“Muppets Haunted Mansion”
(TV-PG) -- If you grew up watching “The Great Muppet Caper” and “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” your childhood was awesome. The Muppets have always had a sweetness and humor that is timeless and appeals to all ages. So absolutely everyone should be excited for this hilarious and harrowing new holiday-themed movie. The plot is simple: World famous daredevil artist Gonzo takes on the challenge to spend one night at Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Rumor has it that the film is packed with “easter eggs” for Disney fans, and items from haunted mansions at all four Disney parks are featured. And, as with previous Muppet movies, original songs abound! A slew of big names make appearances, including Danny Trejo, Craig Robinson, Ed Asner, John Stamos and Taraji P. Henson. (Disney+)
(Season 1) -- When I’ve watched countless competitive baking shows, whether a great sugar challenge or a super-stuffed cupcake-tower tournament, one thing has always been missing from the equation: structural engineers. Clearly someone at the Netflix new programs table heard my lament. Their new sweets-competition show pairs professional bakers and professional engineers to create delicious treats that go higher, spin faster and dazzle judges more than ever. The stakes are high, too, as participants have a $100,000 grand prize motivating their efforts. Nine teams push the limits of creativity and ingenuity over six episodes. (Netflix)
“The Many Saints of Newark”
(R) -- In what is arguably the most anticipated prequel of the decade, we finally learn how Tony Soprano became a player in the Cosa Nostra. The much-ballyhooed casting of Michael Gandolfini in the role made infamous by his late father, James Gandolfini, has already been highly praised. His physical resemblance and mannerisms are eerily similar to his dad, and any inconsistencies in personality can be chalked up to the character being 30 years younger. But fair warning, you can’t come to this film green. Knowledge of “The Sopranos” series is necessary to make sense of characters and relationships. It might even be good idea to binge a few episodes as a crash refresher. “Saints” focuses on telling the story of the Moltisanti arm of the family. Whether or not we finally learn the significance of Tony’s fondness for the band Journey remains to be seen. (HBO Max)
(PG-13) -- Everyone loves dogs. Most people appreciate the skill, patience and dedication it takes to train a dog in military service. So a movie based on a true story about Megan Leavey, the woman who did just that, should be fairly engaging. The problem with this movie is the casting. Kate Mara just isn’t believable as a Marine, even one with a giant heart for canines. When she’s injured and discharged home, Megan’s mission becomes finding a way to permanently adopt Rex, the German Shepherd she successfully trained to find land mines and who subsequently became a war hero. You can guess the ending. (Prime Video)
(c) 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.