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Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Few Thoughts on 2015

Another year, another year-end recap. 2015 has come and gone and, I gotta tell you, it's been a great year, both for movies and me personally. Pixar-wise, 2015 was a big year. For the first time, Pixar released two films this year. And, like a lot of movie studios when they release two movies, one was great and the other was ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ eh. Inside Out was the first to come out in June and it was spectaular. My thoughts are better outlined here. Needless to say, I enjoyed it. The second Pixar movie to come out this year was The Good Dinosaur. I have to admit, I haven't seen it. Probably won't see it until it hits Blu-Ray. The movie has been very polarizing, with some people saying it's amazing and others saying it's a god-awful piece of trash. I couldn't tell you whether it's the latter or the former or somewhere in the middle, but I know that a lot of people love it and a lot of people hate it so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Money-wise, Inside Out was the sixth-highest grossing film of the year, and the thrid highest-grossing Pixar film. Meanwhile, The Good Dinosaur was, by all intents and purposes, a failure. It only made $17 million more than its production budget and, factoring in marketing, it will probably go down as the first Pixar movie to lose money. But that's okay. Pixar needs a failure to show they can't just rest on their laurels and they need to continue making original films. New movie-wise, Pixar confirmed their schedule for the next three years, with Finding Dory hitting next June, Cars 3 hitting June 2017, Coco, the Lee Unkrich-directed Dia de los Muertos movie, coming November 2017, Toy Story 4 coming June 2018, and Incredibles 2 coming June 2019. I'm excited for the upcoming slate. Finding Dory, I'm still not a fan of and the character designs that just came out are not exactly helping. I think Cars 3 can be good if they return to the roots of the Cars franchise, and not make Mater the lead. Coco seems intriguing. We don't much about it, so I can't exactly say what I'm expecting, but Lee made Toy Story 3, so I trust him. Toy Story 4, still not a big fan of, but I'm interested in where they're trying to go, with it being a Bo Peep-Woody love story. Incredibles 2, I can't wait for. With Brad Bird returning, it should be a great time.

As for movies in general this year, 2015 will probably go down (until 2016) as the best year for movies ever. So many great movies came out this year. The ones that came out this year that I've seen were Kingsman, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Tomorrowland, Jurassic World, Ant-Man, Paper Towns, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Kingsman, I love. Avengers 2, I love. I remember having a big, dumb grin on my face the whole time I was watching it. Mad Max was great. It was just so batshit insane, while still being extremely poignant and heartfelt. Tomorrowland was pretty good. Probably the worst thing Brad Bird's done, but when your first four films are as great as his, it's not that bad. Jurassic World was pretty good. While I do agree with, well, everyone that the characters were awful, there's just something about dinosaurs destroying shit that's just so great. Ant-Man was good. It served as a nice little break in the MCU and I can't wait to see what they do with the character next. Paper Towns was okay. I was never a huge fan of the book, so I had low expectations for the movie, but it was actually quite good. Finally, Star Wars. Oh my god, Star Wars. What a movie. For a movie that I had such high expectations for, it EXCEEDED them. If it's any indication of how much I loved it, I saw it twice in the first 24 hours in was out and then again three days later. It's great.

Looking forward to 2016, it's shaping up to be yet another fantastic year. For Pixar, the only release for next year is Finding Dory. I'm not a fan, but it will definitely still make a bajillion dollars and will make up for the financial failures of The Good Dinosaur. Kung Fu Panda 3, Hail, Caesar!, Deadpool, Zootopia, Batman v. Superman, Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Independence Day 2, the female Ghostbusters reboot, Star Trek Beyond, Suicide Squad, Laika's Kubo and the Two Strings, Gambit, Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Moana, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It's as though a thousand wallets cried out in terror and then were suddenly silenced.

