REVIEW: In the Heights [2021]

Little details tell the world we’re not invisible. I don’t know why the 2011 film adaptation planned for In the Heights fell through, but it’s hard not to believe the reason stemmed from Hollywood’s continued reluctance to bankroll and open movies with POC-led casts. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes‘ musical debuted on Broadway in 2008, toured the US in 2009, and won four Tony Awards—including Best Musical—and yet it still wasn’t enough to push it over the finish line. You have to wonder if anything would have ever got…

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REVIEW: Mary Poppins Returns [2018]

It’s today or never. Not all live-action/animated hybrids from Disney of yesteryear live up to the nostalgic memories of youth (I’m looking at you Pete’s Dragon), but Mary Poppins is an exception. Maybe it was revisiting it after seeing the underrated Saving Mr. Banks for added context concerning craft and motivation or maybe it’s simply that its message, adventure, and fun combine to form a film that literally stands up to the test of time. Let’s face it: you don’t retain the same reverence through multiple generations over five decades…

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REVIEW: Moana [2016]

“Beat the drum” It’s tough to give two white guys the benefit of the doubt when it comes to spearheading a blockbuster feature-length animated film about Ancient Polynesian mythology, but you cannot deny that Disney stalwarts Ron Clements and John Musker did what they could to ensure Moana stayed true to their subject’s traditions and culture. The pair conducted extensive research in the South Pacific and recruited a local “brain-trust” to keep them honest. Taika Waititi wrote a first draft, a laundry list of writers listed above took over, and…

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