Posts tagged Pixar
SHORT FILM REVIEW: Not Yet

For a while now, I have long wondered how someone could bottle that signature Pixar-level lightness for dramatic heft and pour it into a live-action piece with the same welcome whimsy.  Pixar's animated feature films and shorts consistently have a special way with conveying humor within the most difficult emotions  I might have found the closest attempt yet in Chad Hamilton’s lovely short film Not Yet.

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MOVIE REVIEW: War for the Planet of the Apes

A significant shift in attention and investment has occurred in this series.  Our hearts and allegiances swayed from rooting for the madness of our own mankind to the superior traits of humanity exhibited by Caesar and his ape brethren.  A transformation of empathy like that is downright miraculous.  War for the Planet of Apes is a full-bodied epic of glory and pain that matches and then exceeds the moving importance and heart this rebooted franchise has established in two previous knockout films.

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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: Cars 3

Wendy's founder Dave Thomas once said: “It all comes back to the basics. Serve customers the best-tasting food at a good value in a clean, comfortable restaurant, and they'll keep coming back.”  Apply that telling quote of ease and simplicity to Cars 3 as a perfect parallel.  The savvy creators at Pixar know how to package a quality product of with clean and clear values that gain brand loyalty from wide audiences.  Returning to its Americana roots, Cars 3 rediscovers the franchise’s successful foundation of wholesome heart.

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CAPSULE REVIEWS: The Oscar nominees for Best Animated Short

This year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Animated Short are an eclectic bunch.  One of them, “Borrowed Time,” I have previously reviewed in full on this website.  Here are my collected capsule reviews of the slate of five, complete with my signature life lessons.  Look for the theaters this month bundling these nominees together for public viewing and ticket opportunities.

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COLUMN: New Year's Resolutions for the Movie Industry in 2017

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 sixth 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.  I'm sarcastic, but I'm not the guy to take it to the false internet courage level of some Twitter troll.  This will be as forward as I get all year.  

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: Borrowed Time

This website and writer has long celebrated the “Pixar Punch,” the animation studio’s uncanny ability to absolutely destroy our hearts with raw and simple emotionality in perfectly calculated amounts and moments within their feature films.  In quicker chunks of time, Pixar’s animated shorts are no slouch at hitting the same body blows.  Their settings have always been warm and sunny family films, long begging the question of what would more adult fare look like in the same creative boxing gloves.  “Borrowed Time” is a striking glimpse into such a possibility

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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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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Panel participant on the "Kicking the Seat" podcast talking about "Finding Dory"

After an advance screening of "Finding Dory," I was invited to participate in a post-film round table podcast hosted by Ian Simmons of Kicking the Seat.  I was one of five Chicago film critics chatting about our feelings, opinions, and reactions to "Finding Dory" with tangents on Pixar, Burger King (our lucky location for the podcast), and even "The Gilmore Girls."  Ian does outstanding work putting these shows together and I was highly honored to be included.  I hope to be a guest again in the new future!  Enjoy the show!

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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: The Good Dinosaur

As familiar and predictable as it turns out, by golly, "The Good Dinosaur" will still get you to smile greatly and tear up uncontrollably.  Pixar consistently gets its emotion and resonance exactly right.  This film achieves that signature Pixar punch effectively enough to be fitting holiday entertainment.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Inside Out

The prevailing feeling has been that the hallmark extra level of magic and poignancy that used to be Pixar's calling cards have been lost while they milked dollars from lackluster sequels and prequels like "Cars 2" and "Monsters University."  We have missed the visual originality from "Monsters Inc." and "Cars."  We have missed the sense of wonder from "Wall-E" and "Ratatouille."  Most of all, we have sorely missed the strong familial dynamics of the "Up," the "Toy Story" series, and "Finding Nemo."  "Inside Out" is exactly the redemptive return to form that Pixar desperately needed.  The film rivals each of those prior greats in each of those areas.  This is exactly what you loved and were missing while being something truly great that can stand on its own merits.

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EDITORIAL: My 15 most anticipated films of 2015

During the shift from December to January, I enjoy retracing what I reviewed and enjoyed from the previous year, but the trailers and previews for next year's films are starting to make an impact.  I can't help but look ahead.  Every year, I wrote an "Most Anticipated List."   2015 looks wildly loaded with must-see films.  Let's make a new list for a new year.  Here are my 15 most anticipated films of this new year.  Enjoy!

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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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