REVIEW: PIXAR SHORTS – SMALL FRY

 

CAST

Tom Hanks (Catch Me If You Can)
Tim Allen (Galaxy Quest)
Joan Cusack (Adam Family Values)
Don Rickles (quest for Camelot)
Estelle Harris (Brother Bear)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
John Ratzenberger (Cheers)
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Jodi Benson (Flubber)
Emily Hahn (Wreck-It-Ralph)
Lori Alan (Family Guy)
Timothy Dalton (Chuck)
Jane Lynch (Glee)

Small Fry (2011)At fast food chicken restaurant Poultry Palace, Bonnie receives a Zurg belt buckle as her kids meal toy, much to her dismay, due to the restaurant running out of Mini-Buzz Lightyear toys. In a nearby display cabinet, a Mini-Buzz Lightyear complains they will never be played with to a Mini-Zurg, who prefers to stay. After eating, Bonnie goes to play in the ball pit with Rex and Buzz Lightyear, whom she brought along. Seizing a chance to be played with, Mini-Buzz climbs into the ball pit and knocks out Buzz, taking his place when Bonnie’s mother packs them in her bag. Mini-Buzz successfully fools Rex into thinking he is the real Buzz and that he was shrunk by the plastic in the ball pit, though when they return home, the other toys instantly realize he is an imposter.Small Fry (2011)Meanwhile, Buzz wakes up at the restaurant whilst it is closed and tries to escape. Whilst doing so, he falls through a gap in the air vents and into a storage room where a support group for abandoned fast food toys is being held, lead by Queen Neptuna. The support group think Buzz is another victim of abandonment and he is forced to take part in the meeting. During a reenactment therapy session, Buzz meets Gary Grappling Hook, a member of the group, and uses him to escape.Small Fry (2011)Back at Bonnie’s house, the other toys demand Mini-Buzz to reveal Buzz’s whereabouts, and then begin devising a plan to break into Poultry Palace and save him. However, Buzz soon finds his way home and returns, confronting Mini-Buzz about his behavior. Mini-Buzz is then seen at the support group opening up to the others, with Buzz now accompanying him as his sponsor. In a post-credits scene, Mini-Zurg is left with the electronic belt buckle as his sole companion much to his delight.Small Fry (2011)Small Fry is a fun and enjoyable short and a must see for all Toy Story fans.

 

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REVIEW: PIXAR SHORTS – HAWAIIAN VACATION

CAST

Tom Hanks (Catch Me If You Can)
Tim Allen (Galaxy Quest)
Joan Cusack (Adam Family Values)
Don Rickles (quest for Camelot)
Estelle Harris (Brother Bear)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
John Ratzenberger (Cheers)
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Jodi Benson (Flubber)
Emily Hahn (Wreck-It-Ralph)
Lori Alan (Family Guy)
Timothy Dalton (Chuck)
Kristen Schaal (30 Rock)
Bonnie Hunt (Jumanji)

Mr. Potato in Hawaiian Vacation (2011)A year later after the events from Toy Story 3, it is winter break for Bonnie, who is going on vacation to Hawaii with her family. The toys are excited to have a week of relaxation, but Barbie and Ken reveal themselves to have stowed away in Bonnie’s backpack, hoping to join her in Hawaii. Bonnie leaves them in her room, however, much to Ken’s horror and disappointment when he realizes they are not going to Hawaii. Barbie reveals to Woody that Ken planned to have their first kiss on a beach at sunset (based on a travel brochure), inspiring Woody, Buzz, and the rest of Bonnie’s toys to go all out and recreate Hawaii for the two. After various adventures in “Hawaii”, Ken and Barbie share their first kiss in the snow at sunrise, recreating the scene from the brochure. However, the two step off the edge of the porch without realizing it and end up buried in snow. In a post-credits scene, the other toys are trying to free them from a block of ice in which they are now frozen.Hawaiian Vacation (2011)It’s all quite cute and oddly romantic. Well worth seeing and like the other Toy Story films, great for kids and parents alike.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

 

