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Mace & Crown | February 20, 2018

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Monarch Movie Minute: 'World of Tomorrow,' 'Chloe and Theo' and 'Slow Learners'

Monarch Movie Minute: ‘World of Tomorrow,’ ‘Chloe and Theo’ and ‘Slow Learners’
Megan Snyder
Staff Writer

‘World of Tomorrow’ (2015) | Unrated | 17 min. | 🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬

Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and winner of 25 other awards worldwide, “World of Tomorrow” is the touching and cerebral story of Emily, a curious little girl who is visited from the distant future by a third-generation clone of herself.

Emily’s clone explains that soon, the body of the original Emily, or Emily Prime, will die, but thanks to advancements in modern science, her consciousness will live on indefinitely in the form of a series of clones.

Because humans no longer have cumbersome bodies, time travel is much simpler, and Emily Prime is effortlessly transported nearly 230 years into the future. She is then guided through the Outernet, a more sophisticated version of the Internet.

Together, Emily Prime and her clone view memories that the young Emily Prime hasn’t even experienced yet. Emily’s clone eventually returns the toddler home, never to visit again.

“World of Tomorrow” forewarns audiences of the risks mankind takes in endeavoring to cheat death and simulate something as precious as life. In her robotic, emotionless voice, Emily’s clone recalls the sterile yet musty smell of a museum, a memory that was programmed into her by her creators.

One of the film’s most unique features is the voice of Emily Prime, provided by director Don Hertzfeldt’s four-year-old niece, Winona Mae. Hertzfeldt recorded Mae’s indiscernible murmurs and excited outbursts as she was coloring one day. He then edited the audio to create an authentic dialogue.

Hertzfeldt also managed the film’s production, animation and editing, in addition to cinematography, production design and digital effects.

This film is available on Netflix.

‘Chloe and Theo’ (2015) | PG-13 | 112 min. | 🎬

Chloe and Theo” opens with an expansive wide-angle shot of the Arctic. The land is “so silent that if you scraped a harpoon on the ice you could hear it for miles,” the voice of Chloe (Dakota Johnson “50 Shades of Grey”) echoes across the tundra.

An Inuit man hunts on the shifting ice. He stumbles and his meal escapes. As a result, his family goes hungry that night.

Cut to the jagged skyline of New York City where the Inuit man, Theo Ikummaq, travels with little more than a backpack and the rubber boots on his feet. Theo must warn world leaders, whom he refers to as the elders of the South, of the certain suffering all of mankind faces if great change is not made.

Along the way, Theo meets Chloe, a spunky and mischievous homeless girl and the only one willing to listen to Theo’s message. Inspired by his determination and passive disposition, Chloe devises a plan to have Theo’s words broadcasted all over the world.

While the tale of this unlikely friendship is heartfelt, “Chloe and Theo” ultimately disappoints. The underdeveloped plot leads audiences astray, and the quality of acting by Johnson and others is just plain painful.

The only inkling of redemption this film had was in its potential to be featured as a feel-good Earth Day special on Animal Planet, but an anticlimactic, unresolved ending swiftly terminated that possibility. This natural disaster of a movie isn’t even based on true events.

This film is available on Netflix.

‘Slow Learners’ (2015) | Unrated | 96 min. | 🎬🎬🎬

Meet Jeff and Anne, two high school teachers and best friends who missed the memo about being cool. After years of awkward first dates and failed attempts at age-appropriate social interaction, the two decide to reinvent themselves over the course of the summer in “Slow Learners.”

What Jeff and Anne don’t expect is that, come August, they will finally realize their love for each other. Audiences collectively gag, but are willing to accept this cliché, because this movie is seriously funny and quite simply, a good time.

The first thing you may be asking yourself is, “Who are Adam Pally and Sarah Burns and where have they been all my life?” Both have played supporting roles in other mainstream films such as 2009’s “I Love You Man” and 2013’s “Iron Man 3,” but emerge from relative obscurity in this film.

Don’t doubt their chops though. Pally’s timing and subtle changes in facial expression are sidesplitting, while Burns is just as bold, crass and refreshing as your Amy Poehlers of the world.

For example, when another shopper steals her parking spot, Anne throws the temper tantrum of the year in what can only be described as the most underrated scene of the film.

Another laugh-until-you-cry moment occurs in the dinner scene set to an Italian opera. Vying for Jeff’s attention, his date and Anne use a bottle of wine, various eating utensils and an oversized meatball to seduce him. One could say Anne was successful, though everyone ends up covered in marinara sauce.

This film is available on Netflix.

Rating System:
🎬 — Straight to DVD.
🎬🎬 — Well, there goes 2 hours of my life!
🎬🎬🎬 — Add to my queue.
🎬🎬🎬🎬 — A must see.
🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬 — Mind blown!