Sky High

An adorable movie with appealing characters and entertaining visuals. Sky High is the story of how Will Stronghold learns what heroism means. His parents, Jetstream and the Commander, are the preeminent heroes of their city. They expect great things from him, but as he enters high school, he’s the only kid who hasn’t yet gotten superpowers. He has to come to terms with the idea that he may never get any, an appropriate metaphor for the uncertainties of adolescence. His […]

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The Lake House

I very much enjoyed watching The Lake House. The premise is intriguing — two people fall in love while living in the same house in different years through their unexplained ability to send notes to each other — and the execution is lovely, with plenty of impressive visuals to get lost in. The house is as impressive as it needs to be for a title character, a glass box on a lake near Chicago, pretending to be open but surprisingly […]

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Voices of a Distant Star

In the near future, an interstellar war separates two teens in love in Voices of a Distant Star. This short anime, while competently created (apparently by one guy on his home computer) appeals not because of the visuals — the character designs are familiar and uninspired, and the cross-cutting choppy — but because of the mood. I describe the two as “in love” because it’s the closest I can get to describing them (and “lovers” sounds silly, because it’s not […]

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Kiki’s Delivery Service

Continuing to sample the works of Miyazaki, I tried Kiki’s Delivery Service. Upon the advice of my readers, I watched the subtitled instead of dubbed version, and I agree, Phil Hartman as the voice of the cat would have been too distracting. Although I’ve only seen a couple of Miyazaki films, I could already identify his common themes here: spirited young woman unsure of her skills meets neighbor boy fascinated by her strength and with unusual interest of his own. […]

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My Neighbor Totoro/Whisper of the Heart

I’ve been hearing how much I need to see Miyazaki’s films for a long while now, so I used the Turner Classic Movies showings to sample two. The first, My Neighbor Totoro, was fluffier than I expected. I knew that the movie was about two girls who meet a fantasy character, but I was surprised that the first third of the film was simply about them setting up housekeeping out in the country. The images were beautiful, as expected, but […]

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Christmas in Connecticut

Christmas in Connecticut is my favorite holiday movie. Every time I see it, I love it more. From 1945, Barbara Stanwyck plays that generation’s Martha Stewart, a famous magazine writer who’s always describing her farmhouse, her delicious gourmet meals, and her loving husband and baby. Problem is, she has none of those things. She’s a working woman who can’t cook but buys herself a mink because she’s always wanted one. When a war hero writes her publisher saying all he […]

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Labyrinth

My gracious, I do love Labyrinth. I just watched the DVD again, and I always forget how engrossing it is. David Bowie turns in a superb performance as the Goblin King, scary and exotic and attractive and magical all at once. The older I get, the more patience I have with Jennifer Connelly’s performance, too. Once I thought she was much too wooden, just something existing for the creatures to dance around, but she seems more subtle to me these […]

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