Toy Story 3

The Producers Guild of America is known for aligning its picks with the Oscar nominations with the startling regularity that can only come when two groups share the same voting pool. That’s why groups like, say, the Hollywood Foreign Press (who I think actually nominated a nip-slip video this year) doesn’t match up at all. The PGA, which announced its award nominees today, went 9 for 10 last year, and by the looks of this list, they might just do it again in 2011.

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As I expressed earlier in the week as our 2010 Year in Review began, I take it as a great honor that I am able to put together my list of the Best Films of the Year as part of my Editor’s Picks entry. And while I’m a massive fan of my own perspective and opinions, I’m an even bigger fan of the writing and ever-diverse tastes of the Film School Rejects reviewing staff. These are the folks who, through their sensational (and often divisive) review-writing, keep you coming back for more each and every day. They travel the world and brave the crowds at festivals, conventions, preview screenings and special events to bring you some of the industry’s sharpest, most honest film coverage. And I for one am honored to have them all on this team. Just as I did last year, I couldn’t wait to see which films each writer would put on their Top 5 lists as the best films of the year. And just as they did last year, they didn’t disappoint with their unique, ever-fascinating selections. So read on dear reader, as we present the crown jewel of our 2010 Year in Review: The Staff Picks.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, the editor of The New Ledger and podcast host of Coffee and Markets Ben Domenech brings his velvety voice to the show to suggest that John Lithgow play a werewolf-hunting FDR, question the Spider-Man casting, and create a list of movie characters that should run for office (we’d totally vote for Judy Dench’s M). Plus, we find time to review Megamind, Due Date, and implore you to see Four Lions. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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This Week in Blu-ray

Last week, I picked perhaps the worst week of the year to take a break from This Week in Blu-ray. As you will see in this week’s entry, two or three of the most impressive releases of the year hit store shelves. And it’s likely that they – the likes of Alien, Back to the Future and Hausu – have already made their way into your collection. I will be talking about them anyway, dear reader. For those of you who need a little extra nudge, here it comes. I also have plenty to say about this week’s releases, including a few deliciously crafted releases for some legitimate cinematic classics. Julie Andrews sings, Dick Van Dyke flies through the air and Bing Crosby tap-dances with Danny “F**kin’” Kaye as our weekly Blu-ray buying budget empties faster than our tear ducts during the final act of Pixar’s Toy Story 3. Give it up, Blu-ray lovers, it is perhaps the most magical time of year. Also, This Week in DVD host Rob Hunter stops buy to review a few releases that were well off my radar screen. And he does so with gusto!

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I’m sitting on the second row of my Senior year English class. My teacher, Mrs. Kallas (which was appropriately homophonic), uses her stringent voice to tell us the story of populism within the universe of The Wizard of Oz. The symbols of the political fight, the shoes, the farming scarecrow, the working tin man, something about William Jennings Bryan. It’s a great story, and all the symbols fit, but it’s not a good interpreation. For some reason, the myth of Wizard being an allegory for populism in the early 20th century has been perpetuated despite the true personal politics of L. Frank Baum. It’s a sign that anything can be read into anything. Enter Andrew Klavan and his editorial about Toy Story 3 as a political message against the politics of the current Democratic Party. Director Lee Unkrich responded to the infantile shoehorning of something relevant into something entertaining by saying, “Really? REALLY? Please keep Toy Story 3 out of your politics,” which is the appropriate response as a creator. Since I’m not the creator, I figured I’d have some fun with the idea and show how absurd Klavan’s article is by doing some shoehorning of my own. Here are three just-as-nonsensical interpretations of Toy Story 3.

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Culture Warrior

For better or worse, this summer of movies is over, and now we’re in the early-Fall transition into the inevitable season of so-called “serious” awards-friendly films, films that supposedly say a lot about human nature and our time and place as a culture. However, I’ve always contended that it is often the films that seemingly exist only for “entertainment’s sake” that have the most to say about culture, mainly because they operate in such a way that allows us to turn our minds off, passively consume them, and therefore go along unquestionably with the socio-political presumptions explicitly or implicitly embedded within their narratives. Such films that purport to exist solely for entertainment value often end up telling us a lot about how and what we think about the present, and it just so happens that these types of films are most often relegated to the summer months. Summer movies in 2010 ranged from highbrow to lowbrow, blockbuster to indie to sleeper, with head-scratchers and brain-cell-killers alike, but many of these films, intentionally or not, had something to say or assume about the present cultural moment.

