We’ve almost reached the end of 2015, and it was a big year for movies. It’s been a year of long-awaited sequels, broken box office records, and some really fantastic movies. There was a lot to love from the movies in 2015, and a few things that weren’t quite so good, so here are my favorite and least favorite things from the world of cinema this year. I generally don’t do a “top 10 films” list, because I don’t get a chance to see everything, and many of the so-called “Oscar bait” films don’t get wide releases until after the year is over. Of course, the best part of 2015 at the movies was getting to interact with so many great people here on the blog, and on Twitter and Tumblr, but I lack the words to properly express my grattitude for you taking the time to read what I write, comment, and discuss movies with me. So instead I present my favorite (and least favorite) movie-related items from the year, comprised of films, characters, scenes, events, themes, and trends from 2015. And let’s hope 2016 is even better!
The Good Dinosaur had a rough journey to the big screen. Its release date was pushed back twice, and at some point in its production it was reimagined and rewritten, with an entirely new cast as well as a new director and producer. But even worse than that, it has the misfortune of having been released in the same year as Pixar’s brilliantly creative and original Inside Out. By comparison, any film would feel dull and ordinary, and The Good Dinosaur is doomed to live in Inside Out’s shadow. But while The Good Dinosaur may be simple or even predictable when held up next to Pixar’s other work this year, it remains an excellent film in its own right. It’s a solid, classic coming-of-age story, with a fun twist, all wrapped in the kind of emotional storytelling and gorgeous filmmaking that Pixar does best.
I’ve started a new video series and podcast called “All-Reel Drive,” in which I talk about movies while in the car commuting to work. The first episode, split into two parts, is now up on YouTube, and it’s all about the movie news from the D23 Expo! You can watch both episodes embedded below, or scroll further down for the podcast versions you can take on the go. I hope you enjoy it!
The podcast versions of Episode 1A and 1B are embedded below. I’ve also included links to the mp3 files, so you can download them to your computer and then upload them to the portable device of your choice. Simply right-click and choose “Save Link as…” to save it to your computer. (My goal is to eventually have them available on iTunes, but I’m not to that point quite yet.)
All-Reel Drive – Episode 1A – D23 Expo Movie Round-Up – Animation
All-Reel Drive – Episode 1B – D23 Expo Movie Round-Up – Live-Action
Thanks for watching and listening! I’d love to hear what you think!
Whew! Day 1 of the 2015 D23 Expo has come and gone, and I’m exhausted. Today’s main events were the Disney Legends ceremony (which I did not attend, but which featured a surprise appearance by Johnny Depp), and the Disney Animation presentation (which I did attend and was amazing). My day started when I joined the queue for the show floor at 5:15 or so, after getting my guidebook, schedule, and badge holder, and after walking by the Buzz Lightyear balloon from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. D23 allowed people to camp out overnight for the first time this year, and I was probably 600th in line to get on the show floor, though there were relatively few people in line for the Disney Legends ceremony (which supposedly wasn’t full when it started).
Disney/Pixar recently released the first full trailer for The Good Dinosaur, due out this November. It’s gone through a lot of changes since it was first announced, with an almost entirely new voice cast, a new writer, a new director, and a new composer. The film’s first teaser trailer just gave us a brief glimpse at the film’s premise, but the new full trailer gives us much more. Take a look and read on for my thoughts:
This year’s D23, a conference every two years exclusively for members of the D23 fan club, was full of news about upcoming projects, but unfortunately it wasn’t the news that people were expecting to hear. There was no Star Wars casting announcement, no surprises from Marvel or Pixar, no Pirates of the Caribbean sequel. What there was, however, was lots of smaller casting announcements, plus an in-depth look at some films which we previously only knew the title of. I’m a D23 member, but I wasn’t at the conference this year, but read on for the highlights of what was announced and shown, along with some of my opinions. Continue reading