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‘Missing Link’: Laika’s Near-Great Latest Is Rousing & Exquisite

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(2019—Director: Chris Butler) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★1/2 (out of 5 stars) “The ‘word’, my dear fellow, is ‘trust’.” — Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) to Mr. Link/Susan (Zach Galifianakis)  Potential spoilers below 2016 was a remarkably diverse year for animation, and it culminated with Disney’s Zootopia winning the Best Animated Feature Oscar (video here). I’m still …

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‘Shazam!’ Enlivens the DCEU With Jolly Abandon

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(2019—Director: David F. Sandberg) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★ (out of 5 stars) “If a superhero can’t save his family, he’s not much of a hero.” — William “Billy” Batson (Asher Angel) to Frederick “Freddy” Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) and their other foster siblings Potential spoilers below When it comes to superhero cinema these days, it is …

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Wheels Up for Disney in 2019 With ‘Dumbo’ a la Burton

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(2019—Director: Tim Burton) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★ (out of 5 stars)  “Your children don’t need you to be perfect. They just need you to believe in them.” — Colette Marchant (Eva Green) to Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) Potential spoilers below (Also, following their initial mentions, I shall distinguish between the two versions of Dumbo using just …

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‘Us’: Jordan Peele Elevates Modern Horror Cinema Again

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(2019—Director: Jordan Peele) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★★ (out of 5 stars)  “Once upon a time, there was a girl…and the girl had a shadow.” — Red (Lupita Nyong’o) to Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) “What are you people?” … “We’re Americans.” — Gabriel “Gabe” Wilson (Winston Duke) and Red (Lupita Nyong’o) Potential spoilers below “The itsy bitsy …

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‘Captive State’: A Hazy & Fragmented Update on Alien Invasion Sci-Fi

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(2019—Director: Rupert Wyatt)  — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★½ (out of 5 stars)  “Strike the closed zone. Light a match. Ignite a war.” “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”  Potential spoilers below Aliens exist, and they wish to conquer our world. Resist, and the last thing you see before they cause you to burst into a cloud of blood …

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‘Captain Marvel’: An Engaging, If Somewhat Fleeting MCU Throwback Prequel

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(2019—Directors: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★½ (out of 5 stars)     “Name a detail so bizarre a Skrull could never fabricate it.” … “If toast is cut diagonally, I can’t eat it.” — Carol Danvers/Vers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Agt. Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Samuel L. Jackson) Potential spoilers below When Avengers: Infinity …

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‘The Hidden World’: A Sturdy & Rousing Trilogy Finale

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(2018—Director: Dean DeBlois) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★½ (out of 5 stars)     “They don’t have a leader—just a boy.” — Grimmel the Grisly (F. Murray Abraham) on Hiccup, Chief of Berk (Jay Baruchel)  Potential spoilers below Greetings, cinema of 2019! Back in my review for Incredibles 2, I mentioned how the 2008 DreamWorks animated action comedy Kung …

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If Renard Voted for the 91st Academy Awards (2018)

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— by Renard N. Bansale — Potential spoilers below The 91st Academy Awards take place this Sunday. Betting contests on who will win and debates on who should win rage until the moment each category’s presenter reads the card from the sealed envelope. I just stick by my personal picks (strictly from the final list of nominees), accept the presumed …

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Renard’s Top 10 Scenes of 2018 in Cinema

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— by Renard N. Bansale — Definite spoilers below One of my favorite film sites, the B+ Movie Blog, has an annual tradition I greatly appreciate: On the Saturday before the annual Academy Awards, he publishes articles on his five favorite moments from each Best Picture nominee (see here). I love that tradition because he cuts through all the awards …