MOVIE: Klaus (2019)

KlausYear: 2019Rating: PGLength: 96 minutes / 1.60 hours It’s weird to me how many Christmas movies there are out there, and how few of them are any good. Fortunately, we now have a little gem with Klaus (2019). Animated in a beautiful 2D-esque style that uses 3D CGI as its base, Klaus works backward from what we understand as the current lore surrounding Santa Claus and develops a heartwarming story to explain all the little impossibilities that tie to the Yule tradition. And while it hits mostly predictable story beats, certain moments had me tearing up. What makes Klaus different from the rest of the Christmas-themed animated fare is that there seems to have been plenty of care devoted to the artistry of the visuals. It seems like most modern animated Christmas movies skimp on quality just to get something out to cash in on the holiday. The characters and character designs are unique and fitting to the story this movie is...
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MOVIE: Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution (2019)

Mewtwo Strikes Back: EvolutionYear: 2019Rating: PGLength: 98 minutes / 1.63 hours Growing up with the Pokémon franchise during the peak of its fervor, I definitely remember going to see the first movie when it came out in theaters. Consequently, there is an amount of nostalgia that I associate with this first forray of the franchise onto the big screen. When I saw that Netflix had recreated the 2D anime of my childhood with their style of CGI animation, I was intrigued enough to check it out. Much like in the recent CGI version of The Lion King (2019), just because a movie was faithfully recreated using newer animation technology does not make it a better movie. Additionally, I believe the fact that I had aged since I first watched this movie made it so I could see it through a more objective lens. What I found was that the story was incredibly light, and the only thing that made it worth watching...
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MOVIE: Enola Holmes (2020)

Enola Holmes Year: 2020 Rating: PG-13 Length: 123 minutes / 2.05 hours When a character like Sherlock Holmes is already written, you do the next best thing: write fanfiction. Enola Holmes (2020) feels like an author-insert fanfiction of the famous detective stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. While this would be a mark against any other story, it works here and creates an amusing plot that was fun to watch. Sure, the mystery wasn't at the level Sherlock Holmes would normally solve, but Enola isn't necessarily Sherlock. Of course, I don't know if this story would have worked as well if there wasn't the tie-in to Sherlock Holmes. As for the actors, no doubt on retainer from their other Netflix projects, Henry Cavill (The Witcher) is a passable Sherlock but wasn't given quite enough screen time to really show his talents. The star of the show is definitely Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), who has certainly shown that she's not only good at playing...
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MOVIE: The Little Prince (2015)

The Little Prince Year: 2015 Rating: PG Length: 108 minutes / 1.80 hours I understand there are limitations when it comes to adapting picture books into feature-length movies. The amount of content present in these books isn’t even enough to cover a few minutes just reading it aloud, so extending it out over 100 minutes requires a bit of framing and exposition. While movies like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) took the approach of explaining why there was giant food falling from the sky, The Little Prince (2015) framed its iconic story with your standard “overbearing parent wants their child to succeed at the detriment of said child’s childhood” sub-plot. When I was growing up, I never encountered The Little Prince in all the picture books I read. Even without this prior knowledge, I could get a sense that the entirety of the book’s content was contained in the stop-motion sections of this movie. I felt there was a missed opportunity to do...
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MOVIE: I Lost My Body (2019)

I Lost My Body Year: 2019 Rating: R Length: 81 minutes / 1.35 hours Some movies can only be done with animation. Whether it’s the fantastical or alien nature of the content or the visual aesthetic trying to be achieved, animation is pretty flexible with what it can do. Enter I Lost My Body (2019), which is a prime case study in the power of animation. Sure, this could have been done up in realistic CGI, but then it would probably be more in line with the horror genre than the “slice of life” (har har) we have on display here. Either way, I have never seen an entire movie centered on a severed hand trying to get back to the body that lost it…until now. With hints of Homeward Bound (1993) and The Addams Family (1991), I Lost My Body plays out in parallel with the strangely-relatable severed hand and the flashbacks of the whole body, Naoufel (Dev Patel). At times heartfelt (even in...
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MOVIE: Marriage Story (2019)

Marriage StoryYear: 2019Rating: RLength: 137 minutes / 2.28 hours Marriage Story (2019) isn’t a movie about divorce so much as it is a movie about the east coast vs. the west coast. While I’ll admit that there were some pretty good performances in this film (notably, Laura Dern was spectacular), there wasn’t anything new here that other movies like Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) hadn’t covered. Additionally, it was a bit difficult to separate the two leads (Scarlett Johannsson and Adam Driver) from their other famous movie roles, which made it difficult to commit to the premise fully. Plus, movies like Marriage Story are just uncomfortable looks into lives in shambles that probably hit too close to home for some people. It’s weird how so many successful elements didn’t come together cohesively for me. Randy Newman’s score sounded great, but it made the film sound more like Toy Story (1995) than Marriage Story. Likewise, with the famous acting talent present: they had exemplary...
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