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7/10
Simple, yet sweet journey of self-discovery told through a unique perspective.
8 August 2019
I hadn't read the book that it is based on, so only armed with the knowledge of a short synopsis, I really didn't know what to expect. It was actually quite good.

I thought listening to Kevin Costner drone on for a couple hours as a dog's inner monologue would be tedious, but the nuggets of wisdom peppered with the occasional witticism provided ample entertainment. I often felt like I was watching the "Thoughts of Dog" Twitter account played out in cinematic form. I absolutely loved both Milo Ventimiglia and Amanda Seyfried in this. The daughter was also played especially well by Ryan Kiera Armstrong. The relationships between themselves and also with Eve's (Seyfried) parents was perhaps a bit banal at times, but overall was still believable and endearing - although I felt like hitting the dad with my car at several points.

Afterwards, I overheard several people tell the studio rep that they hadn't expected the movie to be a "tear-jerker", and the sobs coming from the gentleman seated next to me seemed to confirm that. However, I found the story to not be overly sorrowful or sad, but inspirational. A guide, if you will, for how to become an exemplary person shown through the filter of a dog's belief that by gaining this knowledge he'll be reincarnated as a human in his next life. (I know it sounds silly, but it was actually quite poignant.)
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9/10
Perfect spin-off of the F&F franchise
31 July 2019
It was much, much better than I expected. The chemistry between Johnson & Statham was on point and their back and forth dialogue was absolutely hilarious. Throw in Vanessa Kirby and it was a perfect trifecta! Idris Elba was perfect as "Black Superman" and his interactions with the other three leads was gold. I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention at least two actor cameos, which were brilliant and unexpected. I won't mention who they are because I think they're uncredited, but one is a CIA agent and the other an air marshal. Both were so funny in their roles and every time they appeared the audience just loved it.

The action scenes, continuing in the tradition of the Fast & Furious films to keep upping the stakes were sometime over-the-top, but they were so much fun to watch. The tech was also a bit too sci-fi to be believable, but actually worked quite well in the context of the plot. This movie had everything you could want from a mindless (not a bad thing!) summer popcorn flick - action, comedy, drama, & sci-fi.
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The Lion King (2019)
5/10
A Pale, Lifeless, & Unnecessary Remake
31 July 2019
I don't know if it's because my fondness for the original Disney animated movies colors my perception of the live action remakes, but I've been severely disappointed with every one of them except for Cinderella. The animals looked absolutely fantastic - if this were a nature show. But, as far as emoting and engaging the audience in the story, it just fails completely. I think it's just a limitation of transitioning from an animated medium to a live action one where anthropomorphizing the animals to express emotions would probably just look weird.

Many of the voice actors I also felt were flat. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover, & Beyoncé's performances were just lifeless. Not to mention I could barely hear/make out the majority of John Oliver's dialogue. James Earl Jones was perfect and spot on as usual. The songs were good, not as good as the original imo, but still they weren't too bad. I missed the original "Be Prepared" and that Beyoncé song seemed so out of place. I would have liked to of had "He Lives In You" by Lebo M. actually in the movie instead of relegated to the credits, it's a great song.
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