Category Archives: Fantasy

Onward (2020) | Dan Scanlon



In this Pixar film, two teenage elf brothers in a town called New Mushroomton go on a quest that requires them to tap into the long-forgotten magic in the world to have one more day with the father who passed away before his youngest was born. The father left behind a gift for them to have when they both reached the age of sixteen, a wizard’s staff and an ultra-rare Phoenix Gem they can use to bring him back to life, but only for one day. The spell is cast, but the process gets interrupted halfway, leaving only dad’s animated legs to get to know. If they want to talk to him or give him so much as a hug, they’ll have to find another Phoenix Gem before the spell runs out. Voice work by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. Directed by Dan Scanlon.


Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) | Jeff Fowler



Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz) flees homeworld due to possessing powers that make him a fugitive carrying a bad full of rings that are portals to new dimensions, is typical road-movie adventure comedy we’ve seen many times in a variety of forms. Sonic ends up teleporting to Earth, specifically the flyspeck town of Green Hills, Montana, where he encounters a sheriff so bored with the town’s lack of crims that he’s taken to having conversations with his donuts, Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), who is hoping to not make another day a waste by waiting patiently to nail someone speeding. He gets it in Sonic, who clocks in at a speed that makes Tom question his radar gun. Tom dreams of doing some real crime-fighting, with a goal to move him and Maddie (Tika Sumpter), his ever-supportive veterinarian wife, to San Francisco to join their more active police department. It turns out when Sonic loses all of his other rings through an open portal atop the city’s Transamerica Pyramid, he’ll have to tag along as well.

However, when Sonic’s energy burst ends up causing a massive power outage to the entire Pacific Northwest region of the United States, the government sends in a secret weapon, Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey), a mad, megalomaniacal genius with an army of sophisticated flying drones who tenaciously will find a way to exterminate the blue alien thing once and for all. Robotnik chases Tom and his new companion Sonic as they make their way to California.


Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)



The Rise of Skywalker takes place sometime after the events of The Last Jedi. Rey (Daisy Ridley) has been in training with General Leia (Carrie Fisher) on how to be an elite Jedi. She ends up abruptly leaving so that she and her merry gang of Resistance fighters can hop around the galaxy. They’re looking for a Wayfinder crystal that is the key to finding the planet called Exogol, where the Siths reside, led by the return of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who is somehow still alive. Obstacles abound, including First Order leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Ren is ostensibly seeking to help Palpatine return to power, trying to get his hands on the Wayfinder for himself, possibly to join forces with Palpatine to enact the Final Order to bring the galaxy to its knees. J.J. Abrams directs. John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, Billy Dee Williams, Naomi Ackie, Keri Russell, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Kelly Marie Tran also appear


The Lighthouse (2019) | Robert Eggers



There’s something to Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) that’s been deeply troubling him – an incident in the past that haunts him that his continued existence on the island serves as a persistent reminder. Their shift on the island in the middle of the sea was originally to be four weeks in duration.  Due to a leg injury, the boss, Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe), requires Ephraim to do nearly all of the physical labor on his behalf, which the younger man comes to deeply resent, feeling like a slave during the day and treated no better than an animal at night. On his end, Thomas feels like Ephraim doesn’t respect his authority, and his cooking skills, and he’s going to break the lad to fear him if he won’t at least show him the respect of his position., The wall between them is so prevalent, despite being in close proximity to one another, they don’t even learn each other’s names until well into their scheduled stay. From there, things get occasionally better, but often far worse, as Ephraim’s fear, guilt, and paranoia begin to get the better of him, combined with the toxicity of heavy drinking and feelings of overwhelming isolation. Visions come into his head of lusty mermaids, mocking seagulls, and a dead body he seems to know more about than he cares to remember. Robert Eggers directs and co-writes this unique psychological folk tale of a sort.


Hellboy (2019) | Neil Marshall



In this Neil Marshall reboot, we already have an established the scarlet-bodied Hellboy (David Harbour) as part of the B.P.R.D. (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense), working for his adoptive father, Professor Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm (Ian McShane), in corraling and eradicating malevolent supernatural menaces wherever they may arise around the world. Hellboy reunites with Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), a powerful medium, and a cat-beast man named Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), in order to prevent the Blood Queen from Arthurian times named Nimue (Milla Jovovich) from taking a mate and growing powerful enough to finally take over the world and eliminate the human presence upon it once and for all.


