Toy Story 3 film review


Image taken from Cinecon.com. If you wish me to remove it please let me know

In a summer that has let me down immensely with regards to films, Toy Story 3 lifted me up. It is going to be very difficult to distill how incredible this film is into meaningful or insightful words and criticism. Pixar has absolutely unequivocally proven they are the masters of their craft. Not only has Pixar created a phenomenal end to a franchise that showed the world the power of computer animation to audiences worldwide, Pixar has crafted the first astonishing second sequel I’ve ever seen.

While I’m gushing about the film, I don’t want to spoil the experience. I also don’t want this to be a cheap little review like the other films I’ve recently gave half-assed reviews to. No, this film deserves not only my whole ass but everyone’s whole ass. This is a complex, beautiful piece of work rich with texture and adult themes.

Toy Story 3 is a continuation of a grand story arc. Toy Story showed us that our child’s play things come alive. They feel, they fight, they stick together. The movie introduces us the rules toys live by: be true to your owner and to each other. Understand that others may be better than you but always be better to yourself. (Woody’s jealousy regarding the arrival of one Buzz Lightyear comes to mind).

Toy Story 2 reminded us that while toys are ageless, children are not. Children grow up, lose interest, find out about the world less through their imaginations. Toy Story 2 is partially about coming to grips with aging and irrelevance and then embracing that eventuality by living each moment in the moment (Jessie’s fear of being forgotten and thrown away and then her acceptance that she can always start anew.)

Toy Story 3 brings the above films together. Now the reality is there. Andy, the imaginative little boy who so dearly loved all his toys has indeed grown up. While he has no interest in toys a part of him still is drawn to his two favorite toys (Buzz and Woody). College is calling him away and now the toys must accept fate: the attic or the trash heap. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen provide the poles by which the film is measured. Fantastic voice work from both of them. Woody still believes that he and his fellow toys can be of use to Andy at some point. Buzz isn’t so sure.

The toys wind up, through misunderstanding and the vagaries of the world, at Sunnyside Day Care. They are met with promises of a toy-heaven. They will never be forgotten and will never not be played with. New children will always come to play with them and they will not rot in attic or be lost to a garbage dump. The center of this promise is one Lotso, an old bear (voiced by Ned Beatty) who is later revealed to be a false prophet.

I won’t say any more about the plot. I promise you the reader it unfolds in logical and meaningful ways. I will say this, Toy Story 3 is the most adult and dark of all the films. It is truly a wonder how Pixar balances comedy, drama, and genuine emotion. You will be choked up. If you fail to get choked up in this film I advise you to look in a mirror and wonder at how you can be a human being.

Near the end of the film, Pixar brings you to the emotional edge and proves to the world they are masters of visual storytelling. The character reactions and emotions, with no dialogue, are beautifully rendered and displayed. If you have ever lost someone close, or fear losing someone close, you will be choked up. Just a master-stroke. My father told me that at 58 he never expected to tear up watching a computer-animated film about toys that live when no one watches them.

Toy Story 3 is about many things. On one track, it is about how Andy represents the march of time. How, as we grow up, we lose a piece of ourselves. We allow the world to beat us down, destroy our imaginations. At the end of the film, Andy has one final hoorah as a child and it’s beautiful. Toy Story 3 can also be viewed as a treatise on the importance of family and friends. The intrepid toys bicker, fight, and even at times seem to truly hate each other. Yet, when all the chips are down they realize that all of that is petty and small. They unite and overcome in the face of all odds. Your immediate family is what you were born into. Love those people, for they do not last forever. I know this well and this is why the film affected me so much.

There you have it. I have no other words to say. This is one 26 year old man’s opinion and interpretation. See the film and judge it yourself. Toy Story 3 is Pixar’s strongest film to date in my opinion. I have no higher praise than that considering how much I have loved all of their films over the years even with the slight missteps of Cars and A Bug’s Life. Pixar knows their craft.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

The A Team (2010) film review

This summer has been rather lackluster for the usual tentpole blockbuster season. Joining the chorus of mediocrity is the updated A-Team. I was a kid when the show was originally aired. I think I saw re-runs. My father was an actual A-Team fan though and was surprisingly excited for the film. I was vacationing in San Diego, CA when this premiered. A 5.7 earthquake struck the theater moments into the movie, creating an intense viewing experience. Thoughts are below:

  • It was absolutely mindless entertainment but had a very strange plot structure. I felt like much of the movie went in circles…
  • Jessica Biel’s beauty was wasted
  • Women may swoon for Bradley Cooper and I don’t blame them. I wish I had that muscle definition and didn’t like food and beer and working 9 hours a day at a sedentary job.
  • Rampage Jackson was an adequately satisfactory Mr-T. I mean, B.A. Baracas
  • Liam Neeson’s American accents really are pretty uneven. Thanks Family Guy for tuning me to that…
  • Things go boom and a tank flies!
  • I wasn’t bored
  • It was a fairly violent PG-13 film
  • My dad wasn’t thrilled by it but was also entertained. He had low expectations and they were met

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

Get Him to the Greek Film Review

One of several films I failed to write about was Get Him to the Greek. This is an unofficial follow-up to 2008’s (I think) Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It brings back the breakout character of Aldous Snow (played with aplomb by Russell Brand), the sex and drug fueled rocker behind such international sensations as “The Clap”. The film, directed and primarily written by Nicholas Stoller (a writer for Forgetting Sarah Marshall), tells the story of Aaron Green (Jonah Hill, who while hilarious is looking more and more obese with every film). Green is charged by his psychotic record industry boss Sergio (a scene stealing P. Diddy) to bring Aldous Snow to the Greek Theater in LA in like 72 hours or some shit.

