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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 47 – Coco Review

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast, I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. And the latest episode is a review for the latest Pixar film, Coco.

Anyway here’s the episode 47:

I’ve done already done my written review for Coco, however, there were a few more aspects of the film that I didn’t get into in my initial review and as usual being able to talk about anything through your voice allows your passion to shine through far better than text in my opinion. So if you don’t like reading, prefer the sound of audio-based reviews and have some time to spare then check out my review. 🙂

As I mentioned before I’ll cover a different topic or review in each episode and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if they are fans of film discussion. Also, you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining in future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Coco

Howdy ladies and gents, and welcome to another quick review and today I get to talk about a film I’ve been waiting to see for AGES! The latest film from Pixar; Coco. Now when I heard about the film before there was any visual marketing I thought it sounded alright, but I wasn’t too interested. It wasn’t until I heard some of the music during a  Michael Giacchino live concert and saw early positive reviews online. Luckily there was an early preview at my cinema over the weekend, I saw it yesterday and I’m ready to pass judgement! 😀

The plot can be summed up as the following: “Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.

The story in this film was wonderful, the film is full of charm, humour, drama and emotion, excitement and adventure, life lessons and all that good stuff that you’ve come to expect from a Pixar film, but how it goes about presenting these elements is quite unique and captivating. I love how this film presents Mexican culture and while I can’t speak to how authentic it is, it felt real and insightful. Also, the way this film handles themes related to the important family, death and remembering those who have passed on, that was handled so well. But I think what made the film for me was dramatic/emotional moments, there were some really dark and surprising reveals that caught me off guard, but I was glad it was put into the story. But there were also some sweet, heartwarming and sad moments that almost made me tear up too. The only negative I put against the film is that if you’ve seen a Pixar film or animated film in general then you’ll recognise the story beats straight away and be able to predict how the narrative flows and progresses.

The vocal performances from everyone involved were great. Anthony Gonzalez was really good as Miguel Rivera, as the main character you can understand his aspirations and mindset especially if you’ve been in a similar situation with your family where you want to be yourself and not be restricted. His journey from start to finish is fun, sad and engaging. Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal was lovely as HĂ©ctor Rivera, he is a charming and tricky kind of guy who you eventually realise has some hidden layers to him and seeing him and Miguel build their bond over the course of the film is so special. Benjamin Bratt was really good as Ernesto de la Cruz, he’s one of the most memorable characters I’ve seen in a Pixar film for a while because of his story, personality and how he ties into Miguel’s story. Alanna Ubach was incredible as MamĂĄ Imelda Rivera, she was such a fiery and passionate person and I really liked her backstory too. RenĂ©e Victor was great as Abuelita Elena Rivera, she’s Miguel’s grandmother who can be kind and caring one minute and extremely aggressive and sassy the next. Ana Ofelia MurguĂ­a was also good as MamĂĄ Socorro “Coco” Rivera and Edward James Olmos did a nice job as ChicharrĂłn too.

From a presentation standpoint, the film is great. Visually the film is great, there’s a vivid colour palette with striking lighting and creative designs when it comes to the skeleton characters and the Land of the Dead. There is a nice balance between realism and the more cartoonish aspects, with the animation everything is fluid and the characters are super charismatic and elastic, while the art direction is so good with characters having a great deal of variety in the shape, size and clothing and the look of buildings, creatures and several other things look great as well. Also, the film score from my man Michael Giacchino was lovely, it had a large and notable presence throughout, it was playful, fun, and delightful, but also intense, creepy and melancholy, and the songs written by Germaine Franco, Adrian Molina, Robert Lopez, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez were lovely especially “Remember Me“. In conclusion, Coco was everything I wanted and then some, it had heart, humour, adventure, surprises and really good themes in the story too. While it didn’t rock my world, it left a good feeling in my soul and you should give it a watch. 😀

So have you seen Coco and if so what did you think of it? And how do you compare it to Pixar’s previous films? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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I Feel Emotional In This Inside Out Review

Howdy people of the internet, time for a new film review and the film I’ll be discussing today is Inside Out. Now I have been waiting to see this film for what feels like the longest time and the fact that the US have had this film for a whole month before us in the UK has just made the wait that much worse, but it FINALLY came out today and I’m ready to pass judgement!

