The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is Disney’s latest family movie for the Christmas season.
Mackenzie Foy stars as young Clara, who is given a mysterious egg as a posthumous Christmas present by her late mother. This egg has a keyhole, but no key – the movie centers around Clara’s quest to find it. Following her mother’s clues she ends up in a mystical world made up of the titular four realms, and meets a bizzare, diverse cast of characters.
The supporting cast are solid, with Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger and Jayden Fowora-Knight as Captain Hoffman having standout performances.
Visually stunning, The Nutcracker is really pretty with beautiful, well fleshed out scenes and top quality CGI throughout; with the animal characters (the mice are especially great) all looking amazing. The plot is nothing new or anything that will stick with you for too long once the movie has ended. Two of the realms are really quickly skipped over and are barely featured at all, which is a shame as the land of sweets looked amazing.
There is a big plot twist towards the end of the movie, which does allow it to pick up in actual suspense and drama.
Overall, The Nutcracker is a fun, beautifully produced family movie that is ideal to take the kids to over the Christmas break (it’s November now so I hope it’s still showing then) – but I’m not sure it’s one they’ll want to watch again and again.
The Hate U Give is a very timely, important film from director George Tillman Jr. and the late Audrey Wells brought to life by a cast who all bring stellar performances.
Starr Carter, played by Amandla Stenberg, is a high-school student who becomes the only witness to the fatal shooting of her best friend Khalil by a white police officer.
The Hate U Give shows how Starr has to balance what are effectively two different lives. Her home and school are in completely different neighbourhoods, and she struggles to hide parts of her she only wants certain people to see.
This only gets more difficult once she has to go before a Grand Jury, in what is quickly becoming a very high profile, public case – with protests aiming for justice for Khalil pretty much surrounding her, both at home and school.
Amandla is consistently brilliant as Starr, emotional and powerful while not overstated or overacting the role. The whole cast are almost perfect in their roles. From Anthony Mackie as the imitable ‘King’ to Common as Uncle Carlos there are so many smaller stories woven throughout the movie, giving a real human depth to the setting, with each character being fully realised, and they are all portrayed with excellence.
If you can, go and see this.
The Hate U Give is out now.
Bohemian Rhapsody chronicles Queen’s journey from their early pub days as Smile up until their iconic Live Aid performance. Despite press coverage leading up to the film’s release, it does not shy away from any aspect of Freddie’s life. While there was a slightly heavy focus on his relationship with Mary Austin, she was an important person in his life, and Freddie’s sexuality and illness are explored in full, and handled with respect, with a great performance from Rami Malek.
Rami absolutely shines as Freddie throughout, being almost the spitting image of him whether he is at his highest performing on stage, or at his lowest during his struggles with substance abuse and AIDS. The rest of the main cast were pretty spot on too, with Ben Hardy and Gwilym Lee perfect choices for Roger Taylor and Brian May respectively.
There were a few issues with pacing in the film, with the beginnings of Queen being very relatively quickly skimmed over, and I felt there wasn’t a need for a full recreation of their Live Aid set, but other than that I found Bohemian Rhapsody to be very enjoyable. Lighthearted and serious when it needed to be, and with great attention to detail when recreating iconic set-pieces.