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"Guillermo del Toro finally approaches his Spanish-language work in English."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "There's been a stark difference between the dark fables of Guillermo del Toro's Spanish-language movies and the pulpy entertainment of his English-language work, and while there are moments of crossover ("Mimic" has the feel if not the depth, while "Hellboy II" has some carryover from "Pan's Labyrinth"), it's been fair to wonder if there just might be factors inherent to the different filmmaking environments that push him in different directions. "The Shape of Water" suggests that maybe this is not the case - more than anything else he's made in English, it's a work with ambitions beyond just fun, and a successful one." (more)
"A beautifully animated film of an ugly situation."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""The Breadwinner" is a pretty terrific film that may not get the attention that it might have even a year ago because of certain changes to Academy Award voting rules expected to favor big-studio blockbusters over more adventurous, individual films from around the globe. That's a crying shame, because nominating movies like this and getting them onto people's radar is where the Oscars are most useful - this one, for instance, is not what most expect from an animated film, but it uses the medium for clear, powerful storytelling that leaves a strong impression." (more)
"Intimate and grand, a perfectly human horror film."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2017 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson have not only not made a bad movie yet, but they're 3-for-3 in making fantastic films that at some point make the viewer's eyes bulge with delight at one point or another, when it becomes clear that they are doing something really clever. "The Endless" is no exception, building tension in an almost conventional way and then making sure that both the things that build mystery and resolve it are genuinely thrilling. It's a genuinely great horror film that will excite their fans and likely impress even those who aren't huge fans of the genre." (more)
COCO (2017)
"Good Bones"
4 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "With a storyline that is set mostly in the land of the dead and deals with a young boy who accidentally crosses over and struggles to make his way back to the world of the living before he becomes a permanent resident of a world where everyone is a skeleton and one’s worth is measured by how much they are remembered in the real world, “Coco,” despite having been produced under the aegis of Pixar, may strike some as sounding a little on the dark and morbid side for a film ostensibly aimed at younger audiences. As it turns out, the film, despite its ostensibly creepy trappings, is a good, if not great, run through the standard Pixar formula that is bolstered by its distinct visual style, the long-overdue expansion of its cultural palette and a storyline that deftly charts the challenges of maintaining family traditions while at the same time striking out to follow the beat of their own drummer." (more)

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