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 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Quill (Chris Pratt) and the team are back, battered and bruised and better than ever.

Continuing from Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket (Bradley Cooper) gets the gang into hot water with the Sovereign, forcing the Guardians to cross paths with Quill’s long lost father, Ego (Kurt Russell).

With the same great cast and skill-full direction of the first film, the soundtrack may not be quite as epic, but it is still the fun, fantastical journey you might hope for. Suitable for older children, it’s already been voted number 229 in IMDb Top 250, in it’s first week of release.

Don’t miss it.

100 Word Review – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Cosmic criminals, comedy, combat and a killer 80s soundtrack, what more could you want from this Marvel comic adaptation?

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is taken from Earth after the death of his mum, with only an epic mixtape to keep him company. 25 years later he calls himself Star Lord, and is an intergalactic thief, caught up in a bid to save the galaxy.

Writer/director James Gunn (Scooby-Doo) does a fantastic job of creating a three-dimensional ensemble cast that includes a talking tree (Vin Diesel), a wise-cracking racoon (Bradley Cooper) and a whole lot more. It’s an absolute joy to watch.

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 – 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 – Stardust (2007)

Adapted from Neil Gaiman’s (Coraline, Mirrormask) brilliant novel, prepare for a fabulous flight of fantasy.

Determined to prove his love by returning with a fallen star, Tristan (Charlie Cox) sets out into the land beyond the wall, unaware of the witches, kings and pirates waiting for him on the other side.

Dream-team Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, Kingsman) wrote and directed this seriously star-studded film. Clare Danes, Ian McKellen, Mark Strong, Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro co-star to name just the best known. It’s fun, mostly family friendly, funny and completely fantastic in every sense of the word.

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 – 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.