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The Incredibles (2004)
Meet the Parrs, a family of superheroes.
Filmmaker(s): Brad Bird

Bob Parr has given up his superhero days to log in time as an insurance adjuster and raise his three children with his formerly heroic wife in suburbia. But when he receives a mysterious assignment, it's time to get back into costume.

Pixar is Invincible All movies are about other movies. Most simply quote them, and most of these are bad. Some are very clever quoters, like Tarantino. But still mere quoters. A few weeks ago, I saw “Van Helsing” which impressed the daylights out of me....
Published November 26, 2022
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Jungle Jitters (1938)
Filmmaker(s): Friz Freleng

Starts out with a tribe of African cannibals imitating Native Americans. After this, they do the new Warner Bros. Looney Tunes theme "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down." Then a sloppy stuttering salesman knocks on their doors, and they bring him in and put him in a pot of boiling water. The queen of the tribe wants to see the man. She falls in love with him. They get married, but when the salesman sees he has to kiss the bride, he decides he'd be better off being dinner for a tribe of hungry cannibals.

Bamboozled I usually see these “banned” things and react variously. I think Amos and Andy, for instance is ennobling, and the often respected “Song of the South” disgusting in it racial typing. This one seems pretty offensive too, especially at the beginning where multi-hued cannibals...
Published November 24, 2022
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An Extremely Goofy Movie (2000)
Filmmaker(s): Douglas McCarthy

It's all extreme sports and a life of freedom as Max sets off for college -- but Goofy misses Max so much he loses his job and goes to finish college alongside Max and his friends. But as Goofy tries to get closer to Max, both must go to the extreme to learn how to live their own lives together.

Three Goofs There are three things about this little cartoon that should get you up-out-of-your-chair mad. And not just huffing mad, but pounding walls mad. The first is elusive. Walt Disney created Goofy and indeed all of his characters with a single notion: that they...
Published November 22, 2022
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Happy Feet (2006)
WARNING: May Cause Toe-Tapping.
Filmmaker(s): George Miller

Into the world of the Emperor Penguins, who find their soul mates through song, a penguin is born who cannot sing. But he can tap dance something fierce!

Mad Maximum Motion You can parse this into three bits I think. The first is what people normally see, the story. Miller and many of the Oz New Wave don’t pay much attention to this. They put something there of course, otherwise we would get...
Published November 20, 2022
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Family Guy (1999- )
Parental Discretion Advised, that's how you know it's good.

Sick, twisted, politically incorrect and Freakin' Sweet animated series featuring the adventures of the dysfunctional Griffin family. Bumbling Peter and long-suffering Lois have three kids. Stewie (a brilliant but sadistic baby bent on killing his mother and taking over the world), Meg (the oldest, and is the most unpopular girl in town) and Chris (the middle kid, he's not very bright but has a passion for movies). The final member of the family is Brian - a talking dog and much more than a pet, he keeps Stewie in check whilst sipping Martinis and sorting through his own life issues.

Formulas It all started with “The Flintstones”, I suppose. In its time, it was novel. Since then we’ve had a number of versions of the dumb dad cartoon. This one was recommended to me by a reader because it is edgier than the others. Here’s...
Published November 8, 2022
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Paws of Fury The Legend of Hank (2022)
Time to mark some territory.

A hard-on-his-luck hound finds himself in a town full of cats in need of a hero to defend them from a ruthless villain's wicked plot to wipe their village off the map. With help from a reluctant mentor, our underdog must assume the role of town samurai and team up with the villagers to save the day.

Cat Play Viewer paradigms are evolving quickly in the film world. I think the COVID lull has stopped that temporarily as we wash out the projects like this that were on automatic pilot during that era. By evolving, I mean that we as viewers build...
Published October 29, 2022
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Inspector Gadget (1983-86)

Inspector Gadget is a clumsy, dim-witted human cyborg detective with various bionic gadgets built into his body. Gadget stumbles around working the cases while his niece and dog do most of the investigating. Gadget's arch-nemesis is Dr. Claw, the leader of an evil organisation, known as "M.A.D."

The Token Investigator This is about the series in general. My perspective is one that is a bit egg-heady I suppose. I study film and the evolution of film and how it sees itself. One milestone in any evolution is when something becomes so well...
Published October 28, 2022
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Lightyear (2022)
Infinity awaits.
Filmmaker(s): Angus MacLane

Legendary Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear embarks on an intergalactic adventure alongside a group of ambitious recruits and his robot companion Sox.

Andy’s World The first thing — and the most important thing — a film does is establish where it will sit between your mind and the worlds you know. Often there is some clever interplay between what it is directly, and what games it will...
Published August 14, 2022
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Rio 2 (2014)
It's on in the Amazon.
Filmmaker(s): Carlos Saldanha

It's a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids after they're hurtled from Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all: his father-in-law.

People, Not Situations Getting back into thinking about how narratives get put together, I am reminded of how many radically different strategies there are in approaching a film. If you talk to the (old) Pixar guys, what you’ll hear is a focus on story, a...
Published July 13, 2022
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Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (2006)
Kiss Your Nuts Goodbye
Filmmaker(s): Carlos Saldanha

Diego, Manny and Sid return in this sequel to the hit animated movie Ice Age. This time around, the deep freeze is over, and the ice-covered earth is starting to melt, which will destroy the trio's cherished valley. The impending disaster prompts them to reunite and warn all the other beasts about the desperate situation.

Two Paths Full feature animation has settled into two paths which will never again pass. One is the long form narrative which makes animated films no different than most other movies, real movies. The other is a collection of jokes. Now there are lots of...
Published May 17, 2022
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