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Entries in Disney (128)

Wednesday
Sep282016

Review: Queen of Katwe

by Eric Blume

Usually adjectives like “inspirational” and “crowd-pleasing” make most serious moviegoers want to go running straight for the hills, and indeed the trailer for Disney’s Queen of Katwe made me shudder.  This true story of a poor Ugandan girl (played here by newcomer Madina Nalwanga) who becomes a candidate master at chess has all the markers of the usual Disney underdog story, and you expect all the typical manipulation that comes with it. 

But most films aren’t directed by Mira Nair, and she turns Queen of Katwe into something rare:  a true story that plays authentically and simply.  Nair shot this film in the actual slums of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, and her love for the place, the people, and the culture is unmistakable...

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Thursday
Sep012016

More Early Looks at "Beauty And The Beast"

Chris here with more early looks at next year's live action Beauty and the Beast revamp.

While we've only had the briefest of glimpses at what's in store for Disney's next reimagining/bastardization (potato, potahto) of a favorite, we have already been given enough to incite both excitement and dread. However, what the trailer was missing was any kind of hint of how the characters might visually borrow or differ from the original animated masterpiece. Now it looks like we'll be getting a little of both...

Yep, that's Dan Stevens as the transformed Beast in human form giving a very literal interpretation of the open-chested flowy frock of the original. But the design of Lumiere and Cogsworth (voiced by Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen) is, shall we say... certainly different - any concerns of reliance on CGI will not be abated by this reveal. Whether the film will take the approach of "more is more" (Cogsworth is walking filigris) or "less is less" (human Beast wasn't so modest, Mr. Stevens) is still to come.

What do you think of the character design? Would you rather see the characters close to the original or an entire new take?

Saturday
Aug132016

Review: Pete's Dragon

By Chris Feil

It's at the outset of David Lowery's reinvention of Pete's Dragon that the titular beast is intended more as a puppy to our namesake hero. What follows is a sharp left turn from the original's vaudevillian slapstick, with the "boy and his dog" approach used as a distinguishing characteristic from the aimless original and as an easy emotional access point for the audience. Gone are the musical numbers (though the hipster rock is cranked up to 11) and the buffoonery in favor of something more genuinely wraught straight from the heart.

But more importantly, this iteration of Elliott the dragon serves to stir more than just cutesy, cheap surrogate affection. Lowery is unafraid of scaring the kids and making the grown ups weep along the way. What remains is a family film about coping defenses, especially how we lean on our furry friends in the face of trauma.

This nuanced angle is made plain in the film's stunning prologue, confidently announcing those stark differences from its source and the emotional rollercoaster to come. The film is fascinated by moments of magic in the real world, and luckily Lowery has conjured a film that does just that, from Elliott's reveal to the organic emotions it creates. Yep, we finally have some magic at the movies this summer.

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Monday
Aug082016

A Real Life Gaston

Presented without commentary because what is there really to say other than "Do the whole musical!"

 

Friday
Jul292016

Pete's Dragon - 1977 and Now

Our year of the month is 1977! Here's Chris looking back on Pete's Dragon...

As Disney has been increasingly revisiting their classics in live action, big budget form, the resulting films have revealed the evolution of family storytelling over the decades. Cinderella showed an increased emphasis on character, while this year's The Jungle Book was an example of the shift towards realism even in fantastical, unrealistic settings. While these rehashings are becoming old hat already, one of the most exciting films still to come this summer is the remake of 1977's Pete's Dragon.

The recent Disney revamps have extrapolated upon or directly lifted from their original source films, but the first glimpses of Pete's Dragon have already revealed a sharp turn in tone. Again, they are trading in a more modestly minded lark for larger spectacle. If nothing else, the creation of the dragon Elliott embodies the shift from traditional animation to digital imagery.

Rewatching the original is almost a shock as an adult - it's far more absurd and loose than you might remember...

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Thursday
Jul282016

Ava & Oprah

Kieran, here.  It was recently announced that Ava DuVernay would direct an adaptation of the classic children’s fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time for Disney starring Oprah Winfrey. The script is to be penned by Frozen scribe and co-director Jennifer Lee and will also star Amy Adams and Kevin Hart. Winfrey is also collaborating with DuVernay (off screen) in the capacity of executive producer for the upcoming OWN series “Queen Sugar” staring Rutina Wesley (“True Blood”). 

While A Wrinkle in Time may seem like an odd career zag on paper for nearly everyone involved, pairing Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey together again after 2014’s justifiably lauded Selma should have movie-watchers willing to follow this director-actor duo to the ends of the Earth...

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