Toy Story

Not rated yet!
Director
John LasseterJohn Lasseter
Runtime
1 h 21 min
Release Date
30 October 1995
Genres
Animation, Comedy, FamilyAnimation, Animation, Comedy, FamilyComedy, Animation, Comedy, FamilyFamily
Overview
Led by Woody, Andy's toys live happily in his room until Andy's birthday brings Buzz Lightyear onto the scene. Afraid of losing his place in Andy's heart, Woody plots against Buzz. But when circumstances separate Buzz and Woody from their owner, the duo eventually learns to put aside their differences.
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Kelly Jane Torrance
The Weekly Standard



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • MOVIE REVIEW: 'The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story'
    (”Toy Story” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter — the names bandied around for Greatest American Songwriter are a familiar bunch. Less well-known are the handles of the Sherman Brothers, yet their songs are just as memorable. Published November 6, 2009

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    (Review Source)

Steve Sailer
Taki Mag



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • 1 - With Toy Story 3, Pixar Wins Disney Divorce Battle
    In 1965, Gordon Moore of Intel noted that silicon chips had been quickly doubling in transistor density, and forecasted that computers would continue to get twice as powerful every 18 months to infinity and beyond! (Or words to roughly that effect—”Moore’s Law” soon entered the realm of urban legend.) Pixar’s computer animated Toy Story 3, released 15 years after the first mature computer animation movie, 1995’s landmark Toy Story about a little boy’s playthings who come to life when he’s not looking, has thus benefited from about ten subsequent doublings in computer firepower. So, is the latest sequel 1024 times better than the original? Advances in technology eventually call forth artistic geniuses, but the lag time is unpredictable. The first commercial electric guitar, for example, went on sale in 1932, but it was initially used mostly to just make louder plinking sounds. It was 35 years until Jimi Hendrix’s performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Arts apparently progress in S-shaped curves. At first, nothing publicly notable happens (for instance, the electric guitar’s 1930-1940s). Then there’s a rapid takeoff (rock music in the 1950s-1970s). And finally a period of diminishing marginal returns (the 1980s-2000s). Unlike the surprising ascent of the electric guitar, the potential of computer animated movies was relentlessly foretold. By 1982, computer graphics mania had built to such a peak that Disney’s Tron was both the first heavily computer animated blockbuster and the first film whose preview was reviewed on the financial pages. (The Wall Street analyst’s verdict on Disney’s stock: Sell!) “It established Pixar as the guy alternative to Disney’s gay pandering to the daddy’s little princess market. Pixar movies are made by men who have managed to extend their childhoods into fatherhood.” Thus, 1982 turned out to be too early for computer-dependent movies. Yet, 24-year-old Disney cartoonist John Lasseter was electrified by Tron. He pitched to his bosses a computerized version of the nerdy kids’ book The Brave Little Toaster about five household appliances at a summer cottage who feel lonely when their beloved young master departs. Disney immediately fired him. Lasseter wound up at a Lucasfilm spinoff called Pixar. Their hit movies (Toy Story 3 will be the eleventh straight to make at least $162 million domestically) always remind me of what Pixar’s oldest employees must have endured in the 1980s: heroic boredom. I began writing two decades ago because my attention had been permanently distracted from corporate work by the tedium of waiting for early personal computers to recalculate spreadsheets. While my computer labored, I’d sneak a look at the newspaper op-ed page, and soon become engrossed in the logical flaws in some poor pundit’s essay. Lasseter, I presume, is a man of steelier concentration. By 1984, Lasseter’s team showed they could achieve a fuzzy sort of 3D solidity in the short Andre and Wally B. In 1986, Pixar delivered 90 seconds of perfection with Luxo Jr., a father-son tale about table lamps playing catch. In retrospect, it established Pixar as the guy alternative to Disney’s gay pandering to the daddy’s little princess market. Pixar movies are made by men who have managed to extend their childhoods (Lasseter says, “Every animator is a child at heart”) into fatherhood. Lasseter, for instance, has five sons, now ages 10 to 29. It took nine years from Luxo Jr. until Toy Story, a period in which computers became, according to the most popular version of Moore’s Law, 64 times faster. Over that decade, everybody in show biz knew that eventually somebody was going to figure out what to do with computer animation. As I was walking my kids down the theatre aisle to see Toy Story on Thanksgiving weekend 1995, I could see—before we had even sat down—that Pixar had pulled it off. Toy Story was an ideal match of subject (cheap plastic toys) to the computer technology of the mid 1990s, meaning that the exquisite effects available now barely matter. So, no, Toy Story 3 isn’t 1024 times better. Still, Toy Story 3 is awfully good. Andy is going off to college, so Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and the gang get reluctantly donated to a daycare center. They’re welcomed to the idyllic Butterfly Room by a seemingly grandfatherly teddy bear (Ned Beatty) and his right hand man, Barbie’s beau Ken (Michael Keaton). But the old con-boss shunts them off to the Caterpillar Room to be pounded on by toddlers. The prison escape plot mostly exists to give the toys something to do before the gorgeously sentimental conclusion has the audience sniffling. Yet, Pixar’s mastery of storytelling is now so confident that they show off by making a memorably complex character out of Ken. Still, is it necessary for every Pixar film to strive to be a poignant masterpiece of mature wisdom? Yes, it’s churlish of me to complain, since they succeed so often, but wouldn’t it be fun if you didn’t know walking in that lately every Pixar film ends up bittersweet? googletag.cmd.push(function() {googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1456852648633-0');}); if(display_ads_server){document.write('');}; SIGN UPDaily updates with TM’s latest // delete this script tag and use a "div.mce_inline_error{ XXX !important}" selector // or fill this in and it will be inlined when errors are generated var mc_custom_error_style = ''; var fnames = new Array();var ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';fnames[1]='FNAME';ftypes[1]='text';fnames[2]='LNAME';ftypes[2]='text';var err_style = ''; try{ err_style = mc_custom_error_style; } catch(e){ err_style = 'margin: 1em 0 0 0; padding: 1em 0.5em 0.5em 0.5em; background: ERROR_BGCOLOR none repeat scroll 0% 0%; font-weight: bold; float: left; z-index: 1; width: 80%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: ERROR_COLOR;'; } var mce_jQuery = jQuery.noConflict(); mce_jQuery(document).ready( function($) { var options = { errorClass: 'mce_inline_error', errorElement: 'div', errorStyle: err_style, onkeyup: function(){}, onfocusout:function(){}, onblur:function(){} }; var mce_validator = mce_jQuery("#mc-embedded-subscribe-form").validate(options); options = { url: 'http://takimag.us1.list-manage1.com/subscribe/post-json?u=0ba7696a8a378946b7e688500&id=f7706afea2&c=?', type: 'GET', dataType: 'json', contentType: "application/json; charset=utf-8", beforeSubmit: