Less budget, and less stars, this time Casper’s adventures are reduced to a pretty crummy animated feature where Casper teams up with another spunky young girl. She’s a girl facing a crisis about Christmas and she needs the help of… Casper. Makes sense, I guess. “Casper’s Haunted Christmas” is a noticeably bargain basement style production compared to the previous movies, all the while the animation is often weird and the narrative nonsensical.
Well if anything “Casper Meets Wendy” is much better than “A Spirited Beginning” despite offering no big surprises. Unless you consider that the only cast member that’s been in most “Casper” movies so far is Pauly Shore. In the former film he played a bad ghost, and here he plays a fortune telling magical mirror. As with most of these movies, there is a whole cast of D list celebrities, and the adaptation of Harvey Comics’ “Wendy The Good Little Witch” is an excuse to introduce future teen star Hilary Duff. To her credit Duff is adorable.
I, for one, quite loved the big screen reboot of “Casper” with Christina Ricci. As a kid I loved its human elements and fun atmosphere. And then they kind of ruined it with a bunch of direct to video sequels and prequels that stunk. “A Spirited Beginning” is one of many that completely copies the formula of the original movie, with performances that are oh so much worse.
Eli Roth has always been a better horror fan and film lover than actual filmmaker, and he’s proven it time and time again. After the embarrassing bomb that was “Death Wish,” I had hope that “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” would be a win and Roth would kind of re-invent himself. While not as awful as “Death Wish,” Roth proves once again he’s not too good at handling tone, pacing, and general direction. Without the thick icing of blood, grue, and torture to cover up the thinly layered cake that is “The House with a Clock in Its Walls,” Roth once again proves he’s a filmmaker that has so much to learn, and so much evolving to do.
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is the movie that the world needs right now, it’s the ultimate superhero tale. It’s about a man who grew up experiencing nothing but pain that decided one day to take his ability to talk to children and his education and use it as a tool for good and for changing the world. And change the world Fred Rogers did, as he one day took a step back and decided that the world needed some kind of force for good. He knew that could mold children and use the medium of television as a valuable tool that could turn every single child, no matter what race or religion, in a neighbor and a friend.
Thirty years after the Muppet Babies made their cinematic debut, it’s been hard to imagine the Muppet franchise without them. They’ve become as big a fixture as their adult counterparts, and other properties have tried mimicking them to a lesser degree. “Baby Looney Tunes,” anyone? Remember “Tom and Jerry Kids” and “Flintstones Kids”? In either case, now with the eighties series in limbo, Disney Junior has revived the property for a new audience offering an educational adventure series with the Muppet Babies, and it’s a nice revamp.
I’ve pretty much gotten over my immense hatred for the watered down reboot of the “Teen Titans” animated series. It’s here to stay, and I’m over it. So I approached the new big screen adventure with an open mind and rock bottom expectations. All things considered “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is a mixed bag. Sometimes it hits with some sharp, slick superhero movie and Hollywood satire and truly engaging protagonists. Other times it feels like the writers are running out the clock with goofy filler and distracting musical numbers.
The Wasp is one of the oldest, most important Marvel characters of all time (she was one of the original five Avengers), and she’s also someone who has been waiting in the wings for far too long. In “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” the heroine finally gets her due in a movie that’s about her legacy as much as it is about the Avengers, and Ant-Man, overall. After the two heavy meals that were “Black Panther” and “Infinity War,” Peyton Reed’s return to “Ant Man and the Wasp” is like a nice light after dinner sorbet. It’s a palate cleanser, it’s simple, and it’s quite good.