ENCANTO (Theaters, available on Disney+ Dec. 24)
A fresh, uplifting animated musical from Disney, “Encanto” focuses on the Madrigal family, who live in an enchanted mansion in the mountains of Colombia.
The fanciful Madrigal home boasts stairs and tiles which literally dance to the movie’s music which was composed by Lin Manuel Miranda.
Teenager Mirabel Madrigal (voice of Stephanie Beatriz) is the only member of the family without a particular magical ability. Mirabel’s beautiful sister Isabel (Dianne Guerrero) can make flowers grow, and her super-strong sister Luisa (Jessica Darrow) can even carry donkeys!
Her mother Juliette (Angie Cepeda) can heal people through her special cooking, and her Aunt Pepa can control the weather.
Although Mirabel remains disappointed about missing out on a fabulous supernatural gift, she sets out to save the family when the magic begins to disappear.
While examining the newly found cracks in the house, she also discovers her long-missing Uncle Bruno (John Leguizamo, who adds a comedic presence).
The touching, entertaining and family-friendly fantasy offers an important message for our time.
The film is directed by Byron Howard, Jared Bush and Cherise Castro Smith with eight original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
HOUSE OF GUCCI (Theaters)
Sara Gay Forden’s book “The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour and Greed” debuted in 2001, and filmmaker Ridley Scott purchased the film rights.
Over the following decades, Scott made attempts to make the movie, but the filming process fell apart until 2020 when he cast Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jared Leto and Jeremy Irons in the shocking true story of the Gucci dynasty.
Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna penned the script.
Lady Gaga gives a powerful performance as Patrizia Reggiani, an aggressive young woman who sets her sights on Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), the scion of the Florence, Italy fashion House of Gucci, a name synonymous with luxury handbags, footwear, clothing, jewelry, accessories and fragrances.
The company was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci.
Maurizio is a dedicated law student with little interest in following his father Rodolfo Gucci (Irons) or his uncle Aldo Gucci (Pacino) into the business of creating and selling high end merchandise.
But after Maurizio marries Patrizia and is cut off from the family fortune, his wife and Uncle Aldo convinces him to join the family business.
Oscar winner Jared Leto stuns viewers with his portrayal of Aldo’s son Paolo Gucci, a would-be designer, who is considered to be a clown by the rest of the family. It’s impossible to recognize Leto as this balding, heavy man who looks nothing like the actor.
While the film remains compelling with its character studies of Patrizia and Mauricio and their deteriorating marriage, it runs too long — 157 minutes — and has a scattershot approach in presenting such a complex narrative.
A plethora of designers and celebrities such as Anna Wintour (Catherine Walker), Karl Lagerfield (Antonella Annunziata) and Tom Ford (Reeve Carney) pop in and out.
Alice Reese is a member of the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association. She reviews movies, arts and entertainment for the Herald-Banner and for KETR.