Thoughts:
 

  • Get Him to the Greek is a very funny comedy. It won’t be timeless but damn is a good piece of pop culture
  • The “African Child” music video introduction was… edgy
  • P. Diddy is fucking funny
  • Jonah Hill has got to lose some weight, he looked bloated an unhappy. You’re a talented dude, take care of yourself
  • Aldous Snow’s shtick is hit and miss
  • The soundtrack is often funnier than the film
  • You may never look at Lars Ulrich the same
  • Favorite quote, “It’s like I’m a 50’s housewife. Like my dreams don’t matter”

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

Apolgies

It’s apparently been nearly 60 days since my last review. Things have just been incredibly hectic for myself. Work is beating me up a bit and I’ve both had my heartbroken and have found new romantic endeavors. Also, I just failed to sit down and write. I’m going to be adding several very short reviews today.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

Iron Man 2 review

And here we are, the official kick-off of the summer blockbuster movie season. What better way to start the summer then with a popcorn flick starring the imminently talented Robert Downey Jr.? Iron Man 2 was a blast to watch. Though not as even as it could have been. It’s clear that John Favreau shoots from the hip in his film-making. Clearly that is is a double edged sword here as too  much is thrown on the able on some of the story of the film gets a little mumbled.

Robert Downey Jr. continues to prove that he was a stroke of casting genius. His Tony Stark is pitch-perfect. Not only do we see Stark at his most egotistical, we get to see him at nearly his most vulnerable. However, the film doesn’t seem to risk too much in Stark’s life. Nothing is truly taken away from Stark in this film. Some people are clamoring for the next film in the franchise to go the way of The Dark Knight and bring to the screen the dark story Demon in A Bottle . I really don’t think this is necessary.

Favreau has balanced the darker aspects of the Stark character with great subtly and humor. Not every comic film needs to be gritty, dark, or raw to be meaningful. We are treated to a scene of Stark’s reckless behavior and alcoholism at his birthday party where he embarrassed himself while in his Iron Man suit. His “lone wolf” act is clearly too much of a burden but Stark is too proud to admit it.

Though the story may be weighted down by a ton of characters and references that only Internet nerds like myself or comic book nerds will appreciate, the film is entertaining enough to engage wide audiences. While it helps to know that Marvel plans to bring this character into the Avengers team along with it’s other tentpole films it’s not critical to understanding Iron Man 2.

Another slight disappointment was the unceremonious defeat of the film’s actual threat, Ivan Vanko aka Whiplash (drastically changed from the comics it seems). Here we have a true threat in both power and intellect to Stark/Iron Man and all it takes to defeat him is a sudden realization after a few moments of getting your ass beat.

Another weird villain was Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer (whose name no one would take seriously in real life). Rockwell clearly had a lot of fun with the role of jealous competitor to Tony Stark. I love how he demeans Stark by calling him Anthony.

There is a lot to review about the movie. Scarlett Johannson is a beautiful woman and it’s great to see her kick ass but the character of Natasha Romanov was a little shallow. Again, the shoot from the hip film-making and uneven story are a bit to blame for this. John Favreau pats himself on the back a lot by placing the chauffeur role of Happy Hogan more into the forefront. Not that I blame him, the character does have some importance in the Marvel universe.  That’s that. Iron Man 2 was a good time at the movies.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

Kick-Ass film review

Yet another late review. I really do apologize. Life just keeps getting in the way of me keeping up with this non-money generating blog. Funny how that goes. So I’m going to do another one of my lazy man reviews because today I want to talk more about Iron Man 2.

So a couple weeks ago the friends and I caught this indie-comic film. Here are my bulleted thoughts:

  • Kick-Ass does a lot to entertain the viewer. It has some decent themes about how much shit we let our fellow man get away with. It also has some very dark humor. I mean, this movie is kind of bitter in a way. When the titular hero does go out to finally step up to some street thugs he nearly gets gutted like a pig. It’s a brutal way to bring the audience down to earth and state this is not your typical hero film
  • Nicholas Cage proves he can still bring it if he restrains the crazy. His Big Daddy character is awesome and he provides very dark humor in that character. He also plays a strange father to newcomer Chloe Moritz (Hit-Girl) but you can tell he has the depth to show love a father should have for his daughter
  • The movie is incredibly brutal in its violence. If you don’t like the idea of seeing an eleven year old girl get the snot beat out of her you may want to avoid the film.
  • Vigilante justice is a tough road
  • Comics are an escape mechanism for nerds. Movies are escape mechanism for people who are secret nerds
  • McLovin will never live that role down
  • Mark Strong loves playing some evil people.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

Clash of the Titans (2010) film review

Where do I even begin with this one? The remade Clash of the Titans was so brash, loud, and empty that all I can remember is my friends and I trying to behave like the characters on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I almost thought to see a SyFy channel logo pop up at some point because the production quality and thought put into this movie was about on par with Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.

