Space Jam – A New Legacy (Dir. by Malcolm D. Lee)


Basketball’s not exactly my sport. I’ve always been a fan of Hockey, but I understand that I’m not the target audience for Space Jam – A New Legacy. Watching the movie, I get the feeling that Warner Bros. finally figured out just how large it is. Just as Disney did with Ralph Breaks the Internet, there are tons of references to the WB’s home grown content. Castles from Harry Potter, outfits from The Matrix, Mad Max: Fury Road, Game of Thrones and even Pennywise the Clown make an appearance in the movie. It’s nice to see, but a lot of it pulls away from the story in the same fashion that Ready Player One did. I found I was so busy watching the background that I didn’t care too much about LeBron James and his kid.

Space Jam – A New Legacy does have some new elements. LeBron James (playing himself) is a little at odds with his son, Dom (Cedric Joe). Dom really isn’t into basketball, though he does have a basketball themed video game he’s designing. LeBron would rather he be into the actual sport. When the WB’s AI, known as Al G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle, Avengers: Endgame) makes a failed pitch to LeBron on behalf of the Warner Bros, he decides to get revenge (and recognition) by way of pulling both Dom and LeBron into the Warnerverse for a basketball game to end all games. If LeBron wins, he gets his son back (who happens to be playing against him), and if he loses, he and the entire audience – everyone – will be trapped inside of the Warnerverse, forever.

Just writing that feels a little strange. Stuck in HBO Max because of a bad basketball game?

Either way, he finds Bugs Bunny and together, they form an All Star team based off of the other Looney Tunes. The film does address one thing I liked. Since they had the entire Warnerverse at their disposal, it would be easier to build a team off of superheroes. The story finds a way around this.

Now, let’s not act like the original Space Jam was ever part of the Criterion Collection. It was a fun film with a major star playing among cartoons. There wasn’t a whole lot to expect, though it was enjoyable and I have the soundtrack for it. Michael Jordan had the benefit of Danny DeVito, Wayne Knight and Bill Murray to help him out for comic relief. Here, it’s more or less just LeBron vs the Goon Squad. When it comes to acting, LeBron James is okay. Most of his lines are centered around informing the toons and the audience that he has to get him back.

I do have to say that Don Cheadle does great here, which is expected. The same can be said for Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek: Discovery) and Lil Rel Howry (Get Out)There are some moments in A New Legacy that do work (Granny’s scenes in particular are standouts that made me laugh, along with a great Wile E. Coyote Fury Road moment), but that’s only because of the connection between all of the other WB franchises. It’s as if they didn’t feel comfortable enough with the story they had, so they said “Why not just litter the screen with everything we’ve got – King Kong, It, The Matrix, Harry Potter, and see what we get?”

Warner Animation Group does appear to be getting better over their previous attempt in Tom & Jerry. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to interact with cartoon characters that can talk back, but some of the animations (particularly the CGI ones) are good. They’re just incredibly overused. Malcolm D. Lee’s direction is also good, for what he’s given. It’s not Roll Bounce or Undercover Brother, but the flow of the story moves well. Before you know it, you’re in the Big Game.

Space Jam – A New Legacy isn’t the worst thing out there, it’s just stuffed with more content than it needs. It’s not on Tom & Jerry’s level of bad. Besides, it’s for Kids. If you love Basketball, LeBron, Looney Tunes or anything Warner’s Related, you should be good here. Just take it for what it is and enjoy. Thankfully, if you have HBO Max, it’s free to watch for the next 30 days (as of this writing). It just don’t see myself running back to it.

LeBron James steps onto the Court in the Space Jam: A New Legacy trailer!


I’ll admit to being a little excited for this newest generation of 1996’s Space Jam. I love cartoon / live action mashups, and Space Jam: A New Legacy looks like it’s all that and then some. Director Malcolm D. Lee (Roll Bounce, Night School) leads the update with LeBron James taking center stage. In this version, LeBron’s son is trapped in a different dimension. To save him, LeBron has to play against the Monstars, much like Michael Jordan did in the previous film. He won’t be playing alone, however, as he has various Looney Tunes characters to assist him.

Space Jam: A New Legacy also stars Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek: Discovery), Don Cheadle (Avengers: Endgame), along with a series of cameos from some of the NBA’s finest. The film, produced by Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) is set to release in theatres and on HBO Max on July 16.

Playing Catch-Up With 6 Mini-Reviews: Amy, Gloria, Pitch Perfect 2, Sisters, Spy, Trainwreck


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Amy (dir by Asif Kapadia)

Amy opens with brilliant and, in its way, heartbreaking footage of a 14 year-old Amy Winehouse and a friend singing Happy Birthday at a party.  Even though she’s singing deliberately off-key and going over-the-top (as we all tend to do when we sing Happy Birthday), you can tell that Amy was a star from the beginning.  She’s obviously enjoying performing and being the center of attention and, try as you might, it’s impossible not to contrast the joy of her Happy Birthday with the sadness of her later life.

A star whose music touched millions (including me), Amy Winehouse was ultimately betrayed by a world that both wanted to take advantage of her talent and to revel in her subsequent notoriety.  It’s often said the Amy was self-destructive but, if anything, the world conspired to destroy her.  By focusing on footage of Amy both in public and private and eschewing the usual “talking head” format of most documentaries, Amy pays tribute to both Amy Winehouse and reminds us of what a great talent we all lost in 2011.

