In the life of a film critic, there will always be one particular question that inevitably comes our way; what was the first film that started it all? For most of us, it was the first film we saw in a cinema that truly sparked our love of movies. Much like generations of children before me, my first trip to the cinema was to see a Walt Disney Animation Studios film. And I've been in love with Disney's special brand of magic ever since. The year was 1990 and...

The history lesson that made history, there has rarely been a Broadway phenomenon quite like Hamilton. After opening at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in July of 2015, the brainchild of the genius that is Lin-Manuel Miranda soon became the hottest ticket in town, much to the delight of ticket scalpers everywhere. After winning 11 Tony Awards from a record-setting 16 nominations, a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Hamilton firmly staked its claim as one of the most acclaimed and successful...

In the horror genre, there is a litany of blood-soaked, jump scare-heavy films which exist to elicit screams from any audience and very little else. Every now and then, a horror film comes along that manages to terrify its viewer while also serving as a deeply insightful metaphor for real-world issues. Whether it's the commentary on inherited mental illness in Hereditary, the biting social critique of race and class in Get Out, or The Babadook analysing childhood trauma, horror is often at its best when it has something...

Much like everything else in 2020, the campy fun that is the Eurovision Song Contest was cancelled earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For fans of the gimmicky music competition, a suitable substitute to tide you over until 2021 arrives on Netflix in the form of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. An occasionally hilarious comedy with a hefty dose of heart, it's a film that, much like the song contest itself, is overly long and over the top, yet ultimately a harmless piece...

After being stuck in production hell for almost two decades, Disney's big-budget adaptation of Eoin Colfer's acclaimed 2001 children's book Artemis Fowl has finally arrived. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the cancellation of the film's intended April theatrical release, Artemis Fowl has instead been unceremoniously dumped on the studio's streaming platform, Disney+. Frankly, that's probably for the best. An incoherent and confusing mess that rarely stops to take a breath, Artemis Fowl was clearly planned to be the first instalment of Disney's next great saga to join their ever-expanding...

Few directors possess the innate ability to tap into the current state of the world quite like Spike Lee, but even he couldn't have foreseen the searing pertinence of his latest film. Arriving in the midst of global outrage over yet another Black man's death caused by police brutality, Lee's Da 5 Bloods feels more urgent than ever. While the film was obviously planned, filmed, and scheduled well in advance, it's arriving at precisely the right time. Working as both a powerful history lesson and a surprising thrilling and...

After 58 days and 58 films, The House of Mouse Project has drawn to a close. A dizzying journey through the soaring highs and crushing lows of Disney animation, the project has been a beautiful distraction from the uncertainties of the world. As initially promised, it's time to rank all 58 films and uncover which Disney animated film is the greatest of all time. Place your bets, it's time to start the countdown. 58. Home on the Range (2004) - full article Well, there has to be a low point,...

The one that strengthened a phenomenon. After 2013's Frozen became the highest-grossing animated film of all time, a genuine cultural phenomenon, the calls for a seemingly inevitable sequel began to grow. Fellow animation studios like Pixar and DreamWorks had been crafting successful follow-ups to their most popular animated films for years, but Disney had long resisted the urge to greenlight theatrical sequels for any of their 21st-century films, namely due to the mistakes of the past. In the 90s and early 00s, Disney had actually been consistently churning out sequels...

The one that proved Disney could do self-deprecation. Sequels are a dime a dozen in the animated genre. From Shrek to Toy Story to The Lego Movie, if an animated feature film performs even remotely well at the box office, a follow-up is all but assured. But in their eight-decade history, Walt Disney Animation Studios had essentially ignored this practice, with 1990's The Rescuers Down Under oddly standing as the only animated sequel in their canon (I don't consider Fantasia 2000 and Winnie the Pooh to technically be sequels...

The one that felt like a breath of fresh air. When Walt Disney premiered Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, he also inadvertently (or possibly entirely intentionally) launched one of Disney's most successful pseudo film franchises and merchandise lines; the Disney Princesses. In more recent decades, the very definition of what constituted a typical Disney princess character had been pushed outside the limited box of Disney's earlier princess films. While the earlier Disney princesses were little more than one-dimensional lovesick damsels in distress like Snow White, Cinderella, and...

The one that dared to tackle bigotry. One of the cornerstones of the decades of Disney animated films has been crafting adorable talking animal characters that not only capture the hearts of audiences but also lend themselves to an endless stream of profitable merchandise. Whether it was a cute baby circus elephant in Dumbo, a family of jazz-loving felines in The Aristocats, or two dogs forming an unlikely romance in Lady and the Tramp, Disney consistently fell back on its tried and true formula of placing animals at the...