Rattlesnake (2019)

Originally released on October 25th 2019

Overview

A mother-daughter duo are driving through Texas when the car gets a flat tire, causing the mother, Katrina Ridgeway (Carmen Ejogo), to pull over. While working on the tire, her daughter Clara (Apollonia Pratt) wonders into the barren grounds of the desert and is subsequently bitten by a rattlesnake. The situation is looking very dire until Katrina carries her daughter into a nearby trailer, where a mysterious woman claims that she will be able to help the child, and that a payment will be discussed afterwards. Upon returning to her daughter after fixing the tire, she notices that the rattlesnake bite has completely disappeared. They still go to the hospital however, and it is there that Katrina is approached by yet another mysterious individual, a man in a suit and tie that explains to her that as payment, she will need to kill someone by sunset. The only conditions? The soul must be human, and it must be done on time. Believing him to be crazy, she tells him to leave but he shows her what will happen if she does not comply; her daughter quickly turns blue and looks on the verge of death. That seems to be evidence enough, because Katrina soon thereafter sets out, trying to come up with a plan on how to repay the debt.

First, she sets her sights on an old man that she overheard was already on the verge of dying, but she decides against it–he dies minutes later and her seemingly only chance is gone. By chance, she goes to a bar and is mulling over her situation when a woman walks in, and after a short conversation with the bartender, Katrina figures out that the woman is currently in a relationship where the man treats her badly but she refuses to leave. Katrina follows them to their home so she can remember where it is, and then she goes out to buy a gun, the target being the abuser. For the sake of her daughter, she forces him at gunpoint to drive to the canyon. After a long few minutes of going back and forth, the upper hand switching between the two of them, she finally kills him as he lay bleeding out due to falling as a result of a rattlesnake bite. He becomes another specter, waiting for the next person who needs to repay their debts.

my thoughts

The plot of this movie had a lot of potential, while not being anything revolutionary, it seemed interesting enough. Apart from some scenes that were definitely unnerving, the movie felt bland. The camera angles at times were questionable, making it easy for the audience to focus on insignificant details. The movie moved at a slow pace, and while that can work for some stories–it fell flat for this one. It also left me with a few questions; did the daughter know what her mother had to do? If not, why would they show that she drew a picture seemingly depicting the rules of payment? Was the rattlesnake all a ploy, to force the need for payment? The doctor mentions that Katrina had told him that they were driving from Phoenix, Arizona to Oklahoma, but since she never talks about it, I don’t know if this is true. If it was, why were they leaving? Who was the man that was texting Katrina, that she brushed off? There’s a lot that I still don’t know, but the answers to these questions didn’t seem like anything that would change the plot dramatically, they seemed like facts that were omitted out of lazy writing or this need to create mystery where there was none.

Have you guys seen this one? What did you think of it?

Dolittle (2020)

Originally released January 17 2020

overview

The doctor is in and he can talk to animals. He’s led an adventurous life but he calls an end to all adventures when his wife dies in a shipwreck. In order to avoid losing anyone else, he stops all contact with humans. Living his life within his sanctuary with his animals and no one else. That is, until the Queen (Jessie Buckley) herself falls gravely ill and she needs Dr. Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) to help her. He takes on an apprentice, Stubbins (Harry Collett), and the humans along with an ostrich (Kumail Nanjiani), a polar bear (John Cena), a gorilla (Rami Malek), a macaw (Emma Thompson), and a few other animals set off on a trip to find a tree that no one believes exist, on an island no one has been able to find.

my thoughts

I loved Dr. Dolittle (1998) with Eddie Murphy, so when it was announced that the story would be returning to the screen, re-envisioned and with Robert Downey Jr. playing the titular role, I was intrigued. However, when I say re-envision, I really mean it. In this version, Dr. Dolittle does not have any children, and his wife has died in a shipwreck. It is also based somewhere between 1837 and 1901, since Queen Victoria is the one who calls upon Dr. Dolittle, and she reigned during these years. The Story of Doctor Dolittle, Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts by Hugh Lofting was originally published in 1920 and while the stories aren’t the same, it isn’t hard to assume that the story takes place during similar years.

