Review – Crawl

FILM REVIEWCRAWL. With Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark, Ross Anderson, Jose Palma. Written by Michael Rasmussen and Shawn Rasmussen. Directed by Alexandre Aja. Rated R for bloody creature violence and brief language. 88 minutes.

crawlThere’s a story certain members of my family love to tell about a trip to Florida for our cousin’s wedding. We were staying at a house overlooking a large lake, separated from it by an iron fence and a considerable stretch of land. While enjoying an afternoon cocktail in the swimming pool, I saw an alligator peek its head up out of the lake at least half a mile away, far beyond the fence and all that land. I immediately jumped out of the pool and ran inside the house sopping wet, screaming about how there’s a fucking alligator out there!

My personal, Captain Hook-level aversion to these scaly beasts plus an affection for modestly budgeted B-programmers probably makes me the ideal audience for CRAWL, a wickedly efficient little creature-feature from director Alexandre Aja. This trim tale of daughter and her dad trapped inside their flooding Florida home during a Category 5 hurricane with a bunch of toothy, uninvited guests is exactly the kind of lean, no-frills thriller that can feel like sweet relief during a bloated blockbuster summer. “Crawl” is the best movie of its kind since Blake Lively fought that shark.

British actress Kaya Scodalario (who I’m told is from the “Maze Runner” movies, whatever those are) stars as a college swim team washout who goes looking for her depressed dad (Barry Pepper) when he stops answering his phone during the media frenzy ramp up to yet another storm of the century. Ignoring evacuation orders, she discovers him stuck in a crawlspace under their old house with big bites out of his leg and shoulder, thanks to a surly gator who’s apparently decided to ride out the storm in their basement. Oh, and the green guy’s brought some friends.

What’s so much fun about “Crawl” is that there’s really nothing remotely resembling a safe space for our protagonists. Whenever they manage to get a moment’s respite from the alligators there’s also that pesky hurricane to contend with. Screenwriters Michael and Shawn Rasmussen (who wrote John Carpenter’s “The Ward” and a couple other nifty scare pictures) tend to specialize in these sort of single-setting fright flicks. Here they find some sinister ways to turn the family’s house against them once the levee breaks and waves start rolling in, with precious heirlooms and mementos weaponized into fast-floating debris. (My favorite flourish charts the rising waters against pencil scribblings on a wall where Pepper marked down his children’s heights as they were growing up.)

Director Aja is a scarily talented French brutalist whose 2003 breakthrough “High Tension” remains one of the most crudely effective stupid movies I’ve ever seen. (If I’m not mistaken the surprise twist ending means the main character somehow managed to get into a car chase with herself.) Anyway, Aja will always have a place in my heart thanks to his gloriously gratuitous “Piranha 3-D,” which contains a centerpiece sequence so spectacularly sickening that a cackling college buddy described it as “like Goya, but with tits.”

There’s nothing nearly as nasty in “Crawl” but it’s got its share of bracing bites, with a shower scene that’s one for the books. Sure, maybe it takes the two of them a little too long to get out of that basement crawlspace, and the blessedly brief father-daughter therapy conversations feel like studio notes tacked on to force an emotional investment that their perilous physical situation already provides. (Just like all that junk about Blake Lively’s mom in “The Shallows.”) Still, I’d wager there’s seldom been a movie image more exquisitely Floridian than a family of yokels trying to put a stolen ATM in a rowboat.

Taking care of business in a slender 88 minutes, “Crawl” is a finely-tooled, no-nonsense, mid-summer diversion that wants nothing more than to provide a fun Friday night out at the movies. Jump a couple of times, have a few laughs and enjoy the air conditioning. Such modest pleasures should not be underestimated.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 3 out of 5.Over the past twenty years, Sean Burns’ reviews, interviews, and essays have appeared in WBUR’s The ARTery, Philadelphia Weekly, The Improper Bostonian, Metro, The Village Voice, Nashville Scene and He stashes them all at Spliced Personality.