function(){ mce_jQuery('#mce_tmp_error_msg').remove(); mce_jQuery('.datefield','#mc_embed_signup').each( function(){ var txt = 'filled'; var fields = new Array(); var i = 0; mce_jQuery(':text', this).each( function(){ fields[i] = this; i++; }); mce_jQuery(':hidden', this).each( function(){ if ( fields[0].value=='MM' && fields[1].value=='DD' && fields[2].value=='YYYY' ){ this.value = ''; } else if ( fields[0].value=='' && fields[1].value=='' && fields[2].value=='' ){ this.value = ''; } else { this.value = fields[0].value+'/'+fields[1].value+'/'+fields[2].value; } }); }); return mce_validator.form(); }, success: mce_success_cb }; mce_jQuery('#mc-embedded-subscribe-form').ajaxForm(options); }); function mce_success_cb(resp){ mce_jQuery('#mce-success-response').hide(); mce_jQuery('#mce-error-response').hide(); if (resp.result=="success"){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(resp.msg); mce_jQuery('#mc-embedded-subscribe-form').each(function(){ this.reset(); }); } else { var index = -1; var msg; try { var parts = resp.msg.split(' - ',2); if (parts[1]==undefined){ msg = resp.msg; } else { i = parseInt(parts[0]); if (i.toString() == parts[0]){ index = parts[0]; msg = parts[1]; } else { index = -1; msg = resp.msg; } } } catch(e){ index = -1; msg = resp.msg; } try{ if (index== -1){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } else { err_id = 'mce_tmp_error_msg'; html = '
    '+msg+''; var input_id = '#mc_embed_signup'; var f = mce_jQuery(input_id); if (ftypes[index]=='address'){ input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]+'-addr1'; f = mce_jQuery(input_id).parent().parent().get(0); } else if (ftypes[index]=='date'){ input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]+'-month'; f = mce_jQuery(input_id).parent().parent().get(0); } else { input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]; f = mce_jQuery().parent(input_id).get(0); } if (f){ mce_jQuery(f).append(html); mce_jQuery(input_id).focus(); } else { mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } } } catch(e){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } } } ]]>
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  • 2 - Riot Acting


    The key moment in the self-destruction of the once great American city of Detroit...

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The American Conservative Staff
The American Conservative



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • 100 Movies to See Again in 2014
    (”Toy Story” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    This is the time of year people start making New Year’s lists, and if you’re in any respect a culture vulture that means making lists of works of art to “take in” that you haven’t managed to get to yet. But a bucket list is an almost comically awful way to approach art. You’re not just reducing art to a signifier (of taste, class, whatever) rather than letting it be the thing itself; you’re not just turning it into a commodity (something to be accumulated rather than experienced) and reducing it to its cash value; you’re actually turning it into something akin to cash itself, into a featureless line in a ledger. But . . . I like lists. I find that a physical list of, say, places I’ve been actually jogs my memory, breathes life back into the experience of the place. Ditto with cultural experiences – ditto even with people I don’t see regularly enough. Of course, flipping through names on Facebook isn’t the same as seeing somebody again. So: here’s a list of a different character. Not a list to make you feel bad about all the experiences you haven’t accumulated yet, nor to make you feel virtuous once you’ve checked them off. But a list of old friends to revisit. It’s a list of movies to see again. Not because there are no new movies coming down the pike worth seeing – there will be piles of them – any more than because there are new places to see you should never sleep in your own bed. Not because 2014 is the right year to see this or that film, but because any year would be a good year. They’re just films you’ll enjoy seeing again. And again. Some movies repay repeat viewing because the experience changes materially – and for the better – the second time around. “Fight Club” is a good example – seeing it again once you know the big “twist” is a different and more even more enjoyable experience than seeing it for the first time. For others, you really have to marinate yourself in the film before you’ve truly experienced it. “The Big Lebowski” is probably the template for that kind of film: the jokes get funnier once you know them, but also subtle acting and directing choices stand out that you might not have noticed before. Try watching the entire film paying closest attention to Donnie; it’s a whole new movie. Sometimes you were just the right age. Like, the way I saw “Star Wars” fourteen times the year it came out. Because I was seven and, you know, that’s what seven year olds do. I’m sure “Toy Story” had a similar trajectory – I’ve certainly seen it over a dozen times, and I can tell you, existential crisis really doesn’t get old. Nor does Miyazaki’s perfect tale of maturation, “Spirited Away.” The old television networks understood the importance of repetition. That’s why they aired “It’s a Wonderful Life” every Christmas. And why they aired “The Wizard of Oz” every . . . actually, I don’t remember when they aired it – but I understand it was very confusing for people back when most everybody had a black-and-white television. Anyway: they knew what they were doing. See them again, even though you don’t have to. And then of course there’s “Groundhog Day,” which is in a class by itself in terms of demanding re-screening. “The Shining,” on the other hand, I would not recommend seeing over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Or you’ll wind up making a silly movie like this one. Or, you know, chopping your family to bits. Ah, heck – it’s worth the risk. That’s a bunch already. I’m going to list a few more, but I’m not going to get to 100. Not without your help anyway. So please – submit your additions to the list in the comments. “Withnail and I” – legitimate contender for best buddy movie ever, certainly one of the best conjurations of the spirit of the late ’60s, British variant, and if nothing else, definitely a movie that will do something to your brain. And once it has done so, why would you want to do anything else to it? Why trust one movie more than another? A tale of city boys in the country needs to be mated with a story of country boys in the big city. “On the Town” – no, it isn’t as iconic as “Singin’ In the Rain,” but it’s equally perfect as a movie, and it wears its perfection more lightly – and for that reason, becomes even more thoroughly enjoyable the more familiar it is. And the ending basically announces that you’re supposed to see it again. Come up to my place, and we’ll put it on. And then, when it gets late, we’ll put on “After Hours,” a very different tale of the city. Martin Scorsese’s only “indie,” and his only film (I believe) to feature a cameo by Tommy Chong, it’s another film that announces the necessity of repetition with the ending, but it’s also so dense with visual jokes that it’s really impossible to absorb them all in one viewing. More comedy! Everybody’s seen “The Princess Bride” a hundred times – and with good reason. But how many times have you seen “The Court Jester,” Danny Kaye’s triumph of a mock-swashbucker? However many it is, it isn’t enough. Similarly, everybody’s seen “Some Like It Hot” and “The Apartment” – two Billy Wilder films that certainly merit re-watching. But