This being said, I think the movie was entertaining. It was the first role I’ve seen Robert Downey Jr. in since his iconic portrayal of Iron Man, and I think he did a really good job. The movie was funny, it was sentimental, it was serious and it was suspenseful. It told a tale that we’ve heard before, following a pattern we’ve come to know. The main character is broken when we meet him, choosing to isolate himself from any other humans because he lost the love of his life and is terrified of experiencing that kind of pain again. Then he is introduced to someone a lot younger than he, someone who can remind him of the good that life can bring. There’s a call to duty, one he almost ignored until he learned that it would mean he would lose his animal sanctuary. There’s a villain that we the audience learn is the villain pretty early on, who is fueled by jealousy and the need to be better than our protagonist. Despite following a similar path as many stories before them, I didn’t feel bored. The world that we were able to step into through this film was really beautiful.

The one character that surprised me was Rassouli, the king of pirates, played by Antonio Banderas. He was Lily’s father, and for this, he resents Dolittle for the death of his daughter. I’ve liked Banderas ever since his role in Spy Kids, so it is always a nice when he pops up in new movies. All in all, I enjoyed this movie and that’s always a goal when I watch a new movie. However, I don’t think it will leave a lasting mark and I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of this year, many forget that it happened. This has little to do with the individual movie but more about the amount of movies that come out every year. It is taking a lot more for movies to stand out to an average moviegoer. With a constant stream of new movies every week, it is no wonder when December comes around and people find themselves stunned when recalling movies that came out that same year.

Have you guys seen Dolittle? What did you think of it?

Frozen 2 (2019)

Originally released November 22nd, 2019

Overview

The world of Frozen expanded in this film, introducing the people of Northuldra. People who lived in the forest, working in harmony with the spirits of the elements in order to live a simple life. In a flashback, we watch as King Agnarr (Alfred Molina) is telling a story to his young daughters Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) about an event that took place when he was a boy. His father, King Runeard (Jeremy Sisto) and the leader of the Northuldra people, have made a treaty through the construction of the dam. As the story goes, Northuldra betrayed Arendelle which results in a fight that costs King Runeard his life. Enraged, the spirits create an impenetrable mist that traps those within the forest. King Agnarr manages to escape through the help of a stranger.

The second film takes place three years after the events of the first movie. Elsa begins hearing a strange noise, one that only she can hear and it is calling to her. Unable to resist the temptation, she awakens the spirits and the people of Arendelle are forced to seek refuge on higher grounds. In order to save their people, Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven all go into the forest hoping to find the answers and fix everything. Without revealing any spoilers since the movie is still fairly new (when are spoilers allowed? Three months?) the movie takes us on a journey that diverges from the simple story of the first film.

My thoughts

Having little sisters mean that I’ve seen the first Frozen movie more times than I can count. The songs were good enough to be loved by the children but they didn’t grab my attention more than any other catchy song would. I never listened to any of them on my own volition, unless they were in a playlist with other Disney songs. The plot itself was different from the classic formula for a Disney princess movie, focusing on the relationship between two sisters and having romantic relationships take the backseat. However, the second movie takes that same foundation and built on it, making the final product remarkable.

All of the characters have depth to them, depth that isn’t expected from a children’s movie. Elsa is the Queen but she doesn’t feel like she belongs. Anna will follow her sister anywhere, there is a fierce loyalty to her that knows no bounds. Kristoff is unabashedly sensitive, a characteristic not often found in male characters because it is no secret that boys are taught that having feelings is a ‘girl trait.’ By seeing Kristoff, a guy who loves Anna wholeheartedly, who has his own power ballad about his feelings, it can teach boys that they can talk about how they are feeling without the fear of judgement. They can learn that having feelings is okay rather than growing up to be emotionally constipated.

The songs in this film are a lot better in this film. My favorite being a toss up between ‘Into the Unknown’ and ‘Show Yourself’. But in truth, all of the songs are really well done. Each one having a role to play in telling the story, even Olaf’s song titled ‘When I am Older.’ While to the adults, it can seem as though he really has no idea what is going on and that doesn’t seem like something that will change. But for the kids, they can relate to it because as a child, we always believe that things will get better when we get older. That we will be independent and the world will be open to us. The message behind the song resonates with the kids.

I really enjoyed this movie, I actually watched it twice. I do wonder if a sequel is in the cards, but if not, I feel as though the story reached a good conclusion.

Have you guys watched this film? What did you guys think of it? Feel free to leave comments to let me know what you thought of Frozen 2.

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