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.
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
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
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.
Coco does not deviate wildly from this formula, certainly not as much as Continue reading Coco (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.
The film is a grating experience chock full of Continue reading The Emoji Movie (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.
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
“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.
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 (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.
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
Kubo (Art Parkinson) is a child with a lot of responsibility. At night, he sits at the aide of his forgetful ailing mother. During the day, he tells stories in origami at the town square about a magnificent samurai of legend. All the while, his estranged family is lurking in the shadows waiting to take his eye.
The animation in Kubo and the Two Strings is not afraid of Continue reading Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) Movie Review
At Shopwell’s, food is alive. Not with teeming bacteria and molds, but with voices and personalities. Sausage Party, it’s like Foodfight! with substantially better animation, actual comedy, and adult themes. Well, actually, Foodfight! has plenty of adult themes, but I digress.
The premise of Sausage Party is certainly novel. A re-enactment of the Omaha Beach scene from Saving Private Ryan done with animated food products is nothing I thought I would see on film. It’s pretty awesome.
The film is littered with Continue reading Sausage Party (2016) Movie Review
Batman: The Killing Joke begins with Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl (Tara Strong), stating in voiceover that she understands this isn’t the beginning you were expecting. This is because it’s not. The first frame of the iconic Alan Moore comic is of water thumping onto the pavement in the night, not a shot of the night’s sky. With this opening line, the film is keying the viewer into its extended opening, one that does not appear in the comic.
This opening has been cause for much controversy; why add to the tight story that is found in Moore’s version? The simple answer is that
Continue reading Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) Movie Review