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To put it simply I really liked the story. Besides a few hiccups in the filmography, Pixar have always found a way to be incredibly inventive, smart and relatable with their plots and Inside Out is no exception. While it is a film primarily focused on the emotions in one girl’s head, there is a big adventure that takes place not only inside her head but also in the real world around her that affects her parents and interactions with everyone else she meets. And just like the best of Pixar’s films there are lessons to be learnt and dramatic moments that make you feel. This film not only demonstrates the importance of balancing one’s emotions, but also the pros and cons of using/ignoring certain ones in specific situations. Also there were at least two or three moments where I felt some man tears coming up as things got pretty heavy emotionally and i swear Pixar know how to touch that emotional nerve in such a beautiful way. Oh and I the film is incredibly funny with some stellar jokes and physical humour that just killed me. I will say that there were some aspects of the story that did annoy me or I felt weren’t as strong as some of Pixar’s previous efforts but those were nitpicking issues at best.

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As for the voice cast, they were amazing. Amy Poehler as Joy was just incredible. Joy was this energetic, caring and high-spirited emotion who was the core of Riley and one of the centers of the film. Poehler was simply great in this role, you could hear her pouring her heart and soul into this role as feel so engaged in her character. Someone who is just as important is Phyllis Smith as Sadness, this character was very depressing and gloomy, and while she wasn’t around to intentionally cause trouble, sometimes she did. What I liked about this character is that she’s down in the dumps, but is also very funny and relatable and Smith just kills with her voice work. Together Poehler and Smith have wonderful chemistry with awesome banter and emotional moments. Then there’s Bill Hader as Fear, Lewis Black as Anger and Mindy Kaling as Disgust, and they were all great. Each of them have their moment individually to stand out but it is when they’re together, that’s when the magic happens, Fear is a nervous wreck and is quick to caution, Anger is just ready to find a reason to be aggressive and Disgust is so sassy and disapproving and it’s fun to see them interact. I would say that Anger was my favourite because Black’s voice just made me smile so much. Oh and then there’s Richard Kind as Bing Bong, this had to be one of the best characters in the film because he was so funny, strange and lovely, but also provided some of the best moments in the film and Kind’s voice work was excellent. Kaitlyn Dias was pretty good as Riley Anderson, while Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan were completely unrecognisable to my ears as Riley’s mom and Riley’s dad, but they were great in their roles too.

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When it comes to the presentation it was great. Visually the film was just beautiful with such detailed CGI for the humans and realistic locations, but even more impressive was the use of colour, textures and shape for all the emotions and other characters that occupied Riley’s head. I also loved the physical representations of how the mind works, how personality and memories were put together and there was just SO much creative and wacky things that I loved.  And there’s the music which was done by my man Michael Giacchino, I swear this man can do no wrong. While it was certainly not as easy to recognise as some of his previous work I will say that it had that emotional impact and lovely versatility that was needed for a film like this.

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In conclusion Inside Out is definitely a return to form for Pixar. This film demonstrates the studio’s creativity, innovation and fun factor in a really wonderful way with a solid story, memorable characters, plenty of laughs and the emotional core that these films are known for. While I wouldn’t say its my favourite Pixar film, it is definitely on the higher end of the list of their work.

Rating: 8.5/10

So have you seen Inside Out and if so what did you think of it? Do you believe that it was a return to form for Pixar or were you expecting more? Please be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next film review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Pixar Makes Plans for The Incredibles 2! FINALLY!

Howdy ladies and gents, it is time for some film news yet again! Now every once in a while there is a small yet important news story that break which is worth talking about and today I just saw one that I had to bring up on my blog. The following info comes from superherohype:

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“Disney Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger today announced that Pixar Animation Studios is developing a big screen sequel to Brad Bird’s 2004 superhero adventure The Incredibles. The announcement was made during a meeting of shareholders and D23 Members during the company’s annual meeting today in Portland, Oregon.

