In Review: Incredibles 2

Time has not diminished Pixar’s beloved superhero family. Fourteen years after their debut, Incredibles 2 arrives as spry and genuinely thrilling as to suggest they never left. As superhero stories have begun to feel strained and perfunctory, this is not to be underestimated. Proving anew why the first installment is one of the most exciting superhero films of the modern era, this sequel is why we show up to these movies. It’s not just like The Incredibles ever left, but we forget how dull these movies have become while we watch it.

Picking up shortly after the first film, we’re also spared the now-common narrative of watching a group we’re familiar with deal with later stages. Instead, this chapter is more of a reversal of the first but with the characters as they already were. Elastigirl is now rightfully, as she always truly was, the best and coolest damn hero of the family.

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In Review!: “Coco”

In an attic hideout, young Miguel not only hides a stash of memorabilia of legendary musician Ernesto de la Cruz, but also his own secret longing to become a musician himself. Trouble is, his small village life in Mexico is already predetermined to follow in his family tradition of making shoes and shunning music. But the discovery that Cruz is the great-great grandfather that abandoned the family and spurred their rules against music sends Miguel on a journey to the spirit world to reconcile the two halves of his heart. In so many ways, Coco feels deeply personal.

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Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: “Zootopia”

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I’m not among the many vocal admirers for Zootopia. The amusing character design and relationships are a delight, and of course it has a fiercely progressive (and unpreachy) message for children that is hard not to root for. While the film’s upsides are front and center, they still don’t mask the film’s flatness and unpropulsive energy, and even the social commentary becomes a little muddled by the end. On first glance the animation looks unrefined, but there’s an expressive attention to lighting and tone that probably does more to push the emotions than the screenplay itself.

But Zootopia‘s core is so warmhearted and well-thought out that focusing on its faults feels a bit mean-spirited, and downplays how accomplished it is visually.

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Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: “World of Tomorrow”

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It’s shorts week for Hit Me With Your Best Shot, a branch of film that I’m unfortunately not well versed. Outside of wide release for each year’s Oscar nominated shorts, accessibility is the issue – though that seems to be changing as more streaming services hit the market. However, without the level of discussion and coverage given to feature length films it’s difficult to discover which ones to seek out.

This was not the case last year for Don Herzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow (long available on Netflix and other platforms) thanks to high critical praise and vocal fandom since its debut at 2015 Sundance Film Festival. It’s easy to know that a film exists if major critics are calling a film one of the year’s best, feature-length or not.

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