What I can tell you at this point about Across the Spider-Verse is that I want to see it about ten more times.
For a child, losing a grandparent can be part of growing up, a coming-of-age experience; losing a parent for an adult can be an encounter with childhood, especially if it involves going through the contents of the household they grew up in, the actual stuff of their childhood.
The familiar animation trope of the domineering dad and the (sometimes) supportive mom gets an update in recent films from the Mouse House.
As rousing sports films and inspirational biopics go, while King Richard is far from a pitiless, warts-and-all inquiry, it has a particular kind of truthfulness, analogous to the truthfulness of a family scrapbook or stories recounted at family reunions.
There are day-to-day crises and traumas that are somehow absorbed into the continuity of our lives, and then there are inexorable turning points that divide our lives into “before” and “after.”
In some ways The Mitchells vs. the Machines harks back to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Most obviously, it’s another goofy, rollicking techno-apocalypse centered on a bumpy parent-child relationship between an awkward, gifted youngster and a handy but technophobic dad.
“No matter what they say,” the mother tells the maid, “we women are always alone.” More than any other 2018 film about unreliable men, Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma is a tribute to women holding their worlds together.
I dared to hope this one would be more than merely good. I was afraid it would be less than good.
As The Incredibles in its day towered over the Hollywood animation landscape of the last decade, so in some measure does Incredibles 2 in this decade — but what a different and diminished landscape it is today.
A messy, thought-provoking film about motherhood from the makers of Juno and Young Adult? Go figure.
It’s funny to think of people scratching their heads when this “quiet” film is justly nominated for sound editing and sound mixing Oscars.
While A Quiet Place is a terrific film just the way it is, I can’t help wishing there were more families like this in other kinds of movies.
I don’t expect animated heroes to have uniformly ideal, harmonious family lives. It’s not realistic — and it doesn’t make for good drama, which needs conflict. The ubiquity of the pattern, though, is striking.
43 years after Roe vs. Wade, Americans remain about as deeply conflicted over abortion as ever… The nation’s divided conscience on this subject is reflected on the screen.
Stations of the Cross is among the most insightful and devastating cross-examinations of religious fundamentalism that I have ever seen, certainly in a Catholic context. The film is not an attack on faith or religion, but an examination of how faith goes wrong.
Among this summer’s successful indies were a pair of R-rated comedies — each from a filmmaker serving as writer, director and star — depicting two very different responses to the formidable responsibilities of parenthood.
The Boxtrolls is so defiantly weird and bleak, so committed to the bitter end to its grotesque aesthetic and chilly story, that even as the film crashes and burns you can’t help being moved by the hardworking stop-motion animators’ devotion to their craft.
When I set out to make a list of great movie moms in honor of Mother’s Day, I knew it wouldn’t be easy — but I soon found it even harder than I thought. Let’s face it: Great mothers are in short supply in the movies.
Here is a film that will break your heart, fill it with hope and challenge you to say Yes to God and to your neighbor, all at once.
Brave in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review — plus clips from the film!
Among Hollywood animated films, it may be the most positive affirmation of family since The Incredibles and the best fairy tale since Beauty and the Beast.
The Kid with a Bike in 60 seconds: My “Reel Faith” video review.
We really do accept as normal whatever we’re raised with, don’t we? Like, say you’ve lived all your life alone in a lonely tower in a hidden valley, and your golden hair is 70 feet long, and the only mother you’ve ever known — the only person you ever see — comes and goes using your hair as a rope ladder, and she’s never let you so much as set one foot outside, and your hair does this magic trick when you sing that — well, not to give it away, but that would just be life to you, wouldn’t it?
Everyone should see Babies. Even people who have cats instead of children should see Babies. There are a number of cats in this movie, and some feline moments that must be seen to be believed, especially for cat lovers.
There’s a villain with magical powers — but instead of Disneyfied magic, like Aladdin’s friendly genie, the film’s New Orleans voodoo is an occult world of terrifying powers and principalities in which the villain himself is at much at risk as anyone. It’s almost Disney’s most overtly Christian depiction of magic and evil at least since Sleeping Beauty, if not ever — though the waters are muddied by a benevolent, swamp-dwelling hoodoo mama in a sort of fairy-godmother role.
Although Ponyo seems as disjointed and free-floating as Howl’s Moving Castle, somehow the younger milieu here makes it more acceptable. Or maybe it’s just that there’s more here to latch onto emotionally.
French director Olivier Assayas’s Summer Hours opens with a glimpse into a world that has already passed away, though not all the characters realize it yet.
Yet it’s right around this point that Juno, which has been clever and insightful, unexpectedly reveals hidden layers of complexity and depth.
Though not always faithful in small things, Things We Lost is faithful in much. The individual moments are sometimes off, but the large emotional resonances are right.
Somebody has to say it: Made at the height of Disney’s early brilliance alongside Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Pinocchio, and Bambi, Dumbo is the odd weak link in the chain.
The Incredibles is exhilarating entertainment with unexpected depths. It’s a bold, bright, funny and furious superhero cartoon that dares to take sly jabs at the culture of entitlement, from the shallow doctrine of self-esteem that affirms everybody, encouraging mediocrity and penalizing excellence, to the litigation culture that demands recompense for everyone if anything ever happens, to the detriment of the genuinely needy.
Part comedy of manners, part morality tale, it’s more interested in its heroines “conquering themselves” than in a man conquering their hearts.
A.I. is a science-fiction fairy tale: a terrible, revisionistic revisiting of "Pinocchio," the story of the little manmade boy who wants to be real — as told by a nihilist who condemns Gepetto for creating Pinocchio, the world for laughing at him, and the Blue Fairy for leading him on when he’s better off being made of wood, which will after all be around long after Gepetto is pushing up daisies.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.