During the first scene of Space Jam: A New Legacy, I wondered if NBA superstar LeBron James would be boring to hang out with. He’s so hyper-focused on basketball and his legacy, I don’t know what I would talk to him about. All those playoff injuries? What weapons Bron needs to win another championship in L.A.? The stock market? I don’t know.
It took no longer than one minute watching Tom & Jerry for me to realize that this animation-live action hybrid reboot of the classic cartoon wasn’t going to go well. Once I saw a trio of animated pigeons lip-syncing to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It” as they fly over the New York City skyline, I just knew. I could sense that the team behind this film—namely director Tim Story and screenwriter Kevin Costello—didn’t have a firm grasp on what would translate this older intellectual property into something entertaining to a new generation of youngsters.
The problem isn’t necessarily the hackneyed technique of adding a cool hip-hop soundtrack to a property not known for such sounds. It isn’t even really the conceit of bringing cartoon characters “into the big city,” a premise which has been used in such big screen duds as The Smurfs (2011). The real issue I have Continue reading Tom & Jerry (2021) Movie Review→
The Oscar nominations have dropped. Among them are a number of great short films. Three of the contenders for Best Animated Short Film are currently available to view online: Hair Love, Kitbull, and Sister. And they’re all worth seeking out.
The first hurdle that The Angry Birds Movie 2 has to overcomes is following up the far superior short film Hair Love. It is a difficult task to headline after a short that is as beautifully heartfelt, tender, funny, and imaginative as that short is. And, as expected, The Angry Birds Movie 2 does not live up in any of those categories.
The throw-out umbrella term “live action” used to describe the slough of Disney “re-imaginations” is a misnomer. It has been since The Jungle Book recreation in 2016, which is live action only in its employment of Neel Sethi as Mowgli. Everything else in that film is comprised of computer generated visual effects.
Note: I don’t spoil any major plot points in this review, but I hint at aspects of Toy Story 4 that could be construed as spoilers. So let’s just call this a spoiler review.
Walking into Pixar’s Toy Story 4, I thought the pertinent question would be: was a fourth installment necessary? Given how most Pixar sequels have not lived up to their predecessors (Toy Story 2 being the most notable exception) and how Toy Story 3 presents an adequate ending to the then trilogy, it made little sense for a fourth film to exist beyond the want for money.
Rather inexplicably, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the best Spider-Man film made to date. It is hard to imagine that an animated film about multiverse theory and multiple incarnations of a single comic book character coming together to fight a rogue’s gallery that is only recognizable to fans would not only be an inspired origin story for Spider-Man, but also be an entirely accessible experience.
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies begins with a reel of comic book panels flipping rapidly. It appears like a title card from a Marvel film. However, the camera pulls out to reveal a person flipping through a comic. After dispatching (sort of) a giant bubble supervillain, the Teen Titans—Robin (Scott Menville), Starfire (Hynden Walch), Cyborg (Khary Payton), Raven (Tara Strong), and Beast Boy (Greg Cipes)—sneak into a movie premiere, where the film “Batman Again” is screening. The auditorium is jam-packed with DC comics superheros, some attending in order to watch themselves on screen.
Hotel Transylvania is a strange equation. Take Sony Pictures and add much-acclaimed animator Genndy Tartakovsky, a script co-penned by Robert Smigel, and a cast of voice actors featuring Adam Sandler and his frequent collab buddies. Sounds like a too-many-cooks disaster.