directed by Adrian Molina and Lee Unkrich

5 Stars

As your typical teen who occasionally overthinks about life’s ideals and how one, like myself, communicates these types of thoughts via any kind of art that tells a story. So as a person that really puts her soul into a movie she watches, I have to say that this film is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Coco does an excellent job at capturing the viewer’s attention from the start. It skillfully portrays the beauty of the “Day of the Dead,” a Mexican tradition, while unravelling one of the most endearing storylines I’ve ever seen in a film, which depicts a young aspiring musician named Miguel and his pursuit of his ambition of being a musician despite the disapproval of his family.

Throughout the film, Miguel entangles himself in an adventurous journey through the land of the dead, and he is caught between the love he has for music and the importance of family. Coco manages to convey the core of what it is to be human in such a simple and lovely way. What it means to love and to be passionate about the things and people you care about. The tale was delivered in such an exquisite manner that it didn’t make me think about the ideals it represented, but rather let me feel them with each scene, without my even analyzing what I was seeing. It did it so gradually that at the conclusion, I was overcome with a sequence that surely ranks among my favourite movie scenes, and I found myself sobbing. I’m not crying as I normally do when a scene moves me. I could go on and on about Coco, but I’ll just say that it’s a great film that I’ve rewatched at least twice. This movie is definitely a must-see!

Manaal I.

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directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers

5 Stars

Joe Gardner is a middle school band teacher whose life hasn’t gone exactly how he expected. He feels unfulfilled at his current job, and he knows that with his excellent piano skills, his true passion is jazz. One of his former students informs Joe of an opening in the band of the legend Dorothea Williams. Dorothea is impressed by Joe’s piano playing and offers him a job immediately. Joe gets the amazing opportunity to play at the best jazz club in town that night. However, in the streets of New York, Joe falls down a manhole transporting his soul into the “Great Beyond”, a foyer with a long walkway, where souls line up going to a white light. Not wanting to die so soon, he escapes the pathway and ends up in the “Great Before”, a place where young souls are mentored to discover their personalities and sparks before going to Earth. Because Joe is determined to get back to Earth somehow, he pretends to be an instructor who trains souls. Joe is given a girl who is only known by her number, 22. 22 is a soul who does not like Earth and finds it pointless. Joe desperately tries everything he can to get 22 to find her purpose and passion. Doing so, Joe learns what it means to have a soul.  

Soul is a funny, moving, and incredibly animated film. The film is all about life journey and finding your “spark”. The movie showcases the journey of finding your true purpose by helping each other. The concept is unique and thought-provoking for older audiences, yet still funny and relatable for children. I loved the deeply moving message of appreciating the gift of life. This is a must-watch for the entire family!  

Emily K.

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directed by Garth Jennings

5 Stars

Sing is not the first movie to incorporate the talent-show concept into its story, but it is unquestionably the most successful. While not especially unique, this zany escapade centered on a theatre-owning koala with great ambitions has enough charm and enough variety in the song choices to avoid alienating older audience members. Buster Moon, our protagonist, is barely hanging on to his business; the bank is ready to seize control of the theatre. Before tragedy hits, his plan of hosting a talent show draws the public interest. Throughout the movie, each of the main candidates is shown overcoming their own obstacles, whether it’s debilitating stage fright, the invisibility of being a stay-at-home mom, or a bank-robber dad with a job opening in the family firm. I didn’t have high hopes for this film at first.

This film was equally entertaining for both adults and children, and I honestly couldn’t tell you who had a larger crowd. I could tell from the teaser that this was going to be engaging because it wasn’t only animals singing, but also familiar voices! During the audition, they sang current songs as well as some older songs, but that was a good way to truly cater to their audience. Each actor/actress gave their all to their roles, and I was surprised to see that a few of them could sing! The start was interesting. It drew my interest, but I was hooked until the main character started talking about his current situation. The most intriguing aspect of the film was the lessons it taught, which were that people would do what they want when they want to do it and that you should never be scared to do what you are best at and go for your dreams! The great ensemble, which includes many well-known figures in the entertainment world, makes the film more appealing to parents as well. Overall, this film was enjoyable to see!

Manaal I.

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directed by Michael Gracey

The Greatest Showman is a biographical musical about the journey of young Phineas Barnum as a kid, entrepreneur, museum owner, circus producer, and entertainment producer. Phineas, son of a tailor, meets Charity, the daughter of one of his father’s affluent clients. He makes her laugh and gets slapped for it by her dad, but the spark from their first encounter lasts throughout their youth, even when she’s away at boarding school, and he’s an orphan on the streets. Despite all odds, Finn and Charity marry and have two daughters years later. In the midst of raising his family, he secures a loan to build a museum of curiosities, eventually fails. He is inspired by an encounter to ask unusual-looking people to participate in a performance centered on them.

