And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Review: Mary Poppins Returns

Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place, The Girl on the Train) is practically perfect in every way as the practically-perfect nanny Mary Poppins in the long-awaited sequel, Mary Poppins Returns. The film itself, however, is not so practically-perfect, mostly because the songs are far less memorable and joyful than those featured in the 1964 classic starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. I guess you could say that Mary Poppins Returns is practically okay in every way that counts: it offers up decent family-friendly viewing over the holidays; is reminiscent of that bygone era of heartwarming live-action movie musicals; and is awash in colorful costumes and scenery.

Quickie Reviews: Annihilation; Game Night; The Party

Annihilation is interesting and weird, slow and methodical, and dare I say, bordering on boring. Hyper-sensitive fans of the film may ream me for not fully grasping or appreciating the deeper meaning, the metaphors, the beauty in the bizarre, yadda yadda yadda. But that’s okay. I didn’t love Arrival either. Annihilation is a cerebral sci-fi horror flick from Alex Garland (Ex Machina) based on the “Southern Reach Trilogy” by Jeff VanderMeer. If you’ve read the books, you’re probably ahead of the game and more likely than most to love this movie. Here’s the gist: Natalie Portman plays Lena, an Army veteran and cellular biologist whose husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) was believed killed in action during a secret military mission. He reappears a year later, extremely ill, with no memory of what happened. Government agents nab the newly-reunited couple and take them to “Area X”, an unspecified locale that borders a mysterious “Shimmer” that’s been expanding along the U.S. coastline.

Our Idiot Brother

Our Idiot Brother is an okay movie that dabbles in the funny but never quite reaches the level of good drama or good comedy. It feels more like a warped episode of the recently-canceled television drama Brothers & Sisters. So if you’re mourning the loss of that one, then Our Idiot Brother may provide some fleeting solace.