(*homocinematically inclined)

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

2019, A Film Odyssey: Super Girls

"Let it go... I mean snow"

This year's hits you may have missed, flops that you should avoid, hidden gems to discover and more, plus where to watch 'em...

From the royals of Arendelle to the March sisters, these young women are all superb:

Frozen II (in theaters now):
Elsa, Anna and all your Frozen friends are back in a sequel whose themes of maturity and self-acceptance are reflected in its mature tone and sophisticated songs. This time out, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) finally gets a real solo number ("Lost in the Woods", bizarrely/brilliantly visualized as an 80s power ballad music video) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) belts out not one but two showstoppers ("Into the Unknown" and "Show Yourself"), both faring admirably in trying to out-"Let It Go" that Oscar-winning earworm "Let It Go". The harsh winter landscape of the original has been replaced with lush, gorgeous Autumnal tones, making this a striking visual feast. (8/10)

Alita: Battle Angel (now available on Blu-ray and DVD):
What at first looked like just another video game movie is actually a stunningly exhilarating post-apocalyptic cyberpunk thrill ride starring a kick-ass heroine, a scrappy cyborg girl named Alita, wondrously brought to life via a combination of actress Rosa Salazar and state of the art digital effects. Even so, Salazar more than holds her own opposite a trio of veterans with five Academy Awards between them (Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connolly and Mahershala Ali). Director Robert Rodriguez turns out his best work in over a decade with this adaptation of the popular Japanese manga series, which will hopefully become a series on the big screen as well. (8/10)

Little Women (in theaters now):
The American literary classic Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is over 150 years old and there has seemingly been almost as many adaptations of it, from stage to TV to, of course, film. So why make another one in 2019? Well thank the cinematic gods Greta Gerwig did for this is one marvelous movie, beautifully made on all levels and impeccably acted by a cast that includes Lady Bird alumni Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet, this year's "it" girl Florence Pugh and every year's "MVP" Laura Dern. Gerwig's screenplay "remixes" the timeline of the March family of Massachusetts, vibrantly refreshing this oft-told tale while also allowing the three non-Jo sisters to be more-fully fleshed out. Treat yourself this holiday/award season and revisit some old friends in a new way; you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll fall in love all over again with Little Women. (9/10)

Little Women in the Dunes

Reviews by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.

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