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Movie Review: Christopher Robin Revives Winnie the Pooh

Charmaine Blake

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“It’s been a banner summer for crying. Some of the tears came from movies you’d expect, like one in which an eighth-grade girl struggles with her self-esteem. Other times, they were sneak-attack snivels, like when a movie-musical sequel based on the songs of ABBA triggered four different tear-jerking moments, one of which had me stifling an audible shriek-sob.

Anyone who saw the trailer for Disney’s new Christopher Robin film, which gives Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood the Paddington treatment, probably expected to have their heart strings plucked a bit. This movie gives them a full-blast bluegrass strum.

That’s one willy, nilly, silly, old, emotionally devastating bear.

Maybe its because were all feeling a bit brittle lately. There are Heffalumps and Woozles at every terrifying turn in todays world. We could use an old friend to help fight them off and feel safe again.

Christopher Robin is written by Allison Schroeder (Hidden Figures), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), and Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip), directed by Marc Forster (Finding Neverland), and of course, inspired by the characters of A.A. Milne and Ernest Shepard. Its a veritable Avengers of emotional storytelling. Together, they prove that feelings are still movies most valuable special effect. (Though the special effects used to animate these characters is pretty darned impressive, too.)

When we meet up with our old friends, the animals are gathered for a farewell party for young Christopher Robin, who will soon be going off to boarding school. A clever narrative device then makes…………..”

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/christopher-robin-revives-winnie-the-pooh-as-an-emotional-terrorist

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Spike Lee Is at His Searing Best With BlacKkKlansman

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“Spike Lee’s white-hot genre mash-up BlacKkKlansman initiates its course in the early 1970s. It’s a time “marked by the spread of integration and miscegenation,” according to an unnamed race theorist in the opening sequence (he’s played with palpable animosity by Alec Baldwin). In Colorado Springs, he continues, a sect of “true, white Americans” sense a movement brewing among black “radicals” and Jews who they feel have “pressured their great way of life.” The proto-MAGA sentiment is but a backdrop, one of many ways Lee’s latest joint teases out the resonances between then and now. The parallels aren’t simply the work of a fabulist, though; the playfully urgent film is inspired by real events—as Lee styles it, “some fo’ real, fo’ real shit”.

Elsewhere in Colorado Springs, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is at a crossroads. The first black officer on the Colorado Springs Police Force, he’s overcome the department’s internal racism to attain the rank of a detective, but an assignment has left him with mixed allegiances, torn between his work and the world. It’s not until he comes across an ad in the paper from the Ku Klux Klan that it all clicks—call them, and pretend to be white.

With a jazzman’s knack for grandiosity, one that’s more Charlie Parker bebop than Miles Davis cool, Lee understands tone better than most filmmakers of his generation. Over his career, he has found ways to bring sound and color into symmetry as well as discord, and to derive power from both. He’s got an appetite for climax……………..”

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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Review!

Charmaine Blake

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I was not among those begging for a followup to the wildly successful 2008 Abba musical. But after just a few scenes, all I could say was: Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

“Benny Andersson and Bjrn Ulvaeus of Abba must over the years have considered what they would do if they were asked to sign off on a second iteration of what can only be called the Mamma Mia! movie franchise which first appeared in 2008. Perhaps they thought that, in the words of the song: If I had to do the same again, I would my friend, because quite frankly its a licence to print money.

That first film made me break out in a combination of hives and bubonic plague. And to be honest, this new one does have the original films plotless melange of feelgoodery, an exotically amorphous jellyfish of a film which is periodically zapped with the million-volt shock of a zingingly brilliant Abba tune.

But something in the sheer relentless silliness and uncompromising ridiculousness of this, combined with a new flavour of self-aware comedy, made me smile in spite of myself: there are funny, campy performances from Cher, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters and also Alexa Davies as Walterss younger self, and some very good lines. People are always running absurdly around a Greek island waving their arms in the air like they just dont care and its always sunny, except when gasp! theres a storm and plans for the relaunch of a tourist hotel are briefly and unimportantly derailed. This film reminded me weirdly in its staging of Kenneth Branaghs 90s film version of Much Ado About Nothing, with its golden southern European hues and beaming cast. Theres the same bizarre plot convolutions and holiday-romance departure from reality.

After the first film, I noted that the song Fernando was not included and suggested that next time they should include a hearing-impaired character of that name and someone desperately worried should bang a particular percussion instrument and ask of Fernando a certain impassioned question. In fact, Cher sings Fernando now, and addresses it to a bearded Andy………”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jul/17/mamma-mia-here-we-go-again-review-feta-fever-dream-sequel-is-weirdly-irresistible

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Mission: Impossible Fallout Is the Most Spectacular Action Film in Years

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“Tom Cruise takes the title of his Mission: Impossible franchise as a literal challenge. With each successive installment, Cruise attempts to demonstrate that no classic set piece cant be topped and that, no matter his advancing age (56), he can keep ignoring (if not outright fighting) Father Time to pull off ever-greater acts of stuntman insanity, at crazy risk to his personal safety. Thats never more true than with Fallout, his sixth outing as covert agent Ethan Hunt, which reconfirms that his inspired-by-TV endeavor is still the greatest blockbuster saga around, and that hes Hollywoods premiere action-adventure Peter Pan, an actor whoregardless of his spottier track record as of lateis right at home in this world of spies, masks and self-destructing messages. Determined to perpetually raise the bar for both the series and himself, Cruise again proves, with his latest, that both of those seemingly impossible feats is possible.

Fallout is the best action film since Mad Max: Fury Road, and its unique in the big-screen history of Mission: Impossible, in that its the first episode to be helmed by a return directorChristopher McQuarrie, who spearheaded 2015s stellar Rogue Nation. For an undertaking once defined by its shifting personalitythanks to each entry being a stand-alone effort from a distinctive auteur (Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams, Brad Bird)the decision to reenlist McQuarrie signifies that Cruise has settled on a signature voice for his series. Not only does McQuarrie deliver the same style of grand, vigorous mayhem that he did before, but working as sole screenwriter, he also turns Fallout into a legitimate sequel to its immediate predecessor, continuing the story he began three years agowhile additionally, in one key respect, referencing Abrams Mission: Impossible III.

The decision to go back to McQuarrie does negate the thrill of discovering a new aesthetic and tone, which up until now has been a Mission: Impossible hallmark. Nonetheless, whats gained is far greatera refinement of McQuarries superb action form. Fallout features more astounding set pieces than can be found in the rest of 2018s summer crop combined, all of which escalate with such mounting electricity that its hard to catch ones breath. The directors stunning widescreen visuals (even more impressive in IMAX, whose outsized format is repeatedly exploited) enhance the magnificence of his scripting and staging, in which initially straightforward scenarios become complicated by a raft of unforeseen events, until the tension is almost too much to bear. In terms of providing a pure adrenalized rush, almost no contemporaries are in its league.

That Cruises Hunt routinely responds to surprising situations with Ill figure it out only amplifies the anxious anticipation of…….”

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/mission-impossible-fallout-is-the-most-spectacular-action-film-in-years

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