Family

Rise of the Guardians

After the surprisingly excellent How to Train Your Dragon, Dreamworks Animation scores another winner with Rise of the Guardians. Though it may not reach quite the soaring heights of Dragon, it still has thrilling action and mind-bogglingly great animation. Imagine that Santa Claus is a tough, tattooed, Russian-accented guy called North (Alec Baldwin). In his …

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Radio Rebel

Tara (Debby Ryan) is a quiet kid at her high school in always-sunny Seattle (har!). She freezes up when her teachers call on her, and she has a huge crush on a boy named Gavin (Adam DiMarco), who not only doesn’t know she exists, but he is dating the school’s beauty queen, Stacy (Merritt Patterson). …

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Heidi’s Song

Like all animated films of the 1980s, Hanna Barbera’s Heidi’s Song is a striking blend of adorable idyllic adventures and mind-bending psychedelia. I can only think that a generation of animators who experimented heavily with hallucinogens came into their own during this era, because tripped-out dream sequences were more common than they had a right …

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Bambi

When I finally watched Bambi as an adult, I was struck not only by the beautiful animation, but by the sneakily educational storyline. The film is formatted in a perfect circle-of-life arc that is also mirrored by the seasons. I imagine Walt Disney dividing the creative team into two, “OK, you guys work on the …

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