Archive for the ‘Pixar’ Category

Calling All Pixar Fans! Amazing DVD Deal on Amazon Right Now!

November 12, 2009

On Thursdays, I typically post a thorough box office analysis article.  Today, I actually had a really cool one about the 3D trend, its box office effect, and the costs of 3D projection.  I’ve been gathering information for a while, and I have lots to report on, but I think the information is useful enough that I’d like to give it its own page on my website, so stay tuned for that.  Still, I don’t want to leave you without a post today, so let me tell you about a truly amazing deal.  Right now on Amazon, you can get the Up 4-disc DVD/Digital/Blu-ray combo pack, Monsters, Inc. 4-disc DVD/Digital/Blu-ray combo pack, and Cars 1-disc Blu-ray for only $36.47 with free super saver shipping.  Read on to find out how to get the set.

Basically, all you have to do is, go to the following link and check all three boxes to get the deal: Click Here I saw this posted on SlashFilm this morning, and I have no clue how long it will be up, so act fast if you want in!


Movie Review: Up Soars/Flies/Any Other Silly Pun You Can Think Of, That Thousands Of Others Already Have

June 2, 2009

It’s midnight on Thursday the 28th, and I’m sitting in a crowded theater full of adults who have gathered to see a computer animated Disney cartoon. I’ve been to a lot of midnight releases, most of them being the huge block-busters, the franchise sequels that people come in droves for dressed up as their favorite character. For superheroes you’ll see people dressed up as the hero or villain (I was Superman for Superman Returns and the Joker for The Dark Knight, myself), for The Matrix you’ll get a lot of latex glad neogoths, for Harry Potter you’ll get a lot of young teens with broomsticks and sharpie drawn lightning scars. For Disney/Pixar’s Up I saw… People. Regular people, who weren’t raving mad over how Spider-Man would stop Doc-Ock or what would happen to Trinity in the third movie of the trilogy (Spoiler, she dies). These were adults who had come to see a cartoon because the people that made it are so damn good at what they do. They weren’t bringing their kids (it’s a midnight release, after all), they were coming because this particular film is the tenth from a company who has yet to strike out.

And Up delivers. It’s a wonderful movie, filled with laugh-out-loud humor, poignant emotion, even some suspenseful action starring the walker totting old geezer hero of the story.

Much has been said about the first ten minutes of the film, adoration it comes by most deservedly. It’s the montage of a love story, from its nervous childhood roots, through the different stages in life, all the way to its tragic ending. There are no words, it just shows Carl and Ellie Frederickson grow old to the perfect score by Michael Giacchino. Along the way we see their trouble with starting a home, coping with infertility, and the constant unfortunate delay of taking their dream vacation to South America. As soon as Carl buys the tickets, Ellie grows ill and passes. It’s a beautiful downer of a beginning. As I sat in that crowded theater at midnight, once the last note of music was played, the audience was completely still, in awe of what they had seen. I looked, because I had to know, and sure enough amongst the chorus of sniffles were tear-streaked faces. In a ten minute, cartoon montage, Up had pulled on some serious heartstrings. I almost feel guilty for not crying, though I had to work pretty hard at keeping my emotions at bay.

Carl lives in the same house alone, despite the sky-scrapers sprouting up around him, and the constant annoyance of the developers who dress suspiciously like agents in The Matrix. When he is forced to move to nursing home, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Tying up thousands of helium filled balloons to the grate his fireplace, he takes to the skies in the house he and Ellie had grown old in. Hoisting a makeshift sail, he points southward, to the dream spot in Paradise Falls they’d always talked about.

Illogical and impossible? Absolutely. Beautifully animated and done very well? Of course, it’s Pixar. Along for the ride is a horrified ‘Wilderness Explorer’ named Russel, who had been pestering Carl to get his Assisting the Elderly badge. Once in South America, they quickly meet up with a strange bird Russel names Kevin (despite her ovaries and uterus) and a dog named Dug, who has a strange collar that allows him to vocally project his thoughts. They come out in a completely matter-of-fact way, as I’m sure dogs actually think, with lines such as, “Hello, my name is Dug, I just met you, and I love you.” It’s hilarious to see and hear, I promise you.

Dug is part of a gang of dogs with similar collars, though he is ignorant to the malicious nature to the rest of their gang. Their master, Charles Muntz, is on the hunt for a bird just like Kevin and is willing to do anything to get it. Sure enough, Carl and Russel get tangled up in these shenanigans, and while Carl’s plans don’t go as he had wished he learns valuable some valuable things in his twilight years, like being a father, for instance.

