Ron Clements and John Musker helm Moana, the 56th entry in the Disney animated feature pantheon (probably) and a vibrant showcase of what the House of Mouse does well. The story is one of those by-committee jobs, but there’s a beating heart within that takes popular filmmaking and classic folklore into account.Read more "Moana (2016)"
Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, The Secret Life of Pets is pretty standard animated fare from Illumination Entertainment. Featuring a screenplay by Brian Lynch, Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, the 2016 animated feature runs a Toy Story template but with pets and other miscellaneous animals.Read more "The Secret Life of Pets (2016)"
Satoshi Kon paints a magnificent picture with 2001’s Millennium Actress, a stunning and dramatic animated feature. Featuring a screenplay by Kon and Sadayuki Murai, this film contends with some significant symbolism but never gets carried away. It weaves a human tale, telling a story of love and longing and consumption.Read more "Millennium Actress (2001)"
A noisy and feathery pile of propaganda, The Angry Birds Movie carries as unexpected a plot as one might expect from a film based on a mobile game. The 2016 movie is directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly and features a screenplay by Simpsons writer Jon Vitti.Read more "The Angry Birds Movie (2016)"
A vibrant and quick animated feature, Kung Fu Panda 3 solidifies the roly-poly hero as the jewel in the crown of DreamWorks Animation. This 2016 picture is directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni from a screenplay by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger.Read more "Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)"
Considering the chaotic, thoughtless nightmare that was 2012’s Hotel Transylvania, expectations were suitably low for its 2015 sequel. Happily, director Genndy Tartakovsky and writer Robert Smigel polish things up a great deal for Hotel Transylvania 2 and manage to tell an amusing, relatively straightforward yarn.Read more "Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)"
Peter Sohn directs The Good Dinosaur, a middling Pixar movie that contains moments of grandeur but sinks into the dull mud of mediocrity. The 2015 animated feature has a tentative air, with Meg LeFauve’s screenplay never quite striking the right tone. There is still divine beauty and the animation is on-point, however, and some scenes […]Read more "The Good Dinosaur (2015)"
Brimming with old-school charm, The Peanuts Movie is a surprising little treat. The 2015 computer-animated movie is directed by Steve Martino without an ounce of risk, which makes the Charles M. Schulz characters go down easy. The screenplay is by Craig and Bryan Schulz, who happen to be the son and grandson of the creator, […]Read more "The Peanuts Movie (2015)"
As far as mild animated distractions go, one could do a lot worse than 2015’s Home. Tim Johnson directs this movie loosely based on Adam Rex’s 2007 book The True Meaning of Smekday, which contends with an odd group of aliens who invade Earth. The screenplay by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember doesn’t reinvent […]Read more "Home (2015)"
It’s hard to imagine a more joyous 2015 film than Shaun the Sheep Movie, a brimming and jubilant yarn directed by Richard Starzak and Mark Burton. The stop-motion animated comedy is based on Nick Park’s Shaun the Sheep television series, which is itself based on a character from the animated short A Close Shave.Read more "Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)"
The Minions movie was always inevitable. The little yellow whatevers were bound to get their own film ever since the lousy Despicable Me 2 trotted them out for more screen time and found box office gold. This time, directors Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin bowl through a Brian Lynch story that talks about the evolution […]Read more "Minions (2015)"
Not only is Inside Out the most profound motion picture to come out of the superb Pixar camp, it’s one of the most profound animated features of all-time. It has as its subject no less than the totality of what it means to be a human being, with Pete Docter’s impeccable direction taking things to […]Read more "Inside Out (2015)"
The first official Studio Ghibli release, Castle in the Sky is written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The 1986 Japanese animated feature initially seems to have less layers than the classic Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, but it builds to a remarkable climax all the same and features some stunning animation.Read more "Castle in the Sky (1986)"
Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is one of those rare animated features that manages to be an everlasting classic. The 1984 motion picture illustrates the limitless potential of the genre when it comes to storytelling, character building, emotional range, and even moral considerations. Based on his 1982 manga of the same […]Read more "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)"
Disney plunges into the animated superhero genre with Big Hero 6, an entertaining but disappointing motion picture from directors Don Hall and Chris Williams. This 2014 film is the first Disney outing to use Marvel Comics characters, with Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau’s creations from 1998 leading to yet another Best Animated Feature Oscar […]Read more "Big Hero 6 (2014)"
Jorge Gutierrez’s The Book of Life is a frustrating animated picture. It’s more visually inventive than most and it has a solid story at its core, but the plot takes too many turns and there’s an almost insufferable insistence on being “cool” that keeps it down. This is made all the more maddening by the […]Read more "The Book of Life (2014)"
Directed by Dean DeBlois, How to Train Your Dragon 2 returns to the well that delivered the 2010 original and wanders down the same roads. This 2014 film is as formulaic as many CGI animated features, complete with the musical cues and elegant moments of whimsy that reveal the creative art as a path to […]Read more "How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)"
Directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi, The Boxtrolls lacks the energy and flavour of previous Laika productions and feels a touch on the underwhelming side. This 2014 animated feature is the recent recipient of an Academy Award nomination and is an adaptation of Alan Snow’s Here Be Monsters! novel.Read more "The Boxtrolls (2014)"
Based on the classic Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Isao Takahata’s beautiful The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is yet another striking animated classic from the good people at Studio Ghibli. This is Takahata’s fifth motion picture, a remarkable follow-up to 1999’s highly underrated My Neighbours the Yamadas and a brilliantly warm […]Read more "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)"
An often excruciating, mind-numbing explosion of gaudy chaos, Rio 2 is worse than its predecessor. It’s also an extraordinarily tedious affair in the sense that the melange of characters, situations, colours, songs, and sounds thickens into a dull paste that looks an awful lot like liquefied crayons and likely smells like bird droppings.Read more "Rio 2 (2014)"