Monday, October 29, 2012

The Disney Renaissance Part 6: Pocahontas

By 1995, Disney knew their business. Their animation department had risen from the ashes of the 80's and had become a commercial and critical powerhouse, and they'd gotten very good at assembling the parts needed to produce a hit. For their 33rd animated film, Disney went big, went bold, delving into history to create a story of environmentalism, cultural tolerance, peace, and the temporary and hollow nature of material wealth. A noble effort with the best of intentions.

Of course, you know what they say the road to Hell is paved with. . .

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Age of High Adventure

In a fairly dramatic turn of events, Universal has taken the Conan franchise from a property eagerly rebooted (which fizzled in last year's tragic remake of Conan the Barbarian) to courting the original Conan himself in an attempt to resurrect a direction the franchise was set to take before a certain fateful election in California.

Yep, Arnold Schwarzenegger is apparently back in the loincloth.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Disney Renaissance Part 5: The Lion King

This movie was HUGE. Rather than the traditional holiday release, it opened in the middle of summer and went on to be the highest-grossing animated film of its time (a record it held for nearly a decade). Many people would say that the quality of the Disney Renaissance - and maybe all of 2D animation of the last generation - peaked with The Lion King.

Short version? It didn't. Not even close.

Long version? Okay. . .

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Good Day to Die Hard

Die Hard is one of the greatest movies of its kind - arguably the greatest "pure" Hollywood action film ever made. The fact that it was also phenomenally successful ensured that there would, of course be a sequel. . . or three. And while none of them are as good as the first, they're all entertaining enough, and even seemed to be improving as the franchise went on. Yes, I'm one of those people who thinks Live Free or Die Hard is not only worthy, but freakin' awesome and even better than Die Hard With a Vengeance. Especially in its unrated version.

Only now they've gone and made another sequel and set it in Russia. No, really. It's even embedded after the jump:

The Darkest Knight of All

I'm probably done writing about Batman for a while after this, but I've had this particular piece - or versions of it - gestating for a very long time now. Now seemed as good a time as any to write this article, partly because Batman has kind of had a big year at the box office, but more because Batman: The Animated Series celebrated its 20th anniversary on the 5th of last month.

And next year will mark the 20th Anniversary of what may be the Caped Crusader's best film ever.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In Memoriam: Tony Scott's Enemy of the State

The late Tony Scott was many things during his roller coaster career - a visually arresting pulpster, a slick studio action director, an experimental genre auteur, but as he began to re-invent his directing style near the end of the 1990's, he proved himself to be something else: surprisingly prescient.

In 1998, Will Smith was one of the hottest superstars on the planet, and after two audience-friendly sci-fi action films he made move of teaming with Tony Scott character-driven R-rated spy thriller. It was written at the dawning of the digital age, and predicts - with some seriously scary accuracy - the ubiquity and power of global surveillance technology and ease with which it could be abused.

I'm not being sensationalist at all (or at least not without reason) when I say that Enemy of the State predicted the Patriot Act.