Results tagged “Disney”

The BFG DVD Review: Steven Spielberg Captures the Essence of Roald Dahl's Story

An uplifting and magical story of a little girl and her unlikely friend.
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The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is based on the book by beloved children’s author Roald Dahl. It is the story of Sophie, who, after the death of her parents, is forced to live in a London orphanage. While the other orphans have no trouble sleeping, Sophie suffers from insomnia and spends her nights roaming the orphanage. One night while Sophie is awake and looking out onto the empty streets of London, she encounters the BFG at work. His job is to deliver dreams to people while they sleep. Since Sophie sees the BFG, he decides that he needs to take

Pinocchio: The Signature Collection Blu-ray Review: Delightful For All Ages

The classic Disney film gets a new release with a little bit new and a whole lot of old supplementals.
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By 1937, Walt Disney Studios had been making animated shorts for over a decade. They’d become very successful but were still seen as a silly kids studio by most of Hollywood. With the smash success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves that changed. The film made over $8 million dollars in its initial run, garnered lots of critical praise, and won an honorary Oscar. With all that success, Disney quickly moved into making his second full-length animated feature, Pinocchio. Based upon an Italian children’s novel, Pinocchio tells the story of a wooden puppet that is given life by a

Finding Dory Blu-ray Combo Review: You Will Believe an Octopus Can Drive

An entertaining film though it suffers from similarities to its predecessor.
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Thirteen years after the smash-hit Finding Nemo, Disney/Pixar returns to the ocean for the sequel Finding Dory, an entertaining film that suffers from similarities to its predecessor. More accurately titled Finding Dory's Parents, the film tells the story of Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a regal blue tang that suffers from severe short-term loss, remembering and seeking out her parents, whom she hasn't seen in years. After a prologue featuring an overwhelmingly adorable, tiny younger version of herself, Dory remembers her parents (Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy) and seeks them out with the help of her friends, the clownfish Nemo (Hayden Rolence)

Pete's Dragon (2016) Blu-ray Review: A Fine Film If You Simply Change the Name

I would recommend ignoring the title and viewing it as a completely new movie featuring a dragon.
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The original Pete's Dragon (1977) is one of my all-time favorite Disney films. When I heard a remake was in process, I couldn't wait to see it. Unfortunately, the people behind the new film had no idea what made the original so special. Rather than creating a new version of a beloved film, they ended up with something completely unconnected to the original. Five-year-old Pete (Oakes Fegley) is on a road trip with his parents when, in an effort to avoid a deer, they crash the car. His parents are instantly killed and wolves force Pete into the woods where

Beauty and the Beast 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review: New Features for the Old Classic

The tale as old as time gets some brand new bonus features for its 25th anniversary release.
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It’s only been six years since the last time this Disney princess was allowed out of the video vault, but this year’s 25th anniversary and an impending live action remake served as ample incentive for another cash grab. Thankfully, the Disney marketing folks saw fit to include an ample selection of brand new bonus features for this release, although the technical specifications of the film’s video/audio presentation are exactly the same. The Blu-ray package also includes a digital copy, another perk absent in the prior release. Finally, viewers again get the option of watching three different versions of the film,

Queen of Katwe Movie Review: In Praise of Smart Women

Mira Nair's touching tribute to women the world over.
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Disney's banked on sports films for the last decads, relying on stories of athletic prowess anchored by men. Their latest foray into the inspirational drama praises intellectual altheticism anchored by women; Queen of Katwe looks to slip undetected by audiences this week due to a hackneyed, and unexplainable, series of limited releases by the studio. Unfortunately, this threatens to bury one of the brightest, warmest and all-around best acted films of the year! Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga) is a young Ugandan struggling to make ends meet for her put-upon mother (Lupita Nyong'o) and siblings. The one joy in Phiona's life

Disney's The BFG on Digital HD, Blu-ray and Disney Movies Anywhere Dec. 6

This magical tale of an extraordinary friendship loaded with exciting extras will brighten the holidays for the whole family!
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Press release: This month, the world celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Roald Dahl, beloved children’s author of family favorites like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and Dahl’s personal favorite, The BFG, as well as World Dream Day, an annual event honoring “the dreamer, visionary and innovator in all of us.” It seems a fitting time to announce the in-home release of The BFG, Disney’s fantasy adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, on Dec. 6 on Digital HD, Blu-ray, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand. As dreamers around the globe gear up