Edward Asner does a fine job voicing Carl. He’s grumpy and bitter, but softens when he should. The real vocal stars, however, are newcomer Jordan Nagai as Russel and Bob Peterson as Dug. Russel has just enough annoyance to be funny but just enough tenderness to be lovable, treading the fine line between Short-Round and Haley Joel Osment in Pay It Forward. Bob Peterson’s Dug is hysterical, and his delivery of Dug’s lines is spot on. It’s all very honest, very eager, very doglike.

Up is a pretty funny movie. I wasn’t in stitches the entire time, but I got some pretty solid chuckles. The only time I would say I laughed really hard was during a very well placed dog gag, one that didn’t involve Dug. I hate to spoil it if you haven’t seen it, but they set the joke up perfectly with their ominous music and the camera zoom-in. If you’ve seen it, you know what it was. The dogs offer a lot of the funnier stuff in the movie, and I feel they were both over and underutilized. Over in the fact that they serve as an army for Muntz and are omnipresent with him, and serve as the villains in the film, but I still felt there was a lot of funny material that could have been included, especially with Dug.

The biggest flaw in the movie would have to be Muntz himself. As a villain, he just sort of fell flat. His grand scheme is to kidnap a bird to prove its existence, and clear his sordid name. He’s relatively one dimensional, and that one dimension isn’t particularly interesting. When it comes to great villains, The Incredibles has the one-up here. But Muntz serves his purpose.

The story isn’t all that grandiose, either. Not that that’s a particularly bad thing, but when it comes to Pixar stories this one lacks a bit of their creative depth. A rat becomes a gourmet chef in Paris vs. an old man flies his house to South America by tying balloons to it. But it also brings the film back to a sense of reality (kind of). That is, it’s human protagonists, not mice or fish or toys. A lot of Pixar’s creative success comes from humanizing those inhuman objects. So when the main characters are human it feels easier. That’s not fair at all, because I’m sure it isn’t, that’s just the vibe I got.

But the visuals. Ahhh, the visuals! Strikingly beautiful, from the balloons, to the jungle, to the characters themselves. All flawlessly designed with the perfect shape and sheen, from Carl’s square face to the wavy fur on Dug’s body, it always looks impressive. I didn’t get the chance to see it in 3D, but I can’t imagine how spectacular that looks.

This wouldn’t be my favorite Pixar movie. It’s not even in my top four (Nemo, Toy Stories, The Incredibles). It’s better than last year’s Wall-E, though, and would certainly fall somewhere between 5 and 7 on my list of Pixar’s greatest. But to be in the middle of that list is still to be among some of the greatest movies ever made. Up is another majestic film from Pixar, one that makes us laugh, cry, and stimulates our collective imagination.

Clever, Charming, Cute, and Comical. The Four C’s of Pixar.


Doing The Impossible: Ranking Pixar’s Short Films

May 29, 2009

This Week in Blockbusters: Up

May 28, 2009

Yomygod… It’s finally here. I was excited about Wolverine. I look forward to seeing Angels and Demons, I’m being infinitely patient with a friend would like to ‘finish the book first.’ (ahem), and Terminator looked like a good diversion. But the first film I’ve been really ecstatic about, the one I’ve anticipated the most, the one I might actually see during its midnight debut, comes out at 12:01 tonight, Disney/Pixar’s Up.

I’ve purposely avoided too much information about this movie, just because I don’t want to be spoiled on what I foresee to be another masterpiece. When I heard the early premise, and all we knew was, “an old guy straps balloons to his house and flies away,” I won’t lie, I had my fleeting doubts. But my faith was strong and my spirit pure, and as I’ve said, if Pixar announced they were making a movie called “The Little Shit-Biscuit That Could” I would probably froth at the mouth at its release as well. Blind brand loyalty? Perhaps. But when the brand has not delivered a bad movie yet, nay, when the brand has delivered at least 8 (I say 9) great movies it’s hard not to go gaga over each subsequent release.

The movie sounds, not surprisingly, unique and imaginative. (See the treatise on the remakes posted yesterday. Oh, also add Alien to the remake/prequel category). An old widower, who had always promised his wife he would take her to South America finally fulfills that promise by shooting balloons out his chimney and flying south. He accidentally takes a young boy scout with him, who was on the front porch during lift off. From the preview I know there’s an old antagonist, a big funny sounding bird, and a dog with a collar that allows his thoughts to be communicated to humans (interrupted every few seconds by the thought “Squirrel!”). That’s about all I want to know. It looks funny, charming, original, inventive; everything I want from a Pixar film.

