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New trailer, clip for Pixar's Inside Out show off mindful adventure


Get it? Mindful. It's a pun.
May 26
// Matt Liparota
Pixar plans to unleash it's newest adorably clever adventure Inside Out on the world next month, and over the long weekend two new clips were released – the first is an international trailer and the second is a short cl...

Review: Tomorrowland

May 21 // Matthew Razak
[embed]219474:42399:0[/embed] TomorrowlandDirector: Brad BirdRelease Date: May 22, 2015Rated: PG-13  Unlike Bird's other writing/directing efforts Tomorrowland is a blunt hammer that uses almost no subtly or panache to tell a story about the contradictions inherent in human nature and our inability to save ourselves. The screenplay is lump of dialog put together simply to once again inform us that we're destroying the earth and if we don't change it's all going to end. What's at fault for this inevitable calamity? Who knows. Politics, money, video games, movies, reality television; everything is wrong and nothing is right. That is, of course, unless we hold on to our hope and try to make a better... sorry, I just threw up a bit in my mouth. Again and again this movie comes back to our destruction of the world. In this case it's literal as there's a count down to doomsday. The move opens with a painfully done "talking to the camera" narration that only serves to highlight the thud of a screenplay. Frank Walker (George Clooney) and Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) -- yes, naming a lead character Newton is about as subtle as the movie gets -- are telling the story of how they came to be where they are now. It turns out that when Frank was a child he was whisked away to a wondrous city called Tomorrowland by a girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy). We flash forward a few decades and Frank is living in a run down house while Casey finds a magic pin that takes her to Tomorrowland, but all is not right and the three must join together to save the future.  Narratively the film is a mess, with cause and effect having little consequence and tension building at a snails pace as the movie spews one cliche ideal after another. The problem isn't the ideals (I agree with almost all of them), but their execution. Tomorrowland screams about a lot of problems and offers almost no solutions. At times hypocritically complaining about action movies and then rolling right into an action sequence. It feels more like the film is saying what it thinks it should be instead of what it believes in, and Bird doesn't help it along any with his uncharacteristically heavy-handed direction. At times the overwhelmingly obvious cues of environmental friendliness and peace illicit eye rolls instead of agreement. We get it. Wind power is awesome and we shouldn't kill each other, you don't need to remind us with every cut. I will admit that despite being burdensome, Tomorrowland's optimism is a bit refreshing. It is truly always happy and excited for itself. In a landscape of movies that are often dour, even from Disney themselves, this one stands out for always, always, always being upbeat even when it's not. Maybe that's part of it's biggest problem, though. Because the film, and Casey especially, are always looking at the bright side and always exclaiming how amazing everything is then nothing is. Except for one scene involving the Eiffel Tower almost nothing from the film is truly amazing.  That goes especially for the movies special effects, action and acting... which is basically the entire film. There's a massive dependence on digital effects for the movie and they aren't where they need to be, especially after seeing what can be done with practical stunts last week. We're supposed to be awed by Tomorrowland itself, but it never feels original or special. When action does come it is routinely basic and incoherent. Bird seems as sloppy as the screenplay in his direction of anything that moves fast.  Almost every actor could be swapped out for any other actor. Clooney especially feels rough in the role, as if he doesn't care enough to really work with it. The only stand out is Cassidy who offers the film's best line and the only serious depth in any character. Finally, the movie is oddly violent. In another instance of hypocrisy, actual murders occur on screen. There's no blood, but people are vaporized at random and a human-looking robot has its head torn off in a fight sequence that would have given the film an R-rating had the combatants not been robotic. It all feels woefully out of context in a film that is decrying our ever escalating enjoyment of violence in media and more importantly is intended for children.  Tomorrowland is nostalgic for a future that never happened, much like Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris is for a past that never happened, but it loses its fun and love in its overbearing effort to send a message. It's flat plotline and dud action mean that nothing ever sparkles despite the actors repeatedly telling you that it does. Does it actually care about its message? It's unclear. If it does it's doing such a terrible job of sending it that it feels disingenuous. Great films have meaning to their message, all Tomorrowland does is shout from the mountain top that we're doing it all wrong. Well, Brad Bird, so are you.
Tomorrowland Review photo
The future is a letdown
If you're like me you were pretty excited for Tomorrowland. Almost everything Brad Bird touches is magic and his obsession with nostalgia made a perfect fit for a film based off a Disneyland park whose future never came to be...

