Category Archives: Children’s Movies

31 of 366: Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun The Sheep Movie First Look Still

I’m back to making my way through the Oscar nominees this year, which pushes me to try out animated films such as Shaun the Sheep Movie that I normally wouldn’t see.

The film is nominated for best animated feature and, unlike Inside Out, doesn’t translate as well across children and adult audiences, at least on the surface, but I still found it to be imaginative and entertaining overall.

There is no dialogue in the film, also unlike Inside Out, which for younger audiences leaves the meaning of the story and the message open to let their imaginations in as far as what the characters are saying and why.

Shaun is the main sheep of the bunch and becomes sick of the routine at the farm where they live and everything being the same day in and day out.

They come up with an idea to distract the farmer who runs the show for a few hours which, of course, does not go as planned and sends the group and the farmer’s dog on a mission to the big city to rescue him.

That premise seems very tailored to younger audiences’ brains, but the takeaway in the end to make room for trying new things and not following such a regiment every day could be words to live by for adults.

Shaun the Sheep Movie probably won’t top Inside Out at the Oscars, but it is deserving of the recognition and worth watching for imaginative thinkers young and old.

On another, somewhat related, note  John Hodman’s podcast today focused on an argument about a man who travels too much and leaves his friends and family behind in the process.

I didn’t watch Shaun the Sheep Movie before listening to the podcast, but I jotted down this quote from Hodgman and I think it’s fitting for the theme of the film:

“Travel … going out into the world is usually a way of going into yourself.”

John Hodgman

17 and 18 of 366: Inside Out and Iris

Well, it’s Monday and it’s already been a long week. That is all, about that.

I am still on track with my movies and watched Inside Out to continue to catch up on the Oscar nominees as well as Iris to start the week.


Inside Out, nominated for best animated feature film and best original screenplay, is not just a children’s film that adults can tolerate, it’s a film that all ages must see.

Pixar delivers on the visuals, as usual, and Pete Docter of Toy Story, Up, Wall-E and Bloomington, Minn. (I did not know this!) fame draws you in with his story about a young girl whose family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco, sending her emotions into a tailspin.

Docter created the story with Ronnie Del Carmen and co-wrote the screenplay with Megan LaFauve and Josh Cooley. The collaboration that must have occurred between those writers shows through the polished complexity, wit and human emotion in the script.

The girl in the film, Riley, is consumed by her emotions a lot of the time, the lesson being that it is normal for that to happen and that no one emotion is better or worse than the than the other. The actors playing Joy (Amy Poehler), sadness (Phyllis Smith), fear (Bill Hader), anger (Lewis Black) and disgust (Mindy Kaling) all embodied those emotions well and it seemed like they must have immersed themselves in the idea of what 11-year-old Riley was going through or easily had similar experiences in real life.

While the focus is on Riley, I enjoyed how the film also interjected the emotions of her parents as they tried to help their daughter feel at home in a new city as well as those of some of the supporting characters.

Of course the movie has a rosy conclusion, but its ups and downs provide a healthy balance to that and overall Inside Out is a story for adults and children alike to relate to.


We showed Iris at the Edina Cinema last year and I remember some of our clientele coming in wearing baubles and other gaudy accessories as an homage to the subject of the documentary, fashion icon Iris Apfel.

Such baubles and couture costume jewelry, along with Iris’ collection of round-framed glasses, artwork and vintage clothes are her signature and even inspiration for a museum exhibit in her honor.

The late documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles (I have to see more of his films now) focused on Iris’ love of fashion finds growing up and trips to Europe and other countries with her husband Carl to uncover new trends and pieces for their personal collections.

Iris is in her 90s in the film, but is really young-at-heart and an inspiration to models, designers, artists and the like.

One minute she is providing tips to dress-for-success and the next she is runway-side at fashion shows in New York City.

It’s a fascinating story that draws you in visually and emotionally (seems to be a theme tonight) and shows there is more than meets the eye about Iris Apfel.

