Results tagged “Disney”

Beauty and the Beast (2017) Blu-ray Review: A Delightful Remake

The live-action adaptation of the Disney classic comes to Blu-ray with a lot of great special features.
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Walt Disney is continually proving its efforts at adapting every animated classic in its vault is financially successful, and, because of that, there will be more coming down the pipeline. The Lion King, Mulan, and Dumbo are currently in pre-production, and there are plenty of others that have already been announced. Don’t be shocked if they announce live-action adaptations of Aladdin, The Aristocats, or anything else for that matter. The formula works, and people will flock to see whatever Disney puts out. That being said, Bill Condon’s update of Beauty and the Beast is practically an exact replica of the

Book Review: Donald Duck: The Complete Daily Newspaper Comics, Vol. 3 & The Complete Sunday Newspaper Comics, Vol. 2 (1943-1945)

IDW Publishing's latest Donald Duck comic strip collections drive home the U.S. domestic impact of World War II while also serving up laughs aplenty.
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There’s something decidedly comforting about reading old Disney comic strips, as they’re reliably funny, relatable, and finely crafted. These latest collections add a rare aspect: they’re also educational. The reason for that is the timeframe these strips were originally released, smack dab in the waning years of World War II. While they’re not ostensibly war books, there’s no escaping its influence throughout these pages. Although Donald didn’t go to war in the comic strip (flat feet), its impact is felt throughout this run, as he frequently deals with the domestic hardships endured by U.S. civilians. Among those travails are gas

Millionaires in Prison (1940) DVD Review: The Club Fed of the '40s

The Warner Archive paroles a corny prison yarn featuring Shemp Howard and the voice of Jiminy Cricket as inmates.
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Despite the slightly uplifting title, RKO's Millionaires in Prison is exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to happen today were the system ‒ which, as we all know, knows better ‒ to incarcerate a deserving fraudster or two: a lighthearted romp where no one gets hurt. This wouldn't necessarily a bad thing if the film was intended to be a comedy. Alas, Millionaires in Prison appears as if it is supposed to be taken seriously ‒ something which becomes all the more difficult to fathom when you stop to consider the film was directed by a man who mostly

Moana Blu-ray Review: While A Nice Addition To The Disney Catalog, It's Severely Lacking In Storyline

It doesn’t stand out quite like a Disney film should and the musical numbers are not very memorable.
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A long time ago, there was only the ocean until the mother island Te Fiti arose. The island was the beginning of all life and its heart was said to be able to give the gift of creating life to anyone who possessed it. Many tried but all failed. That was until the day a Demigod trickster with shape-shifting ability named Maui (Dwayne Johnson) snuck upon the island and stole the heart. But he was not the only one who came to steal the heart that day. The fire demon Te Kaa caught up with Maui as he fled the

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
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