Nickelodeon has been in a tricky scenario over the last five years, in where the audience that once watched their hit shows is now becoming adults. Now they’ve scrambled for ways to appeal to a new generation, even aging their banner characters a bit. With “Dora the Explorer,” Nickelodeon has taken great pains in allowing her to blossom with her audience, and then revert back to the original formula that made her such a hit. With this feature film adaptation, they manage to pull off what is a loving tribute, a fun action adventure film, an adaptation that is never afraid to poke fun at itself every now and then, and a spotlight for latinx movie heroes we can root for.
One of the most family friendly and outright entertaining superhero features of the year, “Shazam!” is a movie that will appeal to children of all walks of life. It’s a movie that promotes the power of family, promotes the appeal of adopted families, and explores the effects of bullying and toxic masculinity. “Shazam!” is one of the bigger surprises of 2019 as the DCEU keeps delivering on entertaining and bright action features that spotlight the lesser explored and rarely discovered characters from the DC Comics stable.
“Weird Science” is the film from John Hughes that’s managed to age the worst from his repertoire. Even “Dutch” can be considered somewhat more accessible than what “Weird Science” doles out. While it’s not a bad movie at all, “Weird Science” has gradually become an eighties comedy that has to be taken in the context of its decade. This is still a very strong air of misogyny and chauvinism within “Weird Science,” but it still works as a fun eighties romp with banner performances by its collective cast.
I’d love to know what the thought process was behind “Rim of the World.” Directed by McG, it’s much too crude and violent for kids, but much too juvenile for anyone looking for a good action horror movie. Netflix and McG obviously had in mind the “Stranger Things” crowd when they concocted this unpleasant, long, obnoxious film. It wants to be mentioned in the same conversation as “The Goonies”, Amblin, and “It,” but I doubt in a few years it’ll even be mentioned in the same favor as “Mac and Me.”
Spider-Man entrance in to the MCU has been a god send as Marvel had managed to touch on areas of the character that we haven’t seen before, while also fleshing out much if his universe and world. After the epics of “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Endgame,” Jon Watts’ “Far from Home” is a nice detour in to the MCU where the studio is able to book end their biggest event thus far. Closing out phase three of the MCU, “Far From Home” is a vastly superior film to “Homecoming” that benefits from the lack of Iron Man, believe it or not.
It’s only a matter of time until everyone begins to compare “Achoura” to “Stephen King’s It” mainly because they’re so thematically similar and share almost identical story beats. On its own, “Achoura” is a fine horror thriller that explores the loss of innocence, how fleeting innocence is for children, and how the past almost always catches up to us. As a symbol of the very heavy commentary is the rather spooky and interesting monster of the film, the Bougatate, that’s less a figment of imagination, and more a living darkness that devours kids’ joy, and fear.
I feel every generation should have a movie or two that defines them and how hard it is to grow up during that period. We’ve had movies like “Dazed and Confused,” “Mean Girls,” and “Breakfast Club,” and we’re very fortunate to have had two very good movies (“Eighth Grade”) about the modern youth culture in the last five years. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is one of the finest drama comedies of the year. It’s an honest and entertaining look at two girls trying to find out who they are before they graduate high school and enter in to college–possibly without one another.
Hoping to market off of the momentum of “Captain Marvel,” Netflix releases Brie Larson’s 2017 directed film “Unicorn Store,” a movie I can describe as a delightfully cute, drama comedy for the dreamers and artists, but it suffers from a hazy message to its audience. I’m one of Larson’s biggest admirers and fans, but “Unicorn Store” is a filled with so much quirk that it forgets to come full circle and fill us in on what it’s trying to say. Is it best to sometimes abandon your dreams for better dreams? Is it fine to have dreams but embrace adult responsibility? Are dreams for some people, but not for others?