Toy Story 4
**** If you think there's nothing left to say about Woody, Buzz and all the other synthetic yet soulful heroes of Pixar's first franchise, think again. Pulsing with nimble action and emotion-rich storytelling, Toy Story 4 is no tacked-on sequel—it is the natural, touching and uproarious evolution of lives that moviegoers have been following for over 20 years. Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), the forever-earnest toy cowboy, is now owned by Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw), who spends her first day of kindergarten creating Forky (Tony Hale), a spork with a pipe cleaner for arms and googly eyes. When Forky is abducted by a serenely creepy doll named Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), Woody and friends team up with an assortment of delightful new characters—including the Canadian stunt man action figure Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves)—for a rescue operation rife with slapstick and suspense. While all the madcap adventuring is a treat, the film's true power lies in the inner lives of the characters. From Forky's identity crisis to Woody's meditation on what it would mean to be a toy without an owner, the tale is cathartic and moving, especially during an impressively mature climax that reminds us we didn't just grow up with the Toy Story series. It grew up with us. G. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Dine-In Progress Ridge 13, Mill Plain 8, Vancouver Mall 23, Cedar Hills, Cinemagic, Clackamas, Cornelius, Eastport, Laurelhurst, Milwaukie, Moreland, Oak Grove, Bridgeport, Cascade, Cinema 99, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Lloyd, Pioneer Place, Sherwood, Tigard, Vancouver Plaza, Roseway, Scappoose, St. Johns Twin Cinema & Pub, Studio One.
* Late last year we got a zombie musical called Anna and the Apocalypse; now we get an apocalypse called Anna. There's nothing to sing about in Luc Besson's new film, a cross between a turgid Cold War thriller and an all-out spy extravaganza. Double- and triple-crossing are the stuff this genre was built for, and figure significantly in the plot, which is set in late-'80s and early-'90s Moscow. Pulling the strings is Anna, a KGB operative who maintains a cover as an up-and-coming model. Sasha Luss plays Anna, a real-life model doubling as an actress, bringing a touch of Audrey Hepburn's impassivity to the role, and she glides through action sequences with the grace of a ballerina. If only the movie were as light on its feet. The biggest problem with Anna is the title character. This is a film about female empowerment in which the heroine sleeps her way to the top by seducing a CIA agent (Cillian Murphy) and a KGB agent (Luke Evans). Also ironic is that Besson—accused of sexual assault by nine women last year—has seemingly made a feature for the #MeToo era. Most confusing, though, is the lack of creativity. If you were to go into a screening knowing nothing, it would be impossible to guess that this was a project made by the same guy who directed The Fifth Element and Léon: The Professional. The script's lack of originality and risk-taking means that in the end, it's us who have been double-crossed. R. ASHER LUBERTO. Dine-In Progress Ridge 13, Mill Plain 8, Vancouver Mall 23, Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Cornelius, Eastport, Bridgeport, Cascade, Cinema 99, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Lloyd, Sherwood, Tigard, Vancouver Plaza.
* It's been 31 years since a madman shouted some Latin in Child's Play, reincarnating himself into an even madder doll named Chucky. In this reboot, the redheaded terror is a malfunctioning robot—a "Buddi doll" given to a lonely boy named Andy (Gabriel Bateman) by his mother (Aubrey Plaza). Although director Lars Klevberg has provided Chucky (voiced by Mark Hamill) with some technological updates—terrifyingly, it can connect to anything with a Wi-Fi signal—the film is languid, predictable and more cluttered than a toy store the last weekend before Christmas. Klevberg seems to have lost sight of what made the '80s classic such a joy: the charming characters, foggy scenery and campy blend of silly jokes and gruesome murders. It doesn't help that the characters in this version are just plain annoying. Andy is a foulmouthed kid in need of a friend. His mom shows less emotion than the doll. Hamill actually shines by giving Chucky an Alexa-like voice that's as creepy as HAL 9000. But the splatterfest finale that sees the obsessive toy slaughtering those close to Andy feels distant. Compared to the original, this really is child's play. R. ASHER LUBERTO. Dine-In Progress Ridge 13, Mill Plain 8, Vancouver Mall 23, Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Cornelius, Eastport, Oak Grove, Bridgeport, Cascade, Cinema 99, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Fox Tower, Lloyd, Sherwood, Tigard, Vancouver Plaza, Scappoose.