REVIEW: Toy Story That Time Forgot [2014]

“Limitations are the shackles that we bind to ourselves” Following the success of last year’s Toy Story of Terror special, Disney and Pixar have presently tackled a holiday more on the nose: Christmas. Toy Story That Time Forgot opens two days after the presents have been torn apart and each new addition to the posable family introduced. A bit of cheer remains as Bonnie (Emily Hahn) has affixed antlers onto her triceratops Trixie’s (Kristen Schaal) horns to transform her into the unsuspecting victim of a terrible faux dinosaur played by…

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REVIEW: Monsters University [2013]

“Technically I caught the pig” I entered the theatre with low expectations and a willingness to be surprised, curious towards Monsters University’s trailers lacking plot description besides a generalized notion of witnessing Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and Jimmy “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman) becoming best friends. What would first-time Pixar feature-film director Dan Scanlon and co-writers Robert L. Baird and Daniel Gerson have up their sleeves? How would they fill the inevitable gaping hole of not bringing back the adorable Boo from Monsters, Inc. due to their newest installment’s status as…

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REVIEW: Wreck-It Ralph [2012]

“Who doesn’t like a brat with dirty hair?” The news that Disney bought Lucasfilm for four billion dollars had me thinking about another of the powerhouse’s key acquisitions—no, not Marvel and its potential for crazy property crossover. To me Mickey and friends’ best move this past decade was ensuring that Pixar Studios and its unparalleled team of creative visionaries would be their in-house animation studio with John Lasseter at its head. Not only would he have the foresight to re-open Walt Disney’s 2-D animation shingle, but he’d also find himself…

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REVIEW: Brave [2012]

“Mend the bond torn by pride” Following two of Pixar Animation Studios’ most successfully original films, WALL-E and Up, came a pair of sequels that honestly left me a bit wanting. While most would agree with me on Cars 2—although I still liked it for what it was—I’m sure many think I’m crazy for being a bit disappointed in Toy Story 3. By far the funniest of the series, you cannot deny that the emotional resonance so intrinsically connected to the studio was lacking until a tacked on finale that…

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REVIEW: Hawaiian Vacation [2011]

“I just zip and unzip. I don’t fly.” Upon seeing Buzz and Woody onscreen for the Pixar short playing before Cars 2, my first feeling was disappointment. These abbreviated tales are sometimes the highlight of going to a family friendly animated film, generally heartfelt and funny in a minimal span of time to get audiences in the mood for the feature following. Instead of some new carefully constructed character—Presto and Geri’s Game—or a well-conceived, dialogue-free vignette—Lifted and the brilliant Day & Night—all we were to be given was Toy Story…

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The 83rd Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Oscar time … congrats to The King’s Speech … why bother with the show when everyone thinks they know the winner? The 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony was quite possibly its worst incarnation the past decade. And things finally seemed to be going the right way. Hugh Jackman was fun; Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were lukewarm, but the show was fun; and Neil Patrick Harris is Neil Patrick Harris. NPH can do no wrong. Much in that vein, I thought the pairing of James Franco and Anne…

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Top Ten Films of 2010: Dark Fantasy Cinema

This list is accurate as of post-date. So many films and not enough time to see them all—141 seen is this year’s number—the potential for future change is inevitable, but as of today here are the best … I remember thinking around April that there hadn’t been a truly great film released yet. After summer came and went with little to cheer about, I feared 2010 would be a gigantic bust containing a ton of decent to good films, but only a handful of great ones. And then—like it seems…

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Picking Winners at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Spree contributing writer William Altreuter, graphic designer Jared Mobarak, and I are going to share our thoughts on this week’s Oscar nominations. Let’s kick things off with a category whose victor—Colin “Mr. Darcy” Firth—seems to have already been agreed upon. — Christopher Schobert Best Actor:Javier Bardem: BiutifulJeff Bridges: True GritJesse Eisenberg: The Social NetworkColin Firth: The King’s SpeechJames Franco: 127 Hours William Altreuter: If the Academy had wanted to make a statement Jim Carrey‘s amazing turn in I Love You Phillip Morris would have found its way onto this list. Wouldn’t that…

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REVIEW: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore [2010]

“I’m 65% sure, I can go to 67% … Oh, look! A potato bug” Remember those days of spoof films like Scary Movie, Superhero Movie, Date Movie, and ‘Insert Generic Genre Title’ Movie? Oh, that’s right, we haven’t left that abysmal period of cinematic history behind quite yet. But instead of inundating Middle Schoolers with fart jokes and actors who laugh at themselves, Hollywood has gone to the children. I’ve never seen Cats & Dogs, so I don’t know if that was a real film or not, however, its sequel,…

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REVIEW: Toy Story 3 [2010]

“Let’s go see how much we’re going for on eBay” After ten cherished films filled with heart, soul, and comedy, Pixar finally made their first cash grab. That fact is not necessarily a bad thing since anything they touch, no matter how forced a project it may be, is still pure gold, if not certified platinum. But, when I left the theatre after viewing Toy Story 3, I couldn’t shake the feeling that even though I laughed hard, the resonating warmth of humanity and spirit was lacking. The film’s end…

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