Weekend film reviews: ‘Blue Beetle,’ ‘Strays’

In “Blue Beetle,” Jaime Reyes becomes the chosen host of the Scarab, which gives him a powerful suit of armor. Credit: YouTube.

The latest film releases include “Blue Beetle” and “Strays.” KCRW gets reviews from Alison Willmore, film critic for New York Magazine and Vulture; and Witney Seibold, contributor to SlashFilm and co-host of the podcast “Critically Acclaimed.”

“Blue Beetle”

In this DC superhero flick, Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña, the star of “Cobra Kai”) becomes the chosen host of the Scarab, which gives him a powerful suit of armor. 

Willmore: “This movie has a sitcom vibe oftentimes … involving this loving and chaotic family environment. … [It’s a] family dynamic that … touch[es] on themes of gentrification, and also of the insecurity of being undocumented, which is strongly evoked in a certain scene involving a raid by court agents. It seemed very deliberate.” 

Seibold: “The movie itself even seems impatient. They introduce a lot of these extraordinary superhero elements, and it doesn't bother to acknowledge that there's any awe or mystery to any of this at all. And without that awe and mystery, there's no interest for the audience. There's no excitement. There's no thrill to becoming a Blue Beetle. It's just another superhero doing the same kind of story in the same kind of universe. It's all very, very predictable. The only element that has any kind of personality at all is the supporting cast.” 


Starring Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx, this animated comedy is about a dog named Reggie who pursues revenge against his owner.

Willmore: “It doesn't feel like it can sustain itself for the 90 minutes or so. By the end, it does start to feel a little threadbare. The very idea of having adorable dogs saying and doing disgusting things … [what] it reminded me of was actually ‘Good Boys,’ which was that Jacob Tremblay comedy from a few years ago, which operates on the same thing.” 

Seibold: “There's a certain integrity from a filmmaker who is just willing to commit to being completely disgusting and crass from beginning to end. This is a dog comedy. It's “The Adventures of Milo and Otis.” It's “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey,” just with as many poop jokes, and cuss words and dogs having sex jokes that you possibly could imagine. Their mouths are animated, but it's actually trained dogs, which I think goes a long way to make this film watchable.”