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Disney reveals a film slate full of your dreams


And remakes, sequels and reboots
Apr 23
// Matthew Razak
Over the past few years Disney has acquired and developed a collection of film properties and franchises that basically means it owns the world. At Cinema Con the company basically bragged about its upcoming slate of films an...
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New Tomorrowland trailer full of action taking place tomorrow... land


Things go boom
Apr 21
// Matthew Razak
Brad Bird may have gotten his start at Pixar, but the guy is a fantastic action director as Ghost Protocol and The Incredibles showed us, and this new trailer for Tomorrowland demonstrates that the film is taki...
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Ian McKellan to play Cogsworth in live-action Beauty and the Beast


This is one more actor who will be clocking in some serious hours at Disney
Apr 13
// John-Charles Holmes
Beauty and the Beast is a very close forerunner for my favorite Disney movie (perhaps mostly thanks to the mere existence of Gaston) so any news about this upcoming live-action adaptation has certainly caught my attention so ...
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Ryan Gosling in talks to star in Guillermo Del Toro's Haunted Mansion


Hey girl, are you a ghost? Because you hunt my dreams
Apr 10
// Per Morten Mjolkeraaen
Good news, everyone! It looks like Guillermo Del Toro's Haunted Mansion, based on the Disney ride of the same name, is finally back on track with Ryan Gosling in talks to star.  Del Toro first revealed Haunted Mansi...
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Pinocchio

Disney also making a live action Pinocchio


No strings attached
Apr 09
// Nick Valdez
Cartoons are getting live action remakes so often, we're going to need a new term for it. I'm thinking "live-actioning." Not the easiest word to say, but I'll just keep using it until someone suggests a better one (do so in t...
Tron 3 Announced photo
This franchise just won't stay off the Grid.
After the huge success with the recent reboot/sequel, Tron: Legacy, Disney has announced that another sequel is in the the works. The unnamed Tron 3 will be bringing back a lot of the same crew who worked on Legacy, including...

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Winnie the Pooh is now getting the live-action Disney treatment


They'll guzzle up the very thing you prize.
Apr 03
// John-Charles Holmes
Hot off the heels of Beauty & the Beast, Mulan, and Tim Burton's Dumbo, Disney has announced yet another property to give a live-action adaptation-- Winnie the Pooh. The film will be written by Sundance film maker, Alex R...
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Live-action Beauty and the Beast has a release date


Emma Thompson and Kevin Kline join the remake set to release in 2017
Mar 17
// Matt Liparota
If Cinderella is anything to go by, Disney has made a good decision in greenlighting live-action adaptations of its own animated classics. Perhaps Cinderella's box office success over the weekend spurred the company to make a...
Frozen 2 photo
Not letting go
Buzzing has been non-stop about Disney releasing a sequel to Frozen, but we've never received word that it was actually going to happen. Now we have it. On the same call that delivered plenty of Star Wars details it was ...

