Tag Archives: Animation

The House review

Full disclosure, I actually saw this week’s film when it was first released, earlier this year – and I didn’t love it. This time around however I enjoyed the weirdness and have come away with a refreshed appreciation for stop start animation.

The House (2022)

Three visionary tales. One unforgettable place.

Across different eras, a poor family, an anxious developer and a fed-up landlady become tied to the same mysterious house in this animated dark comedy.

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Drama ∙ IMDB user rating: 6.8
My score: 3.5/5 ∙ Runtime: 97 mins

*Spoilers*

The House is a three part anthology based around one house.

I – And heard within, a lie is spun

In part one, a young girl called Mabel occupies a run down cottage with her family: father Raymond, mother Penny and newborn sister Isobel. Following a visit from horrible wealthy relatives who criticise the way the family live, Raymond does what any normal bloke would do – goes and gets pissed in the woods. Here he makes a deal with mysterious architect Mr. Van Schoonbeek.

The following morning, Schoonbeek’s associate Mr Thomas shows up to make good on the arrangement – that the family will move out of their cottage and into a brand new house built by the architect – free of charge.

Once ensconced, Mabel notices an almost immediate change in her parents, amoungst other odd things, such as missing staircases and workmen constantly fixing things around the building. Raymond has become obsessed with the fireplace, staring into it for hours, while her mother spends all her time sewing drapes.

When Mabel bumps into a hysterical Mr Thomas who tells her he’s just an actor and can’t do what Schoonbeek is asking of him anymore, she knows they’re in trouble. What will become of her and Isobel when she uncovers the truth about her parents?

II – Then lost is truth that can’t be won

In part two, in a different timeline, we meet a developer renovating the house. The developer, who remains nameless, has laid off his workers to save on costs, and is doing all the work himself. I should point out that the developer is an anthropomorphic rat in a world full of anthropomorphic rats.

During the renovation, the developer discovers an infestation of fur beetles and tries desperately to keep them contained with poison, to little avail. On the day of the house viewing, everything goes wrong and the developer feels incredibly deflated until a couple appear, claiming to be extremely interested in the house.

This gruesome twosome are strangely shaped and acting weirdly, while making themselves right at home. Scared of jeopardising the potential sale, the developer doesn’t kick up a stink when the couple draw a bath before deciding to stay the night but his patience is pushed when they just don’t leave – and, needless to say, there’s no further movement on the sale.

Meanwhile, the bugs return in force and the couple’s entire family shows up, moving into the house and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Will the developer be pushed to do something drastic or will he adopt a ‘if you can’t beat them’ philosophy?

III – Listen again and seek the sun

In the final segment, we meet long suffering Rosa, a cat whose family home – the house – has been surrounded by water following a apocalyptic flood. Her biggest dream is to fix it up, restoring it to its former glory. Unfortunately, times are tough and her only tenants can’t afford to pay her rent, instead swapping board for fishes and crystals, respectively.

Rosa despairs further when her flaky tenant Jen’s spritual partner Cosmos rocks up at the house. Initially it seems he’ll bring in useful practical skills that could work to Rosa’s advantage but he lets her down by tearing up her floorboards to make a boat for her other tenant Elias to sail away in.

Unexpectedly saddened by Elias’ departure, and Jen’s imminent plan to leave, Rosa must think again about her big dream – and whether Elias’ departing words, that she’s afraid to leave – are true. Will the surrounding water and mist help Rosa make some hard life decisions – and what’s that massive leaver all about?

THOUGHTS

I don’t really get what it all means honestly, the themes are varied and bleak (in my opinion). Be careful what you wish for, don’t dream outside your station, take that fucking boat trip while you can. I guess the meaning is down to the individual to decide.

I can’t find much more to say other than it looks beautiful and is a slow burn that sometimes pays off and sometimes doesn’t. The ultimate highlight for me is the visit from the police, requesting the rat developer refrains from leaving detailed voicemail messages for his dentist. This detail amplifies the character’s isolation and loneliness, and is truly heartbreaking.

Ultimately I’m glad I took more from The House the second time around, though I’m not sure I’ll be putting in my Best of 2022 list.

WHAT DOES JILL THINK? WOULD SHE MOVE INTO THE HOUSE OR FIND A NON-INFESTED AIR BNB INSTEAD? FIND OUT HERE.

