Tag Archives: Idina Menzel

Frozen 2 (2019) Review

Time: 103 Minutes
Age Rating:
Voice Cast:
Kristen Bell as Anna
Idina Menzel as Elsa
Josh Gad as Olaf
Jonathan Groff as Kristoff
Sterling K. Brown as Mattias
Evan Rachel Wood as Iduna
Aurora as The Voice
Alfred Molina as Agnarr
Director: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom.

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I remember when I saw Frozen back in 2013, while I wasn’t in love with the movie like a lot of people were, I thought it was pretty good. There have been talks about a sequel for a very long time (especially with all the acclaim and love it has been receiving), and it seemed to have taken them a while for it to happen. However, after 6 years it’s finally here. To be honest, I didn’t really care much about a sequel, I just wasn’t sure there was much that you could follow it up with. Still, I checked it out, and Frozen 2 turned out to be pretty decent and surprising.

One of the things that made me curious about Frozen 2 was some of the mixed or divided reactions to it, not to mention some comparisons to Annihilation of all movies. However it turns out that this comparison is quite apt and valid. Without spoiling anything, the plot of Frozen 2 is actually darker, more complex and larger scale, and goes to places that you wouldn’t expect it to go to, storywise and thematically. It was just a little confusing that the story went in that direction, especially the target audience of the first movie, but at the same time I guess I was interested in it, but I think most of that might have to be how unexpected it is. Looking back at it, it’s a little messy at points. I also didn’t like some of the things it does with some of the characters, mainly Kristoff and Olaf. Kristoff is pretty much only there to save Anna in dangerous situations (while doing the typical goofy trying and failing to propose all the way through), and Olaf particularly wasn’t nearly as funny here as he was in the first movie, he was more of a distraction more than anything. With that said, he does have a moment that was one the best parts of the movie. It’s generally entertaining to watch over its hour and 43 minute runtime.

Frozen 2 is directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, who made the first movie, and they did a pretty good job here too. I’d even say that it might be worth watching for the animation alone, it looks excellent throughout, even better than in the first movie. There are particularly some stunning sequences where the movie gets to show off visually. Might be worth checking out the movie even for that. As we all know, there were plenty of memorable songs in the original Frozen, from Let it Go, Do You Want to Build a Snowman, and so on. As for Frozen 2, the songs are mostly okay but very forgettable, which was quite disappointing, in fact the most disappointing part of the movie. I actually remember the scenarios of the songs more, and not so much the songs themselves. As for the voice cast, they’re pretty good, with the returning voice actors with Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff, as well as some newer voice actors like Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, and more.

Frozen 2 is relatively good, but it does have some problems holding it back, same with the first movie. Frozen 1 was fairly simplistic, but for what it is, it worked. Frozen 2 has a more interesting story and does some surprising things that I really liked, but the results weren’t always consistent in quality. As for which is better, they sort of balance each other out, and they’re sort of on the same level. If you liked the first Frozen, then it’s definitely worth watching the sequel, otherwise you probably shouldn’t bother with Frozen 2.

Uncut Gems (2019) Review

Time: 135 Minutes
Cast:
Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner
Julia Fox as Julia
Idina Menzel as Dinah Ratner
Lakeith Stanfield as Demany
Kevin Garnett as himself
Eric Bogosian as Arno
Director: Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie

From acclaimed filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie comes an electrifying crime thriller about Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win.

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Uncut Gems was one of my most anticipated movies of 2019. The Safdie Brothers impressed me quite a bit with Good Time back in 2017, and so I was interested in seeing what they would do next. Also the fact that Adam Sandler was cast in the lead role interested me, because I just knew that he was going to return to being dramatic Sandler even for just one movie, and basing off of Punch Drunk Love, I knew that he would be great. Uncut Gems on the whole was great, and one of the highlights of the year.

Uncut Gems is another thriller from the Safdies, this time it’s a different kind of thriller. There’s a bunch of things going on at once, with lead character Howard Ratner constantly placing bets while being heavily in debt. Although there are moments to breathe (with a movie a 2 hours and 15 minutes long you’d expect that to be the case), you are constantly aware of the danger that is present, and the stakes are high for our main character. Every time things go right for Howard, he does something to put himself into dangerous situations again, usually by placing another bet. The tension just keeps being raised and raised even further. It’s full of energy constantly from start to finish, and the characters are very well realised. The second act does slow down the pace quite a bit for some reason, and while it was fine, it was rather out of place. The third act was particularly great, very suspenseful and effective, concluded by a fitting ending.

Much of the talk is about how great Adam Sandler is, and the talk is well deserved. I’d go so far as to say that this is his best performance, and having seen Punch Drunk Love, that’s saying a lot. While you can definitely tell it’s Sandler all the way through, he performs his character of Howard Ratner perfectly, I can’t see anyone else in this role. Howard is not a good person, he’s not very likable, and he could’ve easily been obnoxious to watch on screen. Sandler however manages to get you to tolerate him and even root for him, even when he often keeps digging himself into a deeper grave. He has this immense energy in him that works perfectly for the character. The movie is already great, but even if it wasn’t, it would be worth watching for his performance alone. That’s not all though, the supporting cast does well too, including Idina Menzel as Howard’s wife, and Lakeith Stanfield who is good as always. Former professional basketball plater Kevin Garnett actually plays himself as part of the plot, and he’s actually a really good actor, he’s great here. Eric Bogosian does some effective work as a loanshark that Howard is in debt to. A standout among the supporting cast (and that’s saying a lot) however is Julia Fox as Howard’s girlfriend. I think this is Fox’s first movie, and he leaves quite a strong impression in this movie, and I hope she gets a lot more roles from her work here.

The Safdie Brothers has once again directed this incredibly. I’m not sure how it’s possible for them to top Good Time on a directing level at least, but they’ve done it here. It’s well shot and edited from start to finish, one of the highlight scenes took place at a nightclub. The tense scenes are made even more tense by how it is directed. If possible, see this in a cinema, though I’m aware that due to some weak distribution that’s not always possible (certainly wasn’t the case for me). The music by Daniel Lopatin worked quite well, fitting the fast paced nature of the rest of the movie.

Uncut Gems is great, and one of the highlights of the year. It’s written and directed incredibly well by the Safdie Brothers, and the cast is great, especially with a career best performance from Adam Sandler. It’s a movie I’d like to revisit for sure.