Archive for August, 2012

Pic of the Day Update

I can’t resist these theme months. Especially in September. Actually, last September was when I started doing them originally.

Anyway, we just got done with the Disney/Animated movie theme months. Now onto the next set of theme months. Here’s what I thought up:

September is gonna be Musicals month. Every Pic of the Day is gonna be a scene from a film that is set to song. I might fudge a Pic or two if the scene with the song isn’t visually interesting (or, in tomorrow’s case — well, you’ll see. It’ll all make perfect sense, every one of them). But for the most part, every picture will be a song from the film performed by the characters. That’s the caveat — the song has to be performed by the characters. So stuff like Bond songs or credit songs are out. (Specifically the former. Just because — well, you’ll see.) So that’s September. Thirty of my favorite musicals/important musical moments in film. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.

Then October — since I did one of my favorite genres in September, I figured I might as well do the other one as well — is gonna be Westerns month. All the Pics of the Day will be from Westerns. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Musicals and Westerns are easily my favorite two genres. So these two months are like heaven for me.

Oh, but don’t worry, we’re not done there. (more…)


Ranking Disney: #14 – Peter Pan (1953)

I had a real tough time with this film, because, on the one hand — I fucking love this movie. Peter Pan is about all that is great and wonderful with childhood. Plus, it’s a Disney classic, and an amazing film. On the other hand — there’s a lot in it that I don’t like. Those Indians, for example. And the fact that Peter is really a giant dick. So I knew this was going high, based on it being what it is and on the parts that I do like (specifically the idea of Wendy not wanting to grow up and Tinkerbell… more on her later), but I wasn’t sure how much the parts I didn’t care for would weigh it down.

I’m still not sure I made the exact right choice here. When ranking it, I had no problem sticking it here, but the more I think about the stuff I love about this film, the more I feel I should have ranked it a little higher. But, why quibble about one or two spots? Plus, when you see what the next two films are — they’re all pretty interchangeable at this level. As long as we can agree this is a top 15 film, that’s most of the battle anyway.

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Pic of the Day: “Where, my most adored queen, where did you send her?” “To a place where thereare no ‘happily ever afters.'”


The Box Office Report – August 31-September 2

Last week, in Box Office…

Man, did that weekend suck.

The Expendables 2 wins the weekend (I hate that sequels don’t use Roman numerals anymore. It just reminds me of how dumb society has gotten) after dropping more than 50% to $13.4 million. They’ve made $50 million after two weekends with this, off a $100 million budget. Doesn’t look they’re gonna make that back domestically. And I saw the film. Meh. They’ll make it back internationally.

The Bourne Legacyin its third weekend, makes $9.3 million. They’re up to $85 million off a $125 million budget. I do not feel bad about this.

ParaNorman held well in its second weekend. $8.6 million. Though they’ve only made $28 million here, which is a shame, since I heard they spent around $80 million to make this. It seems too good, craft-wise, to have only made such a little amount. (more…)


2012 Oscars Update: New Rules!

Lieutenant Dan —

You got new rules. New rules!

I had to post this as soon as I found out, because it just makes me too goddamn happy not to.

AMPAS has approved additional rules for the 85th Academy Awards (aka, the ones in February). The big rule change is that the Best Original Song category will now definitely have five nominees. No matter what.

And no more of that 8.25 crap either. The way it will work now is — the Music Branch gets a list of all the songs submitted to the category, as well as a DVD of all the song clips. And they watch the clips and vote for up to five songs in the order of their preference (just like Best Picture). The five songs with the most votes will be the songs that end up on the ballot. Isn’t that fucking awesome? It’s about goddamn time they did that.

Oh, and they also changed the name of Best Art Direction to Best Production Design, which makes it sound (at least at first glance), to me, less cool, but is a much more appropriate title that accurately describes what that category is all about. Now I think even a layman could understand what they mean by the award when they hear “Best Production Design.” So that’s good.

One less thing.


Ranking Disney: #15 – Bambi (1942)

This has to be the simplest of all Disney plots. Even more so than Dumbo. If you think about it — there’s really nothing here in terms of story you can point out except the one moment everybody remembers from this. Outside of that, it’s just — life in the forest.

It’s gorgeous, of course, and this is some of Disney’s best animation ever, but in terms of story, there’s really not anything here. But even so, it’s Bambi and you’d be an idiot if you didn’t consider this a top 15 of all time for them.

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Pic of the Day: “Thanks guys, you got a lot of… a lot of… well, whatever it is, you got a lot of it.”


Ranking Disney: #16 – The Sword in the Stone (1963)

I love The Sword in the Stone so much. And I can’t really explain why fully. Every time I try to explain why this film is amazing, I can’t put it into words, and I usually end with, “Just — look at it. Watch it. It just is.”