The Jungle Book (2016) Blu-ray Review: Much More Than the Bare Necessities

Jon Favreau's live action/CG remake hits the mark.
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The biggest surprise about this charming and successful film is that it works at all. Sure, it had a solid blueprint to build on from the original Disney animated film, as well as Rudyard Kipling’s novels, but let’s review a few of the many potential pitfalls. First, casting an unknown and unseasoned child actor carried the potential to instantly doom the project. There was some dissenting opinion in my household, but I thought Mowgli actor Neel Sethi was a solid choice and held up his huge part of the equation just fine. He contributes a natural performance, never coming across

Michael Fiore and Eric Sharkey Talk Floyd Norman: An Animated Life

The directors of Floyd Norman: An Animated Life talk Disney, their subject and free art.
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Floyd Norman is an animator with a big heart, and that's evident from hearing Michael Fiore and Eric Sharkey - the directors of Floyd Norman: An Animated Life - discuss him. They sat down with Cinema Sentries to talk about Norman, the editing process, and what happens when you're following the nicest man in the world. What was your background with the Walt Disney Company? Were you guys just fans of the studio or was there something more? Michael Fiore: We have no connection with the company. We are both Disney lovers and grew up on the great movies. As

Zootopia Blu-ray Review: The Great Bunny Detective

Disney's latest animated adventure focuses on an odd couple of buddies tasked with setting aside their differences for the greater good.
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Judy Hopps is a bunny. Nick Wilde is a fox. In the peaceful animal world of Zootopia, that doesn’t automatically make them enemies, since predators and prey exist in perfect harmony. When a few predators mysteriously start disappearing and reverting to their primal ferocity, they threaten to destroy the urban utopia unless rookie Officer Hopps and her devious acquaintance Nick can crack the case. Although it’s a cartoon, Zootopia isn’t just for kids. Its recurring theme of bigotry blatantly uses the different animal classes in place of race relations, while elsewhere amusing riffs on The Godfather and Breaking Bad make

Book Review: Pinocchio: The Making of the Disney Epic by J.B. Kaufman

No lie. This is a great book.
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In his introduction, author J.B. Kaufman reveals that he considers Walt Disney’s Pinocchio (1940) a member of “the fraternity of true epics,” alongside D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance, Erich von Stroheim’s original Greed, and Abel Gance’s Napoleon, and he certainly makes the case with his definitive examination presented in Pinocchio: The Making of the Disney Epic. He starts at the beginning, going back to the 19th century when writer Carlo Lorenzini took the name the Tuscany village he grew up, “Collodi,” as his pseudonym under which he published “The Story of a Puppet.” As stated in the foreword by John Canemaker, an

The Jungle Book (2016) Movie Review: A Loving Spin on an Old Tale

Jon Favreau recreates The Jungle Book lusher and grander than ever before.
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Almost fifty years have passed since The Jungle Book graced movies screen, marking the end of an era as the last film personally overseen by Walt Disney. Disney's corporate jungle has changed a lot in 49 years but director Jon Favreau brings the magic back with his interpretation of Rudyard Kipling's tale, engaging audiences in a lush world beautifully rendered in photo-realistic CGI while introducing old characters with added nuance and pathos. Favreau treads a new path by simply repainting and expanding the old one, creating a new tale Uncle Walt would be proud of. Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi) has

Zootopia Movie Review: Disney Goes Political, With Bunnies!

Disney's latest is a mixed bag of political inquiry and film noir.
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As Disney continues basking in the icy glow of Frozen's success the rest of their animation output - the films unassociated with Pixar - hovers in the "delightfully pleasant" category. Past efforts like Big Hero 6 and Wreck-It Ralph have provided fun and whimsical diversions, if lacking long-term memorability and serious appreciation. There's little doubt you'll forget Zootopia as Disney gets politically charged, presenting a world of anthropomorphized animals acting out our worst prejudices that both reminds us of how terrifying a world run by Donald Trump can be while simultaneously teaching children about tolerance. The dual-level satire of Zootopia's

The Good Dinosaur Blu-ray Review: An Alternative Earth Offers a Universal Lesson

"Fear is the mind-killer." - The Litany Against Fear from Frank Herbert's "Dune"
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Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur presents an alternative history where the asteroid that led to mass extinction on Earth 66 million years ago missed the planet. The story picks up millions of years later with young Arlo (Raymond Ochoa) the Apatosaurus going on a journey, both external and internal, the latter being more important. Arlo lives on his parents' farm and is scared of the world around him, including their chickens. In an effort to join the rest of the family as a responsible contributor, his father Henry (Jeffrey Wright) gives him the task of catching and killing the creature that

