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The Secret of NIMH (1982)

The Secret of NIMH (1982)


Starring the voices of

Elizabeth Hartman

Hermione Baddeley

John Carradine

Dom DeLuise

Derek Jacobi

Directed by Don Bluth

The Secret of NIMH, is a very deep tale of a secret society of rats and their connection to a certain Jonathan Brisby, a mouse. For an animation I have to be honest this is very surreal. The whole plot is very deep, strange and the tiny thread of the challenge faced by Mrs. Brisby concerning her son Timmy is what ties the whole story together. For what we are watching is a mother trying to save her son.

Based on Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien a children's book written in 1971. The movie is a wonderful project of Don Bluth, his first full length film which he wrote, directed and produced.

This animated adventure starts with a minute tale of Mrs. Brisby son, who is ill with pneumonia. The whole movie then grows into something of much characters, secrets and an adventure all centered around this main issue, Timmy being sick. Mrs. Brisby need to find a way to save her son is the tether of this animated film, as we explore many things and get to know more about NIMH, the rats and The Great Owl.

I can say even though this was not done by Disney, this really trumps some of the works done by mouse house till date when it came to the plot. For the animation, it for me is first class for any animated film done in the 80s. The great plus for me in this animated masterpiece is the way the story is very captivating, secretive with genuine mysterious of what NIMH is and how come the rats acted weird. That powerful writing makes this something an adult will enjoy viewing, then the comic aspect and the adventure is gentle enough for children to enjoy.

Mrs. Brisby need for a solution, other than listening to the wise mouse Mr. Ages who told her to let Timmy rest and give him some medicine was because the farm she lives in was being ploughed. We get from the film that ploughing has come early and Mrs. Brisby can no longer wait for Timmy to get well so she can move, she has to move immediately. Problem is Timmy’s illness will lead to the death of him of she tries to move him. Mrs. Brisby’s courage and her love for her son is the inspiration for this adventure and the movie never stops unveiling things even when you think it is done and there is nothing more to know.

Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

Tokyo Godfathers (2003)


Starring the voices of

Tōru Emori

Yoshiaki Umegaki

Aya Okamoto

Directed by Satoshi Kon

Tokyo Godfathers felt more like I was watching a movie than it was an animation. I liked the way this animated film had some loose strings and was like who cares where these goes. Then the way everyone’s life kind of intertwine to make a complete ball of strings makes these one of the best anime movies you can see. The script was co-writen (with the director) by Keiko Nobumoto a notable screenwriter on Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Space Dandy and others. So you know you are getting quality screenplay.

The take it took on life on the street of two grown men and a young lady, is realistically scary. These homeless three are living off what they could find in other people’s garbage and what they could sell at recycling plants. You will also find them at shelters trying to get some food before they head off to their homes, which were cardboard boxes.

As we go through the lives of these three (an alcoholic named Gin, a former drag queen named Hana, and a teenage runaway girl named Miyuki), they get a shock of their life when one day they hear a baby crying in the dustbin pile they were going through. Knowing they could not just ignore it, Hana picks it up and believes the fortunes have smiled on him and he will finally get the chance to be a mother. Hana is gay by the way and he was ready to do whatever it takes to save this child’s life.

The other two tried to convince him to take the child to the police, but Hana afraid that the child would get lost in the system decided to find the mother or raise the child. So using the clues they found around the child and with the aid of Gin’s former parenting skills they were able to care for the child as they continue to search for the parents. Following the clues, they find a picture of a couple and believe they must be the child’s parent.

Their journey led them to meet a mob boss, Miyuki gets kidnapped while she was holding on to the baby. We also get to know more of the back story of all the characters, and why the left home. The most shocking was that of Gin, which caused a riff between him and Hana when they all discovered the lies he has told. Then the ending of this animation brings the three to meet a woman with a mental disorder, which put the child’s life at risk and we witness the heroics of the three to save the child’s life.

The movie plays majorly on what having a dysfunctional family is like and how people form new family with strangers to hide from the issues they are facing with their real family.

Let Him Go (2020)

Let Him Go (2020)



Diane Lane

Kevin Costner

Lesley Manville

Directed by Thomas Bezucha

Let Him Go is a tragedy movie which does not spare any souls. This western drama has a captivating start then it dives into a very long take on what the struggles of trying to save someone from an abusive relationship. The struggle can be felt as important, but the movies portrayal of it is very dull. The movie’s ending is very surprising even though at the back of my mind it felt like the only path possible the movie could take.

The movie is based on a western drama novel written in 2013 by Larry Watson.

Set in the 1960s the movie’s uplift starts with the intro of the Blackledge family, which include Grandpa and Grandma George (Kevin Costner) and Margaret (Diane Lane). Their son James and his wife Lorna with their son named Jimmy.

