It seems like it would be easy to criticize Pixar for making so many sequels these days. Between Toy Story 3, the new Monsters University and the upcoming Finding Dory, it seems almost like they’ve forgotten how to make new, original films. Yet, where other companies would use a sequel as a way to cash in on previous success, Pixar instead gives us creative new stories that use a well known base to tell new, original stories, and never gives us just more of the same. (Even the generally poor Cars 2 dared to do something different.) The result with Toy Story 3 was a sorrowful and heartfelt look at aging and the passage of time which was nominated for Best Picture. And now, with Monsters University they’ve done it again, taking the characters we love and going back to tell a prequel, and giving us a funny new story that fits in with what we know yet stands completely on its own.
Monsters University, as the title suggests, is a college movie, equally Pixar’s version of Revenge of the Nerds as it is a Monsters, Inc. spinoff. Continue reading →
World War Z is something of an anomaly. For starters, it’s a zombie movie rated PG-13, which means no blood, gore or foul language. Secondly, it stars Brad Pitt, from the top of the A-list. Then, it’s directed by Mark Forster, known for dramas like Monster’s Ball, the heartbreaking Finding Neverland, the offbeat comedy Stranger Than Fiction, and the worst James Bond movie of recent memory (Quantum of Solace). It’s extremely loosely based on the otherwise unfilmable book by Max Brooks (son of film-comedy genius Mel Brooks), and had more behind-the-scenes troubles than I could even relate here, involving reshoots, rewrites, and an ever-inflating budget.
All of that is superficial, however, because where World War Z really stands out is its scope. Continue reading →
The superhero movie as we know it was born in 1978 with Superman, starring Christopher Reeve. The posters claimed “You’ll believe a man can fly” and we were given a movie that seems very dated by today’s standards. Reeve, clad in spandex, soared on wires in front of a blue screen in many ways seems silly to modern audiences. Clark Kent was the squeaky-clean all-American, still standing up for “truth, justice and the American way” 40 years after his introduction in the comics. It was undeniably goofy, but timeless in a way. It gave us a modern yet dated world, where reporters dressed like they were in the 1930s yet boarded helicopters from the roof of the Daily Planet.
Of course, superhero films have gone through many incarnations since then. Continue reading →
Last year for my birthday I had a movie marathon. I saw Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Brave and The Avengers in the theater in one day. Yes I paid for a ticket for every film. I decided to do it partially because it just seemed like a fun idea, but also because I wanted to break my previous record of 3 films in a day in the theater. I picked the day in advance, knowing which films would be available for viewing and waited for the showtimes to be posted. It all worked out, I was able to schedule everything in what I anticipated to be an ascending level of quality (I had already seen The Avengers by this point). Everything went smoothly and I had a great time and some friends even joined me for Brave.
So, naturally, I decided to repeat the event this year, making it an annual birthday tradition. I decided on having it this Saturday at the newly refurbished theater that is the closest to my house (a different theater than the one I went to last year). I chose a range of movies that would give me a variety of styles and hopefully a good scattering of showtimes. Continue reading →