Summer laughs from Pixar and sweet sadness from Sweden

Brent Northup

At the Cinemark

My Life as a Dog

Amazon et al

Summer choices for family films?

For smiles, take the kids to “Lightyear.” For insight that may lead to conversation about growing up with grief, stream the 1985 subtitled Swedish masterpiece, “My Life as a Dog.”

Pixar’s summer offering, “Lightyear” is low-calorie, low-risk entertainment, a prequel to “Toy Story.” It’s what my pre-teen daughter Kat would have called “not awful.”

Character Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Chris Evans, in a scene from the animated film “Lightyear.” 

DISNEY/PIXAR VIA AP

While beautifully animated and cute, “Lightyear” belongs on the bottom shelf of Pixar releases. Instead of challenging kids to think about issues such as culture, mortality or jazz, the Pixar crew simply concocts a predictable backstory about “Lightyear,” one of the characters from “Toy Story.”

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One critic cynically called “Lightyear” the “saddest Pixar movie ever made,” because the studio finally stooped to crafting “well-engineered corporate

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