dune (denis villeneuve, 2021)
geezer cinema: spider-man: no way home (jon watts, 2021)

the mitchells vs the machines (michael rianda and jeff rowe, 2021)

I've been mulling over this movie for a few days, and I finally realized I don't have a lot to say about it. It's an entertaining film with fun animation (the action scenes really shine) and a reasonable combination of kids-will-love-it and this-will-go-over-kids'-heads-adults-will-love-it. I wish voice actors got more work than the big name people who end up with the parts in movies like this, but Abbi Jacobson is perfect as Katie Mitchell, the main hero (as well as being perfect as Dog Cop, although that's a bit of a cheat since Dog Cop is voiced by Katie Mitchell in the movie).

Much of the attention being paid to The Mitchells vs the Machines focuses on the film's featuring an LGBTQ+ character at its center. Katie is gay, without ambiguity. It's understated, but not obscure, and that understatement is especially important because the primary drama of the movie comes from the difficult relationship between Katie and her father. Their conflicts are familiar to anyone who has lived through that situation ... Dad doesn't "get" Katie, which leads to frustration on both ends. But never is it suggested that Katie's gayness is part of those conflicts. It's just accepted, by Dad, Mom, everyone. While some might want a more obvious portrait of an LGBTQ+ character, it works for this movie.

Yet with all of this, I couldn't get past the father character. It's not Danny McBride's voice work that is the problem. The problem probably just lies within myself. But I found the character impossible to like, and so the happy ending didn't bring tears to my eyes. Like I say, maybe I'm the problem.

The Mitchells vs the Machines got an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, but the entire category is almost unfair, since one of the five nominees is the brilliant Flee, which is also up for Best Documentary and Best International Feature. Of course, now that I've said that, Flee will go home empty-handed.

Here are the first ten minutes:

And here is one of the better movie tie-ins in recent memory, Katie Mitchell's Letterboxd page.


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