Currently browsing posts by Hannah Buchdahl.

Quickie Review: Raya and the Last Dragon

The only opinion that really matters here would be that of a kid who likes animated movies. Especially Disney animated movies. And for that particular demographic, Raya and the Last Dragon is a pretty safe bet. The movie stays true to the conventional Disney formula with a story, animation and voices that kids can embrace and parents can easily tolerate. It’s not top-tier classic Disney, but it’s a pleasant enough family-friendly diversion if you have Disney+ with Premier Access (i.e. it’ll cost ya extra). It’s also being released in select theaters, but I still can’t suggest anyone of any age go that route before we reach something close to herd immunity.

Review: Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry

Billie Eilish (aka Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell) first came to the music world’s attention in 2015 when the teenager uploaded her song “Ocean Eyes” to Soundcloud. But she didn’t capture my attention – or the cultural zeitgeist in general until she – of the green hair, baggy clothes and producer brother Finneas – swept the Grammys in 2020. Those two seminal moments bookend the new documentary about the quirky and talented singer-songwriter, now all of 19.

Quickie Review: Silk Road

Silk Road starts with a disclaimer. “This story is true. Except for what we made up or changed.” In other words, creative and dramatic license was required to turn this cyber crime story into something resembling a crime thriller. We’ve got the suspect’s IP address!! Woo-hoo!

Quickie Review: Disney’s Flora & Ulysses

I’m not exactly the target demo, but I thoroughly enjoyed Disney’s Flora & Ulysses. It’s a family adventure comedy based on the Newbery Award-winning book “Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures” by Kate DiCamillo (whose novel “Because of Winn-Dixie” was turned into a movie in 2005). Flora & Ulysses stars Matilda Lawler as 10-year-old Flora, a highly-imaginative, self-professed cynic who saves a squirrel (CGI) from a tragic accident involving a vacuum cleaner. The squirrel is “born anew” as a rodent superhero with powers that include strength, flight, poetry, and a knack for antics that will unite Flora’s fractured family and inspire a message of hope.

Review: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is an extremely campy comedy that plays like an overlong skit on Saturday Night Live. It stars SNL alum Kristen Wiig (Wonder Woman 1984), and Annie Mumolo as longtime friends who embark on the adventure of a lifetime when their dream jobs at Jennifer Convertibles go belly-up. They decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time ever, to “find their shimmer” at a cheesy resort in (fictional) Vista Del Mar, Florida – a hot spot for singles in their “middle years.” There they meet the hunky sad sack Edgar Pagét (Jamie Dornan, Wild Mountain Thyme, Synchronic, Fifty Shades), who’s been sent by an evil villainess to unleash killer mosquitos on Vista Del Mar, as part of a nonsensical revenge plot. Did I mention this movie is really quite silly? I’d venture to call it silly bordering on stupid, if not for the flashes of funny and splashes of heart that offer escapist redemption.

Review: The Map of Tiny Perfect Things

There’s certainly no shortage of movies featuring a time loop or “temporal anomaly.” There’s Groundhog Day, of course, as well as 12 Dates of Christmas, Before I Fall, Edge of Tomorrow, Happy Death Day, to name but a few. So it’s really no wonder that I felt a certain sense of déjà vu watching The Map of Tiny Perfect Things.

Review: Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah is one of those movies you should watch, even if you don’t really want to. It’s another stark reminder of how the FBI operated under a racist and reactionary J. Edgar Hoover during the 1960s, and a stark reminder of why it’s never a good idea to 100% trust government spin. File those FOIAs! Judas and the Black Messiah tells the true story of Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out, Queen & Slim), the Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party who was gunned down by law enforcement during an overnight raid in 1969, after a fateful betrayal by FBI informant Bill O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield, Sorry to Bother You). The movie is filled with excellent performances – even if the material itself is far from entertaining

Review: Son of the South

“Not choosing sides is a choice,” Rosa Parks (Sharonne Lanier) tells white college boy Bob Zellner (Lucas Till) when he talks to the civil rights icon a few years after she infamously refused to give up her seat on the bus. It’s the early 1960s in southern Alabama and Zellner is on the verge of a transformation from good ol’ boy grandson of a Klansman, to civil rights activist. Son of the South is based on Zellner’s autobiography, “The Wrong Side of Murder Creek,” which recounts his brave choice to defy his family and white southern norms in order to fight against social injustice and align himself with the likes of John Lewis and the Freedom Riders.

Cinema Clash Podcast: The Little Things, Supernova, Palmer, Apollo11 Quarantine

I recently reviewed Supernova, which is an understated film elevated by its two stars, Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth. I also watched a few other movies out this week including The Little Things, which sadly could not be elevated by the presence of a trio of Oscar-winning actors (Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto). And then there was Palmer, an Apple TV+ original movie that was satisfying to watch even if totally formulaic, thanks to the sweet dynamic between Justin Timberlake and his young co-star Ryder Allen. Find out more about these films, as well as what my co-host Charlie Juhl had to say about The Dig on Netflix and the foreign film Dear Comrades!, and my quick watch of a short documentary with leftover footage from Apollo 11… on this edition of The Cinema Clash podcast!

Review: Supernova

No, this isn’t another space movie, though the title may give you that impression. It’s a placid roadtrip movie, featuring a middle-aged gay couple riding through England’s Lake District in a camper van, pondering life’s joys and sorrows in the shadow of a terminal dementia diagnosis. If it were anyone other than Stanley Tucci (Big Night, The Hunger Games) and Colin Firth (A Single Man, The King’s Speech) in the lead roles, it might not resonate all that much. But the two actors – and longtime friends – share an easy chemistry that is quietly compelling to watch, under the direction of Harry MacQueen.