Our country has never been more polarized, and facts have never been as important as they are now. But despite our differences, we should all be able to come together with pride to denounce that the new, R-rated, raunchy, gory, silly "America: The Motion Picture" tries way too hard at pretty much everything it attempts to do.
This might be the revisionist history we deserve, but it's more of a missed opportunity.
Pixar is the most prestigious and well-known animation studio of the past several decades. But it isn't always a sure-thing with them, as they've produced more than a few clunkers (like "Cars 2" or "Cars 3" for example) in-between being responsible for iconic gems like the "Toy Story" films, "WALL-E" or "Inside Out." Even their 2020 release, "Soul," was a profound achievement, if not quite rising to the level of a "classic" Pixar film.
Their latest effort is "Luca," a movie that touches on some deeply important and contemporary themes of inclusion, acceptance and identity, but that - in more ways than one - is all wet.
It's just been a few weeks since the last horse feature hit theaters, the live-action "Dream Horse," and following somewhere behind is "Spirit Untamed." It's a spin-off of the 2002 animated film, "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron," but set in a different era, the Old West, somewhere in the wide-open frontier.
"Spirit Untamed" is harmless, and may be a good way to pass time, or get you and your children out of the Summer heat. But it's surprisingly tame for a movie about a wild animal, and inexplicably clunky-looking for an animated film seeing release in 2021.
Beautifully animated, hilarious and inventive, "The Mitchells vs. The Machines" is exactly what you'd expect from "The LEGO Movie" directing duo, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller...however this time they only produced. The new filmmaking pair of Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe ("Rianda & Rowe") have a catchier name and they make the most of their inaugural directing effort.
"The Mitchells vs. The Machines" is an absolute blast, and you're sure to love it whether you're a kid, an adult or even a robot.
Female protagonists in Disney animated films have come a long way. It's been 84 years since Snow White awaited a Prince's kiss to awaken her from a cursed slumber. The tales themselves are a far cry from their "snow white" roots, with modern adventures focused on diversity, people of color and those that have far too long been under-(or mis-)-represented throughout the history of cinema.
The impressive "Raya and the Last Dragon" is Disney Animated Studios' 59th feature film to be released theatrically, and one thing has remained the same since the beginning: Disney has pushed the envelope with its animation techniques and style, and "Raya and the Last Dragon" is the most beautifully, brilliantly rendered animated film dare I say in the studios' history.
And while the story-lines - many borrowed or adapted from existing fairy tales or legends - have admittedly played it safe with the Disney formula over the past century, this latest animated entry feels fresh and inspired, possessing that Disney charm that makes it feel like its destined to be a classic, with ever-relevant themes that speak to the issues of today just as potently.
The classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters are given the live-action film treatment in the new "Tom and Jerry" (in theaters and streaming on HBO Max).
But fans of the overly-violent frenemies will be left shaking their heads at just how uninspired their new "big-screen" adventure is, and how some things are better off left alone.
The audience has come to expect more from Pixar than your average animated movie. And once again, Pixar delivers.
"The Croods: A New Age," I guess, is harmless fun...that is, unless you decide to go see this in theaters with your family during a global pandemic. It's the follow-up to the 2013 film that no one really asked for, but one that had been kicked around in Hollywood for nearly 7 years before landing at our feet just in time for Thanksgiving (rumor has it, "The Croods: A New Age" will debut on streaming platforms in mid-December but as of now this has not been confirmed).
Who could forget the classic "Star Wars Holiday Special" that aired on CBS during the Christmas holiday of 1978? The answer is, even if you were lucky enough to have seen it when it originally aired, you would have tried forgetting about it almost immediately. The special is famously BAD, despite starring the cast from the films, including Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. It was so terrible that it never aired again, and has never, ever seen an official release, making it all the more of a cult-favorite item when VHS recordings of it would pop up at conventions years later.
Knowing full-well how legendary that special has become, to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of its airing, Disney+ is releasing an all-new "LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special." This new version features the recent Star Wars heroes like Rey, Finn and Poe in their own "Life Day" adventure. as it honors the entire saga new and old, poking fun at the famous special in which it is based all the while.
You don't quite realize how "soft" and watered-down animated films in America have become over the years, until you see a film from overseas. Cartoon Saloon and Mélusine Productions (an Ireland-Luxembourg-France co-production) brings us the original Apple TV+ film, "Wolfwalkers," a film that is definitely family-friendly but that doesn't shy away from more mature themes.
Plus, it's an absolute stunning visual achievement.
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