60 songs in the movie). It was actually worth watching for the constant background music alone. I’d say the movie somewhat captured the spirit of pirate radio’s love of good music and wanting to share it with others. It’s just a shame that a good movie about pirate radio wasn’t made instead of this silly one. – 5.5/10

Slaughterhouse Rulez – 5.5/10

The Grinch – 5/10

Better Watch Out – This was an odd one. I was excited about this as I like a good Christmas horror comedy: Gremlins is an all-time favorite & I thought Krampus was a fun film. The marketing was strange for this… I got the impression that it might be another comedy horror such as Krampus but it’s nothing of the sort despite being listed as a “comedy crime horror thriller” on IMDb. Everything I read said to avoid spoilers for this so I’ll not say much about it other than that I absolutely hated the turn that this film took. As I said before, it takes a hell of a lot to offend me but I didn’t like the creepy way this played out. And, as always, I hate movies filled with hateful characters (though the girl wasn’t too bad). I don’t know. This has an okay IMDb rating as far as horrors go so clearly some must like it but I can’t for the life of me imagine who as I can think of no one I would recommend this movie to. – 4.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

Bird Box by Josh Malerman – I enjoyed this horror novel. If you liked A Quiet Place, you’d probably like this story as well. In the book, people start going mad and killing themselves & others after seeing *something*. No one knows the cause so people start barricading themselves in their homes & wearing blindfolds at all times. I’d say the only negative was that I didn’t love the main character as she seems so cold & uncaring but it’s also completely understandable as this terrible new existence has made her that way. This has now been made into a Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock and I have to say I hate the look of the trailer as it looks like too much has been changed (plus she’s very wrong for the role). I’ll check it out but I highly recommend reading the book first if you’re interested. – 4/5

Ghastle And Yule by Josh Malerman – This was a short story hidden at the end of Bird Box and, oh my god, I loved it! I liked it so much that I tweeted the author (I never do that – I just felt the need to let him know I appreciated it). The story is about two rival horror filmmakers and I highly recommend it to lovers of filmmaking & especially classic horror filmmaking. The way Malerman describes each of their films in detail made them feel like real directors and actual movies I’d seen. Seriously – every movie described in this story needs to be made for real. Horror filmmakers are missing out if they don’t do this. At the very least, the story itself should be a film. – 4.5/5

Stories Of Your Life And Others by Ted Chiang – I’ve only read two of the stories in this collection so far. I’ll try to review this once I’ve read the whole book.

Currently Reading: Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby – But I have to return it to the library and I’ve not finished it. Damn. Good so far. Typical Hornby.

TV SHOWS WATCHED

– The Walking Dead – Ugh. Why do I keep doing this to myself?! This show has sucked for years. It has sucked since Darabont left. And I never loved Rick but it’s completely pointless without him now…

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

No plans! Too busy with work. And stupid Christmas. I may try to review the 2018 films I’ve not yet reviewed. And I’ll do end-of-year Top Ten lists as always but that may be the first week of January.

December Movies I Want To See:

Sorry To Bother You – Sounds like a “love it or hate it”. I do like weird.

The Old Man & The Gun – Sounds like an interesting story but I’ll wait for Netflix.

Mortal Engines – Damn, reviews aren’t great but I liked the book. Looks like it’ll be another “wait for Netflix” film.

Aquaman – Meh. DC movies suck but he’s pretty damn hot so I might watch this one.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – Saw it. It’s brilliant! And I’m not a huge superhero fan.

An Elephant Sitting Still – I know nothing at all about this but it’s a Chinese film with decent reviews (but probably too obscure for me to be able to ever see it easily). And I’ve just seen that it’s four hours long?! Huh. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Mary Poppins Returns – I’ll go as it looks like a lovely family film and I like Emily Blunt but I’m seriously bored with reboots and remakes and sequels and whatever.

Bumblebee – Tickets booked! I’ll have seen this by the time this posts. Sounds like a fun family movie.

Holmes & Watson – Could be fun. Could be shit. Will Ferrell movies are iffy.

**I’ll end with a song from the thoroughly disappointing The Boat That Rocked movie with the thoroughly fantastic soundtrack. I’ve always loved Crimson And Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells. I seriously always thought this song was about taking a girl’s virginity in the grass but I can’t find any evidence of this online and I’m now weirdly disappointed that there’s no actual meaning. This is from Wikipedia: “The title, “Crimson and Clover”, was decided before a song had been written for it. The combination of unknown meaning came to James as he was waking up, comprising his favorite color – crimson – and his favorite flower – clover.”