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Aladdin Movie Review by Ms. H

Disclaimer:  The views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent those of

Introduction to Aladdin Movie Review by Ms. H

There was a lot of hype about the Aladdin movie before it actually reached the movie theaters.  You may already know that plenty of this hype came from a well known actor -- Will Smith. Did the hype match the actual movie once it was released?  Check out my movie review to find out.

Mena Massoud and Will Smith as Aladdin and GenieMena Massoud and Will Smith as Aladdin and Genie

The Aladdin Movie Synopsis

The main characters in the Aladdin movie are Aladdin, Princess Jasmine and the Genie (Will Smith).  There are other characters in this movie; however, the storyline is simple and revolves mostly around these three characters and of course a villain. The synopsis is sort of a cliche of a boy meets girl story, except this villain of sorts was thrown in the mix as well as a Genie with magic powers.

Realism of the Aladdin Movie

Aladdin is a Disney film so it is to be expected the story would have many unrealistic factors complete with a gesturing, flying carpet, etc.  Regarding the content --the Aladdin movie borders on being a musical, which was a surprise to me. Fortunately, the musical numbers were few and far between. In my opinion, some of the songs were too broadway-like in nature and did not particularly keep my interest.  On the flip side, there was a song by Will Smith that gave the movie an uplifting and positive mood called, “A Friend like Me.”

Naomi Scott as Princess JasmineNaomi Scott as Princess Jasmine

Focus of the Aladdin Movie

Spoiler Alert: A segment of the movie story seemed to be an "add-on" plot dealing with the villain attempt to marry Princess asmine who is Aladdin’s romantic interest. To me, this seemed way off-base and far-fetched when during the movie it looked like the villain Jafar played by Marwan Kenzari who demanded Jasmine’s hand in marriage had no connection with her.  In fact, this character almost became a leading character during the second half of the movie when I guess the director thought it was time to try to add some type of drama and more conflict in the movie.

Aladdin Movie Little Known fact -- Did you know that in 2017 over 2,000 actors auditioned for Aladdin movie roles probably when it became known that no big name stars -- other than Will Smith -- would be in the movie? The parts of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine eventually went to Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott respectively.

Will Smith As Genie in the Aladdin Movie

Because of Will Smith's prior publicity for the Aladdin film, I was expecting to see him appear in the movie a lot sooner than he did.  However, when his character, the Genie finally did show up, I think it was worth the wait.

Spoiler alert: A downside to the Genie character is when the villain took control of the magic lamp and  thus had three wishes -- you could tell from the facial expressions of Will Smith that the Genie was not happy to carry out the villain’s wishes.  I think this was done mostly for children’s sake to send the message of who the “bad guys” were; however, actually I think, even in a fairytale, a genie will fulfill wishes without any emotion or concern as to who the wishes were requested by.

Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott as Aladdin and Princess JasmineMena Massoud and Naomi Scott as Aladdin and Princess Jasmine

Assessment of the Aladdin Movie

There is action, suspense, adventure, humor and do not forget the singing in the Aladdin movie. I will not watch this movie again, at least not in the movie theaters, but I may take a look at some of the performances in the movie on youtube, including the one where Will Smith sings the Friend Like Me song. Even though I think the hype for this movie was overstated -- Aladdin may be a Disney movie you might want to check out -- especially if you are a Disney movie fan.

Rating of the Aladdin Movie

Based on a rating of 1 star to 5 stars with 5 stars being the highest, I rate the Aladdin Movie 3 stars.

Dark Phoenix Movie Review by Ms. H

Disclaimer:  The views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent those of

Introduction to the Dark Phoenix Movie Review by Ms. H

Dark Phoenix is a Marvel movie; however, they seemed to have partnered with other studios to get this movie done.  Was the collaboration a success and was the movie Dark Phoenix worth my time and money? In other words, is Dark Phoenix a movie you should rush out to see? Check out my movie review to find out.

Synopsis of the Dark Phoenix Movie

Dark Phoenix is basically an X-Men movie with some  familiar characters appearing such as Storm, etc.The Dark Phoenix movie centered around the main character Jean Grey from the time she was a child until she became an adult.  Similar to other superhero movies, the film started with her background story and the fact that she had special powers. Also similar to some other superhero movies, an automobile accident was involved. Villain(s) enter later in the movie and again -- as with other superhero movies,  a one-time enemy teamed up with the “good guys” to fight against villains.

Characters in the Dark Phoenix Movie

I’m not or was not a Game of Thrones watcher and I inadvertently found out that the star of this movie, Sophie Turner who plays the part of Jean Grey/Phoenix was also in this TV series.  Speaking of stars -- There are some big names in this movie such as Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Michael Fassbender and others.  I think the stand-out actor in the Dark Phoenix movie was Jessica Chastain who played the role of the leader of the villains.

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Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) in the Dark Phoenix Movie

Suffice it to say there was plenty  of CGI in the Dark Phoenix movie.  In fact, due to the slow pace of the movie in the beginning, I found myself trying to figure out what backgrounds were real, props or CGI as I watched the Dark Phoenix movie.  

Mood of the Dark Phoenix Movie

In my opinion, the Dark Phoenix movie spent too much time on the melancholy drama of Jean Grey which sort of transformed the movie from being one of action and adventure to one of a sad story with a somewhat confused main character. All is not lost though -- there is some action in this movie; however, you have to wait until the end of the film to see it.