Encanto review

I’m really not sure this film needs much of an introduction since it’s been everywhere since its release. Which works for me as I’m just coming off the tail end of a migraine and I cannot be arsed.

It does ring in the end of our Awards Season month though which I’m secretly pleased about. Like Jill, I’m not always head over heels about critically-acclaimed titles. Anyone who’s ever read our blogs will know our tastes run a little more on the trashy side.

Personally, I think it’s a travesty James Wan’s magnum opus Malignant (2021) didn’t even get a nod. The good news is, however, that we’re looking at anti- Oscar movies next. So buckle up, buttercup.

I just made something unexpected. Something sharp. Something new. It’s not symmetrical or perfect, but it’s beautiful! And it’s mine. What else can I do?

Encanto (2021)

A Colombian teenage girl has to face the frustration of being the only member of her family without magical powers.

Starring: Stephanie BeatrizJohn Leguizamo

*Spoilers*

Family Madrigal have seen their fair share of sorrow, having lost grandfather Pedro to violent conflict. In fact it’s the war that saw Pedro’s sweetheart Alma flee Colombia with their three children to start a new life without him, protected by a magical candle that – via a Pixar miracle – manifested their home, Casita.

We come in 50 years later and Alma is abuela to many. Under the magic candle, life is good and each year it grants the next Madrigal descendent a special “gift” AKA a super power – such as shape-shifting or unimaginable physical strength. 15-year-old Mirabel, unfortunately, is the only grandchild not to have received a gift.

On the eve of 5-year-old Antonio’s ceremony – in which he gains the power to talk to animals – Mirabel witnesses Casita cracking and falling apart. Despite warning the family, she is quickly shushed by Abuela, who doesn’t believe it happened. Or does she? On eavesdropping on Abuela’s prayers that night, she realises she might have stumbled across a mystery – and vows to save the miracle’s magic (AKA keep that candle flame burning).

After turning to super strong sister, Luisa (Jessica Darrow) to find out what the fuck’s going on, she’s gets the inspiration to turn to Bruno, her uncle, who has been kicked out of the family. Luisa – who confesses to Mirabel that she often feels weighed down with the responsibility that comes with being so gifted – suggests the clue to everything might lie in Bruno’s room, a forbidden tower in the house. Here our protagonist has another vision of a crumbling Casita.

Meanwhile, Luisa feels her powers weakening and Mirabel’s other sister, the perfect Isabela (Diane Guerrero) is on schedule to become engaged. At her engagement dinner, cousin Dolores (who has superhuman hearing) spills the beans about what Mirabel uncovered in Bruno’s possessions. This causes the house to crumble for real, ruining the event and making Abuela go mental. Everybody blames Mirabel for everything so she’s relieved when she stumbles across Bruno IRL, who decides to help her sort through the wreckage of what’s left of Family Madrigal.

When the first resolution is to make amends with a disgruntled Isabela, Mirabel can’t think of anything worse. But the apology is more enlightening than expected. Could things be taking a turn?

Oh and while we’re at it, could Mirabel be any closer to discovering her own gift?

My thoughts

This looks stunning, has upbeat songs and has a nice enough message. It just annoys me that Mirabel’s gift turns out to be looking after the family. Snore. If it were me, I’d be FURIOUS that I could’ve been a shape-shifter but got to be the emotional support granddaughter instead.

Maybe I’m being extra sensitive but it feels like a cop out in the end – and isn’t framed in the same way as it is in Soul. I get that it’s trying to say that simply being your loving self is enough, that it’s okay if your purpose in this world is to just be but it seems weak to me.

I do like the comments made about trying to be perfect and strong all the time – and how much more interesting the sisters become when they relax a little – but this isn’t my favourite Pixar by a long shot and I’m not fooled by all the colour and admittedly surreal detail in every single brush stroke of the animation.

Give me another Monsters Inc. STAT.

– Genres: Animation ∙ Family ∙ Comedy
– IMDB user rating:
7.2
– My score: 3/5
– Runtime: 102 mins


Has my girl found her secret power? And what did she think of Encanto? Would she do everything in her skill set to fix the family or let it crumble forever? Find out here.