CAST
Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception)
Tom Hanks (The Bonfire of The Vanities)
Christopher Walken (The prophecy)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Nathalie Baye (Tell No One)
Amy Adams (Batman v Superman)
James Brolin (The Amityville Horror)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Thomas Kopache (Stigmata)
Sarah Lancaster (Chuck)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Jaime Ray Newman (Bates Motel)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Jessica Collins (Tru Calling)
In 1963, teen-aged Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) lives in New Rochelle, New York with his father Frank Abagnale, Sr. (Christopher Walken), and French mother Paula (Nathalie Baye). When Frank Sr. is denied a business loan at Chase Manhattan Bank due to unknown difficulties with the IRS, the family is forced to move from their large home to a small apartment. Paula carries on an affair with Jack (James Brolin), a friend of her husband. Meanwhile, Frank poses as a substitute teacher in his French class. Frank’s parents file for divorce, and Frank runs away. When he runs out of money, he begins relying on confidence scams to get by. Soon, Frank’s cons increase and he even impersonates an airline pilot. He forges Pan Am payroll checks and succeeds in stealing over $2.8 million.
Meanwhile, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), an FBI bank fraud agent, begins tracking Frank. Carl and Frank meet at a hotel, where Frank convinces Carl his name is Barry Allen of the Secret Service, and that he was also after the fraud. Frank leaves, Carl angrily realizing a minute too late that he has been fooled. Later, at Christmas, Carl is still at work when Frank calls him, attempting to apologize for duping Carl. Carl rejects his apology and tells him he will soon be caught, but laughs when he realizes Frank actually called him because he has no one else to talk to. Frank hangs up, and Carl continues to investigate, suddenly realizing (thanks to a waiter) that the name “Barry Allen” is from the Flash comic books and that Frank is actually a teenager.
Frank, meanwhile, has expanded his con to include the identities of a doctor and lawyer. While playing Dr. Frank Conners, he falls in love with Brenda (Amy Adams). While asking her father’s permission to marry her, he admits the truth about himself and asks for help with the Louisiana State Bar exam. Carl tracks him to his engagement party and Frank is able to sneak out a bedroom window minutes before Carl bursts in. Before leaving, Frank makes Brenda promise to meet him in Miami two days later so they can elope. Frank sees her waiting for him two days later, but also notices plainclothes agents waiting to arrest him, realizing he has been set up and escapes on a flight to Europe.
Seven months later, Carl shows his boss that Frank has been forging checks all over western Europe and asks permission to go to Europe to look for him. When his boss refuses, Carl brings Frank’s checks to printing professionals who claim that the checks were printed in France. From an interview with Frank’s mother, Carl remembers that she was actually born in Montrichard, France. He goes there and locates Frank, and tells him that the French police will kill him if he does not go with Carl quietly. Frank assumes he is lying at first, but Carl promises Frank he would never lie to him, and Carl takes him outside, where the French police escort him to prison.
The scene then flashes forward to a plane returning Frank home from prison, where Carl informs him that his father has died. Grief-stricken, Frank escapes from the plane and goes back to his old house, where he finds his mother with the man she left his father for, as well as a girl who Frank realizes is his half-sister. Frank gives himself up and is sentenced to 12 years in prison, getting visits from time to time from Carl. When Frank points out how one of the checks Carl is carrying as evidence is fake, Carl convinces the FBI to offer Frank a deal by which he can live out the remainder of his sentence working for the bank fraud department of the FBI, which Frank accepts. While working at the FBI, Frank misses the thrill of the chase and even attempts to fly as an airline pilot again. He is cornered by Carl, who insists that Frank will return to the FBI job since no one is chasing him. On the following Monday, Carl is nervous that Frank has not yet arrived at work. However, Frank eventually arrives and they discuss their next case. The ending credits reveal that Frank has been happily married for 26 years, has three sons, lives in the Midwest, is still good friends with Carl, has caught some of the world’s most elusive money forgers, and earns millions of dollars each year because of his work creating unforgeable checks.
Stephen Spielberg does an outstanding job of orchestrating this wildly unpredictable film.  He’s able to expose the heart of the story with ease in this film, not cheating us out of anything at any point during the entire movie.This is a very well-made movie with top notch performances that definitely deserve recognition.