Review – Spider-Man: Far From Home

FILM REVIEWSPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME. With Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Samuel L. Jackson, Marisa Tomei. Written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers. Directed by Jon Watts. Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments. 129 minutes.

spiderman_far_from_homeE.D.I.T.H. is a massive satellite drone defense system that represents the latest and greatest from Stark Industries, with a characteristically snarky acronym that stands for “Even Dead I’m The Hero.” Yep, while Robert Downey Jr. may have gone off to the great expired contract in the sky, his beloved Tony Stark is nevertheless still stealing scenes and sucking all the oxygen out of the room from beyond the grave. SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME – by my count the third second Spider-Man movie – is also the second live-action webslinger adventure in a row during which Peter Parker gets lost in the long shadow of his Marvel Cinematic Universe mentor. Even dead, Tony’s still all anybody ever talks about.

Which is a damn shame, as Tom Holland makes for an awfully appealing young wall-crawler, and returning director Jon Watts has once again surrounded him with a charismatic cast of awkward teens, including Peter’s portly sidekick Ned (Jacob Batalon), all-business Betty Brandt (Angourie Rice), Instagram asshole Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) and – best of all – Zendaya’s delightfully deadpan MJ, who’s a Gen-Z Wednesday Addams and the girl of Peter Parker’s dreams. Everything with these kids is aces, and whenever “Far From Home” chills out for long enough to be an easygoing teen comedy, you’re tantalizingly teased with how much fun these Marvel movies can be when they cool it on the overbearing mythology and apocalyptic showdowns.

“I didn’t think I had to save the world this summer,” complains Peter, who would really like to take a breather from this whole superhero business and enjoy his class trip to Europe. Alas, duty calls in the form of surly Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, receiver in hand) requiring assistance in battling a scourge of giant water and fire monsters wreaking havoc on the most tourist-friendly overseas cities. While Parker is waffling, in flies Mysterio, a roguishly handsome new superhero wearing a fishbowl on his head and a freshly ironed cape, played with musky, Shatner-ian brio by Jake Gyllenhaal.

It’s almost clever in the way Peter’s dilemma matches our own – we would also much rather just enjoy the field trip and his funny friends, rather than endure another round of weightless CGI setpieces of mass destruction. “Far From Home” is stuck cleaning up after the cataclysmic, world-changing events of “Avengers: Endgame,” amusingly putting the most laborious exposition in the mouths of blase teenagers who got over it all already. (Rice has a very funny moment in which Betty’s steamed that she and other kids who were resurrected in the last film had to start their entire school year over from scratch, even though they’d already taken their midterms when Thanos snapped them into dust.)

But the logistical issues inherent in three billion people suddenly coming back from the dead are glossed over in favor of more hysterical mourning for Tony Stark, whose smarmy visage appears on murals everywhere Peter goes, as well as in an amusingly cheeseball tribute video created by his classmates. (I didn’t keep count but wouldn’t be surprised at all if the words “Tony Stark” were uttered more than “Peter Parker” in this film.) Much in the way 2017’s “Homecoming” diminished Spidey’s story into a feature-length audition for The Avengers, this time around everyone keeps asking if he’s going to be “the next Iron Man” – a question the movie answers depressingly in the affirmative.

Without getting into too many spoilers, let’s just say that by the final act Peter has inherited not just Tony’s tech but also his sidekick Happy (Jon Favreau) and several of Stark’s arch-enemies, doing battle with a swarm of deadly drones in a machine-gun-crazy action sequence indistinguishable from the cluttered climax of any “Iron Man” movie. (Spider-Man’s web-shooters don’t even work.) I didn’t care about any of it. I just wanted to see if Peter finally got up the nerve to ask MJ out on a date.

Sam Raimi’s swoony “Spider-Man 2” and last year’s astonishing animated “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” are probably the two best superhero movies of the modern era. What they understood about the character that these MCU movies miss is that we love Spider-Man as an overwhelmed underdog. He’s broke, with a threadbare costume relying on his wits, always late for school and trying to finish his homework when he’s not out fighting crime. He’s your friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man, not the jet-setting ward of an asshole billionaire with all the high-tech toys in the world at his sticky fingertips.

