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 – Song of the Sea (2014)

I was lucky enough to see this at Bath Film Festival in November, and have been shouting about it ever since.

This stunning Irish animation follows Saoirsa and her older brother, Ben, and their faithful dog, Cu, on an adventure through a magical world of Selkies (people who become seals) and other figures of Celtic mythology. There is heart-break, there is magic and the most important element of all, family.

Visually mesmerising and with a wonderful cast on vocals, this is a truly lovely film. from the makers of The Secret of Kells, suitable for anyone aged 8 to 80 and beyond!

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Harvey (1950)

Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

Elwood P Dowd

I love Jimmy Stewart. I should get that out of the way to start.

So, it came as a surprise when I stumbled over this feature a couple of years ago that I hadn’t seen it sooner. Since first watching it, I have bought it for at least three separate friends and family members and am compiling a list of others I think need to see it.

Mr Stewart plays Elwood P Dowd, a well-liked man in a small town who happens to be best friends with Harvey, an invisible six-foot rabbit. Elwood describes Harvey as a Pooka, a creature from Celtic myth. Chaos ensues as Elwood’s eccentric sister worries about the affect of his actions on her daughter’s marriage prospects. His sanity is questioned and what follows is a farcical romp of a tale, with Elwood at it’s cool, calm centre.

Stewart is delightful in this role: being charming and introducing baffled family and friends to an acquaintance only he can see seems to be the part he was born to play. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role, but was robbed by José Ferrer.

In 2008, this film was ranked number 8 in the American Film Institutes top ten list of fantasy films. Honestly, despite its stiff competition, I’m only surprised it didn’t come higher. This film is sublime.