Posts tagged Disney
COLUMN: New Year's Resolutions for the Movie Industry in 2018

Plenty of regular everyday people make New Year's Resolutions, but I think bigger entities, namely movie makers and movie moguls, need to make them too.  Annually, including this seventh edition, this is my absolute favorite editorial to write every year.  I have fun taking the movie industry to task for things they need to change.  You would hope Hollywood would learn from those lessons going forward.  Alas, here we go again!  Enjoy!

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MOVIE CLASSROOM: Cars 3

The "Pixar Punch," as I like to call it, is alive and well in the vast franchise improvement that is Cars 3.  Progressive with diversity and delivered with top-shelf computer animation, Cars 3 will earn your appreciate and change your mind about the series after Cars 2.  Here is my newest YouTube "Movie Classroom" video review using the ShowMe iPad app and iMovie.  Enjoy!

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MOVIE REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast

Bill Condon’s “Beauty and the Beast” stands firmly on its own merit.  True to Disney’s recent trajectory, its goal is to “reimagine” a previous animated classic into the live-action medium for a new era and audience.  Unlike the recent treatments of "Cinderella" and "Malificent," this "Beauty and the Beast" stays a full-blown musical.  Imitation, emulation, and homage are all part of that process, but so is reappraisal and reinterpretation.  Those later two actions are what drive this new fantasy film to soaring and successful heights.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Moana

She may wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, but don’t you dare call Moana a “princess.”  The enterprising titular “chieftain’s daughter” is a breezy breath of warm Pacific air surging through a Mouse House built on castles, corsets, and crowns.  Promoting powerhouse diversity and pushing away the trappings of romance, “Moana” is a progressive step from Walt Disney Animation Studios carrying wonderful messages for young girls in a Millennial day-and-age that is too often obsessed with body image and glamour.  

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on the "Kicking the Seat" podcast talking "Moana"

After attending a last-minute press screening of "Moana" for a plus-one Date Night with my wife and "Pillow Rankings" cohort Thanh Shanahan, I was cordially invited by "Kicking the Seat" film critic and friend-of-the-page Ian Simmons to once again be a guest on his stellar podcast.  This 173rd episode was my first solo flight with Ian and we shared a highly enjoyable back-and-forth at the Golden Nugget Pancake House about strong female characters, Candyland conundrums, the appetizing animated short "Inner Workings," the ever-present Dwayne Johnson bump, mythology comparisons, Katherine Helmond tributes, and much more. 

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Panel participant on the "Kicking the Seat" podcast talking "Doctor Strange"

After an advance screening of "Doctor Strange," I was invited to participate in a post-film round table podcast hosted by Ian Simmons of Kicking the Seat.  After a brief eulogy for deceased comic book artist Steve Dillon, I was one of four Chicago film critics chatting about our feelings, opinions, and reactions to "Doctor Strange" with tangents on other Marvel Cinematic Universe entries, tropes, and tendencies.  

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MOVIE REVIEW: Doctor Strange

Now in its third phase, Marvel continues to take C-level and D-list comic book characters and titles, breath cinematic life into them with top-notch talent in front of and behind the camera, and turn the obscure in newly minted household names and merchandising windfalls.  "Doctor Strange" continues the studio's blueprint of Midas Touch success while jubilantly kicking down the door for magic and mysticism in the MCU.  You may not know him yet, but Stephen Strange is a major player and huge addition to an already-loaded heroic panorama.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Pete's Dragon

Blooming out of a cradle of artistic and narrative perseverance, it is clear a philosophy of great care and pleasant patience was given to “Pete’s Dragon” by Lowery and company.  The film enhances the magical charm audiences remember from the original with newly gained maturity to operate as a loving family drama and touching adventure of friendship.  It is a welcome and calming addition of heft painted by that superb idyllic tone.  The wonderment never overplays its moments.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Finding Dory

Unless the title begins with "Toy Story," Disney/Pixar has not had very good luck with effective sequels.  "Cars 2" aimed too high for a bigger international stage and "Monsters University" failed as a bonding origin story prequel.  Thirteen years after the original, "Finding Dory" changes that weak trend with a winning flourish.  Teeming with plenty of vibrant energy and anchored by Pixar's signature punch of finely tuned emotional storytelling, this sequel will delight audiences young and old and earns its mature place as a companion piece to the classic "Finding Nemo."

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MOVIE REVIEW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

No matter where today's "Star Wars" fans come from, all of them want the same thing out of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."  Everyone wants an inspired, entertaining, and compelling fantasy adventure.  They want a return of the emotions, wonder, and heartstrings that stirred and inspired their souls when they first encountered these science fiction fantasies.  With great pleasure and a nearly pitch perfect blend of innovation and reminiscence, J.J. Abrams promised, and now has delivered, all that anyone could hope for with "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

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MOVIE REVIEW: Tomorrowland

Thinly veiled beneath the powerhouse studio running the show, Disney's "Tomorrowland" is your new lightning rod between poignant and preachy.  It is, with absolute certainty, an enormous message movie hiding behind a summer blockbuster.  Brad Bird's film is a platform for big ideas that knows it's on a platform to also sell tickets and merchandise, putting it in that very divisive place between intention, tone, and how people are going to interpret it.  If that surprises you, get in line.  Everyone that was likely expecting a whimsical family-friendly film with gadgets and adventure are instead getting what stands to be the most polarizing film of the season, if not the year.  That might not be a bad thing.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Big Hero 6

For the creative merging of Marvel and Disney to work right, they needed the right story and set of characters from the Marvel catalog.  To get the best animated hit, Disney needed something new and fresh, yet clever and approachable for a kid-aged audience.  They needed something that can be just theirs and not something shared with the adults.  Disney and Marvel have done just that and struck gold with “Big Hero 6.” 

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EDITORIAL: The 15 films to watch for the 2015 Oscars

Once one awards season ends, another one begins!  The winners from last night's 86th Academy Awards can bask in the glow of immortality for a while.  Meanwhile, business in Hollywood will quickly shift and move on to the 87th Academy Awards that will happen in February or March of 2015.  Here are 15 films to watch for the 2015 Oscars.

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