his less-heralded Cold War comedy, “One, Two, Three,” has an ever greater density of jokes that never stop being funny. And the third act, lifted wholesale from Ferenc Molnar’s play, The President, only gets more outrageously unbelievable with each viewing. The classic “comedy of remarriage” films from the 1940s are all ideal for perpetual revisiting – as someone smarter than me pointed out, they’re like Shakespeare. For my money, the two best are “The Lady Eve” and “The Philadelphia Story.” And they make an excellent double-feature to boot; watching Barbara Stanwyck run rings around Henry Fonda is the perfect antidote to watching Kate Hepburn get pummeled emotionally by pretty much every male in the film. Meanwhile, a more modern film very much in the spirit of the ’40s classics is “Flirting With Disaster,” David O. Russell’s sophomore effort and a personal touchstone. See, this is the kind of movie you make when you watch great movies over and over again until they sink into you. (Tarantino films, by contrast, are what you make when you watch junk movies over and over again until they sink into you.) But you know, they don’t all have to be great movies. And a personal fave in the “not great but wonderful to see over and over” category is the ’80s Richard Pryor comedy, “Brewster’s Millions,” about a down-on-his-luck minor-league ballplayer who unexpectedly inherits $30 million dollars – with a catch: he has to spend it all in 30 days. It’s as funny now as it was when I was a kid – I’d say I don’t know why they haven’t remade it (again – the ’80s version is based on a Depression-era film, which is based on an even older novel) except I know they’d only ruin it. Speaking of the Depression – one of the strangest musicals ever made is a disastrous love story set in the Depression. I’m talking about “Pennies From Heaven,” which, as a story of mental colonization by over-familiar popular art, is also a great one for revisiting over and over. And then you can visit the television miniseries on which the movie is based – both are excellent, and quite different from one another. Speaking of series: when a new movie in a series comes out, sometimes it’s a good idea to see the previous installments, just to refresh your memory. But sometimes, it’s just a good excuse to revisit beautiful films, and experience how your relationship with them changes with age. Or maybe I’m just talking about one series in particular: Richard Linklater’s continuing “Before” saga, currently a trilogy: “Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset,” and “Before Midnight.” May they keep coming, and keep providing me with excuses to watch them all. (And because we have to watch them all, we’ll count them as one entry in the list.) With Linklater’s trilogy, a reason to revisit is to learn how our perspective on the films changes as we age. With Akira Kurosawa’s “Rashomon,” shifting perspective is substantially what the film is about. Which is an excellent reason to see it again and again – to experience how our understanding of each version of the story shifts the more familiar we are with the other versions. If you’re Akira Kurosawa, you make great samurai films partly inspired by American westerns, and then what do the Americans do? They turn around and make American westerns inspired by your samurai films. So what’s a Japanese filmmaker to do but, as the late lamented Juzo Itami did, make a modern Japanese picaresque with all of these mutual borrowings hovering in the background. The result: “Tampopo,” one of the sweetest films I know, and one you’ll want to see again and again just to recall the taste of it. Some meals are harder to swallow – acquired tastes, let’s say – but once acquired they can become addictive. “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover” gets its primal energy from a political fury that is no longer relevant, but it endures as a stunning visual realization of its central metaphors of carnality. “La Grande Bouffe” is, in its way, equally political, though much less overt about it, and is a much more terrible journey. But somehow it compels return visits. There are terrible journeys, and then there are terrible journeys. One of the most harrowing I know is Charlie Kaufman’s magnum opus, “Synechdoche, New York,” a film which explicitly tries to contain all of life, and just about does so. It’s so painful, it’s almost unbearable to watch, but you have to watch it again, both to absorb all the details and because the memory of it will otherwise fade, and this film has something to teach us that we need not to forget. That’s 25: “Fight Club” “The Big Lebowski” “Star Wars” “Toy Story” “Spirited Away” “It’s a Wonderful Life” “The Wizard of Oz” “Groundhog Day” “The Shining” “Withnail and I” “On the Town” “After Hours” “The Court Jester” “One, Two, Three” “The Lady Eve” “The Philadelphia Story” “Flirting With Disaster” “Brewster’s Millions” “Pennies From Heaven” “Before Sunrise”/”Before Sunset”/”Before Midnight” “Rashomon” “Tampopo” “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover” “La Grande Bouffe” “Synecdoche, New York” Seems like a good start. Your turn. ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
PJ Media



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • 1 - Yeah, There's Going to be a Toy Story 4
    Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Toy Story 3: Trailer 2', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Given Tom Hanks recent slip up and now Pixar chief John Lasseter's inability to deny the rumor, it's pretty safe to say that Pixar is cooking up a fourth Toy Story movie.With news of these plans my response is caution. On the one hand, the Toy Story series has a great track record. Unlike most series each installment has only gotten progressively better. Thus it seems safe to assume that with a fourth installment they would only continue the level of quality. It could be another fantastic film.On the other hand, how frequently in film history do we actually get a fourth film in a series that keeps the magic alive? Is it really worth risking the potential downgrade of the earlier films by poisoning them with a poor sequel? I don't know about you but ever since the second and third Matrix movies came out I've had much less enthusiasm for the first.Ultimately the conservative in me leans more toward the latter response. Pixar should be moving forward and developing new franchises, not continuing to go back to their earlier hits. Next year's film, Brave, looks promising: var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Brave Teaser', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2011/7/19/yeah-theres-going-to-be-a-toy-story-4/ ]]>
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  • 2 - Ice Age 4: A Floe Too Far
