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TOY STORY 3D

Studio: Disney/Pixar

Rated: G

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles and Wallace Shawn

Directed by: Lee Unkrich

What it’s about: The third installment of Pixar’s beloved Toy Story franchise finds Andy preparing to go to college, and his toys are facing an uncertain fate. Will they be sold, given away, put in the attic or thrown out in the trash? After a close call with a garbage truck, the toys find their way to the Sunnyside Day Care Center, which looks great at first but proves to be a dangerous place for a toy to end up.

What I liked: Pretty much everything. Honestly, I’m getting so tired of Pixar making awesome movies. I wish they’d just make a stinker one day and just get it over with. But no, they have to go and make a brilliant movie yet again. Even more, this is the third film in an already brilliant franchise. I honestly can’t think of any other third installment of any series that retains the same level of quality and heart as the Toy Story franchise has.

The movie opens with a fantastic sequence that is reminiscent of both Toy Story 2 and Bolt. And early on, it jerks at some tears. But the film won’t really make you weep until the end, bringing the emotional roller coaster of the series full circle.

Pixar continues to keep the series fresh with realistic treatment of the characters, plus the deft use of the supporting cast, which is a common element in their films. The story is different enough to make it stand out from the other two, yet you definitely have a sense of peril with a true villain.

Like any great animated film, there’s a lot of stuff in there for kids, but there’s also plenty of laugh-out-loud moments for the grown-ups as well. And considering that the kids who saw the original are now adults today, this is a perfect film for the whole family.

Toy Story 3 is everything you would expect from a Pixar movie. It will make you laugh, and it will make you cry. The gags are fresh, and if the movie were any more heartwarming, it would melt the polar ice caps. Even Emperor Zurg will love this film and have a good cry.

What I didn’t: The only complaint I have about this film is that it takes a little bit to really get going. While the opening sequence is fantastic, after that the first twenty minutes or so seems to cover some old ground. This doesn’t bring down the quality of the movie, however, because once things get rolling, it becomes the most awesome movie of the year.

Who is gonna like this movie: Everyone.

Grade: A+

JONAH HEX

Studio: Warner Bros.

Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, disturbing images and sexual content

Starring: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Will Arnett and Michael Fassbender

Directed by: Jimmy Hayward

What it’s about: After betraying his regiment in the Civil War, Jonah Hex becomes the target of revenge by a maniacal Confederate general, who kills Hex’s family in front of him. Hex almost dies and awakens with spiritual powers that allow him to bring the dead back to life for a limited time. Years later, Hex has a chance for revenge when the Confederate general resurfaces and threatens the government of the United States.

What I liked: Jonah Hex more than I had any right to. But the film had several things going for it. First, it’s only 80 minutes, and if you can’t endure 80 minutes of anything, you need to take some Ritalin. With such a short running time, the movie had a too-fast pace most of the time, which made me forget what a mess it was.

Plus, Josh Brolin is great as the title character. His tongue is planted firmly in his cheek, and not just in a literal manner. He has some great line deliveries, and the action while often pointless is a lot of fun to watch. It’s a dumb, dumb, dumb, stupid movie, but I had a hell of a time watching it.

What I didn’t: Okay, let’s get all the Megan Fox stuff out of the way first. She’s awful in this film. She’s a terrible actress, and her truly awful southern accent rivals that of John Malcovich in terms of silliness and wooden delivery. She also looks freakish in the film. At 24, she’s had so much cosmetic surgery that her features are beginning to look grotesque. To make things worse, there’s been a ridiculous amount of post-production digital work on her face, softening her skin texture in such a way that she looks less realistic than the plastic leads in Toy Story 3.

Then there’s her waist, which is cinched so tight in a corset that it looks inhuman, like a life-sized Barbie doll (which, in case you don’t understand normal human proportions, looks bizarre). Finally, she’s slathered in sweat throughout the whole film that I could smell her stank from the back row of the theater.

The rest of the film is kind of a mess. There are so many flashbacks, often run multiple times, that I figure a real edit of the film probably would run closer to 60 minutes. The middle of the movie loses focus and stumbles around, and the overproduced heavy metal soundtrack just seems out of place.

Who is gonna like this movie: Anyone who doesn’t want to think… and can stomach Megan Fox’s relatively small part in the film.

Grade: B-

Want to see what Kevin had to say about these films on TV? Check out his interview on FOX…


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