Movie and Book Reviews

Ralph Breaks the Internet- Review

By Alyssa T.

Ralph Breaks the Internet is a newly released sequel of Wreck It Ralph. This family friendly PG film runs an hour and fifty-six minutes long and teaches about how a strong friendship can really last through “thick and thin”.  

Compared to the first movie, Wreck It Ralph, it contains appeal, for a sequel. Ralph Breaks the Internet does not have some of the main characters from the first movie such as Fix-It Felix, Jr. and Sergeant Calhoun. The new movie still manages to pull through and be a decent movie.

From beginning to end, the viewer is pulled into the story line. “Colorful, clever sequel tackles complexity of online world,” touts Common Sense Media. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the “tomatometer” rates it as 88% “fresh” while 68% of the audience actually like it. Rotten Tomatoes critics say, “Ralph Breaks the Internet levels up on its predecessor with a funny, heartwarming sequel that expands its colorful universe while focusing on core characters and relationships.”


The Nutcracker and the Mouse King Movie Review

By Madison L.Nutcracker and the four realms

With the release of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, the newest adaptation of the  classic and timeless tale, told since 1816, presents itself to the the public.

The book has received a variety of  relatively recent video adaptations from The Nutcracker Prince (1990) to the Barbie in The Nutcracker (2001) finally now to The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

The film follows the story of a young girl named Clara (played by Mackenzie Foy) who receives a strange box as a gift from father, a hat originally belonging to her mother.

Clara soon discovers a hidden world where she meets a nutcracker named Phillip.

The duo must save the three realms: the Land of Snowflakes, the Land of Flowers and the Land of Sweets from the ominous fourth realm and its tyrant, Mother Ginger. They must find the key to unlock the mysterious box and finally bring order and harmony to the realms once more.

The Nutcracker has always been a beloved classic, but sadly, the film doesn’t live up to the same fame as the original tale, receiving only a 5.6/10 from IMDb, 32% from Rotten Tomatoes, and a 39% approval rating from Metacritic.

Austin Chronicle states, “The film is as bland as Melba toast served on a bed of parsley while snatching sips of water from a nearby puddle following a rainstorm (that actually, in retrospect, could have some flavor). It is the very antithesis of creative destruction.”

Katie Rife, from The A.V. Club, states, “Every aspect of of the movie feels as if it’s been determined by algorithm, workshopped, and test-marketed into a state of pleasant, fleeting dullness.”

Additionally,  The New York Times simply states that the film is “Fine and forgettable.”

Although the film had its noticeable flaws, many viewers and critics saw past the flaws and more into the artistic creativity in the re-telling.

“An uneven and festive offering brimming with glitter and gaudiness that excels when it embraces its strangeness and the brilliance of the production design,” as IGN states.

The film had a brilliant and profound idea but fell short in becoming a classic remake. However, even in all its “forgettableness,” it is an enjoyable film. The costumes are creative and ornate while the story has a firm ground and a fascinating twist to the original.

The film will definitely charm families, friends, and children of all ages once, even if it is not destined to become a classic.


Bohemian Rhapsody

By Madison L.

Bohemian Rhapsody

The movie is a biographical film about the British rock band Queen. The film follows the inspiration of lead singer, Freddie Mercury, played by Rami Malek. The film goes from the creation of the band to one of the most iconic songs Bohemian Rhapsody finally to their legendary performance at Live Aid.

The film overall had very mixed reviews. The film received an 8.4/10 from reviewers like IMDB and 49% from Metacritic. Many fans feel the movie follows the beginning life of Freddie Mercury and the formation of the band but lacks focus on the people themselves. One fan on IndieWire states, “Precious little of Bohemian Rhapsody is interested in human beings and how they work. More often than not, the film makes you feel like you’re watching a group of talented actors cos-play Queen’s Wikipedia page, all of them fudging the facts whenever they get too close to making these rock legends seem like real people. Or — worse — fudging the facts in order to make these rock legends seem like real people.”

The reviews for the film are shaky. Many fans feel the movie succeeded in the only way it could have while others felt as if more could have been done. One of the main feature fans felt lacking was the personal life of Freddie Mercury. Some felt this could’ve been explored or followed up with more, but Freddie’s personal life felt more as only a ‘sideshow’ to the film.