Lack of Action in Dark Phoenix

If you want to see an exciting Marvel action adventure film, I would suggest you pass on this one -- unless you wait until the movie is almost over -- which I alluded to previously.   My recommendation if this movie is re-done is for the writer/director to start the film with exciting action scenes which is almost the playbook for most movies from Marvel Studios. Unfortunately, the Dark Phoenix movie seemed more focused on gloom and doom instead.

The Actors’ Performances in the Dark Phoenix Movie

To critique the actors’ performances, I think that most of them did an adequate job.  The weak link in the movie to me was the actor, Alexandra Shipp who played the part of Storm. I’m not familiar with her as an actress, but she seemed nervous, uncomfortable and did not act naturally when she had a speaking part in the movie. It’s unfortunate Marvel and others did not sign Halle Berry to reclaim the part of Storm since I think she would have been another big name in this movie to help draw an audience.  


Assessment of the Dark Phoenix Movie

In a nutshell -- I was underwhelmed with the movie Dark Phoenix.  In my opinion, the story was long and drawn out. Spoiler Alert: Also, is it just me, or does it seem as if some of the major players seemed to be destroyed lately in superhero movies -- maybe as an attention-grabber? Go figure.

To answer the question of if the Dark Phoenix movie was worth my time and money -- Fortunately, I had enough credits to get a free movie, except for the $1.65 ($1.50 + tax) charged since this is supposedly a “premium” movie and does not qualify to be absolutely free at the theater I went to. I think the movie was worth the $1.65 I paid  to see it, but I probably would not rush out to pay the full ticket price to see this movie. Regarding my time, I left the theater as soon as the movie ended after checking a few of the credits , so a lot of my time was not lost.

Rating on the Dark Phoenix Movie

Based on a rating of 1 star to 5 stars with 5 stars being the highest, I rate the  Dark Phoenix movie  2 stars.

The Highwaymen Netflix Movie Review by Ms. H

Disclaimer:  The views expressed here are mine and do not represent those of

Introduction to The Highwaymen Netflix Movie Review by Ms. H

I watched the short TV  trailer for The Highwaymen Netflix movie starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson and thought it would be an interesting movie based on their acting star powers alone.  Kevin Costner has starred in some blockbuster movies in the past and Woody Harrelson is an academy award winning actor. Based on these credentials and a sense that I would be entertained by watching the Highwaymen -- I decided to watch this movie.  How was it? Check out my movie review of The Highwaymen to find out.

Plot of The Highwaymen

You guessed it.  The plot of The Highwaymen centers around bringing down the notorious criminals Bonnie and Clyde.  No mystery here. The scenario is centered around the fact that the Highwaymen were two retired men who some may say have experienced greater days in the past in their career.   

Spoiler alert: Due to the disparaging comments from some of the actors in the movie about age -- during one of the movie scenes -  I was rooting for Kevin Costner's character to catch up with and capture a child he was chasing. He was doing fine catching up -- until he  got to a high fence and unfortunately was unable to get over it. Of course this scene could have been construed to try to keep the audience’s interest.

Slow Pace of The Highwaymen

I found The Highwaymen movie to be slow moving.  If they were trying to capture Bonnie and Clyde -- they seemed to be taking their time and did not seem to be in a hurry to do so.  This could have been part of their strategy -- but nonetheless -- the complete movie had an overall slow pace. Spoiler Alert: For example, there were chase scenes where the cars seem to move at a turtle’s pace.  In one instance the driver of one car spun around in a cloud of dust -- which of course gave Bonnie and Clyde cover to escape. The Highwaymen Netflix movie is a period film based in the year 1934 -- so this may have been the basis for the slowness of the actions that took place.

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Quality of  Acting in The Highwaymen

I think both Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson did an adequate job showcasing their acting skills.  There were no outstanding moments or highlights in the movie that stood out for me. There was also a lack of suspense in the movie -- mainly because I guess just about everyone knows how the story of Bonnie and Clyde ends.  However, I think the movie got its point across that The Highwaymen had enough knowledge to excel at their jobs.  My only minor complaint is that when Kevin Costner spoke some of his lines -- it was as if he was muttering so there are some scenes where I resisted the urge to rewind to determine exactly what he was saying.

Contrived Portions  in The Highwaymen

I guess for dramatic and movie magic effects, the film glossed over some scenes where obvious anticipated actions did not happen.  Spoiler Alerts: For instance  when there was a roadblock and Kevin Costner's character decided to bypass it -- the other officers did not pursue -- but just watched as he crossed state lines. Also I’m sure Woody Harrelson’s character  “Quentin Tarantino” moment in the restroom probably did not happen but was done for dramatic purposes.

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Assessment of The Highwaymen Movie

I think Netflix is doing a relative good job of hiring what I would call “A” list actors for their films. The draw of skilled actors such as Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson drew me to watch a movie about a story I’ve seen before -- but from a different perspective. Bottom line -- this movie is an ok one to watch; however, my rating is based on the acting skills of the actors rather than just the storyline itself. 

Rating of The Highwaymen Movie

Based on a rating of 1 star to 5 stars with 5 stars being the highest, I rate The Highwaymen movie 4 stars.

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