Movie Review: Monsters University

IMDB, Monsters UniversityComedy, 104 Minutes, 2013: Monsters University on IMDB

I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say it until they prove me wrong: Pixar doesn’t make bad movies.  They just don’t.  Some of their movies are worse than others, but none of them are bad.  This one is, in fact, worse than others.  It’s a super cliched story.  Mike and Sully, bestest friends for life, are introduced when, get this, they didn’t like each other!  They join the worst fraternity on campus and have to compete against the best fraternity… who are also total jerks!

Still, it’s a good movie.  Predictable as a one-horse race, but fun and warm and clever.  There are all the wonderful little Pixar callbacks and in-jokes that fans expect and some really great casting.  It’s not among the best Pixar movies, but it’s comfortable and you’ll laugh.

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Movie Review: The Croods

IMDB, The CroodsFantasy, 98 Minutes, 2013: The Croods on IMDB

The Croods are cavemen.  In fact, after a series of misadventures, they are the very last cavemen in their area.  They say they survive by fearing everything, rarely leaving their cave and never doing anything new.  They actually survive via bombastic, attention-drawing action sequences that completely ignore everything they say.

When the Croods cave is destroyed by a nebulous earthquaky, firebally, argmageddony kind of thing they team up with a lonely wanderer, Guy, from a more advanced tribe.  He introduces them to fire, new ideas and new ways of doing things which are difficult for the head of the family, Grug, to accept.

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Movie Review: Epic

IMDB, EpicFamily/Adventure, 102 Minutes, 2013: Epic on IMDB

This was fine, really.  Just fine.  The animation is nice.  The story is simple enough.  It has Chris O’Dowd [IMDB] in it; he makes everything better.  There’s funny sidekicks, lots of action, a nasty little villain and love story light on the kissy-face.

It’s just fine.  Not quite, you know, “epic”, but really, just fine.

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Movie Review: Oz the Great and Powerful

IMDB, OZ - The Great and PowerfulFantasy, 130 Minutes, 2013: Oz the Great and Powerful on IMDB

The Oz-stories have charmed people for over a century and, in fact, were first put to film by Frank L. Baum himself in 1914.  The 1939 “Wizard of Oz” [IMDB] is a well-deserved and universally known classic.  The unofficial sequel in 1985,”Return to Oz”, [IMDB] was brilliantly dark but is often misunderstood or just plain forgotten.  This time director Sam Raimi [IMDB] dives into the pool with a lovingly crafted prequel.

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Movie Review: Escape from Planet Earth

IMDB, Escape from Planer EarthFamily, 89 Minutes, 2013: Escape from Planet Earth on IMDB

It’s a digitally animated family film!  It has famous people (a few former A-listers and a solid set of B-listers)!  There are multiple cute side-kicky characters!  It has references to pop culture!  It has a heartwarming message!  It’s really nothing special.

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Movie Review: Wreck-it Ralph

IMDB, Wreck-it RalphFantasy, 108 Minutes, 2012: Wreck-it Ralph on IMDB

This movie aspires to be nothing less than the “Toy Story” [IMDB] of the video game generation.  It has the same “your playthings have private lives when you leave” theme.  It also features similar “new v. old” and “respect v. apathy” plotlines.  Finally it populates its world with a mixture of classic characters and original characters that fit classic archetypes.  The arrogance!  The audacity!  The cheek!

Damn if it doesn’t (almost) do it.

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Movie Review: Hotel Transylvania

IMDB, Hotel TransylvaniaComedy, 91 Minutes, 2012: Hotel Transylvania on IMDB

I’m a big fan of the old Universal Horror films.  “Frankenstein”, “The Wolfman”, “Dracula” and “The Mummy” are all classics and this movie gets a decent bump just by having them all together.  Sure they’re all cartoons with famous voices but they’re still together and there’s a host of little references and in-jokes that just for old-time fans like myself.

The story is kinda blah.  It’s got that “been there, done that… now with more pop culture references!” feel that a lot of animation has.  It’s fine, but nothing that you’ll remember a few days later.  Monsters are really just decent folks hiding from the horrible humans that tried to hunt them out of existence.  Dracula, in an effort to shelter her from the humans that killed her mother over 100 years ago, hides his daughter away from the world in a lavish hotel that caters exclusively to the monster world.  When a wayward human hiker stumbles onto the hotel everybody is, of course, forced to reconsider.

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