Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood (2022, dir. Richard Linklater)

The imaginative son of a NASA administrator reminiscences about his late-1960s Florida suburban childhood. Gentle, charming, if slight rotoscoped semi-autobiographical movie. The space mission stuff is pretty much simply a hook to hang the nostalgia on. Not that this is a bad thing in this case. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Turning Red (2022, dir. Domee Shi)

An adolescent girl finds she carries an ancient curse. Parts are great, but the central idea – a form of lycanthropy as metaphor for puberty – is bungled, and there’s a sense we should focus on the mother, not on protagonist Mei. That said, there’s some fun Backstreet Boys parodies and an ending riffing on Ghostbusters II.

Here’s the trailer.

Ron’s Gone Wrong (2021, dir. Sarah Smith & Jean-Philippe Vine, with Octavio E. Rodriguez)

A socially-awkward boy gets a robot companion, except it’s malfunctioning. Generally straightforward (there’s some interesting darker edges and jokes) CG animation E.T. variant, that’s well-made if not really distinctive enough to set it apart from the likes of Big Hero 6 or The Mitchells Vs The Machines.

Here’s the trailer.

Encanto (2021, dir. Jared Bush & Byron Howard, with Charise Castro Smith)

A Columbian family fractures when their magical powers weaken. Great-looking but derivative animation with too much tickbox Disney stuff, saddled with dull songs. Moments amuse, and the small scale gives focus, but there’s nothing here that Moana or Coco didn’t do ten times better.

Here’s the trailer.

Vivo (2021, dir. Kirk DiMicco with Brandon Jeffords)

A kinkajou quests from Cuba to Miami with a statement of long-held love. Bland animated musical comedy adventure. The songs are the movie’s weakest point: the movie looks great (Roger Deakins is listed as a consultant) and there’s some OK comic moments, but this is forgettable underwritten stuff.

Here’s the trailer.

Luca (2021, dir. Enrico Casarosa)

An Italian mer-boy swims away from his boring undersea life to the 1950s surface, where he meets an exciting new friend. Sunny but slight animated adventure revisiting ideas done much better by Pixar elsewhere. Still, it looks great, there’s a lovely Sacha Baron Cohen voice cameo, and there’s openness to a gay reading of the central relationship, which is an interesting element.

Here’s the trailer.

Raya and the Last Dragon (2021, dir. Don Hall & Carlos López Estrada, with Paul Briggs and John Ripa)

A warrior princess embarks on a quest to unite five fractured kingdoms and repel their collective threat. A very straightforward fantasy drawing on South East Asian design and story influences. Some pleasures in the incidentals, but this is secondhand tick-box monomyth stuff throughout.

Here’s the trailer.

The Grinch [AKA Dr Seuss’ The Grinch] (2018, dir. Scott Mosier & Yarrow Cheney)

A Christmas-hating misanthrope decides to steal the holiday from the nearby town of Whoville. While the Dr Seuss story stretches too thin to really make a movie, this is nevertheless a fun, clever attempt with great animation and fine voice work from lead Cumberbatch.

Here’s the trailer.

Klaus (2019, dir. Sergio Pablos)

The wastrel son of a postmaster is given a challenging remote office to run as a final opportunity. Oddball but charming Santa Claus origin variant story, with some fine gags and great animation and design throughout. A welcome spin on the lets-save-Christmas storyline.

Here’s the trailer.

Brave (2012, dir. Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman, with Steve Purcell)

A headstrong tomboyish princess battles with her mother when she is to be betrothed for political reasons. Perhaps the most Disneyish Pixar movie to date, Brave benefits from its focus on mother/daughter relationships and from a dark magical turn that sits awkwardly with the knockabout stuff elsewhere.

Here’s the trailer.