JUNGLE CRUISE – Review by Leslie Combemale

Whoever pitched Disney’s new feature Jungle Cruise must have been a master of hyperbole. “It’s The Mummy meets Pirates of the Caribbean meets African Queen, but imagine Katherine Hepburn as a younger, smokin’ yet independent English hottie, and add the highest paid actor in the world.” If there were ever a final argument for ‘there’s nothing new under the sun’, Jungle Cruise would be it.

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JUNGLE CRUISE – Review by Susan Granger

Encouraged by the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Disney launches this fantasy/adventure, based on the theme park attraction. It begins in 1916 London, where intrepid botanist/explorer Lily Houghton sneaks into a snobbish science society to steal an arrowhead thought to be the key to finding the Tears of the Moon, a sacred tree hidden in the Amazon jungle whose petals have miraculous healing powers.

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LUCA – Review by Susan Granger

Once upon a time near a beautiful seaside town in the Cinque Terra region of the Italian Riviera, two young mermen – or, as the locals called them, ‘sea monsters’ – spend an unforgettable summer together. Despite cautionary warnings from his parents, teenage Luca is curious about the world that’s above the surface of the sea where he and his family live.

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LUCA – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

Luca, the latest under-the-sea Disney-produced animated adventure, might be a few leagues below such House of Mouse ‘toon classics as The Little Mermaid with its show tunes and Finding Nemo with its tale of fatherly love. But this buoyantly engaging Pixar tale directed by Enrico Casarosa, the maker of the Oscar-nominated 2011 short La Luna, provides enough catchy hooks to please most family viewers.

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RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON – Review by Leslie Combemale

Raya and the Last Dragon is definitely a fun, exciting animated feature, with most entertainment found in the vocal interpretations and endlessly gorgeous visuals, that bring the film to a compelling level, and raise the plot, which, though it offers exciting action, a fresh perspective, and Disney’s first Southeast Asian princess, ultimately fits the ‘Disney Magic’ formula‘ and business as usual.

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SPOTLIGHT December 2020: Eda Reiss Merin, Actress, Activist and inspiration for AWFJ’s EDA Awards

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists’ EDA Awards, presented annually during awards season and at various festivals during the year, are currently in their 14th year, and are well known to the film industry for categories honoring female filmmakers, along with the more general award categories that are presented by the Academy and other movie awards organizations. The EDA Awards are well known, but many industry people — including some who’ve received them — don’t know much about their name. Why EDA? Since December sees AWFJ in full awards season activism, this is a good time to share the EDA story. Hence our December SPOTLIGHT is focused on actress and activist Eda Reiss Merin.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Yara Shahidi to Take Flight as Tinkerbell – Brandy McDonnell reports

Yara Shahidi is preparing to take flight, playing Tinkerbell in an upcoming Disney live-action film, Peter Pan and Wendy, based on Disney’s original animated classic, Peter Pan. Shahidi will join Jude Law (the Sherlock Holmes and Fantastic Beasts series), who will play Captain Hook; Alexander Molony (the British TV series The Reluctant Landlord, who has been cast as Peter; and Ever Anderson (Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the upcoming Black Widow), who will star as Wendy

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THE MANDALORIAN – Review by Susan Granger

The second season of Jon Favreau’s blockbuster live-action Disney+ series, a sci-fi spin-off from George Lucas’ Star Wars, is set five years after Return of the Jedi – meaning the Empire has fallen and the New Republic is in its ascendancy – this intergalactic adventure revolves around the mysterious, perpetually helmeted bounty hunter Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), an orphan who was rescued and raised by Mandalorian warriors.

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The New MULAN’s Critical Chi – Nell Minow comments

Nothing is simple and straightforward and uncontroversial in 2020, not even a live-action remake of a popular Disney animated film. Whether intended to or not, the new Mulan has achieved one of the essential goals of any work of art in provoking thoughtful conversations that transcend but are illuminated by the story we see on whatever screen we see it on.

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