Toy Story 3
The best magic tricks in the world are ones that cannot be unraveled, reverse engineered or dissected to figure out exactly how they are pulled off. This philosophy is doubly applicable to Pixar’s “Toy Story 3″, the storyline-ending outro of the beloved Toy Story, uh, story.
I feel it relevant somehow to divulge my age, as it somehow validates the powerful emotions evoked throughout the film. I am 23 years old, who, fifteen years ago, was fresh on the brink of the teen years of supposed adolescence at the release of some weird, 3d animated movie (wait, they can animate with computers?) entitled “Toy Story”. This was a pretty bold move, a calculated stroll to the edge of the cliff and a daring leap off into the thin air of creativity and innovation. And it was a hit, ensuring 3d animation a place right alongside (more or less) 2d animation. And naturally, Pixar would be at the forefront, leading the cavalry charge of digital animation ranging from great to gawd-awful.
“Toy Story 3″ starts off as comfortably as possible, with our friends Woody and Buzz Lightyear doing what they do the best…playing with Andy in his world of make-believe adventure. We are then treated to some familiar Pixar progression, like abandonment, solidarity, coming back to friends, and the passing of the torch. Clearly, in the eleven years between this point and when “Toy Story 2″ wrapped, a computer revolution or four has occurred, allowing a world of unsurpassed clarity, reality and imagination to shine through like never before. TS1′s spark is TS2′s candle, and that in turn is TS3′s blazing sun.
Roll the last fifteen minutes of film. It became clearly obvious that the figurative tables have been turned, because a good number of the adults in the audience were sniffling and teary-eyed, while the kids were looking up, likely thinking “jeez mom and dad, they’re just toys, get over it”.
Wasn’t it conventional wisdom that just the kids get emotional over losing plastic playthings? With “Toy Story 3″, Pixar has shown us one of the greatest magic tricks in modern showbiz history, likely not to be outdone or duplicated, that we all have very real and deep connections to our childhoods and to the things and people that allowed us as kids to be free, and innocent, and pure, and most importantly, to dream. This, to me, is a life lesson worth remembering, to infinity and beyond.
BUY IT! *****/5
When the final credits were rolling I observed, out-loud, “that was one of the most outwardly violent films I’ve seen since Kill Bill”. That’s not far from the truth. Limbs are hacked clean off, stomachs are regularly impaled and the claret fluid sprays endlessly. Though the major difference is where Tarantino’s homage to the old chop-socky movies from Eastern cinema is cartoonish in its bloody visuals, Centurion is anything but tongue-in-cheek; here the blood, sweat and tears seep into the muddy vistas and bucolic rivers of Great Britain to intensify the atmosphere.
Director Neil Marshall (The Descent) has crafted a gritty movie that at its core is a simple ‘cat and mouse’ tale – and a highly entertaining one at that – but becomes much more thanks to the efficacious work from all the cast and crew. Marshall himself executes a few impressive sequences, the most outstanding being the initial ambush on the Ninth Legion, showing once again he knows how to stretch a small budget with minimalistic techniques and a passionate approach. Director of photography Sam McCurdy provides a suitably grimy and grainy look that, although at times is too dim, sets the ideal tone for the film. Perhaps Marshall should have monitored the editing closer though, Chris Gill’s frenetic cutting very nearly ruins a couple of the fight scenes.
Major Hollywood star in the waiting Michael Fassbender (played the German-impersonating British Lieutentant in Inglourious Basterds) is undoubtedly the standout among the acting contingent. As the titular soldier, Fassbender makes for a charismatic leading man that convinces in both the physical and dramatic elements of the role. I eagerly wait to see what he does as the young Magneto in the upcoming X-Men prequel. Elsewhere The Wire alumni Dominic West is rough around the edges as the gruff General Virilus, Olga Kurylenko is positively bad-ass as the mute, monomaniacal warrior hell-bent on revenge and BBC favorite David Morrisey adds clout in his supporting role of Bothos.
A grubby, gory delight. RENT IT. ***/5
It’s not only for members of the Cult of Rebney (in case you live under a rock, I’m talking about Jack Rebney: the Winnebago Man, the Angriest Man in the World, the original viral video star, and the greatest swearer who ever lived).
The film has comedy: Rebney is one of the great crotchety old men of all time.
It has mystery: who is this monumental man, where does he live, what’s the deal with his anger, what the f–k is this thing?
It has commentary: most Americans have “room-temperature IQs, and” the Ford Fiesta (or is it Festiva?) is a great car.
It also has flies, towels, windshields, seat belts, yelling, doors slamming, s–t hitting the fan, all types of “accoutrama”…and, last but not least, Tony! (If you have no clue what any of this means, go to YouTube and search “winnebago man.”)
If you like that kinda thing, rent it. If not, go ahead and skip it. **/5