I’m generally very strict about what I write full reviews of and the main rule above all is that they are generally supposed to be exclusively reserved for movies that I see in theaters.  I hold this standard for a lot of reasons: partly because it ensures I judge a movie based on an ideal viewing experience, partly to reward distributors that are keeping theatrical alive, partly to keep myself from lazily waiting until things are on home video, and partly just because the things that are worth reviewing are generally just going to be the ones that earn theatrical releases.  I’m pretty dogmatic about this and as much as possible I’m planning to stick to this rule even during the era of the Coronavirus and sheltering at home even if it means focusing the blog more on older movies or special articles than full reviews during the crisis.  That having been said I did ultimately decide to make an exception for Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Bacurau for a couple of reasons. Firstly it’s a movie from a director who interests me and which I’ve been keen to see since its Cannes release, secondly because it was a movie that Kino International had planned to give a full (if platformed) theatrical release to and had put out in New York and Los Angeles before theaters were shut down nationwide, and thirdly (and most importantly) they were employing a special distribution method called KinoMarquee where you can support a local theater with each stream.  With all that in mind I decided I would break tradition and cover this like a theatrical film, but make no mistake I am not happy about this compromise.  The price of the stream was higher than it would usually be to see a matinee in this area, the options to make it play on my TV were not ideal (arthouse streamers need to get their act together and provide apps to Xbox, PS4, and/or LG smart TVs, looking at you Criterion), and I’m not entirely sure I got optimal picture quality, but in a crisis it will do.

The film is set in a near future in a fictional remote village in northern Brazil called Bacurau.  It doesn’t necessarily follow any one character but instead kind of establishes the town as an entity early on and the various eccentric people who live there.  We learn that there is quite a bit of tension with the town’s mayor Tony Jr. (Thardelly Lima), but aside from that it feels like business as usual in the town until the villagers suddenly notice that the town is no longer showing up on Google maps, and then a water truck comes in with bullet holes in its tank, and then they lose phone signals altogether.  Eventually they come to realize that what’s going on is that there’s a party of wealthy largely American hunters lead by one experienced mercenary (Udo Kier) camped out on the outskirts of town who are planning to hunt the town’s inhabitants for sport and the inhabitants need to rally themselves less they find themselves picked off one by one.

Bacurau is a bit of a departure for Kleber Mendonça Filho, who didn’t seem to show much in the way of genre sensibility in his previous films Neighboring Sounds and Aquarius.  What I think links the film to those earlier works is a focus on community and on protecting them from wealthy outsiders be it from overbearing private security forces, land developers, or human hunters.  He shows some flashes of unique style here, namely the employment of Kurosawa/Lucas wipe cuts and a couple of moments that definitely revel in the gore of it all, but the movie never quite starts playing out like either an action movie or a horror movie and it maintains that Filho leisurely pace and tone.  Where it doesn’t hold up as well is in the acting, especially in the American villains.  Now, if you watch enough foreign films you will encounter examples like this where directors clearly kind of half-ass their direction of English speaking characters and I’m sure the same problem widely exists in English language films with non-American characters, but regardless it’s pretty hard to ignore that the dialogue and line readings by these characters are pretty weak.  Not completely incompetent but certainly weak.

Of course it’s hard to talk about this movie without acknowledging the coincidence of it getting a U.S. release not long after the release of Hollywood’s own political “Most Dangerous Game” riff, The Hunt.  I hated that movie and while Bacurau is certainly done a lot better it still falls into some of the same traps.  Before I should get into this I should humble myself a little and admit that I know very little about Brazilian politics and may be missing quite a bit in here, but there does seem something more than a bit simplistic about casting greedy heartless foreigners as the ruthless villains to be fought off.  I get that there’s more of a punching up aspect about a Latin American country doing this to Americans than the reverse but at a certain point xenophobia is still xenophobia and the movie doesn’t really do a whole lot to connect these villains to any real act of international exploitation outside of just making them these kind of one note violent people, and frankly in the era Jair Bolsonaro the Brazilian countryside might have enough internal threats without worrying about evil foreigners.

