NUNN'S THEATER HABIT
The Good, the Bad and The Rise of Skywalker
Fri. December 20, 2019 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn
It's the time of the year where people finally have some time on their hands, thanks to the holidays, to catch up on movies. For many family and friends it's sometimes a tradition to see the latest cinematic offerings on the big screen.
Let's start off with the good first. The eighth adaptation of Little Women is a charm, thanks to writer and director Greta Gerwig. The entire cast is outstanding and Saoirse Ronan is already being recognized for her work during award season. The breakout star is Florence Pugh as Amy March. She outshines many of the seasoned actors in the piece and gives a multi layered performance that will certainly earn her big roles in the future.
It was refreshing to see a period piece that doesn't feel like one, actors that know how to translate words from the page and a film that celebrates the talents of women.
While Little Women has some star power with Meryl Streep and Laura Dern, they can't hold a candle to the big names in the cast of Cats. The new fantasy film adapting Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical that's based on a poetry collection already has too much going on for its own good.
Director Tom Hooper described me as his favorite reporter one time in England at a press junket, unfortunately, I can't return the favor with the mess of a movie he created.
Obviously, big stars are fans of the musical and wanted to be a part of the project. Within in a few minutes of seeing the finished product, they may question that decision and should fire their agent.
I don't think they had any idea that the end result would be this bad. Cats doesn't even look like it was fun to make, much less watch. Rebel Wilson is full of cat puns, Judi Dench seems lost and eventually gives up and talks directly to the audience. Jennifer Hudson performs "Memories" like a truck just ran over her and Idris Elba has no motivation being a bad cat. Taylor Swift fares the best, but is only in the film for about seven minutes and will probably never ever get back together with this cast for a sequel!
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the final episode of the nine part Star Wars saga that's been going on since I was kid. I turn 50 next month so this has been a long journey!
I have seen all of the Star Wars movies at the theater over the years and I suggest to see this one there as well. There's something magical about the credits at the beginning and the heart of some of these endearing space characters. This segment is slow at the beginning as the story takes its time to set up the ending. J.J. Abrams finally throws the LGBT audience a bone and while it's not as good as The Force Awakens that he did in 2015, the overall film is satisfying enough to give it a middle of the road pass. Fans are going to see it anyways and I imagine families will pack into the theater over the holiday.
The Star Wars tie-in The Mandalorian on Disney+ is where fans should be this season as this space Western web series hits all the right targets. Who knew that a story about a bounty hunter that focuses on visuals instead of clunky dialogue would be so satisfying?
Baby Yoda is the breakout stare this time and my recently interviewed buddy Jon Favreau wore many hats to create a show that longtime fans deserve.
May the Force be with you as you navigate holiday movies this season!