The Big Sick | Review

★★★★

When Judd Apatow wants ‘the big conversation’ it’s not just the comic-addressee who should get excited. Previous convos, with Steve Carell, Kirsten Wiig and Amy Schumer, in which the producer asked each talent: ‘have you any ideas?’ led to The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Bridesmaids and Trainwreck. His is an impressive eye for potential and one with an extraordinarily surefooted track record. Now Apatow has unearthed The Big Sick, the funniest rom-com of recent years, by mining the experience and skill of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. He knows how to pick ‘em alright.

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Seven Days a Cinephile | A Poem

SEVEN DAYS A CINEPHILE

I’m seven days cinephile,

I watch films every day.

On Mondays I choose fantasies,

The work-day get-away.

 

On Tuesday I watch horror films,

Which never leave me scared.

I’ve seen so many jump-scare flicks,

I think I’m too prepared.

 

Wednesday’s animation day,

Bursts of creative glee,

And if I see the two-fifteen,

I see them youngster-free!

 

Thursday is the arthouse pick,

A higher brow endeavour.

God only knows what it’s about,

But gosh it does look clever.

 

Fridays are for blockbusters,

A more expensive ticket!

So when they say ‘It’s in 3D’,

I tell them where to stick it.

 

Saturday’s my favourite day,

I catch the the indie stuff.

All crafted on a budget,

By the frugalist film buff.

 

Last are Senior Sundays,

For shows they serve with tea.

Attendees call films pictures,

Ah, c’est la vie for me!

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie | Review

★★★★

Tra la la!

To young fans of Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants book series, that hark of arrival is as familiar and welcome a caw as ‘to the Batmobile’ might be to their parents. The novels have sold more than 70m copies the world over since launching in 1997, with the series concluding at book twelve only two years ago. Given their success – Captain Underpants has been translated into over 20 languages – it’s perhaps surprising that it’s take this long for a film to materialise.

Continue reading Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie | Review

Every Pixar Film Ranked (by YOU!)

We asked you which is the greatest Pixar film?
The votes are in, the people have spoken!
Here is the ultimate Pixar ranking, as decided by YOU!

17. Cars 2 (John Lasseter, Brad Lewis, 2011)

Cars 2 (John Lasseter, Brad Lewis, 2011)

Not all that surprising that the first Cars sequel is doing the lap of shame.

16. Brave (Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell, 2012)

Brave (Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell, 2012)

Pixar went very Disney with their first fairytale. A decent film, this far down the ranking…there’s no sign of a reprise.

15. Finding Dory (Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane, 2016)

Finding Dory (Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane, 2016)

They just kept swimming with this would-be franchise.

14. A Bug’s Life (John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, 1998)

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Sweet and entertaining, maybe Pixar’s sophomore outing sits just on the wrong side of forgettable in their back catalogue.

13. The Good Dinosaur (Peter Sohn, 2015)

The Good Dinosaur (Peter Sohn, 2015)

All style and no substance makes Pixar a dull film…

12. Monsters University (Dan Scanlon, 2013)

Monsters University (Dan Scanlon, 2013)

A welcome return for the lovable monsters, if not one all that inspired.

11. Cars (John Lasseter, Joe Ranft, 2006)

Cars (John Lasseter, Joe Ranft, 2006)

A fun feature for younger viewers. Doesn’t justify its sequels but does offer a jolly ride.

10. WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008)

WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008)

Both out-of-this-world and down-to-earth, WALL-E is spectacular.

9. Ratatouille (Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava, 2007)

ratatouille_movie_stills-1680x1050Ratatouille (Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava, 2007)

Is it just me that remembers the ad campaign (‘It’s pronounced…) more than the film? Still, well worthy of a top ten spot.

8. Inside Out (Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen, 2015)

Inside Out (Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen, 2015)

A triumph that conducts your emotions like a philharmonic orchestra.

7. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich, 2010)

Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich, 2010)

It’s the lowest Toy Story on the list but, make no mistake, this third outing concluded a magnificent trilogy with real panache.

6. Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, 2003)

Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, 2003)

Pixar’s first winner of the Best Animated Feature Award at the Oscars, first of many!

5. Monsters Inc. (Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, David Silverman, 2001)

Monsters Inc. (Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, David Silverman, 2001)

Incredible by virtue of its sheer creative innovation, not to mention of course the stunning animation of Sully’s fur!

4. Toy Story 2 (John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Ash Brannon, 1999)

Toy Story 2 (John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Ash Brannon, 1999)

Jessie and Bullseye proved to by perfect – and devastating (‘When Somebody Loved Me’ – additions.

3. Up (Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, 2009)

Up (Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, 2009)

Those infamous first five minutes earn this one a top three spot.

2. The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004)

The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004)

One of the best superhero films of all time! Avengers eat your heart out!

1. Toy Story (John Lasseter, 1995)

Toy Story (John Lasseter, 1995)

Well, of course.

How would you rank Pixar’s films? Comment your list below!

War for the Planet of the Apes | Review

★★★★

Apocalypse Now is the new Spartacus. Certainly, declaring yourself to be a film in imitation of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam war classic seems very much in vogue this year.

For those who found the poster for Kong: Skull Island ‘on the nose’ just wait until you see the shot for shot likenesses to be found in War for the Planet of the Apes, the third in Matt Reeves’ Planet of the Apes reboot series. Heck, at one point – getting one up on hacks ready with the puns – the slogan: ‘Ape-ocalypse Now’ can be seen sprayed over the walls of an underground tunnel. Unlike Kong, however, Reeves’ film borrows both style and substance in his homage. War is a hugely satisfying round off to a superlative trilogy.

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Cars 3 | Review

★★★

The Cars films have always felt a little like Pixar, the pioneering animation studio behind Toy Story, Up and last year’s Finding Dory, in the third rather than fifth gear.

Cars 3 is the second sequel to have spawned from the 2006 original; the third in a franchise that has, for over a decade now, whiffed somewhat disappointingly of commerce rather than creativity. With over $10bn banked already from merchandise alone, Cars has certainly proved itself to be a hugely profitable vehicle. The unfortunate result is a series that opportunistically loads each new film with fresh and disposable characters at the expense of developing old ones. Cars 3 won’t win over the naysayers – it’s got its predecessors’ rusts and some – but fans should be satisfied whilst those on the fence may find themselves surprisingly touched by the time the credits role. Naturally too – damn it Pixar – the animation itself is dazzling.

Continue reading Cars 3 | Review

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