Pixar

Film Review: ‘Luca’ Uses Queer-Bait Hoping to Reel in a Hit, Ends Up Getting Snagged

CHICAGO – Even as an adult, I am still in awe of how effective animated features are as narrative vehicles. As a kid, it was the thing I would consume the most, gorging myself into a stupor.

Film Review: ‘Luca’ Uses Queer-Bait Hoping to Reel in a Hit, Ends Up Snagged

CHICAGO – Even as an adult, I am still in awe of how effective animated features are as narrative vehicles. As a kid, it was the thing I would consume the most, gorging myself into a stupor. The cartoons didn’t even have to follow any set story structure, especially when some of my favorites included a cowardly dog, a cow and chicken as siblings, and even an underwater sponge that is friends with an aquatic squirrel.

Film Review: ‘Finding Dory’ Essentially Finds Its Sweet Spot

CHICAGO – Pixar’s sequel to its underwater animated tearjerker “Finding Nemo” isn’t quite in the same league, but “Finding Dory” is satisfying all the same. This time the story focuses on Marlin and Nemo’s forgetful friend Dory, as she searches for the family she can’t quite remember.

Interview: Director Yuichi Satoh on ‘Poison Berry in My Brain’

Poison Berry in My Brain

CHICAGO – An extraordinary filmed recently screened in Chicago, but not for the reasons that are expected. The Japanese film “Poison Berry in My Brain” was directed by Yuichi Satoh, and starred popular native actress Yoko Maki. What was extraordinary about the film is that the plot parallels the well-received animated movie, “Inside Out,” except “Poison Berry” is live action, and the character representations of the brain controllers are manipulating a frustrated woman, not a little girl. Funny they were both conceived around the same time, and were released in the same year.

Film Review: ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is Pixar Studio’s Most Ordinary Film

Good Dinosaur, The

CHICAGO – The animation in Pixar Studio’s latest feature ,“The Good Dinosaur,” is nothing short of extraordinary. At times throughout the film, the images looked like they came right out of National Geographic, and I truly couldn’t believe i was watching animation. However, this delightful animation is in service to an undistinguished prehistoric buddy comedy that wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of “The Flintstones.”

Blu-ray Review: ‘Monsters University’ Offers Clever Family Fun

Monsters University

CHICAGO – In an incredibly weak time for feature animation (since the glory of 2010, it’s been pretty dark out there), Pixar’s “Monsters University” has enough personality and genuine humor to stand out from its generic competition. It also helps the film’s quest for another Pixar Oscar for Best Animated Film that the recently-released Blu-ray is a gem, loaded with special features and including a spectacula HD transfer. It falls between the amazing “Toy Story 3” and the awful “Cars 2” on the Pixar spectrum but it’s still a good time and will make a lovely holiday season gift.

TV Review: Clever, Fun ‘Toy Story of Terror’ Makes ABC Debut

CHICAGO – Was “Toy Story 3” the last great Pixar production? With the modest critical reaction to “Cars 2,” “Brave,” and “Monsters University,” it seems an entirely defensible position to take. In fact, one could easily argue that “Small Fry,” the “Toy Story” short that premiered with “The Muppets,” and “Partysaurus Rex,” which played with “Finding Nemo 3D,” should be considered higher on the Pixar hierarchy than “Cars 2” and maybe even “Brave.”

Film Review: Pixar Scores Again With Delightful ‘Monsters University’

CHICAGO – Let’s everybody say it together, “the key to great animation is a great story.” This has to be the motto for Pixar Animation – now part of Disney. Their latest, “Monsters University,” is a prequel with a heart, soul and attention to what makes this type of entertainment work.

Blu-ray Review: Beautiful ‘Finding Nemo’ Was Made For HD

CHICAGO – Disney/Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” disappointed somewhat when it was recently re-released in 3D with grosses that paled in comparison to 3D reboots of “Beauty & the Beast” and “The Lion King.” Perhaps it’s because the movie was so beautiful in two dimensions that fans didn’t think it needed a third. The new Blu-ray release in time for the holiday season certainly makes the case as this is undeniably one of Pixar’s absolute best.

Blu-ray Review: Pixar’s ‘Brave’ Already Deserves Critical Second Look

Brave

CHICAGO – Disney/Pixar’s “Brave” was largely dismissed by most critics when it was released in theaters this Summer, even if audiences did seem more engaged, pushing the flick to over half-a-billion dollars worldwide and making heroine Merida one of Halloween’s most common costumes. Domestically, the film made more than “WALL-E,” “Ratatouille,” or “Cars 2.” So why did critics let it go so easily?

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  • Chicago Party Aunt

    CHICAGO – The funny meter of Netflix went off the scale last week, as the animated series “Chicago Party Aunt” made its debut on September 17th. What began as a Twitter account by comic actor Chris Witaske (who also provides his voice talent) has morphed into the cartoon adventures of Aunt Diane Dumbowski, her nephew Daniel, and an array of familiar Chicago-isms and characters.

  • Factory Theater, The

    CHICAGO – It’s time again for live theater in Chicago, and The Factory Theater – in anticipation of their 2021-22 Season – is launching “Quiet Please! It’s A Silent Auction,” an online silent auction through the month of August (the 1st-31st). An amazing array of goods and services are available for bidding, and can be accessed by clicking here.

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