What if there was a Best Voice Performance Oscar? – 2006

(Note: This is a fictional creative thinking exercise, inspired by hours of contemplation of which animated performances have been most worthy of attention over the years.  This feature imagines that a Best Voice Performance category was added to the Oscars following Beauty and the Beast’s nomination for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards.  I’ll cover the hypothetical nominees and winner from one year of animated performances.)

Enthusiasm for voice acting was high following the 78th Academy Awards, which presented the most diverse slate of nominees the category had ever seen, ending in a win for a widely respected performer on his third nomination.  The return of Pixar to the fray with Cars, starring 10-time Oscar nominee Paul Newman helped lend some star power and prestige to the race, while two roles in the same film from Robin Williams assured his presence in any debate about potential nominees.  However with every two steps forward comes another step backwards, and when the nominees were announced they were met with a combination of shock, confusion, and in some cases outrage and the bizarre choices, once again bringing the category’s very existence into question.

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What’s your favorite Pixar movie?

With the recent release of Monsters University, many blogs and news sites have been ranking all of the pixar films, so I thought I would do the same with my favorites.  There is some flexibility here, as films tend to move up and down depending on my mood, but the general trend doesn’t change.  (You can also find my ranking of comic book superhero movies here.)  Read on for my list and for a poll.  Let me know what you think in the comments! Continue reading

Many Movies

So, I’ve seen many many movies since the last one I reviewed, and while I’m not going to review them all, I thought I’d give you my feelings on a few of them.

— X-Men: The Last Stand — (seen twice)
The third installment was enjoyable but very lacking in substance and story. Generally a good action movie, but disappointing after the first two. I especially liked Kelsey Grammer as The Beast, and Ellen Paige as Kitty Pride. I do, however, look forward to the Wolverine spinoff, which should allow the series to grow darker again.

— The Da Vinci Code —
I never read the book, based on the recommendation of my father, but I enjoyed the movie. Ian McKellen continues to shine as one of the finest actors working today, and Ron Howard does a good job with the impossible task handed to him. Good cast of actors I love and good, if unbelievable, story. I don’t see what the controversy is/was, though. It’s just a movie, people need to lighten up.

— A Prairie Home Companion —
One of the best films of the year, as expected from Robert Altman. I love the radio show, and you cannot go wrong with a cast this amazing. I warn those of you with short attention spans, or those who don’t like the type of music in this movie to stay away, because it is not an exciting movie, there is no plot, and it’s not really a happy movie either. It is really more of just an attempt to capture a moment in time and really make you feel it. Much could be said of the subtle performances, or the surprising singing abilities, but overall just a phenomenal movie.

— Cars — (seen twice)
Disney/Pixar once again delivers an amazing movie. Perhaps their best other than Finding Nemo. Both exciting and funny, with all the right heartwarming spots that you’ve come to expect from a Disney animated movie. Great voice cast, especially Larry the Cable Guy, who steals the show. Though I personally love Guido and his “pit stop”.

— An Inconvenient Truth —
A movie everyone should see. I like Al Gore a lot, and I think he would have made a much better president had he been allowed to win after more people voted for him than Bush. But that aside, a very hard hitting movie that will make you think and feel deeply. Even if you scoff at the idea of seeing a movie of a lecture from a former Vice-President, you should see this, because it is that important, and very entertaining.

— Superman Returns — (seen twice)
This movie was worth it just for the opening titles and the plane crash sequence. Nothing could say Superman more than John Williams’ theme (his best singular theme he has composed), even if it was used by a different composer for this film. Brandon Routh does passably in the tights, Kate Bosworth and Lois’s son are forgettable, Kevin Space and Parker Posey are great. This movie, however, suffered from a dumb evil plot. Not remotely realistic or threatening. Also a very anticlimactic ending. I know the trend in superhero movies is to be dark and subtle, but this isn’t Batman, this is Superman, the one hero who is allowed to fly off at the end of a movie or comic carrying the American flag to return it to the Empire State Building, or whatever.

— Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest — (seen twice)
Not much to say about this (odd, considering that I myself am a Pirate). Obviously (or hopefully) this movie will mainly function as a set up for At World’s End, because otherwise it wasn’t entertaining enough to sit on its own. Bill Nighy was great as Davy Jones, the action scenes are good, the effects are top rate, but the movie wasn’t too interesting I’m afraid. I would prefer much more swashbuckling and much less supernatural stuff. However, I am very excited for At World’s End, especially due to the return of Barbossa, the most real of all the pirates. We will have to see how my opinion of this film changes after the next one.

— Lady in the Water–
I don’t know what people’s problem is. People complain because M. Night Shyamalan makes up fairy tales to tell, and casts himself in his movies. They didn’t complain at his earlier movies, where he made up his own mythology, AND he is in all his previous ones. People need to get over themselves and just watch the damn movie. ::sighs:: Sorry. I really liked this film, as I have all other Shyamalan movies. I think the story was wonderful, and it was beautifully acted. Maybe I’m just the only one who believes in fairies, or in this case, Narfs.

— Monster House — (seen twice)
This was almost as good as Cars, and was much more creative. Scary and funny, with great action and some of the most realistic animation I’ve ever seen. It was especially good in 3-D. I highly recommend this one to anyone.

— Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby —
Ugh, worst movie I’ve seen in a long time. I am a big NASCAR fan, and I was looking forward to some great jabs at NASCAR, if nothing else. Will Ferrell is not funny, nor is his kind of movie. Making fun of gay people in that manner does not sit well with me, and it’s sad that many NASCAR fans, and many people I went to school with, apparently hate gays as much as the people in that movie did. Stupid, worthless, and disappointing.

I will try to write more regular reviews, look for Snakes on a Plane to be written after this one, I have more to say about it than these others. If anyone likes reading my reviews, or agrees or disagrees, let me know. If no one wants to read them, then I don’t know if I’ll keep writing them. I also plan an article on The Lost Experience, Panthers football, and maybe a couple other things.