Christmas Weekend REVIEW: Glass Onion, Babylon, The Fabelmans, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
The Holiday season is the perfect moment to spend time with your family, sometimes it means watching a movie with them and we've got a lot of options this weekend with some new releases in theaters and on streaming. We are going to go chronogically here but there has been a lot of movie-watching in the past 2 days. I started with Steven Spielberg's new film The Fabelmans which I've been anticipating for a while, it never played in theaters so I had to watch it at home. The same day, I went to see the new animated sequel Puss In Boots: The Last Wish in theaters with my cousin which was a fun time. Then, Glass Onion the sequel to Knives Out dropped in Netflix and I finished it off with Damien Chazelle's Babylon in theaters. What did I think of those 4 films, let's find out!
Last year, Steven Spielberg gave us one of his best films in recent years with his remake of West Side Story and he is back with a passion project of his, The Fabelmans which is semi-autobiographical. Being based on his life and passion for making movies I was very excited for this film and I might've set the bar a bit too high. Even tough I wish The Fabelmans had more of an emotional connection with me, I truly enjoyed it a lot. The family drama was where I had some "issues" but everything with Sam (Spielberg) and his love of movies put a huge smile on my face, you can tell this was a personal project.
Synopsis: "Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, young Sammy Fabelman aspires to become a filmmaker as he reaches adolescence, but soon discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth."
From the middle finger to his high school buddies to the legendary David Lynch cameo, I feel like it gets better in the second half and I obviously thought it was extremely rich visually. Spielberg's cinematic langage is always so captivating and we have a lot to learn from the way he sets up a scene from his blocking to his use of lighting. You can tell it was filmed around the same time he shot West Side Story with the lens flares, bright colors and the energy behind the camera. As someone who grew up making movies with a deep love of cinema, it didn't connect as much as I wanted I guess but it's still beautiful. I'd love to watch this again and see if this impacts me more the second time around.
Initial Score: 8/10
The Fabelmans is playing on VOD and in limited theaters.
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish
It's the return of the most beloved animated cat on screen, Puss in Boots from the Shrek universe. I honestly had no intention to go see this sequel Puss In Boots: The Last Wish in theaters until the first reactions started rolling in. To my surprise, I ended up liking it more than I thought. Even though we were alone in the movie theater we had a lot of fun with this. The runtime goes by very fast, the animation is solid (taking a page out of Spider-Verse's book), overall a highly entertaining and colorful adventure worth seeing.
Synopsis: "Puss in Boots discovers that his passion for adventure has taken its toll: he has burned through eight of his nine lives. Puss sets out on an epic journey to find the mythical Last Wish and restore his nine lives."
Brace yourselves because they have one of the best villains I've seen all year and the action sequences are so stunning to look at, I'm not quite over the moon about the film as whole but it expands on Shrek's fairy tale world in a fun way and they bring some heart with Puss In Boots' last wish being at the core of the film. Antonio Banderas returns as the voice of Puss and the whole cast does a great job bringing those animals to life. The visuals are this film's biggest strength but they still have an emotional story to tell for the whole family, good flick!
Initial Score: 7/10
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is now playing in theaters.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Rian Johnson surprised everyone by delivering the sleeper hit Knives Out in 2019 to huge critical and commercial success after the polarizing Star Wars film he made. It's no surprise to people who have been following him since Brick (2005) but that was one hell of a way to come back. A franchise so promising that Netflix decided to buy it out and develop the sequels with Daniel Craig returning as Benoit Blanc. I finally got the chance to see the sequel Glass Onion and boy did I loved it! It did not disappoint and will definitely end up in my favorites of the year.
Synopsis: "Famed Southern detective Benoit Blanc travels to Greece for his latest case."
Glass Onion was absolutely marvelous, a sharp intrigue, colorful characters played by a delectable cast with a clever & entertaining screenplay. The location, the mystery and the twists all worked a lot for me. I can't get enough of Benoit Blanc adventures. Rian Johnson is in his element with this material and it's so contagious I think every actor is having a blast on screen and you can feel it... It's easy when the stuff on the pages is so brilliant but everyone has something to bring to the table, Janelle Monáe being a huge highlight. I don't want to say too much so just hit Netflix and have a blast with this new film!
Initial Score: 9/10
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is now playing on Netflix.
Ending this movie tour with Damien Chazelle's big return on screen after making Whiplash, La La Land and First Man, three films I absolutely adore for completely different reasons, he was back with this ode to Hollywood starring Brad Pitt, Babylon. The movie has been compared a lot to a mix between La La Land and Wolf Of Wall Street but I don't think it's quite accurate. I see it more in the vein of Hail Caesar! or Death Proof, a fascinating piece of art from a master filmmaker that might need some time to find its audience.
Synopsis: "A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, it traces the rise and fall of multiple characters during an era of unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood."
For a moment there, I was having a thing with Babylon where I was loving it and I thought I was the odd man out... but then it disappeared in the last hour. I want to watch it again before I give it a fair assessment, it's something that might grow on me because of the spectacular craft and the strong voice behind it. The best way I could describe it is "The Artist" on cocaine and that's not exactly a compliment. I would rather watch The Artist again because it gets the job done. This felt like listening to someone talking to you on cocaine for 3 hours, at some point their delusions starts to become overwhelming and Babylon had that effect on me. Because it's the 4th film I'm seeing in 2 days, I'm not going to give it a high rating at this particular moment, but I will gladly revisit this in the near future. Let's call this a temporary score.
Initial Score: 7/10
Babylon is now playing in theaters.
With all those new films coming out, I hope you can enjoy a good time at the movies with your family during this Holiday season. I will be releasing my top 10 of the year very soon so 2022 is not over for us. Don't forget, this is only my opinion!