So that concludes my year in review. Personally, this has been probably my best year ever. I've met and gotten to know a lot of great people through my fraternity and beyond. I've gotten to experience some amazing opportunities, working for both Ball State and Purdue. After a tumultous 2013 and 2014, it's nice to finally settle in where I'm at and feel like I'm part of another great family. So thanks to everyone who helped make my 2015 so cute and so frat. See ya in 2016, maybe, who knows. This blog gets so underused that I sometimes forget to use it. I'll be around though. I'll probably post a Finding Dory review and other random things. So stay tuned, I guess.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Inside Out Review


Pixar's back! From a two-year hiatus from the theaters that included some shorts and lots of future movie annoucements. But here they are, back on the big screen with Inside Out. And if anyone out there was worried that Inside Out would continue the (BS) recent Pixar tradition of sub-standard films, boy were they eating crow. Inside Out is a perfect addition to the Pixar filmography and, in my personal opinion, one of the top three films they've ever produced. From literally the Disney logo on, you are thrown into this amazing world that Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen and the rest of the crew created. We are first introduced to Joy (Amy Poehler), who, for being the literal embodiment of happiness, is one of the most conflicted characters Pixar's ever created. Her struggle to maintain order in Riley's head and her conflicting opinions with those of Sadness (Phyllis Smith) are what drive the film and keep the action moving forward. Going back to Sadness, she might be one of my favorite Pixar characters ever. For being one solitary emotion, she has a lot of underlying traits that make her wonderful. Riley's other emotions are great characters too, if not super developed like Joy and Sadness. Fear (Bill Hader) has some great moments as he and the other emotions try to run HQ without Joy around. Anger (Lewis Black) has some great moments, especially regarding the running gag of the gum commercial. Disgust (Mindy Kaling) is also pretty great. We can't forget the real star of the movie, Bing Bong (Richard Kind). For someone barely in the marketing and with such a mysterious aura surrounding him, Bing Bong might be the best character in the film. He has probably the most emotional scene in the film (which I won't spoil) and, other than Anger, some of the funniest moments in the film. He's great. The human characters, though, are what make the film so powerful. Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), her mom (Diane Lane), and her dad (Kyle MacLachlan) bring a personal connection to the film that helps it really hit hard with audiences, which helps make it so emotional. And by emotional, I mean EMOTIONAL. For a film about emotions, the one you use the most while watching is sadness. Seriously, Pete Docter really loves leaning on the feels card. With Boo and Sulley's goodbye in Monsters, Inc., the Married Life and Things We Did sequences in Up, and now this, he's easily the best over in Emeryville at tapping into raw emotions. The animation is just lovely. It's got a really nice cartoony feel when we're in Riley's head, and outside it features the best human animation I think Pixar's ever done. There's one scene where the animation styles change and it might be the single most amazingly animated sequences Pixar's ever done. The score is amazing too. Michael Giacchino is now 5 for 5 at making fantastic scores. The score helps egg on the emotion too, much like it did for Up. The lesson of Inside Out might be the deepest, and yet simplest, of any Pixar film ever made. I won't tell you what it is, you'll have to see for yourself.

The whole stage for Inside Out is set up by the short Lava, directed by James Ford Murphy. It's a fun little short. The animation is unbelivable, not as great as The Blue Umbrella, but pretty damn good. The person I sat next to when I saw the movie kept snickering at the forced lava pun, which is pretty cheesy. But aren't a lot of cute things incredibly cheesy? The trailers I saw (that I can remember) where The Good Dinosaur and Minions. There were others, but I forgot. Not a big reaction for TGD, but whatever I'm excited. Minions however got huge laughs for almost everyone except me and my sister. I don't get the minions. Sorry, but I liked them better when they were green, three-eyed, and praising a claw.

So, moral of the story is Inside Out is great. Like really great. It's a shame it'll probably be the one to break the string of number one debuts for Pixar films. Stupid, sexy Chris Pratt. Anywho, just go see Inside Out. It really is worth it. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cheer. I know I did.

FINAL SCORE: 9.5/10

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Few Thoughts on 2014

Three years I've been doing this and every year I've done a recap of the year and a look ahead to the following year. Why stop now? So 2014. Kind of a sucky year Pixar-wise. No movie made it a really empty year. However, it was a hot (and disappointing) year for future announcements. First off, in March, Bob Iger confirmed the development of Cars 3 and The Incredibles 2. My thoughts are expressed here. Then, in October, new stuff! The first teaser for Inside Out was released and it was glorious. Then, disaster struck. Toy Story 4 confirmed. I was none too pleased. Still not, but whatever. In the last month of the year, Toy Story That Time Forgot was released. I loved it. The second trailer for Inside Out was also released and was pretty good. Movie-wise, 2014 might have one of the greatest ever. The Lego Movie, Captain America 2, Godzilla, X-Men: DOFP, HTTYD2, TFiOS, 22 Jump Street, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, BH6, Mockingjay, Penguins of Madagascar, so many great films.

