Category Archives: Animation

THE CROODS – A NEW AGE (2020): New trailer From Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone…

The Croods – A New Age (2020), Universal Pictures

2013’s animated comedy/adventure The Croods has a good looking new sequel.

Directed by Joel Crawford; starring Ryan Reynolds, Nicolas Cage and Emma Stone, The Croods – A New Age follows the prehistoric family once again. This time they’re challenged by a rival family the Bettermans, who claim to be better and more evolved.

Is it possible for this movie to look any more fun? I think not! I don’t remember the first croods movie released seven years ago very well but I know I liked a lot about it.

I’m ready now for a the adventure, humour and cuteness. So, thank goodness the release date isn’t a year away.

Catherine Keener, Leslie Mann, Peter Dinklage, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman and Kelly Marie Tran also star.

The Croods – A New Age Release Dates: November 25th, 2020 (US); January 29th, 2021 (UK)…

Happy Film Loving

G

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN (2020): The Things I Liked…

The One and Only Ivan (2020), Walt Disney Studios
The One and Only Ivan (2020), Walt Disney Studios

Starring Bryan Cranston, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren and Sam Rockwell, I was drawn to Disney’s partly-animated adventure/comedy The One and Only Ivan, because I knew that the ending was going to be a happy one. What I didn’t know until I saw the movie is that The One and Only Ivan is based on a true story.

Set in a circus at the mall, at the heart of the film is Ivan, a gorilla who’s trying to piece together his past as he and his elephant friend Stella plan to escape from captivity. Though director Thea Sharrock’s movie is quite predictable, I found that I didn’t mind too much. Especially since my main motivation for watching the film was to see a bunch of animals get their happy ending. 

There’s no denying that a faster pace would have helped my enjoyment overall. And it did prove arduous watching the animals get excited about their initial plan to escape captivity. Particularly considering how clear it was to adult viewers just how dangerous an actual escape would be for the animals. Perhaps, since The One and Only Ivan is ultimately a movie for children, it may be that the futility of the initial escape plan wouldn’t be so obvious to a young audience, meaning those scenes wouldn’t prove as taxing as they did for me.

The good news is that even with the elements that bothered me, I’m glad I stuck with The One and Only Ivan, because of the happy ending I wanted. 

As for the question of whether I’d call The One and Only Ivan a great Disney film. No. Yet it’s also not completely terrible. As such, if you’re curious enough, give it a chance. Just don’t leave your patience at the door – and remember, it is ultimately aimed at children. 

Happy Film Loving

G

SCOOB! (2020): The Things I Liked…

Scoob! (2020), Warner Bros. Pictures

Based on the children’s TV shows about a Great Dane named Scooby-Doo, one who along with his teenage human friends solve mysteries involving supposedly supernatural creatures, I found Scoob! to be a well animated, fun adventure. It’s certainly not perfect, but it does have a rather engaging, silly central story and a watchable supervillain played by Jason Isaacs.

Also starring Zac Efron, Mark Wahlberg and Amanda Seyfried; the first twenty-five minutes of Scoob! didn’t have me as confident about how the rest of the movie would be as I expected. Thankfully though, director Tony Cervone’s film did become more watchable.

Random thoughts that went through my mind as Scoob! played include:
‘This is all quite silly, but fun.’

Why is puppy Scooby’s nose was so oversized?’

If you liked the Scooby-Doo TV shows, then you’ll probably enjoy Scoob! So give it a chance should the mood for a silly nostalgic escape surface.

Happy Film Loving 

G

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN (2020): New Trailer From Bryan Cranston, Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren…

The One and Only Ivan (2020), Walt Disney Studios
The One and Only Ivan (2020), Walt Disney Studios

Read my spoiler-free movie review of The One and Only Ivan (2020).


In Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Bryan Cranston and Sam Rockwell’s latest ,The One and Only Ivan, a gorilla tries to piece together his past with the help of an elephant named Stella, as they work on a plan to escape from captivity.

A partly animated adventure/comedy directed by Thea Sharrock, additional key cast includes Danny DeVito, Brooklynn Prince, Phillipa Soo…

I’m certainly not the biggest fan of circuses. As such, I’m glad it looks as though by the end, this movie will put a big smile on my face. Also, it has elephants!

Ariana Greenblatt, Eleanor Matsuura, Ramon Rodriguez, Ramon Rodriguez, Betsy Graver and Owain Arthur

The one and Only Ivan Release Dates: Augustt 21st, 2020 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

THE WILLOUGHBYS (2020): Its…

The Willoughbys (2020), Netflix
The Willoughbys (2020), Netflix

For animated movies to fully keep my attention, it usually helps if funny, fun, cute and moving / heartwarming are key elements of the well written story and finished film. Unfortunately, in The Willoughbys, neither of these themes came across especially strongly for me

Directors Kris Pearn, Cory Evans and Rob Lodermeier’s movie about four children with terrible parents. The kind who only have time for themselves and their romantic love proved quite disappointing. 

