Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical

Based on the stage musical of the same name, Matilda (Alisha Weir) is an updated version of the classic 90s version. The story of an incredibly smart girl with a wild imagination, she’s misunderstood by her parents (Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough) and sticks to her books. It isn’t until she starts attending Crunchem Hall that she meets Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch) who can see her full potential.

I’d been debating checking this out for some time now. Having actually seen the musical in London, I more or less knew what to expect going into it. I remember feeling letdown and wondered how I would fare with the movie version of it. While there were some strong points, it mostly fell flat for me.

The first bright spot in the film was it’s casting. Weir made the role of Matilda her own. I found myself rooting for her throughout and actually really enjoying her performance. I liked the fact that Lynch was for Miss Honey. The only aspect that I wish had been fleshed out some more was her relationship with Matilda. I kept comparing theses scenes to the ones that the two characters shared before. At the end of the day, however, it was Emma Thompson as Ms. Trunchbull who shined the brightest. Had she not been in the film, I probably wouldn’t have bothered watching it.

In true musical fashion, the songs and choreography scenes were well done. Matilda’s opening song of Naughty was one of my favorites, as was the Revolting Children group number at the end. The rest, unfortunately, were not very memorable. On top of that, the set locations, particularly in the scenes where Matilda would tell her stories, were aesthetically pleasing to look at.

I think my problem with the film, aside from the fact that I was already hesitant because of my prior experience with it, was the fact that I simply love the original too much. I understand that this version is closer to the source material being more on the darker side, but I grew up with the other and couldn’t see past it.

Rating: ♥♥.5

No Time To Die

The long awaited next instalment of the James Bond franchise is finally here! No Time To Die picks up right after the events of Spectre. Bond (Daniel Craig) has left active service for a quieter life in Jamaica. However, he is slowly enticed back when old friend Felix (Jeffrey Wright) turns up asking for help. Bond’s mission to save a kidnapped scientist soon leads to something much more complicated especially as villain, Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), with dangerous new technology makes himself known.

I probably should have watched Spectre before checking out this one. For the life of me, I cannot remember anything about it. So, while it took me awhile to gather my bearings, I have to say that I loved every minute this new film. It kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through and despite the two hour and forty minute run time, the events flowed nicely. The fight sequences were top notch and I found it difficult to catch my breath before something else happened.

I was stoked to see some new blood in the Bond universe. Ana De Armas’ Paloma as well as Lashana Lynch’s Nomi were very enjoyable additions that I hope we get more of going forward. I have always loved Q (Ben Whishaw) as he provides some much needed comic relief in otherwise serious situations. My memory of Madeleine (Léa Seydoux) wasn’t strong, but I liked her as Bond’s love interest. And of course there is Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and M (Ralph Fiennes) who the movie wouldn’t have been complete without. I only wish Rami Malek’s villain had had more of an impact for me. He didn’t seem as menacing as some of the previous bad guys.

No Time To Die was a movie that I had been looking forward to, but was wary of. I just wanted it to live up to my expectations. I definitely think it was a proper send off for Daniel Craig and that is all that I really wanted. He is the one who got me into the James Bond movies to begin with – I remember the first time I watched Casino Royale and how it totally changed my life. I will miss him a lot, but I look forward to seeing who the role will go to next.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥.5