Reel Movie Reviews

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Written by Donovan Darling, Staff Writer

“Toy Story 4” (2019)

“Be who you are right now.” Road trip movies are a definite summer vibe, and “Toy Story 4” is no exception. I grew up with these movies — I was 8 when “Toy Story” was released — and the 4th installment is still plenty fun and holds up after so many movies. The family and the toys embark on an adventurous road trip — and Woody and Buzz discover they have to babysit the new homemade toy, Forky, and it’s no easy task, as Forky is determined to wander off and devastate Bonnie. Low and behold, the toys get lost (shock!), reunite with some old friends and get into all kinds of adventurous mishaps. Where “Toy Story 3” was a bit heartbreaking for parents with its “empty nest” theme, “Toy Story 4” looks at the past with more nostalgia and sepia tones, and to the future with hope. Fun for the whole family. Rated G.

“Moonrise Kingdom” (2012)

“I lost my temper at myself.” With the idiosyncratic design and nostalgic eye of director Wes Anderson, this magically-scored and visually stunning coming-of-age comedy-romance features a boy scout and his girlfriend who run away to prove and explore their maturity. Their absence incites an immediate search party, which, on the island, involves the entire town. The story takes place at a New England summer camp with a mid-century vibe — yellow, idyllic and perfectly emotive for those late summer goodbyes. There’s romance, heartbreak and crisscrossing narratives abound. The always stunning cast includes Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward and many more. Good for older kids and adults. Rated PG-13 for smoking and mature content.

“Do the Right Thing” (1989)

“Always do the right thing.” Set in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, on the hottest day of the year in 1986, Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” is a powerful drama and “slice of life” that’s incredibly shot and acted, and an inside look at the racial tensions of the late ‘80s. Sal (Danny Aiello), who runs an Italian pizza shop in the mainly Black neighborhood, is challenged by Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito) who notices that the shop features only photos of Italian movie stars and no Black actors. And for them, locals and/or patrons of the shop, the wall comes to represent hate and systemic racism. As the temperature climbs, so do tempers and racial tensions. Also starring Spike Lee himself, Richard Edson, John Turturro, Rosie Perez, Samuel L. Jackson and many more. Late teens and adults only. Rated R for violence, language and mature content.