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Gareth Edwards's Star Wars spinoff titled; Episode VIII dated


These wars among the star shall never end
Mar 12
// Jackson Tyler
There's a Disney meeting going on a long time ago, right this second, and with it comes Star Wars news! Ben Fritz tweeted it out, and the news is here for us to read, saving us all from sitting through Disney's financial meet...
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Rumor: Tron 3 to star production in the Fall


Hollywood stockpiling neon colors
Mar 11
// Matthew Razak
When TRON: Legacy was released it was announced that it was the launch of a new franchise, and usually when a film is highly successful and is part of a franchise the rest of the movies come out pretty quick (disregardin...
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Tim Burton set to direct live-action Dumbo remake


Before you say anything, consider how cool Burton's pink elephant scene would be
Mar 10
// John-Charles Holmes
Disney has announced yet another in its long line of recent live-action adaptions of classic animated films. The upcoming project this time is Dumbo, the classic tale of a big-eared circus elephant who eventually learns to fl...
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New Inside Out trailer shows ins and outs of Pixar's next film


I highly commend this trailer's use of "More Than a Feeling"
Mar 10
// John-Charles Holmes
  Surprisingly, it's been about two years since we've last had an actual Pixar movie in theaters, so it's pretty exciting to get our first solid new look at their next feature, Inside Out. All previous looks so far gave...
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Tomorrowland

Newest Tomorrowland Trailer is only a day away


Tomorrow, tomorrow
Mar 09
// Nick Valdez
Brad Bird's upcoming Tomorrowland is Disney's second attempt at turning one of their park attractions into a big film, but unlike the Pirates of the Caribbean series (which is starting work on the fifth one), Tomorrowland lo...
Disney's BnB photo
Disney's BnB

Disney's live action Beauty and the Beast gets its Gaston and Beast


Mar 06
// Nick Valdez
Live action Beauty and the Beast stories are a dime a dozen. Disney hopes you'll forget about all those other ones and support their latest live action take on one of their animated stories. Bill Condon (Chicago, Twilight: Br...
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Toy Story 4 might be a romantic comedy separate from original trilogy


How could you possibly follow an act like that?
Mar 06
// John-Charles Holmes
In a recent interview with Disney Latino, Pixar's president, Jim Morris discussed some of the earliest details about the upcoming Toy Story 4. According to Morris, the sequel to the original trilogy won't continue the story, ...
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ReAction Tomorrowland toys teases characters


I like my action figures like I like my coffee-- with a jetpack
Feb 17
// John-Charles Holmes
Toy company Funko recently showed off some of its newest line of retro-styled ReAction action figures based on Disney's upcoming reboot of Tomorrowland.  So far, not much is known about the film other than its starring c...
Tomorrowland Super Spot photo
I love ya, Tomorrow
Through its trailers and how little story we've been given so far, Tomorrowland is shaping up to be one of the more interesting movies this year. Like Pirates of the Caribbean, it's a film adapted from Disney parks, but unli...

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Star Wars

Disney confirms Star Wars trilogy's release years


Jan 30
// Nick Valdez
In case you were wondering when we were getting more Star Wars after Force Awakens takes over the decade, we're getting at least one a year so far. After Episode VII releases at the end of this year, and the first spin-off in...
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Star Wars Spin-Offs

Star Wars standalone testing some awesome female leads


Jan 21
// Nick Valdez
I'm not very interested in the main Star Wars series, but what has gotten my attention are the standalone spin-off films releasing in between the trilogy. With cooler directors, and possibly cooler stories, it's only natural ...

