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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Moana & Allied

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the promising double-bill of Disney's Moana and Allied. 
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers. First on my agenda: Moana. A young future chief must travel far from the safety of her island to restore it to health and prosperity.
 Dear reader(s): I've got one word to describe Moana, and it is "WOW!" I mean, you know I've got a bunch more words than that, but...WOW. Moana is a beautiful telling of a beautiful story. The art and animation are incredible: majestic scenery, spectacular colors, realistic movement and mannerisms. 
A spirited score by Mark Mancina is complimented by lively original tunes from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Opetaia Foa'i. Thanks to filmmakers' detailed attention to the culture and lore of the Pacific islands, the movie boasts a unique and authentic feel, and Moana is a true heroine for our times: smart, strong, and resourceful. 
She does not sit around waiting for a handsome prince to turn up with her shoe, but she does learn to accept advice and assistance when she should. Newcomer Auli'i Cravalho turns in an earnest, endearing performance as Moana, and, as the demi-god Maui, an animated Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is equally as charming as the real thing. 

Moana is, quite simply, a delight from start to finish. Disney's Moana runs 103 minutes, which includes a depressing little short entitled "Inner Workings." (If you aren't picky about your seat, show up late and avoid that one.) Moana is rated PG for "Peril, some scary images, and brief thematic elements." Moana is perfect. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Moana gets nine. 
Next up: Allied. Espionage and romance with a pair of WWII spies who fall in love and marry in war-torn 1940s Europe. Allied is a suspenseful slow-burner with plenty of twists to keep you guessing. 
Marion Cotillard is perfect as a member of the French resistance accused of being a double agent. Her understated performance is sincere and never gives away the is-she-or-isn't-she mystery. Brad Pitt is wooden, as Brad Pitt tends to be, but the movie smartly elects to focus a LOT on his perfect face, as well as him looking dashing in nifty suits, his military uniform, and an Archer-esque black turtleneck. 
Wise move there, movie. The suspenseful story is deliberately paced, but never so slow it risks losing your attention. War movies are always unsettling, but Allied mostly lacks the explicit violence and gore common in such films. 
Finally, there may come a day when I won't happily pay $7.50 to hear Benny Goodman's Sing Sing Sing in glorious surround-sound, but it is not this day. 
Allied clocks in at 124 minutes and is rated R for "violence, some sexuality/nudity, language, and brief drug use." While it isn't likely to bring home the bacon this awards season, Allied is a tense thriller that's well worth your movie dollar. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Allied gets seven. 

Fangirl Points (so many Fangirl Points!): Anton Lesser! Matthew Goode! Lizzy Caplan! Simon McBurney! Jared Harris! Until next time...

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