Happy 5th Birthday, WALL•E!

Wall-e1

Five years ago this weekend, Pixar brought us a vision of the future through the eyes — the amazing, expressive, binocular eyes — of a robot called WALL•E.A year and a half later, TIME Magazine named it the best movie of the decade.I think that was a bit extreme, but still... the first 20 minutes of this film remain the most astonishing advance in animation since Toy Story, and one of the most virtuosic flourishes of comedic visual storytelling since the days of Charlie Chaplin and Buster … [Read more...]

Monsters University: Bonus Question – Are These Monsters Dangerous?

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

If you read my review of Monsters University, you know that I liked it.But I hope that wasn't enough for you. I hope you don't stop there. I didn't.I went on to read reviews by Matt Zoller Seitz and Steven Greydanus. One increased my appreciation of the movie, and the other helped me see its strengths and weaknesses more clearly.And then another review aggravated this lifelong lover of monsters. … [Read more...]

Star Trek Into Heartlessness

"Like tears... in... rain..."

Warning: This is not a review. This is a rant. And it is full of spoilers.I really hoped J.J. Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness would be a little better than the first movie. Finding myself too tired to work last night, I thought I might give it a chance. At least the amiable cast and the special effects would take my mind off my troubles.But alas, no. Now I have more troubles. … [Read more...]

Monsters University (2013)

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

Finals are over, and summer is here. Nevertheless, I have volunteered to take the Monsters University Test. It's a Multiple Choice test with Essay Questions. And I don't think anybody will count it as cheating if I show you my answers.Here we go... … [Read more...]

In Memory of James Gandolfini, 1961-2013.

We'll miss you, Wild Thing.

[Read more...]

Watch a Work of Art Come to Life Before Your Eyes

Threshold

If I could, I'd take you with me to one of my favorite places on the planet: Laity Lodge, in the hill country of Texas, along the Frio River.I've been there many times in the past several years — to read, to write, to teach, to wander, to retreat — and I have discovered why artists from Madeleine L'Engle to Frederick Buechner to Over the Rhine to Terrence Malick have cherished it as a source of inspiration, contemplation, and solace for decades.Since I can't walk alongside that river with … [Read more...]

Before Midnight (2013): An All-Thumbs Review

before-midnight

This review of Before Midnight is Part Three of the new fiction series I call All Thumbs Video.In the first installment, I introduced a small cast of characters, friends who talk about movies in one of Earth's last video stores — All Thumbs, a store named in honor of Roger Ebert. They're members of "Sight Club," watching movies in theaters and, late at night, in the store's back room, then engaging in vigorous discussion. They argued about Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder. In the  second c … [Read more...]

The Desolation of “The Hobbit”

Bilbo on the Barrel

I'm tempted to post the new trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug for you...... but, well, I've seen it.And, no.I'd like to forget the whole thing as soon as possible. … [Read more...]

Finding Nemo: This Fish is Still Fresh

nemo2

Here comes Father's Day.And Steven Greydanus of Decent Films and The National Catholic Register once wrote: Andrew Stanton’s Finding Nemo is the best father-son story in all of Hollywood animation, and maybe animation generally. ... [W]hat makes Finding Nemo so unforgettable, in my book, is Marlin. He stands virtually alone among animated father figures: not an idealized father, but a heroic and lovable one who is trying his best and whose faults, such as they are, are regarded with sympat … [Read more...]

The Bard on the Big Screen: Much Ado About “Much Ado,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and More

Shakespeare-in-Love1

Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing is winning high praise at film festivals, promising moviegoers an infusion of intelligence, romance, and sophistication during summertime's typically juvenile program of explosions.Glenn Kenny, for example, writes, The entire cast, indeed, revels not just in Shakespeare's language but in the clever way this play both conforms, in its plot points, to the now-antiquated gender roles of its time but also subverts them, giving acute but not overemphatic … [Read more...]


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