The Dallas Movie Screening Group

This is the homepage of the Dallas Movie Screening Group. To join our mailing list you must sign up at our group page on Yahoo. You will then be connected to receive notices on how to find passes to the local screenings in the DFW area. It's up to you to pickup or sign up for passes. You can also barter, trade or just giveaway passes you don't want, need or share with other members of the group. Please read the instructions on the Yahoo page very carefully before posting. This group is closely moderated so that your mail box is not full of spam or other unnecessary mail. We appreciate everyone's consideration and cooperation.

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms







I am as cultured as the next guy standing in line at the bus stop, but despite my dislike and lack of interest towards movie musicals, I actually had some semblance of hope for “Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” another in the cookie cutter line of a Disney product containing high production values marketed for the masses.

“Inerstellar’s” McKenzie Foy’s family is invited by uncle Morgan Freeman for a holiday gathering on the mountainside where some misadventures unfold and where Foy’s Clara has to tell everyone she knows about her mom’s untimely departure from this earth. Freeman’s character, Drosselmeyer is a godfather to Clara and her family.

An almost unrecognizable Keira Knightley is Sugarplum, one of Clara’s mom’s creations. Further involvement includes protagonists Shiver (Richard E. Grant) and Hawtorne (Eugenio Derbez). They all come from the imagination of Clara’s deceased mother, who oversaw all of the realm.
Also involved is Helen Mirren’s Mother Ginger, an ominous and foreboding character who turns into an asset after a few predicaments. Like most of her roles as of late, she obviously wanted something that was challenging and a bit demanding since her character’s change in switching sides before film’s end.

“Nutcracker and the Four Realms” was co directed by both Lasse Hallström (“Chocolat,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”) and Joe Johnston (“The Mask of Zorro,” “Captain America: The First Avenger”), who each bring their own oversized version of the original re-telling of “The Nutcracker Prince” to the silver screen.

It’s like the duo were not sure in which direction to take this movie, but for some unknown reason it just treaded in mediocrity. Sure, some of the set pieces were a touch overblown, but when it comes to the realm of fantasy, I’ll take it with a slight grain and pinch of salt.
Also woven into the storyline are a few key scenes with Misty Copeland credited as the ballerina princess. Her appearance, although brief propels the fantasy elements into the storyline.

As I’ve said in the past, I go into movies with a blank slate on my mind, but unfortunately the overblown antics that presided here were just run-of-the mill, lacking any of the verve or spunk that went into the productions for the enjoyable re-telling of C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” (2005) directed by Andrew Adamson.

All of those particular tales, including “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” (2010) and “Prince Caspian” (2008” had something to admire or cherish. Neither one exploded onto the screen, but they were each nicely told stories that finished with a satisfactory palate by film’s end.

I also admired Kenneth Branagh’s direction of “Cinderella,” in 2015. There were no hokey song and dance numbers to be found. Branagh just took the tale and told the story simply and cleanly.

To be quite honest, I just wanted more from “Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” even though I can deal with the creepy clowns, the ridiculous McGuffins and the sincerity of this so-so family tale. So the readers know, the screening I attended was in 2-D, not that annoying and pretentious 3-D they charge for an upgrade.

Alas, my thoughts are at a standstill and at an end.

Grade: C
(Review by Ricky Miller)





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