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 […]

REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast [1991]

“There may be something there that wasn’t there before” The fairy tale Beauty and the Beast is so perfectly suited for the Disney princess treatment that it’s shocking they didn’t do one until 1991. Crafted to provide young girls a metaphor for the arranged marriages many of them would inevitably be a part of in […]

REVIEW: Life, Animated [2016]

“Just your voice” It’s 2017 and yet I’m pretty sure you think about one of two things when hearing the word autism: Rain Man or vaccination. This is a shame because it only helps bolster the stigma assigned to the disorder. Pop culture has latched onto the “spectrum” with multiple examples of Asperger’s syndrome, but […]

REVIEW: The Lego Batman Movie [2017]

“‘Puter, overcompensate” It was always going to be an uphill battle. The success of The LEGO Movie was so surprising and legitimate that a sequel was going to have to work five times harder to match it. So maybe pushing the follow-up off to focus on a spin-off was the way to go. Expectations would […]

REVIEW: Pear Cider and Cigarettes [2016]

“What was he fighting for anyways?” “He was born lucky and died unlucky.” These are the words Robert Valley uses to describe an old childhood friend named Techno Stypes, the subject of his twenty-five year autobiographical journey entitled Pear Cider and Cigarettes. From the youthful eyes of adulation, Techno was the fastest person alive and […]