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The Reject Report

The Expendables topped the chart for a second weekend in a row. You can’t chalk it up to the dominating force the men involved in the film have on movie goers’ and their wallets, though. With a second weekend drop of more than 50%, it’s not exactly a day of rejoicing for fans of Sly Stallone and his crew. It’s just that everything else out this weekend performed that poorly, a true sign that we’re over and done with Summer, and it’s going to be a few month before we see any new blockbusters make their mark on the box office.

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The Reject Report

It’s time to put the skepticism to bed like the nice orphan of past failures that it is.  Just about every film this weekend performed either right around or above expectations, and some second, third, and even fourth weekend films had drops that were impressively minuscule.  As expected, Despicable Me was the big winner of the weekend, but even its take was head and shoulders above most analyst’s best guesses. Predators wasn’t a slam-dunk champion, but it performed on par given its rating and mid-range budget.  Even limited releases that didn’t break into the top 10 had notable debuts.  All in all it was a lucrative weekend to own a movie studio.

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And so it goes for the 4th of July weekend, two heavy hitters deliver fireworks to the masses, even if those fireworks aren’t on a milestone level of awesomeness. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and The Last Airbender had respectable openings even if neither of them came close to breaking any records this weekend. The much beloved Toy Story 3 held strong in its third weekend out, and a big surprise came in the form of the latest indie comedy from the Duplass brothers. All in all, another fun-filled weekend at the movie theater.

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Twilight: Eclipse

Twilight fans (yes, you) rejoice. Your Eclipse is finally upon us, and it is sure to storm through the box office like a tornado through a trailer park. Not even The Last Airbender will be able to control it.

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Toy Story 3

Sometimes things just turn out the way you might expect them to. It was a no-brainer going into this weekend that Pixar and Toy Story 3 would come out on top for the second weekend in a row. It was also safe betting that Adam Sandler and his crew of Grown Ups would beat out a second place spot for itself and that Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz would show.

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After a record-breaking opening weekend, it’s time to see how much Toy Story 3 can pull in in its second weekend out. It has Adam Sandler and that Tom Cruise guy to worry about, so I think it’s pretty safe.

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This week, on a very special Reject Radio, Rob Hunter drops by to declare his love for the online community, to denounce sex slavery, and to deliver some truly gruesome films to sit through. Plus! Fantastic prizes offered to anyone who sits through all the movies we suggest. Bonus if you eat pudding while doing it.

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Toy Story 3

On one hand we have Toy Story 3, a film that was able to break all kinds of box office records over the weekend. On the other hand, we have a film that had a worse opening weekend than Supergirl.

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Toy Story 3

It’s time to take out your childish things. The toys are back, and they are looking to make buckets of cash. Toy Story 3 is, without a doubt, going to dominate this weekend, but are the anticipated numbers being thrown out just a little, too high?

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Toy Story launched everything, and after millions of fans, billions of dollars in box office, and a shelf full of Academy Awards that might as well be labeled “Reserved for Pixar,” we find ourselves on board a train that refuses to slow down and seems to keep getting better with every new stop along the tracks. I was fortunate enough to speak with Lee Unkrich, the director behind Toy Story 3, and we discussed what makes toys upset, the personal tragedies in life that helped him tell the story, and what Pixar’s goals are for the future.

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Pixar Day and Night

You won’t find anyone around here who will argue against the quality of the films of Pixar. And even less likely is the chance that you’ll find someone around here who wouldn’t jump at the chance to peek at the next great Pixar short film. Every one of their features comes equipped with a short, usually one that is both brilliant and inventive. And not to mention fun. This new short appears to be no exception.

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Disney wants to use you to sell its products, but you won’t be getting paid. How do you feel about that?

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June 2010 Movie Guide

Now that American Idol and Lost are over, you have the entire month of June free for movies. What the hell are you going to watch?

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You only see a little bit of footage in this new featurette — which debuted at Yahoo! today — but if you’re like me, you might be starting to get the feeling that Pixar’s Toy Story 3 might end up as the movie of the Summer.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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