A sequel to The Incredibles has been requested by fans for the past decade with the original film’s writer/director Brad Bird having said in the past that he’s open to another adventure, but only if it has a truly great story idea behind it. There’s no confirmation yet of Bird’s involvement, but he remains closely tied to Disney. His next film, the live-action Tomorrowland, arrives from Walt Disney Pictures on May 22, 2015.”

The best way to summarise my feelings on this is with the words by the great M. Bison in this video below:

This video says it all.

Finally! FINALLY! This is the dream of every Pixar fan for the last 10 YEARS. Think about, what Pixar film leads itself to a sequel more than The Incredibles? And What film in the Pixar filmography have people been demanding for more so than The Incredibles? The answer to both of those questions is none. The Incredibles is the much-loved Pixar animated film from 2004 which basically gave us the Fantastic Four before Marvel did and presented some of the coolest stuff ever in the form of its superhero and family storylines, the amazing animation, great cinematography and groovy soundtrack. When it ended it practically BEGGED for a sequel, but instead Pixar gave us ever other sequel/prequel that NO ONE wanted. Now granted Toy Story 3 is the exception to the rule because that film was awesome. However we got Cars 2 (why?), Monsters University (decent but unnecessary) and the upcoming Finding Dori (again why?), when fans really just wanted to see The Incredibles 2.

So it looks like Pixar have finally broke and decided to give the people what they want and I couldn’t be happier. Sure it’ll be a mammoth task to try and match or ever surpass the original, but hell I wanna see Pixar try.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2014 in Films, Media

 

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Monsters University Review

Alrighty then it’s time for the second review of the day and this one comes in the form of Monsters University! Now I’m not big on prequels and honestly I really didn’t require one for Monsters Inc., but hell Pixar just had to do it anyway so here it is in 2013. I wasn’t all that interested in the film from the trailers and after the disappointment of Brave I was weary of Pixar’s powers to good films. However I was pleasantly surprised with Monsters University and I’ll tell you why its good in this review!

So the story is set many years before Monsters Inc. and focuses on the college years of Mike Wazowski and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan prior to their friendship. Basically you have Mike, a monster who’s wanted to be a scary monster since he was a kid, so he eventually gets to Monsters University and does a scare major. It is at this point that Mike comes gets introduced to Sulley, a big furry monster who is from a long line of scary monsters, and because of their different backgrounds both of them butt heads. Mike believes in being knowledgeable about scary from books, while Sulley believes that because of his looks and heritage he doesn’t need the knowledge and just goes by instincts. So eventually through varying circumstances the two end up working together when they join Oozma Kappa and participate in the scare games, and it is at this point where these two will have to work together not only for the sake of their team but for each other.

I thought the story in Monsters University was surprisingly pleasant, funny and had that trademark Pixar moments of heart that we’ve come to expect. It was great to see where the origins of these two characters and eventually see them form the friendship that we see later on, I was always rooting for Mike because of his dream and righteous while Sully just came across as a douche a lot of the time, so yeah he didn’t have my respect for a while. Also it was nice to see all the neat little references and see how certain elements or characters would eventually tie-in with the sequel film, though I think more could have been done in that department. However for all the bells and whistles that this film had, some of it did come across as a bit predictable and the emotional impact was not nearly as strong as Pixar’s previous efforts.

When it comes to the characters they’re all great at bringing their different personalities to the screen, though some start out more than others. So let’s start with Billy Crystal as Mike Wazowski. Crystal still has it as Mike and I still enjoyed his character a lot because of his encouraging, righteous and enduring nature. Also John Goodman as Sulley was still as cool as ever, Goodman was playing a different kind of role than before and while I wasn’t too keen on how much of an asshole his character was at first I came to like him as the film progressed.

Then there’s Helen Mirren as Dean Abigail Hardscrabble, her character you could say was the villain of the film as she was constantly looking down on Mike and Sully, hoping they would fail. Hardscrabble looked scary and intimidating and Mirren certainly had the impressive voice talent to back up the character’s visual persona. I aslo liked the return of Steve Buscemi as Randall “Randy” Boggs, Buscemi is a great actor and I liked seeing his return to this role in a much different light to what we remember of him in the sequel.