    (”Toy Story” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Lifestyle We go to movies presumably to enjoy a good story. Yes, the writing is important, as are the acting, cinematography, score, set design — all the myriad things that must work together in service of the story. They are but tools intended for a larger purpose. Of course, too often one or more tools fail or the filmmakers put too much emphasis on them and forget the story altogether.That seems to be the case with Ice Age: Continental Drift, the fourth installment of the Ice Age franchise by Blue Sky Studios. Terrific computer animation in digital 3D renders crisp detail in the animals’ fur and performs a virtuoso dance of light and shadow on ice and water.But the movie feels overstuffed with way too many barely developed characters. The story could easily have been cut by a third and its building blocks could have been more artfully arranged. The film feels workmanlike, adequate but lacking zest. While the earlier installments had the obligatory subtext about doing the right thing and the importance of working together, the lessons in Continental Drift feel forced. Yes, kids, it’s important to obey your parents, value your friends, and not get caught up in the wrong crowd — good lessons all, but they come with the subtlety of an elbow to the ribs.As with the first three Ice Ages, there are plenty of sight gags and pratfalls along the way with the usual gross-out jokes. And as always, Scrat the proto rat is the best part of these stories, with his Gilligan-like ability to blow a sure thing and a single-mindedness that makes Wile E. Coyote look positively ambivalent. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/7/13/ice-age-4-a-floe-too-far/ previous Page 1 of 3 next   ]]>
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  • 3 - In Defense of Ratatouille
    (”Toy Story” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Ratatouille Trailer', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Today my friend Chris Queen -- a fellow member with me in the pop culture cult of Disney -- unveiled his ranking of the 12 Pixar films from worst to best.For the most part his choices drew my sympathy and tolerance, except for one: Chris stuck Ratatouille at second-to-last, ranking even the dull Cars and A Bugs Life superior:Ratatouille begins with two strikes for me. First, the setting in the world of French cuisine — not exactly the most obvious setting for a family movie night. And second, scurrying around an environment you’d want spotless? The main character is a rat.Yes, that’s right: I have a problem with a rodent as the protagonist in a Disney film. Look, I’ll admit that Mickey and Minnie Mouse are cute, classic Disney characters — and it would be sacrilege to suggest anything otherwise. But I still don’t want to see them running around in a commercial kitchen [...]I suppose Ratatouille isn’t a terrible film, but at the same time, it doesn’t exactly stay with me, either. Perhaps if it had been more memorable, it would rank higher on this list. On second thought: maybe not. Not with that disgusting rodent in the kitchen.In the words of the film's antagonist: var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Ratatouille "Highly Suspect!"', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Chris claims two grievances that are really just his own idiosyncrasies: he rejects the French cuisine setting and finds the idea of a sewer rat protagonist distasteful.But what about those of us who love the Food Network's celebrations of high brow food and who don't suffer a wave of nausea at the thought of a cute cartoon character making our soup? class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/5/9/in-defense-of-ratatouille/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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  • 4 - The Pixar Canon: 4 Misses And 8 Hits
    (”Toy Story” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Brave "Families Legend" Trailer', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); This June 22, Pixar will release Brave, the studio's 13th animated feature. Brave tells the story of Merida, a Scottish princess who rebels against her royal parents with dire consequences. Even though it may be a bit darker than a typical Pixar production, Brave looks to have the stunning visuals and memorable characterizations that make Pixar films so great.Over the last 26 years Pixar has transformed animation. Partnering with Disney the studio innovated the medium in a way unseen since the days of Walt Disney himself. Many people still thought of computer animation as some sort of sci-fi pipe dream in 1986, but thanks to Pixar, the medium has become the industry standard -- and the company's films now dominate both the box office and critics' yearly top 10 lists.Pixar's dozen productions have met with varying degrees of critical and box office success. I'd say there's no such thing as a bad Pixar film, but some movies have raised the bar exponentially while others have fallen a bit short of the high standards the studio has set. I've compiled a list of the twelve movies ranked from the least to the greatest. Here we go... class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/5/9/the-pixar-canon-4-misses-and-8-hits/ previous Page 1 of 13 next   ]]>
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Kyle Smith
National Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • 1 - "Up": Funniest Pixar Movie Yet?
    (”Toy Story” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Lou has the scoop on the early reviews of Disney/Pixar’s “Up,” said to be another classic and the funniest Pixar movie yet. They’re showing it to New York critics next Wednesday, I think. Just to rattle Hunter’s cage, my list of favorite Pixar movies in order: 1. Ratatouille 2. Toy Story 2 3. The Incredibles 4. Finding Nemo 5. A Bug’s Life 6. Toy Story 7. Monsters, Inc. 8. Wall-E 9. Cars]]>
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  • 2 - "Despicable Me" and Blockbuster Budgeting
    (”Toy Story” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    If I ran a movie studio….it’s astonishing how much studios spend on animated fare. The results are often spectacular — I recall how gobsmacked I was to see “Kung Fu Panda,” in which individual hairs on the title character’s fur were distinguishable. But these movies have skyrocketed in cost — the original “Toy Story” reportedly cost $30 million, the second $90 million, the third $180 million. Unbelievable. Do little kids really need that kind of obsessive attention to detail? Do adults? Don’t we really just want a story that works, some characters that are interesting enough to spend time with and some funny jokes? Just because you can animate every single bubble in the wave doesn’t mean it’s a wise use of your money. It turns out “Despicable Me” cut some corners in animation. I didn’t notice this, and neither will you. But this means, says the Wall Street Journal, that the movie cost only $69 million, which is more or less a laughably small sum. (“Date Night” reportedly cost more than that, and it was basically a Thursday night sitcom with a couple of chase scenes thrown in.) It’s hard to imagine how “Despicable Me” could possibly lose money given its budget — and now it turns out to be a big hit, with lots of possibilities for sequels and merchandising. Hollywood economics is really about one thing–cost control. It’s mystifying to me that the honchos never learn this lesson. Instead they seem to operate on the rule that it’s okay to spend any amount of money as long as you’re sure the thing is going to be a hit….then you wind up with “Robin Hood” or “Sex and the City 2.”]]>
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The Federalist Staff
The Federalist



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • 1 - The Men Of 'The Magnificent Seven' Turn A Bromance Into Love