 

REVIEW: A HOLOGRAM FOR A KING

CAST

Tom Hanks (Sully)
Alexander Black (Berlin, I Love You)
Sarita Choudhury (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay)
Sidse Babett Knudsen (Westworld)
Ben Whishaw (Paddington)
Tom Skerritt (alien)
Tracey Fairaway (Enough Said)

“Do you ever feel you might have done it differently?” is the question that Tom Hanks’ character asks himself again and again in A Hologram For The King (adapted from Dave Eggers’ bestselling novel.) Alan Clay is a middle-aged, middle-class American businessman whose life is dribbling away from him. He has split up from his wife. He can no longer afford to pay his daughter’s college fees. There’s a lump on his back that may be cancerous. A last chance to save his career comes in the form of a trip to Saudi Arabia, where he is to pitch a potentially lucrative IT project involving holograms to the king.This is a very strange film, perched between whimsy and despair. German writer-director Tom Tykwer is very good at capturing the sense of ennui and pointlessness that his protagonist feels as he wrestles with the metaphysical meaninglessness of existence. Hanks is often cast as the dependable American everyman type. Here, he shows a darker, more anxious side to that character. It is one of his richest recent performances. Bonhomie, optimism and wisecracking can only get Clay so far. His cheerfulness becomes harder and harder to maintain. Tykwer is also sharp in his observations of the Middle East and its relations with westerners. There are many carpetbaggers looking to redeem their lives and make their fortunes in the desert kingdoms. Instead, what they find is the emptiness at the core of their own lives. For Clay, nothing seems very real or meaningful at all.It seems crazy, though, for Tykwer to treat such downbeat material as the stuff of screwball comedy. The bleaker Clay’s predicament, the lighter and more facetious the storytelling becomes. The director isn’t above a certain self-conscious, post-modern jokiness. The opening sequence, in which we see Clay miming away to Talking Heads’ Once In A Lifetime as if he is trapped in a 1980s pop promo, is especially bizarre.As Clay and his younger colleagues wait in the desert for a meeting with the king, he is frequently on the verge of humiliation. When he tries to have sex with a Danish woman, he can’t manage it. When he jokes about being a member of the CIA, he risks being lynched. At first, he just isn’t able to decode the world around him. Even the behaviour (and musical tastes) off his genial driver Youssef (Alexander Black) perplexes him. The themes here are similar to those in Anomalisa, the brilliant recent animated feature by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson that also looks at middle aged angst. The difference is that A Hologram For The King has a redemptive, comic undertow. If nothing is real or meaningful, then that means nothing needs to be taken too seriously. Instead of despair, there’s always romance and scuba diving.

REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS MOVIE

CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner  (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Russi Taylor (Babe)
Albert Brooks (Drive)
Marcia Wallace (Full House)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Tom Hanks (Sully)

