Toy Story 4 (2019) Review

Toy Story 4 (2019)

Directed by Josh Cooley

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, Joan Cusack

Music by Randy Newman

Production Company Walt Disney Pictures & Pixar Animation Studios

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.

My Opinion:

I adore Pixar. I think they make all-time classic family films that are far better than the majority of live-action films these days. When they became a part of Disney, I knew we might get the problem of “too many sequels” since Disney love to squeeze out these easy money-makers. I know we all love these characters but did we really need yet another Toy Story film after such a perfect trilogy? No, we didn’t. Is it bad? Of course not. Other than the Cars films, Pixar don’t tend to make bad movies. Even their “not as good” films are way better than animated films from other studios. Toy Story 4 really did feel a bit pointless to me, though. While I enjoyed it and liked seeing Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang again, I felt very underwhelmed after thinking about it for a while. I also saw it a second time as extended family wanted to go to it so it was interesting to find that I actually liked it a little less the second time. I didn’t expect that.

I’ll start with the good: Forky is a great new character. I loved his whole existential crisis and wish they had actually explored that much more than they did. We also get a lot of Woody for people who are Woody fans. Wow – these names sound a bit dirty… Who wants a good Woody Forky!?! (I do). I also loved the creepy ass dummies because creepy ass dummies are awesome (I highly recommend the movies Magic and Dead Of Night if you like creepy ass dummies). I loved getting to find out what happened to Bo Peep since they just dropped her ass from these films and it’s great that she turned out to be pretty damn cool. And the animation is AMAZING. Remember when the first Toy Story came out and we were shocked at how brilliant it looked? It looks so primitive now compared to Toy Story 4. OH! I almost forgot to mention Keanu! Keanu Reeves is in this so, of course, his mere presence makes every movie better (in my opinion, at least).


Now for some of the “not so good” things: Buzz Lightyear had nothing to do in this. Neither did Jessie. Both were really wasted in this film (as were all our most beloved original characters other than Woody & Bo Peep, obviously). I know Woody was the focus of this one but that’s always been the case yet other main characters still got some decent screen time in the other movies. I wasn’t all that into the whole Gabby Gabby story, either, as its outcome was so extremely predictable. I also think they haven’t managed to get us to like Bonnie & her family all that much compared to how we feel about Andy & his mother. It just seems like we know Andy far better than we do Bonnie. Oh, and Ducky & Bunny were annoying more often than funny. The only good new addition to this one was Forky. Oh, and Duke Caboom! But that’ll be because I adore Keanu. I’d just rather have spent more time with our favorite characters than with a bunch of new ones. To be fair, a lot of new characters were added to Toy Story 3 as well but they were far stronger than the new additions to this one. I also found that the jokes in this one, for whatever reason, didn’t make me laugh the second time around whereas I still love every funny bit from the other three films. (Well, except for the high-five Combat Carl bit, which cracked me the hell up both times)

Toy Story 4 was okay. At least it’s much better than Monsters University and Finding Dory as far as Pixar sequels go. It just doesn’t have the heart of the first or the third Toy Story or the humor of the second one. People are saying they got emotional all over again with Toy Story 4 but I didn’t feel that way in the slightest. I just about burst into tears at the end of Toy Story 3. Maybe I’m just heartless now? But Inside Out still gets me feeling all emotional every damn time (and I’ve seen that one a lot now), so I think I just have sequel burnout. Enough with the sequels, please! I still love these characters and, yes, I always enjoy seeing them. But I can’t pretend that I didn’t find Toy Story 4 unnecessary.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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Unicorn Store (2017) Review

Unicorn Store (2017)

Directed by Brie Larson

Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Joan Cusack, Bradley Whitford, Karan Soni, Mamoudou Athie, Mary Holland, Hamish Linklater

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A woman named Kit receives a mysterious invitation that would fulfill her childhood dreams.

My Opinion:

Figured I’d give this a watch because 1) There’s a bunch of weird hate aimed at Brie Larson & I wanted to give her film a chance because I like her as an actress and 2) Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson. I love Jackson. Plus it’s cute that these two seem to be real-life friends. Oh, I suppose there’s also a little bit of 3) I’m a girl so I liked unicorns as a child too, of course.