Even though the The Willoughbys has some funny moments, it’s the kind of humour that made me smile instead of laugh. The finished film also had the quirkiness and darkness that got my attention during the trailer. Yet, for me,  it’s almost  as if the story tried to do too many things at once,. A reality which then ended up resulting in a finished product that felt disjointed and not as engaging or entertaining as I’d hoped. In fact, by the time The Willoughbys’s overarching theme about ‘the family you choose’ came along, it barely proved impactful. At least not in a way that I connected with.

Even though within thirty minutes of hitting play, I knew I wasn’t really enjoying The Willoughbys, I still thought that I’d eventually get into it and the story would finally settle into a groove I could get on board with. Sadly not.

As for the pointy noises I mentioned in my response to the trailer, they didn’t prove as jarring as they were initially, but that’s not to say that I was ever fully comfortable with them either. 

Give The Willoughbys a chance if you’re very curious. Some people find it refreshingly different. I’m clearly not one of them but perhaps you are.

Happy Film Loving

G

ONWARD (2020): The Things I Liked…

Onward (2019), Disney Pixar
Onward (2019), Disney Pixar

Onward is a movie with a beautiful big brother / little brother relationship at its heart. And this relationship is my favourite thing about the latest Disney Pixar animated adventure starring Chris pratt, Tom Holland, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Octavia Spencer.

Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers set off on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there. A quest that neither could do without the other. 

In terms of how much I enjoyed the story, I think Onward is OK. I wanted to have been more engrossed with it all but there wasn’t enough newness to it, theme wise. There wasn’t necessarily much animated cuteness either butI l doubt I’d have noticed that if I’d loved the way the story played from beginning to end. It’s really the last third of director Dan Scanlon’s film that I enjoyed most. Before then, I was more than a little impatient for the results of the film’s central magic spell to manifest.

Other things I enjoyed about Onward include the fullness of Holland’s character Ian’s blue hair and what Scanlon’s film has to say about belief in general – but especially self belief and confidence.

As far as animated movies about sibling relationships go, particularly the big brother / little brother dynamic, my favourite will probably always be Big Hero 6 (2014).

Watch Onward because it’s not bad and perhaps you’ll find even more to love than I did. 

Happy Film Loving 

G

THE WILLOUGHBYS (2020): New Trailer From Will Forte, Martin Short, Alessia Cara, Maya Rudolph, Ricky Gervais…

The Willoughbys (2020), Netflix
The Willoughbys (2020), Netflix

Read my spoiler-free movie review of The Willoughbys (2020).


New animated comedy The Willoughbys is all about four children who are dissatisfied with their parents.

Convinced they’d be better off raising themselves, the Willoughby children hatch a sneaky plan to send their selfish parents on vacation. And so begins their own high-flying adventure to find the true meaning of family.

Directed by Kris Pearn, Cory Evans and Rob Lodermeier; The Willoughbys stars Will Forte, Martin Short, Alessia Cara, Ricky Gervais…

Considering that I’ve never read the books on which The Willoughbys is based, I kind of want to know in which way the children get a happy ending.

The only thing is, I wonder how long it’ll take for me to get comfortable with the severe pointedness of all their seriously sharp noses.

Jane Krakowski, Terry Crews, Seán Cullen, Shannon Chan-Kent, Rebecca Husain, Robyn Ross and Cristina Rosato also star.

The Willoughbys Release Dates: April 22nd, 2020 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (2020): The Things I Liked…

Sonic The Hedgehog (2019), Paramount Pictures
Sonic The Hedgehog (2019), Paramount Pictures

The fun trailer, ’being a fan of old school Jim Carrey’ and 90s nostalgia are the main reasons I was drawn to Sonic The Hedgehog; a story about a super fast alien hedgehog. One who must avoid government capture, with the help of a small town cop named Tom (James Marsden). 

As director Jeff Fowler’s movie played, I soon realised that there are only really two things that kept me watching and somewhat enthused. The first is  Marsden’s character. I just generally enjoy Marsden’s roles. The second is Adam Pally as Wade. His dialogue reminded me of how much I really enjoyed his work as Dr. Peter Prentice on The Mindy Project.

I’m definitely not saying that any of the other actors were bad. It’s just that I didn’t find most of the story and particularly the dialogue especially inspiring or fresh.

As for Carrey’s role as evil genius Dr. Robitnik, it turns out that seeing Carrey play a character similar to the ones I used to enjoy watching him play back in the 90s felt far too ‘same old, same old,’ rather than exciting and fun. 

I’m sure that fans of the Sonic The Hedgehog games will enjoy this movie that little bit more. Sadly for me, even with some good special effects, star power, and a few useful notes on loneliness and isolation, I didn’t find Sonic The Hedgehog to be as fun as I’d hoped.

Give it a chance if you’re especially curious. 

Happy Film Loving 

G