While performing on Lake Springfield, music group Green Day perishes when the lake’s pollution dissolves their barge, following an audience revolt after frontman Billie Joe Armstrong proposes an environmental discussion. At their memorial, Grampa Simpson foresees the destruction of the town, but only Marge takes this seriously. Later that day, Homer dares his son Bart to skateboard naked to Krusty Burger and Bart is arrested by Chief Wiggum. Bart considers their neighbor Ned Flanders a better father figure after Homer refuses to take responsibility for the incident. Lisa and a new Irish friend named Colin convince the entire town to clean their lake.Meanwhile, Homer adopts a pig from Krusty Burger and names it “Spider Pig” (later “Harry Plopper”, and simply “Plopper”), and stores the pig’s feces (and some of his own) in a silo, until Marge tells him to safely dispose of the waste. Homer initially intends to take his silo to the waste management plant, but after Lenny calls to tell him that Lard Lad Donuts has been shut down due to health violations and is giving away free donuts, Homer impatiently dumps the silo straight into the lake, polluting it much worse than before. Moments later, a squirrel jumps into the lake and becomes severely mutated; Flanders and Bart (who bond after Homer humiliates Bart) discover the creature before the EPA captures it. Russ Cargill, head of the EPA, presents five “unthinkable” options to U.S. President Arnold Schwarzenegger to keep the town’s pollution contained. The slow-witted president picks option 3 without reading it, and Springfield is enclosed in a large glass dome. When the police discover Homer’s silo in the lake, and his responsibility for sealing Springfield in the dome, the townspeople of Springfield except for the Flanders family form an angry mob and advance on the Simpsons’ home to kill Homer, but the family escapes the town through a sinkhole, which then destroys their house. With the EPA on their trail, the Simpsons flee to Alaska. On the way, Homer tries to make some money at a carnival by riding a motorcycle around the inside of a metal cage.After three months of futile escape attempts, Springfield’s residents finally make a crack in the dome; pointing out the damage, Cargill manipulates Schwarzenegger into ordering the town’s destruction. In Alaska, the Simpsons see an advertisement starring Tom Hanks for a new Grand Canyon on the site of Springfield; realizing the town is endangered, Marge and the children want to go back to save it, but Homer refuses to help the people who tried to kill him. After failing to talk Homer into it, his family eventually leave him for good. Alone, Homer is stranded on an iceberg and floats away. Meanwhile, Marge and the children are captured by the EPA after a conversation of theirs is overheard by the NSA. After a mysterious Inuit shaman saves him from a polar bear, Homer has an epiphany and decides to return to Springfield to save the town from danger.As Homer arrives, a helicopter lowers a small but powerful bomb down a rope through a hole in the dome. While Homer climbs to the top of the dome, the townspeople attempt to climb the rope to escape through the still-opened hole, but Homer slides down the rope and knocks them off along with the bomb. After reconciling with Bart, Homer drives a motorcycle along the dome, inspired by the earlier carnival attraction. As a passenger of the motorcycle, Bart throws the bomb through the hole; seconds later it detonates, shattering the dome and freeing the town. Cargill arrives personally and prepares to shoot Homer with a shotgun, but Maggie knocks him unconscious with a boulder. The town finally praises and forgives Homer, who rides into the sun rise with Marge and Maggie, whereupon the townspeople restore Springfield to normal. As a symbol of their gratitude, the Simpsons and their friends begin to rebuild the family’s house.It definitely rewards long-time fans, but it is a great movie even for those who don’t watch the Simpsons. CGI only adds to the excellent drawings, and it is very cool to see them on the big screen!

REVIEW: SULLY

CAST

Tom Hanks (Catch Me If You Can)
Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight)
Laura Linney (TMNT: Out of The Shadows)
Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)
Autumn Reeser (The OC)
Ann Cusack (What Planet Are You From)
Holt McCallany (The Losers)
Mike O’Malley (Leatherheads)
Jamey Sheridan (Arrow)
Jerry Ferrara (Battleship)
Molly Hagan (Election)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Jeff Kober (The Hills Have Eyes 2)
Michael Rapaport (The 6th Day)

On January 15, 2009, US Airways pilots Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles board US Airways Flight 1549 from LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Three minutes into the flight, at an approximate altitude of 2,800 feet (approx. 850 m), the Airbus A320 strikes a flock of birds, disabling both engines. Without engine power and judging themselves unable to reach nearby airports (Teterboro Airport being the closest), Sully ditches the aircraft on the Hudson River. The crew and passengers evacuate without casualty. The press and public hail Sullenburger a hero, but the incident leaves him with symptoms of PTSD, and he repeatedly imagines the plane crashing into a building.Sully learns that preliminary data from ACARS suggest that the port engine was still running at idle power. Theoretically, this would have left him with enough power to return to LaGuardia or land at Teterboro. The National Transportation Safety Board claims that several confidential computerized simulations show the plane could have landed safely at either airport without engines. Sully, however, insists that he lost both engines, which left him without sufficient time, speed, or altitude to land safely at any airport.Sully realizes that the Board believes the accident may have been pilot error, which would end his career. He arranges to have the simulations rerun with live pilots, and the results are relayed to the public hearing. Both simulations result in successful landings, one at each airport. Sully argues that they are unrealistic because the pilots knew in advance of the situation they would face and of the suggested emergency action, and were able to practice the scenario several times. The board accepts that in real life the pilots would have taken some time to react and run emergency checks before deciding to divert the plane.The two simulations are rerun and relayed to the hearing, this time allowing a 35-second pause before the plane is diverted. The simulated diversion to LaGuardia ends with the plane landing short of the runway, and to Teterboro with a crash into buildings before the airport. The board announces that analysis of the port engine, now recovered from the river, confirms Sully’s account that it was disabled by the bird strikes. The board concludes that Sullenberger acted correctly in selecting the best of the options available to him, which in the event saved the lives of everyone aboard.In the end this movie is about heroes, not just Sully but everyone involved in the US Airways Flight 1549 water landing. From the well trained flight attendances to the rescue police on the water fairy. Its about the 155 passengers and the their accounts of what happen. It’s about how sometimes we forget how to treat a hero, but true heroes will always shine though, and Eastwood tells the story as real as possible knowing that he has an incredible story here.

