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Will There Be More ‘Toy Stories’ After ‘Toy Story 4’?

toy story 4

Caitlyn Busch, reporting for SyFyWire:

Will there be another Toy Story movie?

“We sort of joked that we thought Toy Story 2 was the last one,” producer Jonas Rivera said at first of working on Toy Story 4. “When we finished that one we thought that was the end of the story. And how we approached [Toy Story 4] … with Woody as the protagonist, this was the final chapter. And as filmmakers, we feel satisfied that this is where you could end it.

He continued: “Now there’s an implied future to all these films. And we sort of ‘never say never’ at Pixar. But as storytellers, we’re satisfied with this as closing the chapter.”

This is Public Relations 101. Rivera probably doesn’t want fans to expect more Toy Story movies or even think about audience fatigue. But he also doesn’t want to make false promises.

So here’s where it gets interesting.

Go on…Will There Be More ‘Toy Stories’ After ‘Toy Story 4’?

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Pixar’s ‘Toy Story 4’ Trailer Strategy is Out of the Box

toy story 4

At last, Pixar has revealed its first big marketing materials for Toy Story 4, which includes a brief teaser trailer, several character posters, and more recently a “teaser trailer reaction” video that pokes self-aware fun at the franchise in almost parody form.

The response so far has had a wide range, much of it to be expected. Of course, a lot of Toy Story fans are extremely worried about an unnecessary Pixar sequel turning out to be an inferior cash grab that diminishes an already perfect trilogy with what many consider the most satisfying ending possible. I’m one of those fans.

Go on…Pixar’s ‘Toy Story 4’ Trailer Strategy is Out of the Box

‘The Circle’ Is Broken In More Ways Than One

The Circle

In The Circle, our world of disruptive technology from social media to search engines has been conveniently consolidated into one uber-corporation called, you guessed it, The Circle, a simple name for what is strangely a shallow, unimaginative invention representative of what our near-future might be ruled by. Sharing through technology. Although…isn’t that already a reality?

Rather than take us through the implications of our world’s current affair with technology, the fictitious Circle and its inner leaders want to remove all privacy from the world in an effort to create true transparency. If you’re wondering “why” they want to do that, well, this movie clearly wasn’t made for your curious mind. “Sharing is caring” the employees echo to their leader, Eamonn Bailey (Tom Hanks), who advocates a master plan that has all of the absurdity of a 70s paranoia thriller without any of the logic or intelligence.

Go on…‘The Circle’ Is Broken In More Ways Than One

Review: ‘Sully’ Is a Weirdly Good, and Original, Exploration of Heroism

sully

Some movies are “based on a true story,” but it would be limiting to slot Sully, the latest film from Clint Eastwood, into such a broad, somewhat uninteresting category. When audiences go to see a biopic, or something similar, there’s a yearning for perspective, either through the eyes of the man or woman in question, or the people said person may have affected over the course of their own dynamic stories.

Sully is very much a film that twists and reshapes the idea of perspective, making it one of the more satisfying films of 2016, period. In a strange way, this tale about Chesley Sullenberger’s (Tom Hanks) famous, heroic landing on the Hudson river in 2009 is actually a cleverly flawed movie. The opening act is littered with directional exposition, slow moments, and rehearsed dialogue. There are even a few dream sequences that dance around the alarm bells of savvy moviegoers.

But then the movie pivots toward something quite brilliant and even surprising, paying off the idea of decency and duty in men, women, and society as a whole. This stealth message is both obvious and subtle at the same time, a tricky maneuver of filmmaking that parallels nicely with the water landing itself.

sully

The script, by Todd Komarnicki (Elf), is mostly nonlinear, taking its time to lead the audience into what happened on January 15th, and more importantly, why. The narrative starts days later as Sullenberger (Sully) struggles with the reality of his sudden fame, especially when government officials begin to question his heroic decision making. It’s more probable, they explain, that Sully needlessly put the passengers and crews’ lives in danger, perhaps because of hidden demons he might be hiding. As the film unfolds, including the white-knuckling scenes depicting the actual event, sharp payoffs are presented to make sense of what came before it, or in this case, after.

