Archives for category: Film review

So, what’s with Ethan Hawke doing all these interesting little films lately? It’s really refreshing that he is in full-force and using his talents to bring attention to projects.

Like this biopic of Canadian “folk” artist Maude Lewis.

“Maudie” is written by Sherry White, directed by Ailslish and, along with Ethan Hawke, stars Sally Hawkins (as Maude) and Kari Machette.

I need to disclose a couple of things – first, I know Maude Lewis through her art and stories about her, Maude Lewis is a source of great pride in Eastern Canada and her story is well known to art-loving Canadians. That said, I believe everyone should know a bit about Maude Lewis as I think her her artistic vision is unique and in order to fully understand art, we need all kinds of voices.

If I didn’t know Lewis’s art and story previously, the way this film was marketed would have been deceiving, the trailer I saw seemed to think this was a reluctant love story between Maude Lewis and the man she first worked for, then married. I was shocked because the way I had heard her story was that her husband was a cruel and abusive man and she left him a few times due to his treatment of her. I was ready to question this film based on this characterizing her story as a story of her husband growing to love her rather than a story about her development and success as an artist. Like. When the story of a famous artist is usual made into a movie, the movie focuses on their life, their vision and their – not usually the story of their relationship. (Except in cases where an exploration is the story as in “Surving Piacasso”.)

Happily the love story I was dreading didn’t materialize.

Maude’s artist notierity was the focus of the film, the relationship being treated with importance but not as the central story. The abuse in the relationship was treated seriously but with a light touch, it didn’t dominate the film or interactions but gave enough for us to understand.

Some lovely cinematography but not overwhelming so, Maude Lewis’s physical world was actually quite small and the film managed to show this with seeming claustrophibic and the changing external set reflected Maude’s evolution.

Great film about an artist people should know more about, I absolutely suggest seeing this one.


“What We Do in the Shadows” is directed and written by Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi. Many of the scenes are improvised.

The alternate title to this film could be “Oh Look! We made a film for bex!”

This film is a mockumentary that follows 4 vampires who are flat mates living in New Zealand.

I don’t know what to say – I loved this film. The actors all play the premise very straight and it is obvious that they know a lot about vampire lore and living with other people. The supernatural and mythical vampire attributes are intermingled with the totally mundane (whose turn is it to dishes, according to the chore wheel) to hilarious results. In addition to vampiric powers (and vampiric limits) they don’t have a very good concept of life in the modern world and which has all sorts of strange and funny results (you try figuring out if you are dressed appropriately without a reflection).

The audience that I saw this film with was quick to laugh and understood vampire lore and was totally sucked (sorry, couldn’t resist!) into this romp.

I loved that the movie addressed other supernatural creatures as well, I found the werewolves specifically funny and am still chuckling to myself about some of their lines.

Interestingly, the film has moments of sheer horror, it isn’t all comedic. The tension from these horrific moments increases the humour of the film although they are not funny in themselves. The scenes are brief but shake up the pace of the movie and serve as a real reminder that, funny as they are, the topics of the movie are blood-sucking monsters who come into conflict with other monsters, personalities and humans who have various intents and motivations.

It is a weird little film that runs about an hour and half and is packed with content. Completely satisfying it is one of those movies that shows up, does it’s things and then ends. Bliss.

Highly recommend this film, go out and see it immediately. And let me know what you think.

“Snowpiercer” is directed by Joon-ho Bong, written by Joon-ho Bong (screenplay and screenstory), Kelly Masterson (screenplay), based on “Le Transperceneige” by Jacques Ho, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS – I can’t figure out how write this review without them

I found a review of this movie online somewhere and was amused by the premise – in the not too distant future global warming becomes such a problem that governments of the world decide to artificially cool the earth by seeding the clouds with an untested compound, to horrifying results. The compound creates a world-wide ice age and most living dies. Survivors are loaded on a train that circles the world in the continuous loop, with each loop taking one year. The inhabitants of the train are located on the train according to the wealth they possessed at the time of start of the ice age – those with nothing are on the last car, the designer and engineer of the train is at the front. The story takes place 17 years after the start of the ice age and is the story of an uprising where inhabitants at the end of the train fight their way to the front.

I’m not sure even where to start with the film – the premise is a bit ridiculous but the cast is insane – Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, John Hurt…is it any wonder that I wanted to give this movie a try?

The movie is a great example of the sensibility of Korean film, in turns it is deathly serious, campy funny, extremely bloody and violent, grotesque, jarring, disruptive, disturbing, ridiculous and senseless. The characters unfold as the movie and struggle does and, although none of the characters are likeable, you get caught up in the push for survival and potential for freedom.