The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018) | Terry Gilliam



Film-maker Terry Gilliam has finally made it to the finish line with his seemingly quixotic quest to make a film version of Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”, decades in the making.  Adam Driver is the main star, playing a hot-shot hothead director named Toby, who is attempting to shoot a commercial in Los Sueños (aka, “The Dreams”), Spain with elements of Miguel de Cervantes’ epic, “Don Quixote”. He’s been down this road before, a decade prior, shooting it as a low-budget student film when he was humble and first getting his taste of the movie-making business.  He had the perfect Don Quixote for his film, a show repairman named Javier (Jonathan Pryce) that he discovered and had to mold into some sort of actor.  Now, many years later, Toby sees the aftermath of what he left behind in the small village he once shot in, finding Javier now actually thinking he is the true Don Quixote.  What’s worse, he believes (and truly insists) that Toby is his squire, Sancho Panza. From there, fiction becomes fact, as Toby finds himself on a wild ride in trying to corral Don Quixote to sanity, all the while he himself begins to question his own grasp on reality with a series of adventures that may or may not be a fantasy of his own.


Pet Sematary (2019) | Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer



Pet Sematary is the second film adaptation of the Stephen King novel first published in 1983. The premise involves a family of four who relocate from the hustle and bustle of Boston to a small town in Maine called Ludlow on a wide parcel of land that includes many acres of wooded forest. It’s in that forest that their daughter Ellie (Jete Laurence) discovers a cemetery for beloved pets of people in the surrounding area, going back decades, including one belonging to their elderly neighbor Jud (John Lithgow).  Turns out they may need the use of the cemetery, as their kind kitty named Church gets run over, causing the father, Louis (Jason Clarke), to have to bury the cat, though he can’t quite bring himself to tell Ellie and break her heart. Jud doesn’t want to see that happen and suggests burying Church in a special place far deeper into the woods. Lo and behold, Church is back with the family the next day, but it’s clear he’s not quite himself anymore.


Shazam! (2019) | David Sandberg



In this lighthearted DCEU entry, Billy Batson is a trouble-making fourteen-year-old living in a foster home in Philadelphia, having been abandoned by a young mother he’s been searching for since she left him at a crowded carnival many years prior. One day, the sleuthing prankster gets transported after an act of bravery to another realms to meet a powerful and reclusive wizard, who has been on a long-term search for someone pure of heart to pass on his magical powers to. The wizard bestows upon Billy the power to turn into an muscle-bound, adult-bodied, costumed superhero by using his name of “Shazam!” Along with his superhero-loving best friend in the foster home, Freddy, the still adolescent-minded Billy has plenty of fun in discovering his new powers and all of the things he can do with them, from buying beer to giving the school bullies some comeuppance. However, things get serious with the emergence of Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, once past over as unworthy by the wizard and seeking to usurp them from Billy, along with the cabal of demon-like possessors within him, representing the Seven Deadly Sins who plan to come to power with Sivana as their vessel to the outside world.


Isn’t It Romantic (2019) | Todd Strauss-Schulson



Rebel Wilson plays Natalie, working as an architect in New York City, though often marginalized by her peers at her firm as one of the administrative assistants who make copies and fetch coffee for the others a the board meetings. To make matters worse, she ends up getting mugged and assaulted in the subway, resulting in a loss of consciousness that finds her waking up in a too-nice hospital being catered to, and flirted with, by the handsome doctor there.  Her apartment is now three times the size and meticulously furnished, her neighbor now flamboyantly gay, and the hunky, wealthy client they’ve recently taken on at the firm (Liam Hemsworth) now only has eyes for her. In short, she’s the star of her own romantic comedy, and the only person she can confide in that knowledge is her best friend at work, Josh (Adam Devine), who holds a secret crush for Natalie that she’s been too stuck in her low self esteem to see.


How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) | Dean DeBlois



Hiccup is now into adulthood, young but now the leader among the Dragon-rescuing Vikings of their island fortress village of Berk.  Though the Vikings have lived in Berk for generations, Hiccup soon sees that they’ve outgrown their small island, especially with the overcrowding of the Dragons there as they rescue more of them, eyeing the mythical sanctuary on the edge of the world to guide these magical beasts.  Meanwhile, love may be in the air, with Hiccup perhaps on the verge of marriage with Astrid, though she seems reticent, and Toothless perhaps finding a mate with a female Dragon very much like him, dubbed a “Light Fury” due to its alabaster color, in contrast to Toothless’ obsidian appearance. Unfortunately, it’s all a trap set by Grimmel, the notorious hunter of Night Fury dragons, who aims to snuff them all out at any cost.