Tagged Fantasy

Aladdin (Ritchie, 2019)

It is quite the relief when a movie that has been beleaguered with terrible promotion turns out to be better than expected. And let me tell you, Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin instilled no confidence before its release date. When Will Smith’s buff and blue Genie was finally unveiled to a flurry of online backlash and mockery, I couldn’t…

Dumbo (Burton, 2019)

These Disney live-action remakes are threatening to create more cynics than converts, as we haven’t yet seen one that can stand on its own and make a case for itself. Worse yet, 2019 is going to be inundated with them, and there’s no telling if any will succeed in having artistic merit. Tim Burton’s take…

Ready Player One (Spielberg, 2018)

Sorry Spielbergers. I’m not sure I’m the audience for this kind of stuff. I do admire the thoroughness of the VFX work and how wonderfully the different avatars are rendered, and the whole sequence inside The Shining was kind of mind-blowing in how accurately it was all reproduced. We’ve come so far technologically, and as long as…

Ralph Breaks the Internet (Moore & Johnston, 2018)

There is a lot going on in Ralph Breaks the Internet outside of its family-friendly messaging about learning to let go of your insecurities and, by extension, the people you’re close to when it’s time for them to move on. In and of itself, that messaging is astute and worth championing in a film like this. The fact that…

Border (Abbasi, 2018)

This is quite the mish-mash. A heaping of Scandinavian folklore here, a sprinkle of gritty police procedural there. It ping-pongs between the two genres with intriguing results. Its feet are firmly planted in reality, but the folklore elements give it a sense of atemporality. It seems to exist in one time and in no time,…

Mirai (Mamoru, 2018)

This is quite the shocking development for me, since I truly thought Mirai was going to be my deserving underdog for the Oscar this year. It’s hard not to root for Japanese anime whenever it’s nominated. It’s usually of much better quality than what the American studios have to offer. But all those nominees were from Studio…

The Wild Boys (Mandico, 2017)

What if Guy Maddin remade The Island of Dr. Moreau and it made it super gay? It’d probably be something like Bertrand Mandico’s The Wild Boys, which is an all-out unusual experience. Part coming-of-age narrative, part gay fantasia, part ripping sea yarn, the film follows a group of five boys who get out of hand and commit a…

Mary Poppins Returns (Marshall, 2018)

Mary Poppins Returns begins with a very traditional opening number, before revealing very traditional opening credits with an overture in the vein of the original. It is a clear jump into the past, and an age when filmmaking was ornate in its charms and looked to largess in order to please. Rob Marshall understandably wants to…

Sorry to Bother You (Riley, 2018)

The angry and confrontational nature of Sorry to Bother You is its best feature, there’s no question about it. The anti-capitalist, pro-labour mindset being espoused is not filtered or watered down, and Riley’s absurdist touches help make it stick in memorable ways. I mean, yes, the twisted climax is one of them, but the idea of a…

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Hallström & Johnston, 2018)

I’m not sure who asked for Disney to take The Nutcracker and its lore, dunk it in soul-numbing shellac, and turn it into a tedious fantasia for the holiday season. The ballet is still there, people! Apparently the magic of dance is not enough these days, so we have to add silly conflicts, barely-developed geographies,…

November (Sarnet, 2017)

Lithuanian though I am, Estonian folklore is still quite a ways away from what I used to hear as a child. For instance, the concept of a kratt—a sentient creature made from household implements and given life by the Devil—is unfamiliar to me, so seeing one kidnap a cow and fly it over to its…

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015)

I do think that The Force Awakens leans a little too heavily on the mythos of the first trilogy, almost repackaging the journeyman hero elements of A New Hope and sending it out to us as though it were a shiny new product. Look, it tells us, we’ve got a female heroine sensitive to the Force! We’ve got a likable black…

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Johnson, 2017)

Big, bold and beautiful. It’s hard to describe Rian Johnson’s achievements here any other way. This is the kind of Star Wars film that lives up to the grandeur of the title: high stakes galore, with whopping intergalactic conflicts, no clean moral divides, and drama within an inch of all lives depicted. It’s a madder, trickier vision…

A Wrinkle in Time (DuVernay, 2018)

I’m afraid I have to agree with the consensus here: A Wrinkle in Time isn’t very good. Mostly because it’s a mature film trapped in a Disneyfied body, needing to take flight but barely getting off the ground because its wings have been clipped. I could feel Ava DuVernay wanted to do more with the story and…

Black Panther (Coogler, 2018)

I’ve made it clear in other reviews that I’m no Marvel fanatic, and that their cookie-cutter approach to plot and characterization has becoming maddeningly repetitive with each new entry. It’s so nice, then, to watch a Marvel film that isn’t beholden to the same recycled and over-CGIed mindset. It’s so nice to see a Marvel…