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Toy Story 4 (2019): My Thoughts — Jul 18, 2019

Toy Story 4 (2019): My Thoughts

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(No major spoilers ahead.)

The toys are back in town – for the fourth and what looks like the final time. Since the first movie came out in 1995, the adventures of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and all the other toys have enthralled kids and adults all over the globe, me included. They’ve seen their owner, Andy, grow into a young man and start off at college. Now they’ve got a new kid, Bonnie, who first appeared in the third movie.

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The Incredibles 2 (2018): My Thoughts — Jul 18, 2018

The Incredibles 2 (2018): My Thoughts

Movie Factfile

Name: The Incredibles 2

Year: 2018

Genre: Action/Comedy/Animation

Directed By: Brad Bird

Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Plot

Sequel to The Incredibles (2004). Having gone into retirement and living at a new home away from their action-packed lives as superheroes, the Incredible family is dragged back out of hiding to save the world from more villains.

My Thoughts

Pixar seems to be a rare proprietor of the successful sequel; Toy Story 2 and Finding Dory come to mind. Now they follow up their superhero caper, The Incredibles, with a sequel that’s been 14 years in the making…

Picking up right where the first film ended, the movie once again follows the Incredible family of superheroes – Mr. Incredible with his super-strength, Elastigirl with her stretchy body and limbs, Dash with his super-speed, Violet with her forcefields and invisibility, and baby Jack-Jack… with some new powers of his own.

In an era of feminism and the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment movement, Elastigirl – real name Helen Parr – is the hero (or heroine) of the sequel, flying high (quite literally) at her new job. Mr. Incredible – or Robert Parr – shows off the ‘new man’ phenomenon in her absence, helping the kids with their homework, personal matters and Jack-Jack finding his powers. Fan favourite Frozone – AKA Uncle Lucius – also makes an ice-cool return, as do some new superheroes… one with a rather unusual superpower.

The ending – without spoiling too much – leaves open the possibility for an entire Incredible trilogy, something previously achieved with Toy Story and Cars. Pixar never rushes their sequels unlike others, however, so it could be another few years before we see an Incredibles 3.

If there is going to be one… it’ll be the perfect finish to an ‘incredible’ trilogy!

Warning

The Incredibles 2 contains several scenes of flashing strobe lights which may be unsuitable for viewers with epilepsy.

Coco (2017): My Thoughts — Jan 19, 2018

Coco (2017): My Thoughts

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(Slight spoilers if you haven’t seen the film.)

Film Fact File

Name: Coco

Director: Lee Unkrich

Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt (Balthazar in Despicable Me 3)

Genre: Animation/Musical/Comedy

Year of Release: 2017

Country of Production: United States

Plot Summary

12-year-old Mexican boy Miguel Rivera dreams of becoming a famous musician, but a bad event in his family’s past means that any kind of music is banned in his household. Miguel wants to fight this, and he goes on a journey into the world of the afterlife to meet his ancestors and revive the memories of his great-great-grandmother Coco.

My Star Rating

:star: :star: :star: :star: :star-half:

My Thoughts

Pixar’s on to yet another winner with this beautiful masterpiece taking inspiration from Mexico’s Day of the Dead (or Dia del Los Muertos in Spanish). Making a musical may be new uncharted territory for the animated veterans, but the first strike is lucky for them, with some pretty memorable numbers like “Remember Me” and “Poco Loco”, sung by Miguel’s child voice actor Anthony Gonzalez.

Being of Hispanic heritage myself (albeit not Mexican but Colombian), I’d always wanted to see a representation of the Latin ethnicity in animation beyond Speedy Gonzalez. Pixar granted that wish, and I can now say that Coco will be a trailblazer (quite literally) for Latin representation on both the big and small screen.

Fun Facts

  • This is Pixar’s first musical film.
  • To remain authentic, the cast is predominantly Hispanic.
  • At the beginning of the film, balloons of Woody and Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story frame can be seen.
Three Billboards (2018): My Thoughts — Jan 17, 2018

Three Billboards (2018): My Thoughts

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(For this year, I’ve devised a new format for future reviews on this blog, starting with today’s. It’s easier to read and allows people to quickly pick up on facts without having to read through many lines of text. Also, slight spoilers ahead if you haven’t yet seen the film, and a trigger warning for rape and racial abuse.)

Film Fact File

Name: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (or simply Three Billboards)

Director: Martin McDonagh

Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell

Genre: Crime/Mystery/Comedy/Drama

Year of Release: 2017

Country of Production: United States Flag of United States of America

Plot Summary

In a small town in rural Missouri, a woman frustrated by the local police department’s incompetence and laziness in solving the cold case of her raped and murdered daughter decides to re-ignite their attention – by advertising it on three large billboards just outside the town.

My Star Rating

:star: :star: :star: :star: :star-half:

My Thoughts

This is the second more ‘mature’ movie I have seen in a cinema after Wind River.

The ‘big crime hitting and shocking a small town in America’ may have been done many times before in the movies, but this Oscar contender sprinkles in a few darkly comedic moments to lighten up the overall rather gloomy mood and put a spin on the formula.

While there’s a few funny moments throughout the film, it touches upon something that has sadly become all too familiar in America, if not around the world; the trivialization of rape by some police forces, police brutality and the torturing of black people for minor matters.

Three Billboards‘ story is somewhat similar to Wind River, as both are concerned with the apparent rape and murder of a young woman, and remaining unsolved; however, in the latter the victim was Native American, while in this film the victim was Caucasian white.

With recent storms brewing in the movie industry, sexual abuse is now at the top of the popular agenda for this year. It’s likely that this will influence many more films for a few good years, but outside of Hollywood, appropriate awareness and prevention is needed for both men and women to prevent another case like the one in this film.

Fun Fact

Ebbing is not a real town in Missouri. I can verify this because I searched for it on Google Maps, but it turned up nothing.

Wind River (2017): My Thoughts — Sep 22, 2017

Wind River (2017): My Thoughts

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(TRIGGER WARNING: This review contains some graphic mentions of rape and violence against women. Also, spoilers if you haven’t yet seen the film.)

While I mostly review cutesy family-friendly films on my blog, I feel that now is the time to expand and also focus on more mature-themed motion pictures, since I don’t want to be pigeonholed as just a ‘kiddy film reviewer’ (though there is plenty of animated fare that isn’t really for kids).

So I came to see Wind River as part of a club who one night went out to the local cinema. This was probably my first time seeing an R-rated (roughly equivalent to the 15 age rating) film with a group of other people in a public place, since all the films I’d seen with that rating before had been in the relative privacy of my own home.

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