Pixar

Film Review: Cars 3

by Chris Piper on June 16, 2017

Horsepower and happy endings

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), center, tries to run down past glory, with Storm Jackson (Armie Hammer), left, and Cruz Ramirez, right (Cristela Alonzo).

Oh how quickly the young become old, the strong become weak, and the fresh, young, star becomes the stale, old, has-been. In the age of computer-generated animated features, oh how long ten years can be.

Sadly, Cars 3 proves this old axiom, as it leans heavily on the achievements of the first two films, and mostly settles on telling a very basic story in a fairly predictable way. Cars “purists” (wherever they are) will no doubt be satisfied, but the rest of us will leave the theater nostalgic for the spectacular achievements of Pixar’s earlier efforts.

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“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.” -Anton Ego, Ratatouille

There will be no negative criticism here. Ratatouille live at the San Francisco Symphony was absolutely wonderful, highlighting both the magnificent award-winning score by Michael Giacchino and the brilliant animated masterpiece that is Brad Bird’s 2007 Pixar film. Audience members of all ages, including many families, entered Davies Symphony Hall over the weekend to watch Ratatouille. The SF Symphony has delivered numerous memorable film screenings accompanied by live scores, and this one sits near the top.

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Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 10.03.14 PM

This upcoming weekend, July 16-17, the San Francisco Symphony will screen Pixar’s Oscar-winning film, Ratatouille, with the score performed live. Conducting the orchestra will be none other than the amazingly accomplished SF Symphony regular, Sarah Hicks. Sarah was gracious enough to answer some questions about her own musical tastes, as well as her special love of Pixar films…

Spinning Platters: My excitement for the Ratatouille show is growing, since it’s my favorite Pixar film. A popular dinner party question is ‘what’s your favorite Pixar film?’ So, do you have a favorite Pixar film?

Sarah Hicks: Oh, I can’t really choose because I love them all!  That being said, I have to admit that the ones I keep going back to are Monsters, Inc., Up and Ratatouille.

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Finding Dory gives you another big ocean adventure and all the feels

The charmingly grumpy Hank helping Dory

The charmingly grumpy Hank helping Dory

Let’s start with some full disclosure. Finding Nemo is my favorite Pixar movie and Dory is my favorite part of it. To say I was excited to see Finding Dory would be an extreme understatement. I spent all day telling telling everyone I saw “I’m seeing Finding Dory tonight!” not for any particular reaction, but just that I was so excited it just jumped out of my mouth like crazy fangirl word vomit. Luckily it seems like most people are excited to see Finding Dory so my spastic exclamations were pretty well received. The audience at the screening seemed excited as well, even if it was smaller than usual due to the Warriors game. Seemed strange to me people would pick a basketball game over the movie, but maybe the game was better? [read the whole post]

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The animation bar has been raised! (even as the story bar is lowered)

Arlo reenacts a scene from Avatar.

Arlo reenacts a scene from Avatar.

It has always been said that (nearly) every Pixar film raises the bar for animated storytelling. Other studios had a hard time keeping up with the incredible stories and emotional journeys Pixar kept churning out. The bar for animated storytelling was raised to unimaginable heights with this year’s Inside Out. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Pixar’s second offering of 2015, The Good Dinosaur. What can be said is that The Good Dinosaur features the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous, photo-realistic animated environments ever put on screen. The groundbreaking animation, along with a reliable blend of adult and kid humor that only Pixar can expertly balance, help carry along a serviceable (if not weak) story to ensure the delivery of a well-rounded family film.

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PixarNight

The magic of Pixar Animation Studios has produced 13 films since it debuted its first feature in 1995 with Toy Story.  These films have consistently raised the bar for animated storytelling, and with such an impressive list of titles including the Toy Story series, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, Finding Nemo, and more, it’s no surprise that one of the hardest questions to ask a movie lover is ‘what’s your favorite Pixar film?’  Part of the magical formula that contributes to the wide success of the studio are the film scores, composed by four incredible talents: Randy Newman, Thomas Newman, Patrick Doyle, and (my personal favorite) Michael Giacchino.  The Pixar film scores have garnered 10 Oscar nominations and 1 win, not including original songs.  Last night, the San Francisco Symphony held the first night of its Pixar in Concert series, a fantastic musical evening featuring excerpts from each of the 14 Pixar titles accompanied by a montage of each film.

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Film Review: Monsters University

June 21, 2013
http://youtu.be/xBzPioph8CI

It has been nearly twelve years since Monsters Inc. made its theatrical debut, introducing audiences to one of film history’s most imaginative storylines and a memorable duo of lovable Monster protagonists, Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman).  It was Pixar’s fourth feature film and became an instant classic, one that still ranks […]

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Film Review: “Brave”

June 22, 2012

featuring the voices of: Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Craig Ferguson, Kevin McKidd written by: Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi directed by: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell MPAA: Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor

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