Pete's Dragon - Elliot found a stick featured review 

PETE’S DRAGON (2016) – I Won’t Be Your Candle on the Water

Pete’s Dragon is a tremendous disappointment – not because it’s bad, mind you – it’s a very functional movie – but because it has all the impact power of a whiffle bat, and it had all the elements it needed to be better. So much about this film goes right. Like a good remake should, it takes the basic premise of the 1977 original and gives it a unique and thoughtful twist. Forgoing any callback imagery, it avoids cheap nostalgia buttons to act as its own thing. This version follows…

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The BFG - Friendship review 

THE BFG: Too Big For it’s Own Good

The BFG comes to us courtesy of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and Disney. The film is every bit as full of whimsy that a pairing  between these two would suggest. Based on the novel by Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), the film follows a 10-year-old orphan named Sophie, who gets kidnapped by an otherwise Big and Friendly Giant, and finds herself with problems altogether unfamiliar to those from her previous life. Let’s focus on the good first. The acting in this movie is delightful. Ruby Barnhill, whose name…

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Finding Dory in a Cup review 

FINDING DORY – “Just keep swimming…”

I wasn’t a huge fan of Finding Nemo. The film was enormously successful for Pixar and one of its biggest crowd pleasers. I thought it was cute, but that the plot structure was really meandering, and that its message was weak compared to a lot of Pixar’s best. Worst of all, I didn’t connect to the protagonist Marlin (Albert Brooks). In fact, I actively dislike him. I don’t see Marlin as having any positive character traits. He’s a neurotic, snippy worrywart. Sure, he loves his son. He’s not a monster. But honestly, Nemo’s blank slate innocence and growing up story was a far more compelling part of the story to me.

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Up - Russel's Missing Assisting the Elderly Badge top 25 

UP – “We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges”

[Full spoilers for Up follow]

[For the love of God, if you haven’t seen Up, please go watch it right now]

Pixar’s UP (2009) is one of my favorite films of all time. A masterpiece of smart storytelling decisions amount to what may be one of the most dense and tightly paced narratives in existence. Within 96 minutes the film effortlessly blends comedy, tragedy, adventure, and one of the most meaningful examinations of the human condition yet committed to celluloid. And in a format accessible to all ages! In its first 11 minutes, Up exhibits a more thoughtful, true, and heartbreaking love story than most films manage in their entire runtimes. It has to, because while Up is a film about Love, it’s equally about Loss. While these elements to the film are in the text, they’re also supported by an incredibly deep, yet seemingly effortless symbolism that perfectly represents the effect of loss on human Identity.

Up is all about badges.

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Zootopia - Nick Wilde fondles Bellwether's hair review 

ZOOTOPIA – You and Me Baby, Ain’t Nothin’ But Mammals

ZOOTOPIA is a success for Disney on many levels. Financially it just destroyed the previous box office opening weekend of Frozen. From an animation standpoint it’s setting new technical achievements. One giraffe in the film has more hairs (9 million) than the entire cast of Frozen combined, and the level of detail shows. But most of all, it succeeds in simply being a really good movie.

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Riley's+emotions+viewing+a+memory review 

INSIDE OUT – Pixar Delves Deeper

INSIDE OUT is one of Pixar’s finest films, and there is little higher praise I could give a film than that. Though I still prefer UP for its deep symbolism and mature message, and the Toy Stories have a more iconic cast, I believe that the argument could be made that INSIDE OUT is Pixar’s most meaningful and skillfully crafted film yet. It approaches a premise and message as convoluted and complex as the human mind, and somehow, effortlessly streamlines it into a narrative so simple and human that any…

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Maleficent and a Disgusting Child review 

MALEFICENT – Taking the Bite Out of a Great Villain

For the life of me, I don’t know who MALEFICENT was made for. It seems like it wants to be for fans of the titular villain, but while Jolie is fantastic in the horns, she is Maleficent in iconography alone. It seems like it wants to be made for fans of the stage play WICKED, aping a similar fan-fic-that-absolves-the-villain plot gimmick, but unlike WICKED, it doesn’t even attempt to honor the source material. In this it seems to actively oppose catering to fans of Disney’s original SLEEPING BEAUTY. Its plot…

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PL Travers is having none of Walt Disney's shit review 

SAVING MR. BANKS – Disneyvisionist History

SAVING MR BANKS is a difficult movie to peg, and your enjoyment of it will likely depend on A ) How much affection you have for the MARY POPPINS film, and B ) How much you mind dramatized and loose interpretations of historical events. Taken at face value, the film is a quite charming, though it edges on schmaltzy. Looking past that, I constantly wondered what Mrs. Travers would think of the Disneyfication of her life. The acting is phenomenal, Emma Thompson especially. Looking past that, I wondered how accurate…

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Kristoff and Ana's meet cute in Frozen review 

FROZEN – Disney Finally “Gets” Love

The best thing I can say about FROZEN is that Disney finally did it right. They created a modern fairy tale with meaningful, nuanced, and well-defined values that the plot never deviates from. The story has very clearly defined goals, and by the end, the lessons learned are also earned. (This differentiates the film from its recent peer, BRAVE, which had its heart in the right place, but did not earn its conclusion.) FROZEN’s greatest weakness (or rather, challenge) is that it starts a bit slow. The conflicts are personal,…

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Ralph+gives+Vanellope+some+pre-race+advice review 

WRECK-IT-RALPH – The Closest We’re Gonna Come to a MARIO KART Movie

WRECK-IT RALPH is a great little movie. Its ending is as obviously ham-handed as its protagonist, but that’s standard Disney fare. The good news is that the remainder of the film is an amusing and enjoyable homage to video games. The animation pops and the actors give a lot of personality to their 8-bit counterparts. It looks like Disney’s got a hit on its hands and I’m looking forward to not only the inevitable sequel but also seeing Ralph at Disneyland for years to come. Share List

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