REVIEW: カウボーイビバップ 天国の扉 [Kaubōi Bibappu: Tengoku no Tobira] [Cowboy Bebop: The Movie] [2001]

I try not to think. It was supposed to be a quick bounty hit on the way home from the horse track for Faye Valentine (Wendee Lee). When she got her ship in position to apprehend the mark (Dave Wittenberg‘s Lee Sampson), however, someone else exited the vehicle instead (Daran Norris‘ Vincent Volaju). Not only that, but this mysterious man also went all action movie by calmly walking away as said truck exploded behind him. The chaos causes Faye to high tail it out of there knowing the return on…

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REVIEW: Turning Red [2022]

Don’t hold back. For anyone. Thirteen-year-old Mei (Rosalie Chiang) has always been the perfect child. She respects her parents (Sandra Oh‘s Ming and Orion Lee‘s Jin), helps work the family temple (a tourist destination in Toronto, Ontario), and makes sure to keep her grades impeccable (while also enjoying a litany of extra-curriculars to pad out that inevitable college resumé). And this is how she wants it. Or, at least, it’s how she’s wanted it. She looks up to her mother and is cognizant of the strain that’s kept her grandmother…

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REVIEW: The Windshield Wiper [2021]

‘Cause soon enough we’ll die. The first thing I thought while watching Alberto Mielgo‘s short film The Windshield Wiper was that it must be utilizing rotoscoping. Every character populating his multiple vignettes about relationships—all sparked by a chain-smoking gentleman in a bar positing the question, “What is love?”—looks and feels real within his/her environments in a way that seems hard to fathom as not having been traced above live-action footage. As soon as you delve into the end credits, however, you see that it’s all been 3D-rendered by animators. The…

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REVIEW: Robin Robin [2021]

Not bad for a couple of flightless fools, eh? Familiarity means nothing as long as there’s enough heart. This is especially true with animated films such as Daniel Ojari and Michael Please‘s Aardman-produced short Robin Robin. We have seen the scenario many times: a lost egg finds its way to the home of a pack of mice on a scary rainy day, forcing Dad (Adeel Akhtar) to bring it inside and ultimately raise Robin (Bronte Carmichael) as his own. Like with most of these oddball situations, that which makes her…

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REVIEW: БоксБалет [BoxBallet] [2021]

While a coup attempt against Russian President Boris Yeltsin unfolds at the parliament in 1993, a beautiful ballerina named Olga and a beaten-down boxer named Evgeny cross paths on the subway. The encounter lasts but a second with the former not even registering that it had before exiting the train car. If not for his television changing to static after news reports of the violence on the streets (147 people were killed with 437 others left wounded), that might have been the end of it. Instead, Evgeny leaves his apartment…

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REVIEW: Bestia [Beast] [2021]

Her name was Íngrid Olderöck, otherwise known as “The Woman with the Dogs.” A Carabineros de Chile officer turned National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) agent under Augusto Pinochet, she received the nickname due to having trained a German Shepherd to sexually abuse and rape political prisoners of the regime in a middle-class neighborhood home coined the “Sexy Bandage.” She would later desert and fall victim to an assassination attempt led by the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) despite always assuming the hit was orchestrated by the Carabineros itself. She’d survive,…

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REVIEW: Affairs of the Art [2021]

Another obsessive in the family. Fifteen years after the character’s last foray in Dreams & Desires: Family Ties and thirty-five years since her debut in Girls Night Out, everyone’s favorite Welsh housewife Beryl (Menna Trussler) is back to narrate a series of anecdotes centered upon her eccentric family while pursuing a new obsession: hyper-futurism. The original team of Joanna Quinn (director and animator) and Les Mills (writer) takes us behind the scenes of their star’s art by showcasing the tireless support of her husband (walking up and down the stairs…

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REVIEW: えんとつ町のプペル [Eiga Entotsumachi no Puperu] [Poupelle of Chimney Town] [2020]

You have to look before you know. It’s Halloween night and a bright light has penetrated through the dark smoky clouds above Chimney Town. The red crystal in the shape of a heart tears through everything in its path en route to the garbage dump, pausing just above the ground’s surface to pull the long-since discarded objects towards it like a magnet. When all is said and done, a figure emerges: pointed hat, umbrella handle nose, cage body, and spring arms. The children dancing and singing in the street for…

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REVIEW: Cryptozoo [2021]

Without dreams, there can be no future. Ever since childhood, Lauren Gray (Lake Bell) hoped to save cryptids. Her first encounter came while struggling to conquer a steady stream of nightmares in youth. Fate would have it that a Baku (an elephant/pig hybrid that steals dreams) happened to be nearby. It came to Lauren while she slept and sucked all the bad thoughts from her mind, ostensibly saving her life. In order to repay the favor, she dedicated her existence to helping animals and, by extension, cryptids like her savior.…

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REVIEW: Sing 2 [2021]

I love sky-fi! Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) and his ragtag bunch of heart-of-gold singers have their sights on leaving their small-town theater for the bright lights of Redshore City if talent scout Suki (Chelsea Peretti) thinks they have what it takes. Their rendition of Alice in Wonderland with shy Meena (Tori Kelly) belting out the lead part opposite Johnny’s (Taron Egerton) Mad Hatter, Rosita’s (Reese Witherspoon) Cheshire Cat, and Gunter’s (Nick Kroll) Caterpillar has sold out every night, so their hopes are as high as poor Miss Crawley (Garth Jennings)…

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REVIEW: 竜とそばかすの姫 [Ryû to sobakasu no hime] [Belle] [2021]

Come now, change the world. If Suzu (Kaho Nakamura) had her way, she’d melt into the floor never to be seen or heard from again. It’s been like this for the decade since her mother put on a lifejacket to wade through the choppy river and save another girl her age stranded and crying in the middle of the water. The girl came ashore in that jacket. Her mother didn’t. Suzu has often wondered why she wasn’t more important than that stranger. Why staying with her and her father (Kôji…

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