The Reviews Are In (Late): The Jungle Book

THE JUNGLE BOOK

As much as you might like the recent string of Disney live-action remakes, I think we can all agree that none of them have improved on the original story. Even if you loved Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, it’s not about to dethrone it’s cartoon predecessor. That being said, if enjoyable but ultimately underwhelming Disney remakes are the rule, the The Jungle Book is the exception. The
story and visuals are so improved that I left the theater, not Jonesing for the original version, MV5BMTkyNTUxMDczMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTUzNDA4NjE@._V1_but wanting to buy myself another ticket for this one.

It’s surprising that a movie with the combined voice talents of Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken and Ben Kingsley could find a young lead with enough screen presence to balance the screaming star-power of the supporting cast. Luckily Neel Sethi is the living incarnation of Mowgli, right down to the little red jungle shorts. He’s as precious as a little wolf puppy, which, in the context of the movie, is the highest compliment I can give.

It’s worth mentioning that this movie is definitely scarier than the 1967 cartoon you screen_shot_2016-02-21_at_10_16627afe.jpegremember. King Louie (Christopher Walken) is genuinely horrifying, as the family who sat behind me in the theater can testify. Likewise, Idris Elba’s Shere Khan is equally impressive; it’s not the first time I’ve been attracted to an anthropomorphized cartoon animal, and unfortunately it probably won’t be the last. Point is… meow. Pun intended.

I originally wasn’t sold on Disney’s plan to capitalize on former cinematic glory by maxresdefaultremaking beloved classics. It seemed like a self-aggrandizing re-mix of the company’s
greatest hits. But if the films to come have as much heart and as much charm as The Jungle Book, it’s a stance I may need to reconsider.

Whitney Weldon

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The Reviews Are In: Zootopia

Me, when I realized I was the only person over 20 in the theater without children.

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Me, when I realized I didn’t care.

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Me, after it dawned on me that Zoototpia is the greatest animated film of all time

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Me, when the lady next to me wouldn’t SHUT UP.

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Me, during the DMV scene.

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Me, when I realized that a fox and a bunny can totally be best friends.

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Me, when it ended and I had to go home and eat my feels.

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Whitney Weldon

Whitney’s Official 2016 Oscar Snubs

There are plenty to choose from, right? Ridley Scott, Star Wars, Michael B. Jordan, Idris Elba. The list of Oscar snubs, as it does every year, goes on. My diplomatic response would be that the Academy simply can’t accommodate and acknowledge all the great work that was churned out this year. My unfiltered Fangirl answer would be, did The Revenant and Fury Road really, really deserve 12 and 10 nominations, respectively? It’s a subject that’s certainly up for debate. But I’m not here to talk about the Academy’s apparent inability to spread the love. No, I would instead like to focus on the few specific snubs that really bring out the Troll in me.

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3) Crimson Peak for Best Cinematography

It’s pretty obvious that this movie wasn’t for everyone. But no matter what you thought about this Guillermo Del Toro horror set in a repressive, Victorian hell-scape, you must admit that it was beautiful to look at. As a genre, though, horror rarely gets any props at the Oscars, mad or otherwise, so this snub wasn’t at all surprising.  I had hoped, however, for some kind of honorable mention. Something like “Best Use of Tom Hiddleston’s Shapely Hind-Parts in a Drama”. Just a suggestion.

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2) JJ Abrams for Best Director

This is mostly wishful thinking. I just hoped that after all  the garbage that has been slung at this genuinely wonderful movie, it might have been recognized with a nom somewhat more meaningful than “Best Film Editing”. JJ Abrams gave us a Star Wars that was steeped in action and humor and nostalgia and feminism, and in return received a whole lot of internet bitching and a truck-load of broken box office records. We audiences are nothing if not inconsistent.

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1) Charlize Theron for Best Actress 

You would think that at least one of the ten nominations doled out to Fury Road would have gone to the performance that made the movie what it was. Theron’s Furiosa was easily the most moving and complex performance in an action movie, well, ever. I bet this pointed snub has left her pretty inconsolable right now.

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See what I mean?

Whitney Weldon

Anglophiles Anonymous: Luther

Luther-adLuther returns to BBC America tonight and this anglophile is ecstatic.  Also, terrified.  If you have seen the show, you will understand.  It’s a scary show sometimes.

I’m excited for the following reasons:

1) More of this show will always be a good thing because it is amazing.  The psychological crime drama follows London Detective Chief Inspector John Luther (Idris Elba) through some truly nail-biting cases, some lasting only an episode, some spanning multiple episodes.  Think of it as a darker Sherlock.

2) Alice is back!  Fellow fans of the show realize the significance of the creepy, cool Alice (Ruth Wilson) returning.  She is obsessed with Luther and is sometimes his greatest ally and at other times, makes his life a living hell.  It makes for some dang good television.

3) Idris Elba?  Yes, please.  (Loving the rumors that he will be the next Bond.  If you watch the show, you will, too. )

4) There hasn’t been much on TV to get me excited lately, so I’m especially excited for the return of some good TV.  It’s about time, right?

The first two seasons are available on Netflix Instant so go check it out and get the wits scared out of you!

Ellen