Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Disney Renaissance Part 7: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Time for some personal history. After The Lion King and Pocahontas, I took a break from Disney in the theater. Partly because of my disappointment with those two films, and partly because I was starting to "age out" a bit. I'd gone from being a wide-eyed young lad square in the midst of Disney's target demographic to a jaded pre-teen, sneering at the attempts of a bloated corporation to capture my attention. Even worse, I was reading, so when I heard that Disney was going to tackle the literary milestone The Hunchback of Notre Dame for their 34th animated film, I turned up my nose and skipped it in theaters altogether.

A major mistake as it turns out. Several years later I watched it on a lark when it came on TV, and I was absolutely enthralled, captured by a visually and aurally masterful presentation of a powerful and surprisingly adult story. Blew my socks off.

Cards on the table - a large part of the reason I started this retrospective was for an excuse to write about this very film.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Let the Sky Fall - James Bond is Back!

I think it says something grand about the film industry and Hollywood in particular that you can still get absolutely floored by a franchise that's a half-century old. James Bond has been through the Cold War, the collapse of the U.S.S.R., the digital revolution, and now lives in a world of global terrorism. He's driven outrageous cars, fired uncountable weapons, visited seemingly every corner of the globe - you'd think there wouldn't be any surprises left in 007.

But you'd be - if you'll excuse the expression - dead wrong.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. . . Looks Sexist as Hell

There's been this interesting trend of genre films that fall squarely into the category of "sounds like a joke but is totally a real movie" making the rounds in Hollywood recently. Sometimes it works, producing something as singularly ridiculous-but-hilariously-enjoyable as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. But sometimes you get movies like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, a movie that seems cut from a more blood-soaked end of the same cloth as Van Helsing.

A movie that just released this red band trailer. (content warning!)