The Witches (2020, Dir. Robert Zemeckis)

New likeable version of Roald Dahl’s story. A change of setting and Anne Hathaway heading up a cast having a lot of fun. Some great moments, occasional poor VFX, but otherwise fun family territory. I prefer the 1990 version but this is still worth a watch!

Cars (2006, dir. John Lasseter [and Joe Ranft])

An arrogant Nascar racer is stranded in a small town off Route 66 where he/it learns some life lessons. Conceptually-weird riff on Doc Hollywood (the vehicular universe makes little sense) though with some good gags, voice performances, and design elements. Two direct sequels followed.

Here’s the trailer.

Enola Holmes (2020, dir. Harry Bradbeer)

Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister Enola investigates their mother’s disappearance. Handsomely-produced but wildly inconsistent Victorian teen detective romp. A strong cast and good production values help, but a weak and smug script scuppers the enterprise as a whole, despite fun moments.

Here’s the trailer.

Mr Bean’s Holiday (2007, dir. Steve Bendelack)

Mr Bean wins a holiday to the French Riviera, but has trouble getting there. Superior road movie sequel that starts slowly but gains momentum. Slapstick, sight gags, some deft movie industry satire, plus a genuinely heart-warming climax.

Here’s the trailer:

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2019, dir. Richard Phelan & Will Becher)

A stranded alien causes havoc at Mossy Bottom Farm. Aardman does ET, basically. And pretty well, too. This second Shaun movie is gorgeous-looking, as English as tuppence, has a high gag-to-minute ratio, and enough genre shout-outs to please the most demanding of SF faithful. The best flick of its type since, oh, Paddington 2.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019, dir. Chris Renaud & Jonathan del Val)

Dog Max’s family gains a child; elsewhere, there’s a zoo tiger to rescue. Episodic and somewhat contrived sequel that delivers in some scenes, but which doesn’t hang together as a movie. Some sharper jokes this time out though, and both a lovely chase climax and a lesson learned for our protagonist.

The Secret Life of Pets (2016, dir. Chris Renaud & Yarrow Cheney)

A New Yorker’s pet dog has to cope with a new arrival, and then getting lost in the city. Okay animation that dispenses with its potentially-subversive title in the first few minutes for something more linear and straightforward. Bright, though, with some good gags. Fun while it’s on. A sequel soon followed.

Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018, dir. Rich Moore & Phil Johnston)

Ralph and Vanellope quest online to find a spare part for a games console. Overlong sequel that uses its premise to support an extended (though fun) riff on existing Disney properties. Some sly jokes get through, but this is a product placement-tastic, overstuffed continuation that exposes the limits of its setup and its nominal lead character.

Want another review of this movie? Here y’go.

Wreck-It Ralph (2012, dir. Rich Moore)

A videogame character abandons his console to prove that he has worth. Toy Story/Tron mashup that generally works despite the conceptual awkwardness of its conceit. Plenty of game in-jokes and references, some nice gags, lovely design elements, and a splendid villainous performance from Alan Tudyk, riffing on Ed Wynn. A sequel followed.

Frozen II (2019, dir. Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee)

Elsa and Anna have to leave Arendelle to find out the secret of Elsa’s powers and their family history. Overly-complicated sequel with OK though derivative songs, and reliance on goodwill from Part I to see things through. Some good moments, but second time around, this is no classic.