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Gloria (dir by Christian Keller)

The Mexican film Gloria is a musical biopic of Gloria Trevi (played by Sofia Espinosa), a singer whose subversive songs and sexual image made her a superstar in Latin America and challenged the conventional morality of Catholic-dominated establishment.  Her manager and lover was the controversial Sergio Andrade (Marco Perez).  The movie follows Gloria from her first audition for the manipulative Sergio to her arrest (along with Sergio) on charges of corrupting minors.  It’s an interesting and still controversial story and Gloria tells it well, with Espinosa and Perez both giving excellent performances.

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Pitch Perfect 2 (dir by Elizabeth Banks)

The Bellas are back!  As I think I’ve mentioned a few times on this site, I really loved the first Pitch Perfect.  In fact, I loved it so much that I was a bit concerned about the sequel.  After all, sequels are never as good as the original and I was dreading the idea of the legacy of the first film being tarnished.

But the sequel actually works pretty well.  It’s a bit more cartoonish than the first film.  After three years at reigning ICCA champions, the Bellas are expelled from competition after Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) accidentally flashes the President.  The only way for the Bellas to get the suspension lifted is to win the World Championship of A Capella.  The plot, to be honest, really isn’t that important.  You’re watching the film for the music and the interplay of the Bellas and, on those two counts, the film totally delivers.

It should be noted that Elizabeth Banks had a great 2015.  Not only did she give a great performance in Love & Mercy but she also made a respectable feature directing debut with Pitch Perfect 2.

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Sisters (dir by Jason Moore)

It’s interesting how opinions can change.  For the longest time, I really liked Tina Fey and I thought that Amy Poehler was kind of overrated.  But, over the past two years, I’ve changed my opinion.  Now, I like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey kind of gets on my nerves.  The best way that I can explain it is to say that Tina Fey just seems like the type who would judge me for wearing a short skirt and that would get old quickly, seeing as how I happen to like showing off my legs.

Anyway, in Sisters, Tina and Amy play sisters!  (Shocking, I know.)  Amy is the responsible one who has just gotten a divorce and who wants to make everyone’s life better.  Tina is the irresponsible one who refuses to accept that she’s no longer a teenager.  When their parents announce that they’re selling the house where they grew up, Amy and Tina decide to throw one last party.  Complications ensue.

I actually had two very different reactions to Sisters.  On the one hand, as a self-declared film critic, it was easy for me to spot the obvious flaw with Sisters.  Tina and Amy should have switched roles because Tina Fey is simply not believable as someone who lives to have fun.  Sometimes, it’s smart to cast against type but it really doesn’t work here.

However, as the youngest of four sisters, there was a lot of Sisters that I related to.  I saw Sisters with my sister, the Dazzling Erin, and even if the film did not work overall, there were still a lot of little scenes that made us smile and go, “That’s just like us.”  In fact, I think they should remake Sisters and they should let me and Erin star in it.

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Spy (dir by Paul Feig)

There were a lot of very good spy films released in 2015 and SPECTRE was not one of them.  In fact, the more I think about it, the more disappointed I am with the latest Bond film.  It’s not so much that SPECTRE was terrible as there just wasn’t anything particular memorable about it.  When we watch a film about secret agents saving the world, we expect at least a few memorable lines and performances.

Now, if you want to see a memorable spy movie, I suggest seeing Spy.  Not only is Spy one of the funniest movies of the year, it’s also a pretty good espionage film.  Director Paul Feig manages to strike the perfect balance between humor and action.  One of the joys of seeing CIA employee Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) finally get to enter the field and do spy stuff is the fact that there are real stakes involved.  Susan is not only saving the world but, in the film’s best scenes, she’s having a lot of fun doing it and, for that matter, McCarthy is obviously having a lot of fun playing Susan and those of us in the audience are having a lot of fun watching as well.

Spy also features Jason Statham as a more traditional action hero.  Statham is hilarious as he sends up his own macho image.  Seriously, who would have guessed that he could such a funny actor?  Here’s hoping that he, McCarthy, and Feig will all return for the inevitable sequel.

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Trainwreck (dir by Judd Apatow)

There’s a lot of great things that can be said about Trainwreck.  Not only was it the funniest film of 2015 but it also announced to the world that Amy Schumer’s a star.  It was a romantic comedy for the 21st Century, one that defied all of the conventional BS about what has to happen in a romcom.  This a film for all of us because, let’s just be honest here, we’ve all been a trainwreck at some point in our life.

But for me, the heart of the film was truly to be found in the relationship between Amy and her younger sister, Kim (Brie Larson).  Whether fighting over what to do with their irresponsible father (Colin Quinn) or insulting each other’s life choices, their relationship is the strongest part of the film.  If Brie Larson wasn’t already guaranteed an Oscar nomination for Room, I’d demand that she get one for Trainwreck.  For that matter, Amy Schumer deserves one as well.

Seriously, it’s about time the trainwrecks of the world had a film that we could truly call our own.

The Dallas Mavericks Are The New NBA Champions!


As everyone has either seen or heard by now, the Dallas Mavericks won their first ever championship title last night when they easily defeated the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA finals. 

People are not only excited that the Mavericks won but they’re also excited by how they won.  They came into the finals with everyone predicting that the Heat would easily defeat them.  They came in as underdogs.  But they never let that keep them from giving a 110% and, unlike the Heat, they never stopped playing with five minutes left in the quarter.  The Heat thought they could buy a championship.  The Mavs proved that you have to be willing to play for it.  LeBron James might be bringing home the big bucks but the Mavericks brought home the championship.

Congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks, the new NBA champions!