    (”Toy Story” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Mild spoilers follow. They will be already known to anyone familiar with the plot of this classic story. Since I began dating my wife, I have sat through almost every romantic comedy under the sun. Many an argument has been lost as I succumb to another Lifetime movie or cinema flick starring Renee Zellweger, Sandra Bullock, or Amy Adams. Yet this past Sunday I was victorious as I convinced my wife to go with me to see “The Magnificent Seven.” But it was an easy fight considering one of the stars was her secret crush, Chris Pratt. As I watched, I was enamored by the relationship these seven strangers cultivated through their small amount of time together after being drafted to protect a poor village from thieves. These men joked, drank, laughed, shared personal details about themselves, and grew in admiration for each other very quickly. You don’t get that kind of relationship between men anymore. In this day and age, it’s more about the “bromance” and less about the camaraderie. After the movie we discussed how some in our culture will try to twist these male relationships. It seems like society deems that men can have one of two relationships with each other: Either they are in love with each other or engage in the twenty-first-century bromance. What’s Wrong with Bromance A bromance, of course, is when two guys hang out a lot and are considered too close to one another. It’s asexual, but from the outside could be misconstrued as something more. A good example is the show “How I Met Your Mother.” If you need actual visualization you can google their episode called “World’s Greatest Couple.” A bromance is a close relationship without all the messiness of actually caring about anyone else. It’s about having a good time with someone who has the same interests. The article linked above says bromances are an awkward male relationship. They’re right—bromance is awkward. But not for the reason they think. Male friendships have been around since the beginning of time. Think David and Jonathan from the Bible, Spock and Kirk, even Woody and Buzz from “Toy Story.” From the modern perspective these relationships are a little weird, even mildly sexual, because they’re so close. But this ignores the real reason these people and characters are so close to each other. It’s the reason bromance must die and camaraderie take its place. This happens in “The Magnificent Seven.” At the beginning of “Magnificent Seven,” these men didn’t know each other. So when they decided to take on the job, a few also decided to take a “half day of drinking.” That’s probably about the equivalent of a bromance nowadays, since it was pretty shallow and just them having a good time together. But as they fight alongside each other and try to train the men in the town, they grow close. These men begin see each other’s character weaknesses and strengths. So then, after they spend a long day of digging trenches we see them laughing and joking with each other while eating and drinking. They also begin to share deep, personal parts of themselves. The character Jack Horne stops them from joking about women to explain he had a family and wife at one time. No Greater Love Hath a Man than This So after putting these townspeople first and working to help them, these seven men start sharing intimate details they wouldn’t have discussed otherwise. Even the community recognizes that after seeing these men come together, work, fight, and help others, the townspeople have come out of hiding and are laughing again. They say they’re doing so for the first time since being oppressed and threatened, and it’s all from seeing how these men sacrifice for the community. The biggest example is when the hired guns’ leader Chisolm gives them the option to leave. One does. But the others have seen what they mean to the people. They’ve stared into the faces of the children, and have grown to care for these other men as well. Ultimately, the one who left comes back and sacrifices his life for the town. While these men are fighting and dying, they’re able to save the kids more than once, help the men from the town hobble to safety, provide cover for the other seven, and even put themselves directly into the line of fire of a Gatling gun to stop it. These are huge sacrifices, not something a hired gun would normally do for others. But as we have seen throughout the movie, these are no longer just men hired to do a job. They’ve become friends and comrades who ride off into the sun together at the end. “The Magnificent Seven” shows camaraderie is not only men spending time with each other but suffering with one another and even sacrificing for others. There are many great examples of this companionship throughout history. The Founding Fathers spent nights in the tavern together but also fought mentally and physically alongside each other for a greater good. Our country was created out of a strong bond between men who stood up in self-sacrifice for those around them. Really, no greater example can be found than in the military or men fighting in war. When men offer their lives for others, they have to form a bond in those trenches. When things get tough, these men who have laughed and drank together put themselves in the line of fire for the ones they call brother. When they come home, that bond remains, because they have shared themselves in a way that today’s men often don’t. A Bromance Can’t Compare Compared to this, bromances are awkward. Men who engage in them are trying desperately to gain that relationship without the commitment. They feel the need for male friendship but don’t know exactly what it is they’re needing. It’s really quite simple. Camaraderie is born in the fires of struggle and sacrifice for others, while a bromance is fueled by satisfaction and mutual amusement. You can call it macho or overly masculine, but it comes down to just being a real man who loves in a real way. This isn’t being macho. It’s not being chauvinistic. I’m not telling people to try to kill someone else to gain friendship with other males, or go out and be Rambo or Jason Bourne. What I am saying is men need to be real men who live not for themselves but rather for the sake of others. They should not look at a relationship and think, “What can I gain from this?” like Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. But rather men should think, “What can I do to help, preserve, and protect what is right, moral, and good?” I know this is now way outside our natural thoughts. It can be too foreign to contemplate. But many of our fathers and grandfathers did this. It was not to gain friends later in life, to get a girl, or to get a job promotion. They simply did the job in front of them because they believed it was the right thing for their country and for their fellow man. The same can be said for this movie. At the beginning, these men might have gone into the situation with money, vengeance, or fame in mind, but in the end they chose fight for the defenseless and for the notion that wrong should be swiftly fought. Their moral compass, which hadn’t always pointed north, suddenly changed when surrounded by the people they promised to help. Our society needs more camaraderie and a lot less bromance. We need more movies that show these selfless acts that bring men together in true social justice. We need more fraternal love that can suffer many hardships and shoulder the daily burdens. Yes, there are times to drink, laugh, and relax with each other. If “The Magnificent Seven” has shown us anything, it’s that a real brotherly love is not awkward. But it’s only created in times of trial. It also shows us this love can help us through difficult days, if not outright travesties. That’s the time I want a brother standing by me. I want a friendship like that of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, not like Seth Rogen and James Franco. I don’t want one of convenience. May we all have that kind of relationship that the Westerns and war movies show. Let bromance die and camaraderie live forever. ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • 2 - Should Parents Take Their Kids To See 'Beauty And The Beast'?