Between this and The Hunt I’ve really come to question the usefulness of “The Most Dangerous Game” as any kind of political allegory.  Richard Connell’s original short story was never really supposed to be about class; the villain was an aristocrat but his villainy was primarily a product of him just being crazy and evil and his victim was a rich person as well.  The intended theme of that story was simply the ethics of hunting; the victim was a hunter of big game animals and over the course of the story he came to learn what it was like when the tables were turned.  But trying to sum up an entire class, or ideology, or nationality based on something as dehumanizing as hunting man is just too blunt and casts too big of a net and the notion that you’d find large group of such sociopaths and that they’d expect to be able to do it without detection just doesn’t scan as plausible.  There’s an “us against them” element to it all that just doesn’t sit well during these times.  Bacurau is less flippant and less charged than The Hunt, and it’s mostly better made and has more interesting elements that redeem it, but there’s still something about it that does not really sit entirely well with me.  It’s worth a look, and I’m willing to give it some benefit of the doubt that there are some local references that are lost on me.

*** out of Five


Top 100 Films of the Decade – The Statistics

I swear this is going to be the last post I make dissecting my top 100 films of the 2010s list.  I’ve been stretching out content about this list for a while now and its running dry, but I would like take a look at some of the statistical elements.

So, the decade was obviously a conflation of ten separate years, let’s see which years provided the most movies that made it to the list:

As you can see the years are for the most part pretty evenly distributed in the grand scheme of things.  The biggest outlier is 2011, with only seven films represented on the list, which is ironic given that that was the year my number one film came from. That is more or less kind of how I remember that year being.  I’m a bit more surprised that 2018 fared so poorly but that might have been hurt by its recency even more than 2019, which at least benefited from being fresh in the mind.

As far as filmmakers go there’s a sort of three way tie for the directors who have the most films on the list with three films each between David Fincher (The Social Network, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl), Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street, Silence, The Irishman), and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood).  Only six films on the list were feature length debut’s from their perspective directors: Son of Saul, The Witch, Eighth Grade, The Tribe, The Babadook, and Mustang.

The average running time for a film on the list is 130 minutes.  The shortest film on the list is Ida, which runs a lean 82 minutes.  The longest film on the list is Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, which runs 241 minutes but which was technically released as two films, so if you omit that it’s of course The Irishman, which runs an impressive 209 minutes.

Though I tried to be as inclusive of world cinema as possible, ultimately 70 of the lists’ 100 movies ended up being English language films.  That of course includes films from the UK, Australia, and Denmark (thanks to Lars Von Trier) and I’m also including in that number The Clouds of Sils-Maria, which is sort of bilingual.  Of the thirty foreign language films on the list the following languages are represented:

It probably isn’t a big shock that France has the most films represented given how much of a cinematic powerhouse that country is. Korean coming in second was a bit more of a surprise, but probably not a huge one.  That Turkish would be tied with Spanish is a bit more of a shocker, though it should be noted that “Columbian Indigenous Languages” are seperated out thanks to the efforts of Ciro Guerra and both of those films have a decent amount of Spanish in them as well.

Dividing movies by country as opposed to language is a bit trickier as a lot of movies are the product of co-productions across national borders and the divide between American and UK productions can be tricky.  Take Dunkirk for example.  That’s certainly a movie that’s very much about British history and people but it’s also very much a product of Hollywood and the American Film industry.  It goes the other way too.  The BAFTAs consider the movie Gravity to be a British film despite being about American Astronauts working for NASA because it was shot on British backlots and had some British money invested in it.  Then there are movies like Cloud Atlas that was financed by people all of the world and features characters from all over the world, so for the below (messy) pie chart I’m making some judgement calls based on what country a movie feels like it’s from, so in the above examples I’m calling Dunkirk British, Gravity American, and Cloud Atlas American kind of for lack of a better option.

Moving on, lets take a look at the distributors that brought us the most movies for the list.  Now, I’m strictly looking at the companies that distributed these movies in the United States rather than the original production studio firstly because that ultimately determined who controlled how the films were brought to me and secondly because determining a single production studio for some of these movies would be tough if not impossible.

