REVIEW: Yearning for more from ‘Lightyear’

“Lightyear” may feature rocket ships that can reach incredible heights, but the movie itself can’t manage to get a high rating.

As the film points out at the very start, “Lightyear” is a movie released in the “Toy Story” universe that Andy watched before getting his Buzz Lightyear action figure. The film tells the story of how Lightyear is a space ranger who was part of a mission that went wrong.

The botched mission caused him and several others aboard a massive ship to become stranded on an alien world. To leave the planet, Buzz (Chris Evans) begins testing hyperspace fuel cells in single-man ships to try and find a way to leave the planet, but doing so causes him to go years into the future.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Yearning for more from ‘Lightyear’”

REVIEW: ‘Turning Red’ absolutely rocks

Pixar has went back-to-back with great coming of age films, following up last year’s “Luca” with this superb animated feature.

Domee Shi, who helmed the Academy Award-winning short film “Bao”from 2018, directed and co-wrote this Pixar film. The movie is set in Toronto during 2002 and centers on Mei (Rosalie Chiang), a straight-A student who works hard to meet the high standards set by her mother (Sandra Oh).

At the same time, Mei is also a typical 13-year-old. She hangs out with a group of best friends and they enjoy boy bands and have crushes. She has a pretty good balance going on, but that begins to change when a mystical family spell that passes generation-to-generation turns her into a giant red panda.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Turning Red’ absolutely rocks”

REVIEW: Disney’s ‘Encanto’ is mostly average

“Encanto” invites audiences to spend time at a home where residents have various super powers.

It’s like a less intense version of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) is the main character in “Encanto,” and also happens to be the one member of her family without powers, making her the odd one out. For generations, her family has been gifted with powers, allowing them to create a safe, comfortable community in Columbia.

In most cases, Mirabel is overshadowed in her family, especially by her older sisters Luisa (Jessica Darrow) and Isabela (Diane Guerrero). However, she uncovers an issue with the source of her family’s magic and becomes the one person determined to set things right, even without powers.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Disney’s ‘Encanto’ is mostly average”

REVIEW: Pixar’s ‘Luca’ is a winner

Pixar has another great movie on its resume.

The latest film from the Disney-owned studio takes place in and around a small town on the Italian Riviera. The titular character, voiced by Jacob Tremblay, is a young humanoid sea creature who lives beneath the waves with his mother (Maya Rudolph), father (Jim Gaffigan) and grandma (Sandy Martin). The family has a strict rule about not visiting the surface, as humans have been known to be dangerous, but Luca is fascinated by the world above.

At the film’s start, Luca is given a chance to explore the Italian turf when he meets another “sea monster,” Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer). The duo become fast friends and, with growing frustration toward his parents’ rules, Luca decides to travel to the Italian village with Alberto, in human disguise. There, they become friends with a girl named Giulia (Emma Berman), who wants to enter a local triathlon.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Pixar’s ‘Luca’ is a winner”

REVIEW: ‘Cruella’ constricted by tonal imbalance

Hero. Antihero. Villain. Can a protagonist be all three? “Cruella” attempts to find out.

Emma Stone stars as Estella in this supposed prequel to the “101 Dalmatians” story. Estella, born with white and black hair, is a girl who was orphaned at a young age when her mother fell from a balcony during a party. Following the death, Estella finds her way to London and meets Jasper and Horace. The three become friends and pull schemes together to make money in order to survive.

Eventually, though, Estella gets her chance to leave her life of pick-pocketing and get her dream job as a fashion designer. Eventually, she gets to work for London’s top fashion individual, who simply goes by The Baroness (Emma Thompson). The more she works there, though, the more Estella finds reason to let out her true self, Cruella, and conquer the fashion world.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Cruella’ constricted by tonal imbalance”

REVIEW: ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ is an enjoyable, mythical ride

Swords, princesses and dragons aren’t exactly new to Disney animated films. But how they’re portrayed here in “Raya and the Last Dragon” is somewhat refreshing.

The movie follows the story of Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran), a young woman exploring a rather desolate land that is made up of five tribes. In the past, the land was much more tranquil and lively, but an event between the five tribes led to an important stone being shattered, which led to the release of evil beings which can turn people to stone.

Only a legendary dragon named Sisu can destroy the evil by putting magic back into the stone once it’s back together. Early in the film, Raya does succeed in finding Sisu (voiced by Nora “Awkwafina” Lum). However, a larger task is getting all of the stone pieces, each held by leaders of the different tribes, and none of them trust each other. Raya and Sisu set off on adventure to accomplish this task, though.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ is an enjoyable, mythical ride”

REVIEW: ‘Soul’ is mostly a sour experience

Pete Docter is no stranger to emotional animated features, having directed “Up” and “Inside Out.” He makes another attempt at one in his latest picture, “Soul.”

Jamie Foxx voices Joe in “Soul,” a middle-aged jazz artist and part-time music teacher. One day as he’s about to get a gig he’s been waiting for, he accidentally falls down a manhole. As a result, Joe has an out-of-body experience where his soul travels to a gateway to what’s called the Great Beyond.

Opting not to go, he instead takes another path. There he ends up in the Great Before, where souls form before going to Earth. Not long after his arrival, he meets a stubborn soul named 22 (Tina Fey), who doesn’t find Earth too appealing. The two end up having to work together as the plot develops, though.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Soul’ is mostly a sour experience”

Monday Movie Report: ‘Mulan,’ other flicks find new dates

The live action adaptation of “Mulan” has been delayed by the Mouse House again.

According to Variety, Disney has once more pushed “Mulan” back, this time to Aug. 21, abandoning their previous date of July 10. “Mulan” was originally set to open March 27, but was pushed back to July when the coronavirus surged in the United States.

Continue reading “Monday Movie Report: ‘Mulan,’ other flicks find new dates”

Monday Movie Report: Disney reschedules films, pushes ‘Fowl’ online

After having already been rescheduled from last year, the Disney film “Artemis Fowl” is headed to a digital platform.

According to Variety, “Fowl,” originally set to hit theaters on May 29, will instead debut on the company’s digital platform. A date to launch on Disney Plus hasn’t been announced, though.

Continue reading “Monday Movie Report: Disney reschedules films, pushes ‘Fowl’ online”

REVIEW: ‘Onward’ offers a dull quest

This movie is all about magic, but doesn’t necessarily have that Pixar magic.

Tom Holland voices Ian in “Onward,” a young elf living in a world that, despite fantasy and magic elements existing, has become like our own modern society. A high schooler, Ian lives with his mom Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and his older brother Barley (Chris Pratt) who hasn’t exactly found his way in life.

Ian’s father Wilden passed away before he was born, something that weighs heavily on him. When he turns 16, though, he receives a staff for his birthday and finds a spell to bring back his dad for one day. He starts the spell, but is only able to bring his dad’s legs back. Knowing they only have a day, Ian and Barley decide to go on a quest to find a way to complete the spell.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Onward’ offers a dull quest”