Nick's Top 5 Animated Movies of 2014

Jan 12 // Nick Valdez
Honorable Mentions: The Boxtrolls, Batman: Assault on Arkham, Penguins of Madagascar [embed]218732:42108:0[/embed] 5. Big Hero 6 When Disney bought out Marvel a few years ago, one of the more interesting projects to come out of that was Big Hero 6. A Disney animated take on a Marvel comic only two or three people have heard of? I was sold from day one. Streamlining some of the original comic's funkier aspects, rightfully making Baymax adorable, and providing some great animation, Disney Animated Studios proved once again that they could provide another hit after Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen. I can't wait to see what they churn out next.  Read our review of Big Hero 6 here. [embed]218732:42109:0[/embed] 4. The Lego Movie Although Lego Movie was on the top of my list throughout most of the year, the more I thought about it, the more I didn't like it as much. Everything was indeed awesome with its great cast, stunning mix of stop motion and CG, and pretty funny jokes. But the ending ended up rubbing me the wrong way. It's one of those endings in which the ramifications of its message didn't hit home until a few weeks ago. It's got kind of a mean message, but it still deserves a place on my list. I still enjoyed the rest of it quite a bit. I hope the sequel can fix those problems.  Read our review of The Lego Movie here. [embed]218732:42110:0[/embed] 3. The Book of Life The Book of Life was truly a light in the dark. A different, Spanish language voice that stood out from other homogeneous offerings. Bringing both negative and positive aspects of Mexican culture to the public forefront (although never truly doing anything with them, sadly), Book of Life is a savvy, entertaining, wonderfully musical good time. In fact, its tejano inspired arrangements of well known pop songs are some of my favorites from last year. I hope this is just the beginning of Latino voices breaking into the mainstream.  Read our review of The Book of Life here. [embed]218732:42112:0[/embed] 2. How to Train Your Dragon 2 How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a sequel done right. Expanding on the themes of the original without pandering to anyone, Dragon 2 was entirely confident in itself. It was amazing to see it unfold onscreen. Providing some of the best looking scenes in film last year, and with a great musical score to boot, Dragon 2 was one of the few films that made 3D viewing necessary. Its darker tone may have turned kids away, but those kids that stuck around realized there was a film here that captured all of the oddness that comes with becoming an adult and staking a claim in life. And this is a sequel! Based off a book! See, they're not all terrible!  Read our review of How to Train Your Dragon 2 here. [embed]218732:42111:0[/embed] 1. Mr. Peabody & Sherman Speaking of terrible sounding ideas, Mr. Peabody seemed doomed to fail. When Dreamworks bought the rights to Classic Media (which included classic cartoon properties like Rocky & Bullwinkle, Waldo, and Casper the Friendly Ghost) as part of an initiative to reboot all of these properties and make money, I was worried for the already in progress Peabody. Reboots already have the worst reputation, and Peabody is really special to me so the last thing I wanted was for the poor dog to be dragged through the mud. But thankfully that didn't happen.  Smarter than most films without belittling children's intelligence, Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a surprisingly emotional tale of father and son who've both felt the sting of loneliness. In a year of boy's club films, it was so great to see one that wasn't all about men doing men things. Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an ode to love, family, and trust. Also, it's full of genuinely good edutainment.  Read our review of Mr. Peabody & Sherman here. What are your favorite animated films of 2014? Agree or disagree? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! Stay tuned through the rest of the week for more "Best Of" lists! 
Nick's Top 5 Animated photo
No girls allowed I guess
2014 was a pretty good year for animated films. But unlike the year before, which featured a huge Disney film with headlining women and lots of family friendly features, 2014 was a complete boy's club. While there were a few ...

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New image and logo from Pixar's The Good Dinosaur


I always preferred bad dinosaurs myself
Dec 30
// Matthew Razak
For a Pixar film we've heard relatively little about The Good Dinosaur. That may be because it's run into so much trouble in production. It was delayed from a 2014 release to a November, 2015 release, but things seem to be ro...