In a matter of minutes we are taking through the death of James, Lorna becoming a widow and three years after she marries a man named Donnie Weboy. George and Margaret do not like Donnie, but Lorna has to make her own decisions. Soon we along with Margaret witness Donnie abuse Jimmy and Lorna on the street. Margaret feeling she must do something tried to go visit them only to discover they have left town without leaving a word behind where they left.

So, getting George to come along Margaret and her husband go hunting for Donnie and their grandson, using George’s contact as a retired sheriff to help guide them.

It is from here the movie drops to a slow uneven pace. The whole excitement which is set from the beginning as it seems Margaret was not going to let Donnie get away easily with being a jackass, was swamped by this unnecessary need to make the Weboy family all be bunch of jackasses. Maybe that rest on the books author or the screenplay adapter, but it was a bore. Then they meet a young man who is trying to be off the radar and just survive without making a splash. Even that encounter was dragged longer than needed.

The movie then takes a turn when we meet the Weboy family which the movie does not fail in the paining of them as people who struggle to know right from wrong. They were like a clan which needed to be fully whipped out to kill the ideology.

The movie’s end was sad and for me even though I give this movie a six out of ten, I do feel it is best you watch it with a remote at hand, so you can skip over the boring bits. The sad thing is, the boring bits fit in all over the midpoint of this movie.

Run (2020)

Run (2020)



Sarah Paulson

Kiera Allen

Directed by Aneesh Chaganty

Here is a fine psychological thriller to see. The acting from Sarah Paulson (as Diane) is as expected legendary and the way the movie increases the pulse rate of the viewer as everything happening seems to be climaxing is very ingenious. With nothing more than two main actors doing their best in bringing to your screen the intensity between a mother and a daughter caught in a strange web of lies – run makes the best of everything and everyone as supporting cast in what would be a small budget movie, but a memorable one.

Spoilers ahead...

The movie puts everything at stake for the two characters as they battle to see who will come out on tops in this life and death or capture situation playing out before us. Run is a fun film to see, I was not fully engaged at the start until I started to see the discrepancies in the actions committed by Diane. With an already established dejavu feeling watching this movie I was not surprised when we discover that Diane had FDIA (factitious disorder imposed on another). What still kept me going was the the extent she went and what Chloe was ready to do to get ahead of things.

The movie starts with us seeing Diane crying at what we felt was the death of her child. We jump 17 years ahead to see Diane in a meeting with other mothers, which set the tune that there is something off with Diane mentally. Diane does display feelings of someone not stable, but she bullshits the whole meeting saying she is very confidence in her daughter’s ability to be independent and she cannot wait for her daughter to leave home so she can be free.

Her daughter Chloe we come to see is very ill, she has asthma, she is diabetic and paralysed from the waist down. Chloe is very technically skilled and has applied to go to the University and awaits her acceptance letter.

Diane micromanages Chloe and does not allow her to have contact with the outside world. Chloe was home schooled and is without a phone or friends. Things took a turn when Chloe was trying to steal some chocolates and sees the pills she takes in her mothers name. She asks Diane about it, but Diane just brushes it off, which makes Chloe become suspicious that there is something off.

From that point on, Chloe does all she can to find out what those pills are and what they are for. Upon discovering what they are and what her mother has been doing to her, everything starts to collapse and the movie takes a dark turn.

We Can Be Heroes (2020)

We Can Be Heroes (2020)




Priyanka Chopra

Yaya Gosselin

Andy Walken

Hala Finley


Directed by Robert Rodriguez


I made a mistake taking the time to see this movie because I felt it will be something worth seeing, but this Robert Rodriguez superhero movie is made solely for children. There is no other way to put it, as an adult I find myself hating almost every moment of the movie. The theme of transfer of powers and the way that transfer actually happened is again meant for children. It is exactly like those Nickelodeon kids shows.

What made me watch this was the Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) presence in the movie, he played a tiny part as Missy’s father.

The movie’s plot starts promising, but as it develops you start to wonder if this was not written by a child. Then the end, when the whole idea comes to light, ends up making this movie even worse like something developed to waste your time. When it comes to CGI this movie seems not interested to even try to impress. I guess for me making a movie such as this with many ideas stolen from Sky High and Spy Kids, could have been done better. Sky High for example is a movie that had such ideas and was done well enough for even adults to like it.

Because you cannot say this was made for younger children, because the plot has an alien attack, a planned escape and fights. Now the fight choreography was so bad it became sad seeing it, then they could have scouted better children actors, come on.

The movie is set in a world where humans having powers is the norm. Our main character, Missy is living with her father who has promised Missy to never be a hero again, based on an incident in their past. There is something off about these heroes, each seem to be selfish, self-centered and never wanting to work together.

On one faithful day, aliens attacked planet earth and captured all the heroes, their children were kept safe in the heroes headquarters. It was there that Missy meets all the hero’s children and know of their individual powers – Missy though has not discovered or does not have any powers.

