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Maleficent: Mistress of Evil does look great owing to colorful special effects. The movie is very entertaining in some parts, and it does provide fairy tale magic at times. Michelle Pfeiffer's villain is the highlight for sure. But, all the other characters are much weaker including Maleficent who is now not even unique anymore. The action is overwhelming, the lack of humor is troubling and the script is a giant mess. Consequently, it's an evident improvement upon its predecessor, but it's still not a good film.
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep features strong for its time, but now dated VFX. The pace is way too slow and the third act is rather typical. But the first act is very endearing, some scenes are enchanting and the film benefits from an evident storybook quality to it as evidenced by terrific cinematography that utilizes on its charming Scottish setting to the fullest degree.
Zombieland: Double Tap does the clichéd thing for sequels – it introduces way too many new characters, and it presents much bigger stakes in that overwhelming third act. However, the movie is still of the similar quality as its predecessor, and to me it was more entertaining simply because the humor is much better. The main cast all got a moment to shine, there were many very funny scenarios throughout and the standout is Zoey Deutch - her ditzy, incredibly adorable Madison stole every scene she was in.
Jojo Rabbit is exactly what I expected it would be, which is a giant mess of a film. Rarely have I seen a more uneven movie that features a terrific scene followed by a very unfortunate one throughout its runtime. The performances are almost uniformly great with the standouts being Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie and Scarlett Johansson. The searching sequence and all the scenes with the mother are fantastic, but the Hitler scenes are unfunny and annoying, and the ending is chaotic. The film tries to be both funny and lightweight as well as dark and deep, but it fails at both as the darker scenes are mostly not all that well executed while the humor is only sporadically strong. At the end of the day, Jojo Rabbit is far from bad, but it remains one very ill-advised, frankly pointless and unnecessary endeavor.
The Two Popes' refusal to tackle its more important, more thought-provoking themes proved to be immensely frustrating as a viewing experience. It has some great conversations, but for the majority of its runtime, the picture resorted to less interesting, not all that believable conversations, and an unfortunate emphasis on oddly put together flashback scenes. Anthony Hopkins and especially Jonathan Pryce are excellent, though.