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The Brad Bird Episode (Anyway, That’s All I Got)

brad bird

With the release of Incredibles 2, we decided to look back on the filmography of director Brad Bird, which proved to be fascinating, enlightening and exciting (for the most part). From The Iron Giant in 1999 all the way to Tomorrowland in 2015, we break down every Brad Bird directorial effort, and afterward we respond to some of your feedback and discuss Incredibles 2 in both a spoiler-free and spoiler-filled section. Enjoy!

Hosted by Sam Noland, Jason Read, and Anthony Battaglia!

Question For You: What is your favorite Brad Bird movie? Also, who is the best Pixar director?

Go on…The Brad Bird Episode (Anyway, That’s All I Got)

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My Top 10 Movies of 2015 (So Far)

Summer is about to kickoff, so I thought it would be fun to look back on the best films of Winter and Spring 2015. There are a few films I haven’t seen this year (yet) that may sway this list, and I’ll list them at the bottom.

I’ve made a stronger effort to watch more new movies this year, and it’s certainly paid off. For the first time in my life, I actually feel equipped to evaluate which movies are worth highlighting 6 months into the year. And we’ve gotten quite a few highlights. Starting with…

# 1 Mad Max: Fury Road

top 2015 movies

This shouldn’t surprise too many people. From its opening scene, George Miller had me hooked on his crazy, post-apocalyptic nightmare made reality.

With some of the best action scenes in years, combined with furious performances from Charlize Theron (get it?) and Tom Hardy, Mad Max: Fury Road has so far made the top of my list of must-watch films in 2015.

#2 Paddington

top 2015 movies

OK, this is certainly a departure from the #1 spot, and I’m sure many of you are rolling your eyes at the fact that I’m elevating this family friendly movie all the way to #2, but hear me out.

Paddington is a kid movie done right, amidst scores of cheap remakes and strange misfires disguised as high-level (I’m looking at you, Spongebob). Simply put, Paddington has the charm, wit, and effortless script that most movies this year have chosen to skip.

#3 Ex Machina

top 2015 movies

I usually hate feeling uncomfortable during a movie, especially when it has CGI Paul Walker involved (too soon?) But Ex Machina subverts what we expect in an eery movie about artificial intelligence without insulting our intelligence.
It’s not a horror movie. It’s not a thriller. And it’s certainly not just a commentary, if at all. The mystery of what makes this movie…what it is…only makes me love it even more.

#4 What We Do In The Shadows

top 2015 movies

Technically, this superb “mockumentary” about the lives of vampires living in New Zealand came out last year, but it’s wider release didn’t kick off until January. That means I get to share the delight of this monster movie homage with all of you who haven’t managed to see it yet. Seriously though, get on that.

#5 Kingsman: The Secret Service

top 2015 movies

Speaking of homages, I wasn’t too surprised to see that this James Bond action successor ended up being one of the most fun adventures of the year. Yes, even moreso than another certain superhero flick…
I can still remember the best moments of the film, including the controversial church scene that was shot in just one take (if you can believe that). While I’m not necessarily itching for a sequel, though it would be nice, Kingsman still reigns as one of the year’s most interesting escapes.

#6 Selma

top 2015 movies

History is my weak spot. Take me to any colonial town and tell me that guy is really a smith from 1776 and you have my money. But historical biopics from any era tend to rank low on my attention span. Why watch a movie about that bridge in Selma when I can just go there?
Well, it turns out, Selma does a brilliant job of revitalizing this subject matter with faithful storytelling, a chilling script, and yes, David Oyelowo. And that’s not even mentioning the soundtrack.

#7 Avengers: Age of Ultron

top 2015 movies

It’s not as groundbreaking as the first film, but it’s still groundbreaking. Leave it to Marvel. 2015 has not yet hit us with a lot of comic book movie adventures, as Fox has saved its movie for the summer and Sony is conspicuously absent.
But even without competition, Age of Ultron is a triumph of patient buildup, electric characters, and an excellent effects budget. It’s not the dark story many of us expected and hoped for, but it had plenty of memorable moments to make it standout, even if it is just a trailer for even more exciting events to come.

#8 While We’re Young

top 2015 movies

I’ll admit I’m easily charmed by Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts (despite finding Birdman a bit meh for her). So pairing these veterans with relative newcomers Adam Driver (of future Star Wars fame) and Amanda Seyfried (OK, not a newcomer, but still untested for the most part) was almost overkill.
Specifically, every scene combining these characters or a mixing and matching them was pulled off brilliantly, and it helps that the script had something pretty meaningful to say about my generation, your generation, and their generation.