So on the above I’ve combined subsidiaries with their parent companies in the interest of readability though some of those distinctions are telling, like Sony Pictures Classics which contributed fourteen movies to its big studio counterpart’s six, which is a good illustration of SPC’s prominence in the distribution of foreign cinema.  The chart also shows how much of a big deal A24 has been in the distribution of finer cinema given that it has a much bigger piece of the pie than major players like Warner Brothers and Netflix.  Notice also that despite its commercial prowess the Disney corporation only had two films on the list (Avengers Infinity War and Lincoln, which was made by Touchstone in the waning days of non-franchise obsession from that company).  I’ve also included an “other” category which mostly consists of really indie distributors like Oscilloscope, Music Box Films, and The Cinema Guild.

Now let’s take a look at what MPAA ratings the films on the top 100 received :

Chart 5

Unsurprisingly, a decent majority of the films on the list were rated R what with sex, violence, and profanity all being things I like quite a bit and PG-13 movies took up a decent chunk of the list what with that basically being the designated rating of commercial cinema out of Hollywood.  Two films on the list were officially rated NC-17 (Shame and Blue is the Warmest Color), but there are a couple of movies in that “Not Rated” category like Nymphomaniac and The Handmaiden which definitely would have gotten that dreaded rating if they’d bothered to submit for that rating.  A couple of other titles like Dogtooth, The Tribe, Holy Motors, and maybe BPM (Beats Per Minute) may have also been in the same boat but I’m not sure.  However most of the rest of the sixteen movies in that “Not Rated” categorization are just movies that were going to have very small theatrical releases and just didn’t bother to submit to the MPAA despite being mild enough to get an R or less.  On the other end of the nastiness spectrum there were two PG movies (Little Women and Our Little Sister) but no G-rated films which may have as much to do with with MPAA rarely giving that rating out anymore as it does with my personal taste.

Now let’s look at one of my regular obsessions: Aspect Ratios!  Here’s the breakdown of what aspect ratio the films on the list were shot in:

Chart 6

Clearly “widescreen movies dominate the chart with 2.35:1 films taking up 55% of the list, which you can bump up by two if you lump in the two really widescreen movies from the list: The Hateful Eight and La La Land (an element of that film I don’t remember being discussed at all).  The supposed “standard” ratio of 1.85:1 makes up a mere 30% of the list but interestingly makes up 50% of the top ten.  This decade also saw a bit of a boomlet of movies using narrower ratios that harken back to the earlier days of cinema with a full 10% of the films being narrower than 1.85:1.  Interestingly, out of those only The Lighthouse (which was in the ultra-narrow 1.19:1 ratio), Ida, and arguably First Reformed were really trying to harken back to that pre-1950s cinema.  The film No was harkening back more to 80s and 90s television while other movies like A Ghost Story and Son of Saul used the boxy frame for its own narrative purposes.

One of the biggest debates in the world of cinema in the last decade was the battle between 35mm film and digital filmmaking so it seemed logical to see how many of my top 100 were shot in one format versus the other:

Chart 7

Not exactly the most decisive results.  First of all, that sliver at the top represents the film No, which was shot on an archaic television video format in order to match some stock footage in the film.  It’s still technically an analog format so if you put it with Film you come within two movies of a 50/50 split, which is kind of crazy.  I should note that under “film” I’m also including formats as diverse as 16mm and IMAX along with the traditional 35mm works.  It should also be noted that some films are a hybrid of both formats and I tended to go with “film” if any substantial amount of the movie was shot in that format.

Finally we’ll look at some statistics related to how I personally watched each movie.  First let’s take a look at what medium I watched each film on:

Chart 8

So, clearly I watched an overwhelming majority of these movies in theaters.  What to interpret from this?  Most likely just that I had a good nose for what I was going to like and I managed to get out and see them when I had a chance.  Beyond that it might just be that the theatrical experiences really makes you more inclined to love a film.  Of the films I watched at home the highest ranking film, by far, was Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet, which came out really early in the decade before I was necessarily getting out to the arthouse as much as I would be later.  Dogtooth was kind of in the same boat.

Finally I want to take a quick look at how many of the films on the list were watched more than once before I assembled the list, and the tally is surprisingly low.

Chart 9

In fact I’ve only rewatched 30 of the 100 films and they aren’t necessarily the ones high up on the list you might expect.  In fact I’ve only given 13 of my top 50 a rewatch.  This is mostly a reflection of how rarely I re-watch much of anything these days.  You don’t make yourself a human film database by watching the same handful of movies over and over instead of watching new things and when I do rewatch things they are generally more likely to be really old movies rather than movies from the last ten years.  So, with a lot of these I based by placement on my memories of a single viewing years ago, and yet I still feel pretty confident about almost all of my choices.  Great movies just tend to make that impact on you that you don’t forget.

