Space Jam: A New Legacy
2021, Dir. Malcolm D. Lee – PG – In Theaters Now
and Streaming on HBO Max through August 15th
Like the original, Space Jam: A New Legacy is a wild ride and an explosion to the senses. In A New Legacy, LeBron James and his son Dom (Cedric Joe) get stuck in an AI simulation run by mastermind Al G. Rhythm (played by Don Cheadle, who relishes the role). To escape, James must assemble a basketball team to beat the computer-generated Goon Squad. That’s when the Looney Tunes characters come to play. The movie is bursting with energy, and it’s an amazing choice to see in theaters if you can. The algorithm-driven plot can admittedly be a little hard to follow, as it takes you on a Ready Player One-style roller coaster through Warner Brothers’ entire catalogue of films. It’s all in the spirit of having a good time, though, and the film makes up for any confusion in the plot with its grand sense of adventure and killer soundtrack.
2021, Dir. Cate Shortland – PG-13
In Theaters Now and Disney+ Premier Access
Black Widow is a sepia-toned, understated Marvel film unlike others in the massive franchise. That’s not to say it doesn’t have some truly impressive stunt work. The story zeroes in on the experience of Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannsson) as she reckons with her past before she was Black Widow. It’s the reemergence of her sister Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) that kick starts this journey, and it makes for a surprisingly intimate, nuanced action film. The addition of Florence Pugh adds some much-needed humor and life to the story, and her performance challenges everyone else in the film to reach her level.
2021, Dir. Enrico Casarosa – PG – Disney+
Disney and Pixar’s latest is a wonderfully sweet film set on the Italian Riviera. The film follows Luca (Jacob Tremblay), a kind, open-hearted young boy who happens to be a sea monster. Though his family stays safe under the sea to hide from the human world, Luca can’t help but be curious about life above the surface. Venturing out, he meets two great friends in the coastal town of Portorosso. The film captures the magic of the best summer day, all reckless abandon and exuberance, and it’s a marvelous allegory for being yourself and living with courage.
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
2021, Dir. Josh Greenbaum – PG-13 – Hulu
This comedy doesn’t try to be anything more than it is: good fun. The delightfully absurd tale starts when best friends Barb and Star lose their jobs at a furniture store. Vowing to reinvent their lives, the two set out for a vacation in Vista Del Mar, Florida. Kirsten Wiig and Annie Mumolo are a fantastic pair, and the two play off each other superbly as the plot gets more and more ridiculous (I won’t give it away, but it does involve a truly strange evil villain and a plot to destroy Vista Del Mar). The movie made me laugh more than any other comedy this year, and I think it’ll do the same for you.