Sam Worthington has me scratching my head at this point as to why he’s been given so much work recently. I cannot tell the difference between his Terminator character, his Avatar character, or his Perseus in this film. It’s not that Mr. Worthington is necessarily a bad actor… he’s just not… he’s just missing something. Once again poor Sam goes through the motions of being torn between two worlds. Blah blah he fights some CGI and the day is won and he realizes his “true place” (In Terminator; sacrifice in Avatar; with blue Native Americans/African tribespeople, in Clash; mortals).

The great Liam Neeson shows up to blind the audience as Zeus. He is just there. I’ve read a lot of his stuff was cut due to focus testing. Did the studio show this movie to a bunch of drunken and/or stoned apes? There is no drama from his presence, no threat that he poses to Perseus (however his actions cause the demise of the unnamed crew Perseus travels with). It’s bland and boring but at least his armor is obscenely shiny.

I have nothing else to say on this…. 

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

Alice in Wonderland Review

Another review I’ve been meaning to write for a while. I saw Alice in Wonderland when it premiered earlier this month. As I’m pretty busy and under the weather I again will be forgoing any real depth to my reactions. Here is a bullet list run down of my feelings on this new Tim Burton vehicle:

  • Entertained me throughout. Johnny Depp makes a great Mad Hatter. I don’t understand the hate he’s gotten due to the varying accents he uses in the film. In my opinion, it creates a better view of the Hatter as a truly fractured personality.
  • So Wonderland is really Underland? Don’t know if Lewis Caroll would approve of that
  • The effects work was generally solid with some inconsistent colors here and there. If I had seen this in 3D I think the effects work would have not been as impressive. The Jabberwocky is really pretty frightening for children. The film pushed the boundaries of its seemingly innocent PG rating.
  • Newcomer Mia Wasikowska is cute but doesn’t really bring too much aside from looks to the proceedings. Anne Hathaway is beautiful at the White Queen but is an afterthought. And I was seriously annoyed by her having to have her arms in a weird “dainty pose” in every scene she was in
  • Chesire Cat is always incredible
  • Tim Burton is still a good director but should branch out to work with actors other than Depp and his sort of wife Bonham-Carter.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

The Wolfman film review

The Wolfman is one of Universal Studios’ most celebrated horror franchises. After an embattled production, release delays, and script rewrites we now have Joe Johnston’s remake of the 1941 classic. In nearly all human cultures there are stories of men turned into beasts via a curse. All cultures have ideas of what is means to be human and the threat of losing that identity to malevolence or violence. This is an idea that no longer is original so how does one even hope to make it engaging? If you’re living in 2010, you take out most of this identity crisis and sprinkle it with insane amounts of violence and generalizations about lycanthropy.

Benecio del Toro turns in an admirable performance as the titular Wolfman. He is apparently an American actor born of British parents who has essentially self-exiled himself after a traumatic experience. His character, Lawerence Talbot, returns to Victorian England after the death of his estranged brother at the claws of some “creature”. After some investigation he finds that the creature is the mythical werewolf. He is of course attacked and the fun ensues.

Anthony Hopkins stars as the distant father, who spouts line of dialogue so obtuse even my head was scratched. There is a twist involved which I won’t spoil but you will see coming a mile away.

Emily Blunt is the beautiful widow of Lawerence’s brother. She of course falls in love with Lawerence too somehow. Perhaps because he is one of three males we ever see her interact with? Her acting is actually better than most of her peers.

The movie is pretty forgettable. If you don’t like violent films you’ll want to steer away. One thing the film really got right was the atmosphere. When the wolfman tears shit up, he tears shit up and people are absolutely affected and Victorian England definitely says, “my word”. All in all I was entertained but not floored. Yeah, my reviews are getting lazy and I don’t really care.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

Youth in Revolt film review

This is going to be a short and not very well-written review of a movie I’ve meant to review a long time ago. Youth in Revolt left no truly lasting impression on me so I’ll just review it in bullet points:

  • The film is entertaining and I did let out a few guffaws
  • Michael Cera stretched himself just ever so slightly to play a “bad boy”. Really I felt like like it was another way for him to use curse words and sport a ridiculous mustache. Note to Cera, you will always look 13. Lift some weights some time.
  • Jean Smart has aged terribly
  • The movie had some really funny and vulgar lines
  • Nothing was special about the story or direction
  • Other people in the theater laughed
  • Here is a poster from IMDB. The lack of real thought on the tagline kind of sums up my opinion on the movie. A forgettable comedy that at least entertains but doesn’t really stick with you.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.