With all the talk about the dying of cinema and my own struggles not just to get to the theater to see things sometimes but also to sit and focus for two hours at home is really getting to me. Every time I want to make a renewed push foward, something gets in the way. I do more background movies these days than new things but what can you do when your schedule is wonky?
One of the things I was looking forward to seeing on the Disney+ service was the original movie Noelle. Nicely timed for the holidays and the launch, it has all the right things it needs to work. Honestly, all it needed to work was Anna Kendrick in her charming mode that doesn’t lean into the rougher side of a Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates that she pulls out from time to time. Here, we get pure Disney Kendrick she’s a delight as the daughter of Santa Claus that can’t be the real Santa once he retires because her older brother Nick gets the mantle because of tradition. Even though he’s terrible.
Yes, you can see every path that this will go down from the trailer and that’s absolutely fine. What I wanted out of this film was something simple and comforting in a sense that was nice to watch with a group. Kendrick delivers as you’d expect and Bill Hader is a lot of fun here as well. I’m also always up for a movie that reminds audiences that Julie Haggerty can do no wrong and her as Mrs. Kringle was a delight. There are some good elf jokes in the mix as well with some of what it does in modernizing the whole affair.
One film I had wanted to see when it was in theaters earlier this year was Plus One, but it never came to my area as it never went wide in June. I had missed that it went to Hulu in August can caught up on it, for which I was grateful. The film is a kind of standard rom-com-ish project where the two leads are ideal for each other if they’d just figure it out and really work through their garbage. Maya Erskine was someone I really enjoyed in Casual but struggled with Pen15 so I was pulling for a more measured film work. She definitely works well here as she gets to do some crazy stuff from time to time but it lets her really get into the character, especially once they become an item. Jack Quaid was solid in this as the millennial male take but I was curious to see how he was since he’s the son of Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid. With them being a big thing back in my younger days, watching the progeny arrive is always interesting.
In the end, Plus One worked well for me because it did get into some real emotional battles that define the characters and how self-sabotage is so incredibly frustrating for both sides.
On the background side, because the TV side was dominating so much, only one was put through and that was the second Guardians of the Galaxy film. There’s a lot that I like about it but it’s also one that just felt like it was too forced in some areas and that kept it from resonating as strongly as it should. I loved the cast as a whole and getting “my” Guardians group on the big screen was an absolute delight. But in some ways, it felt like Gunn gave in on some of his worst excesses and we get the usual going bigger than the first without nailing the tone right kind of sequel.