REVIEW: World of Tomorrow Episode Three: The Absent Destinations of David Prime [2020]

Will you be the one to discover my dead body? After two introspective science fiction gems that took us on journeys of self-discovery within the subconscious, filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt decides to take World of Tomorrow Episode Three: The Absent Destinations of David Prime in a different direction. That’s not to say the third part of this series isn’t deep, though, as there’s a lot to be said about love and longing and jealousy. Rather than lean on dialogue via a brilliant back and forth between a child’s endearing innocence and…

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REVIEW: World of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts [2017]

The closer I look at things, the less I know. While Third Generation Emily told Emily Prime (Winona Mae) that they wouldn’t see each other again due to the impending doom of her world, she said nothing about whether other subsequent versions of herself would. The assumption is that she’d have remembered when Emily 6 (Julia Pott) visited since the event would have been stored in her memory due to everything that happens to Emily Prime already having happened before Third Generation Emily was cloned. The occurrence wouldn’t have been…

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REVIEW: 魔女の宅急便 [Majo no takkyûbin] [Kiki’s Delivery Service] [1989]

Just follow your heart and keep smiling. Every witch upon her thirteenth birthday must leave home for a year abroad to hone her witchcraft skills. She must find a community without witches and establish herself within it via a career based in the magic she provides—through whatever form is unique to her. It’s a time for excitement and trepidation as she’s forced to advance towards adulthood extremely early with no support system but the one she hopes to uncover wherever she lands. While some surely feel a bit of both…

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REVIEW: Over the Moon [2020]

Cherish life and everything you love. As an Auntie jokes during dinner on the night of the Chinese Moon Festival, the myth concerning Moon Goddess Chang’e isn’t always one about love. Some versions have it that she stole the immortality elixir from her love Hou Yi—taking it from his hiding place all for herself shortly after he decided forget it in order to remain on Earth with her. Screenwriter Audrey Wells changes things for Over the Moon from liquid to pills with Chang’e hiding two in her mouth before accidentally…

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REVIEW: La Casa Lobo [The Wolf House] [2018]

But he will not catch me. You may need some context before starting Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León‘s dark animated feature La casa lobo [The Wolf House]—namely that of German fugitive Paul Schäfer and the colony he created in Chile known as Colonia Dignidad. There he and other Nazis war criminals committed countless acts of human atrocities upon those they imprisoned behind its walls. We’re talking the sexual abuse of minors, the internment and torture of dissidents on behalf of General Augusto Pinochet, and weapon smuggling. The area’s borders have…

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REVIEW: The Croods: A New Age [2020]

The pack stays together. There’s a montage during 2013’s The Croods wherein a comparison is being made between caveman Grug (Nicolas Cage) and Neanderthal Guy (Ryan Reynolds) concerning intelligence and thought. The point is that the former uses his fists without contemplating a better way while the latter problem solves to find success with the least amount of risk. One of the examples comes during a confrontation with the so-called “punch-monkeys” as Grug readies to fight his way through them before Guy swoops in with a bushel of bananas to…

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REVIEW: Soul [2020]

I was born to play. So which is it? Do you live in water or the ocean? Do you wake up everyday content with who you are and what you’re doing? Or do you yearn for more because you’re too intent on achieving something you think needs to be achieved despite already finding everything right where you are? That’s life. You either live it or live it. You embrace what you have or you take it for granted. It doesn’t mean you have to make a choice between settling and…

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REVIEW: ハウルの動く城 [Hauru no ugoku shiro] [Howl’s Moving Castle] [2004]

He’s just throwing a tantrum. At one point during Hayao Miyazaki‘s Hauru no Ugoku Shiro [Howl’s Moving Castle], as adapted from Diana Wynne Jones‘ 1986 novel, Sophie (Emily Mortimer in youth; Jean Simmons in cursed old age) asks Howl (Christian Bale) if the large warship in the sky above their serene field of flowers is “on their side or ours.” His resigned response, “What difference does it make?” In his mind no side of this or any war has a righteous claim when the result is an indiscriminate amount of…

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NIGHTSTREAM20 REVIEW: Frank & Zed [2020]

It will end in the Orgy of Blood! Centuries ago in a small kingdom ravaged by evil wizard The Moroi, a king made a pact with the God of Death to usher in what he believed was his only chance at peace. By giving them cursed weapons with the power to vanquish their foe, Death also bestowed a prophecy that foretold an orgy of blood fated to take tenfold the blood spilled by the king’s hand the moment his royal line is ended. And it worked. The wizard was destroyed…

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TIFF20 REVIEW: Wolfwalkers [2020]

Half wolf, half witch, half people. The woodsmen are clearing out the forest to expand Kilkenny, Ireland’s farmland circa 1650 under orders of Lord Protector Cromwell (Simon McBurney)—an Englishman. He and the British crown see these Irish folk as a people in need of taming so it’s only fitting that he try his hand at ridding the countryside of wolves first. This is something these peasants can get behind because they fear what those beasts might do if left unchecked. They clamor for the soldiers to protect them. They willingly…

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REVIEW: Onward [2020]

Be Like Dad. It’s Ian Lightfoot’s (Tom Holland) sixteenth birthday and he’s hoping to make it count. He’s not about to go on a rager with friends, though. He’s way too introverted for that. Ian therefore merely seeks to conquer a few baby steps towards mild extroversion by putting on his late father’s college sweatshirt to boost confidence and check off some boxes on a list he wrote to change himself into the man he wishes he might become. That means standing up for himself when others treat him like…

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