Overall though, the film is well worth a watch, as Rami Malek portrays the legendary Freddie Mercury in a way not many other actors could match. Even those who are not fans of Queen will still find the movie very enlightening as it skims the surface of the group’s formation and their hit song, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” However, those looking for deeper personal life stories of the band members may not find this film satisfactory.


The House with a Clock in Its Walls Movie Review

By Leah T.

Jack Black delivers his signature style of comedy in the recent release, The House with a Clock in Its Walls, managing to stand out among the movie’s actors such as Cate Blanchett and Owen Vaccaro.

The film adaptation, based off John Bellairs’ novel of the same title, tells the story of young newly orphaned Lewis Barnevelt (Owen Vaccaro) as he starts off anew living with his uncle, Jonathan Barnevelt (Jack Black) and neighbor Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett).

The tale takes a turn as Jonathan confesses to Lewis that he is a warlock and that Mrs. Zimmerman is a witch. Jonathan then agrees to help teach Lewis to become a warlock and assist him on learning about the world of magic. However, events unfortunately unfold when Lewis “accidentally” raises infamous magician, Isaac Izard, back from the grave; Jonathan’s choice leads audiences to learn more about the histories of the characters and magic on its own behalf.

The film’s making had suspicion surrounding it as the director, Eli Roth, has previously directed a multitude of darker, grotesque films: This raised the eyebrows of moviegoers as they discovered his rendition of a film mainly for children.

On the contrary, The House with a Clock in Its Walls gives watchers an entertaining story as Roth delves straight into the story and its contents. The film can be rendered as a “just for kids” classic that was produced in the 1980s and 1990s while it gives off its own special magical touch.

Given that the adaptation does indeed lack complete creativity and concrete textual details of the world, this film provides a light into the genre of children’s movies. It offers many laughs and jokes alongside the positivity and humanity of the characters. Additionally, it bestows upon onlookers a certain Autumn and Halloween vibe as the magic and narrative is performed.

The biggest question is this: was the film a big hit in the box office? Making only $26.8 million in the first three days of release, as ScreenRant calculated, the figure on its own doesn’t produce the most impressive results. However, the high-minded message strongly stands out against all other odds and confusions.

With a score of 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is a “family-friendly blend of humor and horror with an infectious sense of fun.” (Critics Consensus)

Tomb Raider Movie Review

By Madison L.

On March 16, 2018, the Tomb Raider movie was released in theaters all around the world. Tomb Raider is a video game first released on October 25th in 1996. The main character, Lara Croft, is a young adventurous archaeologist following in her late father’s footsteps to discover the lost and forbidden secrets hidden in the world. Of course, this is not the first Tomb Raider movie, two other movies were made in the early 2000’s, but the 2018 version follows the reboot of the game released in 2013, although sadly, in many fans’ eyes, the reboot failed to capture the video game’s prestige. To many long time Tomb Raider fans, actress Alicia Vikander was the perfect choice for Lara Croft, and many fans still believe she is, even with the flaws of the movie. Some felt the movie focused too much on the beginning of Lara herself and less on her struggle to become the tomb raider. Her legendary quests, her family’s honor,  and her will to fight and survive at any cost, is what, to many fans, makes Lara such an interesting character.

Reviews by Rotten Tomatoes, Empire Online, Meta Critic and numerous other review sites believe the movie completely ignored the development and drive of Lara Croft as one reviewer on IMDB stated, “It’s a good movie, but it’s not quite Tomb Raider. They cut many essential characters to Lara’s journey and even changed somethings about Lara herself. I believe Alicia is an amazing actress and could even bring a generation of Tomb Raider films, but I felt the story just lacked the emotional investment it so desperately needed. I suggest going and seeing the movie, it’s definitely worth the time, but just as I said before: It’s not quite Tomb Raider.” Finally, of course the movie has it flaws and fans will definitely notice it, but truly overall, the movie is an opening to a much larger story. One reviewer  from Empire Online believes it to be “a seed to a much larger tree to grow in the future.”  The movie interweaves a tale of adventure, friendship, thrilling action, and jaw dropping moments that makes the movie worth the watch.