Covideodrome: Aladdin (2019)

A temporary replacement for TMINE’s Orange Thursday feature in which I review a readily available movie you’ve probably already seen

Streaming services, but particularly Disney+ have been among the biggest beneficiaries of lockdown. I guess someone has to be, I guess?

Trouble is, they’re struggling a bit to add new stuff. That means you’re basically restricted to whatever they had in the pipeline pre-Covid and their back catalogue. And in Disney+’s case, that pipeline is basically zilch, so we’ve been working our way through the archive.

I’ve already documented our journey so far through all those old Disney movies we’ve somehow missed. Since then, we’ve not watch that much more, but having watched the original cartoon Aladdin (1992), we decided to watch the live action Aladdin (2019), which saw Will Smith take over the role of the genie from Robin Williams.

Now, I have to say, we were braced for the worst. Disney’s live-action remakes have generally been sub-standard. They’ve been okay, just not that great, particularly when compared to the originals.

And here we were presented with something that not only didn’t feature Robin Williams and featured Will “bit of a career slump” Smith, not only didn’t have any big names or cast, not only was live action, but it was directed by none other than Guy Ritchie.

Yes, him. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels himself. I mean, this was going to be bland at best.

But you know what? We actually really enjoyed it. Not only was it in some ways an improvement on the original and the best of the many live action remakes we’ve now seen, Aladdin (2019) it’s enjoyable as almost any of the classic Disney cartoons we’ve seen, too.

Blimey, guv’nor.

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Covideodrome: Greyhound (2020)

A temporary replacement for TMINE’s Orange Thursday feature in which I review a readily available movie you’ve probably already seen

There can be few movies whose star is heartbroken by its release, but Greyhound (2020) is one of those rare beasts. However, Tom Hanks is in no way ashamed of his work – an adaptation by Hanks himself of CS Forester’s The Good Shepherd, in which Hanks plays the captain of the USS Keeling (codenamed ‘Greyhound’) during the Battle of the Atlantic.

He’s just upset it’s on Apple TV+.

Not because of shame, but because he thinks it should be on the big screen.

And he’s right. It should be on the big screen. It’s a hugely exciting war movie that suffers considerably from being on a small screen.

But while various summer blockbusters have been postponed until later in the year or until next year and many big movies were predicted to go straight to streaming services without the benefit of a cinematic release, Greyhound is actually the first big movie casualty of the viral war.

Yet cinema’s loss is Covideodrome’s very real gain.

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Covideodrome: Bad Boys For Life (2019)

A temporary replacement for TMINE’s Orange Thursday feature in which I review a readily available movie you’ve probably already seen

It seems surprising in this day and age, when Michael Bay is a director best associated with astonishingly stupid, hardware-based, explosion-packed summer blockbusters with a serial killer’s attitude towards women, but there was a time when he was an enfant terrible ready to transform cinema with a unique kinetic visual style.

Similarly, Will Smith was not the action movie star he is today but was merely the Fresh Prince of Bel Air – a singer/comedian in baggy clothes with as much right to big pecs and a gun licence as Ant and Dec.

The thing that changed both their careers was Bad Boys (1995), a funny but also hugely exciting, genre-changing action-comedy directed by Bay, in which Smith and fellow comedian Martin Lawrence played Miami detectives.

The movie catapulted all three onto the Hollywood movie A-list. Lawrence then bounced straight off into some frankly terrible comedies, with not even the frankly terrible but successful Bad Boys II (2003) being able to redeem him.

Bay continued to do well right up until The Island (2005), which flopped horribly. Bay took away precisely the wrong lesson from its failure – no more intellectually interesting content (the first half), only smash-crash-brain dead content (the second half), for his films in the future. After that, there was no saving him as a director.

Smith’s career continued to be strong for longer, right up until 2013 when he made the mistake of starring with his son in After Earth. Since then, he’s had numerous flops, but his career has started to head back towards more stellar heights of late. And now he’s returned to where it started for him – the second sequel to Bad Bays, Bad Boys for Life (2019).

Lawrence is back, too, but you’ll be glad to hear that the only thing Michael Bay has to do with Bad Bays for Life is that he makes an acting cameo as a wedding announcer.

I’ll let you know if it’ll do anything for anyone’s career after the trailer and the jump.

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Covideodrome: a big bunch of Disney movies

A temporary replacement for TMINE’s Orange Thursday feature in which I review a readily available movie you’ve probably already seen

As I’ve mentioned before, there is a hole in my mind. Through a weird combination of timings, I missed out on watching pretty much every Disney movie ever made. I just grew up in the wrong years relative to Disney release days. It’s weird.

But we’re in lockdown and one of the great successes of this period has been Disney+. Disney had a five-year plan for obtaining subscribers to its new streaming service… but is already more or less there. And we’re one of them.

So Lovely Wife, who had a similar gap in her cinematic education, and I decided to take advantage of the lack of new movies and new TV being released at the moment to watch some of those cultural touchstones we’d missed out on. Plus anything else that took our fancy.

We’re still working our way through them, so there’ll be more to come, and there’s absolutely no point properly reviewing them either, so after the jump you’ll find a potted selection of potted reviews of just a few of the things you can find on Disney+: The Jungle Book (1967), Aladdin (1992), Mulan (1998), Brave (2012), Moana (2016) and The Lion King (2019).

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Covideodrome: Just Mercy (2019)

A temporary replacement for TMINE’s Orange Thursday feature in which I review a readily available movie you’ve probably already seen

It’s funny what a difference a couple of weeks makes. When I watched this over the Bank Holiday weekend in May, Just Mercy (2019) was just a movie about an important subject – something more or less in the same vein as The Banker (2020), being about historic discrimination against African-Americans.

It was a bit more potent than The Banker, however, seeing as it also directly addressed the issue of capital punishment in the modern day, particularly in southern states like Alabama that have a 10% inaccuracy rate when it comes to Death Row prisoners. But that was more or less its scope.

But with the current situation in America, Just Mercy is taking on new significance, since it’s also an indictment of racism and the police’s attitudes to black people, particularly black men. In the US, Warner Bros is making the movie free on all digital platforms for the whole of June.

That’s apparently a step too far for the rest of the world – apparently, whatever lessons the movie has to offer that make it important everyone see it in the US aren’t applicable elsewhere – so you’re all going to have to pay to watch this real-life story about a Harvard lawyer (Michael B Jordan) who decides to open a service in Alabama dedicated to correcting judicial injustices, starting with the wrongful incarceration of small business owner Jamie Foxx.

I’ll let you know if it’s worth it after the trailer and the jump.

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