Where Are We Going?! ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ Review!

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CREDIT: Paramount Pictures

The best parts of Dora and the Lost City of Gold are when Dora goes to high school, and I kind of (actually more than kind of) wish a lot more of the movie took place there. Now, I generally have a rule that I do not criticize a movie for what it isn’t, instead preferring to grapple with what it actually is. But when the movie itself gives us a preview of what it could’ve been, I think it’s valid to wonder “what if?”

I’m a sucker for fish-out-of-water scenarios and recontextualization, and Dora’s enrollment into Los Angeles’ secondary school system is a textbook example. It’s very Mean Girls-esque, but tonally reversed, as Dora is too unflappably peppy and resourceful to ever be consumed by the darkness of high school pettiness. Instead, she is going to win over everyone eventually by sheer force of will, and Isabela Moner is absolutely up to the task. And let’s be clear: she’s not naive. She knows her classmates make fun of her for singing about her backpack and other aggressive idiosyncrasies, but she is just so sure of herself that she can’t be anyone else, and that is a quality I admire more than just about anything. When her school has a “Dress as Your Favorite Star” dance, you get the sense that she actually does understand that “star” means “celebrity,” but she nevertheless chooses to dress as the Sun, so that’s pretty awesome.

Anyway, Dora and some friends get kidnapped, then they go searching for her missing parents in the jungle, and that’s the majority of the movie. It’s a family-friendly Indiana Jones, and you’ve probably seen this sort of adventure dozens of time before. But never before with Danny Trejo voicing a monkey.

I give Dora and the Lost City of Gold a Grade of “Delightful!” Encantadora! Can you say, “Encantadora”?

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This Is a Movie Review: Instant Family

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CREDIT Paramount Pictures

One of the great qualities of movies is their ability to open your eyes to possibilities in your own life that you had never considered or thought possible. I have always known that I want kids someday, and now that I am 30 years old, I am within my ideal age range for starting to raise a family, and I am often conscious of making sure I do not let that opportunity pass me by. Adoption and fostering potentially make that window open for longer than it would be otherwise. Those options have crossed my mind, but I’ve never really dug into them. But after watching Instant Family, I am now almost certain that I want to take that parenting avenue.

There is an early scene in which Rose Byrne and Mark Wahlberg browse the kids’ profiles on a fostering agency website, and they instantly fall in love with all of them, and I felt pretty much exactly the same. So much of this film is filled with moments like that. It has the look of a broad studio comedy that has loud, dangerous set pieces (director Sean Anders definitely has experience with that genre), but in moments when it could go over-the-top, it inevitably opts for the more grounded, and more rewarding, approach, dealing seriously with both the emotional and practical consequences of the situation. If you’re planning on becoming a foster parent, or think you might, or you just love supportive families, then you need to watch this movie.

I give Instant Family 4 Million Hugs out of 5 Million Heartaches.

This Is a Movie Review: Sicario: Day of the Soldado

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CREDIT: Richard Foreman, Jr./SMPSP

I give Sicario: Day of the Soldado 2.5 out of 5 False Flags: https://uinterview.com/reviews/movies/sicario-day-of-the-soldado-movie-review-cia-vs-drug-cartel-sequel-is-tense-and-well-crafted-but-shallow/