On DVD & Blu-Ray: April 7, 2020

"Writing doesn't confer importance, it reflects it." "No, writing about it will make it important."

It kind of feels like there's more excitement around Greta Gerwig's take on Little Women for all the factors involved than there is necessarily for the final product itself. Gerwig's follow-up to Lady Bird was going to be anticipated regardless, but given she decided to go with an adaptation of the oft adapted Louisa May Alcott classic only added something of an IP stamp to it; a built-in audience of sorts that became more enhanced given the Christmas day release...Sony knows what it's doing. Add to all of this the fact the film reunites the writer/director with Lady Bird stars Saorsie Ronan and Timothée Chalamet while bringing in the likes of Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper and Bob Odenkirk to boot and you may as well permanently pencil in a screening of Little Women on your Christmas itinerary from here to forever.

Oddly enough, I recall really enjoying and being somewhat enamored with the 1994 version of this story as my siblings, cousins and I would watch it on VHS on repeat at our Nanny's house when I was probably between the ages of nine and ten. The characters, the lifestyle and period details along with the inherent drama of the piece were all things I can remember being striking about the experience even if, prior to screening Gerwig's film, I couldn't recall many plot specifics. The hope was that Gerwig might find a way to both remind me of what I found so fascinating about that earlier take on the material while undoubtedly bringing her own, unique and deft approach to the themes of gender stereotypes and the balance of family and personal growth that run rampant throughout Alcott's novel. Full review here. Video review here. C+

The $175 million spent on this 101-minute adaptation of Hugh Lofting's series of children's novels about a man who talks to animals that was adapted into a 1967 film starring Rex Harrison and a 1998 family comedy featuring Eddie Murphy that spawned a couple of sequels is certainly on display in Robert Downey Jr.'s vehicle (in case there was any doubt it was blown on re-shoots and such) but while writer/director Stephen Gaghan (Syriana) may have been going for an experimental analysis in the realm of George Orwell, what Universal has filtered that interpretation down to is a production where every department involved is seemingly firing on all cylinders (the costumes, the set design, the visual effects dept, Downey himself) except for the one in charge of actually putting it all together.

Dolittle, while unfortunately the result of conflicting visions, is ultimately a movie with so many ideas and potentially interesting takes that simply didn't have the energy to breathe life into a single one. D

Cats is what you get when you give The King's Speech Best Picture over The Social Network. F

Based on the real-life prison break of two political captives, Escape From Pretoria is a race-against-time thriller set in the tumultuous apartheid days of South Africa.

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