REVIEW: Trolls [2016]

“I think I had sarcasm once” Depending on what you read, the genesis of Trolls is quite fascinating as original director Anand Tucker was to helm an adaptation of Terry Pratchett‘s Bromeliad trilogy about tiny humanoids in 2010. Did that project ultimately evolve into the glitter vomit Walt Dohrn and Mike Mitchell provide us today? […]

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 […]

REVIEW: Inner Workings [2016]

“Boring, Boring & Glum” When the title of the film is Inner Workings and its conceit is to personify a human character’s internal physiology, comparisons to Inside Out are unavoidable. Not even the delineation that Leonardo Matsuda‘s short deals with organs rather than emotions can help if you have your mind set on an ill-advised […]

REVIEW: 百日紅 [Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai] [Miss Hokusai] [2015]

“That nutty old man is my father” Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai‘s “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji” series is one of my favorite works of art with “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” being its unforgettable cornerstone. Even so, I never thought to myself, “Why hasn’t anyone made a movie about his life?” If you’ve seen one […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Tower [2016]

“Stay away from the university area” My first experience with rotoscope animation was probably Richard Linklater‘s Waking Life in 2001. I found it a fascinating technique retaining the live action movement and reality while allowing the room to add dream-like flourishes of fantasy that fit the frame aesthetically. You don’t care when someone’s head becomes […]

REVIEW: Storks [2016]

“We never stop” While a bunch of adults were definitely having a good time during Nicholas Stoller‘s Storks, I’m not sure about their children. It wasn’t restlessness, though. If anything they were catatonic, a similar state as myself. Now I did chuckle at a few of the higher concept stuff because the absurdity of a […]

REVIEW: Kubo and the Two Strings [2016]

“Memories are powerful things” The narrator of Travis Knight‘s Kubo and the Two Strings demands us to look closely and never blink. His story delivers fantastical wonders and poignant metaphors concerning family, love, and traditions to uphold if not an archaic remnant of a lost time meant to be broken. We’re to pay attention because […]

REVIEW: Finding Dory [2016]

“Just follow the shells” Even though Pixar’s first sequel Toy Story 2 equaled one of its best movies (many say both sequels did, although I’d argue Toy Story 3 pales in comparison to its predecessors), not even they could keep up appearances with Cars 2 and Monsters University. It’s impossible to hit as many homeruns […]

REVIEW: Piper [2016]

It’s really quite amazing how consistent Disney/Pixar is at telling six-minute long, vibrantly rich stories without words. Each year passes with a new one arriving to build upon the last, sometimes embracing the “fun” side of things and sometimes as an expression of love. I’d put Alan Barillaro‘s Piper in the former category as its […]

REVIEW: Pete’s Dragon [1977]

“I didn’t think I’d ever be happy til I met you” If memory serves, I loved Pete’s Dragon. It was on the same VHS tape as Sword In the Stone in my family, two Disney films I don’t think anyone else enjoyed. As such I watched Robin Hood a lot to keep the peace—a superior […]

REVIEW: The Secret Life of Pets [2016]

“Liberated forever, domesticated never” Illumination Entertainment’s latest film The Secret Life of Pets has an amazing hook: what do our pets do while we’re gone? We could obviously pay Comcast Xfinity to supply cameras and discover the answer to that question—why use product placement when you can show a commercial before the film that uses […]