There’s something about this film that makes it not feel like a Disney movie and yet it definitely is a Disney movie. I think that’s why I love it so much. You watch this, and it feels so slowly paced, and not really about anything in particular. The climactic moment at the end is sort of a — oh, yeah, we stumbled upon this, but don’t worry, great things will happen from it. I love that it doesn’t deal with any of the actual, you know, “important” parts of this story. It’s so —

Honestly — just look at it. Watch it. You’ll see why it belongs here.

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Pic of the Day: “To-to-ro? You’re Totoro! I bet you’re Totoro.”


Ranking Disney: #17 – Pocahontas (1995)

I liked Pocahontas a lot when I was younger. Then I forgot about it for years, as I went through my 14-21 years and ignored Disney altogether. And when it came time to make this list, I hadn’t watched it in years, and I thought it was gonna end up lower. I thought mid-20s was where this would end up, maybe #23 or #22 at the highest. But you know what — it belongs here.

It belongs here because it’s a classic story, the animation is gorgeous, and the songs are among Disney’s very best (“Colors of the Wind” is a top five for all time for them). There’s nothing bad about this movie. Even the story pretty much works. It’s a bit light on some character development here or there, but overall, it really works. You’d be crazy if you didn’t consider this a top 20 Disney movie of all time.

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Pic of the Day: “Since when do you need a pedigree to help someone?”


Ranking Disney: #18 – Tangled (2010)

I love Tangled. So much. I was practically giddy when I saw this. This movie does almost everything right. All my quibbles about it are minor (songs aren’t that good compared to the “Classic” Disney stuff, CG and not hand-drawn, still has a few annoying modern animated movie traits), and even so — it barely fits into the category of quibble-worthy for all of that stuff.

The movie itself is gorgeous, it’s funny as hell, always entertaining, and in all conjures up some of the best Disney moments they’ve done since their Renaissance. If they can put out something like this every year or other year — they’re doing all right by themselves.

Plus, it’s not even racist! I don’t think I spotted one really racist thing in this movie. Which is just a huge step for them. (Though again, with the CG. It’s just not you, Disney.)

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Pic of the Day: “This is a vacation with me and my best buddy.” “Donald Duck?” “No, silly, with you!


2012: The Movie Year in Reviews (May-August)

Here is my next batch of reviews for 2012, this time counting all the films I saw between May and August. Most of them are all the films released during that time, and the rest are ones from the first third of the year that I never got around to seeing or couldn’t see before the first article went up. As you’ll notice — I’ve seen pretty much everything, as I always do.

As you should know by now, the reason I do this is to write down what I thought about all of the films of 2012 while they’re still fresh in my mind, and so I can juxtapose those thoughts with what I end up thinking about them come December, after I’ve had time to reflect, and either warm to a film or cool on it considerably. No movie deserves a singular “review.” I like to give them as many days in court as I can.

So — before we get into everything, let’s link to all the 2012 reviews from January through April, and then, as always, since I am fiercely loyal to these articles, link to the Wikipedia 2012 in film article. The latter, of course, is what I consider the most useful resource for finding out what is coming out each year (aside from this blog, of course, since I previewedshitload of films in January, and would guess that I’ve covered about 90% of everything that will come out this year). (more…)


Ranking Disney: #19 – Dumbo (1941)

Ahh — Dumbo.

I went through while compiling a list and figured out what I’d consider to be the 17 Disney movies that I’d say, about 90% of normal, rational people would put in their top 20 best Disney movies. (Trust me — 17.) They’re films where, if you didn’t put them in the top 20 — it would seem weird. This is the first of those films.

Ideally most people would put this higher, but remember, I’m ranking how I love the films. And while I love Dumbo — there’s not much here to make me want to watch it more than the other 18 films on this countdown. But again — it’s one of those 17, and because of that, it has to go here. The animation, the classic nature of it — and it just being amazing — put it here without question.

The one thing I really want to say about Dumbo is: I can stand the sight of worms. And look at microscopic germs. But Technicolor pachyderms — is really too much for me.

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Pic of the Day: “Without even thinking about it, I used to be able to fly. Now I’m trying to look inside myself and find out how I did it.”

Kiki's Delivery Service - 60


Ranking Disney: #20 – Fantasia 2000 (1999)

I love the idea of Fantasia. It’s simply just – here’s music, let’s animate it. And you get three things from these movies: first, you get great classical music, which is being introduced to children (and, to an extent, everyone). Then, you get brilliant animation, specifically my favorite kind of Disney animation – abstract animation, where they get to get as visually creative as they want to be (which, when you look at Disney, is always when they do their best work). And third, you get movies that are pretty much impossible to be considered bad. How can you call a Fantasia movie bad? It’s just music and animation.

