Dunkirk (2017) — PICK

A Town Called Panic: The Collection — PICK


While Dunkirk’s full 70MM IMAX glory will never be fully replicated on even the biggest 4K widescreen TV, it’s still the best large-scale spectacle of 2017 and my No. 3 film of the year.

Writer-director Christopher Nolan picked up his first “Best Picture” and “Best Director” nominations for the film, which offers an immersive tryptich approach to the story of the celebrated, seemingly miraculous evacuation of more than 300,000 vulnerable troops from the north French coast.

Like the event it chronicles, it’s an improbable wonder, an unfashionable sort of war film and a celebration of a spirit of solidarity at a low ebb today.

For family audiences, A Town Called Panic: The Collection may be the most bonkers thing you see all year. What can I say about it?

Deliberately primitive and haphazard, it unspools in five-minute stop-motion episodes that look like something kids might make randomly playing with a video camera and cheap plastic toys. (The “kids” are the Belgian animators Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier.) Watching it, you realize how Hollywood-polished the Toy Story movies’ depictions of Andy’s cliff-hanger fantasies really were. Its wit is in a seemingly artless vein — frenetic, nonsensical and impossible to explain.

 

Caveat Spectator: Dunkirk: Intense but largely bloodless battle violence; limited profanity and bad language. A Town Called Panic: Nothing objectionable. Fine family viewing.