One of things that I greatly admires (and was sickened by) was the film’s unflinching look at how humans could behave when faced with the end of humanity. It isn’t pretty. (SPOILER: I will never look at Captain America again after Chris Evans’s incredible monologue about cannibalism).

The violence is bloody and gory. If blood splatters turn your tummy, this film is best avoided.

I found the film riveting and tense. There was no guessing what would happen next and what wonders or dangerous the characters would face next.

There was an excellent balance of beauty and horror, of danger and the sublime, of the serious and the ridiculous. The balance was incredible and because of these contrasts there were some truly funny moments. And some truly terrible ones as well…

If you get the chance – see this film. It is highly entertaining and well worth your time.




“How to Train Your Dragon 2” is an animated film directed by Dean DeBlois written by Dean DeBlois and Cressida Cowell (book series).

So, I’m really behind in posting this review. I got so caught up in enjoying my vacation that I stopped writing about it and the things we were doing.

One of the things that we ended up doing during one of our mega walks was see this movie. My friend hadn’t seen the first one, so he had to deal with my very poor description of what happened in the first movie.

So, yeah, another sequel. Have to tell you that even though I’m not a huge fan of sequels, that I really enjoyed this one, it had everything in the first film – dragons, tension between being true to yourself and responsibilities, interesting relationships, engaging characters and a solid story. There are moments of dreamy happiness, danger, sorrow and self-discovery.

The animation, once again, is solid with a unique style.

This was an excellent way to spend some time and see a great movie.

Not a “must see”, but certainly one t enjoy.

(I’m late on this too…sorry!)

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” is directed by Bryan Singer, screenplay by Simon Kinberg, story by Jane Goldman, Simon Kinberg and Matthew Vaughn (adapted from a story by Chris Claremont and ???).

Finally the X-Men movie that I have waited for – the movie that is dark, moody and just rather…not nice. It isn’t pretty, the characters aren’t happy, they don’t always get along and they struggle with survival.


1.            I followed the X-Men in the 80s and very early 90s, so my tastes for the X-Men reside firmly with Chris Claremont’s story arcs and super-powered mutants as an extended metaphor for racism. These characters struggle with being different and living lives that are vary extremely from the norm. They are subjects of violence, hatred and being outsiders and outcasts – even though they repeatedly save the world and humanity for various threats.

2.            I hated X2, the third X-Men movies and the one Wolverine movie I was forced to see – I hated what was done to the characters and still can’t figure out what happened to Nightcrawler and why the writers and directors seem to hate him so much. What is going on here? Is it a budget thing? Too many all blue people running about (Beast and Mystique are fine, but one more is totally out of the question?!) He just disappeared and we don’t know what happened to him!

Ok, so this movie.

It was dark, it was moody, it had time-travel and a twinned cast and…well, it was really well done. In this film, the sins of X2, the third X-Men and the Wolverine movies were finally FINALLY! Put to rights. The way in which the time travel takes place was a little far-fetched – umm, according to film continuity the character that makes the consciousness-only time travel work can’t exist because her parents were killed – but they did an ok job of it. A little too much Wolverine, it has been proven that this character can’t carry movies on his own so why make him such a pivotal role? But nothing that I couldn’t get past. There are characters that interest me more, but I do like Wolverine, although that may be me just being a patriotic Canadian?

I loved that this film was challenging, it was unflinchingly in facing uncomfortable truths about racism. Although I have to say, that I would have not been bothered by a heavier approach. There were no great speeches or incredible actions and the confrontations were mostly physical and not intellectual. One of my favourite things about the specific arcs in the 80s and early 90s was that there were some pretty deep thoughts to go along with the violence – deaths and injuries were usually counter measured by introspection, sharing lessons, which was mostly lacking in this film.

A word about casting – I don’t have strong feelings about Jennifer Lawrence, but I think she is all wrong for Mystique. I find Jennifer Lawrence charming and charismatic and she is fascinating to watch. I’m just not afraid of her, I don’t get the sense she is dangerous, even when she is kicking someone’s a$$ and being all blue with weird eyes, all I can think is ‘Gee, she is so cute! I could watch her for hours!’ which I’m not sure is the right response to Mystique…

As you no doubt know by now, the must-see scene is with Quicksilver. It is the only scene in the movie that has any humour and lightness. This film is dark – visually and thematically – and this early on scene is the only place where there is any levity. I’m not going to complain it though, it would have been nice to have maybe one lighter scene near the end or as the end, but I understand that there were, no doubt, other considerations.

