149 posts categorized "Children's Cinema"

January 13, 2024

ASTEROID CITY

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ColeSmithey.com

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel. Punk heart still beating.

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ColeSmithey.comHow far the mediocre have fallen.

Wes Anderson has become more of an art instillation filmmaker than a storyteller.

"Asteroid City" is a fine thing to project on the wall of your next cocktail dinner soiree, but it isn't much of a movie, or a play, or whatever the feck Wes Anderson thinks it is.

Here is a movie you'll feel better about walking out on before it begins, than you will wasting the fifteen minutes it takes you to realize what a disastrous piece of inert garbage it truly is.

Still, walk out you will.

ColeSmithey.com

Other than inspiring a few chuckles, "Asteroid City" doesn't deliver enough humor, meaningful satire, or narrative structure to be entertaining.

ColeSmithey.com

If you like watching paint dry, then you should probably stick to watching paint dry.

ColeSmithey.com

I suppose Anderson's name actors (of which there are too many) were happy enough with the two-hundred to five-hundred grand that each were ostensibly paid for their participation in this huge waste of their individual talents.

Childish is as childish does.

ColeSmithey.com

Scarlett Johansson's gratuitous (body-double) nude scene takes the cake for just how embarrassingly low Anderson is willing to sink.

Disgusting. 

Rated PG-13. 105 mins.

Zero StarsZERO STARS

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

October 28, 2023

PAN'S LABYRINTH — SHOCKTOBER!

ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.comWelcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

ColeSmithey.com

ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.comGuillermo del Toro Relishes the Horrors of Childhood

ColeSmithey.comIn discussing the leftist political themes of "The Devil’s Backbone" and "Pan’s Labyrinth," gothic horror maestro Guillermo del Toro responds by condemning what is considered "normal" because "normal creates inadequacy immediately." The transplanted director from Mexico embraces abnormality and moral ambiguity in "Pan’s Labyrinth." It's a film he wrote and directed as a deeply personal treatise on the defense mechanisms of a child dealing with war and death. "Pan's Labyrinth" is a surreal and dark fairy tale about resistance and sacrifice from the point of view of a resourceful child.

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Ofelia (played with immeasurable grace by child actress Ivana Baquero) is uprooted with her ailing pregnant mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil) during Franco's 1944 postwar Spain to go live with Ofelia’s stepfather Captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez) of Spain’s Civil Guard. Mother and daughter arrive at an abandoned rural mill that Vidal has converted into a military headquarters to oppose the local "maquis" freedom fighters. Ofelia momentarily escapes the farm’s oppressive ambience to explore an old garden labyrinth where she meets a peculiar faun (Doug Jones) who acts as a mentor. The strange creature assigns Ofelia three tasks to prove her royalty as a princess.

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Ofelia's dark fantasies of fairies and monsters are matched by the savage hostilities incited by Captain Vidal’s obsessive reign of power. The hideous but friendly faun gradually becomes beautiful as Ofelia fulfills his commands of obtaining a key from a repulsive toad, visiting a pale monster with eyeballs in the palms of his hands at a banquet from which she must not eat, and releasing the blood of an innocent. This is thought-provoking stuff that del Toro presents with fluid attention to detail. You couldn't hope for a more visually lush experience.

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After the film’s premiere in Cannes del Toro said, "In this movie, I think the fascist is more terrifying than any of the creatures Ofelia encounters in her fantasy. I feel that the more humanist point of view is the one that I like. I love "Beauty and the Beast" by Jean Cocteau. I love "Frankenstein" by James Whale. I like "Night of the Hunter."

ColeSmithey.com

Taking into account del Toro's stated influences, you can see where each have an impact on the film he has crafted from every angle. Here we have gothic horror combined with fantasy in a purely original way that nevertheless breathes with a sense of tradition.

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"Pan’s Labyrinth" is set at the end of World War II when the Spanish resistance still had a fighting chance against Franco’s regime if allied support arrived in time. The movie works intriguingly opposite Steven Soderbergh’s "The Good German" as a phantasmagorical reflection of an underground reality seething beneath the scorched and bloody soldier-inhabited earth above.

ColeSmithey.com

Guillermo del Toro is a bold creator of modern fairytales in the tradition of the Grimm Brothers, as mixed with a healthy sprinkling of Greek mythology. In planning his films, the director draws colorful drawings of the creatures he will bring to life, such as the mandrake root that Ofelia places in a bowl of milk-and-water beneath her mother’s bed to cure her sickness and protect her unborn child.

ColeSmithey.com

As del Toro points out, "There is a mythology that you can grow a baby out of a mandrake." Mandrake is another name for ginseng, but del Toro proposes the plant was traditionally born under the gallows at the feet of hanging victims who spasmed as they died. "You had to look for it under a full moon with a black dog and wear protection on your ears because, when the dog digs for it, the mandrake screams and the dog dies. And if you don’t have protection, you die." The childhood desperation that permeates his dramatic sensibility is elevated by del Toro’s sincere devotion to imaginary belief systems rooted in cycles of nature.

ColeSmithey.com

Del Toro says, "Pan’s Labyrinth" is an adult movie about being a kid. My favorite kid movies are "The 400 Blows," or "Au revoir, les enfants" by Louis Malle or "The Tin Drum." None of these are movies that I would play along with "Chicken Little" for my daughters, but they are movies, nevertheless, about childhood."

Add "Pan's Labyrinth" to that list.

ColeSmithey.com

Rated R. 120 mins.

4 Stars ColeSmithey.comCozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

October 17, 2023

WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT — SHOCKTOBER!

ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.comWelcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

ColeSmithey.com

ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.com

ColeSmithey.comBritish Claymation geniuses Nick Park and Steve Box bring to life their best-loved characters Wallace (voiced by veteran actor Peter Sallis) and his faithful tongue-tied dog Gromit in a nifty children’s movie filled with just the right amount of bawdy double entendres to make adults snicker.

Through a painstaking filming process that takes a full day to shoot, at most, two seconds of screentime the filmmakers create a vibrant rural British community obsessed with growing giant vegetables for their annual fairground competition.

ColeSmithey.com

Wallace and Gromit run a brisk pest control business called "Anti-Pesto" by humanely capturing garden-ravaging bunnies with Wallace’s specially invented Bun-Vac 6000 contraption that "sucks as well as blows."

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But their Northern England clientele go wiggy when an enormous rabbit attacks their gardens during a harvest full moon to devour every gigantic vegetable in sight.

ColeSmithey.com

It’s "the world’s first vegetarian horror movie," but there’s nothing scary about it.

Rated G. 82 mins.

5 Stars CARNEGIE SHCOKTOBERCozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

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