With help from costumes and makeup, he launches what will become the first circus. Barnum’s show is critically criticized, but the general public enjoys it. Barnum makes a fortune, but he can’t seem to stop looking for approval from higher classes. We all need some positivity and light in our lives. The world is filled with so much hate and unkindness toward anybody who is different. This film teaches us that everyone is valuable, that everyone’s existence has significance and purpose, and that we should work hard to help everyone, rich or poor. The message of this movie reminds us of how we should treat those around us and gives those of us who are different the courage and power to be who we are. Not to mention the amazing songs people of all ages can enjoy! This is the type of movie which you can’t help but come back to just because of its timeless nature. Human nature craves the light and goodness movies such as The Greatest Showman give to us in this world.

Manaal I.

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directed by John Lee Hancock

5 Stars

Michael Oher is a seventeen-year-old homeless African-American teenager who has been in foster care with different families due to his mother’s drug addiction. Every new home he is placed in, he decides to run away. With the help of his father’s friend, Michael is enrolled in Wingate Christian School. Coach Burt Cotton is impressed by Michael’s size and athleticism and gets him admitted. Michael becomes friends with a younger student named Sean Jr. (S.J.). S.J.’s mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy is an interior designer and the wife of Sean Tuohy, a wealthy businessman. Leigh Anne sees Michael walking alone on the road at night, shivering in the cold. When she learns he does not have a place to stay she offers him to sleep on the couch in her home. Michael slowly becomes a member of the Tuohy family, and when Leigh Anne discovers more about Michael’s past she wishes to adopt him. Michael begins playing football and improves drastically as time goes on. With the support of his new family, who helps him overcome difficulties, Michael’s life changes for the better.  

I enjoyed watching this movie and believe that it was excellently done. This heartwarming film teaches us that small acts of kindness can change people’s lives forever. In addition, the film emphasizes that we should not judge someone based on their appearance or where they came from. The acting from each character is spot on and truly moves you. Sandra Bullock’s acting was outstanding and so strong. Overall, The Blind Side is inspiring, beautifully created, and can move you to tears. This is a movie that I will continue to watch over and over and love every time. This is a great family-friendly movie with a wonderful message.

Emily K.

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by Robert Zemeckis

5 Stars

Forrest Gump (1994) - IMDb

Forrest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis, is a critically acclaimed drama film starring Tom Hanks in the lead role and a winner of 6 Academy Awards. The movie follows the main character, Forrest Gump, throughout his fascinating life, filled with unexpected twists and turns, all told from Forrest’s point of view. 

Forrest, a kind-hearted man with an IQ of 75 (10 points under the average of 85), recalls the story of his life to curious strangers while sitting on a bench at a bus stop in Georgia. He recounts the many events he has gone through in his life, including achieving a football scholarship to a renowned college and even fighting for his country in Vietnam. President Lyndon B. Johnson awards Gump with a Medal of Honor for his efforts in Vietnam, where he rescued many of his fellow soldier’s lives, bringing them to safety. 

Though he had accomplished so much in his life, it never mattered to him. All he ever cared about was his childhood friend and love interest, Jenny Curran. Once he receives the Medal of Honor, he gives it to Jenny as a gift, telling her he only received it by doing what she told him to do in his childhood when he was relentlessly bullied “Run, Forrest, run!”. 

This is a fantastic film that explores the fact that a person born with difficulties is only ever limited by their own thoughts and if they put their minds to it, are able to accomplish anything. I recommend this movie to anyone 13+. It is a definite 5/5 film that explores important issues.

Vlada E.

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by Niki Caro

5 Stars

Mulan (2020 film) - Wikipedia

Produced by Walt Disney Pictures and directed by Niki Caro, Mulan is a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1998 animated film of the same name. Hua Mulan is a fearless, adventurous, and active young girl living in Imperial China. Under the leader Bori Khan, an imperial outpost is invaded by Rouran warriors. The Emperor of China issues a conscription stating that every family must contribute one man to fight against Khan’s forces. Imperial soldiers arrive in Mulan’s village to enlist, making her elderly father forced to pledge his services as he has no sons. Mulan realizes that her frail father will have no chance of survival, so she decides to flee the village with his armour, horse, and sword to join in his place. She disguises herself as a young man and arrives at the training camp, and trains to become a soldier without exposing her true identity. 

