Tim Allen

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For many, finding out the truth about Santa Claus is an important first step of a ritual entry into adulthood. The experience differs from person to person, but for me it happened gradually and without incident. Around 7 years old, I reasoned that it was impossible for a character as absurd as the Easter Bunny to exist. A year later, I came to the same conclusion about the big jolly guy. I didn’t see my parents as deceptive, or myself as naïve – this exit from childhood fantasy was more like an induction, or the first of many doors opened into rational adult living. I preserved the fantasy as best as I could for my younger brother, and played along with my parents whenever Kris Kringle’s name came up. My experience must not be unusual, as many children’s Christmas films deal directly with a similarly gradual onset of Santa skepticism – that moment where one’s imagination is put in conflict with the dawning truth that the world operates on particular rules that are impossible to break. Gravity, time, matter. In this way, such films imbue an adult and a child’s view of Christmas simultaneously by investing in the illusion while also showing its manufacture. But these films (as children’s Christmas films will unsurprisingly do) ultimately demonstrate the impossible fantasy to be undeniably true, to the dismay and shock of enlightened skeptics like James Caan’s Walter Hobbs in Elf or Judge Reinhold’s Dr. Neal Miller in The Santa Clause. And Reinhold’s […]

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For more than fifteen years, Pixar has represented the gold standard in computer generated films. Since the studio’s early days of making groundbreaking short films to producing Oscar-winning feature-length movies, Pixar has become a brand associated with quality animation and adorable characters. There have been some bumps along the road, from a love-hate-owner relationship with Disney to some questionable sequels, but few studios can boast such a consistent level of quality and innovation. This week, Pixar will be releasing its 13th full-length feature, Brave, with an entire new cast of characters different from any other Pixar film. This gives us a chance to look into Pixar’s past and remember some of the favorite characters from their films.

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For most of its slim 78 minute runtime, Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield‘s Chimpanzee focuses on the daily minutiae of a large group of chimpanzees living in the Ivory Coast’s Tai Forest – their eating habits, sleeping patterns, and how they interact on a social level. It’s not particularly exciting, but it is interesting and it does serve an important purpose when the film finally gets to the meat of its story – it serves to lull its audience into a false sense of safety. Centered primarily on a three-year-old chimp named Oscar and his mother Isha, the film certainly benefits from its built-in “awww” factor, because baby Oscar is both adorable and engaging. Despite the fact that his family unit includes other baby chimps, there’s no question as to why Fothergill and Linfield trained their film on young Oscar, even before we get to the heart of the story (which requires a focus on Oscar) – he’s a star. A G-rated film from Disneynature, Chimpanzee provides a charming slice-of-life look at Oscar, Isha, and their family group’s daily existence that should amuse family members of all ages. While it does come packaged with some overly-humanizing narration work by Tim Allen, the film eventually turns into a production with an eye-opening plot and a very incredible story to tell. Though the threat of the “evil” chimp Scar and his band of “soldiers” is ever-lurking, and a bit too much time is spent hammering home the point that baby Oscar is […]

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How to Catch Santa Claus

In schoolyards around the world, the debate continues to rage: Is Santa Claus real? Or is he just some concept concocted by parents to keep kids in line year-round? Even us adults can remember having knock-down, drag-out arguments over this. Our parents told us that if we waited up for Santa on Christmas Eve, we’d be quickly relegated to the dreaded “Naughty List,” and we’d get nothing but coal in our stockings. As a public service, this installment of the Holiday Survival Guide will help you win those arguments. Keeping up with the tradition of every child’s desire to capture jolly old St. Nicholas, here are some tricks we can dish out, courtesy of the big entertainment machine called Hollywood. Use them wisely, and be sure to only target the real Santa Claus. Failure to do so may result in injury or even death.

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While I am not entirely sure that fans of animation and puppets and joy and wonder and childhood dreams need yet another reason to check out The Muppets when it opens over Thanksgiving weekend, Disney and Pixar are not taking any chances, loading up the fleecy feel-good film of the holidays with an extra gift – a new Pixar short. But it’s not just any new Pixar short, it’s a Toy Story short. Small Fry returns us to a post-Toy Story 3 world, with (spoiler alert if for some horrific reason you’ve yet to see the third film, you cold-hearted bastard) all the toys happily living out a play-filled existence with wee lass Bonnie. Ever equal when it comes to said play time, Small Fry opens with Bonnie and her mom going on a fast food-outing, accompanied by both Buzz and Rex. But a tiny little tyrant capitalizes on some ball-room confusion, usurping Buzz’s place in Bonnie’s backpack and leaving ol’ Lightyear to fend for himself. Happy Meal toys will never look the same after you see Small Fry. Angus MacLane (who previously contributed to the Burn-E short) directs the film, which features voice work from Pixar director Teddy Newton as the bite-sized Buzz and Jane Lynch as newcomer Neptuna, along with the whole rest of the recognizable Toy Story gang, including Tim Allen, Tom Hanks, John Ratzenberger, and Joan Cusack. After the break, sate your appetite for delicious new Toy Story fare and check out larger versions of two new […]