Missy noticed that one of the children Ojo (who does not speak) has the ability to see into the future and draws it on a pad. With all their parents captured Missy noticed that one of Ojo’s predictions means the aliens will be attacking where they were kept. She was able to mobilize the other children and they escaped, being chased by the men in the heroes HQ.

Now out and on their own, they must find a way to save their parents and also save the world.

This was a total Robert Rodriguez production as he produced, directed and wrote the movie. He also edited and was the movie's cinematographer.

The movie is streaming on Netflix and as I said it is for children.

Soul (2020)

Soul (2020)


Starring the voices of

Jamie Foxx

Tina Fey


Phylicia Rashad

Daveed Diggs

Angela Bassett

Directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers

Disney/Pixar have done magnificent work when it comes to emotional rides in movies like Inside Out and Up, even though Soul plays to the same emotional ride it just doesn’t beat those. Yet still, I find my emotional strings pulled and there was true joy watching this movie and seeing the characters Joe and 22 come to realization of what living truly is. “The whole take a mile in my shoes...” depicted in this movie was the height of it all. Soul may not be as emotional or as funny (this is a true fact) as Inside Out or Up, but it has its moments. The crafting of the story is so that not just children, but adults will find meaning in watching this movie and take a nice view deep inside to see what really makes them tick.

As you will expect from Disney/Pixar the animation was top class and you will appreciate it more when Joe and 22 got back into Joe’s body. The movie shows 22 getting to see what true living is and the animation (along with the story) did the most of the heavy lifting there.

With amazing voice casting waiting to take you on this ride to the world beyond or maybe the world before, who knows… but Soul starts with the introduction of Joe.

Joe is a music teacher in a school part-time and dreams of being a Jazz musician full-time. Well, Joe got an upgrade to full-time job, but not where he desired. The school offered him full-time employment and Joe is thinking of turning it down to chase his Jazz dream. His mother not wanting Joe to suffer, wanted Joe to give up on being a musician and take on the job, but Joe wanted much to chase his dream. One day his desire came knocking and he got a gig to play in a Jazz band. Well, if you have seen the trailer you will know that Joe’s excitement led to him having an accident which takes us to the point where his soul was about to ascend.

Joe not wanting to die when he was just a day away from his dream coming true tried to escape and did all cunning ways he could to avoid ascending. That led him to meet 22, a soul who is finding it hard to find her zing that will make her ready for earth. She has gone through all the great teachers as mentors from the ancient Greek great thinkers to modern heroes. When she and Joe were paired up, and she found out Joe was faking being a mentor to find a way to get back to earth she decided to help him. Soon that help turned into some calamity as 22 who never wanted to go to earth found herself on earth with Joe, but not in the way both of them wanted.

The thing about Soul is the journey to the great beyond and back. When Joe got back that is when the animation really takes flight everything before that, was not as good as I expected and were at times dull. But when there were back on earth made up for the dull moments before. You can catch Soul on Disney+.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)


Starring the voices of

Mayumi Tanaka

Keiko Yokozawa

Kotoe Hatsui

Minori Terada

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki


Laputa: Castle in the Sky is a beautiful animation, with a deep story that comes with enough twist and turns to have you glued steady to the adventure before you and not lose pace. The story is rich and colorful with brilliant takes on relationships and dedication. I have to commend Hayao Miyazaki (which he wrote and directed) for this animation because not only was it well written by him, his directorial prowess can be seen all over. Especially the two turns the movie takes, the rescue of Sheeta from the hands of Dola and the army and the rescue of Sheeta from the army, after she and Pazu joined Dola’s crew.

This anime for me can be rated as one of the best things to see, you can see the power of its influence in many anime done after it, video games and also many cartoons. It is a classic true and true, majorly because of the way the drama weaves round the fantasy producing an adventure never before seen.

The movie starts with pirates attacking an airship which was carrying a young lady named Sheeta. At first you will think it was a rescue, but the way the pirates were going about, you come to understand that it is kidnapping attempt. Then the girl acts in a way that shows that initially in that airship she is being held against her will.

She escapes from her initial captors and the intended captors only to fall from the sky, into the arms of a boy named Pazu, living in a mining town. Pazu is perplexed by the way Sheeta fell and comes to understand that the necklace on her neck was the one who saved her, not actually him. Not long, the town is attacked by the pirates and the army looking for the girl. Pazu and Sheeta escape with the aid of the necklace down a mining shaft.

It was from here that the animation takes on a new speed, as Sheeta gets captured by the army eventually and Pazu has to join in with the pirates to go after the army and save Sheeta.

The animation takes on a steady pace, with many things happening left right and center, not dropping off at any point. A critical commercial hit for Studio Ghibli, here is a animation you can watch with your children (more matured ones who can appreciate the fantasy).