Mulan was an amazing adaptation and fresh take on the classic animated version from 22 years ago. The film focused more on the action instead of the musical element. The film explores incredible themes of family devotion and female empowerment. Powerful messages were also conveyed, such as always persevering and believing in yourself to accomplish your goals. The actress who plays Mulan was wonderful and a great choice for her role. Her special moves within the battles were so articulately performed, which was a delight to watch. Throughout the movie, I was constantly on the edge of my seat in suspense and awe while watching. I would highly recommend Mulan to those of all ages as it is truly an inspiring and beautifully created film.

Emily K

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by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck 

5 Stars

Disney Frozen 2 Original Movie Poster | Frozen film, Disney movies, Disney  animation

After lifting the curse of eternal winter in Arendelle, Queen Elsa now rules the kingdom and enjoys a joyful life with her sister, Princess Anna. Despite this, Elsa finds herself oddly unsettled. A strange, mysterious voice continuously calls Elsa, keeping her awake and inviting her to an enchanted forest that her father mentioned long ago. Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven all embark on a journey, following the mysterious voice into the unknown. In the enchanted forest, they are revealed to the truth behind the kingdom of Arendelle, their family’s past, and the origin of Elsa’s extraordinary, magical powers. Frozen 2 showcases the adventures of Elsa, Anna, and their friends in the ancient, enchanted woods as they seek to find long-awaited answers and save their kingdom once and for all. 

Frozen 2 is an excellent movie and ranks among one of my favourite Disney films. After watching the first movie, I had high expectations proceeding to watch the sequel, and they were met. It was a sequel worth the wait and had a compelling storyline. Compared to the first movie, this film touched upon many deeper themes and showed growth and maturity within the characters. Though I felt that at certain points, the plot seemed to be all over the place, the movie wrapped up nicely. My favourite part of the movie was the range of absolutely stunning visuals. The scenery was precise and detailed throughout the entire film. Such as great film for younger and older audiences to enjoy.

Emily K.

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by Marc Webb

5 Stars

Gifted (2017) | CineMuseFilms

Boat repairman and former philosophy professor, Frank Adler is raising his seven-year-old niece Mary by himself in a small town in Florida. Frank has been a guardian to Mary since she was first born and when her mother, Frank’s sister, committed suicide. Just like her mother, Mary is a genius and has shown remarkable mathematical talent, but Frank hopes she can have a chance at a normal childhood, unlike his sister. After years of homeschooling, Frank decides to enroll Mary in a public school for first grade, and on her first day, her teacher is impressed by her incredible mathematical abilities. The school’s principal suggests that she should be transferred to a school for gifted students, but Frank declines. Mary’s controlling grandmother eventually gets an insight into the situation and hopes to gain custody of Mary and move her to Massachusetts as she believes that Mary should dedicate her life to mathematics, just like her mother. Frank and his mother get into a legal battle over her custody, with his mother wanting to force Mary to complete her mother’s project and Frank wanting to give Mary the life her mother never had. 

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film as it was gripping and kept my attention throughout. Chris Evans, who plays Frank, and McKenna Grace, who plays Mary, have amazing chemistry and showcased wonderful acting, which made the movie very enjoyable to watch. The math scenes were my favourite as they were beautifully and simply portrayed without lots of exaggeration. Gifted is truly a heartwarming film that many will enjoy!

Emily K.

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by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck

3 Stars

Frozen II - Wikipedia

The movie Frozen 2, directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, is about an ice queen named Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel), discovering some hidden secrets in the enchanted forests, or what she called the “unknown”. Elsa, her sister Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell), and her friends Olaf, Christoff, and Sven go searching for the mysterious voice that has been calling out to her. Elsa soon discovers the hidden secrets of her families’ past and discovers her most inner persona.  

Frozen 2 is a continuation of the first Frozen movie. I would recommend someone who is planning on watching this movie to watch the first movie of FrozenFrozen 2 is a very good family movie. It has some humour and a lot of drama. There are also a lot of songs and singing in the movie. The songs are very nice, but in my opinion, I feel like there was a bit too much singing. Many of the songs were unneeded and took over a large part of the movie. Personally, I would consider this movie as sort of a musical rather than a drama. I feel like the first movie of Frozen was better than the new one because it had fewer and simpler songs that you could sing to, and the songs connected well to the plots of the movie. The plot of Frozen 2 is very good, and the resolution is very appealing and ties all the loose ends together. Overall, I would rate this movie a 3 out of 5 stars. I feel like it would be a lot better if there were more drama and action than singing. 

Liza P.

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