REVIEW: ‘The Little Mermaid’ sets new bar for Disney’s live adaptations

After some rough waters with previous live action adaptations, Disney has found calmer seas thanks to an impressive remake of “The Little Mermaid.”

As the story goes, Ariel (Halle Bailey) is a mermaid fascinated by the human world and often looks for man-made items lost at sea. These actions, though, are all forbidden by Ariel’s father King Triton (Javier Bardem), who deems humans as dangerous.

This eventually leads to a conflict where Triton forbids Ariel from leaving the kingdom after she rescues a man during a sinking. Wanting to meet him again and explore the surface world, Ariel bypasses her father and goes to the sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) who turns her into a human, but with a catch.

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Ten Powerful Political Films

Not too long ago, I finished watching “The West Wing” for the first time.

Yes I was very late to the party on that one, seeing it more than two decades after it first aired on NBC. It was a very enjoyable watch, though, providing a fast-paced look into day-to-day politics.

It’s true that the show’s enjoyment can vary in terms of where one’s politics align, some finding it too left wing, and many seeing it as not left wing enough. However, what really hooks a person in at the end of the day with the show were the characters and the drama unfolding between them.

Now, while I hadn’t watched “The West Wing” for the time I’ve been writing on this site, I have reviewed plenty of political flicks, and watched many more released before that time.

So here’s a simple list of some movies in the political sphere that I’ve found to really get the genre right.

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REVIEW: UnfasTEN your seatbelts, ‘Fast X’ shows the ride is over

Didn’t you watch the last movie, meathead? Hell, you’re doing the same thing that it did.

In the 11th movie in this franchise, the audience learns that the villain this time around was wronged by the heroes during the heist in part five. In the present day, the Fast crew is still going on spy missions for the secretive Agency, with the latest taking place in Rome.

The antagonist Dante (Jason Momoa) makes his presence known to the family during said mission, though, and nearly destroys Rome in the process. From there, the Agency basically has the Fast crew take the fall, which puts them on the run not only from the relentless Dante, but law enforcement as well.

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REVIEW: ‘Guardians 3’ is a bit of good, a bit of bad, and a bit of both

Director James Gunn has given us one last ride with the “Guardians” before he ships off from Marvel to DC.

It may not be on the level of the first two, but it’s nice to see these characters again.

This time around, the crew is setting up a new shop on the world Knowhere. Well, most of the crew is. The captain of the Guardians, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), is in a rough spot. While it’s been some time, he’s still mourning the death of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), who was killed in the Infinity War.

Peter is thrust into action quickly, though, when an unknown being attacks, specifically targeting crew-member Rocket (Bradley Cooper). Rocket is severely injured and to save him, the Guardians have to take on a powerful foe who is connected to the raccoon’s history. As part of the mission, the Guardians get help from an alternate Gamora, who came from a different timeline.

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REVIEW: ‘Chevalier’ gives insight to important musician, but does so generically

A story during the era of the French Revolution that’s gone largely untold is given a spotlight in this film.

It’s an admirable effort, although there’s a feeling it could have been stronger.

The movie centers on Joseph Bologne, the illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner who was raised to become a great violinist. Because of his skills, he finds himself in France’s high society, and is named Chevalier de Saint-Georges.

The movie picks up with Queen Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton) giving Joseph the opportunity to lead an opera house via a competition with another composer, to see who can write the best one. During that process, Joseph begins an affair with a married woman, Marie-Josephine (Samara Weaving). As this is happening, there are rumblings of revolution, and it will all come to a head.

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REVIEW: ‘How to Blow Up a Pipeline’ is bold, powerful filmmaking

The brink has been reached for the characters in this drama, and it forces them to go past the point of no return.

It’s no surprise, as they feel the same has happened with climate change.

The film, inspired by the book featuring the same title, follows a group of young people who, seeing all other forms of protest ineffective, decide to sabotage a section of an oil pipeline in Texas. The plan originally formulates between college students Xochitl (Ariela Barer) and Shawn (Marcus Scribner).

They join forces with activists Rowan (Kristine Froseth), Logan (Lukas Gage), Theo (Sasha Lane), Alisha (Jayme Lawson) and Michael (Forrest Goodluck). Additionally, they partner with Dwayne (Jake Weary), a Texan who was forced to relocate when his property was bought out for a pipeline’s construction.

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REVIEW: Re-invented ‘Renfield’ entertains

Maybe this should’ve been the movie to launch the Dark Universe. Renfield should meet Elisabeth Moss’ character from “Invisible Man” in the sequel, honestly.

“Renfield” picks up in the present day, decades after the titular character became a servant to Dracula (Nicolas Cage). The former attorney, who tried to pull off a land deal with the vampire, now lives a life where he has superhuman abilities, but has to use his powers to get humans for the Count to feed on.

Growing tired of the life he has, he decides to join a relationship therapy group not only to vent, but also track down the abusive partners to give to Dracula. In one attempt, though, he crosses the dangerous Lobo crime family. This puts a target on Renfield’s back, and at the same time, Dracula becomes angry with him because the vampire senses disloyalty.

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REVIEW: Deal-making in ‘Air’ has sufficient drama for a watch

The story behind how Michael Jordan chose to wear Nikes before winning six NBA titles and defeating the Monstars in “Space Jam” is revealed in “Air.”

Starring in the film is Ben Affleck, who also returned to the director’s chair for the project, teaming up with first time screenwriter Alex Convery. The film centers on talent scout Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), who works in the basketball division for Nike, operated by CEO Phil Knight (Affleck).

A smaller company at that point, Nike doesn’t appear to have the ability to go after a ton of up and coming NBA players for shoe contracts. However, Vaccaro says Nike doesn’t need to go after a whole bunch of players, and instead, the company should give it their all to sign NCAA Champion, future Chicago Bull and eventual Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.

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REVIEW: ‘Super Mario Bros. Movie’ is not quite super

The “Super Mario Bros.” movie was a bit of a frustrating experience.

Not as frustrating as some of those secret “Super Mario Sunshine” levels, but still frustrating nonetheless.

In the animated film, the titular brothers Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) set off on a new adventure, which is opening a plumbing business. Their first job doesn’t go well, but determined after a setback, the brothers decide to take another job, fixing a major pipe leak underneath Brooklyn.

In the process, they enter one pipe that shoots them to a whole other world. There, Mario finds himself in the Mushroom Kingdom and meets its ruler, Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), who is determined to stop the invasion of the evil Bowser (Jack Black). Mario decides to help, as Luigi has fallen into Bowser’s clutches.

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The End of the Beginning: My hometown theater, Cine 5, closes

For a film buff, living near a movie theater is a great bit of geographic luck.

That’s what I had growing up in International Falls, Minn. From when I was born until I moved away for college, I never lived more than a block or two away from the local theater, the Cine 5.

Sadly, like I’ve done twice already on this site, I’m having to write a farewell piece to place I spent countless hours and created numerous memories. The Cine 5 closed recently, marking the end of another theater that I attended.

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