Leave it to Disney and Pixar. They have the stable of Marvel superheroes at their disposal and they approach “The Incredibles 2” not as a cash grab but a sincere look at the idea of superheroes in the modern era. Sure superheroes seem like a great idea in theory, but “The Incredibles 2” uses its concept as a means of exploring the world with superheroes and how it can have its definite upsides and crushing downsides. The first film had the concept of the idea of the meaning of being exceptional, our natural advantages, and how mediocrity has become the norm for society that only accepted stellar, once upon a time. “The Incredibles 2” takes it a bit further dissecting the need for heroes and whether self-reliance is the only thing we have in this world.
I didn’t think it was possible, but “Paddington 2” is just as good as the original “Paddington.” It doesn’t repeat the same beats from the original film, but expands on the world we engaged in when we first met the friendly bear. Director Paul King is back and could easily have suffered a sophomore slump with a sequel that was filled with redundancies and pandered to a more mainstream crowd, but thankfully “Paddington 2” stays true to itself, following the adventures of our good hearted bear as he attempts to spread love where ever he goes, and find the good in people.
I was never much of a big fan of the animated series or books featuring “Paddington” and it never quite crossed my path as a kid as much as Dr. Seuss or Curious George did. It’s a shame because “Paddington” is such a pure and wholesome hero whose good intentions always reward him time and time again. Too often do we see good intentions repaid with disaster, but in “Paddington” it’s refreshing to see a hero like Paddington attempt to do good and fall in to love, appreciation, and a bonafide family.
I was never actually a fan of movies where we have to follow an animal or group of animals as we follow along on their adventures. It never dawned on me that animals have such exciting lives and I was never interested In that sub-genre. Save for the “Homeward Bound” movies, but that’s a whole other discussion. “Benji” is considered a classic by many that also begat a ton of copycat films, and “For the Love of Benji” is the follow up that, I assume is intended for kids. It’s kind of dark, all things considered.
Boyd Kirkland’s “SubZero” stands as not only one of the best animated Batman films of all time, but one of the best Batman films, period. In a time where Warner were handing us goofy films like “Batman Forever,” behind the scenes, Bruce Timm took the material seriously, delivering entertaining mature fare like “SubZero.” Something of a sequel to “Deep Freeze,” Kirkland’s film is also a stark contrast to last year’s “Batman and Harley Quinn,” choosing to expand on the hit episode, rather than repeat the same beats ad nauseum like the latter chose to.
Based on Mary Stewart’s classic children’s book “The Little Broomstick,” we meet frizzy haired Mary, a young girl sent to live with her great aunt Charlotte by her parents as they prepare to move. Overcome by boredom, she ventures out in to the wilderness and follows a mysterious black cat in to the nearby forest. There she finds an old broomstick embedded in an old tree, as well as a mysterious glowing flower called the “Fly-by-Night.” The influences of Studio Ghibli are all over the place in Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s animated adventure “Mary and the Witch’s Flower.” From “Whisper of the Heart,” “Spirited Away,” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” there are so many nods and winks to the aforementioned properties that it becomes kind of a treat to see it all unfold.
2017 had so many good films that just one list or even two were not enough. This list is all about fun. Movies that are fun to watch and have something to offer that may not be the top top best of the year but damn close. These are films you want to watch with friends, even one for the kids. Watch these at home in PJs or with a drink (hot cocoa is the drink of choice for one of those films of course).
I vividly remember watching “Rockin’ with the Chipmunks”back in the very early nineties where I recall loving the scenes of Alvin dancing along with Michael Jackson to “Beat It” and “Smooth Criminal.” Mostly a cash grab for the fans, “Rockin with the Chipmunks” is a brief history of the novelty group, spliced in with comedy skits and the members singing vintage rock and roll in their modern animation. The animation for the most part is dicey and fuzzy at best, allowing for a hazy series of music videos, but back then if you were a Chipmunks fanatic, you didn’t care.