And then there’s the members of Oozma Kappa fraternity who are simply a joy to watch and each have their own individual quirks that make them special. Joel Murray as Don Carlton is great as the senior student, while Sean Hayes and Dave Foley as Terri and Terry Perry make for a strange, two-headed monster. Peter Sohn is just cute as Scott “Squishy” Squibbles and finally Charlie Day provides many moments of humour as Art. And lastly I want o give some shout outs to Alfred Molina as Professor Derek Knight and Nathan Fillion as Johnny J. Worthington III.

As for presentation, while, it’s Pixar and if there’s one department they’ll never fail in it’s the presentation. Visually the film is great, the colours, animation and art direction just screams greatness. I think Pixar have come such a long way, the lighting and texture work is of some of the best I’ve seen in any 3D animation, the fur and hair especially is great and when its hit by moonlight or other artificial lighting is just INCREDIBLE! So good. And the soundtrack by Randy Newman is also wonderful. While not the best soundtrack he has composed, I feel like Newman hasn’t lost his touch at all at creating nice and pretty themes, though the best song in the film by far is Gospel by March Fourth Marching Band, it was SO good and addictive!

In conclusion Monsters University was a fun film that worked thanks to a decent story, lovely characters and that gorgeous animation that only Pixar can create. While the film is fairly predictable and not nearly as memorable as Monsters Inc. I’d say its Pixar’s best film since Toy Story 3 so they’re doing something right in my book. I’d recommend it for any fans of Pixar looking for a fun time in the cinema.

Rating: 7/10 (A fun animated film that’s just held back by slightly clichĂ© elements)

So have you seen Monsters University and if so what did you think of it? Whatever your thoughts drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next film review yo.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Brave Review

Good day to ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another film review and this review will be on the latest animated film from Pixar, Brave.

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Now as I said in some of my previous blog posts Brave is a film I have been interested in watching for quite some time, I think it was purely because it was very different-looking Pixar film when compared to their other films like the Toy Story films, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles or Up. Also with a lack of prior knowledge about this film it got me excited and curious to what the end result would be. So is Brave good? Heck yes, however it is not the next great Pixar I was hoping for.

As for the story of Brave it goes a little something like this:

“In the film, set in the Highlands of 10th-century Scotland, a skilled archer named Merida defies an age-old custom, causing chaos in her kingdom. After consulting a witch for help, her family becomes cursed and Merida is forced to undo the spell herself before it is too late.”

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As Pixar’s first fairy tale it was pretty good. However I feel like Brave had a great concept that just wasn’t fully executed properly and what I mean by that is in the trailers we see that Merida is strong individual who just wants to live her life her own way and when she breaks tradition eventually she’ll have to do something that will test her as hero and undo the mistakes she makes. And the set-up for that in the film is great, everything in the first half of the film is incredibly well-done with genuine drama, emotion and humour. It ticks all of the right boxes and looks set to be another Pixar classic, however when you find out what happens in the second half of the film and the plot continues from there, the film’s awesome factor just drops significantly. It’s like the filmmakers had this great idea and if they followed through in a more adult fashion could it would have been brilliant, however the way the plot developed after the set-up just didn’t do it for me. Though Brave’s story still gets its main themes across in a great way talking about courage, communication, doing what’s right and the bond between a mother and daughter.

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When it comes to characters everyone is wonderful, so let’s start with the main heroin, Merida voiced by actress Kelly Macdonald. She was awesome, Merida is a character that all young people can relate to, she’s adventurous, a free spirit and has a likeable personality, however she’s trapped by royal laws and tradition. So you can’t help but love her when defies tradition and stands up to her herself in front of her mother, she’s such a badass. Macdonald brings her A-game to this role and she was wonderful and I am so glad they got an actual Scottish lady to voice Merida too. Also Emma Thompson as Queen Elinor was utterly wonderful, though she did come across as a very cruel mother because of the rules and regulations that she kept in place for her daughter, you could see that she was a concerned mother who only wanted the best for Merida and Thomas done a great job and her accent was good too. And Billy Connolly as King Fergus was really awesome, he was the more relaxed parent of the two who let Merida live how she pleases and he had some very funny scenes in the film too from the way he is around his family to the way he acts around the other clan members. All the rest of the other cast members were great too.

