(KGET) — A movie featuring stars who fight like cats and mice plus a leading Oscar contender are among this week’s new entertainment options.
“Tom & Jerry” Grade 2 ½ stars: The long-running battle between Tom and Jerry moves to a fancy hotel in New York that is on the verge of hosting the wedding of the century. It would not be Tom and Jerry if the pair didn’t cause chaos for the staff.
This new blend of animation and live action to continue the story of Tom the Cat and Jerry the Mouse is half good. All of the animated elements harken back to the heyday of the animated series where destruction and disruption are major elements. That half is enough to entertain the younger viewers who can ignore the bad half.
The cartoon violence might catch the wrath of those who bask in political correction. But, fans of the animated duo know this is just the way the pair have been acting for decades.
Where the film flops is with the live-action elements. Not every performer can make it look like they are interacting with animated characters. Chloë Grace Moretz fails to make a single scene where her character is dealing with animated elements come across as real.
Since she is the central human in the story, her failing looms big. It is barely large enough to eclipse the stilted and amateurish acting of Colin Jost who should stick to reading fake news.
“Tom & Jerry” – available to those who subscribe to the streaming service of HBO Max – is fun on a very juvenile level. Just ignore all those flesh-an-blood characters as they are way too two-dimensional.
“The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” Grade 4 stars: Thanks to the streaming service of Hulu you can at least see one film that should be well represented at this year’s Oscar ceremonies. “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” debuts on Feb. 26 and it is a magnificent film as a story of human tragedy, deep racism and the creative process.
The film looks at Billie Holiday – played by Andra Day – one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. She spent much of her career being adored by fans while dealing with members of the federal government who targeted Holiday in a growing effort to escalate and racialize the war on drugs.
Their main target was getting Holiday to stop singing her controversial and heart-wrenching ballad, “Strange Fruit.” The song deals with the lynching of blacks in the South.
Director Lee Daniels goes between the emotional and physical struggles Holiday faces because of drug addiction to the political and social ramifications of her creativity being stifled by racism. Both parts are equally powerful and come crashing together to make this a powerful story of grand success and desperate failure.
Grammy-nominated Andra Day’s portrayal of the singer in “The United States vs. Billie Holliday” is beyond spectacular. Day is a leading contender to walk away with an Oscar this year.
“The Croods: A New Age”: Grade 1 ½ stars: The sequel picks up with the family going on the quest for a better life promised in the first film. The muscle-brained Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage), his progressive wife Ugga (Catherine Keener) and their clan are following newcomer Guy (Ryan Reynolds) in search of a safer place to live.
The failed attempt at cartoonish humor as the families try to bond is replaced in the last act by a massive fight for survival that is way too intense for young moviegoers. The contrast of the two parts of the film points out the major problems with “The Croods: A New Age.”
This is a failed effort from an uninspired story to the lack of original comedy. “
New on DVD and Blu-ray as of Feb. 23
“Scooby-Doo The Sword and the Scoob”: The Scooby-Doo gang is transported to the mythical castled city of Camelot.
“The Last Vermeer”: Joseph Piller (Claes Bang) investigates the theft of valuable stolen art by the Nazis.
“My Names is Pedro”: Documentary that looks at the seemingly impossible journey of South Bronx Latino educator and maverick, Pedro Santana.
“Last Call”: The entire movie is composed of two single-take shots, merged together and without cuts.
“The Belles of St. Trinian’s”: Alastair Sim stars in the 1954 classic directed by Frank Launder.
“Wrong Turn”: Group of friends set out to hike the Appalachian Trail where they face relentless terror.
“Silk Road”: Crime thriller follows the rise and fall of Silk Road, the infamous darknet site that sent a seismic shock through the World Wide Web.
“Collective”: Reporter looks into an explosive fire that claimed the lives of 27 people at a nightclub in Bucharest, Romania.
Available on digital platforms
“Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry”: Apple TV+ documentary tells the true coming-of-age story of the singer-songwriter and her rise to global superstardom.
“Rage”: Violent home invasion leaves mild-mannered husband Noah (Matt Theo) in a coma and his wife Madeline (Hayley Beveridge) deeply traumatized. Look for it through Video on Demand.