So far it has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and 50 critics have voted in. I expect that number to rise; the two nay-sayers are not exactly the most popular on the sight and tend to vote down popular, good movies. A lot of people actually predicted Armond White would vote it down, based on his track record. So reviews are wildly positive. Box office predictions say Up could rack in approximately 60 million this weekend.

Oh, and I believe a teaser for Toy Story 3 is attached as well. Though it might be another sequel, with Toy Story 2 Pixar showed they made sequels just as innovative as they do their original movies.

Excitement Buzz: 8.5/10

Expectations Matched And Butchered

May 25, 2009

Currently, and not surprisingly, Pixar’s Up has a 100% Rotten Tomato ranking from 25 reviewers who were lucky enough to see the movie early. Naturally I’m not surprised. Besides Cars which was a 75%er, Pixar’s movies have all been higher than 90%. The Toy Story movies have yet to receive a negative review, and I can’t help but hate the three people who brought Finding Nemo down to 98. But you understand, Pixar has released great movie after great movie, and it seems Up isn’t about to kill that tradition. Pixar could have its next film be about amoeba and I’d have high expectations, so I always thought Up would perform well.

But what HAS surprised me over at Rotten Tomatoes are the early reviews for another release this weekend, Drag Me To Hell. I’ve seen quite a few previews for this movie and did not think much of it. It looks like B movie horror film with a typical, evil Ouija board storyline and a girl who sees ghosts. But I made the critical mistake of forgetting Sam Raimi defined the B-movie horror genre with the Evil Dead series. Along with Up, we have a second 100% on the Tomatoscale. The movie is 15 for 15 so far, with positive reviews that call it a, “fun horror flick that’s a little gross, a bit silly, and entirely entertaining.” So far the Top Critics have yet to drag that down, but I hope this is a surprise hit in the making.

A Visual Diagram Of Pixar Vs. Dreamworks

April 2, 2009

HAHA! I found this over on Slashfilm, who in turn found this at PoeNews. I couldn’t agree more! (Click the image if you want to maximize it)

Walt Disney 2009 Preview: Things Are Looking Up!

December 17, 2008

I’ve never shied away from my deep affinity for all things Disney, so I was understandably excited when I saw that Walt Disney Pictures has released their 2009 preview package to some major movie websites. (Maybe one day, The Box Office Junkie will be on that mailing list, but not just yet…) It includes the Mouse House’s full release schedule for 2009, as well as synopses and pictures for all of most of the films. Ropes Of Silicon has a great feature on the package. You should head over there and check it out. I’m personally most excited for Up, the upcoming Disney-Pixar film about an old man who ties thousands of balloons to his house, so he can float away, only to find that a cheery 9-year-old boy scout has tagged along for the ride. Like all other Pixar films, the characters look dynamic, the story hilarious, and the visuals incredible. After Wall-E, the Pixar team can truly do no wrong in my book. Anyway, check out the 2009 release schedule (and the Up trailer) below, and then head over to Ropes Of Silicon for the full preview.

February 13, 2009 – Confessions of a Shopaholic

February 27, 2009 – Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience

March 13, 2009 – Race to Witch Mountain

April 10, 2009 – Hannah Montana The Movie

April 22, 2009 – Earth

May 29, 2009 – Up

June 12, 2009 – The Proposal

July 24, 2009 – G-Force

Summer 2009 – When in Rome

September 25, 2009 – Surrogates

October 2, 2009 – Toy Story

November 6, 2009 – Disney’s A Christmas Carol

November 25, 2009 – Old Dogs

Christmas 2009 – The Princess and the Frog

And here’s the whimsical, wonderful Up trailer:

New Wall-E Trailer!

January 3, 2008

     The masterful storytellers over at Pixar recently released a trailer for their latest film, Wall-E! In my book, a new Pixar movie is always an occasion worthy of excitement, for the studio has never released a film that wasn’t exceptionally entertaining (Cars haters, back off…).  Without exception, every Pixar film has been lauded by critics and gone on to great box office receipts, and I see no reason why Wall-E won’t continue that trend.  It opens on June 27th.

     The story takes place far in the future, when mankind is forced to abandon the Earth, but it seems that someone forgot to shut off a single cleaning robot named Wall-E. For 700 years, Wall-E has been all alone, milling about on the Earth doing what he was built to do, but all that is about to change. When an alien spacecraft lands on the abandoned planet, Wall-E falls for Eve, a female robot he sees. Eager to make a connection, he hitches a ride on her spaceship in an intergalactic journey. Check out the super quirky trailer below!