Still from Pixar's Brave

Here you can see Pixar balanced the detailed yet caricature styled for their characters in Brave.

Now one best things about Brave is the visual presentation, it is simply flawless. Everything looks so beautiful, so detailed, so full of life and vivid in colour. Having the film set in a place like Scotland was a great choice, it allowed for some really detailed and realistic art and animation. The level of realism that Pixar achieve in this film is ridiculous to the point where it looks almost completely real especially with scenes in the forest. Also the art style is pretty darn impressive too. It is quite different from Pixar’s previous work, it seems like artist’s have found a way to blend realistic human features with the more cartoon-styled characters they are known for. I love the design of the characters they are still very animated and quirky, but are more grounded and realistic which I believe works well.

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Another great thing about Brave was the soundtrack done by Patrick Doyle. I think he is becoming one of my new favourite film composers because his work of recent has been very good. Doyle compliments the beautiful visuals with an authentic-sounding soundtrack with beautiful instruments and with the contributions from Julie Fowlis, Mumford & Sons and Birdy, it makes a great soundtrack.

In conclusion Brave is a very different kind of Pixar film, with the use of a fairy tale-styled story and a real world location in the form of Scotland, Pixar have gone further than before and delivered a very beautiful-looking film, with a lovely soundtrack too. However the film as a whole just isn’t as strong as some of Pixar’s previous work, it had a great premise and the set-up was good, but the story overall just didn’t have the pay-off I had personally hoped for. That doesn’t mean this film is bad by any means, by all means go out and watch Brave, it’s a great film for the children.

Rating: 7

Well that’s my review of Brave, hopefully you enjoyed reading and drop me a comment and let me know what you thought of the film. Until next time ladies and gentlemen, peace out. 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012: Brave

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another blog post 😀 As you may have seen I have a done a series of blog posts on video games I am looking forward to in 2012 and as much as love video games I believe that there is a great deal of films coming out this year that deserve to be highlighted. So with that in mind this blog post will be the start of a new set of blog posts talking about the films I’m looking forward to in 2012. And today we’ll be starting with a really interesting one, it’s the upcoming Pixar film Brave.

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Now in a way I’ve been following the progress of Brave for a while now, but at the same time unlike previous Pixar films where I do my research beforehand, this time around I know next to nothing. So in a way I find having no prior knowledge about a film really exciting and it makes me even more curious as to what the end result is. Now as far as I know this film has been in development for a few years now, since around 2008. The reason I say that year is due to the fact that around the time WALL-E was coming out I was looking into the future films that Pixar were going to work on and this film was listed under the name “The Bear and the Bow” but there wasn’t that much information back then because the film was in very early pre-production, but as time when on I always checked back on what would be next big projects that Pixar and Disney would be working on.

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Just looking at this screenshot from the first trailer, you wouldn’t think that this was from Pixar would you?

Now one of the main interesting things about this film is the setting and overall tone when compared to Pixar’s previous films. I mean the Brave takes place during the 10th century in the highlands of Scotland. Also something to take into consideration is the overall look and art style which is quite different from Pixar’s work, the level of detail and realism that Pixar have put into the human characters, locations and animation is quite incredible. Everything has a real earthy feel to it and while in the trailers the film retains some of those quirky/ funny moments that Pixar are known for, the film also seems to have an overall darker and realistic tone which is quite apparent from watching the latest trailer. It’s a big contrast to a lot of Pixar’s previous films which really demonstrates that they are an animation studio capable of variation, change and evolution. One of the things that stand out to me is the location of Scotland, the environment is very different from the city locations that have been in films like The Incredibles, Up and the Toy Story trilogy. And it shows Pixar continuing to advance and try out new locations and settings like the nature-based world of A Bug’s Life or the space-based setting of WALL-E. As for the story, just have a read of this official synopsis:

“Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In Brave, a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts. Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), surly Lord MacIntosh (Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Wise Woman (Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.”

From reading that story synopsis the film sounds pretty intriguing and with Brave being Pixar’s first fairy tale it’ll be interesting to see where they take it and whether it’ll be on par with any of Disney’s previous work of the past and let’s not forget all of the fairy tale films that’s come from other animation studios like Dreamworks and other animation studios.

