Well, it has been a long, and let’s call it, interesting year, but today brings to a close our last reviewed of a film from 2020. To round out the year, it is time to look at Pixar’s next entry, and given we already had a strong movie in Onward this year. I came into Soul with some reasonably high expectations.
So to set the scene, Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a high school music teacher, but his real passion is performing jazz. This puts him in conflict with his mother Libba (Phylicia Rashad) who wants him to have a stable job. Well, those two worlds are about to collide when he is offered a full-time position teaching while also getting the chance to perform with the famous Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett). This would be a big decision for Joe if he didn’t then fall through an open manhole and wake up on the escalator to the other side.
There has been a couple of attempts in recent times to do the ‘what if the fantasy realm that you know was set in modern times’ and well, on the whole, they have been bad. But as a concept, it is solid, so I have been wondering if anyone would be able to pull it off. Well if anyone can do it, it is Pixar, and boy did they.
So to set the scene, Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) is just an average teenage elf, winning math awards, learning how to drive, avoiding his brother Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt) and trying to find friends. He is trying to find his place in the world with his brother, who is a bit of a screw-up, and his mother Laurel Lightfoot (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who is trying her best with the chaos. On his 16th birthday, their mother surprises them with a gift from their late father Wilden Lightfoot (Kyle Bornheimer) which turns out to be a magic staff and a spell, one that can bring him back, but only for one day.
TL;DR – A fitting end to a series that I have loved
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
I am not sure if I have ever walked into a cinema with as much trepidation as I
did when seeing Toy Story 4. I have
mentioned in the past how much I adored the conclusion to the trilogy in Toy Story 3, indeed it is one of my favourite
animated films of all time. Given they had wrapped everything up so neatly
in 3 I was wondering what was going to be the point? Was this just a cheap cash
grab, was this going to be a victory lap or was this just an epilogue? Well, it
ended up being a combination of the last two and thankfully not the first.
So to set the scene, it has been a little while since Toy Story 3 and Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of
the gang are getting settled in their new home with Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw).
It has been a difficult transition for Woody because he is no longer the leader
of the group of toys anymore. Well, Woody needs to be helping so he sneaks into
Bonnie’s first day of school and to comfort her he sneaks her some crafting
supplies. All good, Bonnie is happy and Woody was not caught, so no problems.
Okay, so there is one small hitch because Bonnie created a new friend Forky (Tony
Hale) and he just came alive and he is about to go AWOL during their family
TL;DR – Today we countdown my Top 10 films of all time; from towns where there are a lot of ‘accidents’, to all forms of Sci-Fi, to do you know the man with six fingers on his right hand, and everything in between.
Recently I watched the CineFix crew countdown their Top 10 films, and it had me thinking what are mine? Now it was at this point where I of course naturally spiralled as how can you reduce thousands of films that you have seen into only a Top 10. Just before I threw my hands up in resignation and chucked in the towel I happened to catch an episode of Movies with Mikey on how he determined the best sequel. With this in mind I wondered if there was a set of criteria that I could use to categorise the films into a list that I would be happy with, and after some work, I came up with the following criteria that work for me.
Films that are beautifully constructed
Films that mean something to me
Films that are always re-watchable
Films that have added to my love of the craft of cinema
With this criterion in mind I went through all the likely candidates and with a bit of a struggle I think I have been able to come to a final list, well at least until I change my mind next week, which is always a chance.
TL;DR – A beautiful look at what it means to be a family
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
One of the hallmarks of a lot of recent Disney and Pixar films has been the short films that run before the main attraction. These are little films that explore interesting topics, like exploring the love between volcanoes in Lava that ran before Moana (see review), or Lou a story of a lost and found box that comes alive that came before Cars 3 (see review) which was also nominated for an Oscar. Now while not all of these short films work, they are all really interesting, and today we are going to look at Bao, which was the starting show for Incredibles 2 (see review).
TL;DR – This is a fun ride back into the world of 60s spy film and superheroes, the story does not always work but the animation and setting more than make up for it.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post credit scene
Content Warning – There are a couple of sequences that could be dangerous for people that suffer from epilepsy.
Back all the way in 2004 Pixar was in its golden era where each film released by the studio was better than the last and in that moment we got The Incredibles. It was a fun romp through the world of superheroes four years before the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched the flood of superhero film into the world. The original was this fun mix of a 60s spy film with the trappings of a modern superhero film and to this day stands as the closest we will get to a decent Fantastic Four film on the big screen. Now I quite liked the first film, but it wasn’t the huge cultural touchstone for me like it was for a lot of people. So when I heard they were finally doing a sequel to it I was less in an ‘it’s about time’ frame of mind but more ‘hmm that might be a bit of fun’ and overall I do think it was all a bit of fun.
TL;DR – Beautifully acted, stunningly realised, with a story that will wreck you in the feels, I cannot recommend Coco enough.
Score – 5 out of 5 stars
P.S. – There is no end credit scene but you can pretend there is one if you need to compose yourself before you leave the cinemas
Oh wow, I was expecting Coco to be good, it is Pixar after all, but what I was not expecting is to have a deeply emotional experience. So today we are going to break down the many factors that contributed to the success of the film from the acting, to the visuals, the music and of course the story. Coco is one of those films where every facet of the film supports and builds upon the next and create a whole that is amazing to watch.
TL;DR – It starts really formulaic but then it hits you right in the feels
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
P.S. – There is a post credit scene
Review – Cars have always been the odd one out of the Pixar films, some found the cartoon cars charming, others heralded it the beginning of the end of Pixar, for me I just found them to be ok, nothing more, and nothing less, the Thor’s of the Pixar catalogue. So it has been six years since Cars 2 a movie didn’t end up seeing because, to be honest, it didn’t sound all that good. This led to a bit of apprehension before seeing Cars 3, was it a chance for Pixar to show that they had learned from their mistakes, or was this just simply another toy cash grab, because Cars merchandise has been a real boon for Disney. Well, can it be both?