So no matter how much I feel like I should rank this film lower, I can’t do it. Because when I watch it, I love it more than most other Disney movies.

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Pic of the Day: “In America, there are mouse holes in every wall.” “Who says?” “Everyone. In America, there are bread crumbs on every floor.” “You’re talking nonsense!” “In America, you can say anything you want, but most important – and this I know for a fact – in America, there are no cats.”


Ranking Disney: #21 – Mulan (1998)

Mulan is another one of those films a lot of people grew up with that I just didn’t. I didn’t see it until very recently. Very, to the point where I’d actually started writing up the list before I saw it, and I had set it in the area above #30, hoping I’d like it enough for it to warrant inclusion there.

I shouldn’t have been worried. The film is amazing. This is easily my favorite of the post-Pocahontas Renaissance films that I hadn’t seen. It has just about everything. Sure — you can see them veering into that stuff they do nowadays that I hate (like that dance scene at the very end — what the fuck is that?), but they make up for it with amazing animation (that avalanche sequence is breathtaking).

I thought this film was going to end up around #26 or #25 — but I really liked this one. To the point where I almost feel bad I never got to see it when I was younger. Oh well. At least I have it now.

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Pic of the Day: “Why do fireflies die so soon?”


The Box Office Report – August 24-26

Last week, in Box Office…

The Expendables 2 wins like everyone was expecting, but with not as big a figure as — well, not everyone, mostly me — was expecting. I thought it would at least do $35 million, but instead it only made $28.6 million. I wonder why people didn’t show up to this one as they did the first one. I guess because the first one was a breath of fresh air and this one was just a sequel? No idea. I haven’t even seen a full trailer for this, so I have no idea if it’s even fun or not. I still need to watch it. I assume it’s decent. I guess it’s just that people aren’t going to movies anymore because most of them suck. And if that’s the reason — hey, can’t fault anyone for that.

The Bourne Legacy finished second, dropping an as-expected 55% to $17.1 million. That was exactly what expectations were, and it did not disappoint. They’ve made $70 million after two weekends, which I’m guessing will leave this becoming a disappointment, domestically.

ParaNorman opened to third place and $14.1 million. This also feels exactly in line with expectations. I guess I don’t really have anything more to add to that. Picture me shrugging right now. (more…)


Ranking Disney: #22 – Bolt (2008)

I saw Bolt in theaters. I tell this story a lot. I don’t know why. I hadn’t seen a new Disney movie for about thirteen years, and for some reason, I not only decided, “Hey, I want to see this one,” but I actually went to see it in theaters. I had gone with friends to see Quantum of Solace the week before, and now I was home for Thanksgiving. And on Thanksgiving night, I said, “I’m gonna go see Bolt.” It’s actually kind of strange that I decided that. I really don’t think of myself in 2008 as having come around on all the Disney stuff as much as I have.

But — I remember — when I went to see the film — the theater was empty. It was Thanksgiving. No one was in the theater. It was just me. And the show was set to start at — say, 7:30. And by 7:45, the lights were still on in the theater, no previews or anything was on, and nothing seemed to be happening. And finally one of the staff walked in and saw that someone was actually there to see the movie (I guess they figured if no one showed up, they didn’t have to run it), so they went and started it. So I saw this film, in theaters, alone.

And I loved it. I can’t explain what in the trailer for this movie made me think, “I want to see that,” but it did, and the movie itself was great. It really surprised the hell out of me. And honestly, after several rewatches since then, my opinion of the film hasn’t changed. I think this is a terrific, terrific film, and, honestly, when I put it against all the other Disney movies, I think it’s better than most of them. It’s funny, it has heart, it’s entertaining, it doesn’t slip into too much of the bad Disney stuff they’ve been veering into, and aside from the lack of songs (which actually works for this story), I don’t really have any problems with it. I really like it.

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Pic of the Day: “Really, now, why don’t you just go out and find a new one?” “Are you kidding? Where am I gonna find another toaster like this?” “Like that? Probably nowhere.”


Ranking Disney: #23 – The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

I don’t know why this film is being ranked as highly as it is — I can’t explain it. It’s full of all the Disney things they do nowadays that I hate. And yet — this film is a huge guilty pleasure for me.

I really love this film, and I couldn’t tell you why. Honestly, this film would be better served about eight spots below this, but — I really like it. I don’t know. I really don’t know. But it’s so much fun.

Seriously — I can’t explain this one. I know it shouldn’t be here, but — I’m doing it. So — there.

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