There’s an in-jokey monologue during which the film’s not-so-secret villain complains about having to come up with ever more elaborate “Avengers-level threats” to keep wowing an increasingly jaded populace that’s seen it all over these past 23 films. But what the MCU doesn’t realize is that all their toppling towers and giants made of fire are deathly dull compared to the thrill of two kids sneaking past the chaperones to go out on their first date. There’s an incredibly charming high school romance in “Far From Home,” but it’s buried under “Iron Man 4.”•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 2.5 out of 5.Over the past twenty years, Sean Burns’ reviews, interviews, and essays have appeared in WBUR’s The ARTery, Philadelphia Weekly, The Improper Bostonian, Metro, The Village Voice, Nashville Scene and He stashes them all at Spliced Personality.

Review – Midsommar

FILM REVIEWMIDSOMMARWith Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, Will Poulter. Written and directed by Ari Aster. Rated R for disturbing ritualistic violence, grisly images. 140 minutes.

Give Ari Aster credit. The writer/director is carving out his own path as a horror filmmaker. While this reviewer was underwhelmed by the violent and incoherent “Hereditary” (2018), MIDSOMMAR is a disturbing film that holds it together despite its epic length of nearly two-and-a-half hours.

The character to watch is Dani (Florence Pugh). She’s somewhat needy and her current boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) seems to be on the verge of breaking up with her. At the start of the film she learns of the horrible deaths of her sister and parents and ends up inviting herself along on a trip to Sweden that Christian and several of his graduate student friends are planning. One of them, Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren), comes from a remote rural village which has a unique summer festival that they’re going there to see.

At first everything seems fine, if a bit strange. The visitors try to be respectful and open, not wanting to treat the village as a theme park. It’s all quaint and even a bit exciting, as the visitors ingest hallucinogenic mushrooms. The Americans are made to feel welcome guests. Then the first of the festival’s rituals play out in such a horrific fashion that Dani wants to leave.

Plausible explanations are offered, and both Christian and Josh (William Jackson Harper) are interested in studying the community for their theses. Yet as the festival progresses, things get stranger and stranger, Dani finds things disturbing but is growing distant from Christian and, despite her qualms allows herself to be drawn into the activities. It is her journey upon which the film hinges.

Aster simultaneously defies and draws upon genre traditions. On the one hand, most of the film’s horrors and weird twists take place in broad daylight. Indeed, this is the land of the “midnight sun.” On the other hand, he seems aware of previous movies in which outsiders are threatening by an insular community’s rituals, such as “Two Thousand Maniacs!” (1964) and “The Wicker Man” (1973, remade 2006). Things have to seem quaint and plausible, until the reality of it can no longer be denied.

The film’s R rating for “grisly images” is well deserved. As with “Hereditary,” there are things that – once seen – can not be unseen. While this is not a sadistic gorefest like the “Saw” movies, it’s not a movie for the squeamish or the faint-hearted. Yet at film’s end, it leaves us with the question of whether someone who has been shocked and appalled by the proceedings can come to accept them.

Ironically, while “Midsommar” comes at the beginning of the summer, for Hollywood we really are at the midpoint of the season, which began with “Avengers: Endgame” at the end of April. At a time where the studios play it safe with lot of pre-sold sequels, “Midsommar” takes a chance on something different.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 3 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His latest novel is Father of the Bride of Frankenstein. He is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award given by the New England Science Fiction Association. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Review – Yesterday

FILM REVIEWYESTERDAYWith Himesh Patel, Lily James, Ed Sheeran, Kate McKinnon, Joel Fry. Written by Richard Curtis. Directed by Danny Boyle. Rated PG-13 for suggestive content and language. 106 minutes.

yesterdayIn a season of sequels, reboots, and remakes, along comes YESTERDAY, one of the most original movies you’re likely to see this year. The premise is deceptively simple. Jack Malik (British TV actor Himesh Patel) is a smalltime singer/songwriter, with his childhood friend Ellie (Lily James) acting as his manager/driver/confidante. One night, Jack is hit by a bus in during an unexplained worldwide power outage.