Essentially, it’s a more focused gambit movie than last year’s Steve Jobs, and certainly a more substantial piece of entertainment than Hanks’ last travel/disaster film, Captain Phillips. Even American Sniper, a competent film, was missing the sort of skillful impact that could be had, especially through its less polished visuals.

Sully ultimately rises above those films in a number of ways, but mainly one that deserves the most attention. The jumpy and even repetitive narrative serves a specific purpose, all to the goal of letting the audience better understand a compelling yet uncomplicated man who seemingly doesn’t want to be considered compelling. Consider it a flaw if you must, but only an actor with the relaxed charm of Tom Hanks could make something that should be dull so gripping and easy to latch onto.

sully

He’s supported by a humble performance from Aaron Eckhart as Jeff Skiles, the co-pilot who continues to support Sully long after the plane has landed. But aside from Eckhart and most of the event’s participants, the supporting cast comes across less effortless, perhaps because their performances are being consistently measured against Hanks and Eckhart at their best.

The best way to understand, and perhaps appreciate, Sully is to understand that much of what you see is a simulation. Some of it is meant to be imperfect and a little rough around the edges, in order to lend credibility to the people who actually had to live through what you’re seeing on the big screen.

Some of the flaws that come through this style of filmmaking are actually easy to forgive because the message is sent in such a clear way — that of how decency can sometimes be a very unchallenging thing, despite how torturous it can be to accept or believe it. It’s not often enough a story like that makes it to the big screen, fictional or otherwise.

Grade: A

Extra Credits:

  • Stick around after the film to see shots of the actual Hudson landing, its aftermath, and actual video of the passengers and Sullenberger made for the film.
  • Clint Eastwood hasn’t made a movie this good since Gran Torino. Maybe even Million Dollar Baby.
  • Yes, this is the second time Tom Hanks has played a “captain” involved in a famous, true-life event in 2009.  It’s also the second time he’s played an aviator from real life (Jim Lovell from Apollo 13).
  • I forgot to mention how brief the film is. At just 96 minutes, it’s Eastwood’s shortest movie yet, and thankfully so. I wouldn’t take out a minute or add much else.
  • Apparently, Eastwood is a fan of easter eggs. You can see references to two of his other movies when Sully is jogging through Times Square.

    Thanks for reading this. Seriously. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. 

    Or just say hello on Twitter: @JonNegroni


Review: ‘Bridge of Spies’

bridge of spies review

Bridge of Spies is a biographical Cold War drama directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, and Joel Coen. It stars Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda.

Based on true events, Tom Hanks is James B. Donovan, an insurance lawyer who is recruited by the CIA to represent and then help negotiate the terms of a Soviet spy (a surprisingly sharp performance from Rylance) who is in captivity. Meanwhile, a U.S. pilot has been captured by the Soviets after getting caught with spy equipment. It’s up to Donovan to make sure a peaceful resolution is reached, despite the overwhelming odds against his favor, especially when he’s forced to go on the other side of the Berlin Wall.

Though this is a beautifully shot film, you’ll notice that a bluish gray tone persists throughout every period setting you’re taken to. It’s unique at times, but it doesn’t quite measure up to the excellent performances and high quality writing (in no small thanks to the pen of the Coen brothers) that ultimately overshadows the decent visuals. Still, there’s much to be said about how well the environments are considered from Donovan’s home in America to the aforementioned scenes in Germany that provide some stunning commentary (mostly by train) about how the Cold War shaped prejudiced and fear mongering attitudes of that time period.

The movie is mostly theater that will set up Tom Hanks for a possible Oscar nomination. But apart from a few good speeches and another Oscar-Worthy performance by Rylance as a supporting actor, it’s not one of Spielberg’s best films. But for Spielberg, that’s still high praise, and Bridge of Spies is easily one of the most entertaining, and important, movies you’ll see this year.

bridge of spies review

Grade: A-

This film has its flaws, but it’s still excellence in genre filmmaking and a film I’d certainly watch again. If you love well-written and masterfully-directed movies, you shouldn’t miss it. But if it takes a lot to hold your attention for two hours, then you may want to wait and rent this one.

