REVIEW: この世界の片隅に [Kono sekai no katasumi ni] [In This Corner of the World] [2016]

“Was I always daydreaming?” It’s starts as a cutely surreal slice of life in 1930s Japan as Suzu (Non) and her flights of fancy take the spotlight. The young girl loves to draw and daydream—the latter often leaving her with time lost in a place unknown. At one point she even finds herself with a […]

REVIEW: Coco [2017]

“Seize your moment” Disney and Pixar have lately begun to tell more stories that aren’t intrinsically linked to their white male sensibilities (even if they have a tendency to push out voices that should be talking for their characters like Brenda Chapman on Brave). It’s definitely an evolutionary process—one that might actually be helped with […]

REVIEW: Olaf’s Frozen Adventure [2017]

“Tell us yours and we’ll tell you if it’s special enough” A short film like Olaf’s Frozen Adventure epitomizes the law of diminishing returns: for audiences, not Disney. The studio is surely making a ton of merchandise money with little work involved considering the characters are already at their disposal. We’re talking a couple directors, […]

REVIEW: Loving Vincent [2017]

“Life can even bring down the strong” The stats are incredible: 125 artists animating a feature-length film over seven years based on 800 personal letters with 65,000 individually-painted oil frames. You read those numbers and wonder if it was worth the trouble when a traditionally shot narrative featuring its faux “rotoscoped” actors would have been […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: The Breadwinner [2017]

“Everything changes. That’s what stories tell us.” In the Taliban-controlled Afghan city of Kabul, Nora Twomey‘s debut film as sole director (she co-helmed Oscar nominee The Secret of Kells) depicts an eleven-year old girl facing the futility her future inevitably holds. Adapted by Anita Doron from the award-winning novel by Deborah Ellis, The Breadwinner delivers […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Junk Head [2017]

“And you call yourself God” After finding acclaim with stop-motion animated short Junk Head 1 in 2014, writer/director/animator Takahide Hori decided to expand its science fiction-infused world to feature length. The result is a two-hour adventure following one man’s descent through a subterranean infrastructure built by clones entitled simply Junk Head. It takes place centuries […]

REVIEW: Despicable Me 3 [2017]

“I love the combination of Gummy Bears and meat” You have to give Illumination credit because they chose to cultivate an animated niche able to set them apart from Pixar rather than simply seek to copy their blueprint. Their path brings them closer to Dreamworks and yet we can still pick out the difference because […]

REVIEW: Cars 3 [2017]

“I call you my senior project” I know I’m in the critical minority when admitting my enjoyment of the Cars franchise, but I honestly do. It’s not even that I am a “car guy” either—I’ve never seen the appeal of them beyond their utility as a transportation vehicle. So my enjoyment of the first film […]

REVIEW: Lou [2017]

The latest Pixar short from longtime animator, first-time writer/director Dave Mullins is quite the deceiving little gem. LOU—a play on the missing letters from an aging school playground’s “Lost and fOUnd” box—starts out as an irreverent yarn wherein a baseball-eyed “creature” made up of discarded items with a hoodie for a body watches the children […]

REVIEW: La tortue rouge [The Red Turtle] [2016]

Spoilers included There can be no denying the fact that Michael Dudok de Wit‘s La tortue rouge [The Red Turtle] is a gorgeous work of art. From the textured background paintings of rock, sand, and stars to the enchanting score by Laurent Perez Del Mar to the carefully measured fable of one man seeing life […]

REVIEW: 攻殻機動隊 [Kôkaku Kidôtai] [Ghost in the Shell] [1995]

“What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror” Hype is a tough concept to combat. To tout a film like攻殻機動隊 [Kôkaku Kidôtai] [Ghost in the Shell] as one of the best animes ever created is to set-up expectations that cannot help but falter under the weight. Yet here I am—having watched […]