REVIEW: ‘Toy Story 4’ doesn’t fly like predecessors, but still falls with style

I’ll admit, when I first heard a new “Toy Story” was in production, I was skeptical, considering “Toy Story 3” was such a solid end to the trilogy. Fortunately, Pixar did some solid work with this fourth feature.

The latest film picks up seemingly not too long after the end of part three. The original gang, for example, have adapted pretty well to life with Bonnie’s other toys. That is, except for Woody (Tom Hanks). Woody appears to be involved less and less in times of play, and as a result, is getting little anxious.

However, when Bonnie creates a new toy from some materials, mainly a spork, named Forky (Tony Hale),  Woody finds some purpose. Forky appears to be confused, thinking himself more akin to trash than a toy, but Woody is set on protecting him and keeping him around, as Forky has become Bonnie’s favorite. The work gets more difficult, though, when during a family trip, Forky escapes in a small town near a carnival. Woody sets off on an adventure immediately to save Forky, and fortunately, he gets some help from the long lost Bo Peep (Annie Potts).

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Toy Story 4’ doesn’t fly like predecessors, but still falls with style”

Advertisements

REVIEW: New ‘Aladdin’ never surpasses animated version

It’s true nobody can replace Robin Williams, but in all fairness, Will Smith probably provides this new “Aladdin” a lot of energy.

The movie is of course based on the 1992 animated feature with the same name. Like that film, “Aladdin” 2019 follows the titular character (Mena Massoud) living on the streets of the city state Agrabah. In his adventures to survive by pick-pocketing and running hustles, he meets a young woman who’s secretly Agrabah’s princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott).

The two form a connection, yet Aladdin of course has trouble getting to know her since her home is at the palace. As part of his desperation, Aladdin comes in contact with a power hungry Vizier, Jafar (Marwan Kenzari). Jafar offers Aladdin riches if he goes inside a cave of wonders and retrieves a lamp. Things don’t go exactly to plan, though, and Aladdin ends up with the lamp and meets a Genie (Will Smith) who can grant three wishes.

Continue reading “REVIEW: New ‘Aladdin’ never surpasses animated version”

REVIEW: Live action ‘Dumbo’ never lifts off

Aside from “The Jungle Book,” Disney’s effort to remake its classic animated library into live action pictures has been only average at best. “Dumbo” certainly doesn’t help that trend.

Like its animated counterpart, “Dumbo” features a performance elephant at a circus who has a newborn son. Breaking away from the original, though, is who discovers the situation. Early on the film introduces the audience to an animal caretaker named Holt (Colin Farrell) and his two children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins). They’re the ones who discover the new elephant at the circus, run by Max Medici (Danny DeVito). Upon seeing Dumbo for the first time, they of course notice his rather large ears. This seems like a problem at first, but the two kids are able to “unlock” a talent in the elephant: the ability to fly.

Similar to the animated picture, there’s an incident where Dumbo’s mother is taken away. However, because of his flying, Dumbo is able to find some success and a little hope is restored. Because of Dumbo’s success, a rich amusement park owner, V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), comes to make Max a partner and obtain his whole show, including Dumbo. An agreement is made, but it becomes apparent that Vandevere is a shady person.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Live action ‘Dumbo’ never lifts off”

Monday Movie Report: Breaking down the merger of Disney and Fox

After more than a year of negotiations, Disney completed its purchase of 21st Century Fox last week, an investment of $71 billion.

According to Variety, the purchase means Disney now owns Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Family and Fox Animation. Additionally, Disney now has control over Fox’s TV productions.

Continue reading “Monday Movie Report: Breaking down the merger of Disney and Fox”

Movie trailers with Super Bowl LIII

Over the course of a thrilling (?) 13-3 victory in the Super Bowl by the New England Patriots over the Los Angeles Rams, movie studios took time during the commercial breaks to push upcoming features. In between action on the field, previews for several films were broadcast over the airwaves.

Continue reading “Movie trailers with Super Bowl LIII”

REVIEW: ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ without the magic

What a disappointment.

After several decades, the character Mary Poppins has finally returned to the big screen. The new film with the iconic character takes place several years after the original, but follows some of the main characters. The Banks siblings, Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael (Ben Whishaw), are now grown and Michael has children of their own.

However, times are tough again for the family, as Michael’s wife has passed away and bills are piling up. In fact, Michael’s financial troubles lead to the possibility of him losing the house. Because of all the difficulties, Poppins (Emily Blunt) arrives again to help get things back on track.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ without the magic”

REVIEW: While ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ has its moments, the movie stumbles too much

The streak, unfortunately, is over.

For roughly a decade, I gave movies made by Disney’s animation studio very high marks, usually a 4/5 or higher, and regularly included them in my top 10 lists at the end of the year. However, “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” which certainly isn’t bad per se, has ended that consistency, as it’s simply mediocre.

More on that in a moment, but let’s look into what this sequel is all about. Unlike this summer’s “Incredibles 2,” which picked up immediately after the first, “Ralph breaks the Internet” is set in the present time and acknowledges the six years that have passed since the original picture, released in 2012.

Continue reading “REVIEW: While ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ has its moments, the movie stumbles too much”

REVIEW: ‘Incredibles 2’ retreads some old ground, but is still a great time

“Incredibles 2” lives up to its name. It might not be as incredible as its predecessor, but it still does the trick.

So, this movie doesn’t just start directly after the first film, it begins during the end of the original. The film opens with the Parr family trying to take down the latest villain threat who goes by “the Underminer.” The Incredibles are eventually able to take down the villain’s giant drill machine, but not before it wrecks on much of the city where they live.

As a result of the destruction caused, superheroes are even more looked down upon than before and the family are forced even deeper into hiding. That is until they are approached by a sibling pair, Winston and Evelyn. The brother and sister duo run a mega corporation and decide that it’s time for supers to make a comeback. They opt to make a public campaign with Helen Parr (Holly Hunter) going back into crime fighting and putting on a good public face for supers while Bob (Craig Nelson) stays home and looks after the kids, Dash (Huck Milner), Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Jack-Jack.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Incredibles 2’ retreads some old ground, but is still a great time”

My conflicting excitement for ‘Incredibles 2’

Since the final scene of “The Incredibles” previewed more adventures for the Parr family, I’ve been asking, no, begging for a sequel.

After 14 years and in my view unnecessary sequels like “Cars 2,” Disney | Pixar is finally releasing “The Incredibles 2” in June. While I am looking forward to seeing it, though, I do have my reservations.

Continue reading “My conflicting excitement for ‘Incredibles 2’”

REVIEW: ‘Coco’ Works Thanks To Heartfelt Story About Family, Memorable Music

When it comes to musicals, Pixar has usually left the genre to its counterpart Disney Animation Studios. With its latest endeavor, though, Pixar has taken a page out of the Mouse House’s playbook, creating a musical experience with “Coco.”

Keep in mind, “Coco” isn’t a traditional animated musical. However, it’s a movie very much about music and includes numerous songs.

The movie’s protagonist is Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a boy who dreams of becoming a singer and guitarist like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). His family, though, is completely against music and musicians of any sort, finding it to be a curse on their family that began generations ago.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Coco’ Works Thanks To Heartfelt Story About Family, Memorable Music”