Tag Archives: Disney

Episode 4 – Dope, Inside Out. . . and what is the deal with critics?

This week we review Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out and indie comedy-drama Dope. 

Bored as Hell Podcast - This week's episode

 

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Dope is about young Malcolm growing up in Inglewood, Los Angeles, as a self-proclaimed geek who is into “white shit” like skateboarding, Game of Thrones, manga, his trip-hop punk bank named Awwreoh! and getting good grades and going to Harvard. Through a series of misadventures, the day before his fateful alumni interview that could determine his future, he gets a bunch of drugs planted in his backpack and then is placed in circumstances where he has to sell them. Sorry for plot spoilers– that’s not the point. Lots in here about racial identity– what it means to be black and expectations based on your race. There’s also a strong commentary about drugs and how the impoverished African-American community deals with the violence and problems of delivering drugs to white folks.

Strong performances by main cast, a GREAT soundtrack (which you can stream here) and lots of laughs and real drama.  8/10

Inside Out is Disney/Pixar’s return to form after not having an incredibly spectacular movie for a while. Perfect cast. The purpose of Sadness. Bing Bong.

9/10

Our childhood imaginary friends.

What is the purpose of criticism or critics?

Ratatouille –  the main message here was Gusteau saying that “Anyone Can Cook.” Remy was challenged by knowing that a critic was coming in to eat their food, and he made something to blow his mind.

Chef – Jon Favreau and Oliver Plat get into it on social media over a bad review. Chef says critic doesn’t understand how to cook. Critic says his dishes are uninspired. So chef gets fired, gets inspired with a food truck, and critic ends up wanting to financially back his restaurants. What what what?!?!

Critics are chefs’ friends– they demand more, and point out where things can be improved. What do you need to be a critic? Anyone can cook, so anyone can critic– just use critics as a lens or filter, not infallible arbiters of good and bad.

Birdman – theater critics are way mean. Why are they so broken? We wanted to like TMNT. Really. Sometimes a movie is just escapism. The law of large numbers and critic aggregation sites.

Agree with us, disagree with us– let’s have a discussion.

Closing song is from Lava, the short that played before Inside Out. We forgot to review it, but it is excellent and worth the price of admission alone.

Tomorrowland Roundtable Review

TOMORROWLAND (8 of 10) – Directed by Brad Bird; Written by Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird; Starring: George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Robinson; Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language, in wide release May 22, 2015.

Originally posted on BigShinyRobot.com by Adam and Andy.

Disney’s and Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland is everything you’d expect from Disney and Brad Bird. In a world where cynicism, ironic detachment, and hopelessness pervade everything, it reminds of what it used to be to dream about a shiny future. And it maybe offers a glimmer of hope of how it can be that way again.

The story follows high schooler Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), whose father (Tim McGraw) is a NASA engineer tasked with dismantling the space shuttle launch platform in Cape Canaveral. This is distressing to young Casey for numerous reasons, the biggest of which is it seems like we’ve given up on our aspirations for a better future and resigned ourselves to a future ravaged by climate change, nuclear terrorism, and dystopian politics.

Casey, by touching a Tomorrowland pin, is given a glimpse into this beautiful city of the future. With our world in peril, Casey must join together with a former boy genius Frank Walker (George Clooney) to get back there and prevent impending doom.

As big of a movie as this is, we assembled our robot roundtable to break it down as only we can:

Citizen-bot: I saw this movie as everyone should: with my 10 year old. This film’s message of hope and dreams and imagination hit her just as hard as it did my 10 year old inner self.

Swank-mo-tron: I too came with my kids and I think my enjoyment of the film was better for it. It was a homerun for them and they’ve asked to see it again already. For me, I found the film to have a couple of slight flaws in the structure and logic of the film, but the good far outweighed my complaints about these things. In fact, this film, in a sea of dystopian stories for the last 20 years was nothing short of refreshing. And more than that, it pressed all of my Disney-nerd buttons. It felt like Brad Bird was channeling Walt Disney by way of the Steven Spielberg that made films like E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Citizen-bot: I definitely got the Spielberg/Disney mashup vibe. It also reminded me of another great kids sci-fi movie I loved about sci-fi and the power of (literally) following your dreams: Joe Dante’s Explorers starring a very young Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix.

Adam: The one thing I’m really glad I did was go into this movie almost completely blind. The only exposure I had was the first trailer, so I didn’t go in with any expectations of what to expect, and I would highly recommend everyone who can approach it that way, do so. Some of the people I talked to after the screening were disappointed because they wanted to see an action, sci-fi, summer movie, and while there are some really cool and well-shot action moments, this movie is all about the small, intimate moments between the characters and their personal growth. And that’s why it worked for me. Lots of explosions, car chases and battle scenes would have ruined it for me, so I’m glad they were used sparingly. In fact, their inclusion in the third act was the weakest moment overall.

Swank-mo-tron: For me, I was astounded by how well Raffey Cassidy carried her parts of the film. She’s a very young actress and she has to carry her own against George Clooney and she gets all the best scenes and moments of the film. She’s the real break-out here. And her scene in the memorabilia store is the one my kids were talking about the most when we left the theatre. She’s a great character and her story was fascinating, even though we never quite got enough of it.

Adam: Without a doubt she was the best part of the movie. Her presence commanded your attention every moment she was on screen, and it have that much poise and gravitas at such a young age is astounding. The last time I saw an actress accomplish the same feat was Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit, and I really hope that Raffey Cassidy continues to do such amazing work.

Citizen-bot: The comparison to Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit is totally apt. She’s amazing. There’s so much I want to discuss about her but can’t without major spoilers. She’s amazing. That’s it.

And that scene in the memorabilia store. BEST part of the movie, great cameos by Keegan Michael Key and Kathryn Hahn and soooooo many easter eggs. Keep your eyes peeled.

Swank-mo-tron: More than anything, I love the message of this film. That the end of the world is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It has a hope and optimism that was refreshing to see. It was a summer blockbuster of ideas rather than explosions and set pieces, though it has those, too.

Adam: Exactly! “Hope” permeated the film and left me optimistic about the world around me. Humanity hasn’t passed the point of no return. We are close, but even if just one person will believe and do something to change the world, they can accomplish that. Believe you can make a difference, and you will. That said, they did get a bit preachy and heavy handed with their message, and it really didn’t need to be beaten into us again and again.

Citizen-Bot: No cynic ever built anything of value. In 2015, it’s easy to be cynical. But the people that are name-checked or alluded to in this film: Tesla, Eiffel, HG Wells, Edison, Walt frickin’ Disney — despite their flaws, they made something. They tried to get people to hope for something better. I think Brad Bird does the same.