Freeze Frame: “Lightyear” (PG), “Spiderhead” (R), “Cha Cha Real Smooth” (R)

Buzz Lightyear, the Space Ranger who inspired the fabled action figure from “Toy Story,” gets an origin story with “Lightyear.” Chis Evans provides the voice of our hero who battles the evil Emperor Zurg and his robot army while attempting to protect fellow space travelers on a remote planet millions of miles from Earth. The animation is suitably spectacular and the folks at Pixar, as usual, find a way to add a bit of heart and humor to the narrative. While it doesn’t go to infinity and beyond, in terms of visual razzle-dazzle, “Lightyear” is light-years ahead of the competition.


Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller star in the Netflix sci-fi thriller, “Spiderhead.” Set in the near future, it involves convicts who can get their sentences reduced by participating in drug experiments that alter emotions. The setup is involving, but the plot devolves as it goes along, getting goofier and goofier and ultimately winds up being and unintentionally funny. Considering its capable cast, an intriguing premise, and that is was directed by Josef Kosinski, the man behind the smash hit “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Spiderhead” has to be considered a disappointment.


“Cha Cha Real Smooth,” now in theaters and on AppleTV+, won this year’s Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.” Cooper Raiff stars in, wrote, produced and directed this sweet-natured coming of age story about a likable but aimless 22-year-old who falls into a job as a Bar Mitzvah party host. He also stumbles into a friendship with an older woman, played by Dakota Johnson, and her autistic daughter. “Cha Cha Real Smooth” is a wistful R-rated comic drama populated with amiable characters that manages to navigate through a minefield of cliches to find a soft, suitably touching, and melancholy landing.

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