Archive for the ‘Pixar’ Category

Monsters University: Now Available for Homeschooling

Monster-University-pixar

I am not much of a scarer. I went to college for more comedic reasons. Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan (John Goodman), however, went for the former. The two best buds from Pixar’s hilarious and touching Monsters, Inc have returned, albeit in a timey-wimey sort of way, for Monsters University, a prequel showcasing how the dynamic duo first came together.

The story of Wazowski and Sullivan gets off to a rocky start, and the film follows it through the fairly predictable course syllabus of self-discovery 101 with a healthy dose of teamwork thrown in for extracurricular requirements.

Monsters Univeristy does not offer a lot of surprises, save one experienced by Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren), and a good chunk of the humor is based on the audience being familiar with the main characters in an omniscient sort of way—it’s funny now because we know how things turn out.

However, that doesn’t mean the jokes don’t work. I laughed loudly during much of the film. Monsters University is very funny.

In addition there are also a number of homages paid to the college comedy genre, with references to Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds, respectively, and they really make the grade. Granted, they won’t be recognized by everyone, but that is the key to Pixar’s success, making films that work on many, many levels.

Unfortunately, Monsters University misses on one—it is somewhat lacking in what Pixar does best: heart. There are moments of sentiment, but they are over too quickly and often feel too forced. The tender moments that Pixar has trained us to wait for come and go before we even realize what is happening. There is no lingering for effect. They don’t leave a tender moment alone. I thought everyone listened to Billy Joel in college.

The art is breathtaking, the humor hits, the characters are fun and relatable, but that special moment wherein the Pixar movies we know and love grab the audience by their collective tear ducts and dare them to hold on… it never happens.

Instead we are given a very enjoyable family film that is full of laughs that will undoubtedly do well at the box office, but left me just a little bit hollow, like getting a B+ in gym class.

Blue umbrella

Luckily, for those of you that have grown fondly accustomed to those special Pixar moments, they are all packed into the short that precedes Monsters University. The Blue Umbrella is sweet, sad, haunting, and hopeful—all within a few speechless minutes. It is a wonderful piece of filmmaking.

That said, Monsters University is a lot of family fun, and the laughs are deep and often. It passes with flying school colors. Monsters University comes out today on DVD and Blu-ray, and there will be all kinds of extra credit for the whole family to enjoy.

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My Life Goes Disney (More So)

Disney Whit HoneaThere isn’t a lot of money in professional blogging unless you’re actually good at it. Needless to say, I’m broke. However, there are perks, and like fezzes, bow ties, and the assorted fetishes of Doctor Who, perks are cool. They are the magic beans to my sad and lonely cow. Whatever that means.

I have some perks on the horizon and as such I am contractually obligated would love to share them with you. You are going to be jealous, and frankly, you should be.

Sometime in the near future I will join a group of bloggers for a Disney extravaganza, that’s right: EXTRAVAGANZA!

We will screen Wreck-It-Ralph, Paperman, Monsters, Inc. 3D, and the big dead dog, Frankenweenie — the latter comes complete with the red-carpet treatment of which I have grown so accustomed. Seriously, it’s pretty nice. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nightfall for Spring Days

The day has long grown thin, and patches of once blue sky have been pricked with golden pins to let the last of the faraway light shine in. They glow in countless wishes and the teetering twinkle of far-off diamonds rubbed dull from the sound of children whispering what it is that they shouldn’t tell. Who am I to say what might come true? I know nothing of dreams in the dark, but I can see the shade being found by fingers of the night, and tag, that is it. We are all going in, no matter how they cry.

Routine is based loosely upon the lacking of it.

A tender tooth is brushed soft with promise, its money well spent. Faces are washed, pajamas put on, and streams are crossed despite the warnings. Their beds are doorways and they want them left open. They will let sleep knock until it knocks them over. I will kiss them goodnight and once more when they don’t even know it and their room breathes light like a mason jar heavy with fireflies.