This movie is perfectly fine. I realize that doesn’t sound like much of a compliment. What I mean is that it’s what I expected: It’s a bit quirky with an indie feel and certainly won’t be liked by everyone. Is it aimed more at females? Yes, but I think all of Larson’s hardcore fans will like it since they like her. It’s very much aimed at her sort of fanbase. “Millennial dreamers” is probably the best way to describe who this movie was made for. If you liked La La Land, I’d be very surprised if you didn’t like this. I probably feel like same way about both films but know that they’re not of my generation so I can’t fully relate to either. They’re enjoyable enough films for a one-time watch, though.

I’ll start with the positives: It may sound stupid but I liked Brie’s cute outfits. I mean, they were like what an 8-year-old stuck in a 30-year-old’s body would wear but it reminded me of the crap I wore in the Eighties and I’m a sucker for nostalgia. It was a little weird but fun to see. I actually watched this with my kid and she was loving the outfits. In fact, she seemed to like this movie quite a bit more than I did so I probably got slightly more enjoyment out of this film thanks to seeing her reaction. And the film’s use of color overall was pleasant to the eye – I’m always a fan of that (although it’s no Mandy! that’s a film that did the color thing right). One more positive? There were Care Bears. As a child of the Eighties, I’ll give this film an extra half a point for the Care Bears. Another positive? Oh Shit. I can’t think of anything. I really thought there’d be more. I’m trying to be positive since I think too many people shit on Brie!


Here’s a positive: I can fully understand why some people actually seem to love this movie and are able to relate to it. If I were ten or even twenty years younger, I think I’d be one of those people. When I was younger, this type of film is very much the sort of thing that I loved. I have some very quirky, “indie” favorites from the Eighties and Unicorn Store has a similar feel to those films despite having slightly different values. So I absolutely wouldn’t tell anyone who loves this that they’re “wrong” (who does that anyway?!) as I can relate to loving non-mainstream movies aimed at my generation. Hopefully that respect can go both ways eventually. What I’m saying is this: Can we ALL stop shitting on movies not aimed at our generation?! My generation loved Eighties films and we still do. Respect our opinions on things like The Breakfast Club and Heathers and we’ll respect yours on things like Unicorn Store. I do at least try to give all films a chance, no matter what year they were made.

Unicorn Store is fine but go into it knowing that it’s right at home on something like Netflix. It has a TV movie feel more than a mainstream cinema release. Some very good actors feel very wasted in this (the always delightful Joan Cusack & especially Jackson, whose role is silly but not silly enough to let his crazy self shine). The movie tries to be quirky yet still plays it far too safe – I was hoping for a lot more weird! But having mentioned Mandy, I’m clearly just a fan of weird. The characters are weak and underdeveloped, including Brie’s. I didn’t relate to her character or really care all that much if she’d actually get that unicorn. It’s a shame as I really wanted to like her. There’s also a weird subplot with a creepy boss that feels out of place and the pacing is very slow but, hell, my kid seemed to be enjoying it so I guess it held her attention well enough. The story itself is fun and unique, however, so I appreciate seeing something that I haven’t seen in a million other movies. Man, I struggle with these reviews for movies that are “just okay”. Yeah. Unicorn Store is just okay. Sorry! I wanted to like it a lot more. To be fair, I think it’s one I’d like more on a re-watch. It’s probably a grower. Here’s that extra half a point for the Care Bears…

My Rating: 6.5/10

If you want a really good unicorn movie, I recommend The Last Unicorn. From 1982. Yay Eighties!!!

Oh, and as for Brie Larson & Samuel L. Jackson movies, I did really enjoy Captain Marvel. The hate for that is absolute bullshit. It’s a fun film. Unicorn Store is, however, a better film than Kong: Skull Island (although that was also fun in an almost “so bad it’s good” way). I think Larson & Jackson work well together.

Sixteen Candles (1984) Guest Review

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For this final guest review for the John Hughes Blogathon, we have Eric of The IPC – the guy who inspired me to take on this crazy project that ended up being way bigger than I ever could have dreamed. And it’s all because I decided to pick on him one day for being a teenager in the 80s yet not watching all the 80’s John Hughes teen films! Thanks for being such a good sport through all of this Eric (but, REALLY? you REALLY didn’t like Uncle Buck?! Man…). Anyway, I adore Sixteen Candles (and I reviewed it as well too right HERE. PLUG!). So let’s see how much Eric suffered while watching the true Hughes classic Sixteen Candles. 🙂

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SIXTEEN CANDLES (1984)

When Cinema Parrot Disco first approached us with the idea of this blogathon, I was hesitant about watching some teen movies from my teens that I had never had any desire at all to see but then she coerced me threatened me made it her life’s ambition to hunt me down and provide violence to my flesh I happily volunteered and ordered up a few of these. If you read what I did on The Breakfast Club, you might remember that I didn’t care for it too much so I was NOT excited about popping in this one and sitting through it. But I did because I am a man of my word and I do what I say I will and I am a completist and all of that shit and what can I say but I actually liked this and thought it was pretty fucking funny. “Candles” was a little bit more saucy than “Club” coming in with a set of boobs, some cussin’ and even some implied sex. WHAT?

