100 Word Review – Moana (2016)

Nominated for two Oscars, including best animated feature, Disney’s latest princess is a chieftain’s daughter, chasing a demigod.

Written and directed by the hands behind Aladdin, Hercules and Princess and The Frog, this film is a wonderful and refreshing look at Polynesian mythology with a family friendly feel.

Music from the award-winning Lin-Manuel Miranda (writer of Broadway sensation Hamilton), and star performances from the likes of Jemaine Clement (What We Do In The Shadows) and Alan Tudyk (Frozen, Serenity).

Newcomer Auli’i Cravalho is wonderful as Moana but Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as arrogant demigod Maui manages to steal the show.

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100 Word Review – Brave (2012)

The first Pixar film with a female protagonist, it also won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

Set in medieval Scotland, Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) refuses to marry a prince, defying her father (Billy Connolly) and causing more arguments with her mother (Emma Thompson). When a witch (Julie Walters) offers her a way out, she takes it without considering the consequences.

Full of the feel of Celtic myths and a magic that is integral to both the story and the feel of the film, this is a wonderful family movie. Although sometimes overlooked, this is another example of Pixar’s genius.

100 Word Review – The Illusionist (2010)

Not to be confused with the 2006 film of the same name, this French animation is based on a screenplay by Jacques Tati (Mon Oncle, Jour de Fete).

A French illusionist befriends a young Scottish woman and both of their lives change for ever.

It is the closest I’ve come to seeing a silent animation and the combination is mesmerising. Full of humour, charm and at times magic, this is a wonderful film for both adults and children alike.

Adapted and directed by Sylvain Chomet (Belleville Rendezvous, Paris je t’aime, Attila Marcel), it was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

100 Word Review – Zootropolis (2016)

In a world where predators and prey finally live in harmony, a bunny (Ginnifer Goodwin) tries to buck the social order by becoming a police rabbit, a profession dominated by predators.

It has possibly one of the best trailers around (see below), a fantastic vocal cast (Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Shakira and Jenny Slate) and sense of humour sure to tickle both adults and children alike. Watch out for the Breaking Bad joke! From the creators of Tangled, Wreak It Ralph, Big Hero 6 and Frozen, it was always going to be a winner. It’s definitely worth seeing at the cinema.

100 Word Review – Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

The Monty Python (Life of Brian, Meaning of Life) guys are on a quest.

Follow King Arthur (Graham Chapman), Lancelot The Brave (John Cleese), Sir Galahad the Pure (Michael Palin) and Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir Lancelot (Eric Idle) along with a host of other characters (Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam) as they seek the Holy Grail.

Complete with witches, shrubberies, unladen swallows, a killer bunny and a castle of French men, this film is everything you would expect from the Monty Python crew. Gilliam’s animation are wonderful as always, as are the random jokes. Endlessly quotable, historically inaccurate and thoroughly British.

100 Word Review – Porco Rosso (1992)

In classic Hayao Miyazaki (Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke) style, this Japanese anime perfectly captures the spirit of adventure and freedom that permeates throughout it.

Set in the skies above a 1930s Italian coast, a WWI veteran pilot makes a living in his sea plane as a bounty hunter, taking down air pirates. His name is Marco Rosso and he was cursed to look like a pig.

Definitely family friendly, but with hidden depths that might have made me cry. There’s humour, there’s romance, there’s a sense of history and the dubbed version even has the voice of Michael Keaton.

100 Word Review – Toy Story (1995)

I love this film and honestly don’t quite understand anyone who doesn’t.

Woody (Tom Hanks) is a much-loved cowboy toy, whose world is shifted by the arrival of a Buzz (Tim Allen), the latest cool space ranger toy.

Directed by John Lassater (A Bugs Life, Cars)  and with the likes of Pete Docter (Up, Inside Out) and Joss Whedon (Avengers: Age of Ultron, In Your Eyes) writing the script, there is no doubt that Pixar was always on to a winner. Funny, sweet and exciting, it was nominated for three Oscars, and currently sits at #96 on IMDb’s top 250 films list.

100 Word Review – Manborg (2011)

Possibly the greatest and most ridiculous film ever made, Manborg is a must-see for any fans of 1980s action Sci Fi.

Set in the future, Nazi vampires rise from Hell and take over the earth. One man is bought back from the dead by a mad scientist, who gives him some robotic modifications. He is no longer a man. He is Manborg.

Created by Canadian cult movie masters Astron-6 (Father’s Day, The Editor) and in the same vein as Kung Fury. Made on $1000 budget, it seeps with the passion of it’s creators. This film is barmy from beginning to end.

100 Word Review – The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Best watched between Halloween and Christmas.

Jack Skellington (Danny Elfman), the king of Halloween Town, growing tired of the same old schtick every year, decides to branch out in to other holidays. With the help of Sally (Catherine O’Hara) and a host of other creepy characters he wants to capture Santy Claws and take over Christmas.

Directed by Henry Selick (Coraline, James and the Giant Peach) and from the twisted mind of Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride), this is a warped but family friendly feature full of strange twists and turns and songs you’ll be singing until New Year.

100 Word Review – Coraline (2009)

Disappointed and frustrated by her life, Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) discovers an alternate reality in which everything is the same but better. What dark secrets could such a place be hiding?

Based on a novel by the always remarkable Neil Gaiman (Stardust, Mirrormask) and adapted and directed by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach), this is a beautiful family animation with a dark and twisted underbelly only found in the best children’s stories.

Nominated for an Oscar and with some recognisable voices (listen out for French and Saunders) this film is quite simply brilliant.