If you’ve seen Bridge of Spies, let me know your thoughts in the comments. And be sure to check out our podcast review coming this Sunday, where we’ll talk about the film in more detail.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Review: ‘Captain Phillips’

Captain Phillips does something to audiences that Hollywood is usually afraid to do. It tricks you into accepting certain principles about itself and then completely dismantles them.

Go on…Review: ‘Captain Phillips’

Review: ‘Cloud Atlas’

Image Courtesy of Forbes.com

I saw Cloud Atlas at a second-run theater over the weekend and hesitated to write such a late review. My justification is that many people either skipped this one at first run, are waiting to rent it because of the long runtime, or have just not heard enough about it. Well, here’s my take.

THE CONCEPT

Take six short stories (essentially) that span six completely different time periods, highlighting the connections that bind people together across the span of humanity. You’ll see a composer struggling to find success as a bisexual in in the 1930s, a journalist attempting to take on Big Oil in the 70s, all the way to a group of revolutionaries exposing the corruption of cloning in 2144. That barely covers what you are about to see with this film. Put simply, it is a mosaic tied together by string.

WHAT WORKS

Many of the visual effects are just stunning, especially for an independent film (this is the most expensive indie film to date, costing over $100 million). The most impressive scenes come during the action-packed future timeline in 2144 New Seoul. Really, the rest of the movie doesn’t even compete with the visual flair of this time period, not even the period set further than this.

Image Courtesy of askkpop.com

Many elements of this film are fantastic. The acting is well-done, as this film boasts a huge A-list cast, with Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Jim Sturgess dominating most of the standout roles. You’ll recognize Ben Whishaw, who played the new quartermaster from Skyfall, and my favorite character turned out to be Doona Bae’s Sonmi.

The pacing is very impressive as well. The stories begin chronologically, introducing us to the characters in a slow, gradual pattern. The film then shifts stories at random, giving only minutes to each story. In theory, I should have hated this, as there was no cohesion behind the transitions. It worked for me, however, and will probably work for people who are inattentive, as this will force them to constantly pay close attention.

cloud-atlas

Finally, the soundtrack is easily the best of the year, which turns out to be the film’s biggest downfall.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

Unfortunately, the stories just aren’t that interesting. In a novel, they definitely would be. With more details and context, I probably would have been rooting for the sympathetic abolitionist played by Jim Sturgess in 1849. I would have cared that Timothy Cavendish broke out of the nursing home with his band of carefree elders in 2012.

The problem is that a movie that brags about how epic and grand it is with its moving, powerful soundtrack just doesn’t match up with the simplicity and (ultimately) irrelevant stories we’re being told.

I just couldn’t figure out if the movie was trying to be a mosaic or not. At one point, you’re seeing how all of these stories are connected, but then that anxiety is rewarded by conclusions that really make no difference or impact. It’s a mosaic tied together by string, which is great for some, I suppose, but frustrating for me.

When it comes down to it, I had no idea what the film was trying to say.

IS IT WORTH WATCHING?

I’m conflicted here. The film got everything right except for the problem that its source material just doesn’t do it for me. I’ve never read the novel, but I’m guessing that the book has the same mosaic format to it. I’m someone who has been raised on Assassin’s Creed, a franchise that is all about connections between ancestors and how that makes a significant impact on the story being told.

Cloud Atlas was disappointing to me. I loved elements of it, such as the pacing, some characters, and the score, but the content just didn’t live up to how great these elements are. It is an ambitious film, for sure, in that it tells 6 different stories in 6 completely different settings and actually nails the presentation. Unfortunately, I feel like I gained nothing from watching it.

I don’t think this is worth watching if you are a casual moviegoer looking for something interesting to take up your time. It is a long 3 hours, and many are bound to lose interest after the first hour. If you are a lover of film, however, and want to see some great set pieces, beautiful effects, and listen to an amazing score, you’ll like this film.

 

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