• HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD MOVIE REVIEW

    Critic's Rating:
    4.0/5
    How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Story: The discovery of a female Light Fury threatens the dragon utopia of Berk, now ruled by Hiccup and Toothless.


    How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Review: Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), along with his Night Fury alpha dragon Toothless, have created a safe haven for rescued dragons. This leads to overpopulation in Berk, so all its inhabitants need to find a bigger and safer place to live. Meanwhile, Toothless is instantly enamoured by the discovery of a female Light Fury which could complicate Hiccup's search for the mythical 'Hidden World'.


    With two strong entries prior to it, ‘how to train your dragon 3 watch online free’ could have easily suffered from the ‘trilogy curse’ by botching up its finale. Fortunately, that’s not the case. From the first few frames, it becomes evident that DreamWorks Animation has pushed the envelope with graphics that are astounding. The beautifully rendered vistas and fluid close-quarter action work seamlessly with each other, making the film an immensely gratifying experience in 3D. But the visuals wouldn’t be complete without a compelling storyline. Writer-director Dean DeBlois displays his in-depth understanding of this world and its characters in his third outing at the helm. He takes the tale of Hiccup, Toothless, and their friends to its natural progression, while still managing to keep the storyline fresh, if not entirely unpredictable.


    It also helps that the voice cast is now extremely comfortable with their characters. This shows in some of the filler humour that could be awkward in other circumstances, especially with Valka (Cate Blanchett), but ends up being amusing enough. America Ferrera as Astrid, Jonah Hill as Snoutlout, Kristen Wiig as Ruffnut, and Craig Fergusson as Gobber - all get their moments to shine, though it’s only natural that Jay Baruchel stands out as Hiccup.

     

    The weakest character comes in the form of the villain Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham), who is yet another dragon trapper with a bone to pick. Nevertheless, the character arcs of Hiccup, and his search for the Hidden World combined with Toothless, who comes into his own as the alpha dragon, drive a strong emotional connect that pays off in the end. This saga began with their relationship, so it’s only fitting that it should conclude with them. 'How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' is a visually stunning and emotionally satisfying conclusion to a surprisingly well-rounded 'vikings & dragons' trilogy that will appeal to various age groups for different reasons.

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    SPENSER CONFIDENTIAL

    With deep pockets and the promise of creative freedom, Netflix has been luring noted directors away from Hollywood studios to create their dream projects. Bong Joon-ho made "Okja." Noah Baumbach made "Marriage Story." Martin Scorsese made "The Irishman." And Peter Berg made "Spenser Confidential," an insipid buddy-cop mystery that feels like a forgotten artifact of the 1980s.

     

    Based on the Robert B. Parker novel Wonderland, "Spenser Confidential" stars Mark Wahlberg as a Boston cop who plays by his own rules. As the opening of this flummoxing film reveals, his rules include beating the hell out of a commanding officer because you suspect he beats his wife. Who needs evidence when you have a gut feeling?! In an age where police brutality commonly sparks headlines, that action trope has lost its charm. But this flick plays it safe by making sure that Wahlberg's white cop only beats up other white cops or white supremacists. Okay, and he brawls with some people of color, but only when they are machete-wielding drug dealers who wear hoodies and kill good, rule-following cops who are Black! See, Spenser is the good guy because he's hunting the real killer of a murdered Black officer who was framed for killing another white cop, who played by his own rules … but in a bad way, not a cool "bad boy" Spenser way! Got it? It doesn't matter.

     

    The plot is gobbledygook, flinging out a few grisly flashbacks, a slew of stock baddies like a tracksuit-sporting hitman, and a generous slathering of police corruption. Every aspect of the story feels like a copy of a copy to the point where you might begin to experience déjà vu and wonder if you've seen this lame movie before? Maybe on some lazy Sunday where you spent half your time on your phone? Well, your time would be better spent there. Much of the cast can't even get up the energy to care about this lackluster movie.

     

    Given dialogue that's 90% clichéd old-man moaning, Alan Arkin shrugs and mugs as the Alfred to Wahlberg's Batman. His shining moment is when he hassles some kidnappers about needing to pee. It's a cheap laugh, but his annoyance seems genuine. In an abrupt cameo, grumbling podcaster/comedian Marc Maron tosses his agita shtick into a brief rant about "fake news bullsh*t." Though in the thankless role of Spenser's former partner, Bokeem Woodbine brings a bit of spark with that signature smile and some line deliveries that occasionally zing. Also, face-tattooed rapper Post Malone pops up to play a Nazi jailbird. The best I can say about his performance is he seems stoked to be there! The worst is he should keep his day job.

    Only one performer in "Spenser Confidential" seems to have a handle on what kind of movie she's in. Stand-up comic Iliza Shlesinger plays Spenser's girlfriend Cissy. It's a paper-thin role of the nagging bitch that exists purely to tease cleavage and be a pain in the ass to the harried hero. But Shlesinger knows that and leans in so hard that Cissy becomes a chaotic parody of this tired stereotype. She makes a meal out of this. Her Boston accent is as thick as the city's clam chowder. Her face is a parade of expressions so stark they could all be emojis. But best of all, everything she says (mostly insults) feels refreshingly spontaneous. Either Berg let her improvise left and right, or she's the only performer who managed to bring life to Sean O'Keefe and Brian Helgeland's limp script. That one star at the top of the review? That's for her.

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