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Speaking of Breakfast Club, there’s something I forgot about when I was writing my piece the other day. There’s a scene late in the movie where everyone fucking gets together and smokes some dope and bonds like they’re a bunch of hippies in some commune. After smoking some weed, the jock (Emilio Estevez) goes running around the library like he’s on PCP, screaming and dancing and he might have ripped his shirt off – I forget. But I remember watching that scene and thinking – WHAT THE FUCK? I’ve smoked some grass in my days and not ONCE have I ever had the desire to go running around anything or screaming or dancing. In fact. I’ve acted up MUCH less on The Pot than when I’ve had a shitpot worth of cocktails. READ: seven Long Island Iced Teas = running around my city naked; a hit off a 4 foot bong = sitting on the couch watching FEAST trying to remember my name.

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Anyway… so SIXTEEN CANDLES is pretty funny. Really. I LOLed quite a few times. I noticed though, one thing that really bothered me and when I went looking for pics of this on the internet I can’t believe that I couldn’t find a picture of this…. somewhere after the credits, Ringwald is taking the most inappropriate test that could possibly be imagined in a public school setting but – at the top… there’s this….!

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Sorry for the poor graphic arrow but what the FUCK’s a CONFIDENTAIL???? Is that the rear end of your best friend and confidante? How did the filmmakers miss this? What kind of teacher would ask that first question?? Oh well – who hasn’t seen this except for me? It’s your typical coming of age teen movie where the chick gets the guy of her dreams in the end and the dorky guy gets laid. In between there’s a bunch of zany shenanigans and all of that, including a Chinese foreign exchange student. One of the funnier lines of the movie? Chinese dude eats a quiche for the first time ever and really loves it. “How do you spell this word ‘QUICHE’?” he asks sporting a shit eating grin. “You don’t spell it son,” says the grandpa. “You eat it.” LOL HAHAHAHAHAHA

Thanks Mutant!!

Sixteen Candles (1984) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Laura of Film Nerd Blog. She liked Planes, Trains & Automobiles – Let’s see what she thought of Sixteen Candles. 🙂

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Ah, John Hughes. Acclaimed writer and director of a plethora of modern classic films. You’ve given us so many fabulous films over the years…Home Alone: Uncle Buck: The Great Outdoors: Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club to name a few. But before all of these there was Sixteen Candles.

I’ve only just seen this for the first time – I have no idea how it’s eluded me for so long – especially as I’ve such a soft spot for Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. Unfortunately, I think the delay has had a profound effect on both my enjoyment and my opinion.

Sixteen Candles opens on teenager Samantha Baker, played by Hughes stalwart and flame-haired 80s legend Molly Ringwald, on the morning of her sixteenth birthday. She’s excited to reach her sweet 16 although she’s a bit disappointed that she hasn’t [ahem] physically matured over night. What the hell though, the ‘rents will be waiting to lavish love and generous gifts on her, right? Wrong. Imagine her chagrin when she realises her whole family has totally forgotten her birthday.

The rest of the film is, on the surface at least, a sweet little coming-of-age comedy, where our petulant heroine finds herself the centre of a love triangle. On one side there’s the resident stud-muffin she has the serious teenage hots for, and on the other is the young nerd who has the hots for her.

Now, perhaps its because I’m watching this for the first time at the ripe old age of 32, but there were some elements of Sixteen Candles that really bothered me. Firstly, Jake Ryan, the aforementioned stud-muffin. He has a girlfriend and yet can’t wait to get together with Samantha behind her back. Ok, so maybe I’m taking it too seriously. This is aimed at teenagers, after all, and they aren’t exactly known for their sensitivity.

The thing that really gets to me is that there are some parts that are just a bit, well, rapey. Jake virtually donates his drunken girlfriend to the young nerd, and gives him the green light to do whatever he likes to her. Now, this just makes me feel icky. And while there’s no denying that Jake is a fine looking young man, he has about as much charisma as my favourite pair of slippers and I can’t help thinking that Samantha would’ve tired of him soon after the credits rolled.

