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: 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: Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom [2020]

Teachers can touch the future. Raised by his grandmother after his parents’ deaths, Ugyen (Sherab Dorji) is considered lucky by his friends. He became a teacher and is just one year away from finishing his mandatory government contract, yet the thing he’s discovered most during that time is the unfortunate truth that his heart isn’t in it. So, while he’ll complete his tenure, his dream of immigrating to Australia to pursue a singing career is all that’s on his mind. And everyone knows it—including his boss. As punishment for his…

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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: 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: The Mitchells vs the Machines [2021]

Be bold and never play it safe. So many familial conflicts can be solved by a simple conversation laying out wants and desires since passive aggressive ultimatums will always prove insufficient as a means for compromise. Should Rick Mitchell (Danny McBride) need Katie (Abbi Jacobson) to overtly tell him she’s desperate for his support? No. It’s what every child wants from his/her parents. Should Katie need Rick to explain the reasons he lets his own insecurities and failures dictate his attitude towards the light years’ worth of cultural distance separating…

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REVIEW: Encanto [2021]

Make your family proud. Abuela Alma (María Cecilia Botero) was alone with her triplet babies when a miracle occurred. Her husband had just been lost trying to protect them from the rampant violence that has displaced thousands of Colombians. They would have been killed too if not for the magic that manifested a stone barrier protecting the four remaining Madrigal family members from the conflict. With it came a living house powered by the everlasting candle that ignited this impossible moment. Alma would return the favor by becoming its protector…

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REVIEW: Far from the Tree [2021]

Parent raccoon is off to find some food to eat for themself and their child. They peek out from under their rock cave, sniff the air for predators, and tell the youngster to stay behind before ambling a couple feet out into the sand to dig. Every time they look back, however, their offspring is nowhere to be seen. Natalie Nourigat‘s Far from the Tree is thus revealed as being a tried-and-true tale of curiosity and excitement inside the mind of an impressionable youth. Who could blame the little raccoon…

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REVIEW: 借りぐらしのアリエッティ[Kari-gurashi no Arietti] [The Secret World of Arrietty] [2010]

Sometimes it’s best not to go looking for danger. The day has finally arrived for Arrietty (Bridgit Mendler) to become a “borrower.” Just being a four-inch-tall humanoid living in secret under the floorboards and inside the walls of an unsuspecting “human bean’s” house isn’t enough to earn the title. One must embrace bravery and ingenuity to venture out and take that which the family needs to survive without also earning any unwanted attention for what went missing. Would Arrietty love to take a “real’ dresser from the dollhouse upstairs to…

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REVIEW: Ron’s Gone Wrong [2021]

Let’s make friends. The CEO of tech giant Bubble (Justice Smith‘s Marc) had good intentions when creating the Bubble-bot. His goal was to eradicate childhood loneliness by supplying boys and girls the world over a personal SEO-equipped “Smart” device that doubles as a best friend and geo-locator of other like-minded real friends. The toy’s launch proves a huge success as Marc randomly selects an audience member to electronically imprint on the first unboxed Bubble-bot before then having it wirelessly connect to the app-aggregated meta data cataloged on every child’s phone…

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REVIEW: The Addams Family 2 [2021]

Up and Addams. When Grandma Addams (Bette Midler) says, “Time to make some money” upon waving goodbye to the family as they embark on a cross-country bonding vacation (despite the song lyric proclaiming they are “going global,” that doesn’t happen until the end credits), I laughed because it seemed like a thinly veiled joke on sequels to already rebooted IP generally being made to do exactly that. What I didn’t expect, however, was for there to be an actual advertisement about halfway through courtesy of a Progressive billboard. It’s not…

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