“I learned a long time ago you can’t have everything.”

– Iris





Big Hero 6; Two Days, One Night; She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

Hey hey.

I don’t have much time because I decided I need to go see Whiplash for a third time today. It is still one of my favorite movies from last year and, since I spend most of my weekends working at a movie theater, I can go see it for free.

But I did want to recap a few movies I haven’t done full reviews of if you need some recommendations of what to watch, after, of course, you see Whiplash. (It’s out on DVD, Amazon, etc. now and is still in some theaters.)

big heroI’ll start with another film that is available to rent now, Big Hero 6. I was in the mood for something lighthearted last weekend and plus one of my favorite comedians, T.J. Miller, is the voice of one of the characters. I saw it at the budget theater, which wasn’t the greatest experience (speaking from the perspective of a customer who also knows a little about the movie theater biz), but it was fun to see it with kids in the theater and hear their reactions to the film.

The story focuses on a young boy, Hiro, and his relationship with a robot that his brother designed. The robot, Baymax, was originally created to help people when they’re sick but Hiro, after a family tragedy, programs him to have more superpowers and more or less save the world from the bad guys. I could be more specific since I don’t think spoiling an animated movie can do that much harm, but I didn’t know anything about the plot before I saw the movie and I think that made it all the more enjoyable.

Big Hero 6 won the Oscar this year for best animated feature film. Interestingly, T.J. Miller did voice acting in another one of the nominated films, How To Train Your Dragon 2. I haven’t seen that one or the other nominees so I can’t speak to whether it was deserving of the win from that perspective. But, it is a funny, heartfelt film and is fitting to watch no matter what mood you’re in.

The other two films I saw recently, Two Days, One Night and She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, take a little bit more emotional preparation but are definitely both worth watching.

5728619Two Days, One Night stars Marion Cotillard as Sandra, who is faced with losing her job unless she convinces her coworkers to give up their bonuses so her boss can afford to keep her on staff. The employees all have to vote one way or the other so Sandra spends two days visiting with them to save her job and be able to help provide for her husband and kids.

The filming style was very minimalist, which adds to the experience of understanding Sandra’s struggle. She needs to save her job after she missed work due to being in the hospital and suffering from depression. I read that it was filmed in chronological order, which is an effective choice here since the story focuses so much on the time Sandra has before the decision will be made.

it is hard to watch at times but provides a real glimpse into human nature and the tough decisions people have to make even when they care about someone. Most of Sandra’s coworkers did not want to make the decision but it did bring her closer together with some of them as well as her family during the process. Cotillard was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the film, and deservedly so. The filming style and intense focus on Sandra as a person show how much Cotillard embodied the character.

Two Days, One Night had a limited theatrical release but it should be available to rent soon.

ShesBeautifulWhenShesAngry-_tixLast, but certainly not least, if you’re in the mood for a documentary, put She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry on your list. It also had a limited theatrical release but check the website for screenings or where to rent it in the future.

The film is about some key players in the women’s movement from the late 1960s to early 1970s and features a historical look at the founding of organizations such as NOW as well as what the activists did for women’s rights and to overcome their own personal struggles.

It is a good refresher and lesson for someone (okay, me) who maybe spent a lot of time daydreaming in history class with the addition of learning about the personal stories of activists from the women’s movement.

The documentary mixes current interviews with historical footage and pictures of protests and speeches that did a lot to change the rights women have. At the same time, it also highlights what still needs to be done in today’s society.

I am certainly guilty of watching movies I like over and over again, (ahem, did you see Whiplash yet?), but I try to expand my horizons too. Two Days, One Night, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry and even Big Hero 6 have done that.

In addition to Whiplash, I am going to see A Most Violent Year, later today and Wild Tales tomorrow.

10 thingsI hope I have convinced you to watch one of these films but, especially if you graduated high school circa 1999, I permit you to revisit 10 Things I Hate About You. It holds up.

That is all.