#9 Unfriended

top 2015 movies

Do you believe in miracles? Unfriended was a made-for-tv movie destined for MTV reruns and live-tweets. But it ended up being transformed into a perfectly timed film that did something pretty novel and refreshing with the horror genre, while also preaching a sermon on cyber-bullying that didn’t come off as forced. Well, maybe a little.

#10 Tomorrowland

top 2015 movies

Yeah, I might get a little heat for this one. Though Tomorrowland certainly isn’t amazing overall, it happens to be one of the riskiest, gutsiest movies of the year. And a lackluster ending doesn’t do enough to eviscerate an inventive and entertaining first two acts.

Possibly great films I haven’t gotten around to yet:

I’d love to add to this list, but alas, there are just some 2015 films I haven’t had a chance to see for myself yet. Here are a few ranking high on my list of must-see:

  1. It Follows
  2. ‘71
  3. A Most Violent Year
  4. Still Alice
  5. Girlhood

I also want to point out my biggest disappointment of the year (so far): Chappie. Oh, what could have been.

If you something to add to this list, feel free to let me know in the comment discussions below. See you in another 6 months.

Thanks for reading! If you like this blog, you can subscribe for weekly updates by clicking the “Subscribe” button on the right sidebar. Or just follow me on Twitter for the latest updates – @JonNegroni

Tomorrowland, Poltergeist Review, Movie News This Week

tomorrowland poltergeist review

(Download this episode on iTunes or Stitcher)

For a podcast about the latest in movies and entertainment, we bring up The Office quite much…This week, Reid Jones guests with us to talk about Tomorrowland and the new Poltergeist remake. Fur flies.

We also cover tons of movie news and randomly conspire about the leaked “Supergirl” pilot, early Inside Out reviews, and Adonis’s strange shaving habits.

Question of the WEEK: What is your FAVORITE wholly original non-remake/sequel movie of all time and why? Well, I guess that’s two questions.

Go on…Tomorrowland, Poltergeist Review, Movie News This Week

Review: ‘Tomorrowland’

Tomorrowland is the kind of movie you watch as a kid and love for your whole life, even though adults hated it when it came out.

It’s very imperfect, and the ending is truly atrocious and mishandled. But the good in Tomorrowland far outweighs the bad.

Specifically, this is a Brad Bird film through and through. The cinematography and grand vision behind the movie are unique and incredibly entertaining (isn’t that what a movie should be?) The action and set piece moments are beautifully shot and for once, I can say they’re inspiring.

The film’s saving grace is its superb writing, though I have to give the actors a lot of the credit here. The dialogue is good, but George Clooney, Britt Robertson, and newcomer Raffey Cassidy make it exceptional. Cassidy in particular is about to have a stellar career.

Perhaps I’m going easy on Tomorrowland due to my fondness for Brad Bird as a director and the fact that this film is wholly original (it’s no adaptation or remake). But I was honestly inspired by many moments in this film, even if they were a little uneven and went in strange directions. There’s still plenty to appreciate in this ambitious script of whimsy, and this is a film that kids shouldn’t miss.

Grade: B+. 

Disney's TOMORROWLAND

Extra credits

  • I just want to reiterate how enchanting Raffey Cassidy was in this film. Just please, Disney, hold off on shoehorning her into some kind of superhero role.
  • Hugh Laurie’s part in this film felt unfinished, much like the location of Tomorrowland itself. Still, he had some great lines as Governor Nix.
  • The house invasion scene is probably the film’s high point, and the set of moments in Tomorrowland that made me feel like a kid again. There’s so much potential in this source material.
  • I’ve been waiting for Britt Robertson to have a truly good performance since…eh…The Longest Ride. She’s great.
  • Yes, the overall message is pretty preachy, but it shouldn’t put anyone off. The “big idea” of Tomorrowland should resonate with everyone. We can and should do better.

Tomorrowland was directed and written by Brad Bird. It was also written by Damon Lindelof. It stars Britt Robertson as Casey Newton, George Clooney as Frank Walker, Hugh Laurie as David Nix, and Raffey Cassidy as Athena. It’s now playing in theaters everywhere.

Thanks for reading! If you like this blog, you can subscribe for weekly updates by clicking the “Subscribe” button on the right sidebar. Or just follow me on Twitter for the latest updates – @JonNegroni

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