REVIEW: Kubo and the Two Strings [2016]

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“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: Pete’s Dragon [2016]

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“Just because you don’t see anything doesn’t mean it’s not there” You have to give Disney credit for accomplishing the unthinkable this year by releasing remakes of archaic properties to rapturous fanfare. The Jungle Book began this refurbishment movement with the studio’s Iron Man steward Jon Favreau taking the helm of what proved a fantastically […]

REVIEW: Pete’s Dragon [1977]

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“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]

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“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 […]

REVIEW: Mower Minions [2016]

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“Chop-ah chop-ah” The Minions used to be adorable little sidekicks—hilarious creatures ripe for slapstick in a secondary role to the film they were in (Despicable Me). And then they became bigger than the franchise that spawned them. Toys were made, companies recruited them to sell products, and their own feature length film was inevitably released […]

REVIEW: Finding Nemo [2003]

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“You mean the swirling vortex of terror?” There’s a lot happening in Finding Nemo, a fact that hindered my appreciation for it back in 2003. At its core is a story about an over-protective clownfish father and his adventurous boy yearning to break free of the constant fear that’s ruled their lives for too long. […]

REVIEW: Alice Through the Looking Glass [2016]

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“Everyone parts with everything eventually, my dear” Now that the whole “should we reboot or create a sequel or just go ahead and do both at once” debacle is over thanks to Tim Burton‘s misguided Alice in Wonderland, maybe Disney’s desire to create an imaginative and surprisingly dark franchise of the absurd could find creative […]

REVIEW: The Jungle Book [2016]

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“You did not respond to reason so now you will know fear” Looking back at Disney’s 1967 adaptation of Rudyard Kipling‘s The Jungle Book objectively may surprise you as it’s little more than a sing-a-long loosely tied into a low-stakes adventure of escape from the big bad jungle that’s ultimately portrayed as sympathetic if still […]

REVIEW: The Jungle Book [1967]

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“No one explains anything to Shere Khan” It’s without a shred of nostalgia that I declare Disney’s animated The Jungle Book an entertaining romp. Having never seen it due to its absence from my stable of “classics” growing up, my affinity to the characters hailed from “TaleSpin” instead. So it was fun meeting them in […]

REVIEW: 捉妖記 [Zhuō yāo jì] [Monster Hunt] [2015]

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“You gave birth to a white radish” Even if 捉妖記 [Zhuō Yāo Jì] [Monster Hunt] were billed in America with “from Raman Hui, the supervising animator of everyone’s favorite Dreamworks player the Gingerbread Man and co-director of Shrek the Third, comes a magical adventure of man and beast” on the posters, it wouldn’t be enough. […]

REVIEW: Zootopia [2016]

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“Where anyone can be anything” In the tradition of Happy Feet (climate change) and Monsters University (fraternity life), Disney’s Zootopia has transposed adult themes onto PG-rated family fare again. Whereas those previous two were misguided—the former shoving a political agenda down kids’ throats without warning and the latter proving a weird stamp of approval on […]