Rope (1948)

Rope (1948)




James Stewart

John Dall

Farley Granger

Joan Chandler

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Rope is an artwork painted by the late great Alfred Hitchcock. The movie is set to be happening in real time, it has this feel like everything was done in one long take (which happens to be segments done in one long take). Its artistry gives us right to clap for both Hitchcock and the editor, William H. Ziegler. Rope takes a dive into the deep mind of someone who is just rotten to the core. The movie with its brilliant narrative, is a satisfying crime thriller about two men trying to commit the perfect crime.

Rope is an adaptation of a 1929 play of the same name, and it is one of Hitchcock’s first films to be shot in Technicolor. The movie also has some fantastic acting, which is better seen than explained, the overwhelming confidence of Brandon (John Dall), the shakiness of Philip (Farley Granger) and the intellectual assertiveness of Rupert (James Stewart).

The plot starts with a murder of a man named David, by Brandon and his friend Philip. You will think after this, the men will get rid of the body, or do something more reasonable. What we got is a Brandon wanting to show off with Philip wanting most to run. Brandon hid the body in a table, set a buffet on it and invited as guest Janet (David’s girl), Kenneth (Janet’s former boyfriend), Rupert (Housemaster of Brandon, Philip, David and Kenneth). Also two other people were in attendance.

Brandon had a weird plan, to survive the night without any being the wiser of where David’s body is and to impress Rupert. Rupert used to talk about murder is is noted of saying Murder as a crime for most men, but a privilege for the few.

The movie is about Brandon trying to getaway with his crime of the perfect murder with the murdered underneath the noses of the people who know David. Then Rupert trying to figure out what is going on based on what he senses around Brandon and Philip.

You can tell that the dialog needs more work, and that there is a space issue, based on the fact that the movie has everything happening in one place there is a sense of confinement. Regardless you will have to award Hitchcock some praise for trying. Because even though the editing was good, you get the feeling that if the movie was done today the editing would have been world class. I think what pushes this movie over the top is the acting of the cast and the supporting cast, as their performances made up for many of the movie’s lapses and makes this movie one to see.

The is a weird tense sexual thing between the characters Brandon and Philip, I think it was more intentional than just coincidence. Even when Kenneth was talking about Rupert he makes the odd noting of how Brandon used to sit up with Rupert hanging on to his words. As at the time of release the movie did not draw in much audience to turn this movie to a hit.

But I still believe is one of the less celebrated works of the master story teller, Alfred Hitchcock.

The Croods: A New Age (2020)

The Croods: A New Age (2020)



Starring the voices of

Ryan Reynolds

Emma Stone

Nicholas Cage

Catherine Keener


Directed by Joel Crawford

During this pandemic and the curious case of mishaps of 2020, the last thing you will think is that The Croods needed a sequel, Well one was done and I have to say this is a decent work.

I did not fancy the first The Croods. The roughness of the characters and the whole idea of Guy being more of an upgrade in comparison to The Croods, made me dislike the first movie. This on the other hand is more like it. Maybe it is because of the focus of the plot, or the added comedy what ever it is this sequel is far better than the original.

The voice acting is not the most perfect thing about this animation, but the story is. The writers tweaked it enough to make the movie more appealing to adults as it would to children. Putting the adults in the shoes of the characters and making it easy for them to see some of their actions in the characters of Grug and The Bettermans helped make watching this animation a joy ride.

Another thing I enjoyed about this movie is the beginning. After a short minute of where Guy is from the animation picks up from where the last one stopped. What made me like this brief Guy origin story, is that unlike many movies or animations they take away too much time creating a depth which was missing in the first film. Then when that past incident and the present meet, they take too much time trying to iron out the kinks and build continuity. The view into Guy’s past just showed us why Guy is on his own when he met the Croods and where he was heading.

We start with the Croods looking for a new home and the romance between Guy and Eep has taken a new turn and they are planning to be together away from the others. Grug is freaking out trying to convince his wife that Guy and Eep (his daughter) is not a good thing. On their journey’s they wonder into the homes of the Bettermans. There they meet the family of three who happen to be neighbors to Guy and his family when he was much younger.

The Bettermans as was with Guy are inventive and forward thinking. Their home/oasis which they built for themselves and their daughter Dawn, is as modern as can be. Reminding me of The Flintsones.

There seem to be something Mr. Betterman is hiding from the rest, by stopping them from ever eating any banana in their large farm like home. Mrs. Betterman also has her own plan. Seeing Guy makes her want him for their daughter, Dawn and the couple start planning how to get rid of the The Croods, with Guy staying behind.

Dawn and Guy grew up together, but now here is where the animation took another fun turn. Instead of a jealous relationship between Eep and Dawn, they actually became good friends from the start. None saw the other as a rival and they formed a close bond.

Here is an animation done well enough for you and your family to love.