Review: Into the Woods

Dec 28 // Nick Valdez
[embed]218767:42088:0[/embed] Into the WoodsDirector: Rob MarshallRelease Date: December 25th, 2014 Rating: PG Based of the Stephen Sondheim stage musical, Into the Woods is five different fairy tales weaved together into one plot. Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) wants to go to a festival but is afraid of Prince Charming (Chris Pine), Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) trades some magic beans for his cow and ends up stealing from a giant, Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) wants to visit her grandma but gets stopped by the Wolf (Johnny Depp), Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy) is stuck in a tower, and a poor Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) can't have a child until they gather important items from these stories for the Witch (Meryl Streep) who's put a curse on their house.  Director Rob Marshall once directed one my favorite musical adaptations, Chicago. But while that film kept some of the bombastic nature of the original stage version, it was toned down in most areas out of a self-inflicted need to keep the film grounded. When that film broke out one of its numbers, it was relegated to a dream sequence far and away from the "real" world. While I've never seen the Into the Woods stage play myself (and thus this is one of the few times I have no experience with a musical before it gets adapted), I was once again worried that these woven fairy tales would lose their mysticism and be grounded in some way. I was way off the mark there. Finally exploiting the inherent wackiness of every musical, Woods is a big, showy representation of what musicals can really do. While the lack of unsung dialogue (until the final third of the film) may throw a few people off as there are no clear starts and stops, it's impossible not to get swept up in the fun.  And there's so much fun to be had from Woods. While the staging itself is a bit small (instead of coming off as intimate, it's stifling when each of these bombastic musical numbers occurs within such a confined area), the cast uses the area given well. Sure it's weird to see so many of these characters cross paths often when the woods is shown as this big place, and it's a little hokey when you recognize certain areas, but that might be more attributed to the original version. A good example of marriage between good staging and cast is when Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen perform "Agony." As the two notably attractive Princes cavort and contort around a waterfall, it's a wonderfully self aware, boy band type of performance. It's goofy, wet, and they tear their shirts open for no reason. It's fantastic. There's plenty of that self aware goofiness here and it works for the kind of fantastical tale Woods tells.  As for the cast itself, every person holds their own with Lilla Crawford and Meryl Streep stealing the show. And in terms of arrangement, every song sounds good and there is nary a faulty note to be found. Although the flowing format of the film means I can't tell you about a specific song (as it's hard to gauge the title when so many songs start and stop over each other), it at least sounds nice. But notably, the songs get away with so much adult content. Johnny Depp gets a neat turn (an extended cameo, really) as a predatory wolf who exploits the inherent sexuality in the Red Riding Hood fairytale. But in most cases, I wished the film would've gone further. In the story there are multiple deaths, inappropriate sexual advances, and violent acts hidden within the songs, but it seems there was a bit of holding back. And this held back feeling clashes with the festival vibe the rest of the film gives off.  If there's one major problem with Into the Woods, it's that while it doesn't care what you think, it really should care a little bit. With no clear stopping points, the film hits a bit of a lull at several occasions. It's not impossible to glaze over certain events, and we'd have a much stronger film had it considered a tighter edit here or there. It's especially noticeable during the third act when you realize the characters have little nuance.  But in the end, Into the Woods is a celebration of musicals themselves. An adaptation that reminds you of the kind of fun you can only get from seeing attractive people sing beautifully. Sometimes, that's all you really need. 
Into the Woods Review photo
I'd visit these woods again
For a Disney adaptation of a popular musical, Into the Woods has flown surprisingly under the radar. Coming out of practically nowhere, and with all of the early advertising hiding the fact that it is a musical, you'd think D...

Cinderella Trailer photo
Cinderella Trailer

International trailer for Cinderella works them shoes


Dec 17
// Nick Valdez
I'm caught in a pickle, folks. While I want Disney's live action version of Cinderella to be different from its animated counterpart (so it has a reason to exist other than money), I don't like the changes. Thus the latest t...
Inside Out Trailer photo
Inside Out Trailer

Full trailer for Disney/Pixar's Inside Out is adorable


Dec 11
// Nick Valdez
I've been digging how Pixar has been marketing their upcoming animated project, Inside Out. This latest trailer, like the last, may not feature any of the story, but it's got enough substance to chew on. I will never kn...
Into the Woods photo
Into the Woods

Listen to the first song revealed from Disney's Into the Woods


Dec 05
// Nick Valdez
With Disney's adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical Into the Woods hitting theaters soon, the jig is essentially up. It can't hide the fact it's a musical anymore, especially with recent promotional material finally showi...
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Frozen 2 is a thing in the works


Frozen 2: Freeze Harder
Dec 01
// Matthew Razak
Did you think Disney was just going to let the incredible success of Frozen sit there and... well continue to be successful thanks to toys, television and marketing? No, that's not how they play. Idinia Menzel says that ...






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