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Holiday Slim Pickings at the Box Office – ‘Wish,’ ‘Maestro,’ ‘Napoleon,’ ‘Thanksgiving’ | VIDEOs

Asha (Ariana DeBose) and King Magnifico (Chris Pine)  © 2023 Disney. All Rights Reserved
Asha (Ariana DeBose) and King Magnifico (Chris Pine)  © 2023 Disney. All Rights Reserved

*Sorry, but this article’s title, “Holiday Slim Pickings at the Box Office,” gets to the meat of the matter. You see, several movies opened before Thanksgiving and neither one passed my litmus test. Meaning, I would not pay to see either one.

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new musical comedy “Wish,” directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, takes audiences to the magical kingdom of Rosas, where Asha (Ariana DeBose), a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish that is answered by a cosmic force—a little ball of energy called Star.

Together, Asha and Star confront the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico (Chris Pine), to save her community and prove that wondrous things can happen by going against the grain and connecting with the magic of the stars.

I just wish there was some magic here in this lackluster, poorly-written children’s tale. The music isn’t memorable, and you will not walk away humming any of the tunes or singing any of the lyrics.

Unlike “Wonka,” which I saw last week, I left the screening room feeling uplifted and singing some of the songs. Under embargo for “Wonka” until Dec. 4, will tell you more on that then.

                    “Maestro”

Leonard Bernstein (Bradley Cooper) and Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan) Photo by Jason McDonald/Netflix
Leonard Bernstein (Bradley Cooper) and Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan) Photo by Jason McDonald/Netflix

Maestro,” directed by Bradley Cooper, tells the story of Leonard Bernstein (Bradley Cooper), his wife Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan), and Bernstein’s string of male lovers—including David Oppenheim (Matt Bomer). In one of the scenes in “Maestro,” Bernstein whispers to David and wife’s baby, “Can I tell you a secret? I slept with both of your parents…”

It goes without saying Bernstein was a great conductor, and who doesn’t love the music of “West Side Story”? But sitting for over two hours watching Montealegre endure a philandering husband for 25-years is a low note.

“Napoleon”

Joaquin Phoenix (Napoleon Bonaparte) and Vanessa Kirby (Empress Josephine)  Photo by: Aidan Monaghan
Joaquin Phoenix (Napoleon Bonaparte) and Vanessa Kirby (Empress Josephine)  Photo by: Aidan Monaghan

Do we really need another film about the despicable racist ruler Napoleon Bonaparte? Remember he tried to destroy all the works of Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and reintroduced slavery. Director Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” attempts to detail the checkered rise and fall of French Emperor Napoleon (Joaquin Phoenix).

The movie begins with Marie Antoinette (Catherine Walker) being guillotined to the roar of a crowd as the blood drips from her headless body. Theatergoers then must suffer through another unfaithful spouse, Josephine Bonaparte (Vanessa Kirby). Although Josephine’s scandalous affairs are known, Napoleon acts like a lamp dog that continues to worship her.

“Thanksgiving”

Amanda Barker “Lizzie” in TriStar Pictures and Spyglass Media Group, LLC "Thanksgiving"
Amanda Barker “Lizzie” in TriStar Pictures and Spyglass Media Group, LLC “Thanksgiving”

Avoid “Thanksgiving” by all means. This film, which opened last week, is obviously meant to cash in on the holiday. It tries to outdo all masked serial killer movies in its gruesome, grotesque, guts, and gore scenes. After a Black Friday riot ends in tragedy, a Thanksgiving-inspired killer terrorizes Plymouth, Massachusetts, the birthplace of the holiday.

Picking off residents one by one, what begins as random revenge killings are soon revealed to be part of a larger, sinister holiday plan. Be prepared to see some of the town’s people forced to sit at the dinner table where a victim has been roasted—and its clothes sticking to its body. Directed by Eli Roth, the film stars Patrick Dempsey, Ty Olsson, and Gina Gershon.

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