The spirit of transient youth ripples through Pixar’s latest and it’s infectious. From Enrico Casarosa – whose La Luna surely only narrowly missed out on the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 2011 – Luca is lovely. Certainly, in its opening act, the film could almost pass for un cortometraggio itself. A self-professed homage to Federico Fellini, Luca pays tribute to those halcyon days of never ending Summer. In a golden haze and fifties aesthetic, Casarosa finds adventure. Most winning is the film’s homespun quality. It’s in the memory born identity of the Italian’s intrinsically personal conceit but also very literally so in the fact that much of the production was completed in the animators’ own homes. You’d never guess.
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Less kiddie fare than cultural landmark, PAW Patrol seemed almost to leap from obscurity to phenomenon overnight when in launched in 2013. You may not know their names but there can be few left who don’t recognise the pups from Adventure Bay on sight. Now graduating to the big screen, Chase, Skye, Ryder and crew show no signs of slowing their domination. It’s not hard to see why. They’re cute, likeable and kinda cool. While youngsters will lap up the film’s slapstick humour and derring-do, parents may find comfort in the pups’ more thoughtful approach to saving the world.
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Strange as it may seem to be launching a new era of storytelling with a forgotten episode from the last one, Black Widow is as solidly entertaining as they come in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The direction is as creative as it is assured. The visuals are aptly bombastic and the cast terrific. If the film doesn’t quite overcome the colossal embarrassment that is Marvel’s failure to give Scarlett Johansson a stand-alone feature in over a decade of contractual availability, it does evidence how much she will be missed moving forward.
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