‘UglyDolls’ offers cute music and positive messages but through a discounted narrative

“UglyDolls” – “It’s not easy being green.” – Kermit the Frog Moxy (Kelly Clarkson), a rejected doll from a toy factory, proudly sports pink fur and three teeth and lives with her fellow oddities in Uglyville, a coastal community, complete with rugged, steep peaks made from cardboard boxes.  Her friends Uglydog (Pitbull), Babo (Gabriel Iglesias) and Ox (Blake Shelton) love Uglyville, and Moxy appreciates her home too, but she dreams of becoming the best doll-friend to a little girl in The Big World. Ox, the town mayor, wishes that Moxy…

Penguins’ brings warm smiles

“Penguins” – “She smiled with the warmth of a penguin.” – author Kim Harrison For many of us – especially those who shovel long driveways between Dec. 26 and the spring equinox – freezing, snowy winters are not a time for celebration, but “Penguins”, set in frosty Antarctica, will bring warm smiles. Adelie penguins stand about two feet high, sport recognizable tuxedo coloring, and with their awkward walks, soothing personas and indelible social graces, they are as lovable as Chilly Willy himself. Directors Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson filmed in…

This lovely ‘Storm Boy’ remake induces therapeutic showers of tears

“Storm Boy” – Mr. Proud, Mr. Ponder and Mr. Percival. Mike (Finn Little) is about 10 years-old and lives on an isolated beach with his dad (Jai Courtney) in Southern Australia, and one morning, he stumbles upon three abandoned baby pelicans. These tiny babies with pink skin and shut eyes are as vulnerable as snowballs in a desert.  Mike scoops them up before they – along with the audience – melt,  and with his friend Bill (David Gulpilil), they devise ways to feed these tiny, precious creatures. Soon, Mr. Proud,…

Don’t let Petzold’s ‘Transit’ pass you by

“Transit” – According to Google, the definition of transit is an act of passing through or across a place.  That seems simple enough, but there is nothing straightforward about writer/director Christian Petzold’s (“Barbara” (2012), “Phoenix” (2014)) latest film “Transit”, a delicious and surreal puzzler that begins two moves ahead of the audience, and we need to play catch-up for most of the 101-minute runtime. Georg (Franz Rogowski) lives in Paris, but the city seems to be caught in a newly-formed police state or declaration of martial law.  In fact, some…

‘Captain Marvel’ is a fun, milestone Marvel film that you won’t easily forget

“Captain Marvel” – How proficient is your memory?  Do you need to pause and seriously flip through your synaptic Rolodex, when someone asks, “What did you do last weekend?” Sure, that’s a temporary, problematic moment during a water cooler stop, but vast numbers of souls suffer from far worse recollection problems. Movie studios do not shy away the subject.  Some movies deal with the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s or dementia, and “Lovely, Still” (2008), “Amour” (2012), “Still Alice” (2014), and “Remember” (2015) are some recent, effective entries.  Other films, like…