Ponyo (2008)

Ponyo (2008)




Starring the voices of

Tomoko Yamaguchi

Kazushige Nagashima

Yūki Amami

George Tokoro

Directed by Hayo Miyazaki

Ponyo is an animation made solely for children, is what I think. I do not believe the movie cuts across all ages, but I was not thrown off watching it. Hayao Miyazaki has done better movies, but I have to say the way the fantasy aspect of this movie takes off with a steady pace is worth applauding Miyazaki for, for his direction. The movie is written and directed by Miyazaki and is based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid.

I guess to me the biggest challenge in the movie was the story leaving enough gap for the imagination which children will love, but as adult a story needs to be a complete circle for most of its parts. Disney’s The Little Mermaid, did a better task in making their adaptation of Andersen's novel more rounded.

In the end as a whole the movie is worth seeing for Miyazaki fans who are already comfortable with his style of story telling. The fantasy aspect of this film unfolds swiftly and there is some cool moments when you see the magic of the sea run rampant and untamed. That moment was sure fun to see, especially seeing Ponyo running on wild large fishes heading towards Sosuke.

The plot starts with a young boy Sosuke finding a small fish and taking it with him. He has a cut and the fish jumps out and licks it, healing it. He then fed the fish, named it Ponyo and took it home with him. We then meet this wizard which we come to learn is the father of the fish. He fears for his daughter’s safety and does everything to get Ponyo back. So as not to drop spoilers we will skip to him succeeding to get his daughter back.

Her magic starts to act, she loves the young boy and wants to be with him, so Ponyo starts changing, trying as we see to transform into a human. The process was stopped by her father and we learn more about him. Ponyo breaks free from the bubble cage she is kept and decided to get free and go find Sosuke. The movie from then on is about this drive of Ponyo to be with Sosuke. That drive caused an imbalance which could destroy the whole earth.

The movie can be more appreciated from my view if you look at the magnificent way Miyazaki took the plot and gave it enough twist.

Lupin III: The First (2020)

Lupin III: The First (2020)


Starring the voice of

Kanichi Kurita

Kiyoshi Kobayashi

Daisuke Namikawa

Miyuki Sawashiro

Kōichi Yamadera

Directed by Takashi Yamazaki

The plot of this Lupin III: The First is not one of the best I have seen to introduce many to a character. But it does its best to fill in the holes for any who have never seen or read anything about Lupin III and his two cohorts. As an intro to someone like me who have never gotten onboard the Lupin train since its inception in 1967, I will say the plot tries. At least I did not fall asleep while watching and Lupin did some weird theft I never saw coming a mile away. It will not be win many awards for its story, but the animation is some fine 3D CGI rendition.

I have known of the existence of Lupin III for a while, although I have never read the manga or seen any of his anime’s as my friends helped to fill in the gap over the years.

The characters created by Monkey Punch in this series since 1967 has been led by one Lupin III, who is a master thief. His persona is a merger of all the Ocean Eleven characters, Sherlock Holmes and James Bond. His grandfather Lupin I was one of the greatest thief that there was and Lupin III is working in the same shoes.

The plot centers around a book called Bresson Diary, which is believe has in it the directions to locating an enormous fortune.

The animation’s story starts with an old man giving his son a book and his grandchild a round object. They live and are being chased by a group which, led to a tragedy. In the present to which the story is set, we see the book on display and the men in-charge of securing the book got a letter warning that Lupin was coming to steal the book.

Well, things took a turn when another lady stole the book and then it took another turn when Lupin stole the book from that lady only to be stolen from him by Fujiko Mine. Fujiko is a lady thief which we know as another great who always seems to be lurking in Lupin’s shadow.

Soon we find the book in the arms of some men who are trying to bring back the Nazi power, believing that Hitler is still alive old in Brazil, the animation is set in the 1960s. There is a girl among them, someone whose place has nothing to do with these men, but seems to be a victim of circumstance. Lupin was not ready to give up and he went after the book, all the time being chased by Inspector Zenigata.

The animation is fun to watch, but not a classic or a masterpiece just something to see to fill in the gap awaiting great stuff to come in 2021.

Arrietty the Borrower (2010)

Arrietty the Borrower (2010)


Starring the voices of

Mirai Shida

Ryunosuke Kamiki

Shinobu Otake

Keiko Takeshita

Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Arrietty is a nice emotional ride of a movie with every setting crafted to pull at your emotional stings and deliver a plot that will have you invested in the well-being of all the characters involved. Arrietty is Studio Ghibli adaption of the Mary Norton 1950s – early 1980s book series called The Borrowers. The first take I had of this book series is the 1997 British-American live-action comedy adaptation named The Borrowers which was not as fantastic as this. Here with the well crafted arm of Hayao Miyazaki this screenplay to which this fantasy animation is based is one which I believe many should see, not so much comedy, but it is suited well for adult viewing. Another magnificent thing about this movie is the weight the musical score added to the drama.