When he awakens in his hospital, bed he finds that he has slipped into an alternate universe where the Beatles never happened. John, Paul, George, and Ringo are unknown, as are all their songs. Jack remembers them (if not all the lyrics), and when he starts to perform them is hailed as the greatest music star of his generation. As the story unfolds, you have to wonder where it’s going to go and how it’s going to end. That won’t be revealed here. Suffice to say, they don’t take the easy way out.

The film’s success starts with a brilliant script by Richard Curtis, who wrote “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and wrote and directed “Love Actually.” He loves his quirky characters and gets the laughs while hitting some emotional truths. Jack enjoys his success but feels increasingly guilty that he’s riding on the brilliance of others, even if no one else knows. Curtis has some surprises along the way, including Jack’s discovery of how else this alternate timeline is different from his own.

Director Danny Boyle (whose credits range from “Trainspotting” to “Slumdog Millionaire”), has a sure hand on the proceedings. He navigates Jack’s rise from small bars to massive concerts without losing his focus on the characters. Patel will be a discovery for American viewers, presenting Jack as someone both excited by and insecure about his newfound popularity. James is touching as someone who has long believed in him while waiting for him to wake up to the potential of more than a professional relationship. Real life singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran pops up as himself, providing a droll portrait as the person who “discovers” Jack, calling himself Salieri to Jack’s Mozart.

Although it’s a supporting role, one of the delights of the movie is that finally someone has made good use of the incredibly talented Kate McKinnon, the SNL star who has been the standout in a number of mediocre movies. Here she’s Debra Hammer, the talent manager from hell. Her character’s self-absorption and bluntness makes her the perfect foil for the humane and somewhat naïve Jack.

Naturally, the soundtrack is filled with Beatles songs, making the film a tribute to how much their music has meant to us for more than fifty years. “Yesterday” is a tribute to the Beatles as well as a rich comedy that puts Jack on a journey where he has to decide what success really means. As with other movies scripted by Curtis, it may not please the cynical or cold-hearted, but for the rest of us, it’s one of the best movies you’re likely to see this year.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 5 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His latest novel is Father of the Bride of Frankenstein. He is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award given by the New England Science Fiction Association. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Review – Annabelle Comes Home

FILM REVIEWANNABELLE COMES HOMEWith Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife. Written and directed by Gary Dauberman. Rated R for horror violence and terror. 106 minutes.

annabelle_comes_home_ver2The continued blurring of what was once a bright line between movies and television continues with ANNABELLE COMES HOME, the seventh film in “The Conjuring” universe series. It is the third to be released in less than year following “The Nun” (2018) and “The Curse of Llorona” (2019). They’re all related in some way to Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson), real-life investigators of the paranormal.

Spun off from well-received “The Conjuring” movies, with the third due out next year, the “Annabelle” movies are about an evil-looking doll which is a conduit for some demonic force. The Warrens keep the doll in a locked case, having ensured that the evil will be “contained.” (Don’t sweat the details. It’s summer and there’s no final exam.)

In this entry, the Warrens appear in a lengthy prologue and then disappear for much of the story. Instead, the focus is on their daughter Judy played by the very expressive McKenna Grace, who turns 13 this week. Everyone in town knows about the weird goings-on involving her parents, and that leaves her moody and unpopular at school. She’s close with her babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) in whose care she has been left when the Warrens have to go out of town overnight. Mary Ellen’s friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) stops by with a gift for Judy, which provides the opportunity for Daniela to go exploring the Warren’s locked room of cursed objects.

That’s the premise, and you know where it’s going: Daniela unlocks the case letting Annabelle loose, which ends up causing all sorts of horrific things including plans to consume Judy’s soul. Give writer/director Gary Dauberman credit. He provides his characters sufficient backstory and motivation that we’re not just watching cardboard cutouts battling special effects. Sarife’s Daniela is looking for trouble, but when we discover why she’s drawn to the forbidden powers the Warrens have locked up it actually makes her more sympathetic. There’s some comic relief as well, in the form of Bob (Michael Cimino), who has a crush on Mary Ellen that both are too shy to act upon.

