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Monday
December 06th, 2021

the mitchells vs the machines spotlight pageThe Mitchell family prepares for battle with some robot allies in this scene from Netflix’s “The Mitchells vs. the Machines.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

Family road trips can sometimes turn rather disastrous due to various circumstances. However, what would happen if that family road trip happened to take place during an uprising of suddenly sentient robots controlled by an artificial intelligence program bent on revenge?

That exact question is posed with Netflix’s new “The Mitchells vs. The Machines,” which follows the Mitchell family as they take a cross country road trip to drop off oldest daughter Katie (Abbi Jacobson) at film school. Along the way, they not only fight the evil robots but also learn some things about what it means to be a family. 

One of the first things that deserves praise with the movie is the animation. With the movie taking place in the somewhat near future, it makes sense for things to look more futuristic and sleek and smooth, and this movie does a great job of perfecting that look. The animation overall is stunning, and all the different colors and everything else just absolutely pop on screen, making the movie rather a visual feast. The movie comes from the same studio that produced 2018’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which is also quite visually stunning, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that a lot of effort was put into the animation for this movie. There are also some visual animation gags used throughout the movie that keep everything amusing. 

booksELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

Summer is approaching, and for many people, that will include preparing some titles for that reading list for the dog days of summer. 

With that in mind, I thought it would be cool to share some suggestions of my own of books that can be added to those summer reading lists. I like to read a lot and I’m always happy to talk about books I’ve recently read and liked. 

 

Greenlights (Matthew McConaughey)

I read Matthew McConaughey’s memoir a few weeks ago and it didn’t take me very long at all to decide this would be a good read for me. It follows McConaughey’s childhood and most of his film career, concluding with some of the more recent happenings in his life, including his Oscar win for “Dallas Buyers Club” and marrying his wife, Camila. It’s written very well (so much so that while reading it I could almost hear McConaughey narrating it) and like other memoirs I’ve read lately, the writing style is very straightforward and honest, and the reader learns some previously unknown stuff about McConaughey. If you’re wanting a good memoir to add to the reading list, “Greenlights” is a good one. 

secrets of the whales spotlight pageThis mother Humpback whale teachers her calf a few life skills in this scene from “Secrets of the Whales” on Disney+. Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

The mysteries of what lie underneath the ocean have long been a bit of a point of fascination for me and this past weekend, I got the chance to expand my knowledge on the subject by watching the Disney+ and National Geographic collaboration “Secrets of the Whales.”

The series is narrated by Sigourney Weaver and the series’ four episodes follow Orcas, Beluga whales, Humpback whales and Sperm whales throughout daily life and other whale customs. 

To start off, the footage shot for the show (which I’ve recently read took three years), is absolutely stunning. Each shot is absolutely gorgeous and gives viewers such a good scope of what the ocean looks like and the lives of its inhabitants. Each shot is clear and sharp and actually sort of makes you feel like you’re right in the ocean with the camera people. I also liked how intimate the footage was, the people filming did a great job of capturing all of these gentle ocean giants up close without seeming to actually disturb anything. The most stunning footage came from the scenes in each episode that were focused more in the Arctic – the contrast of colors and just how crisp everything was ultimately yielded an absolutely stunning result that was great to watch. 

Something else I really liked about the series was the way the information shared during each episode was conveyed. It’s absolutely a documentary series, but there’s enough of the “human”  (whale) element that it doesn’t end up be just dry and factual and boring like many documentaries tend to be. The viewers learn different things about the different whales themselves while also being drawn into the more emotional/family elements of the each episode, so there’s a very good balance struck. Also, the information shared during each episode is fascinating in general, and I’m always up for learning new things. And with the way the information is conveyed, it’s a good watch for everyone in the family from the youngsters all the way to their parents.

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