Now, on to 2015. After the Pixar-less 2014, we get a double dose of Pixar in 2015. First up, on June 19, is Inside Out. As I stated earlier, I thought the trailers looked great and I'm super excited for it. Then, on Thanksgiving, we get The Good Dinosaur. I'm really intrigued by what they have planned for this film that has had a rocky development. Elsewhere in the film world, 2015 is shaping up to be just as good, if not better, than 2014. Jupiter Ascending, Spongebob 2, Kingsman, Chappie, Avengers 2, Mad Max, Tomorrowland, Paper Towns, Jurassic World, Ant-Man, Fantastic Four, Victor Frankenstein, Spectre, Peanuts, Mockingjay 2, The Force Awakens, and Mission: Impossible 5. My wallet is gonna be hurting next year. So, if you've made it this far, thanks for reading. I'll be around next year on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, not sure about here. I'll definitely put up reviews for Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur. So thanks for reading.


P.S. Go watch Black Mirror on Netflix it's great

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Love Letter To Toy Story

I wrote this for a class, but I figured I'd post it here, just for fun.


I have chosen to do my study over something very simple: a Buzz Lightyear toy. Now, the toy itself doesn't have any real significance. I mean I bought this in a set of eight for ten bucks at the Disney Store two years ago. But what it represents, the pop culture phenomenom that is Toy Story, is far reaching, even to this day, 19 years after the first film. I mean, as I write this, a Christmas special just premiered and they announced a fourth film just one month ago. Now, it's just a simple little PVC toy that doesn't do anything special. Of course, that's as far as I know. Maybe it does come to life when I leave the room, like in the movie, but I have no evidence supporting that. The course theme that this toy represents is the tech/science part. Toy Story was the first fully computer generated film. It represented a changing of the guard. 2D animation was the king back in 1995. Just the year prior, The Lion King had been released and became the highest grossing animated film of all time, at that point. So 2D was at its highest point since the '50s and '60s, when Walt Disney was still alive making magical films such as Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Sleeping Beauty. But, once Toy Story came out, there was a flood of CGI animation. DreamWorks Animation, Blue Sky Studios, even Disney itself abandoned traditional 2D animation for CGI within ten years of the release of Toy Story. And it still inspires people to this day. Students of computer animation owe their careers to Toy Story and Pixar. The two sequels have drummed up feelings of wonder and awe in kids of all ages from one to one-hundred-and-one. John Lasseter, director of Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and the upcoming Toy Story 4 said "There will always be something special about the characters from Toy Story. They were the first." And he's right. Toy Story is a film series that has inspired the current generation (hi) and will continue to inspire generations to come. I'm not alone in saying this but I love Toy Story.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Toy Story 4 Confirmed for 2017

Why, God, why? If there is any movie series on the planet less deserving of another sequel than the Toy Story franchise, come find me and tell me about it because I want to know. I'm incredibly upset right now, so I'm probably overreacting a bit, but this news is incredibly upsetting.


Source

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Inside Out Teaser



After years of waiting, the first teaser for Inside Out is here. It's been a rough year for Pixar fans, what with no movie this year and the only new thing being Toy Story That Time Forgot in December, so it's nice that the beginning of this teaser is a little retrospective of the company we love. Inside Out drops June 19, 2015 in Disney Digital 3D.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sigh... The Incredibles 2 and Cars 3 Announced




It's finally happened. Today, at the Disney Shareholders Meeting, Robert Iger announced that Pixar is currently in development on The Incredibles 2 and Cars 3. Ugh. I'm not pleased by this news. Neither of these films have any reason to exist beyond $$$$$ for Disney/Pixar. At least with The Incredibles 2, it was announced that Brad Bird is working on it, but, still, no need. I want Brad to be working on original stories, not unneeded sequels. I honestly think Cars 3 is more necessary than The Incredibles 2. At least Cars 3 can help atone for the mediocrefest that was Cars 2. The Incredibles 2 doesn't need to happen. Neither does Cars 3. I get that sequels are a necessary part of all movie studios, but it can probably stop soon. This will make six out of ten films as sequels (TS3, Cars 2, Monsters U., Finding Dory and now these two.) I really hope this is just a strange phase for Pixar, sort of like the phase DreamWorks went through from 2002 to about 2007 of making stupid/unnecessary films/sequels (except Shrek 2. I like Shrek 2.) DWA came out of that phase and have made some of my favorite animated films recently. Pixar, please stop.