    (”Toy Story” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    I grew up on Disney. Or rather, “The Wonderful World of Disney,” which aired Sunday nights from the time I was two until I turned 12. I loved the animated movies, such as “Bambi,” “Dumbo,” “Pinocchio,” and “Snow White.” But I adored the “Apple Dumpling Gang,” “Escape to Witch Mountain,” “The Shaggy D.A.,” “The Love Bug,” “The Parent Trap,” “Treasure Island,” “Mary Poppins,” “Bed Knobs & Broomsticks,” and my all-time favorite, “Swiss Family Robinson.” In many cases, childhood memories cement in the mind an exaggerated sense of goodness (or scariness). But not so with Disney. Over the last several years, I’ve re-watched most of these classics with my son and he enjoys them as much as I did (and still do). There is just something magical about Disney. And not merely the old-school classics: the new classics from Pixar provide the same wallop as those of yesteryear. “Toy Story,” “Cars,” and the much more introspective “Inside Out” all capture the imagination. The ‘Beauty And The Beast’ Changes Are No Suprise But then Disney does it again with it liberal messaging. Of course, I mean “Beauty and the Beast”—which is scheduled to open this Friday—and its “exclusively gay moment.” While I’m not really surprised, I am disappointed. But you know what? I still love Disney. Not Disney the business. Not Disney the virtue-signaling social-justice warrior. But Disney the pure unadulterated imagination-filled entertainment. I just cannot abandon Chip-n-Dale over Gaston and LeFou. Others, though, are calling for a boycott of Disney. Frankly, I find that silly. Not because of my fondness for the films—or because my husband and I spent our honeymoon at the Magic Kingdom—but because Disney’s position on homosexuality has long been clear. However, whether to take a child to see “Beauty and the Beast” presents an entirely different question. While people are calling that a “boycott,” it really isn’t: it is a question of parenting,  not of boycotting. After all, the film was rated PG for “Parental Guidance.” Unfortunately, parents are in a difficult spot. It is hard to know from the Attitude interview with the film’s director, Bill Condon, what children will see. As has already been widely reported, Condon said: LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie. That explanation alone might dissuade some parents from patronizing the movie—making an issue of sexual morality something “delicious.” But the quote itself doesn’t really tell parents much about the film’s content. The Content Parents Should Know About Luckily, another mom, Amy Blevins, who runs the site “Encouraging Moms At Home,” provided a detailed review of the movie—from a Christian perspective—after seeing a screening. For those debating whether to take a child to the movie, I encourage you to read her review in its entirety. A few highlights: LeFou (Gaston’s sidekick) is clearly gay and clearly infatuated with Gaston much more obviously than any gay character has appeared in any other Disney movie. LeFou starts giving Gaston a hand / shoulder / ear massage during the Gaston song that is definitely sensual from LeFou’s perspective. This song also includes a moment where LeFou briefly sits on Gaston’s lap, leans in, puts Gaston’s arms around him and then says ‘Too much?’ Gaston is perturbed. In the final dance scene, LeFou is dancing with a woman but at the very end he cuts in on another couple and dances with a man. It was made to appear as a fortuitous accident…[T]his is the same man who earlier ‘enjoys’ wearing the woman’s dress. Bivens’ review would lead me to nix the film for a child. There is just too much that is too subtle, and too celebrated, to allow the (likely) positive elements of the film to outweigh the negative. A lot of parents seem to agree with my assessment. That may be why Disney is downplaying the whole affair. For instance, in a USA Today piece, the actor playing LeFou, Josh Gad, is quoted as saying, “there was nothing in the script that said ‘LeFou is gay.’” He also added that: “I think (LeFou’s sexuality) has been a little overstated.” The director followed the same script, telling ScreenCrush that his “exclusively gay scene” comments have been overblown: “Oh God. Can I just tell you? It’s all been overblown. Because it’s just this, it’s part of just what we had fun with.” And the clip Disney released that includes the song and dance number involving Gaston and LeFou doesn’t include any of the problematic aspects of the film. Are Parents Overreacting, Or Being Hypocritical? Jonathan Merritt, writing for USA Today, also sees parents as overreacting, noting: There are no explicit discussions in the film about gay rights, gay marriage or the morality of gay relationships. The character in question, Gaston’s manservant LeFou, doesn’t have a husband or a boyfriend or even an explicit same-gender love interest in the film. In a single scene, LeFou experiences a ‘subtle’ moment when it seems he might (or might not) be attracted to Gaston. The character is not explicitly gay but rather, according to director Bill Condon, seems ‘confused about what he wants’ and is ‘somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings.’ But as Merritt himself admitted—he hasn’t seen the film. And Bivens, who has seen the movie, highlights several other issues of concern. Merritt, nonetheless, has the audacity to brand parents who decide not to take their children to see “Beauty And The Beast” as “hypocrites.” Why? Because “conservative Christian leaders just helped elect President Trump, and a whopping 81% of white evangelicals voted for . . . a thrice-married serial liar who has bragged about bedding married women and has admitted to grabbing women’s genitals without permission.” Of course, Merritt’s comparison is ridiculous, since both voting and not voting for Trump had moral implications. Whereas it isn’t a choice between either viewing “Beauty And The Beast” or spending the next four years watching something more offensive. But Merritt was not alone in his charge. Patheos author Josh Daffern also argued that boycotting the film reeks of hypocrisy: If you plan on vocally boycotting the Beauty and the Beast for its portrayal of human sexuality, then you need to vocally protest every movie that strays from the biblical standards of sexuality. Every movie that portrays women as objects to be lusted after needs to be heartily boycotted because that strays from God’s standard of sexuality. Every single movie that has implicit or explicit scenes of heterosexual relations between two non-married partners needs to be boycotted as well. Daffern’s more serious charge merits a response: Exercising parental control over viewing habits is a prudential judgment—not an all-or-nothing routine. And prudential judgment requires a balancing of many factors, including the positive and negative aspects of the film, the child’s age and circumstances, and the ability to discuss moral implications fruitfully. There’s A Way To Watch Controversial Films With Our Kids For instance, as a pre-teen I saw “The Other Side of the Mountain” with my mother. Afterward I noted my surprise that she had allowed me to see the movie because there was a scene involving premarital sex. But that point is easily tackled because it clearly occurred and is easily addressed: premarital sex is not God’s plan. And the movie offered many other positive aspects, including a portrayal of suffering and perseverance, loyalty and love, and the inherent dignity of all human beings. Similarly, a young child can easily understand a conversation about the disgraceful mistreatment of American Indians after a viewing of the classic 1973 Tom Sawyer musical. It’s a beautiful production, but problematic in its portrayal of “Injun’ Joe.” But the subtlety of “Beauty and the Beast”’s portrayal of homosexuality does not easily lend itself to a discussion with a pre-teen child. Nor would a young child be able to fully grasp the distinction between being homosexual (not sinful) and engaging in homosexual conduct (sinful), especially with the movie’s celebratory ending. “Beauty and the Beast” also does not provide a good format for teaching children to love everyone and “coexist in a pluralistic society.” Those lessons are best taught with real people—friends and family—and by example. Not by watching “delicious” moments where actors are “having fun.” Kids Have Plenty Of Time To Grow Up Even if these points could be taught, as Joseph Murray II—who is homosexual—put it: “[W]hy do we have to expose our kids to such mature themes? Do they not have plenty of time to grow up? Or maybe the point is to make them grow up too soon and that is where I part ways with my community.” To Murray’s point, I would add: I just want to enjoy a couple of hours of entertainment which doesn’t necessitate a follow-up three-hour lesson on sexual morality and human dignity. Entertainment—especially when geared toward children (which “Beauty and the Beast” is, notwithstanding the PG rating)—shouldn’t require parents to spend more time discussing the moral implications of sub-themes than it took to watch the movie. Exercising my prudential judgment in these regards doesn’t make me a hypocrite—it makes me a parent. ]]>
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    (Review Source)
  • 3 - Why Does Disney Hate Boys So Much? All Their Male Characters Are Losers
