The Trolls movies continue to indulge in their best and worst impulses in a third installment.
The poster for this past summer's R-rated comedy No Hard Feelings had a reasonably clever tagline to explain the strained dynamic between the film's two leads. Against an image of Jennifer Lawrence squeezing Andrew Barth Feldman's cheeks, a single word is placed on top of each person's face: "Pretty" and "Awkward." Nothing revolutionary in design, but it gets the job done. Best of all, that tagline also makes for an apt descriptor for Trolls Band Together. Continue Reading →
Disney released a “live-action” remake of Pinocchio earlier in the fall, which was greeted with the same indifferent to negative critical response their “live-action” remakes always receive. I put “live-action” in quotes because referring to them as such is a bit generous. They’re predominantly CGI, with barely enough human actors appearing to qualify as a regular feature rather than animation. As with the remakes of The Lion King and Aladdin, beyond the fact that there was simply no reason for it to exist, Pinocchio smacked of cynicism, and sent a clear message to audiences: we can keep making the same thing over and over, and you rubes will pay to see it. Continue Reading →
The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse: Steamboat Silly
As a relatively new face, Florence Pugh's sensational performance in William Oldroyd's Lady Macbeth was unexpected. To deliver a commanding performance of that deeply troubling, complex, and oft-alluded to character is difficult for screen and theatre vets, and yet Pugh did it with aplomb. She echoes that tour de force, albeit with a lighter approach, in Sebastian Lélio's The Wonder. Continue Reading →
Pinocchio is not a movie. It’s the latest in a long line of live-action remakes of classic Disney cartoons. The Mouse House’s newest excuse to print money can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop... ever, until you are dead! Or until it only has Pocahontas and Home on the Range left to turn into live-action features, whichever comes first. If the track record of movies like The Lion King and Alice in Wonderland isn’t enough to make you discouraged about the prospects of Pinocchio, it’s worth remembering that this is also a Robert Zemeckis directorial effort made after 2001. Continue Reading →
Our final dispatch from Fantasia features a blend of powerful stories with dynamic female characters.
(This dispatch is part of our coverage of the 2022 Fantasia Film Festival.) Continue Reading →
As the likes of Doogal and Planes make abundantly clear, there is no secret formula for making a great animated kid’s film. But there are some key things to avoid if you want to make a movie aimed at youngsters that satisfies its target demo. Luck, the first feature from Skydance Animation, trips over several of these shortcomings, particularly overwhelming your young audience with too much expository dialogue. Adolescents want wonder and soaring emotion, not endless chatter about how a fictional world operates. Devoting so much time to lore is just one of the many ways Luck underwhelms compared to its potential. Continue Reading →
A thriller with a friendship at its core, a touching story about the struggle to fit in, and a remastered 70s camp drama are just a few of the unique offerings at this year's Fantasia Film Festival.
(This dispatch is part of our 2022 Fantasia Film Festival coverage.) Continue Reading →
Biography: Jane Austen
After the disappointing Persuasion, a guide to making the works of Jane Austen deliver on-screen.
With every new adaptation of a Jane Austen novel announced, I feel a drop in the pit of my stomach. It’s a feeling that says here comes the discourse. In the world of Jane Austen fandom, bitter rivalries between divergent schools of thought pop up like dandelions in the summertime. The traditionalists believe anything not made within the mold of Andrew Davies’s 1995 Pride & Prejudice miniseries is apocryphal–including (for some but not all) the race of its cast. On the other side are the folks who want nothing more than to see these vibrant, relatable characters in newer and fresher ways, people who understandably want to see themselves reflected back at them. Continue Reading →
Though their first project made exclusively for Netflix, Robin Robin brings animation studio Aardman back to familiar territory. Aardman’s big claim to fame was Wallace and Gromit shorts released as TV specials like A Grand Day Out or The Wrong Trousers. It may be dropping on a streaming platform rather than on broadcast television, but Robin Robin allows Aardman to once again cram a lot of beautiful animation and charm into 30 minutes of storytelling. Continue Reading →
Once Upon a Time… Continue Reading →