ALADDIN (2019)

dir. Guy Ritchie. Local pickpocket falls in love with a Princess, frees a magic Genie, then uses wishes to transform himself into a fictional Prince, to win the heart of the beautiful Princess Jasmine. The Alan Menken songs from the original 1992 animated film are still wonderful, and the two young leads Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud are bright and charismatic enough to carry them off. The new song for Jasmine ‘Speechless’ fits in well with the other songs. There is something off about the visual look of the film, maybe the obvious use of sound stages, or the boring cinematography, but the whole look feels a bit like a cheap TV movie, which is very odd. It’s inexplicable that Guy Ritchie did not lean more into Bollywood style dance numbers, of which there is only one. The friendship between Genie and Aladdin caught me off guard, and is very touching at the end. This must be Will Smith’s funniest role in years, I was super skeptical when he was cast, but he’s great. Jafar is by far the weakest character, he’s supposed to be mysterious and dangerous, but he is mostly played for laughs. 

SWEPT AWAY (2002)

dir. Guy Ritchie. This was a mistake. Madonna plays wealthy heiress, who gets stranded on a desert island with working class fisherman, who she was rude to previously. He beats and rapes her, which makes her fall in love with him, they don’t stay together, but who cares. I was expecting an overly-sentimental, cheesy love story, but this is offensive and boring. It’s not worth seeing just to see how bad it is. It’s a remake of a 1974 Italian film, which apparently has the same plot, including the sexual violence.

THE GENTLEMEN (2019)

dir. Guy Ritchie. For a star studded gangster film, this was one boring, unfunny film. The “villains” were not scary or funny. Matthew McConaughey looks bored out of his head. It’s good to see Jeremy Strong in a big movie. I should have re-watched some episodes of Succession instead.