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My ‘Toy Story 4’ Review

Published on Cinemaholics:

The Toy Story movies have always been filled with lots of toys, and rightfully so. But every film so far has mostly played around with the character of Woody the cowboy doll. His story has progressed both positively and negatively to some extent over the years, from his fear of being replaced in the first Toy Story, his fear of being thrown away in Toy Story 2, and his fear of being forgotten in Toy Story 3.

Almost a decade later, Toy Story 4 confronts a new fear for Woody that not very many family movies even attempt to tackle: a fear of no longer having a purpose.

You can read the full review here. I’ll be adding some complementary thoughts about the movie over the next few weeks and beyond. There’s a lot to think about, good and ill. But mostly good.


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Incredibles 2 Review: Not Every Pixar Movie Can Be Super

incredibles 2

From my official review of Incredibles 2 on The Young Folks:

These are the clearest shortcomings of Incredibles 2, as it fails to be as strong an ensemble piece as The Incredibles, where every main character (even the villain) had a defined, cohesive arc. But in virtually every other respect, Incredibles 2 is just as wonderful, gorgeous, and thrilling as the first, to the point where most super fans of the original likely won’t care about these flaws.

Overall, I liked the movie. It even exceeded some of my expectations, particularly with some of the clever writing surrounding the infant Jack Jack and how he creatively factors into the super family’s heroic antics.

Go on…Incredibles 2 Review: Not Every Pixar Movie Can Be Super

2018 Movie Power Rankings

2018 movie

Oh, how time flies. This is my fourth year doing these “power rankings,” so most of you know the drill. I’ve watched enough movies at this point in the year to unveil my rankings, and I’ll continue to update this list as I watch more films until the end of December.

One notable difference this year is that I’ve cut down a bit on written reviews on this site, so the best way to find out what I think of these flicks beyond a letter grade is by checking out past and present episodes of Cinemaholics. I also keep up with everything on my Letterboxd (a social network for filmgoers).

How these rankings work: 

Go on…2018 Movie Power Rankings

Solo: a Star Wars Story – Review and Spoiler-Free Analysis

Going into Solo: a Star Wars Story, I had my own fair share of reservations due to production shakeups and even the very idea of this movie. Maybe you’ve heard this before: “No one asked for a Han Solo movie.” “Disney is ruining Star Wars.” “Jon Negroni’s YouTube channel is a disgrace.”

All of these points are valid, but for me, Solo happens to be a genuinely satisfying summer movie, and even one worth analyzing. In the video above, I give a spoiler-free review and analysis of the movie, spending most of my time discussing my personal baggage with Han as a character in the original trilogy, plus a lot of what you can expect overall from his adventurous origin story.

Go on…Solo: a Star Wars Story – Review and Spoiler-Free Analysis

‘A Quiet Place’ Is Scary For Kids, But Terrifying For Adults

QUIET PLACE

I don’t have children, so I have to imagine the new film A Quiet Place is far more frightening for a parent than it could hope to be for someone like me. It’s probably more impactful, too.

In A Quiet Place, most of the world has been eradicated. A young family of survivors has to live as silently as possible to avoid the blind, super-hearing creatures who prey upon anything making a sound. Danger is everywhere. The family can’t escape these bulletproof nightmares.

So the family perseveres by creating strict, logical rules. They communicate with lights and sign language. They walk barefoot. They make soundproof trails and play board games with cloth materials. The message is quiet, but it’s clear. To parents in any context, the world is a scary place, and every family has a set of idiosyncratic methods for raising their children. In this case, it’s playing a high-stakes version of “the quiet game.”

Go on…‘A Quiet Place’ Is Scary For Kids, But Terrifying For Adults

‘A Wrinkle In Time’ Takes Us Far, But Goes Nowhere

wrinkle

A Wrinkle in Time probably should have been an animated movie. Disney has had a better track record with animation when it comes to fantasy if we’re being honest, and it’s a shame to see a filmmaking team produce such a visually stunning movie trapped inside a vacuous bore of a screenplay.

The film is based on the 1962 book of the same name by Madeleine L’Engle. Director Ava DuVernay (Selma) and screenwriter Jennifer Lee (Frozen) have adapted this story—the first in a series—rather faithfully from what I remember of the source material, telling the tale of a 13-year-old girl named Meg (Storm Reid) who travels through space and time to find her father (Chris Pine) with the help of her two friends and a trio of inter-dimensional sorceresses, or “Ws” as they’re called.

The craft and artistry behind Wrinkle is its own worthwhile experience. Every planet, astral jump, and reality-bending set design has a sense of place and style harkening back to some of Disney’s most memorable animated locations. Except Wrinkle has more than just one Cave of Wonders or Atlantica to boast.

Go on…‘A Wrinkle In Time’ Takes Us Far, But Goes Nowhere

‘Red Sparrow’ Is Yet Another Misfire For Jennifer Lawrence

Red Sparrow

It’s fair to say the target audience for Red Sparrow almost solely includes the latter half of Jennifer Lawrence fans undeterred by the grotesque odd-brain of mother!

But at least mother! wasn’t this boring.

Go on…‘Red Sparrow’ Is Yet Another Misfire For Jennifer Lawrence

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