Dauberman also knows how to tease the audience, sometimes setting things up for an expected scare that doesn’t happen. This is a much better effort than “Annabelle: Creation” (2017) in that it builds up its characters while keeping the horror plot fairly straightforward. There’s a touching scene at the end where Lorraine has a bonding moment with Daniela that may explain why audiences connect to these films more than some other shockfests. We actually come to care for the characters rather than simply see them as fodder for whatever the film’s horror turns out to be.

“Annabelle Comes Home” plays like a “special episode” of a TV series where the main characters step back and let the supporting players have the spotlight. If you’ve enjoyed the series, this will work, but beyond that it’s hard to see this entry winning new converts.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 2.5 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His latest novel is Father of the Bride of Frankenstein. He is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award given by the New England Science Fiction Association. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Review – Anna

FILM REVIEWANNA. With Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Lera Abova. Written and directed by Luc Besson. Rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual content. 119 minutes.

anna_ver2Betcha didn’t know that a Luc Besson movie opened this past weekend. ANNA, the writer-director’s sleek new espionage thriller starring Russian supermodel Sasha Luss was quietly slipped into 2,220 theaters by distributor Lionsgate without any of the usual advance screenings or publicity outreach, presumably due to allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against the director by nine women in a French publication last fall. One assumes this stealth release is a matter of the studio fulfilling contractual obligations without opening itself up to the kind of legal difficulties that have ensnared Amazon’s film division following their recent shelving of Woody Allen’s “A Rainy Day in New York.” Or it could just be a matter of not wanting to throw good money after bad, as the movie is merely mediocre.

Even before the accusations, Besson was already back on his heels. His EuropaCorp production company filed for bankruptcy protection after the catastrophic box office failure of Besson’s enormously expensive (and to this critic quite dazzling) “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” So it’s no surprise that “Anna” feels very much like a deliberate re-entrenchment for the filmmaker, eschewing his gonzo science-fiction flourishes and getting back to the kind of sexy, ultra-violent Eurotrash thrillers that made Besson an international sensation thirty years ago. Call it “La Femme Anna,” or “Nikita, Redux.”

“Anna” begins in 1990, halcyon days for the director and two years before his latest leading lady was born. Luss plays an international fashion model moonlighting as an assassin for the KGB. Her jet-setting career provides excellent cover and access for a globe-trotting contract killer, along with ample opportunity for Besson to indulge his lifelong penchant for photographing beautiful women in their underwear. (Those recent reports regarding the director’s behavior cast an icky shadow over the film’s cheerfully prurient proceedings.)

The byzantine story finds Anna struggling to free herself from the clutches of hunky KGB handler (Luke Evans) and a slick CIA agent (Cillian Murphy) who are happily taking advantage of her both in the field and in the bedroom. Besson gooses up his plodding plot with a startling, time-jumping structure. Left-field, shockaroo twists pop up out of nowhere and then the movie skips back a few weeks, months or sometimes years to fill us in on the events leading up to whatever the hell just happened. It’s a kick the first two or three times he pulls it off, but by the last couple reveals I wanted him to learn a new trick.

But “Anna” is quite deliberately not a movie about new tricks, rather a wallow through the director’s familiar fetishes. This means lots of long tracking shots in which our long-limbed ingenue struts through opulent hotel hallways packing pistols, plus some spectacular action set-pieces filmed with the high gloss of fashion photography. A mid-film montage featuring at least a dozen of Anna’s assassinations set to INXS’s “Need You Tonight” is everything you came to the movie for in a marvelous miniature. (I can’t wait for it to wind up on YouTube.)

