How do you create the picture of a skeleton look adorable and friendly? Undoubtedly that aesthetic challenge was top-of-mind at Pixar for several months before the launch of Coco, the latest animated feature from the Disney-owned studio behind the Toy Story and Finding Nemo franchises.
It seems almost pointless to say by this point in history, but movies about the Holocaust are always tremendously complicated undertakings. To capture the terror, to make sense of this senseless, a filmmaker must attain a perfect balance of compassion, confidence, fearlessness and a thousand other impossible-to-wrangle elements. Now and then, the alchemy is reached, the latest example being 2015’s Son of Saul.
In Sony Animation’s new faith-based holiday movie, a star is tired. Helmed by animator and filmmaker Timothy Reckart, The Star places a glossy, computer-animated new spin on the nativity of Jesus for spiritual moviegoers and a generation coming of age through a regressive American administration.
If you’re not a fervent follower of superhero action films, going to the genre can feel like falling in on someone else’s soap opera. As the latest entry in the DC Extended Universe unspools, you can almost hear the diehard fan whispering in your ear: “So, Superman is dead, and Batman is type of implicated, or feels guilty about it or something, but now he is found Wonder Woman and she is finished fighting the First World War …”
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that francophone celebrities are not throw as Hercule Poirot; though his nationality was motivated by real Belgian refugees in Britain during the First World War, Agatha Christie’s great detective is no more than the Anglocentric dream of overseas eccentricities and continental manners expressed in ooh-la-la accents. And so, another British top man essays Poirot: Kenneth Branagh casts himself as the detective in a revival of Murder on the Orient Express he also directs.
If the mythical Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky spoke the truth — and looking at , there’s little doubt he was one to tell a lie — the role of art isn’t, as most suppose, to “put across ideas, to disperse ideas, to serve as an example.” No, based on Tarkovsky, the objective of art — of cinema itself! — “is to prepare a person for death, to plough and harrow his sou”
Midway through Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a fawn seems, Bambi-like, in a clearing. The grieving Mildred Hayes, the movie’s protagonist, nearly shakes her head in disbelief: Can this delicate but persistent creature be the spirit of her murdered teenaged girl? No, certainly not. “You are pretty, but you ai not her,” she tells the little deer, squelching the symbolic apparition as it materializes.
A little girl wanders into a public square, her clothing in tatters, her pet kitty cat mewing pathetically. A digital clock ticks in the background. An operatic soundtrack swells. And then, well, that is the stage that The Square turns from a sharp art-world satire into something egregiously bonkers, a collision of blunt comic beats and heavy-handed social commentary that is more messy than deep.
There’s a zippy celebrity cameo off the top of Thor: Ragnarok, the 63rd (fine, 17th) movie in what has been christened the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Our name hero (Chris Hemsworth) has just returned from vanquishing some monstrous CGI demon-thingy and is back home in the world Asgard celebrating his success, when he comes across a group of local thespians putting on a play about his own past experiences.
At the heart of the Bad Moms concept lies a truthful social observation: that contemporary mothers are overburdened with domestic expectations. And so, a mere 15 months after the Bad Moms trio hit the schoolyard with their raunchy jokes and screwball antics, A Bad Moms Christmas reaches for franchise territory simply by replacing the PTA with the Christmas holidays and the judgmental supermoms with … well, more judgmental supermoms. There are sequels and then there are merely reprises.