REVIEW: The Book of Life [2014]

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“Always play from the heart” I’ve held fascination for Día de Muertos ever since seventh grade Spanish class. There’s just something about its love for the dead and ability to turn something scary to so many into this beautiful cultural tradition that makes its juxtaposition of old bones and ornate artistry a uniquely special aesthetic. […]

REVIEW: Big Hero 6 [2014]

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“One a scale of 1 to 10: how would you rate your pain?” Many parents aren’t going to allow their young children to watch Marvel Cinematic Universe films—they skew older with dark underlying themes and comic book violence that leaves beloved characters dead. So while Disney’s purchase of Marvel gave them boundless raw material to […]

REVIEW: Feast [2014]

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“Wait” Just when you thought the generic American tale of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets married, and boy and girl have children was officially exhausted, Disney finds a way to tell it from a fresh perspective: the dog. This is the gimmick behind the studio’s newest, almost completely silent, short film Feast—the […]

REVIEW: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day [2014]

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“His pox is your gain” I’m a little disappointed I never read Judith Viorst‘s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day because it seems exactly the type of book I would have read as a child. If you’ve had the pleasure (it was published in 1972) and wonder how a feature length […]

REVIEW: The Boxtrolls [2014]

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“We’re exterminating justice!” If it didn’t take Laika so long to produce a feature film due to the meticulous process inherent with their stop-motion aesthetic, I have to believe they’d be as prolifically successful as Pixar. I might say I even like their sensibilities more because while they too deal with morality lessons every child […]

REVIEW: How to Train Your Dragon 2 [2014]

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“What you’re searching for is in here” With ten children’s books already published—and two more planned—Cressida Cowell has given Dreamworks animation a ton of material to adapt whether adhered to religiously or not. Their success on How to Train Your Dragon caught many off guard while earning a place in the hearts of children and […]

REVIEW: Maleficent [2014]

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“Goodbye, Beastie” Let’s be honest, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty is a bit of a bore. I remember my sister often wanting to watch when we were kids and me having none of it until the end’s fire and brimstone and menacing dragon spawned from the tale’s creepy, wide-smiling villain. Did I understand the fairy’s reason for […]

FILM MARATHON: Movie Musicals #13: The Sound of Music [1965]

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“They were strawberries! It’s been so cold lately they turned blue!” My enjoyment of Oscar-winning musical The Sound of Music can best be described as the product of subjective expectation. I finally saw it around the age of twelve or thirteen after hearing of its greatness for years only to be left staring at the […]

REVIEW: Mr. Peabody & Sherman [2014]

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“But that’s not fair! All my friends are fighting the Trojan War!” It’s been a decade in the making but director Rob Minkoff has finally brought Mr. Peabody and Sherman to theaters. He tried with Sony in 2003, got the ball rolling again with Dreamworks in 2006, and saw the latter studio’s purchase of the […]

REVIEW: Almost Home [2014]

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“Next!” I’m not really sure what Dreamworks is doing, but the existence of Almost Home rubs me the wrong way. A four-minute short shown before Mr. Peabody and Sherman—replacing the Gary Trousdale helmed Rocky and Bullwinkle piece that was inexplicably removed—I thought it was mildly humorous in a charmingly prolonged gag sort of way. But […]

REVIEW: Muppets Most Wanted [2014]

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“It’s not easy being … mean” Is it a coincidence the Muppet renaissance follows the same trajectory as its subjects’ original cinematic saga? 2011’s The Muppets was enjoyable if not a tad overrated due to its story mirroring many of the beats that made 1979’s The Muppet Movie a classic. Revamping its road movie trope […]