In spite of these complaints, I quite enjoyed Sixteen Candles. I love Hughes’ style; it makes me nostalgic for an era I’m not actually old enough to recall. The casting is integral to the enjoyment of his films, and this one is no different- Ringwald makes for an excellent moody teenager while Hall was born to play the annoying try-too-hard nerd. And the characters, while sometimes crudely drawn and stereotypical, are often endearing and almost always totally engaging.

Sixteen Candles isn’t my favourite Hughes film but I’m glad I’ve finally seen it.

Score: 6/10

Sixteen Candles (1984) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are. This is the second of four reviews for Sixteen Candles, which is a favorite of mine (you can read my review HERE). Thanks for being a part of this blogathon, Abbi! Let’s see what she thinks of Sixteen Candles. 🙂

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Sixteen Candles (1984)

When Samantha (Molly Ringwald) wakes up on her sixteenth birthday she’s convinced everything is going to change. Unfortunately her entire family has forgotten her birthday and things are only going to get worse at school. There’s a massive geek (Anthony Michael Hall) obsessed with her and Jake (Michael Schoeffling), the already taken boy she likes doesn’t even know she exists. Well not until he finds a sex quiz she’s filled in that says she wants to “do it” with him.

If that wasn’t enough to worry about, Samantha’s sister, Ginny (Blanche Baker) is about to get married and the whole family has descended on them and they haven’t remembered her birthday either.

The only chance Sam has of rescuing the day is by going to the school dance but will she managed to avoid the geek and hook up with Jake?

Sixteen Candles is an absolute eighties teen movie classic, one of the main reasons being that Molly Ringwald is so perfect as Samantha. She is beautiful but in an unconventional, natural way that makes it believable when Jake eventually becomes a bit obsessed with her but also allows girls to identify with her without being intimidated. Her reactions to what happens around her and her tendency to exaggerate and be dramatic are so typical of a sixteen year old girl that even if, like me, you are more than twice that age now it’s easy to see your former self in the character. It doesn’t matter that the film is set before mobile phones, Facebook or #yolo, the struggles that Sam goes through are just relevant now as they were thirty years ago.

Unfortunately some other parts of the film have aged less well though. The way the character of Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe), Samantha’s grandparents’ generically Asian exchange student, is dealt with is so steeped in stereotype that it’s hard not to think of it as racist. There’s also a scene where Jake “comically” gives The Geek his heavily intoxicated girlfriend as a “gift”. This leads to an apparent sexual escapade between The Geek and the girlfriend where consent appears dubious. I suppose one could write this off as being “from a different era” but it’s just sad that this kind of humour was ever funny.

If you can see past these flaws, the Samantha-Jake storyline along with Sam’s interactions with her family, especially her dad are sweet, funny and touching. And the part where her sister decides to take a few muscle relaxants before walking down the aisle is one of my favourite wedding scenes ever.

One of John Hughes’ best. 3.5/5

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It was hard to tell who was more surprised by The Geek’s unexpected bus erection

CPD Classics: Sixteen Candles (1984) Review

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Sixteen Candles (1984)

Directed by John Hughes

Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Molly Ringwald
Justin Henry
Michael Schoeffling
Anthony Michael Hall
Gedde Watanabe
Haviland Morris
Paul Dooley
Carlin Glynn
Blanche Baker
Edward Andrews
Billie Bird
John Cusack
Joan Cusack

Running time: 93 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Samantha Baker’s (Molly Ringwald) parents forget her sixteenth birthday. Plus she’s in love with popular Senior Jake Ryan, who doesn’t know she exists. Life is hard at sixteen. In the 1980s. (But not for sixteen-year-olds nowadays – those little shits have it easy!)

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My Opinion:

First of all, I’d again like to thank everyone for all the great guest reviews & all the enthusiasm for the John Hughes Blogathon. I’m glad to see I’m not the only Hughes lover! Now I think it’s time I finally start writing my reviews as well. I’ve only done one favorite so far (Weird Science) & one I’d never seen before (Career Opportunities). Why are the favorites more difficult to write about? Well, I’ll give it a try…

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If I’m honest with myself, Sixteen Candles is my second favorite John Hughes film. I know I put it after Ferris Bueller on this Top Ten I did a while back but, although I think Ferris Bueller is a better film, Sixteen Candles is the one I get a bigger kick out of. And that’s what really matters, right? 🙂

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For those (heathens. lol.) who aren’t very familiar with John Hughes, it probably appears as though Sixteen Candles is a sappy teenage romance along the lines of Pretty In Pink or a teen angst drama like The Breakfast Club. Well, since those kinds of films turn certain people off, I’d tell those people that Sixteen Candles is more along the lines of the zany comedy of Weird Science (with a bit of sappy romance thrown in). So don’t necessarily write this one off if you didn’t like Ferris Bueller or The Breakfast Club. Sixteen Candles is a little risqué, a little un-PC, and a lot funny. Plus it’s full of loads of classic quotables such as “No more yankie my wankie. The Donger need food!” and “I can’t believe I gave my panties to a geek.” and, of course, “I can’t believe my Grandmother actually felt me up.”

