Tag Archives: Pixar

2015, The Year in Film

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After nearly two months of no activity in my blog and a few hours away before the end of 2015, I simply couldn’t letย December pass me by without offering something to reminisce about the year.
I hope this coming year finally gives me the purpose to really devote some time to blogging, as I’ve wanted to since I started it about 3 years ago.
There are also a couple of series to catch up with, like my reviews of the first season of Mr. Robot, and my ongoing monthly round-ups.

Anyways…

2015 was a year filled with great films, many of which I have yet to see. In lieu of a “best films of 2015” post, I will instead share thoughts on the films I watched this year, whether they were first released 50 years back, or just a month or two ago. The following list will comprise some of the greatest movies I watched (grouped by high ratings of 4.5 or 4/5 only as there were no perfect scores given)ย and some honorable mentions that did not quite make the cut . The following are limited to films I had not seen before or that I had not seen in their entirety until this year.

Continue reading 2015, The Year in Film

Month in review: December films

Due to the holidays and a substantially less demanding workload, I was able to watch more than my usual amount of films, reaching a total of 17 films in 31 days (I actually watched Movie 43 in December, but decided to include it in my previous monthly recap).

The average score for the last month of 2013 was a respectable 2.88. However, I only watched two films that cracked 4 out of 5 or more, with only Reservoir Dogs as a clear candidate to comfortably make my much-delayed Top 250 favorite film list. Worthy of notice is that December was also very 2013-heavy, with 12 films released in the last solar year, and only one film, the aforementioned Reservoir Dogs, that was released before the turn of the 21st century.

Here are the films in the order in which I watched them:

THE FACTORY (2012) [2.5/5]

The Factory

Continue reading Month in review: December films

Film Reviews Recap – January 2012

My relationship with film this year has started in earnest. After a lackluster month of December in which I watched very few films, I decided to play catch-up and, at the same time, aim for some of the quality films I missed last year, with only a couple of exceptions and a few repeats.

Following is a list of all the films I have watched so far this year. I have written a small review for each film, with the exception of those I have already analyzed on this blog:

50/50 ( Jonathan Levine – 2011)

A well-written, efficient and heartfelt film about overcoming adversity and deepening relationships with the ones you love. A very compelling Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars alongside Seth Rogen playing his usual self with a bit more restrain and depth in a film that needed some of his warm comic relief.
50/50 handsomely balances comedy with drama, giving more room to the former until the final few scenes unfold.
I would have still liked a film that was a bit more personal and less lighthearted, yet still infused with some of the comedy that made it work so well.

Rating: 3.5/5 (good)

Continue reading Film Reviews Recap – January 2012

The Best Moments in Film History: Carl and Ellie’s love story in “UP”

Moment # 5: Carl and Ellie’s love story sequence at the beginning of “UP”.

Among Pixar’s collection of wonderful productions, “UP” stands as one of the sweetest, more emotionally charged animated films in their collection.

Whereas previous Pixar films excel in carrying an idea through with clarity and consistency, “UP” packs much of its punch within the first half hour to subsequentially turn into an ad-hoc adventure involving, among other things, a floating house, a group of talking dogs and an odd looking bird.

Continue reading The Best Moments in Film History: Carl and Ellie’s love story in “UP”

Review: Tangled (2010)


I will step out of my mission to watch the top 250 films of IMDB to review Tangled, a Disney Animation Studios movie released last year to critical and commercial success.

Tangled surprised me. It was irreverent, witty, beautifully rendered and cleverly scripted. It comes as no surprise, however, that the mastermind behind the revamping of an old princess tale is no other that the founder of Pixar, perhaps the most innovative studio in Hollywood. In the deal that brought Pixar under the umbrella of Disney, both studios compromised to work together to give the legendary Disney Animation wing a breath of new life.

Tangled is an interesting fusion of the styles that have defined Pixar within the traditional and romantic storytelling of Disney. It is in the partnership of both that the movie blends an otherwise typical princess story into a modern animated film that is set to entertain people of all ages. It has the charm and the scale of old Disney but with the edginess and vibrancy of a Pixar production.

The movie follows Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore), a princess stuck in a castle due to a very deceiving witch (Donna Murphy) who kidnaps her as a baby from the king and queen of this picturesque world while pretending to be her mom. The witch manipulates the princess by painting a world full of deceit, selfishness and horrible creatures that want to cut her magic hair. Now, given the formulaic set-up of Tangled, the narrative does wonders to use humor and sarcasm to start defining the unique relationship Rapunzel and “mother” have. As it is accustomed in animated movies, the secondary characters are animals with human-like personalities that are as interesting (if not more) than those of the main characters. In Tangled we find a cute little chameleon that acts as Rapunzel’s sidekick and later an incredibly persistent horse that chases after Rapunzel’s love interest, the modern prince turned thief, Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levy).

