Robert Zemeckis returns from the motion capture world to give us another movie with a plane crash and a pretty great staring turn by Denzel Washington. [Read more...]
A few years back it became a hobby to make fun of the trend in marketing to describe things as extreme. Extreme sports are one thing (you aren’t going to see me jumping out of a helicopter into the middle of circling sharks while wearing a suit of meat with the goal of safely swimming back to shore. Way too extreme. Yes I made that sport up.), but can deodorant really be that extreme? Then again, every once in a while something worthy of the descriptor comes along. Such is the case with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. [Read more...]
With a fall season shooting out some big name video games and an important World Series for STL fans, the Cardinals, Batman, and Nathan Drake have been keeping me a little too busy to slip some movies in. Ok, there might have also been a Teen Wolf marathon on MTV at some point… However, with those games in the bag (for the most part) and the Cardinals coming out the victors, it is now time that I get back to watching some rentals. Other than Red State, I probably should have chosen a few better titles to come back with though… [Read more...]
The Princess and the Frog isn’t a return to the brilliant early 90’s heyday of Disney Animation, but it is for sure a huge step in the right direction.
Twisting the classic tale of The Frog Princess on its head this version of the classic fairytale has the “princess” turn into a frog when she kisses the green prince and the two embark on a journey through the New Orleans bayou in hopes of returning to their human form. The tale is full of voodoo magic, jazz anthems, and talking creatures from the swamps pop up and populate the story that does a nice job of paving its own path while evoking enough of those classic films to create a familiarity with them that this desperately hopes it will be considered with.
The story side of things can be a tad bit repetitive and drags a bit once we hit the swaps. The film does manage to squeeze some quality jokes into picture though with Prince Naveen and Louis the alligator providing most of the film’s laughs. The film also does a very good job at creating a beautiful period era New Orleans and the city is bustling with music and character. [Read more...]
Pete Docter’s – Monster’s, Inc. (2001)
Pete Docter’s Pixar debut was a heartfelt and hilarious look into the world of monsters and what they do on the other side of our closet doors.
Sully, a tall and furry blue monster, is the leading scarer at Monsters Inc., a company that harvests children’s screams to power the monster world’s electrical supply. Sully’s door operator is a fast talking eyeball named Mike and he enjoys Sully’s success and celebrity more than the lead scarer does. Monsters Inc. has been noticing a drop in scare production recently on their scare floor and it isn’t do to a lack of trying by their scarers. Kids simply aren’t that scared any more and they are finding that they are having to retire more and more doors to the shredder every week that have gone dry of scares.
Just as Sully is about to break the all-time scare record, his nemesis Randall loads a door to try and get some after hour scares, only Sully comes across it trying to return some paper work and takes a peek inside to find nothing. When Randall comes back with his scream canister, he finds the room empty as well and retires for the night from mischievous activities. Sully’s fear of getting caught by Randall catching him in the act isn’t even his biggest problem. As a child, Boo, which are apparently toxic to the monster world has escaped through the door which has been sent back into the factory. Sully, who is stuck with the child, upon detection of contamination will be quarantined seeks out the help of Mike and while they try to find a way to put Boo back in her door discover an even sinister plot at Monster Inc. beyond Randall’s action.
Docter and company at Pixar successfully created a world that we can believe monsters troll around in and seemed to have a lot of fun creating some unique and fun monsters to inhabit their world. Filled with plenty of nods and winks there is more originality at play in this foreign world. From the factory system for the doors, the ideas that scares fuel the monsters world, or even the fact that all monsters don’t start as hardened scarers and can even be scared themselves at all ages. The comedy is also broad age wise with something for the kids and adults alike. Be it sight gags, character driven humor, or well written jokes the humor always works and never really let’s up.
The film is actually quite scary at times and it kind of surprises me that kids connect with it as well as they do with some of the images they throw at us here. In fact, it was rather risky I feel for Pixar to bank on a monsters story that would win the hearts of kids everywhere, but the main characters are so easy to love and get behind I think that over powers any fear in the end.
Sully our main hero is as nice as a guy you can get and leaves any sense of terror he instills in his job, at his job. At home he is a light hearted and easy going monster that works hard to be the best at his job everyday, and John Goodman’s laid back and calm demeanor suit him perfectly. Mike on the other hand is a wound up and klutzy spaz of sorts that is as neurotic as he is loud mouthed. Never shutting up, Billy Crystal brings Mike to life and is one of the more endearing characters Pixar has made so far. Props also need to go out to Pixar for creating such an adorable and loveable character in Boo with little more than her eyes to tell us how she feels. Her brief dialogue and noises are played for laughs more than anything, but they tell us so much through her eyes. Steve Buscemi is also great as the sleazy and vile Randall and he creates a character that fits the monster just right.
In the end, Monsters Inc. is a fine effort by Pixar that is on par with their second tier efforts. And if that isn’t saying something about Pixar in that their second tier stuff is still some of the best stuff of the decade I don’t know how to better laude the studio. Funny and adorable and punctuated with a jaw dropping final chase through the door warehouse that takes us everywhere in the world and racing at blazing speeds along the door lines. Also ending on a near perfect note and never dragging from start to finish you can’t really find a whole lot to complain about and helped firmly plant Pixar as the finest studio working today, both animated and live action, period.
The Wachowski siblings have crafted a fantastic, fun, and exciting piece of cinema that can be enjoyed by anyone willing to let the kid inside of them come out to play. The film centers around the Racer family as they try and challenge the scheme of conglomerate racing mogul Royalton, who is only worried about dollars and cents and not the joy and excitement of racing that the Racer family holds true.
Speed Racer (Emile Hirsh) is the driver for the family and lives with the ambitions to live up to his older brother Rex, idolizing him as a child and forced to watch his downfall on the professional circuit, those memories drive Speed to follow the path he does, and strive to do good in the only way he knows how; race. Speed’s Family supports him in a number ways throughout the film and the feeling of family unity is strong and is a great message to the audience this film is targeted towards. [Read more...]
What we have here is Dreamworks newest piece of animation that continues on a healthy run of quality, outside the atrocious Shrek 3, following Over the Hedge and Flushed Away. Bee Movie is equally as ridiculous as Flushed Away with the whole, Bee World, and it is just impossible to believe that the animals that exist in our world have this secret under lying society no one knows about. [Read more...]