REVIEW: The Good Dinosaur [2015]

“Look who got relevated” You constantly hear about movies needing reshoots, but The Good Dinosaur‘s troubles went beyond cosmetic enhancements into full-blown emergency room triage. I’m talking two years of development before a release date announcement, two more before that date and original director Bob Peterson (who came up with the story alongside his directorial replacement Peter Sohn) were scrapped, and another two wherein the plot got completely retooled until the final film would bare little resemblance to the germ of an idea on which it began. Pixar’s cancelled Newt…

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REVIEW: Inside Out [2015]

“I call it the Happy Core Memory Development Program” The simplest ideas really are the greatest and Pixar’s made a legacy built on just such an ideal. They brought toys to life as living companions caring for our children. They humanized the monsters in our closets, conjured a spark of love in the circuitry of a tiny robot, and gave an old curmudgeon tired of too much loss the opportunity to rediscover the joy of living. So it wasn’t a surprise when the germination of Inside Out was announced on…

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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: Toy Story [1995]

“Ages three and up! It’s on my box!” It’s hard to believe that, with Toy Story 3 coming out soon, it has been fifteen years since the original film. Back in 1995, Toy Story ushered in an animation renaissance for not only Disney, but also the medium as a whole. Pixar Studios had created something that changed the game forever, spawning countless other computer-graphic studios to follow suit and never fully reach the potential consistently exceeded by the Mouse House’s little buddy. Starting as a small-scale studio inside the Lucasfilm…

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REVIEW: Up [2009]

“A land lost in time” I don’t know how long Pixar can keep it up, especially with a second sequel to Toy Story coming and a first sequel to Cars on the way, but as of now, no one does it better. Over the years, the studio has gone from heartfelt children’s fare to more heady dramas—still with a youthful touch, but deeper and more resonate than your standard “stick the kid in front of the screen and have quiet for a couple hours”. It began with Ratatouille, a tale…

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The 2009 Oscars … ‘nuff said

The 2009 Academy Awards have closed out the 2008 award season once and for all. And in an inspired move, actually ushered in the new year of movies by ending the show with a montage of 2009 releases. It was a departure somewhat from previous years as it appeared the Academy wanted to try some new things out, making the ceremony a bit more intimate while also possibly shortening its length (well the latter didn’t end up happening). I’ll say that production-wise, this was one of my favorite incarnations ever.…

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REVIEW: WALL•E [2008]

“Define dancing” Robots falling in love. There is a lot to like about the new Pixar film WALL•E. The animation goes without saying—better than anything out there. The glares, the environments, everything is rendered spectacularly, right down to the flame of a Zippo lighter. As for the story, leave it to these wizards for creating a tale that hits on a gut level, letting our simplest emotions come to the surface in order speak to our hearts and souls. With fewer words than Arnold Schwarzenegger had to speak in Terminator…

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REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda [2008]

“Can you handle the crazy feet?” Pixar is where it is at for me animation-wise in Hollywood. Maybe that makes me a snob, but something about their films resonate on a level that the others can’t even begin to touch. Sure Shrek and Madagascar are funny, but besides the off-belly laugh, they are kind of shallow and hollow. With that said, I went to check out Dreamworks new foray into computer graphic cinema, Kung Fu Panda. Admittedly, I knew very little about this thing other than the fact that Jack…

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Top Ten Films of 2007: The Year of the Adaptation

It was a year of many genres. We had some musicals, a few dramas, comedies galore, a little sci-fi, and a couple bio-pics sprinkled in to satiate the kiddies and Oscar voters. If anything, I guess one trend seemed to rise above, that being the adaptation, whether from plays (Sweeney Todd), novels (Zodiac), or comics (Stardust). I always try to read first, but the shear amount this year prevented me from doing so, therefore I can’t quite say if they were all successes or not. In the end, after seeing…

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