The movie takes us to a world of little people known as The Borrowers. We specifically see the life of a family of borrowers, three people father, mother and daughter Arrietty. Arrietty will be fourteen soon and it was time she went on her first borrowing adventure.

Borrowers go into the home of humans and in their words borrow their stuff, like food and other things they could carry. Since they are relatively the size of a human thumb, the things they take in the case of food is of little significant.

The home these three live soon had an additional human occupant, a young sick boy named Shō. He is very observant and regardless of how much Arrietty and her father tried to be careful and avoid being detected he saw them. Soon the curiousness of Arrietty got the better of her, against the advise of her parents to stay away from humans she went to go find Shō. He visit to his almost led to her death, but they became friends and we learn more about him, and also about her.

The plot then revolves around their weird friendship and the survival of the family who fear that they could be the last of their race left.

This is one of those animations by Studio Ghibli that Miyazaki had a hand in the production (here he wrote the screenplay) but did not direct. The movie was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and this is his debut directorial work, one of which I will say was a fantastic job. The musical score was done by Cécile Corbel a French musician and her inclusion marked the first time a non-Japanese composer worked with the studio.

The movie was both a critical and commercial success.

Wolfwalkers (2020)

Wolfwalkers (2020)



Starring the voices of

Honor Kneafsey

Eva Whittaker

Sean Bean

Simon McBurney

Directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart

To sit and watch Wolfwalkers is to be greeted with ultimate marvel, emotional triumph at its best and stellar voice work. It’s biggest triumph is the artistry that went into the animation add that to the well directed and nicely paced adventure and you find yourself wishing for a second part of this Celtic adventure.

Enjoyed the animation and loved the werewolf spin. Wolfwalkers played to its strength, which was fantasy with some suspense and thrills. The writers created a more gentle world where they took their werewolf spin and spun it to be suitable for children. The idea is simple and the girl power theme is actually well done.

The journey of two young girls meeting at both ends of the rope and becoming friends, well is a tale we can say we are familiar with. One of the young girls is Robyn whose father is one of the wolf hunters, a job Robyn wants to do with him. Her biggest challenge is her presence – she is a girl and in those colonial times girls are believed to be second class citizens only fit for cooking and cleaning. Her father was working for the English in their quest to kill the wolves who terrorize the villagers in this Celtic town when they cut down trees. We are also invited into the legend of Wolfwalkers (although in our case we witness them at work) who are known to be able to the wolves. One day Robyn sneaks after her father in his hunt for wolves and she became hunted herself. This led her to meet a wolf, who helped her escape Robyn’s father traps. After failed hunt attempt by Robyn on this wolf who turns into a girl named Mebh Óg, they became friends. Mebh and her mother are Wolfwalkers, we then discover that the wolves want to leave the forest, but will not move until Mebh’s mother returns with directions to somewhere safe for them. Soon, we get dragged into the challenge placed on poor Robyn as she tries to make peace with both parties and both finding it hard to meet her halfway.

The movie drove home the friendship love between Robyn and Mebh and the motherly love between Mebh and her mother. There is also the determination of a young girl to believe her mother is well and will be back for her, is another emotional journey the movie explored.

I have to say you hardly see animations take the time to write a solid plot and try their best to build a world around it. I enjoyed the effect and I enjoyed the direct take they took when addressing the sad agonizing effects of colonization. This is by far one of the best animations I have seen till date.

You can catch this critical acclaimed animation on Apple TV+.

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)



Starring the voices of

Chieko Baisho

Takuya Kimura

Akihiro Miwa

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Although the animation is fantastic, the plot is not. The plot feels like there is much in-between that Hayao Miyazaki forgot to add into the main movie, or were edited out. The book (of the same name) to which this animation is adapted had a better, more coherent and stronger plot that this anime. The first half of this animation stays close to the book even though it differs a bit. Then the second half totally takes an annoying divergent which was not as strong as that of the book.

Howl’s moving castle feels like two different halves joined together by sticky glued used by a director who just wanted to make two different things work. The artistry of the characters and the plot in the first half of the film will have you marvel at the talent of Miyazaki. Then the second half of the movie has me lost as some of the elements of the first half of the movie failed to matter.

Sophie was told she could not tell anyone of her curse, well it did not seem to matter when you watch the movie through to the end. Which made me wonder why it was mentioned at all.

The Witch of the waste, is cast as the antagonist in the first half of the movie then soon, she is taken in by Sophie and Howl. We see her needing help, and these two took her in and even when she caused a calamity, she was still left to stay. That blew my mind. I will love to teach my children to love everyone, but I will also teach them to put people who want to hurt you at arms length.

Please who put a spell on the Prince of the other kingdom.

