Miles Morales, a New York teen just starting out at a new school finds himself bitten by (yes) a radioactive spider...but this isn't your typical Spider-Man origin story. From there the Spider-verses collide and an eclectic cast of characters comes together from multiple realities. Readers of the comics will definitely appreciate this merge, but all can enjoy the superhero action and sparks of humor we are used to throughout most of the Marvel Universe. So join Miles as he learns to have confidence in himself and figures out his Spidey senses to save not only his dimension but also everyone else's!
The newest Spider-Man movie, Into the Spider-Verse, is everything a Spidey fan could want. It focuses on Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a Latinx high school student who is bitten by a radioactive spider. Miles witnesses Spider-Man (Chris Pine) killed and knows he needs to complete the mission to stop Kingpin from using a massive collider to merge alternate universes, destroying the city—maybe the world—in the process. He has no idea how to use his new powers until another Spider-Man, Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), shows up, pulled in from another dimension during the collider's test.
Over their mission, Miles meets four more Spider-people, all of them trying to save the multiverse and get back home. The art style is comic-inspired and a colorful treat. The story is filled with joy, hope, laughter, loss, and belief in one's self. At the end, you'll be beaming with pride over Miles—and don't be surprised if you're starting the movie over to watch again immediately.
And wait, there's more… come back in July to see Heather's take on this movie!
I can't believe that I missed Wreck-It Ralph when it first premiered in 2012. I am so glad that the sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet came out to remind me to find the original. This is a fantastic comedic adventure that will engage the whole family. Kids will root for Princess Vanellope, who they will likely relate to as she's constantly told "no" and left out of the race. Ralph will make them laugh and gain their support by the end of the movie -- a "bad" guy that everyone loves. Adults will enjoy moments like the bad guy support group meetings and the Diet Coke/mentos mountain -- a chemical reaction that yields some fantastic YouTube videos.
Definitely give this a re-watch before the sequel comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray in February.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderful music that sets Moana soaring. While I love Auliʻi Cravalho's voice (the voice of Moana) and "How Far I'll Go," my favorite songs are the ones that are sung in Tokelauan. Lastly, I would encourage you to seek out reviews from Pacific Islander reviewers to speak to the culture represented in the movie. This Buzzfeed article is a great round-up of dialogue, and so is this review from Strange Horizons.
All in all, I think Moana is a genuine, worthwhile story and a great Disney film that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
I would recommend Your Name to anyone who appreciates animation, as it is expertly done, blending traditional animation with beautiful hand-painted scenery. It will draw in those who are looking for a bit more in their teen romance stories.
Coco won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song (for “Remember Me”). Check out the soundtrack on CD and on Hoopla.
Experience Retsuko’s life with her and all her friends in Aggretsuko on Netflix! Check out one of our Rokus to use the library’s Netflix subscription.
The animation is crisp and immediately grounds the story in modern-day Mexico before whisking viewers away to the Land of the Dead. The colors and details in the Land of the Dead were vibrant and truly captured the celebratory spirit of the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos.
And this wouldn't be a true Pixar movie without its heart -- family and love and dreams. And bonus -- soaring music! Seriously, check out the CD (or Hoopla). If you're looking for a family movie, add Coco to your list.
[Fair warning to those who get teary during movies, this was definitely a two-tissue movie for me!]
Central to the story is the mysterious bathhouse that Chihiro discovers. There captivatingly odd spirits abound, and the workings of the bathhouse enchant the viewer. The film is filled with suspense, and yet much levity is found in the business nature of the bathhouse, which is run by the autocratic Yubaba—who is equal parts evil sorceress and obliging hostess to her spirit-guests.
I first watched Spirited Away years ago when it won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Picture (the first anime film to do so). I remember being totally captivated by the visual artistry—both the fantastical elements and the more earthly landscapes. Ultimately, though, this ghostly adventure is a coming-of-age story, in which a little girl gains courage and the power to sacrifice for love.
Jiro, a nearsighted Japanese boy, is fascinated by flying and in his dreams meets Gianni Caproni, an Italian aeronautical designer. The determined and perfectionist Jiro goes on to design military airplanes.
The film is visually stunning with vivid colors. Through hand-drawn scenes, Miyazaki is able to subtly express the emotions of wonder, anger, sadness, and love.
Well-known actors dubbed the English version of the film. The original Japanese version with English subtitles is also available. Miyazaki is one of the last hand-drawn animators and allows no more than 10% of footage to be computer generated.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 is everything you could want from a sequel. Beautifully balanced, this movie contains all of the drama and action of the first movie and raises the stakes, but doesn’t lose the heartfelt (and heartbreaking) moments, either. This Golden Globe winning movie is great for all ages and would be a fun addition to any family movie night.
Roger Ebert was equally enthralled. Check out his review. And something else to look forward to – Beauty and the Beast will be here live on stage in late March as part of Broadway in Chicago.