The Hunt(3/13/2020)

The Blumhouse produced horror film The Hunt was originally intended to come out on September 27th 2019 but this was derailed, ostensibly out of sensitivity to the mass shootings that occurred in Dayton and El Paso that occurred a month before the release but what’s really thought to have been behind it was the fact that some right-wing outlets heard vague descriptions of it, interpreted it as an assault on them, and saw it as an opportunity to create an “us against them” narrative about “Hollywood elites.”  Trump himself even made vague comments about it at a rally.  At the time I viewed this delay as something of an outrage.  A cowardly attempt to stifle what looked at least from the trailers to be an attempt to combine social commentary with genre elements.  Mind you I barely knew anything about the movie I was defending, and in many ways that was beside the point, I didn’t want the incident to have a chilling effect on future movies that would try to do things along those lines.  Beyond that, the fact that this was now forbidden fruit made me a whole lot more interested in seeing it than I was before, partly out of the long long history of the best movies becoming “controversial” powder kegs that spark debates and outlast their critics in the long run.  Also, frankly, there’s a certain kneejerk instinct to support anything that Donald Trump seems to hate.  But now the film is back, this time with an advertising campaign that leans into the controversy by claiming to be the most talked about movie of the year (which it objectively is not), but despite feeling a lot less dangerous and interesting than it did in the fall, I still felt some compulsion to seek it out if only to make sense of that whole tempest in a teapot from a few months ago.

The film is a bit of a riff on the short story “The Most Dangerous Game” as it is about a cadre of wealthy elites who take it upon themselves to kidnap a bunch of people, transport them to some sort of secret compound in the Balkans, and then hunt them for sport.  The film doesn’t beat around the bush about this reveal and pretty much lets you know what’s up from the beginning.  The victims of this hunt are various low income people, mostly from the south, who have at some point or another expressed some sort of right wing sentiment.  They are “deplorables” as one of the hunters describes them in a text chat that displays onscreen at the beginning.  I don’t think the name “Donald Trump” is spoken in the film but you do get the impression that the two sides of this are basically two sides of the culture war at their most extreme.

It is perhaps curious that Donald Trump came out against this movie because if he had actually seen it he might have found that the movie kind of seems to in many ways push the worldview that Trump espouses.  In it liberals are viewed not as people of diverse backgrounds looking to advance social causes but instead as virtue signaling millionaire fatcats who operate entirely out of hatred for red states while their victims are seen as misguided but ultimately sympathetic victims, and people of color don’t seem to factor into any of this much at all.  Why the film’s producers, who as far as I can tell are not Trump supporting conservatives, wanted to advance this narrative with their movie is difficult to perceive.  The most charitable reading I can perceive is that the movie is meant less to be a reflection of contemporary America than it’s meant to be a movie about stereotypes and the way we perceive one another, but I must say this interpretation requires a lot of bullshit false equivilencey that’s inherently unbalanced by the fact that liberal elites do not actually hunt people while there are actual real world examples of the kinds of “deplorability” that the hunted people represent.  Outside of that I think there’s a sort of extreme version of the sort of self-criticism that made Get Out such a hit, but done much more clumsily.  The upper class liberals in that movie at least sort of resembled people you might meet in real life, but the ones here seem to exist solely in Alex Jones’ imagination.

The film is not completely without wit.  In my summery of the film’s plot I avoided giving character names or listing cast members, in part because it does a fairly clever thing at the beginning where it fools the audience into thinking a variety of people will be will be the film’s protagonist before finally settling on one.  Some of the film’s kills are also reasonably well staged in a way that the gorehounds will appreciate and there are jokes here and there and there’s a fairly good performance from the lead that eventually emerges.  But all of that is kind of wasted on a movie that seems to be peddling a profoundly unproductive message that will not please (or particularly challenge) anyone on any side of the political divide.  It does nothing to probe more deeply into what makes the “deplorables” tick and its interest in the richest of limousine liberals seems particularly out of touch coming out of a hard fought primary in which decidedly non-elite Democrats were deciding the future of the party.  Maybe twenty years from now this thing will appear to be an interesting document of the political divide in the Tump years the way we now look back at movies like Punishment Park seem to give insight into the culture wars of the past, but right now this is decidedly not the movie the country needs.

