Nothing More Than Feelings

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Pixar was in an interesting position entering 2015, and for the first time there was a real sense that audiences and critics were starting to lose interest. The company that once dominated the theatrical animation market no longer seemed to be at the top of the mountain. 2014 was the first year without a new Pixar film since 2005, and its three latest releases (Cars 2, Brave and Monsters University) failed to live up to the studio’s usually high standards. It may be unfair to expect a classic year in and year out from anybody, but for years Pixar made it seem possible. However, the best way to end the talk of a creative decline is to unleash a film like Inside Out on the world, which stands among the best things the studio has ever done. Continue reading

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Viewing Diary (5/5/14)

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This week we’ve got a slightly smaller Viewing Diary, with the only two new releases being The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and a third viewing of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Those entries will be shorter than usual, since I wrote about the former yesterday and I plan to post something Wes Anderson related later this week or next. I was able to take a look at two classic films this week, with a second viewing of the Coen brothers’ first film, and my belated introduction to Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde. Continue reading

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a dumb, unholy mess of a movie, but at least it’s its own mess

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I hated 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man with every ounce of my being, and it’s not necessarily because the movie was all that terrible. It just felt like a waste of time for all involved; a cynical exercise that rehashed an origin story we had seen play out 10 years before, only with a tenth of the personality. There’s nothing wrong with making a Spider-Man movie with a new cast, but rebooting a franchise barely a decade old, and this blandly, was a dumb and dispiriting move all around. With the exception of Casino Royale, the Bond series never felt the need to start over whenever the actor was changed. It just kept on trucking and let each performer make the role their own thing. That’s what The Amazing Spider-Man should have done, and didn’t do. The sequel, at the very least, turns things a bit more in that direction. That doesn’t mean it’s any good, but at the very least it seems to be going for something. Any ambition at all is an improvement over its predecessor. Continue reading