    (”Toy Story” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    I was a Disney child, raised on it all. I fell hook, line, and sinker for “The Little Mermaid,” “Lion King,” “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and even “Toy Story.” When Pixar started making movies, I was even more enthralled. I even watched all the Disney shows. Many people don’t remember their show in the evening called “Avonlea,” but I do. It caused me to read all the Anne of Green Gables series and cultivated my love of reading. So I’m always so excited when the next Disney movie pops up. While I’m entranced by the beauty of the gowns and music, my husband is a little more cynical about all this Disney stuff. He was also raised on the Disney movies of the ’90s, yet he’s seen a downward trend that I have just picked up on. Disney has been trying to push that girls, or rather princesses, can do anything they set their mind to. The “Dream Big Princess” ad campaign is huge on their channels right now. They’ve gotten a huge backlash from the Left saying they don’t want girls dreaming of being princesses and longing for a prince to set them free. They don’t need a man to make them happy. So, Disney now focuses on having girls “Dream Big.” Pretty good, right? But in their scurry to make girls feel empowered and valued, Disney has left out the other sex: boys. On Disney, Boys Get No Love I have only boys. We watch the Disney Channel. But they have noticed that there is no commercial for them. There is no encouragement for boys to have big goals. Boys are completely left out of the equation. There isn’t even a picture of a boy in any of their videos or ads. In a world that is pushing gender inclusivity, this seems like a big oversight. It got me miffed and made me look at everything under a microscope. Who are the male role models in the Disney movies? Why do we have to push men to the side in order to encourage women? Non-Disney movies participate in the same trend. In “Bad Moms” you have the unappreciated man-child, the sex symbol, and the overbearing husband who never wants his wife out of the house. Feminism has produced a hatred and overgeneralization of men. Where are all the John Wayne figures? Gone are the men who can be funny, sensitive, and yet virile and able to save the day. In their place are whiny babies, bumbling idiots, or mean, hurtful men. Here, Let’s Run Through the Princess Movies Let’s look at the princes from the 1990s Disney films. Start with Eric from “Little Mermaid.” He’s strong, funny, charming, a little easy to persuade (as Ursula shows), but caring and loyal. He sacrifices himself for the woman he loves. This is someone I’d want my boys to emulate. Now, let’s look at the Beast. He’s mean, quick to lose his temper, and yet he’s lived a life that’s showed him true inner beauty. He learns how to love, and defends not just his castle but Belle from villagers set on destroying everything. He figuratively and literally turns from a Beast into an amazing, strong, caring man who yet again gives his life for those he loves. My boys would probably pretend to be the Beast, but they’d see what he chooses to be instead of what he had turned into, and hopefully that gets ingrained in them. Now check Aladdin. He’s stinky, smelly, has lice, and steals. But it’s okay, because he’s an orphan and lives with a monkey in a hovel. While not the worst male character in this film, the stealing and overall behavior leaves much to be desired. But he tries to better himself and is intensely loyal and selfless to Jasmine, once again intent on giving up his life to save his love. Those are the princes of the ’90s Disney movies. They’re the only male characters that you’d want your sons to want to be like. They’re the only role models from Disney worth their snuff. The other male characters are the villains or overbearing, clueless fathers who bumble around or break all the girls’ things. Even in this era, male role models leave a lot to be desired. Compare to the Latest Disney Movies When “Brave” came out I thought it was an instant classic. The mother-daughter dynamic was really poignant. But this movie had no strong male characters, no one for my sons to look to. There’s the bumbling dad again, who loves much and yet is easily distracted into fighting and other ambitions that usually hold precedence over his family. He doesn’t do much as king except let his wife lead while he follows. The suitors and their fathers are pretty much equally disgusting. Then there’s the villain who became a bear because he wanted the whole kingdom for himself. The brothers are rambunctious and unruly. So, nothing there for my boys to do except say “Feast your eyes” several times. Thank you, Disney. “Frozen” was next on my list. It enchanted me with amazing scenes and music. My son wanted to be Elsa for Halloween and watched it many, many times because of her. Yet in this film the men were just background noise. The villain, Hans, is the charming man who wants to marry Anna but only for selfish reasons and then kill her. The other man in the story is an Aladdin look-alike, Kristoff. He’s smelly, dirty, eats food with his reindeer, and has no other friends. But unlike Aladdin, trolls love him and are his family. They want him to bathe and look nice, yet he still chooses to smell and be dirty. He’s street-smart, but still lets Anna take the lead. When Kristoff finally realizes he loves Anna, he tries to rescue her but can’t. Opposite to the Beast, he doesn’t sacrifice himself but watches her sacrifice for her sister. In the end, he’s just comedic fodder to two charismatic princesses. While Kristoff is not a bad role model, Anna walks all over him, and I’m not sure that’s something I want for my sons. Strong women, yes, but weak men who in the end don’t do anything? No. Now for “Moana.” As someone who lived in Hawaii for a short time, I was really interested in what Disney would do with this. The only male characters in the movie are the father and Maui. The father again, is the overbearing, controlling dad who will not let Moana get in the ocean water or go past a certain part. He wants her to stay in the safety of his wings. As an adult now, I can understand his point of view and would do the same with my children. But it’s not at all attractive to a boy, and ultimately Moana proves that her father is wrong and she knows better. Maui, the demigod, of course is impulsive, crazy, initially mean, and thinks only of himself and how others can praise him. He slowly comes around to trying to sacrifice for humanity, but he doesn’t save the world, Moana does. His actions are just a small help to her and she could probably have done it all without him. His only contribution is to show her how to sail. Then he leaves and sometimes flies over her as she sails with her family. The males take a backseat again to this strong, female character. Where Have All the Good Men Gone? Disney writes no decent male characters for my sons to look up to anymore. If we want to look for male characters, we must look at inanimate objects like toys, planes, and cars. Even in the ’90s that was the case, when a lion was the lead male character. On TV it’s more of the same. “Lion Guard” offers another impulsive boy, but at least he’s the lead character. But there’s no prince to Princess Sofia or Elena. Boys have lower, supporting roles, but no lead. One could argue that Jake from “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” is a strong, male lead character, but he’s a pirate. He steals and plays all day. And Izzy is close to being the lead in that story. It’s also an older show with rarely new episodes created. My boys are of value, and they need to be told they are special too. Even the new Star Wars movies offer strong women and very few strong men. Finn is the closest we get, and he still is a coward who doesn’t save people, the girl does. Po could be an option, but he’s missing throughout most of the movie. In “Rogue One” there’s another female lead and I’d bet money that the male characters are not worth even mentioning. I don’t know the damage this ad campaign will do to boys’ psyches. I’m saddened that Disney can’t offer anyone for boys to look up to in human form. I’m saddened that they desperately look for boy characters and can’t find a decent one among the bunch. My nine-year-old has expressed his displeasure about this. He wants to pretend with his brothers but they must argue about who to be and my four-year-old usually becomes a girl because there are no characters they would like to be but the villain. Who wants to be the overbearing dad? I wish Disney would see how they are treating boys. Their stories suggest boys are supposed to take a backseat to girls and let them do whatever they want. Boys’ dreams just aren’t considered as important. They don’t need to be cultivated and encouraged because they just don’t matter as much. Is this the message we want to send to our boys who will soon become men? Sit down, shut up, and listen to the women? Women and men should be alarmed at this ongoing trend and take a stand. My boys are of value, and they need to be told they are special too. They also need to be told that they can save the day, just like the women. Disney, listen up: I’m watching you. Give my boys something tangible, something for them to emulate that’s real. Don’t push boys to the side to build up the girls. Why can’t we build and strengthen both? ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

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  • 1 - Inside Out: Will It Be One of Pixar's Best?