In her first substantial role, Sasha Luss acquits herself quite admirably and proves a fine successor to Besson’s model-actress leading ladies like Anne Parillaud, Milla Jovovich, and Cara Delevingne. It’s not her fault that the film feels flabby and occasionally exhausted. Over the past couple of years “Atomic Blonde” and especially the spectacularly sleazy “Red Sparrow” have mined familiar territory with a good deal more wit and invention. Cillian Murphy’s loutish CIA agent pales in comparison to a similar Langley scumbag played with way more hambone brio by Guy Pearce in Brian De Palma’s recent “Domino.”

It’s almost hilarious how little interest Besson has in period detail, with these Cold War characters fighting over laptops and USB drives, anachronistically chatting on clamshell cell phones while modern cars drive through the background. But even the director’s indifference can’t put a damper on the great Helen Mirren, who seethes and steals scenes left and right as a put-upon KGB second-in-command. Barely recognizable beneath a frumpy wig and black-rimmed Coke-bottle classes, she mutters about “zees,” “zat” and generally does a delightful impression of what might happen if Fran Lebowitz ever guest starred on “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.”•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 2.5 out of 5.Over the past twenty years Sean Burns’ reviews, interviews, and essays have appeared in WBUR’s The ARTery, Philadelphia Weekly, The Improper Bostonian, Metro, The Village Voice, Nashville Scene and He stashes them all at Spliced Personality.

Review – Toy Story 4

FILM REVIEWTOY STORY 4With the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keanu Reeves. Written by Andrew Stanton & Stephany Folsom. Directed by Josh Cooley. Rated G. 100 minutes.

toy_story_four_ver8Nine years ago, I reviewed “Toy Story 3” by noting, “It is a fitting end to what now must be called the ‘Toy Story’ trilogy. The ending is so right it would be criminal to try to squeeze any more out of the series.”

Thus, there was some nervousness about the release of TOY STORY 4. Pixar has created some of the greatest animated movies of all time. Their Achilles heel, so to speak, has been with their sequels. Whatever one thinks of movies ranging from “Cars 2” to “Finding Dory” to “Monsters University,” they all fell short of their originals. The one exception were the “Toy Story” films. In between the laughs and thrills were issues about growing up and growing old. As the characterizations deepened, we saw how Woody’s sense of loyalty and Buzz’s bravery turned into both an asset and a burden.

So, after the brilliant and emotional conclusion to “Toy Story 3,” was there possibly anything left to be said? As it turns out, there was. In “Toy Story 4” Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) and Buzz (voice of Tim Allen) are starting to see changes in their lives. Bonnie, the girl whose toys they now are, is entering kindergarten and very nervous about it.

She makes the transition, with the help of an arts-and-craft doll she made called “Forky” (Tony Hale) for reasons that will be immediately apparent. On a road trip with her parents, Woody discovers Bo Peep (Annie Potts) at a curio shop, after her having become separated from the rest of them. What ensues are the plot points that move things along: meeting action doll Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves) who turns out to be Canadian, encountering Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) who covets Woody’s voice box and, of course a last-minute rescue.

Beyond the jokes and wonderfully surreal touches, from Forky to Gabby Gabby’s retinue of creepy-looking puppets, this is ultimately Woody’s story. He’s been fiercely loyal to whichever child he belonged to as well as to the other toys. In many ways he’s been the moral center of the “Toy Story” universe. Now he gets to ask if its time to be loyal to himself, with Bo Peep extolling the virtues of living freely. She’s not alone – she has her sheep – but she’s charting her own course while Woody only reacts to what’s going on around him.

If that sounds too deep for the youngsters who are the key demographic here, the movie is rated G, and has plenty of antics and thrills to entertain. However, for the adults, whether with kids or not, there’s food for thought as well. Those who have enjoyed the previous movies will appreciate just how hard it is for Woody to deal with choice he is faced with: continuing life as he’s always known it or taking a chance on the unknown.

“Toy Story 4” demonstrates that Pixar remembers what G rated movies were supposed to be: movies intended to appeal to everyone.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 5 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His latest novel, Father of the Bride of Frankenstein, has just been released. He is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award given by the New England Science Fiction Association. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.