François Duhamel/Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) shows Disneyland to “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) in Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks.”
Watching “Saving Mr. Banks,” a feel-good take on the contentious account of novelist P.L. Travers and filmmaker Walt Disney in making the 1964 classic “Mary Poppins,” it’s hard not to recall the famous quote “History is written by the victors.”
For all the filmmakers’ well-meaning efforts, it’ll take more than sugary spoonfuls to swallow this tale of revisionist history, which cast its main character as both the protagonist and villain in a audience-pleasing, if incomplete look behind the Walt Disney empire’s curtain. Continue Reading
Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven in “Frozen.”
Don’t look now, but the year’s best animated film didn’t come from reigning champ Pixar or even perennial rival DreamWorks Animation.
Instead, it’s the patriarch of the genre, Walt Disney Pictures, which reclaims its throne with “Frozen,” a charming effort that successfully combines gorgeous modern animation with the retro feel of a Disney classic. There’s memorable characters, helpful animal sidekicks, dancing and singing. It couldn’t be a vintage Disney film without a slew of musical numbers, but they’re so well done it’s not disruptive to the overall story. Continue Reading
Jacob Latimore, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker star in “Black Nativity.”
2013 has been a fantastic year for black cinema.
“12 Years a Slave,” “Fruitvale Station,” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” all have legitimate shots at racking up some major hardware as awards season approaches. “42” was a compelling sports biopic, “The Best Man Holiday” proved a welcome balance of comedy and drama and “Kevin Hart’s Let Me Explain” was a hilarious stand-up film. The latest mainstream release likely won’t be held in such high esteem.
Just in time for the holidays comes the musical Christmas-theme drama “Black Nativity” featuring Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson. While it won’t make the naughty list, the film is a little too underwhelming to make part of your festivities. Continue Reading
I’m a huge fan of movie promotions that go beyond the typical bus stop posters and show some inspired creativity from the studios’ marketing team.
The most recent example is the promotional tour for “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2,” which has a Foodimobile touring the country with unique healthy menu items such as tacodiles, hippotatomuses, fruit cockatiels, subwhales, watermelophants, pickles, carrots, and celery. Continue Reading
Just a reminder of why Statler and Waldorf are the best in the business in a perfect remedy for a day that’s desperately in need of a laugh as they mercilessly heckle Milton Berle:
Jay Maidment/Disney Enterprises
Disney’s “MUPPETS MOST WANTED” – (L-R) SCOOTER, ROWLF, KERMIT, WALTER, FOZZIE and GONZO.
Tina Fey? Diddy? Ty Burrell? Salma Hayek? And Statler and Waldorf?
It goes without saying I’m looking forward to this, right?
This may be a bit of a surprise to you all, but it turns out a movie about a snail that gains the ability to move at super speed isn’t as exciting and fun as you might think. Continue Reading
Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment
Gru (Steve Carell) tries to wrangle his Minions in “Despicable Me 2.”
“Despicable Me 2” may be the smartest animated movie I’ve seen since “Toy Story 3.”
It’s not because of some complicated plot, outlandish adventure or a slew of new characters. Nope, it simply works because the filmmakers understood what audiences loved about the surprise 2010 hit and just deliver on that promise in creating a sequel overflowing with heart, charm and those awesome Minions. Continue Reading
Walt Disney Pictures
Sulley and Mike enter their new dorm room.
Let’s start by getting this out of the way immediately. “Monsters University” is not going to have you silently blubbering away/wiping away “manly” tears like the brilliant “Toy Story 3,” the Pixar Animation/Walt Disney Pictures film you’d have to be comatose not to love.
Nor is it a “Cars 2” fiasco that makes you question if Pixar has lost its magic touch that made a classic out of everything boasting its name.
What “Monsters University” is however, is a very entertaining film that’s funny, good-natured and better than 95% of its non-Pixar animated competition. Continue Reading