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When you hear that a movie has been on the shelf for an extended period, you’d be forgiven for having some doubts regarding its quality.

“Animal Crackers,” an animated film from Blue Dream Studios, might raise some of those questions. The movie – adapted from a graphic novel by Scott Christian Sava – was a collaborative effort between American and Chinese companies and was actually released in China a couple of years ago. However, numerous attempts at domestic distribution fell through in the subsequent years, with Netflix finally taking the reins and releasing it on their service.

It’s too bad, because this film doesn’t deserve the stigma that comes with its lengthy remove. It might not be great, but it’s plenty good enough to have received a theatrical release here. There are a lot of quality pieces here – an exceptional cast, some great music – and while the animation is a bit low-rent and the story is meh, I’ve sat through much worse films that received far more attention.

Published in Movies

When “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” came out a couple of years ago, I was as surprised as anyone when it turned out to actually be pretty good. Who’d have thought a two-decades-later sort-of-sequel to a mid-90s kids movie would turn out to be both entertaining and WILDLY lucrative?

Well, having the Rock doesn’t hurt.

After that film did just shy of a billion dollars at the global box office, it was obviously going to get a sequel of its own. That sequel has arrived, as “Jumanji: The Next Level” has hit theaters.

And guess what? This one’s pretty good too. Not as good as the last one, perhaps, but solid. One assumes it will also make hundreds of millions of dollars.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 03 April 2019 12:56

‘Dumbo’ can’t quite take flight

Whatever your feelings with regards to mainstream Hollywood’s ongoing devotion to remakes, you have to accept the fact that things aren’t going to change anytime soon. Like it or not, you’re along for the remake ride – all you can do now is hope that they’re good.

With Disney’s live-action “Dumbo” – a remake of the studio’s 1941 animated classic – it seemed as though the pieces were there for success. Tim Burton’s pop-goth sensibilities and Technicolor weirdness seemed like a potentially fun lens through which to tell this story. The cast looks really strong. And the tale is a beloved one.

And yet – the film is less than the sum of its parts. While Burton’s aesthetic did lead to some memorable, engaging visuals and the ensemble provided generally solid-to-strong performances, an iffy screenplay and lack of spirit undermined those efforts. While it’s far from a bad movie, this “Dumbo” never manages to soar.

Published in Movies
Thursday, 08 March 2012 11:49

Dr. Seuss saves the Earth The Lorax'

Animated film offers laughs, environmental themes

The works of Dr. Seuss have been adapted to the big screen many times over the years with mixed results. For whatever reason, some of his stories translate well to film while others simply do not. However, his canon is so universally beloved that the movies just keep on coming.

The latest attempt is 'The Lorax,' from the same team that did 2010's excellent 'Despicable Me.' Chris Renaud and Ken Daurio are certainly talented, and there are some great moments here, but the movie never seems to quite live up to its potential.

The film tells the story of Ted (Zac Efron, 'New Year's Eve'), a 12-year-old boy who lives in the town of Thneedville. Thneedville is a town where nothing natural grows, everything is made out of metal and plastic and the air they breathe is sold to them by the tiny and tyrannical Mr. O'Hare (Rob Riggle, 'Big Miracle'). Ted is smitten with neighbor Audrey (Taylor Swift, 'Valentine's Day'), who tells him about her desire to see a real tree.

Published in Movies

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