A Double Feature Review!
Vivo is a bright and color film for the whole family. Beautiful animation (especially the 2D scenes), with irresistible songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton and In the Heights). A love letter to Cuba with great Latinx representation throughout. Plus, ‘The’ Gloria Estefan sings! Music to the ears. Vivo is a welcomed treat from Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda's sweet tale of a singing kinkajou from Cuba was, originally, pitched to Dreamworks Animation back in 2010. However, Miranda's project was officially dropped from Dreamworks in 2015. Sony Pictures Animation decided to pick Vivo up and fast-track the project in 2016. Sony Pictures Animation and Netflix currently have a partnership, which is why Vivo was released on Netflix, along with other 2021 Sony Animated films, including Wish Dragon and The Mitchells vs the Machines.
Our story follows a one-of-kind kinkajou named Vivo (magically voiced by Miranda), who spends his days playing music to the crowds in the plaza with his beloved owner Andrés (perfectly voiced by Juan de Marcos). Vivo and Andrés don't speak the same language, but the music speaks directly to the heart. One day, Andrés receives a letter from the famous Marta Sandoval (voiced by the legendary Gloria Estefan), inviting her old partner to her farewell concert. Marta is an old love of his, but he never told her. Then tragedy strikes, and it's up to Vivo to travel to Miami, giving Marta a love letter/song from Andrés. Vivo gets help from Gabi (voiced by newcomer Ynairaly Simo). Gabi is an energetic teenager who raps and bounces to the beat of her own drum. Vivo is a sweet film for the whole family to watch, featuring 11 new songs from Miranda. Alongside the importance of Latino representation, Vivo will have your heart dancing to the sweet melody of music.
Vivo is rated PG (Parental Guidance) Mild Action | Some Thematic Elements.
Watch now on Netflix.
Starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ynairaly Simo, Zoe Saldana, Juan de Marcos, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Rooker, Nicole Byer, and Gloria Estefan.
They weren’t lying, Annette is a bizarre rock opera. It's definitely a film that has been growing on me weeks after I have seen it. Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, and Simon Helberg are all wonderful. Leos Carax’s (Holy Motors) dreamy fantasia is ambitious and experimental. Annette won’t be for everyone, but it’s still worth seeing. The audacity of Annette is strong, with batty storytelling and a jukebox musical that will linger on your brain long after the credits roll. With similar tones to musicals like The Phantom of the Opera or Les Misérables — Annette comes out swinging with its opening number ("So May We Start"), sending chills down your spine. The screenplay of Annette was formed by Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks and Carax — crafting an original story, music, and songs by the band. Although the actors of the film are not trained singers — nevertheless — most of them do their own singing throughout. This added a more raw musical layer to the story's already bizarre premise.
The movie follows a couple's walk-in fame and ultimate destruction. Henry (the great Adam Driver) is a stand-up comedian with an intense sense of humor. Think Bo Burnham-like but on steroids. Henry falls in love with Ann (a magnificent Cotillard), a world-renowned opera singer. Under the couple's spotlight, they form a passionate and glamorous physique. Ann is also pregnant and gives birth to their first child, Annette. Carax used the unique and, at times, nightmarish choice to make Annette a wooden marionette puppet. Yes, you heard that correctly. This choice was to symbolize Henry's cynicism towards the world and how he doesn't look at his own child as a real person. Through baby Annette's mystery and gifted talent, she turns their world upside down.
Annette is a lot of things — avant-garde, surreal, weird, melodic, and always beautiful. Annette will not be for everyone, but it's a movie that deserves to be seen. I would even argue the point that it's a movie that deserves multiple viewings. Carax crafts a strange vision of love, passion, and fame. His vision is wrapped behind the musical talent of the Sparks brothers, gifting us with a haunting and beautiful soundtrack. This includes songs like "We Love Each Other So Much," "We’ve Washed Ashore," "Stepping Back in Time," and "Sympathy for the Abyss." One critique about this film I would like to point out was that it's definitely a movie where you could feel its runtime (all 139 minutes). In the end, Carax's film is still a dreamy, musical nightmare that will transport you to another world. So may we start?
Annette is rated R (Restricted) Some Nudity | Sexual Content | Language.
See it in theaters or watch exclusively on Amazon Prime, starting on August 20th.
Directed by Leos Carax
Starring Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg, Devyn McDowell, and Angèle.
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