    (”Toy Story” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Inside Out, Pixar’s newest film, is coming out tomorrow. You can read our full review later today, but the other reviews I’ve seen have been, safe to say, glowing. Not that we expect anything less of Pixar, Disney’s wildly inventive animation adjunct. Ever since the studio blasted to prominence with 1995’s Toy Story, Pixar has churned out classic after classic. And here’s the interesting thing: Almost everyone seems to have a favorite Pixar movie. During the screening of Inside Out, I asked some folks sitting around me what theirs was. “Toy Story,” one mother said. “Finding Nemo!” her daughter chimed in. I heard Cars and The Incredibles and Toy Story 3 and Up. The main takeaway, of course, is that Pixar makes some pretty good movies. They take on ticklish themes like loss and grief and turn them into compelling, freakishly enjoyable works of art. And their messages are so responsible that they even make the crankiest of Plugged In reviewers smile. Nothing lasts forever, of course, and Pixar will eventually crank out something that doesn’t engender universal squeals of glee. (Some would say Cars 2 might’ve been Pixar’s first clunker, actually.) But today—just for fun—I thought I’d give you my own Top Five list of my favorite Pixar flicks. Up. With all due respect to Brave, this might be Pixar’s bravest flick. It’s a rare studio indeed that would feature a grouchy old man as a hero for its animated “kid” flick. Or that it would try to make its audience cry in the first 15 minutes. But that’s what Up does, and it does so beautifully. (Plus, the dog Doug is a hoot.) Finding Nemo. Even after watching it a half-dozen times, this movie just doesn’t get old. This charming father-son story is taut, touching and—mainly thanks to the antics of the blue tang fish Dory—laugh-out-loud funny. When I was at Walt Disney World recently, I regularly walked past a hotel decorated with the seagulls from Nemo, and every now and then they’d all break into a cacophony of “mine!” I giggled every single time. WALL-E. Only Pixar, I think, could take a musical clip from Hello Dolly!, an overcooked and emotionless musical from 1969, and infuse it with genuine heart and melancholy—courtesy a vocabularily-impaired robot, of all things. I’ve only seen this flick once, but just writing this paragraph makes me want to watch it again. Toy Story. Some people say that its two sequels are superior, and they are both great in their own ways. But I have a soft spot for the original. This was Pixar’s introduction to most of us, I think, and it still feels pretty magical. The interplay between Woody and Buzz is priceless, and the message is surprisingly deep: Buzz’s realization that he’s “just a toy” is something that many of us can feel when we realize we might not land in the NFL or on Broadway—but can still can have a pretty awesome, and even heroic, life. Monsters, Inc. Surprised? Me too, actually. I was pretty sure I was going to wind this list with The Incredibles (being the superhero geek I am). But remembering fearsome beastie Sulley learning to care for and even love the “dangerous” little girl Boo, and thinking over the (semi-cliched but very biblical) message that love and laughter is more powerful than fear, I had to give the last slot to the blue-haired guy and his one-eyed wise-cracking pal. Will Inside Out land in this Top 5 list someday? I can’t answer that just yet. For now, I just hope I didn’t miss any of your favorites. But if I did, let me know below. ]]>
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    (Review Source)
  • 2 - Mockingjay Sings Its Way to Another Win
    The proud, plump turkey reigned supreme over the holiday break, and many of us are still packing away the leftovers. But another bird was pretty popular, too: the Mockingjay. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 continued to gobble lots of money from the domestic box office this weekend, stuffing an estimated $51.6 million into Lionsgate’s metaphorical turducken. All told, Katniss and Co. have earned nearly $200 million in just 10 days. That’s a lot of gravy. Mockingjay’s strong performance pushed two hefty newcomers—The Good Dinosaur and Creed—to second and third place, respectively. Dinosaur probably wasn’t as good as Pixar hoped it would be, earning $39.2 million over the weekend ($55.5 million when you lump in its Wednesday and Thursday take). While that’s not exactly dino-gruel (and was plenty to earn it a second-place finish), Box Office Mojo reports that it’s the lowest debut from the animation studio since 1995’s Toy Story. ‘Course, Toy Story wound up doing pretty well for itself, so we’ll see. Creed finished third with a strong $30.1 million, topping two long-in-the-tooth holdovers, Spectre (fourth with $12.8 million) and The Peanuts Movie (fifth with $9.7 million). It’s interesting: Spectre and Peanuts have been as inseparable as Peppermint Patty and Marcie throughout their box office run, with Charlie Brown’s crew tightly tailing James Bond for the last month. Maybe when these two movies are released on DVD, they should be packaged together as some surrealistic box set. One more movie to note. Victor Frankenstein, the holiday weekend’s third major release, was a major flop. It earned less than $2.4 million over the weekend—a monstrously bad performance. Frankenstein’s three-day performance is technically the worst ever for a movie opening in more than 2,500 theaters: It escapes eternal, Oogieloves-level notoriety only because it technically opened on Wednesday. The movie, just like the monster, is perhaps an experiment best forgotten. Final figures update: 1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, $52 million; 2. The Good Dinosaur, $39.2 million; 3. Creed, $29.6 million; 4. Spectre, $12.9 million; 5. The Peanuts Movie, $9.7 million. ]]>
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    (Review Source)

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