Category Archives: Animation

Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017) Movie Review

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first feature film from Studio Ponoc, a company made up of several former creators from the famed Studio Ghibli. It tells a story that is essentially Harry Potter adjacent, in which a young girl named Mary (Ruby Barnhill, in the English-language dub) stumbles upon a special flower, an engraved broomstick, and, ultimately, magical powers.

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I say Harry Potter adjacent because Mary is whisked away on broomstick to an Continue reading Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017) Movie Review

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Loving Vincent (2017) Movie Review

The novelty of the animated film Loving Vincent is well-known at this point. Over a hundred artists were tasked with replicating Vincent van Gogh’s works as a backdrop for a rotoscoped story exploring van Gogh’s mental health in his final days.

The animation in the film is at first transfixing. The world that is created with the textures and brush strokes is Continue reading Loving Vincent (2017) Movie Review

Coco (2017) Movie Review

Pixar films often run on a formula of a handful of sure-fire tropes. A protagonist with dreams bigger than the present situation, prevented from acting on those dreams by external forces. A sidekick character who either doesn’t talk or has way too much to say. A supporting character who turns out to be evil at the third act break. The hero’s journey, all in pursuit of a theme that revolves around family and/or finding oneself.

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Coco does not deviate wildly from this formula, certainly not as much as Continue reading Coco (2017) Movie Review

The Emoji Movie (2017) Movie Review

The Emoji Movie is a filthy and irresponsible cash grab that is insulting to the concept of childhood and features full-length advertisements for Candy Crush, Youtube, Instagram, and Just Dance.

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The film is a grating experience chock full of Continue reading The Emoji Movie (2017) Movie Review

Cars 3 (2017) Movie Review

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) isn’t the youthful race car he once was. In fact, Cars 3 makes it a point to reiterate again and again that McQueen is quite old. Given the age of sentient cars is an abstract, hard-to-track concept, I guess this is acceptable.

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Technology has advanced (somehow…who builds these cars?) to the point where new rookie racers are optimized for high percentage wins (then again, if antagonist Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) is the next big thing, wouldn’t all the new cars optimize to the same level of racing, thus making all races even again? And if McQueen can be given those advancements as well, what exactly is stopping him from Continue reading Cars 3 (2017) Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie (2017) Movie Review

“Black. All important movies start with a black screen.” This is the first line of The Lego Batman Movie, the spinoff/sequel of the 2014 surprise hit The Lego Movie. The tongue-in-cheek opening is reminiscent of the opening of a similar late-winter release from last year: Deadpool. The Lego Batman Movie is not Deadpool, for obvious reasons, but the spirit of light comic book mockery is the same.

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The Lego Batman Movie utilizes an economy of exposition, relying on prior franchise knowledge and in-jokes to set up Continue reading The Lego Batman Movie (2017) Movie Review

Moana (2016) Movie Review

Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) is a Polynesian islander and daughter of the chief of Motu Nui. Moana is raised on tall tales of legendary heroes and dastardly monsters, the story of demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) stealing away the heart of the Mother Island rousing in her the spirit of adventure.

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Caught between this adventurous spirit and a call to lead her tribe, a divide between land and sea, Moana ventures out beyond the reef to Continue reading Moana (2016) Movie Review