Both main characters have an authenticity to them that is sometimes at odds with the overly beautiful and unreal scenery that they share. The wittiness of Flynn blends nicely with the innocence of Rapunzel. The adventure they embark on is one of self-discovery, for Flynn it turns into a life-changing expedition that allows him to rethink his priorities and, for Rapunzel, the first and best day of the rest of her life.

For its charm, beautifully-rendered animation, wittiness and modern take on an old child’s tale, Tangled gives Disney Animation a brand new hit for a new generation of moviegoers.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (very good)

Niels

Best movies of 2010 sans The King’s Speech

It is, like every random list you might find in the web, subject to personal taste. It is also a list that is impaired by the absence of some of the films that were considered among the best in the last full calendar year of movies among which are titles like The King’s Speech (Oscar winner for Best Picture) and True Grit. However, I can assure you that my analysis is based on a passionate interest in film, having spent an infinite amount of hours watching countless amounts of movies, reading film criticism, listening to interviews made to some of the best exponents of the medium, and having spent enough time to interpret and dissect what I had the pleasure (or displeasure) of watching.

My rating system will be based on a scale of 0 to 5. The higher the number, the better the movie.

A score of 5 will be extremely rare as it is reserved to those movies that I consider “fantastic” and pretty much “flawless”. Less rare but still very difficult to come by will be those with a score of 4.5 which would be just a step bellow, in the realm of “masterpiece”. The great and really good movies will mostly fall under a score of 4 to 3.5. Scores falling between 3 and 2.5 will be considered acceptable and average respectively. Once we hit 2 and 1.5 we are talking about movies with very few redeemable qualities that are poor in various aspects. Anything bellow that, well, it’s simply horrible.

Here are my picks for the ten best pictures of 2010 and a brief summary of what made them so great:

1. Inception (4.5) : a highly complex story that surprises, entertains and stimulates all of your senses. It is not only highly original material, but it’s a blockbuster that does not over-rely in the usual niches of action/thrillers. The film moves with amazing pace. It’s restless, emotional, intense and incredibly smart. The product could have been awful, but instead it was the finest work Christopher Nolan has ever produced.

2. Toy Story 3 (4.5): the very emotional end to the saga that defined and created the most consistent studio of the last 15 years: Pixar. It is a fit ending for a trilogy that connected with audiences of all ages because its message relates to everyone who has ever experienced friendship and camaraderie.

3. The Social Network (4): a fascinating story about the rise and fall of the minds behind the biggest social networking site in the world: Facebook. The script moves ahead with audacity and intensity. The casting was bold and inspired. Most importantly though, the movie resonated with moviegoers and critics alike for its raw and sometimes tragic portrait of a generation so consumed by technology that it has started to forget what makes us human.

4. Black Swan (4): despite being a very predictable story, this film delivers constant thrills. Visually, the movie has a stunning mysterious and tragic aura that greatly enhances the effect of the story. The acting was, without question, sensational, elevating the film with every gesture and every detail.

5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (3.5): Hilarious. Visually rich and extremely original.

6. Salt (3.5): explosive, incredibly intense and with enough twists and turns to keep you at the edge of your seat. Angeline Jolie once again shows her unmatched ability to play an action heroine in a role that thrills and engages.

7. The Fighter (3.5): great acting, very emotional and moving story. Christian Bale steals the show.

8. Let me In (3.5): a remake that does not feel like a remake. A quiet, slow-paced but incredibly suspenseful film that shows that vampire movies can be of great quality when done right.

9. Date Night (3.5): it is predictable in its formula, but Tina Fey and Steve Carrel have a comedic ease and chemistry that elevates the movie to hilarious levels. In its ridiculousness and over-the-top antics, the movie still manages to portray a believable couple trapped in the middle of an unbelievable series of events.

10. 127 Hours (3.5): an acting tour-de-force by James Franco. The movie is almost 90 minutes of agonizing desperation, tragedy, nostalgia and physical pain, but the crafty and talented directing together with the amazing acting give the movie a power that inspires.

Honorable Mention – Kick-Ass (3.5): it received mixed-reviews when it premiered and is, perhaps the only film in this list that has not received the acclaim of the rest I have touched upon. However, there is an absurdity and outrageous quality to this film that makes it interesting, entertaining and excitingly controversial.

Final thoughts:

It wasn’t a particularly good year for movies I believe. There have certainly been better years in recent memory such as 2007 when we got classics like There Will be Blood and No Country of Old Men (two of the best movies ever made) in the same year.

No movie, in my opinion, deserved to receive a flawless or perfect score for I believe they were all flawed in some way or another. Inception could have been well-served with a more twisted and less linear quality to the “dreams”, while Toy Story 3 could have relied a little less on typically grandiose Hollywood scenes.

I promise to review the other notable exclusions in the near future when I have the opportunity to see them.

Niels