I fill the hours between their eyes closing and mine wide open with deadlines and other shapes more alive and slightly more forgiving. We all fight to stay awake and away, but my heart isn’t in it. It is in words and slow sips that linger on my tongue like the warmth of a day that seems days ago.

If there is a bottom to the bottle I don’t want to find it.

 

**********

Image from Pixar’s Oscar-nominated short La Luna and the wonderful imagination of Enrico Caserosa

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Where I’ve Been & What I’m Doing: Not an Essay

Insert "down the rabbit hole" reference here. Look smart.

Hello, Grantland readers! Thanks for stopping by. You found me running a clip show. How embarrassing for all of us. For those of you that aren’t readers of Grantland, you should be, especially since they used my video of Darth Vader throwing out the first pitch at last Friday’s Dodger game.

  • You may recall a long time ago (see, last post) when I talked about our postponement of Easter. It happened. We thanked the rabbits accordingly. Or we may have thanked a snake. I don’t know. Someone dropped some jelly beans and I wasn’t sticking my hand in the hole to get them back, although, to be clear, I’m a firm believer in the non-hurting qualities of dirt.
  • I attended the world premiere of The Avengers, and my thoughts on the movie are under embargo until May, but seeing as half the internet has ignored that nugget I’ll give you this much: The Avengers movie is freaking fantastic. Also, Sam Jackson gave me the stink eye:

  • Speaking of Disney, I took a trip to Pixar Animation Studios, and it was exactly as amazing as I thought it would be. I thought it would be really amazing. I shot arrows!
  • In other news, I was put on the spot by my 8-year-old when he brought up the subject of sex. I handled it okay, but visit DadCentric and let me know what you think!
  • Last, but not least, I have a new post up at Babble’s Dadding, and your pageviews could send a kid to camp. Not really. However, I would greatly appreciate any traffic you could send my way. It’s cute pictures of kids, people, what’s not to click?

Tune in later this week as I’ve got some spring cleaning to do, and that means giveaways for all the readers (but mostly the winners)!

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The Brave Little Poster

Blogging hasn’t made me rich, unless you’re one of those saps that thinks friends make you rich, then sure, I’ve made a few bucks. But here’s the thing, friends don’t pay the rent, unless they are really great friends, which I’m sure some of them are. Call me!

What blogging has done, in addition to the many friends I’ve met (especially the great ones), is allow me opportunities that I never would have had with a regular job like a job. For instance, in the past year I’ve drank too much whiskey while talking to Bog Iger in Hawai’i, chatted with Steve Whitmire (Kermit the Frog) while hanging out at Jim Henson Studios (get The Muppets on DVD/Blu-ray tomorrow!), and watched my oldest son get his Jedi on at Skywalker Ranch. All of these experiences (and more!) have been incredible opportunities and I am thankful for them. Sure, they were the result of lots of hard work, and they themselves resulted in even more hard work, but every single one of them has been worth it. And then some.

Which leads me to my next great adventure: Next month I will be Disney’s guest at Pixar Studios in Emeryville, CA, and all will be right with the world. Well, my world anyway. I don’t know what you’re into.

I’m fully aware that you probably hate me a little bit right now, and I can say, with all honesty, I’m okay with that.

The trip includes a tour of Pixar Studios, a screening of Disneynature’s Chimpanzee (in theaters on Earth Day), a sneak peak of Pixar’s Brave and La Luna (the Oscar-nominated short to be shown before Brave), and a day at the wonderful Walt Disney Family Museum, which I just took my son to for his report on Walt Disney because I’m THE. BEST. DAD. EVER. True story.

You still hate me. I can feel it.

Here’s where you, the reader, come in. If you have any questions for Mark Andrews, the director of Brave, or any of the film’s animators, then please leave them in the comments below and I will ask them (unless your question sucks) during the interview process. It’s just like being there! Especially for me.

Hey kids, do you have the Facebook? Then you can “Like” Brave, Pixar, and Disneynature at your leisure. You can also like me. You can really like me. But I totally understand if you don’t.

Disclosure: This trip is on Disney’s very kind dime, but the opinions will be mine (something they know quite well).

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