REVIEW: The Lion King [1994]

Remember who you are. The sun rises at the screen’s bottom as Lebo M. is heard singing in Zulu. We take a look at the wide-open expanse of an African savannah before slowly honing in on herds of animals moving towards a single spot: Pride Rock. There we find Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Sarabi (Madge Sinclair) resting with new lion cub Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) as trusted allies Zazu the hornbill (Rowan Atkinson) and Rafiki the baboon (Robert Guillaume) arrive to offer their services for what’s to be a…

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BIFF18 REVIEW: Thunder Road [2018]

Should we call the manufacturer? It’s unsurprising to learn the opening one-shot of Jim Cummings‘ SXSW-winning film Thunder Road is itself a revision of the writer/director/star’s Sundance-winning short of the same name. The sequence therefore plays like a mini-movie with its escalation of emotion, honest humor in tragedy, and subtle exposition readying us for the aftermath to come. Officer Jim Arnaud (Cummings) is a man struggling with the anguish and regret he feels as the reality of his mother’s death hits him like a ton of bricks—his macho, decorated hero…

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REVIEW: Winnie the Pooh [2011]

“I’m a bear with very little brain and long words bother me” Written in the 1920s by A.A. Milne and illustrated by E.H. Shepard, Winnie the Pooh has been a children’s favorite for almost a century now. First adapted to film by Disney in the 60s and last seen in 2005’s Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, it is no surprise to see the Mouse House’s reworked animation department under John Lasseter reboot the franchise. Animated like I remembered it from my own youth, this new story decides to forego the allusion each…

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REVIEW: The Princess and the Frog [2009]

“Freedom takes green” Two-dimensional animation is back in the Mouse House, but for how long? The Princess and the Frog is the first hand drawn feature length to be released theatrically since a string of failures at the hands of Disney studios, before they bought Pixar and began distributing Studio Ghibli work. I have no problem saying that it is a return to form and hopefully a sign of things to come, showing that creativity still resides in the cell by cell creations. However, despite praise and opening weekend success,…

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