* out of Five

The Top 100 Films of the 2010s: Commentary #25-1

To quickly reiterate, I’ve been providing a little extra commentary about my top 100 films of the decade list and giveing a little bit of behind the scenes insights into how I put the list together.  As I said from the beginning the definitive listing of the list can still be found on its dedicated page and these posts should largely be viewed as an appendix.

25. The Tree of Life (2011)
24. The Handmaiden (2016)
23. The Social Network (2010)
22. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
21. Twelve Years a Slave (2013)

The Tree of Life was definitely the movie I was the least sure of the placement of.  My feelings about that movie are… complex.  I was super hyped for it, then I was a little disappointed, but then I came around on it… it’s a whole thing.  Putting it right at 25 seemed like the best way to acknowledge if while reflecting my misgivings.

20. Holy Motors (2012)
19. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
18. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
17. The Hateful Eight (2015)
16. mother! (2017)

Holy Motors was a bit of a wild card for me.  I haven’t watched it in eight years (I’ve rewatched surprisingly few movies at all from this decade) but in many ways it has really held up as one of the decade’s most out there experiments that still managed to really work and feels like it will be remembered.  Birdman stands out as one I might have placed a little too high, possibly because I’ve become rather defensive about it, and that might also be just a little true about The Hateful Eight and mother! as well.

15. Parasite (2019)
14. If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
13. Certified Copy (2011)
12. Jackie (2016)
11. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)

Parasite was almost certainly hurt by having come out so recently and that kept me a bit cautious about putting it higher up on the list.  Of all the movies that was number one on its yearly top ten it was the lowest on the top 100.  If Beale Street Could Talk probably suffered a bit from being relatively recent as well.  As discussed in its write-up, Blue is the Warmest Color was probably kept out of the top ten because of some lingering concerns about its director both personally and artistically since he made that movie.

10. A Prophet (2010)
9. The Florida Project (2017)
8. Winter Sleep (2014)
7. Room (2015)
6. Manchester by the Sea (2016)

A Prophet was a movie I debated placing on the list because of some lingering questions about whether it should considered a 2009 or 2010 film.  Once the decision was made to include it its high placement was pretty much guaranteed.  Really regret no going ahead and counting it as a 2010 film in 2010. The rest of this section is kind of an island of misfit films as the remaining four were all critically acclaimed films that oddly never quite made the debate for the years’ finest among critics groups in their respective years and were overshadowed by sexier choices like Mad Max: Fury Road and Moonlight.

5. Inception (2010)
4. Son of Saul (2015)
3. Boyhood (2014)
2. The Master (2012)
1. A Separation (2011)

Inception for me is plainly the best movie Hollywood tentpole machine made this year and I might have bumped it just a couple slots to put it in the top five just to make a bit of a statement.  Son of Saul was a movie that could have contended for the top spot but at the end of the day I just didn’t want something that depressing getting that high so number four was the place.  As for the top three; I really did have no firm choice for number one the whole time I was putting this list together and didn’t have a firm choice locked in for the top spot until about a week before the final announcement.  I knew I wasn’t going to put The Master on top just because on some level I think it’s a movie I’m never going to fully truely understand and I wanted something I could be 100% confident about, so I decided early on I’d have it follow in There Will Be Blood’s footsteps and sit at number two for its decade.  For a very long time I considered putting Boyhood at the number one slot and what ultimately made me swap it with A Separation was that bit with the mother inspiring the Mexican worker to become a restaurant manager.  In 2014 that one flaw wasn’t nearly enough to keep it from being the best movie of its respective year for me but when dealing with elite competition like this that one little tiny issue can be enough to hold a movie back just a little bit, but A Separation wasn’t declared number one just by default like that, it really was just a confluence of it being a movie I had absolutely nothing bad to say about.


