2/16 Movie Trip

2/16 Movie Trip

2/16 Movie Trip

2/16 Movie Trip – Books vs Movies

2/16 Movie Trip - Books vs Movies

Paul McGuire Grimes, creator of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, gives us his review of Madame Web – and then recommends watching Anyone But You, and The Marvels, instead.

MADAME WEB (in theaters)

There’s a new Spider-Man spinoff in theaters called Madame Web, and it shows that big comic book movies need a big budget, someone who can shape a thrilling action sequence, and the right cast. Madame Web is lacking in all of that. Dakota Johnson leads the film as Cassie Web, a paramedic in New York who starts having premonitions of life or death moments after she’s rescued trying to save someone’s life from a car crash. This all comes decades after her mom died in childbirth and was bitten by a mythical spider. This all sounds convoluted but that’s just set up for the real plot. Cassie then saves the life of three teen girls on the New York subway after a madman tries to kill them. He has premonitions that one day the three girls will kill him. They’re played by Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced, and Celeste O’Connor.

-Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tahar Rahim, Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced, Celeste O’Connor, Adam Scott and Emma Roberts

-Madam Web is a film that sounds promising, but it’s very apparent that it wasn’t given the budget needed to make it work on the same scale we’ve come to expect from Marvel films.

-The prologue is early evidence of the film’s weak points from the fact its dimly lit and the action scenes are haphazardly shot and frantically edited together like an action procedural found basic cable.

– There’s a lack of cohesion, forward momentum or any sort of creative jolt needed to amplify any of these characters. It feels oddly flat with no real specificity written into any character. The three teens should have been written as three friends who have already established banter or charm about them instead of strangers caught up together after their subway rescue.

-Sydney Sweeney feels miscast as the bookworm schoolgirl type. The same could be said for Dakota Johnson who doesn’t feel like the right type to lead a comic book action film. She’s better suited in quirky independents that can utilize her better. She’s can’t seem to elevate the material in Madame Web.

-Madam Web lacks any originality. There’s nothing new here that we haven’t already seen in the surplus of Spider-Man related movies, let alone the larger Marvel universe this sits in.


ANYONE BUT YOU (in theaters)

Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney are two of the hottest young actors working in Hollywood. It’s only fitting that they team up for a sexy new take on William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing called Anyone But You. For Sidney Sweeney’s character, Bea, it starts off with a meet cute at a coffee shop between her and Ben (Powell) It leads to a one-night stand that doesn’t end well the next morning. Much to their surprise they’re reunited at a bar when her sister, Halle, is engaged his friend Claudia. Ben and Bea then find themselves jetting off to a destination wedding in Australia for Halle and Claudia. They may be bickering the entire time until they hear their friends and family conspiring to hook them up. They decide to pose as innocent lovebirds, but behind the scenes it’s a quarreling back and forth match between Ben and Bea.

-Starring: Glen Powell, Sydney Sweeney, Hadley Robinson, Alexandra Shipp, Dermot Mulroney, Rachel Griffiths

Anyone But You director Will Gluck who has crafted a highly entertaining modern day Shakespeare adaptation keeping the fun rapport of the Bard in its execution.

-Fans of Shakespeare will easily notice the same character names and overall premise, but Gluck keenly kept in Shakespeare’s use of Ben and Bea overhearing the plot against them with their friends and family having sneaky conversations behind the bushes or off on a deck.

-He’s got a dynamic leading pair with Powell and Sweeney who have so much chemistry they’re magnetic on screen. The script allows both of them to shine not only in their retorts slung at the other person but gives them each physical comedy bits to play into.

-Powell and Sweeney are willing to go there with whatever antics Gluck throws at them. He knows he has an incredibly attractive leading couple and uses that. Rom-com audiences want a sexy movie to fall in love with and that is here in full R-rated force allowing the romance and sex to flow out.

-Gluck plays with Shakespeare and leans into the genre’s tropes without apologies. There are the big romantic gestures, the inspiring monologue, the back and forth anger versus lust, and even references Titanic along the way.

Anyone But You checks all the boxes for a rom-com with charming leads, classic source material, and an upbeat soundtrack. It’s an entertaining romp that knows exactly the type of film it sets out to be.

RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKETS

THE MARVELS (Disney +)

Not every Marvel movie has to be a dark heavy hitting space epic. Some can be lighter, family-friendly fare like The Marvels. The story collects three known Marvel characters with Ms. Marvel’s Kamala Khan, WandaVision’s Monica Rambeau, and of course, Brie Larson’s, Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel and puts them together for a dazzling adventure. Iman Vellani is super spunky as Kamala, a teenage superhero who dreams of one day saving the day with her hero, Captain Marvel. Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau is working on a space station with a team of experts while Captain Marvel is off elsewhere on a solo expedition. Their worlds collide when they seem to switch places and body swap with each other due to an unstable jump point in the galaxy. There’s a disturbance at play thanks to Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) whose playing games with the Skrulls and wanting revenge on Captain Marvel who she has deemed the Annihilator after Captain Marvel destroyed the land of Hala.

-Starring: Brie Larosn, Iman Vellani, Teyonah Parris, Zawe Ashton, Samuel L. Jackson

The Marvels is a sequel of sorts to 2019’s Captain Marvel while bringing in characters from two of the Disney+ Marvel series. That may sound like a lot of homework, but director Nia DaCosta, who co-wrote the film Megan McDonnell and Elissa Karasik, keeps this a fairly independent story if you’re not up to date. There are flashbacks to fill in some gaps.

-The film is kept on the lighter side playing up the humor and energy that comes from Kamala Khan’s family on Earth. They were a big part of the Ms. Marvel series and they’re back again as innocent bystanders caught in the middle of a big action sequence involving the three women swapping places left and right.

-The beginning of the film feels a bit rushed zipping through the exposition and getting right to the action. It’s almost as the filmmakers know this isn’t the strength of the film and knows the audience wants in on the action.

-The film’s main villain, Dar-Been, is fairly bland, missing a strong personality or motivation.

-The film works much better in the scenes between Kamala, Carol, and Monica as they work together and become a strong unit.

-Director Nia DaCosta plays up the humor and banter between them as Kamala’s teen spirit brings them together and breaks through the history and tension between Carol and Monica. The rapport and chemistry between Iman Vellani, Brie Larson, and Teyonah Parris is fantastic and you can feel a strong sisterhood on screen.

-The film boasts a flashy and colorful vibe even sending them to a planet where the language is literally singing. It’s like a little song and dance community and that’s before we hear Barbra Streisand’s version of “Memory” from CATS in an epic scene involving Carol’s cat Goose.

The Marvels is joyful and fun. It doesn’t get bogged down in Marvel lore or become too serious for its own good.