"Christmas" movie roundup doesn't contain a single "Christmas" movie, but still...
SPIDER-MAN--INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE: We should have had this instead of the Andrew Garfield movies (especially the second one). A thoroughly entertaining blend of the exciting and the absurd and a fine tribute to the legacy of Stan Lee.
MORTAL ENGINES: I can understand the reluctance of viewers to start in on yet another multi-chapter young-adult mega-epic, but this one's worth catching on the big screen (if you still can) despite a climactic descent into cliche-ville. The Peter Jackson factory scored with original spectacle (I had not seen the likes of the moving cities before), good casting and a distinct lack of boredom. I rather liked the undead Terminator, as well. Future installments are extremely unlikely, but at least this story remains sufficiently self-contained.
MARY POPPINS RETURNS: Considerably better than I expected. It captures the spirit of the original film remarkably faithfully and the casting is flawless. For me personally, it peaked far too early (the dance-hall number is the one to beat) and some sequences could have been shortened or left out entirely to no ill effect (sorry, Meryl), but if you liked the original at ALL, you really ought to see this.
AQUAMAN: Okay, it's Marvel's THOR crossed with the legend of King Arthur (how subtle that the character is actually known as "King Arthur," eh?), substituting Atlantis for Asgard/Camelot, but it's still one of the very best of the new DC Universe films and a must-see for any superhero fan. It just rocks.
THE MULE: Clint Eastwood continues to age gracefully without losing a jot of personality or skill behind the camera. The melodrama is ultimately laid on a little thick, but most who would want to see this wouldn't have it any other way. Well worth watching.
Moderator: Chris Slack
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