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I don’t know what else to say as most people my age who grew up with this one already love it so I think I’m trying to convince a new generation to give it a go. Sure, it’s a bit “80s” but I do think it’s aged slightly better than a lot of teen comedies from that era. And it was a more innocent time and we weren’t all tweeting or posting selfies or eating tampons & poop on YouTube or, I don’t know – doing whatever it is that these crazy kids are doing today. But certain things never go away, I suppose, and there will always be teenage CRUSHES. Which, finally, leads me to…

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JAKE RYAN

*Sigh* Just look at him! Look at that face. Look at those brown puppy dog eyes. And… Guess what? He likes nerdy, unpopular girls! Because, you know – that’s realistic! How perfect can a guy possibly be? Of course, Jake Ryan ruined boyfriends for me as he’s completely unlike REAL teenage boys so I had impossibly high expectations. Looking back on it all now, though, I can see my love for Jake Ryan was a little superficial. There’s not a lot going on personality-wise, to be honest. Nowadays I may be more likely to go for a Farmer Ted. But, hey – Jake Ryan was one HANDSOME guy. What a shame that he completely disappeared from Hollywood. But maybe it’s better that way so I can remember the way he was. He’ll always be my first & biggest Movie Crush.

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Summary:

Sixteen Candles may surprise those who know only of the more “family friendly” Hughes of the later years. You’ve got the iffy comedy of big-boob-loving exchange student Long Duk Dong which may not be socially acceptable to laugh at, oily bohunks, naked boobs, sex quizzes, doped-up brides on their periods, pervy grandmothers, geeks paying to see a pair of girl’s panties, and some big names in some small but funny roles (John & Joan Cusack, Jami Gertz, Brian Doyle-Murray & Zelda “Poltergeist Lady” Rubinstein). It’s not as bonkers as Weird Science but it’s still a little racy and fun. And it’s got the one and only Jake Ryan. *Sigh* It’s hard to say that without adding the sigh. *Sigh* What a dreamboat. These are the reasons why Sixteen Candles is a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 9/10

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Toy Story Of Terror (2013) Review

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Toy Story Of Terror (2013)

Directed by Angus MacLane

Starring:
Tom Hanks
Tim Allen
Joan Cusack
Don Rickles
Wallace Shawn
Timothy Dalton
Kristen Schaal
Stephen Tobolowsky

Music by Michael Giacchino

Running Time: 22 Minutes

Plot Synopsis:
When Bonnie and her mother get a flat tire while travelling, they must spend the night in a motel. The toys are at first excited to be spending the night. But then they begin disappearing one by one…

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My Opinion:

This 22 minute TV special aired in the UK over the weekend. I’m a huge fan of Toy Story and all things Pixar so I couldn’t wait to see what they’d do for a Halloween Special.

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This was a lot of fun and I have a feeling I’ll be watching it every October in the same way that I watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown every year.

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It starts out with the toys in the back of Bonnie’s car watching a classic black and white horror movie. Mr Pricklepants, being the thespian he is, chuckles as he explains all the horror movie cliches to the other toys and continues to do this after the car gets a flat tire and Bonnie & her mother stay in a motel for the night.

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When the humans are asleep, the toys want to explore the motel despite Mr Pricklepants telling them that a motel “is one of the most common locales for a horror film”. After the toys start disappearing, it’s all up to Jessie to face her biggest fear in order to solve the mystery and save her friends. Jessie takes center stage in this one which is nice for a change as Toy Story is often so “boy”. But all the usual main characters are of course in this plenty plus we get to meet a few new toys.

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Toy Story Of Terror is a great short. It’s actually quite scary at first (in a kid-friendly sort of way). I know a four-year-old who has watched it about ten times already and always hides during a couple of tense scenes but always laughs like crazy during a couple of bits and ALWAYS asks to immediately watch it again. As with all Pixar stuff, it’s quite a clever and well written little story with a nice twist. Recommended (for all ages). 🙂

My Rating: 8/10

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