Still from Pixar's Brave

Here you can see a much more detailed yet ‘Pixar’ styled set of characters for the film Brave.

At first I wasn’t sure what to make of the film when the first trailer came out, I mean all we got from the film was that it was going to be set in Scotland, the hero of the film was going to be a female and that she was an archer. Though the trailer did showcase some impressive visuals and had a tone that really set itself apart from other Pixar films. But the problem was that the trailer was too much of a teaser and told us nothing and that’s why the film fell off my radar of interest. However with the latest trailer really grabbed my attention, take a look below:

I believe it gives us as a better look into the film and what to expect. And I found this scene to be pretty tense and really awesome too. Before seeing this trailer I was wondering what kind of heroin Merida (the lead character) would be, however after seeing this I can see now that she isn’t just a generic wannabe hero, she has a personality and she comes across as pretty badass. Defying the law, defying her parents and standing up for herself, that is totally awesome. And it’s no surprise considering that Merida is voiced by actress Kelly Macdonald and I’ve seen her work in Boardwalk Empire and she was awesome in that so I’m super excited for what she’ll bring to this film. Overall I have a lot of hope for this film, it is the first original Pixar film in 3 years, it is also the first Pixar film with a female lead character, it is set it a real location and again has a completely different tone when compared to other Pixar films and it seems to show Pixar’s evolution as an animation studio, willing to try new things and not be afraid to be more than it can be. Only time will tell if Brave will be a good film or not, guess we’ll have to wait until June to find out.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Films, Media

 

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Toy Story 3 Review

 

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and today I’m going to give you another review from recent history in the shape of one of my favourite films ever, Toy Story 3.

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Now let’s think back to Toy Story 1, back in 1995 when it changed not only the way in which we look at animated films but it also made cinematic history too. It was the first feature film to be made in with CGI and it covered one of the most interesting subjects: what happens to toys when the owners aren’t playing with them. When I first saw it as a kid I was astonished, it was instantly something I could relate to and to see them come to life when Andy wasn’t around and have these adventures was just incredible. Pixar truly made something magical with that film and then they decided to make a sequel in the shape of Toy Story 2 in 1999. It was originally going to be a direct-to-video sequel but along the line they decided to turn it into a theatrical movie. Toy Story 2 must be one of my favourite sequels ever, it had a greater depth of story, more characters full of originality and charm, more locations and a greater sense of urgency to rescue friends in distress. It was another successful film and the part of the story that dealt with Jessie’s past with that beautiful song, it always touches my heart every time and I feel in many ways that Toy Story 2 was superior to the original in the sense that it went further to explain how toys feel about their owners and what their futures hold and how they have to stay together as long as possible.

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So in the summer of 2010, 15 years after the first film and 11 years after the second we were given the third in the series and I have to admit when I heard about the film going into production I had to question whether Pixar were going to be able to recapture the magic that they created with the first two films because of the long duration of time between the last prequel and the way in which world of cinema has changed since back then. Thankfully my doubts about the film were completely unnecessary as Toy Story 3 in my opinion is one of the best films I have ever seen. Period.

Now everyone knows the plot of the film, but I shall give a brief overview; basically Andy is 17 and heading into college and is deciding what to do with his toys, Woody is chosen to be taken to college while the others are meant to be put in the attic. However the gang are almost thrown out in the garbage, thinking they are unwanted by Andy the gang escape and end up in day-care. When things don’t turn out to be as great as they had hoped the group band together to escape and find their way back to Andy. The great thing about Toy Story 3 is that it puts you right back in the same place that you were in when watching the earlier films years ago. You get that great feeling of nostalgia as soon as the movie begins. It’s like time hasn’t affected them at all, everything looks and feels right, like looking at an old photograph. Woody is still an optimistic leader, Buzz is still Woody’s best friend and biggest supporter, Jessie is the high-spirited lass that she was from before along with Bullseye the horse and the rest of the cast from Rex to Mr. Potato Head and everyone else feels right. Besides a few old faces that aren’t in this film, the script and story help justify the reasons for why they are no longer in Andy’s toy collection in a subtle way.

