Holiday Break Movie Recap

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‘The Next Level’ continues the hilarity of the ‘Jumanji’ franchise

Over the holiday break, people had a lot more time on their hands than they did during the semester. Enough time that they could even catch up on some of the films that had come out during finals or those few films that decided to come out around Christmas.

There are so many films in the theaters at any given time with very little time to watch them during the finals season. That is why the break is a perfect opportunity to catch up on some quality, and not so quality, movies. With that being said, here is a quick little review of a bunch of movies that I personally watched over the break.

Jumanji: The Next Level

Serving as a sequel to the very successful “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and officially the third film in the Jumanji franchise (unless you count “Zathura”), “The Next Level” brings audiences back once again to the world of Jumanji for another round of laughs.

The game is broken, as it was destroyed by the kids at the end of “Welcome to the Jungle.” Yet Spencer, one of the kids, decided it would be a great idea to fix the game that almost killed them. So, he does and, of course, gets sucked into the game once again.

The rest of the kids must go into the game to save him. Joining them is Spencer’s grandpa, played by Danny Devito, and his grandpa’s old friend, played by Danny Glover.

Once inside, they all take the form of the different video game characters and hilarity ensues. While it is very similar to the film that came before it, it does allow for some new laughs.

Primarily, in the way that Dwayne Johnson attempts to channel and imitate Danny DeVito while Kevin Hart attempts to act like Danny Glover. Both pull it off hilariously and it really helps show their comedic ability.

Jack Black and Karen Gillian are able to scrounge up some laughs as well, especially when Jack Black returns to his female persona from the first one. Joining them is Awkwafina and Nick Jonas. Each bringing their own comedic style and imitation of the younger actors.

This film will have you laughing, and it nicely sets up another film in the franchise if they wanted to explore the world more. It also draws more connections to the original film which helps make it feel more like a series.

If you liked every Jumanji movie you are sure to have a laugh. If you like Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart you will also for sure have a laugh. If you like laughing, you will probably have a laugh.

Frozen 2

Of course, it was only a matter of time before Disney made a sequel to the highly successful Frozen. Parents are not allowed any peace and quiet after this one.

Starting where the first left off, all of the main characters return and are living happy lives. Somehow Olaf doesn’t need his cloud anymore because magic and everyone seems happy until tragedy strikes. The elements themselves are stirring and only Elsa can calm them.

The story in this one is definitely not as strong as the first one. It expands on the sisterly love, but the plot seems to come to a quick and easy resolution. It is more magical than the first one’s human vs. human conflict.

Some of the songs are catchier, especially Kristoff’s, and the film can get a little darker. It is better than all of the Disney animation sequels that came before it, but that isn’t hard.

Kids will love it, and that is what it was made for. Parents will sing along for a little bit before they beg their kids to stop after they sing it for the 50th time.

It’s catchy, it’s fun, it’s worth a watch. Even if the first one is better.

Marriage Story

An interesting and very depressing movie about a couple going through a divorce. You won’t be happy after watching this one.

Starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as the divorcing couple. Each actor delivers a stellar performance that feels real. Each character has their own reasons and wants but are also both very selfish and together make a very broken couple.

Without the stellar acting, the film would not be talked about or even a great film. The story isn’t mind-blowing and the content is very depressing.

It isn’t bad but it isn’t very memorable. It won’t be a film you return to over and over again like the previous two.

The good thing is that if you want to check it out you can if you have a Netflix subscription. The acting will wow you, but the story will not.

Jojo Rabbit

A story about a little German boy whose imaginary friend is Hitler during World War 2. It sounds really dumb and set up for failure but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

It follows this young boy who is infatuated with Nazis and believes every piece of propaganda that is put in front of him. All he wants to do is go fight for his country even though he is only ten.

That is until he discovers that his mom has been hiding a young Jewish girl behind the wall of his sister’s room. His entire world begins crumbling down as he learns that everything he once thought may not be that true.

The film is very funny with Taika Waititi delivering a hilarious imaginary Hitler (never thought those words would be uttered). Yet the film can also make you cry, and it will.

This film is so much better than it has any right to be. It is emotional, funny and will have you sitting at the edge of your seat.

Bring tissues for the tears of joy and tears of sadness. Maybe just bring a bucket to catch all the tears, just don’t confuse it for your popcorn bucket.

Honorable Mentions

There are many more films that came out around the holidays that were not covered here in this article but are still worth your time.

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is covered in another article. No matter what the article says you should still go see for yourself because it is very divisive. Personally, I think it’s a great conclusion and a fantastic “Star Wars” movie, but to others, it may be horrible.

“Knives Out” was another great whodunit film. It is definitely worth a watch and you should read the review from a couple of months ago on it. If you have the chance, go watch it.

Another noteworthy title is “The Two Popes.” Another Netflix film, but this one is historically based. Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins deliver a very real friendship and the film really humanizes the Pope. It isn’t a very intriguing story, but you should watch it.

There are many films coming out in 2020 and some older ones that still haven’t been reviewed. So, if you want the latest on what films to go see or what TV to watch then keep reading the Spectrum and stay tuned, 2020 is sure to be a big one.

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