Tag Archives: Peggy at the Movies

REVIEW: “TURNING RED” (2022) Pixar/Disney+

Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve been a 13 year old girl, yet here I am reliving it and loving almost every moment of Domee Shi’s new venture which captures that adolescence feeling once again in Pixar’s “TURNING RED”. But this little coming of age story does so much more than just take you back to a place in time of your life, as it reaches across not just cultural boundaries not usually seen, but just what being a young girl that is different is all about, and best of all – letting us all know, it’s okay to be different.

With our throwback setting here being Toronto, Canada in 2002, 13-year-old Meilin Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang) is a girl on a mission. She is a straight-A student with her group of loyal ride-or-die best friends Miriam (Ava Morse), Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), and Abby (Hyein Park), by her side, and all they dream of is going to see the hottest boy band on the planet ‘4*Town’ (Jordan Fisher, Finneas O’Connell, Topher Ngo, Grayson Villanueva, and Josh Levi). A kind of apt name considering there are five of them, but isn’t that part of the fun of loving a boy band? Things like these are not valid to adults, but to 13 year old’s ‘in love’ they make perfect sense. On the other side of her life, the family part, there is a bit of a problem though as she feels held back by her overprotective mother, Ming (Sandra Oh). Mei Mei loves her mom, and while they may seem to enjoy doing the same things, noted in the many photos they take together, along with the job they do of keeping the family temple clean, and most of all, they enjoy dad/husband Jin (Orion Lee) cooking, or should we say eating his cooking! But they are worlds apart from having the same mindset, though only one of them is aware of this.

MOTHER, PLEASE! — Disney and Pixar’s all-new original feature film “Turning Red” will debut exclusively on Disney+ © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Taking all this into mind, imagine how Mei feels when she discovers she transforms into a giant red panda when she can’t contain her emotions and then finds out that not only her mom has had this happen to her, but her aunties and grandma (Wai Ching Ho), as well. The trick is to control it, but that isn’t as easy as it seems. From here, we are taken on a fun little journey of just what the girls all do to get themselves to see their musical loves. In between the up and down journey is where there are a few slip ups here and there with some adult panda transformation material, that to reveal would give away all the spoiler points of the story. But otherwise the catchy soundtrack that you will be singing for awhile after it ends, will also bring back some fun memories of the early 2000’s as the music is almost a character in and of itself.

WE’VE GOT YOUR (FLUFFY) BACK © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

There are moments where the discussions that take place that in truth, are refreshing to see and hear as things like this should be done and made more acceptable, instead of girls always having to feel shame at things like starting menstruation and what it all entails. Along with some fun comedic moments, ‘Turning Red’ all in all, is an incredibly cute coming of age story. In a world where girls aren’t afraid to be smart or different any more, along with the cultural influences and point of view that we don’t usually get to see on screen, this is one not to miss on Disney Plus for all ages.

Grade: B-

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Review Screening: Courtesy of Disney

TURNING RED ARRIVES ON MARCH 11, 2022 ON DISNEY+.

REVIEW: “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” fails to ignite completely..

Wandering into “THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN” my assumption was it would point me to a somewhat of a Nikola Tesla type films with Louis Wain perhaps being the British version of him. I couldn’t have been more wrong, which can sometimes be a benefit to not knowing exactly what you are going into as it leaves you to actually judge a film for what it is – versus what others say about it.

The film opens in 1881 and Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch), is a young man whose life has just dramatically changed over the death of his father. Per the time and status that the Wain family has acquired, Louis must step into the role of breadwinner for his five younger sisters and their aging mother. Initially, it’s hard what to make of Wain as he is constantly drawing, yet his eccentricities also include a belief in the electrical currents that drive all life forms, hence my previous thoughts. The film itself doesn’t spend much time on this, though it seems to be important enough, but the feeling is at first it’s more eccentricity vs. a mental illness – later deemed to possibly be schizophrenia. What the film shifts to almost exclusively is Wain’s family life. His stern and demanding sister Caroline (Andrea Riseborough), is completely unforgiving of his little ‘whims’ as they are referred to, and demands that Louis find steady work to support the family, which again is supposed to be his role now, clearly one he does not want. An interview with an Sir William Ingram (Toby Jones), is an editor/publisher looking to offer Wain a job, and this is when we are first treated to see what a gifted illustrator Wain is can be and his speed at drawing is due to an incredible ability to draw with both hands simultaneously.

As we continue on more with his family theme versus who Wain really is, he ends up overcoming one of his insecurities around his cleft lip which he has always covered with a mustache, and ends up marrying Emily Richardson (Claire Foy), the governess to his sisters. For the times this was quite the scandal, most especially given the differences in age and social standing of both involved, but Louis plows on as it seems as though she was the only one who understood and encouraged him as an artist. Needless to say his sisters are enraged at this and there is much more shown here again of this than what really is it that makes Louis Wain who he was.

We then are drawn into the tragedy that strikes Wain, and watch as he really mentally spirals more and becomes inspired by their pet cat, Peter. In fact, Peter becomes his muse of sorts though confusing because again, his sisters are all mixed in plus the fact that he clearly thinks the cat is Emily. It does however leads to thousands of drawings of cats for publication in newspapers, magazines, greeting cards, and just about every other platform available at the time. But also once again the films leaves Louis and takes back to his sister’s lives and his youngest sister Marie (Hayley Squires), being committed. So it’s a mish-mash of back and forth whereas I wanted to know who Louis Wain was about, it was very hard to decipher until the Cat pictures come along and that is what he becomes famous for. Personally I would’ve like to delve into this subject and how it evolved more rather than a major focus being on his family lives instead of his as it seems Wain’s work becomes enormously popular for a time, the film doesn’t really explore it in any detail, choosing instead to dance around the question of his and all his sisters mental states over the decades which span about 50 years in time.

Olivia Colman provides the narration and tries to make it lively at times. Taika Waititi and Nick Cave both have brief cameos, as well as Adeel Akhtar in smaller role as Mr. Rider. A role that clearly should’ve been more prominent as Rider was one of Wain’s few friends who we see meet briefly early on, but in the end finds Wain in a sanitarium and ends up being the one who helps Louis secure a place better accommodations in lovely home complete with a garden and yes, plenty of cats. The performance here by Cumberbatch is a bit over-the-top with his tics in the first half of the film, almost to quirky at times – he does make the mental part realistic at times, and drawing part of Wain seem interesting and real. Again, when the film lets us see those very pertinent parts come through.

All in all, if you know nothing about or who Louis Wain was, this might not explain it to you precisely as it follows the path of his family and all the peculiarities of them and him, rather than serve up a more poignant look at Wain and his Cat drawings for which he is actually famous for.

Grade: C

 

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Review Screening ~ Courtesy of Ginsberg/Libby PR

“THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN ” IS OUT IN THEATERS NOW AND WILL BE COMING TO PRIME VIDEO ON FRIDDAY, NOVEMEBER 5, 2021