Movie Reviews

Wolfwalkers (2020)

wolfwalkers-movie-review-poster-2020Director: Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family

Runtime: 103 Minutes

Main Cast: Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whittaker, Sean Bean, Simon McBurney, Tommy Tiernan, Maria Doyle Kennedy

Plot: Trying to settle in their new home in Ireland, Robyn (Honor Kneafsey) is desperate to join her father outside the city walls in hunting down the wolves who live in the woods. After sneaking out she meets Mebh, a young Wolfwalker looking for her mother.

My Thoughts: I love Disney. I grew up with Disney movies and I have them to thank for my love of animation. They continue to make fantastic movies – but I miss the older styles of animation that we don’t see in the mainstream studios anymore. Wolfwalkers is absolutely stunning, every single frame looks like a piece of art to be hung on the wall. It somehow looks so simple, but full of intricate details at the same time. You really have to see it to believe it.

This is the kind of movie I want to introduce my daughter to when her attention span is longer than an episode of Blippi! It’s about love, family, friendship, accepting others for who they are, and being open to a world of possibilities. Robyn is headstrong and determined, and will stop at nothing to help her family and friends. Mebh is wild and carefree, and yet guarded at the same time. They’re both really well developed characters and more importantly, great role models for children to look up to. Wolfwalkers is definitely more of a children’s movie but it’s a perfect one.

I don’t know what kind of chance it stands for the major award ceremonies. It’s certainly picked up a lot of attention from smaller critics groups, if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t even know the movie existed. The Academy doesn’t seem to give smaller studios a second thought, I don’t think an indie animation has won in the last 10 years. BAFTA are much more open minded, I cried a little when Klaus (2019) won last year so PLEASE BAFTA – do the right thing!

wolfwalkers-2020-irish-folk-lore-movie-apple-tv

Best Bit: I love the transformation from person to wolf. It must be so difficult to portray the magic in a 2D animation style but it works so well. I had no idea Wolfwalkers was the third installment of an ‘Irish Folklore Trilogy’ by Tomm Moore so you can be sure I’ll be checking out the other 2 movies!

Worst Bit: *MINOR CHARACTER SPOILERS* So, I knew Robyn’s father was voiced by Sean Bean but I thought nothing of it until a particularly perilous moment. If you’ve watched enough of Sean Bean you’ll know his characters don’t tend to fare well. I had this sudden OH NO moment- but it all worked out okay for him in the end.

Fun Trivia: In early versions of the story, Robyn was a male character. During an online panel at TIFF both directors confirmed that Robyn was originally written to be a boy, but that something in the story ‘just wasn’t working.’

My Rating: A full five pitchforks that you should set aside and leave the wolves in peace!

wolfwalkers-movie-review-pitchforks

Movie Reviews

Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

magic-in-the-moonlight-2014-movie-posterDirector: Woody Allen

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Runtime: 97 Minutes

Main Cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Hamish Linklater, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Eileen Atkins, Simon McBurney

Plot: Set in the 1920s, Colin Firth plays a talented magician who spends his spare time debunking psychics. His pal Howard tells him about a young American psychic played by Emma Stone who has Howard absolutely convinced, so he abandons his family holiday to expose this psychic as the fraud she is.

My Thoughts: It wasn’t intentional but until a few months ago I’d never seen a Woody Allen movie. Maybe they’ve simply never appealed to me, but I wanted to change that so I started with Cafe Society (2016) and then moved on to Magic in the Moonlight (2014). I wouldn’t say I’ve been converted into a huge Woody Allen fan now but both movies were enjoyable enough. Are there any Woody Allen fans out there who can suggest where I should look next?

Anyway, I might not have loved it, but I really enjoyed Magic in the Moonlight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Colin Firth play such a hilarious, stuck up his own arse guy, but he makes it work so well! There’s definitely something hypocritical about a guy performing tricks for a living who does so whilst dressed as a Chinese man who just so happens to get a kick out of calling psychics frauds, but that just adds to the humour of it all.

Emma Stone is mesmerising as usual, she’s been my favourite actress for a long time now. Weirdly enough one of the only movies I’m still yet to see of hers just so happens to be another Woody Allen flick. Although the movie feels really slow, I was compelled to keep watching to find out whether she truly was a real psychic or a fraud. The conclusion is worth it!

magic-in-the-moonlight-emma-stone-colin-firth

Overall, I felt it fell short of being truly remarkable. The romance arc didn’t feel genuine enough to me, and although it had its funny moments there weren’t enough. Likewise, the mystery element wasn’t as strong as I would have hoped. Regardless, I still had fun watching it, and it’s not a bad movie in the slightest.

Best Bit: The twist reveal was my favourite part. Although I’d pretty much come to the conclusion myself by that point, it was still satisfying, and the chair trick took me by surprise!

Worst Bit: Brice was the most annoying character I’ve seen in a while. Ugh. Grow a spine, man! He was like a drooling puppy, but not in a cute way. Plus I wouldn’t care if it was Bradley Cooper or Justin Timberlake, anyone playing a ukelele and singing right in front of me is enough to make me cringe.

Fun Trivia: Wei Ling Soo, Stanley’s onstage persona, is a reference to Chung Ling Soo, the stage name of William Ellsworth Robinson (1861-1918), a popular magician in the U.S. and Europe for many years. Chung Ling Soo also tried to debunk spiritualists, and even wrote a book about it in 1898.

My Rating: 3 and a half spinning chairs. Just double check before you sit down, however, that you’re not about to sit in Colin Firth’s lap.

magic-in-the-moonlight-spinning-chair