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Blu-ray Combo Pack Review: The Special Features Are the Best Part

The Walt Disney Company begins The Signature Collection with the studio's first feature-length film.
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On December 21, 1937 Walt Disney released "Disney's Folly," a reckless endeavor that was mocked by critics and seen as the worst mistake that he could ever make, would completely bankrupt him, and destroy his career. The thought of making a full-length animated film was completely absurd and nobody would want to watch it. Imagine their shock when they discovered that they were completely wrong. Not only did the film have a good storyline, but it made people laugh and cry and everyone loved it. The film was an immediate success the mocking by critics stopped and now we all

The Finest Hours Movie Review: Fine For About an Hour

Disney's latest has great effects but squanders a decent plot in a contrived love story.
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You know the year's just begun when Disney debuts their latest inspiriational drama. Usually geared towards the sports world (Miracle, McFarland USA), this year's feature is a water-logged mix of The Perfect Storm meets Kevin Costner's The Guardian set in Stephen King's Castle Rock. The lobster roll they form is The Finest Hours, a film whose B-plot should be the film's main focus but instead looks at an A-plot so cutesy and generic you'll get a cavity just watching. 1952, Chatham, Massachusetts. An oil tanker named the Pendleton gets caught in a horrific storm that leaves the boat broken in

Walt Before Mickey Movie Review: Missing the Magic that Made Disney Disney

A difficult film to recommend to even the most die-hard Walt Disney fan.
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When The Passion of the Christ was released in 2004, comedian Patton Oswalt compared it to making a movie about Albert Einstein but focusing it only on two days he spent in the bathroom with really bad food poisoning. In a way, Walt Before Mickey is like Oswalt's jokingly proposed Einstein movie. It shows a great man at the lowest points of his life, so miserable and broke that he is actually shown fishing a half-eaten sandwich out of the trash to eat it. Walt Before Mickey dramatizes a portion of Walt Disney's life, starting from just after World War

Toy Story That Time Forgot Blu-ray Review: A TV Special Accessible to All Viewers Throughout the Year

It's good to see the care Disney/Pixar put into delivering a stunning Blu-ray.
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Toy Story That Time Forgot is the Disney/Pixar franchise's second television special following the 2013 Halloween special, Toy Story of Terror! It first aired in December 2014, and although it is set a couple days after Christmas, the story and message aren’t specific to the holiday, making the program accessible to all viewers throughout the year. Trixe the Triceratops (Kristen Schaal) feels frustrated because Bonnie plays with her as everything but a dinosaur. When Bonnie visits her friend Mason, she tosses the toys she brought over (Woody, Buzz, Rex, Trixie, and Angel Kitty) aside into his playroom and joins him

Aladdin: Diamond Edition Blu-ray Review: Disney Ain't Never Had A Film Like This Before

Fans that have wanted to see Aladdin in high definition will be happy to learn their wish has finally been granted.
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Aladdin is the fourth title released during the era known as the Disney Renaissance when the famed animation studio had an artistic and financial resurgence at the close of the Twentieth Century. It stands apart from the other titles on the slate because of star Robin Williams, whose manic performance as the Genie made the character seem better suited for a Looney Tunes cartoon. Based on the Arab fairy tale One Thousand and One Nights, Aladdin tells the story of the Genie of the Lamp, sought after by the power-hungry Jafar (Jonathan Freeman), Grand Vizier to the Sultan (Douglas Seale)

Tomorrowland Blu-ray Review: Although the Pacing is Uneven, the Film Entertains and Inspires

It's got enough heart and good intention to almost make you overlook its flaws.
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When an optimistic teen girl stumbles upon a doorway to a fantastic world of science and invention, she finds herself embarking on a journey toward a better tomorrow. Aided by a cynical, former boy genius and a mysterious young girl, Casey Newton sets forth to uncover the secrets of Tomorrowland and the explanation for its disappearance. If I was writing copy for the back of the Blu-ray, that’s what I’d say about Tomorrowland. It’s concise and accurate, without giving away anything about the film. But of course, a movie is so much more than a blurb on the back of
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