Review: The Blue Umbrella

By this point it’s well known that all new Pixar films are accompanied in the theater by a Pixar short.  Over the years, these shorts, ten of which have been nominated for Oscars, have become as much a part of the Pixar experience as the feature films.  This year, Pixar attached a short entitled The Blue Umbrella to its release of Monsters University.

In some ways it’s difficult to review a film that only lasts six minutes.   Continue reading

Trailer Tuesday: Frozen

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found them to be endlessly fascinating.

Those of you who saw Monsters University were probably treated to this small teaser for the upcoming Disney Animation film, Frozen.  Frozen is a retelling of “The Snow Queen,” a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson.  It features the voice talents of Kristen Bell (sloths!), Idina Menzel, Alan Tudyk and Jonathan Groff.  It’s also a musical, with songs written by Robert Lopez (songwriter for Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon and the Scrubs musical episode) and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

The trailer is just a simple tease, though it does a lot to evoke the most popular characters from Tangled, Maximus the horse and Pascal the chameleon.  It may not tell us much, but it sure is cute!  Take a look: Continue reading

Review: Monsters University

(This was movie #3 of my 4 movie marathon day.)

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

Movie Marathon Planning

Movie Marathon Planning Schedule

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