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What has to be said is that Toy Story 3 is a really emotive film and really tackles the subject matter that Stinky Pete talking about in the last film, about toys when they reach the end of their play cycle with their owners and what happens after that point. We see that some toys end up in day-care; some are thrown away or some given to new children. This film does an incredible job of tackling this new set of situations that the toys are in, the story is absolutely precious, with the new characters involved like Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear, Chuckles, Mr. Pricklepants and Ken among many others adding a new layer of enjoyment to the Toy Story series. They all have interesting stories to tell and when you see how they interact with the original cast, it’s really cool.

From a visual standpoint Toy Story 3 is just remarkable and it really does show how far technology has come in the world of 3D animation. After watching the first two films and seeing how they looked, this film is just on a whole different scale. Toy Story 3 has an incredible amount of detail going into it, when it comes to the character models they are amazingly detailed, crisp and shiny, the way the light hits them at different times of the day and use of colour really help give the toys a sense of realism. This applies to both the toys and the human characters, especially the humans who actually look much better than previous films and have some similarities to other Pixar films. The different locations that appear in the film really do display a lot of detail too and present a lot of chances for some varied colour schemes and interactivity with the toys too. Never have the toys, human characters and locations ever looked so good.

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Also having Randy Newman come back to compose the soundtrack is fabulous as he gives us that same unifying sound that resides in the world of Toy Story. The music is nostalgic, emotive, soft and heartfelt and while the songs don’t quite meet that same emotional peak from Toy Story 2 where Jessie’s song moved me to tears, this soundtrack has a lot of scenes that will make you want to cry. And speaking of crying I know it’s been mentioned many times before but this film really is one of those films that make you cry, I don’t cry very often in films unless it’s The Shawshank Redemption and a few other choice titles. But I saw this film 3 times in the cinema and I welled up each time, it’s that trademark Pixar magic touch that captures your heart and makes you shed tears when it matters. And when I hear some people say, “What’s wrong with you, crying in an animated film about toys? Are you some sort of weirdo?” I say go eat me, I’ve heard people cry at worse films than this, I say cry at Toy Story 3 it’s worth it. I also want to give credit to the cast as they were magnificent in this film, Tom Hanks & Tim Allen are still in top form as Woody & Buzz Lightyear, their friendship is still magnetic and with the story in this film it takes the characters to different territories and we see new sides of them too especially with Wood because in a way it really is his story. Joan Cusack is still as impressive as ever as Jessie and the same can be said for Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, Wallace Shawn as Rex and John Ratzenberger as Hamm. One special mention should also be given to Blake Clark as Slinky Dog who does a fantastic job as the new voice for Slinky after the death of the original actor Jim Varney. And the two final mentions I will give out are to Ned Beatty as Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear who gives us a very interesting, scary and wonderful performance and Michael Keaton as Ken is just fabulous, everything he says is just perfect and when there’s a scene all about him, he is just on fire!

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In truth you really don’t expect a film about toys and what happens to them after they are used up to be so good, but it is. The story is beautiful and well-told and certain scenes will really hit home just like the way a good film should, while I’m sort of in two minds about whether it’s the best film in the Toy Story series because I am really attached to the second film, I’m kind of leaning towards this film because it felt so sad and beautiful at the end. The film’s subject matter is covered with such compassion and care that you really feel for the toys, you feel attached to them and want to see what happens to them, the film is really dark in nature too and has the greatest level of emotion that the series has offered so far. I would say that it is the most emotive animated film in existence and it’s also one of the few films to make me smile when I left the cinema.

In conclusion Toy Story 3 is like looking into a mirror of your past and revisiting old memories. It shows you what you enjoyed in life and how these memories whether they be psychical or otherwise can stay with you regardless of how old you are. Pixar proved once again that a sequel can be as good or even better than its predecessor when the right amount of time, dedication and hard work is put into it. Pixar have made a sequel that is now part of trilogy that is better than a lot of live action film trilogies and that’s saying something. To anyone who still hasn’t seen this film I highly recommend it. Toy Story 3 is truly amazing and I love it to death, it was my 2nd favourite film of 2010 and I think it’s in my top 50 films of all time too. Ultimate satisfaction thy name is Toy Story 3!

Rating: 10/10

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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