The movie introduces us to a movie castle in this world where magic lives freely. We meet Sophie who makes hats for a living. On a trip to visit her sister she was being harassed by some men, when a stranger (Howl) came by and helped her out. Howl we come to see is at the moment being chased by some mystic creatures, and had to flee with Sophie, putting her life in danger.

We learn that Howl owns the moving castle and the person who sent the creatures after Howl was not happy to have Sophie around. She goes after her and turns her into a 90-year-old lady. Sophie decided to not let this be a hindrance and decided to wonder freely, seek out Howl with the hope he can help undo the spell. It was then she runs into a scarecrow who we learn is under a spell. The scarecrow takes her to Howl’s moving castle, where Sophie storms in and gets hired as the cleaning lady.

Howl is seen to be avoiding the king, as he is against the war going on between his kingdom and the neighboring one. But the lead witch Suliman sent for him and now Howl has to find a way to be free of the guilt of fighting in a war he does not believe in. We then learn that Howl’s life was in danger because he gave his heart to a demon, and Sophie now in love with Howl wants to save him.

The movie carries a strong anti-war message, the power of old age, the value of compassion and the joy that comes from trying to help others.

The other weird thing about this film is the whole and the witch Suliman’s place in everything has me watching this animation and not being happy with the way the second half ended.

Now the movie has been praised for its visuals and the blending of the theme, which I will say not a bad reason to be praised. The movie was both a critical and commercial success, but it lost the Oscars to Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Fierce (2020)

Fierce (2020)



Maciej Zakościelny

Julia Kamińska

Anita Sokołowska

Tomasz Karolak

Directed by Anna Wieczur-Bluszcz

Every felt the need to justify yourself?

Well, this movie makes you feel that way when you finished watching it after the first ten minutes, and you have to write a review about it.

I have seen worst B-movies l can tell you, but this is just in the same realm. It is filled with so much cliché, lazy lines and acting worth being slapped for. The whole movie is supposed to be a musical-comedy about a young adult finding herself and some romance. In the end what I got was a boring musical with stupid drama and a romance story my four-year-old niece has done better in the ones she made up. The movie’s message was the problems of chasing fame and the after effects, well it failed in passing that message across after failing with the drama.

This polish movie starts with some of the worst set of young actors gathering before a TV set watching what we are to believe is the most popular singing competition in that country. The problem is the most popular judge Olo, is a Simon Cowell wannabe (and a horrible one at it too mind you). One of the young lady giving attitude while watching this show is Martha (whose stage name is Fierce, that helps with knowing why the film has that name). Martha we find out is the love child of Olo. Olo used to be or is (the movie did not help in clearing that out) a popular musician and after impregnating Martha’s mother he skipped town chasing fame.

Well, you can guess Martha went to the show, when it came seeking for possible stars in her town. It is from here the movie went crazy stupid. Martha goes on stage and dissed Olo, not singing, just dissing the man and had to be held back. This was a live show so it made them popular, the producer decided to make Martha qualify because of her popularity on dissing Olo. Now mind you Martha is no singer, but she allowed the man to make her come to make a fool of herself for rating gold. Now this was such a stupid thing, because Martha went and from the pit of nowhere sang beautifully. From here on you can guess your way through the movie, I am already bored talking about the plot.

What annoys me most is that the producer was not smart enough to even try and investigate the real truth between Martha and Olo. Then Martha getting carried away and becoming a mess and two parents looking for their child stop the search to kiss. The whole movie has some of the most awkward moments in movie history. Two people (Martha’s father and mother) who barely spoke, had a romantic moment out of nowhere, even the girls I was watching this with were like, “from where?”

Well, you can guess during a weekend getaway with my friends this is what the girls wanted to see and we the guys (and later on the girls) hated the movie.

This is a total skip on Netflix.

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)



Starring the voices of

Minami Takayama

Rei Sakuma

Kappei Yamaguchi

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a fun fantasy Japanese animation (anime) which is fun for both children and adults alike. The movie keeps its plot steady and the pace is just cool breeze.

What I like most about this animation is the different levels to which the character Kiki relates with everything happening around her. She is thirteen and she gets to experience boys, being picked on and then she goes through a phase of self-doubt. The whole self-doubt phace is very cheering and deep enough to be enlightening to an adult.

The whole struggle she had to face to be independent and yet reliant on others to be able to guide and help her to be independent just makes you torn and adds to the fun.

Starting a new business is never easy and Kiki had to face that first hand in yet another Hayao Miyazaki masterpiece. Kiki’s delivery service is based on a 1985 children’s fantasy novel of I suppose the same name by Eiko Kadono.

This here animation is fun, and the whole idea does not go overboard with spirits and other magical creatures. It keeps itself steady in the world it builds where witches and humans co-exist peacefully.

The movie sets a premise which states that at age thirteen a young witch must set out on her own to be independent and secure being the witch of a town. The movie starts on Kiki’s thirteenth birthday and she jumped at this adventure. We also witness the care in her parents eyes, but Kiki was all excited and with her is her cat Jiji coming along for the ride. Jiji talks and from the movie you get to understand that only Kiki can understand her cat.

