Off the Shelf…Disney’s ‘Descendants’

Disney’s latest foray in to live-action entertainment finds the studio dipping back into their vault, but they pull out something entirely unexpected and quite inspired. The alluring conceit in this original feature finds the most evil (and popular) villains from Disney lore have long since been exiled far from present-day Auradon where King “Beast” (from […]

Off the Shelf…’Big Hero 6′

With so many comic book properties having either run their course, or underwhelming at the box office, it’s great that fans of the genre are getting a breath of fresh air in the form of lesser-known properties. Big Hero 6, for those of you who don’t follow anything but A-list super heroes, is a Marvel […]

Off the Shelf…’Porco Rosso’

​Of all the fanciful adventures Hayao Miyazaki has taken the world on, fan-favorite Porco Rosso might just be the odd member of the family. A male-centric story about a fighter pilot, cursed to live life as a pig, doesn’t seem that odd or whimsical when you stack up the film’s brief synopsis against any other Studio Ghibli title. […]

Off the Shelf…’Pom Poko’

Without fail, and regardless of the plot, there are a number of similar and familiar themes running through every Studio Ghibli feature. Yet among the most prominent – feminism, and characters far removed from their element or comfort zones – environmentalism is a common through line. Co-founder Isao Takahata isn’t normally known for a lot of […]

Off the Shelf…’Tales From Earthsea’

Even now, more than a year after the announcement, the world continues to reel from the news of Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement. His swan song was the well-received and beautifully haunting The Wind Rises. Yet it wasn’t the first time he hinted at bowing out. Of all the animators out there, it was thought that another […]

Off the Shelf…’The Hundred-Foot Journey’

The Hundred-Foot Journey is a wonderful film that shows that while we as nations and races may still be divided, we can come together in a great many ways. One of those is a very simple one – food. Hassan Kadam has one passion and goal in life: to cook. Playing an important role in […]

Off the Shelf…’Muppets Most Wanted’

There are few things human beings simply cannot live without – food, water, shelter and, every few years or so, a Muppet movie. While we were weren’t entirely fond of the gang’s last outing, this sequel is the sure-fire jolt to the funny bone fans have been patiently waiting for. More credit where it’s due, […]

Off the Shelf…Disney’s ‘The Pirate Fairy’

Walt Disney Home Entertainment’s The Pirate Fairy is another excellent installment in the Disney Fairy series. Whether or not you have enjoyed any of the previous Tinker Bell movies, you are really in for a treat with this installment. The Pirate Fairy is the best of the Disney Fairy series to date. It’s difficult to […]

Off the Shelf…’Saving Mr. Banks’

A spoonful of sugar, as they say, helps the medicine go down. In the case of Saving Mr. Banks, John Lee Hancock needn’t any help coaxing people to eat up his charming quasi-biopic. But still, that idea of needing something to sort of grease the rails to get a job done really captures the spirit and the […]

Off the Shelf…’Frozen’

Awards season sure was kind to Walt Disney’s Frozen and that’s because it is so deserving of all the praise. This clever and hilarious throwback to the princess films of the past was a huge hit in theaters but it also managed to snag some praiseworthy Oscars for “Best Animated Film” but also “Best Original […]

Off the Shelf…’The Jungle Book’

If you were to peek into the famous “Disney Vault” you might be overwhelmed with the plethora of titles the Mouse House has to its name. Moreover, a cross-section of the legendary studio reveals a myriad of success and skill at spinning and reworking all manner of titles ranging from Shakespeare to Hans Christian Andersen […]

Off the Shelf…’The Fifth Estate’

Bill Condon’s first post-Twilight film bites off more than it can chew, but it’s difficult to say whether that’s because of the subject matter – being the origins and rise of both Wikileaks and its controversial founder, Julian Assange – or because of the production’s unavoidable biopic bent; even at the tender age of only […]

Off the Shelf…’Drug War’

Should Johnnie To’s name hold no special meaning for you, consider correcting that immediately by introducing yourself to the veteran Chinese filmmaker’s work through Drug War. Apart from being handily available through Netflix’s Instant service, the film happens to be great, so strong in fact that it arguably holds a position of high honor in […]

Off the Shelf…’Starter For 10′ (Not-So-Secret Santa Edition, #2)

(Note: as with my vicious, no-holds-barred takedown of the appallingly bad Showdown in Little Tokyo, this Off the Shelf entry is extra special. That’s because it’s also part of the Cinematic Katzenjammer’s Not-So-Secret Santa Swap blogathon, which this time around is a bit more seasonally appropriate. For my swap, I was given the chance to […]

Off the Shelf…’Frances Ha’

Culturally, Frances Ha almost feels like Noah Baumbach issuing a challenge to all listless twenty-somethings stubbornly fixated on spending their time finding themselves: get found already, dammit. Throughout his career, Baumbach has showcased a knack for capturing the unbearable sensation of being emotionally unmoored, and across his entire filmography, Frances Ha – lyrical, succinct, rapturously authentic – may […]