Movie Stakeout Reviews 21/11/20-04/12/20

in #film5 months ago

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All the latest Movieland reviews from detectives Dick Japowski and Joey Arizona, and the first Movieland assignment of Private Investigator Sam Sleet.

The Cinematic Sleuthings of Sam Sleet, P.I.
The New Mutants (2020)
Following a traumatic event, Dani Moonstar wakes up in a mysterious facility, the newest recruit alongside four other angsty young mutants under the supervision of a lone doctor. The residents each battle ghosts of their past as they try to uncover who is keeping them in this place and why.
I came into this aware of the movie's tortured production and multiple delays, so I actually enjoyed this well enough with the benefit of low expectations. There's a measured pace and a focus on character that puts it above some of the recent X-Men entries, but it also shows signs of budget constraints and studio interference. The scale is so small it feels as much like a tv pilot as it does a movie, and some plot elements are left so unresolved that there must be a lot left on the cutting room floor. The horror vibe promised by the early trailers also feels halfway abandoned in the final product. Still, the charisma of Dani, Rahne and Ilyana is enough to make this an enjoyable watch.
First watch: 3 out of 5 X-shaped doughnuts

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Deck the Halls with Dick Japowski 🌲
On the Second Day of Christmas (1997)
When a shoplifting Auntie and her young niece are caught getting some Christmas bargains at a department store by Mark Ruffalo, he is tasked with looking after them for 2 days over the holidays untill they can be prosecuted? Ok sure.
Wouldn't you know it feelings are felt, pages are turned and Christmas miracles happen before our eyes! This is just the kind of sentimental I enjoy...
First watch: 2.5 out of 5 Baubles
Christmas factor: 3

The Arizona Case Files
Coneheads (1993)
A pair of aliens sent to conquer Earth end up stranded instead, while they await a rescue they try their best to blend in.
As I recently impulse bought a Conehead action figure on eBay I felt it was time to revisit this cinematic masterpiece. It's a favourite with my family, my sister often referred to our parents as The Parental Units, and I've no idea how many I've seen it over the years.
It's a lot of fun, with every early nineties comedian popping up for cameos and bit parts, and a nice slice of Chris Farley for good measure.
Rewatch: 3.5 Doughnuts

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Deck the Halls with Dick Japowski 🌲
Home Alone (1990)
The tree has gone up so the film must go on, so let's try this one.. last..time!
Left home alone by mistake, young Kevin McCallister gets to eat his own cheese pizzas, shop for toothbrushes and toboggan down his stairs before getting down to business and destroying local burglars the wet bandits with paint cans, irons, blow torches and micro machines!
Absolute top tier holiday viewing.
Rewatch: 5 out of 5 Baubles
Christmas factor: 5

The Arizona Case Files
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Disney take on the classic tale of a transformed prince who must find true love in order to return to his normal self.
One thing you notice as an adult is the harshness of the punishment laid upon the Beast. He must find love before he turns twenty-one or he’ll be trapped that way forever, and he’s been cursed for ten years before Belle shows up, meaning he’d only have been ten years old, maybe even nine, when he was cursed. Not only was he a child, he clearly had no parents to teach him better. Not to mention the fact the witch curses all the servants as well, “I’m just trying to feed my family”, “to bad, you’re a wardrobe now”.
I also put this on to introduce it to Little Arizona, so later we can watch Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas and him have some idea of what’s going on. About five minutes in he stopped playing, watched twenty minutes or so, transfixed, then turned to me and said ‘this is boring’.
Rewatch: 5 Doughnuts

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Deck the Halls with Dick Japowski 🌲
Fatman (2020)
Mel Gibson stars as the Fatman himself, Kris Kringle. Falling short on his toy orders, he is forced to subsidize by making military tech. That's only the start of his problems though as a precocious rich kid, upset with the coal given to him, hires an assassin to take Santa out!
This was an unknown gem of a movie. A high concept like this can easily go bad very quickly, but Gibson is great as the Santa who's seen to many Christmas's and needs his magic resparked as is Walton Goggins the hitman who's obsessed with collecting toys made by Santa and loves his Russian hamster more than anyone!
This is way more fun than the description given and never takes itself to seriously, making this a great slice of Christmas entertainment!
First watch: 3.5 out of 5 Baubles

The Arizona Case Files
The Gentlemen (2019)
Matthew McConaughey plays a Mickey Pearson, who build an untouchable empire in marijuana distribution, and wants to sell up and get out while the gettings good.
When Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels came out on VHS back in the day I watched it four days running, and I loved Guy Ritchie’s follow-up, Snatch, just as much, if not more. I’ve been waiting for a third instalment for twenty years, or a decent one at least.
First watch: 4 Doughnuts

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The Many Views of Detective Dick Japowski
You Cannot Kill David Arquette (2020)
The early 00's, and a promotional stunt for his movie Ready to Rumble saw David Arquette become the WCW world champion, little knowing the 20 years of abuse from wrestling fans he was to receive. This documentary sees Arquette, as a life long fan of the sport, on his journey to redeem himself in the eyes of the wrestling world and fix his broken pride. I've always been a fan of Arquette, his films and his self deprecating personality.
This film doesn't shy away from showing him at his lowest and most broken, and he's pretty honest on all of the troubles he's been through, which makes this personal story even more compelling.
And if you're not a fan, you see him get beat up pretty bad also!
First watch: 4 Doughnuts

*The Arizona Christmas Files
Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square (2020)
A Scrooge-like tale of a women who attepts to evict an entire town, to make room for a new shopping mall....but with plenty of musical numbers.
It's adapted from a stage play, but feels like a TV movie with clout, if it wasn't for Parton's involvement this would be fairly forgettable. None of the characters have any depth, and the songs are often cheesy bad.
First watch: 2 Snowballs

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The Arizona Christmas Files
The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
A true believer and her cynical older brother stay up to video Santa in the act. The pair then stowaway on the sleigh, causing it to crash when they reveal their presence. They then have to help Santa get Christmas back on track.
Kurt Russell was born to play Santa, and may be one of the best to put on the suit. This is a lot of fun, and destined to become a Christmas classic for the Netflix generation, and the release of a sequel looks to cement that status.
Rewatch: 4 Snowballs

Have you witnessed any of the movies we've investigated? What's the verdict? Let us know in the comments below.