Review: 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse' one of the year's best, animated or otherwise
It is impossible to believe that the 2018 animated "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" could be improved upon. "Hold my web-shooter," says its sequel, the new "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse."
A lot of big words get thrown around in movie reviews, but I can confidently say this: I have never, ever seen a more visually ambitious movie - animated or otherwise - than "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse."
Go see it at all costs...it's one of the best, most crowd-pleasing films, of 2023.
It's hard to believe that there has never been an animated film featuring Mario and his brother Luigi, until now. "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" doesn't have the "coolness" or cutting-edge appeal as, say, "The LEGO Movie" did, and it wasn't quite as fun as the recent "Sonic The Hedgehog" film, but it's a mildly enjoyable, family-friendly adventure that does just enough to make it feel like a success.
Review: I'm not going to lie: 'Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio' is one of the year's best films
Forget what you know about the story of "Pinocchio," and then please, please, PLEASE forget about the recent Disney+ live-action remake from earlier this year.
I entered the theater thinking to myself: Is this what we need, another Pinocchio movie?
I left the theater, shocked and elated that I had just seen without a doubt one of my top overall (animated or otherwise) movies of 2022.
They don't come any sweeter than "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On," a stop-motion, animated feature-film about a friendly shell, named Marcel, who is trying to be reunited with his family after becoming separated from them.
Review: 'Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank' a blazing samurai story puts Mel Brooks back in the saddle
If you don't already love Mel Brooks, first off, what the hell is wrong with you? I'm not sure we can even be friends. One of the few living legends of Hollywood, Mel Brooks is both featured and revered in the new absurd yet hilarious family animated offering, "Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank." It's an absolute gas - especially for those that know and love Mel Brooks, specifically his iconic 1974 spoof, "Blazing Saddles," a movie that could never, ever be made today. Or if it was, it would end up looking a lot like "Paws of Fury."
The genius of "Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank," is that the creators have managed to essentially remake what is now considered to be a "politically incorrect" classic, under the guise of a simple kiddie flick, and miraculously, it works for both children and adults alike. It's subversive, but comes with a positive message of inclusion. It's risky (trust me) but includes lots of laughs for young ones.
It's a surprise, but "Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank" is one of the funniest movies of the year, one of the best animated films of the year, and is one of the best new IPs (intellectual properties) that has come along in several years (considering the characters and the world that is created).
And oh yeah, it also features Mel Brooks who lends his voice to one of the characters.
Two new films are on Netflix as of July 8th, and both are recommended! Read on for quick takes on each of Netflix's "The Sea Beast" and "Persuasion."
Review: 'Lightyear' a solid ride, if never challenging itself to go beyond infinity
"Lightyear" is now the 26 feature animated film to come out of Pixar Studios. The brand still represents the cream of the crop when it comes to animation, and while many of its titles have lived up to the reputation in both style and story, some have not...and when a Pixar movie doesn't land, it has quite often been a sequel or a spin-off (while Toy Story 2, 3 and 4 all delivered, many other sequels - like the Cars movies, "Finding Dory" or "Monsters University," have not).
"Lightyear" is the first feature-film to be spun-off of the original Pixar gem, "Toy Story." It's apparently the movie that inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy in the first place (which is why this Buzz is voiced by Captain America himself, Chris Evans, and not Tim Allen who has voiced every toy incarnation of the space-travelling hero). It's a beautifully-rendered piece of animation that once again pushes animation forward, which is a stellar feat considering that it feels at this point like we've seen it all. But unlike several of Pixar's best films that contain deeper meaning, or powerful messages for kids and grown-ups alike, "Lightyear" is a bit muddled and "light" on nuance.
Still, as space adventures go, "Lightyear" is a crowd-pleaser, and probably lands somewhere in the upper-middle of the Pixar pack of films.
Review: 'Chip n Dale: Rescue Rangers' an Easter Egg hunt more fun than the main adventure
It will take a bit of nuance to understand my take on the new "Chip n Dale: Rescue Rangers" movie (coming to Disney+ on Friday, May 20th).
Is this new movie funny? Oh absolutely (my wife and I actually had to stop the screener at one point during a "terrible rap" that the characters were doing, because we were laughing so hard). So if you're looking for laughs and laughs alone, this one might be for you.
But whatever it is, this is not a "Chip n Dale: Rescue Rangers" movie, even if it proclaims to be. Those are not the characters that many 90s kids fell in love with, and in fact, there is nothing at all recognizable from the TV show's spirit or overall vibe. And if you were a fan of Chip n Dale prior to the "Rescue Rangers," (the characters appeared in just 23 animated shorts, debuting in 1943 and continuing into the mid 1950s), well, that history is completely and utterly discarded.
No, this version is a satire aimed squarely at adults, albeit adults that grew up watching the TV show (debuting back in 1989, its three-season run from 1990-1993 as part of Disney's afternoon line-up was how most Gen-Xers came to know of it). At it's core, it's a generic buddy-comedy, with story beats so worn-out that its almost shocking that this was the direction the filmmakers decided to go in. It's dressed up WONDERFULLY with Easter Eggs galore, which make the time spent in this world a fun-filled trip down memory lane for those with eagle-eyes or access to a pause button...
...and yet, it's as hollow as some of the uncanny-valley characters that we're introduced to.
And call it what you will, but it's DEFINITELY not a movie about the Rescue Rangers, not the ones that we've come to know and love, nor is it about those two cuddly and fast-talking anamorphic chipmunk brothers that many of us grew up with.
That makes it a disappointment.
Squandering a premise that seems ripe for fun and laughter, "The Bad Guys" is about as bad as you can get.
Yes, kids for the most part will watch anything. But don't they - and we adults - deserve more than uninspired, generic dreck?
NETFLIX Review: 'Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood' a wondrous blast of the past
Using a similar animation technique that he did on some of past films (like "Waking Life" and "A Scanner Darkly"), Richard Linklater takes us on a nostalgia-fueled trip down memory lane, in one of the best films of this young year, "Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood."
It masquerades as a story about the moon landing, but it's really a celebration of a different time, back when the future looked hopeful, and a child's mind - as well as an adult's - could still be filled with wonder.
Looking for a specific movie or review?