When Kiki jets off on her mother’s broom, she flies to a town and when she discovers that there are no witches there, she tries to make it her home. It was as she was standing a pregnant woman who runs a bakery ran out of her bakery holding a slip which belonged to a customer who was now at a distant. Kiki decided to help and flew the slip to the customer. It was from there the idea to start her delivery service started.

We get to see how she reacts to difficult weather, customers and a young boy who fancies her. His fancy grew from seeing her fly, something he seems to be obsessed with doing himself.

The movie was a critical and commercial hit, earning numerous awards. Disney made their own voice over English version which is not bad.

The movie ended like there is still much more in Kiki’s adventure that we will get to see in a second movie, but since 1989 there has not been any followup to this, like there have not been for many of Miyazaki films.

Porco Rosso (1992)

Porco Rosso (1992)


Starring the voices of

Shūichirō Moriyama

Tokiko Kato

Akemi Okamura

Akio Ōtsuka

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Note: This review has spoilers

Not as great as I expected it to be in comparison to the other Studio Ghibli animated movies I have seen, or to what I expected from Hayao Miyazaki. The plot for me took a while to pick up and I found myself spending half the time meeting everyone who either has a part to play or will be mentioned as an influence on the second half of the film.

Then the plot for me dragged a little and never fully took hold of my attention until the movie had an abrupt end. I guess the short answer to this will be I do not get why a seemingly short story has a long plot/screenplay.

I also did not find much to applaud in the animation and the whole mystery of why Porco was a pig, I guess is not worth any minute to give a full detail explanation.

The movie plot introduces us to a bounty hunter plane flying world war 1 hero named Porco Rosso. Porco used to be human until some weird curse turned him into an anthropomorphic pig. It starts with a quite funny hijacking and kidnapping of a ship by some air pirates. They from what we gather not only took the valuables from the ship and its occupants, but the children onboard too. They had the hope of using the children hostages to further their escape.

That is when Porco is called in to help remedy the problem. We see him take off (with some difficulty in his red air craft) and the comedy. From here we are dragged down a long path of lazy conversations. Where we see Porco meet other characters, fix his plane and run away because there is a bounty on his head and just fly off to go fight a needless punch fest elsewhere.

I can understand the slight romantic gesture of one of the ladies to him, there is history between the two and she knew him before he became the Pig man he is now. Then there is another weird I don’t know what to call it romantic gesture towards him from another lady he just met, who is the granddaughter of his mechanic. That I do not get.

I will most likely not going to see this film again in the future and in a way wished I had taken the time to see another of Miyazaki’s films.

Porco Rosso regardless of my take was a commercial success and a critical one (to my surprise). There is even an English Disney dub, where Michael Keaton voiced the lead character Porco.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)




Chika Sakamoto

Noriko Hidaka

Hitoshi Takagi



Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Nothing has plagued my childhood more than this beautiful heartwarming animation. I cannot put a number to the amount of times I have seen this animation over the years. The heartwarming innocence of childhood grace shown in the animation is not like anything you will see else where. You can even see where many other animations get their ideas from. The emotional ride is not the only reason this animation was a critical success, the adventurous plot and the fantasy itself is enough to have your attention.

My Neighbor Totoro is a roller coaster emotional ride of two children struggling with the lack of having their mother around. The animation is laser focused on these two and their life in the new home their father bought. We get the idea from the start that there is more to the house than we can just see with our eyes, and soon we meet the wood spirit. As with many of Hayao Miyazaki animations the lead characters in this Japanese animation are two strong willed and independent girls. Even the four-year-old Mei showed some strong determination, to do her own thing and be her own person.

Set in 1958 Japan, a university professor and his daughters Satuski and Mei move to a new house so as to be close to the hospital of the sick wife.

Soon the two girls start running around the house playing and being children, in a way that only a wonderful writer could have done. You need to see it and you will be teleported to a younger you.

One day when Satuski was in school Mei came across two small wood spirits, she follows them and meets a huge one sleeping. Mei sits on it innocently playing and gave it the name Totoro.

Nobody believes her when she told them of her discovery, but on a rainy day when the two were at the bustop waiting for their father – they see Totoro. On that occasion Mei was sleeping on Satuski’s back when he appeared. They also witness the other magical things in his life before he left, when they saw their father they could not contain their excitement.

 From this point hence, the movie takes an emotional turn which you have to see for yourself to witness the powerful directorial work of Miyazaki.

In the end this animation can be seen to have some influence in many of Studio Ghibli further movies along the years as the Totoro character has been their mascot and has made some cameo appearances in their games and films.

I do not know which streaming platform still has this on their roaster, but I will advise you give your children the thrill of seeing this movie.