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: The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part [2019]

Listen to the music. A film like The LEGO Movie is a once-in-a-decade type achievement (so to see its filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller also write/produce another once-in-a-decade feat with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse only shows how inventive and original the two are). It daring to use its subject matter’s tactility and utility rather than pretend its nothing more than aesthetic was an ingenious choice, the surprise lifting of the curtain to reveal a human element behind the characters’ machinations the stuff of legend. So the inevitable demand for…

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REVIEW: Short Term 12 [2013]

“Oh. That’s the piece of avocado in your beard.” Other films cropping up into your memory while watching something new can either be a sign that originality in cinema is officially dead or the realization you’re about to experience greatness. The latter happened to me during Short Term 12 and I’m talking like ten minutes in after affable veteran Mason (John Gallagher Jr.) finishes telling newbie Nate (Rami Malek) about his second day as a line staff employee at the group home for at-risk teenagers behind them before having to…

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