REVIEW: ROAD TO PERDITION

CAST

Tom Hanks (The Terminal)
Tyler Hoechin (Supergirl)
Paul Newman (The Hustler)
Jude Law (Spy)
Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Liam Aiken (The Frontier)
Dylan Baker (Changing Lanes)
Ciarán Hinds (The Woman In Black)
Anthony LaPaglia (The Custodian)

In 1931, during the Great Depression, Michael Sullivan, Sr. is an enforcer for Irish mob boss John Rooney in Rock Island, Illinois. Rooney raised the orphan Sullivan and loves him more than his own biological son, Connor. Rooney sends Connor and Sullivan to meet with disgruntled associate Finn McGovern, but Connor shoots McGovern, resulting in Sullivan gunning down McGovern’s men. Sullivan’s twelve-year-old son Michael, Jr. had hidden in his father’s car and witnesses the event. Despite Sullivan swearing his son to secrecy and Rooney pressuring Connor to apologize for the reckless action, Connor murders Sullivan’s wife Annie and younger son Peter. At the same time, he sends Sullivan to an ambush at a speakeasy. Sullivan realizes it’s a set-up, kills two men at the bar, and escapes. He goes to Chicago with his son to seek Al Capone, for work and to discover the location of Connor, who has gone into hiding.Capone’s underboss Frank Nitti rejects Sullivan’s proposals, before informing Rooney of the meeting. Rooney reluctantly allows Nitti to dispatch assassin Harlen Maguire, who is also a crime scene photographer, to kill Sullivan. Maguire tracks him and his son to a roadside diner, but fails to kill Sullivan; realizing Maguire’s intentions, Sullivan escapes through the bathroom and punctures Maguire’s car tire before fleeing. In reaction to the ordered hit, Sullivan begins robbing banks that hold Capone’s money, hoping to trade it for Connor. Sullivan is impeded when the mob withdraws its money, so he visits Rooney’s accountant Alexander Rance at his hotel. The encounter is a set-up, with Rance stalling Sullivan until Maguire enters with a shotgun. In the ensuing crossfire, Rance is killed, Maguire is injured by flying glass shards, and Sullivan escapes with the ledgers; as Sullivan flees, Maguire shoots him in his left arm.When his father collapses from his wound, Michael Jr. drives his father to a farm, where a childless elderly couple help him recover. Sullivan bonds with his son and discovers from the ledgers that Connor has been embezzling from his father for years, using the names of dead men. As the Sullivans depart, they give the couple much of the stolen money. Sullivan confronts Rooney with the information while they attend Mass. Rooney already knew about the embezzlement and that Connor was likely to die, if not by Sullivan’s hand then by the Chicago Outfit once Rooney dies. He still refuses to give up his son. He encourages Sullivan to leave with his son. Later one night, cloaked by darkness and rain, Sullivan dispatches Rooney’s entire entourage with his Thompson submachine gun and walks directly up to Rooney. As Rooney mutters that he is glad his killer is Sullivan, a reluctant Sullivan pulls the trigger. Seeing no further reason to protect Connor, Nitti reveals his location, after making Sullivan promise to end the feud. Sullivan goes to the hotel where Connor is hiding and kills him.Sullivan drives his son to stay at his Aunt Sara’s beach house in Perdition, a town on the shore of Lake Michigan. However, he is ambushed and shot by a disfigured Maguire. As Maguire prepares to photograph the dying Sullivan, Michael, Jr. appears and points a gun at Maguire but cannot muster the will to fire. Sullivan pulls out his gun and kills Maguire, before dying in his son’s arms. Mourning his father’s death, Michael, Jr. returns to live with the elderly farm couple. Growing up, Michael, Jr. reflects that his father’s only fear was that his son would become like him. Michael states he has never held a gun since the fatal encounter between Maguire and his father. When asked if Sullivan was a good or bad man, he replies “he was my father.”Based on a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins, “Road to Perdition” is a powerful, atmospheric crime thriller that blends “Godfather”-style mayhem with philosophical meditations on the nature of good and evil, and the relationship between sons and their fathers.