MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MARRIAGE (Tribeca 2022) – Reviewed by Marilyn Ferdinand

Latvian animator and director Signe Baumane’s My Love Affair with Marriage offers a loosely autobiographical accounting of the life and loves of Zelma (voice of Dagmara Dominczyk), a Latvian artist who finds that her romantic programming and the biochemical workings of her body conspire against her long-term marital happiness. The animation is brilliant and Baumane’s acute observations of human movement and moods move us through the emotional ups and downs of a story with which most of us will be able to identify.

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SPOTLIGHT May, 2022: Domee Shi, Animator, Director, Pixar VP of Creative

It has been an incredible decade for animator and director Domee Shi. Beginning as a story intern at Pixar in 2011, she was promoted in April of this year to Vice President of Creative for the company where she has spent her entire professional career. She also won an Academy Award and directed a feature film along the way.

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THE BAD GUYS – Review by Leslie Combemale

If you take Oceans Eleven and add the sensibilities and style of DreamWorks Animation, you’ll get the new animated feature The Bad Guys. It’s a fun conceit, especially when some of the best comedians and actors in the business are supplying voices for the lead characters. While the amusing concept and the embarrassment of thespian riches does add up to entertaining viewing and a worthy way to spend your movie money, the plot might strike some as one-dimensional, and it does feel like there should be more sparks flying given the impressive cast.

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THE BAD GUYS – Review by Martha K Baker

The plot is tricky and convoluted, and big chunks make no sense. “The Bad Guys” is based on the Scholastic series by Aaron Blabey from a screenplay by Etan Cohen, known for Men in Black 3. The script plays off caper movies, but it does not always play well. Directed by Pierre Perifel, known for Kung Fu Panda 2, it’s too long and loud, including the music, and holds little novelty, but it does offer lessons in distinguishing trust from distrust. But, for all its noise, it has its heart in the right place.

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CHARLOTTE – Review by Leslie Combemale

Jewish-German artist Charlotte Salomon lived through Hitler’s rise to power, and was captured and sent to Auschwitz, where she died the day she arrived. This chronicle of her life, which is comprised of 769 paintings created between 1941 and 1943, is one of the most important bodies of work in the 20th century, but much like the art of so many other female artists, it has been all but erased from history.

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TURNING RED – Review by Lauren Anderson

Turning Red is Disney/Pixar’s latest film about a Toronto teenager who discovers her uncontrollable ability to turn into a red panda whenever she experiences strong emotion. At its core, the animated feature is a metaphor for puberty. But as Disney/Pixar films are wont to do, it reminds us it’s good to embrace who we are instead of dampening our “red pandas.”

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TURNING RED – Review by Leslie Combemale

Pixar’s new animated feature Turning Red is an absolute delight from start to finish. The studio’s 25th feature is a celebration of so many things, including female friendship, self esteem, personal growth, the millennial experience, motherhood, and Chinese culture, all while bringing both mom and dorky teenaged-girl realness. Helmed and co-written by Chinese-Canadian Domee Shi, Turning Red also the first Pixar film officially solo directed by a woman. When Shi took her idea for the movie to Pixar, her pitch was “it’s a girl going through magical puberty and turns into a giant red panda”. It might not sound particularly complex or nuanced, but Shi and her team have brought a tremendous amount of meaning and depth to what is a funny, wild cinematic ride. It also allows girls and women, especially those of Asian descent, to be fully seen onscreen.

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DELTA SPACE MISSION – Review by Diane Carson

Fans of new, unique offerings have a treat in store with the 1984 Delta Space Mission, the first animated feature film from Romania. Directors Mircea Toia and Calin Cazan present a fast-moving science fiction story with a wonderful sound mix interpreting flamboyant compositions. Restored from the camera negative, the geometric objects and multi-colored characters appear to be from another era. Delta Space Mission is charming.

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