It’s the start of the Christmas Holiday Weekend so Hollywood is bring out new films just a bit earlier this week to sacrifice to the Star Wars: The Last Jedi juggernaut.
1. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Sony/Columbia, 3,765 Theaters, 119 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for adventure action, suggestive content and some language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 80% Fresh [74 Reviews]): My problem with the first Jumanji was the game itself. No board game looked like it did, played like it did or would have had a story like that one did. Technically, that was the point, but it made it hard for me to suspend disbelieve enough to go along with the film.
This time around, with this quasi-sequel, the concept seems to work better. We still have the game affecting the reality of the players, but this time they are sucked into a video game instead of the game expanding into the real world. The way the characters have to be beholden to video game physics seems way more believable.
Speaking of sequels, this film is also an ipso facto sequel to Orange County because it reunites director Jake Kasdan with Jack Black and Colin Hanks.
2. The Greatest Showman (Fox, 3,005 Theaters, 105 Minutes, Rated PG for thematic elements including a brawl, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: N/A [Only 1 Positive Review listed as I write this]): First thing about this film that gives me pause is the “Featuring the Academy Award Winning Lyricists of La La Land.” Were the lyrics really the main drawing point of that film?
Next is the way the film seems to canonize P.T. Barnum. Yes, he might have been a person that celebrated difference, but he was also a man who sewed a dead monkey to a dead fish and called it a mermaid.
Finally, the lack of reviews indicates that either there was an embargo or it wasn’t presented to critics to review. As well all know, that is never a good sign.
I’ll be back in a couple of days with the new releases I promised you last week, including Father Figures and Pitch Perfect 3.