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That Thing You Do! is the kind of movie only a man with a particular amount of clout can get made. An off-beat comedy about a fake rock band from the ’60s starring a bunch of unknowns and unfamiliar songs to boot? Maybe if it was a comic book first. But thank the powers that be for Tom Hanks and his odd sensibilities. He may be a two-time Oscar winner and an impassioned producer of WWII serialized dramas, but when it came to his directorial debut, the end product was something closer to his Bosom Buddies/The Man with One Red Shoe days. When That Thing You Do! hit theaters it bombed, barely making back its budget and putting Hanks’s directing career in question. Not even Tom Freakin’ Hanks could get his passion project to play with audiences. That very well could have been the end of the actor behind the camera. But lo and behold, a decade and a half later, Hanks returns this weekend with another oddball flick, Larry Crowne. Whether the new comedy (sporting plenty of familiar faces) can counter-program Transformers 3 and survive the competitive summer isn’t the point — we should be happy enough he made something. With Larry Crowne, Hanks has succeeded in doing what so few of his actor-turned-director friends have managed: to make a second movie. Here are a few thespians who took the plunge into filmmaking, only to return to their day jobs after one outing.

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Like NBC & FOX, ABC cleaned house last week by canceling pretty much every under-performing show that was on their schedule. But today they have released the schedule that will be filling all the gaps. Unlike NBC & FOX there is nothing really eye popping or exciting. However, there were some oddities: – The new Tim Allen series Last Man Standing will be leading off Tuesday nights at 8pm – The Middle is being pushed to Wednesday lead off at 8pm – Charlie’s Angels will lead off Thursday nights at 8pm Basically the oddities are that ABC is over-selling their shows. Need I remind everyone about the scheduling disaster that was FlashForward? Fine show, but it was never meant to lead off the night in its first season. And the general rule is you never put a new show as your lead off (even if it is produced by Steven Spielberg, FOX). But why listen to me when you can look at ABC’s schedule and the clips for yourself:

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For 36 days straight, we’ll be exploring the famous 36 Dramatic Situations by examining a film that exemplifies each one. From family killing family to prisoners in need of asylum, we brush off the 19th century list in order to remember that it’s still incredibly relevant today. Whether you’re seeking a degree in Literature, love movies, or just love seeing things explode, our feature should have something for everyone. If it doesn’t, please don’t put a snake in my boot. Part 35 of the 36-part series takes a look at “Rivalry of Superior and Inferior” with Toy Story.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr opens up his toy box to look at Toy Story 3D and Jonah Hex.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Kevin and Neil meet up in the miraculously bird-free Magical Studio in the Sky to gush over the latest Pixar release – Toy Story 3. They also shrug their shoulders at Jonah Hex, not having had a chance to review it at the time of recording.

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You wouldn’t think it possible, considering the fact that Pixar has recently taken us to the deep space with Wall-E and to the far reaches of Earth in Up, but I have a feeling that Toy Story 3 might be their biggest adventure yet.

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And it includes suicide! Hilarious!

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A few days ago we made mention of the Toy Story 3 trailer, which had popped up on YouTube a bit early. And sadly, it was gone very quickly. But it left with a promise of returning. And return, it has.

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It’s likely that Disney and Pixar didn’t intend for the full Toy Story 3 trailer to be online this early, but that’s not really our problem. It’s actually our big win today…

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Kevin Carr takes a look at this week’s movie releases, including Couple’s Retreat, Paranormal Activity and Toy Story & Toy Story 2 in 3D Double Feature.

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Fourteen years after Toy Story ushered in a new generation of computer generated animation, this celebrated first feature film of Pixar is still leaps and bounds ahead of so many of today’s animated fair.

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Right on the heals of releasing their 10th (and according to my review, one of their best) film Up this weekend, the folks at Disney/Pixar have released the first teaser trailer for their next great adventure, Toy Story 3.

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Kung Fu Panda Preview

With the release of Kung Fu Panda, Jack Black becomes just the next in a long line of comedic talents, both stand-up and otherwise, to take the lead in a major animated film. So how does he compare to others who have come before him?

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Tim Allen

After Scorsese got his golden statue in 2007, the world wondered who it could rally behind as a brilliant-but-snubbed auteur director. Now, finally, a stand-out contender is rising above the fray.

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It’s official. Hollywood has run out of ways to milk Christmas for everything that it’s worth. I know because I have seen its end of days and it’s called “The Santa Clause 3.”

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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.19.2014
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published: 04.19.2014
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