Pixar’s latest offering, “Onward,” is more than just your normal magical animated film; it’s a touching tale of brotherly love that deals with grief, learning to believe in yourself, and the awkwardness of your teenage years. Directed by Dan Scanlon, who previously worked on “Monsters University” (2013) for the studio, the movie feels both cleverly unique and markedly Pixar. “Onward” is the story of brothers Ian and Barley, elves who live in a world in which modern technology has replaced magic long ago. It resembles our normal world, but populated by magical creatures from sprites to cyclops. While older brother Barley is obsessed with the magical past and the game Quests of Yore, Ian is just trying to celebrate his 16th birthday and not make a fool of himself in front of his classmates. When a special birthday gift offers Ian the chance to meet the father who passed away while he was still a baby, the two must go on a real quest of their own.
With the beginning of February, Netflix in the Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America began to offer Ghibli Studio films in its repertoire. This announcement generated great joy and inspired fans to refresh those classics. Hayao Miyazaki tends to, more often than not, select a female protagonist as a lead and a hero of his films. Coming-of-age stories about young women in a world of fantasy and magic are a great manifesto to learn from, perfect for the young female audience. Two films that are personally very dear to me are "Kiki's Delivery Service" and "Spirited Away."
Hey you! Yes, you! Are you looking for a new binge watch filled with incredible adult humor spewing from instantly likeable characters? Or a blood-splattering good time that stems from gore-fueled animation? Or an empowering, bonkers, and female-driven storyline with plenty of wild moments that will continuously keep you hooked. Are you maybe even interested in seeing some of your favorite DC character in a comical new way? Well, then I have a show that you simply cannot miss – especially if you’re a DC fan. All carnival sideshow slang aside, there’s hasn’t been a show that’s become my absolute obsession like DC Universe’s “Harley Quinn”. Premiering towards the end of last year, the animated series has set new standards for what DC can offer and presented through fun animation and incredible humor that isn’t like anything DC’s done before.
Chances are you’ve got a few Christmas classics that you like to watch every year. Maybe you enjoy crime-capers like “Lethal Weapon”, “Die Hard”, or “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”. You might prefer holiday horrors with “Gremlins”, “Anna And The Apocalypse” or “Love Actually”. Or perhaps you go with family-fare such as “The Muppet Christmas Carol”, “Elf” or “Home Alone”. With Spanish animation “Klaus”, Netflix has released an instant festive classic for all the family, albeit with a lot of dark humour…
Millions of people grew up watching the Moomins; the Finnish forest creatures that look a bit like hippos and their various trollish friends. This film sees the Moomin family in the heart of winter preparing for Christmas, something they’ve never experienced before. This film might rekindle the childhood of the adults watching bit they may have a bit of explaining on their hands if they want the children to stick it out for the full run time. As inventive and charming as the stop motion animation might be, it wasn’t quite enough to sustain the rather choppy story.
For Disney fans, it is hard to believe that “Frozen” (2013) was released just six years ago. The tale, inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen,” has permeated pop culture in a way that even Walt Disney Pictures couldn’t have predicted when it was released. Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, “Frozen”’s themes of family, love, isolation, and finding yourself have resonated with people across the globe. And of course, “Let It Go” became such a hit that it was almost impossible to avoid hearing it for many months. In addition to the film making it onto In Their Own League’s Top 50 Female Directed of the Decade list, now is an appropriate time to look back at the first “Frozen” film as its sequel has just been released.
Six years after asking, “Do you want to build a snowman?” Elsa and Anna return in Disney’s "Frozen 2", this time facing change and the fear of uncertainty. That’s a more philosophical antagonist for the sisters of Frozen, which earned $1.3 billion worldwide, and a journey that doesn’t entirely feel necessary or without plot holes. But credit director Chris Buck and writer-director Jennifer Lee with crafting an ultimately satisfying story of more mature themes for an audience that’s grown out of the dress-up stage.
“I Lost My Body” (2019) is the first feature film by director Jérémy Clapin. It was shown as part of the “Dare” stream at London Film Festival 2019 which was described as “In-your-face, up-front and arresting: films that take you out of your comfort zone”. That certainly is a good description of this film. The Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prize winner engages all the senses to take you on a melancholic and emotional journey towards a gruesome end.
Seeing that Naoko Yamada’s “A Silent Voice” made our list for the Top 50 Films of the Decade was an absolute treat. Not only because it’s always nice to have some anime appreciation, but it’s also great because the film isn’t talked about as much as it should. Yamada’s adaptation of Yoshitoki Oima’s manga of the same name is easily one of my favorite anime films as it pulls no punches in delivering a timeless story about redemption, understanding others, and finding your voice.