This weekend saw the release of Pixar’s latest film, Brave, a movie that easily won the weekend, garnering an overall “A” CinemaScore from appreciative audiences. Still, at only 74 percent on RottenTomatoes (Pixar’s second worst), and a 7 out of 10 from Germain Lussier, it is clear there is a bit of room for dissent.
Out there in audience-land, did you notice something a little “off” about Brave? Perhaps there are lessons that can be learned, or conversations to engage in?
To provide some context, and on the off chance we have completely different taste, here are my top five Pixar efforts:
3. Toy Story
4. Finding Nemo
5. Monsters, Inc.
Until now, the only Pixar film I flat out didn’t enjoy was Ratatouille, though I admit to only having seen it once, and folks say I’d like it much more if I were to re-visit. Even Cars 2 had redeeming qualities. I can truly say I’ve never found a Pixar film entirely lacking, and that statement includes Brave. There’s no question the film had amazing visuals, setting a new standard for excellence within the animation genre. Unfortunately, the story lacked a bit of … what’s the word I’m looking for? Ooomph. As such, I’m compelled to break down where I feel the problems were, if only to restore everyone’s favorite animation house to the glory they so richly deserve.
One final note, just to head off the obligatory “comparing Brave to the rest of Pixar’s work isn’t entirely fair” argument, we’re in complete agreement there. It’s not fair, and in many ways Pixar’s own ambition and commitment to excellence have raised the bar for all movies. So no, Brave isn’t a bad movie on merit, it’s merely an average one, which animation houses make all the time without compelling anyone to write a 3,000 word article on the subject. But within the greater context of Pixar’s previous work, Brave does come up short, and I think we’ve got a bead on the reasons why.
Note: Massive SPOILERS follow, naturally.
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Prometheus is going to be a controversial film. As a prequel to Alien, and a “summer” movie, it has a certain suspense / horror / sci-fi pedigree that generally belies serious conversation. There’s no particular reason Prometheus should have “big” themes running through it, any more than Battleship or MIB 3 would, except for the salient fact that we believe director Ridley Scott has embedded some interesting nuggets throughout, much as he did with Blade Runner.
So what are these “big” ideas? What are the questions and themes Prometheus tackles throughout its two-hour running time? We’ll start with the easy ones, and then progress toward the more philosophical questions.
Note: Massive thematic SPOILERS follow, naturally. Read More »
We’re reached a point in the evolution of film criticism where a shift is occurring. Critics who’ve been in the game for decades and decades are slowly beginning to give way to a younger, more vocal audience, many of whom are online. The beautiful thing about that is, though they all share a love of cinema, everyone has their own opinions of how and why we got there. And the best way to show that is with a top ten list.
The online contingent prides themselves upon being the new guard and, to that end, our friends at Film School Rejects polled 37 online critics and four young filmmakers for their lists of the ten greatest films of all time. They then gave those lists a point value and came up with a top ten that’s simultaneously familiar and controversial as it certainly caters to a younger demographic. Check it out and leave your thoughts below. Read More »
For ten days each January, in the snowy town of Park City, Utah, the year in independent cinema is set. The 2012 Sundance Film Festival was true to that promise and provided attendees with a slew of films that are sure to be not only among the year’s best, but in the hunt for awards come Oscar time next year.
Along with Peter Sciretta, I was once again deep in the trenches of Park City – battling bus schedules, lack of sleep, snow, slush and more – to see as many movies as possible to try and get an idea of what the rest of 2012 holds. And it’s looking good.
We all know that the next few months hold an unprecedented offering of big budget blockbusters but companies like Fox Searchlight, Sony Pictures Classics, IFC, Magnolia and more all bolstered their upcoming release schedules by purchasing some of the best films of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The official awards have been handed out, but what were our favorites?
After the jump read about the best films of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Read More »
It’s no secret that the Alamo Drafthouse is the best theater chain in the country. Sure, it’s small, but the passion they have to create the perfect environment to watch a movie is unparalleled. Case in point, their hugely popular No Texting public service announcements, incredible in-theater food selection, stunning repertory screenings and so much more.
As the new year begins, the entire staff of the Drafthouse voted on their favorite films of 2011 and selected /Film as the outlet to exclusively premiere their list. It’s extremely eclectic (The Muppets, Beginners and 13 Assassin all made the cut) but you’d be hard pressed to find a better cross section of the best 2011 had to offer. Check it out after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012 by Angie Han
By now you’ve probably seen dozens of critics’ best-of-2011 lists (including ours!), and noticed some amount of overlap on films like Hugo, Drive, and Tree of Life. But there’s more than one way to gauge a movie’s success, and when it comes to what general audiences are actually watching, a whole different set of titles come out on top.
According to a report just released by Redbox, the Adam Sandler vehicle Just Go With It was the most rented title at its bright red kiosks in 2011, ahead of several other comedies including No Strings Attached, Rango, and The Dilemma. Meanwhile, Fast Five leads the list of the most pirated movies of the year, followed by The Hangover Part II, Thor, and Source Code. Read both lists after the jump.
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In 2011, I saw more new movies than I ever have in the past. Previous years I’d flirted with roughly two per week but, this year, thanks to a full Sundance Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, Butt-Numb-A-Thon and other events like AFI Fest and the Los Angeles Film Festival, that number jumped up to 167. Several of those won’t be released until 2012 and others won’t get released at all, but it’s still a more than sufficient cross section of 2011 releases to adequately speak on the state of film in 2011 and give my top ten movies of the year. (Note: Any film that didn’t get an Oscar qualifying 2011 theatrical run did not qualify for this list. That’s just my personal rule.)
For me, 2011 was the year of “good, but not great.” You know the type. A film that does everything right, is entertaining, emotional, but doesn’t stick with you once you’ve left the theater. We’re lucky to have films like that because, alternatively, we could get films that are total garbage. Looking back at the year as a whole, though, very few 2011 films will stick with me as all-time favorites. It was a good year, but not great.
The films after the jump were the ones that stayed with me more than most though and, because of that, earned a place as my top ten films of 2011. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2011 by Angie Han
I find it difficult to say whether 2011 was an unusually strong or unusually weak year for films. As in any year, there were pleasant surprises and disappointments alike. If I had to pinpoint the one thing my favorites tend to have in common, though, it’s a sense that each of them were made with great love by people who cared desperately about them.
I don’t think there’s anything anyone can say at the start of a top 10 list to totally deflect the disgruntled comments from readers who incensed to see that X made my top 10 when Y didn’t, etc., but I’m still going to throw out the usual caveats. There are certainly deserving films that were left off just because I forgot about them, or because I missed the theatrical run, or because I couldn’t fully appreciate them due to my own biases, or what have you. I also want to acknowledge that there is no fair way to compare, say, Bridesmaids against Tree of Life, but that by ranking these movies I’ve done so anyway.
Finally, and most importantly, I’d like to stress that this is not intended as an objective list of the ten best movies of the year, but as a totally subjective look back at my personal favorites of 2011. Read my list and leave your thoughts after the jump.
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