What to make of the post-Toy Story 3 Pixar?  This animation studio was considered to be something of a pinnacle of studio filmmaking during the 2000s when they put out movies like Ratatouille and Wall-E the critics used to routinely insist that they deserved Best Picture Oscar nominations but in the following decade they’ve been viewed as something more akin to the MCU: a cog in the Disney machine putting out product that isn’t to be respected too much even when it’s pretty good.  The main thing that’s often blamed on this decline is their increased interest in putting out sequels to their earlier films, and indeed, six of the ten movies they put out during that period were sequels of varying degrees of quality.  But critics haven’t been terribly jazzed about most of the original movies they put out either.  Brave was probably the first of several Pixar movies this decade that was met with a sort of respectful but not overly impressed response despite probably being better than most of what their competitors were putting out.  Coco was better received, but it still wasn’t like it was in the old days, and The Good Dinosaur was pretty much dismissed outright.  Inside Out was the exception, people did view that one as something of a classic but even then there was a bit of a ceiling.  But are these movies really so much worse than the other movies?  I would argue they aren’t, rather I feel like the hype levels are closer to what they should have been all along, but there is something a little odd about the way Pixar seems to get held to a higher standard than most other Hollywood animation studios and the mild reception that their new original film Onward is emblematic of this.

The world of Onward is based on a question I’ve long contemplated: what will it be like when the a high fantasy world of the kind in Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones discovers gunpowder, steam engines, and electricity and ends up being something more akin to the modern world but still filled with elves and dragons and the like.  It’s an idea that was explored (by all accounts poorly) in the David Ayer film Bright but here we get a better realized version of such a place.  The film is set in an unnamed country that used to be filled with knights and mages but the idea of “magic” was abandoned during a sort of industrial revolution and the place now looks like a modern American suburbia but populated entirely by various mythological creatures like centaurs, ogres, and pixies and with buildings that kind of reflect the world’s cultural origins.   Our focus is on Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland), a nightelf who has just turned sixteen and has the normal teenage problems of trying to fit in at school and being anxious about learning to drive.  On the morning of his birthday his mother Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) informs Ian and his older brother Barley (Chris Pratt) that their long dead father had left the two of them a gift to be opened when both of them are sixteen.  This gift is a mage staff, which greatly excites Barley as he is an avid player of a historically based role playing game (essentially Dungeons and Dragons) and is a big believer in magic, much to everyone else’s disdain.  The staff has apparently been set up to bring the father back to life for twenty four hours, but something goes wrong when they try to use it and all that’s brought back are the father’s legs, which walk around aimlessly.  To complete the spell they’re going to have to find another rare crystal, and finding that will require them to go on a quest that will test their bond.

Early on it seemed like the main theme of Onward was going to be tradition versus technology and that “magic” would act as a sort of stand-in for any number of debates that go around about new ways of doing things: film vs. digital, physical media vs. streaming, or perhaps most pertinently computer animation vs. hand drawn.  There is enough there to kind of make that work as a through line.  Barley’s fanatical devotion to the ways of old is certainly shown to have its limits but there are legitimately some things magic can do which “the new ways” can’t and it shouldn’t be dismissed.  Maybe a few too many things.  Given everything they’re able to do on this journey with rudimentary wizardly it does somewhat beggar belief that this society would abandon it entirely and it might have made sense to show a few more of the downsides of the magic arts.  But really this becomes something of a secondary theme as the film goes on as it ultimately becomes a lot more interested in the relationship between the two brothers and their feelings about having lost a father at a very young age, which I think is a bit of a mistake as that whole relationship is not quite as interesting as the movie seems to think it is.

Despite that I still found the sheer world-building here to be really charming.  Like I said before, this idea of fantasy worlds getting modern technology has been on my mind for a while and it was really fun seeing that very notion get fleshed out in a movie like this.  Like, the movie has a character who’s a straight-up manticore, but she runs a family restaurant for a living and uses her past exploits as a theme for it.  I certainly find that amusing, and there’s a lot of stuff like that in the movie, to the point where I’d probably welcome a sequel to this just to explore the place even more.  There was also fun to be had with the basic adventure that the characters go on here.  I do normally frown at the way Pixar seems to turn almost all of their movies into adventure narratives, but given the motif here it does fit.  That’s not to say every part of the narrative is completely novel and interesting as there are passages that feel more bland than others, but I mostly had fun with it and it really seems weird to me that the movie has not really seemed to catch on with critics and audiences.  It hasn’t been the best marketed film and its title is not the best, but this reception generally seems to be indicative of the double standard that Pixar gets held to at times.

***1/2 out of Five