That said, I found the texture and pacing of the film very well done. I don’t know if I would have liked the film if I wasn’t familiar with the comics, but as someone who is, I liked it immensely.

I think Singer and his colleagues did a wonderful job rehabilitating the franchise and now I can’t wait until the next film!

Nicely done!

(haha, I’m really late posting this…sorry!)

“Godzilla” is directed by Gareth Edwards, screenplay by Max Borenstein and story by Dave Callaham.

The fact it has taken me so long to write this review shouldn’t be seen as disinterest in this movie or as any kind of indication that I didn’t enjoy it. I loved this movie, it is just my life seems to have gotten in the way a bit, so sorry about that…

So, “Godzilla”.

Ok, disclaimers:

1.            I love Godzilla. I’ve been waiting to see this movie from the moment I saw the trailer, I’m a huge fan of the original from 1952 and when I was a kid we (my brother and I) would often catch monster films on TV or our parents would take us down to the ROM where they did children’s programming on the week-ends. Back then, childrens’ programming was showing Japanese monster films on Saturday afternoons in the basement. If this was some sort of tie-in with the dinosaur exhibit I have no idea, but they were great films and it was a great time. This is also how I saw the brilliant NFB short “Bambi meets Godzilla”. Check it out, you will laugh for days. In my case, I’m laughing years and year later.

2.            I gave the 1998 version a pass. At the time I was living with my ex and I read so many horrid reviews that I decided if I wanted to continue to love Godzilla I would have to let it go and give it a pass. I have no regrets about that decision and am convinced that I did the right thing.

3.            I see a lot of movies. Sometimes I think maybe I think too many films. And even though I see so many films, I don’t always keep track of the actors. This sometimes results in very awkward moments. I had a few of these awkward moments during this movie – I honestly couldn’t figure out why John Lennon was suddenly in the US Army and what he had, specifically, against Godzilla. And where did his English accent go anyway? Freaked me out.

4.            I found it weird and hilarious that when we saw this movie there were people lined up to see it – Godzilla will forever remain as a strange movie that strange people love.

5.            We saw it in 2D. I’m done with 3D and I’m just finding films worth the extra “D”.

Ok. Wow. Great movie. Loads of fun, lots of destruction and Godzilla battling and destroying everything. I loved it.

Now the parts I didn’t love…

I could have done with more Bryan Cranston – he was the heart of the movie and the only human that was remotely interesting or sympathetic. I’m not exactly sure why the director and writers thought that the audience feelings would transfer neatly over to the character’s son or similarly minded scientist – they didn’t and there was no reason to assume that they would. Feelings are funny thing, they don’t just latch on to the nearest human. When his characters dies, the human interest dies and we are left with an unsympathetic John Lennon without an English accent to follow on his quest to…actually I’m not sure what he was trying to do, whatever it was it was far less interesting that what Godzilla was doing, that is for sure. Don’t kill off interesting characters before near the end of the film! If you want me to care about humans in giant monster films, which mostly I won’t, then don’t kill them when I’m just starting to like them! Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche were so underused it was almost criminal.

I had to wait 1 hour – ONE HOUR! – before the audience sees Godzilla in his entirety. I loved the glimpses and parts of Godzilla that you saw, but did they ever drag it out! When I want to see a movie about a giant monster fighting and wrecking buildings, I see Godzilla, when I want to see a movie about humans I see…something else.

Not enough Godzilla! I may be alone in this, but I could have done without the humans, the dialogue and any semblance of plot if there was more time spent seeing Godzilla smash things and battle those huge parasites.

But, all in all, a wonderful film. I enjoyed it immensely and if you like destruction and giant monsters, this is a movie for you. Just ignore the humans. And don’t ask why John Lennon is in the US Army, it will just confuse things.

If you did not read the comics “The Amazing Spider-Man” in the 1980s and 1990s, this review may contain spoilers. (And if you didn’t read them, what were you doing?!)

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is directed by Marc Webb, screenplay by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner, screen story by  Alex Kurtzman , Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner and James Vanderbilt, based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

So. Yeah.

I have to tell you that I found this movie kinda…Boring.

Like. I find Spider-Man to be a bit of limited character, the main thing about Spider-Man is that he is a smarter-than-average but mostly ordinary guy, who struggles with his family, friends and other relationships, attending school and finds himself living a vigilante/hero life after a fluke accidental bite from a radioactive spider that fails to give him cancer…

He is charming young man and requires an actor who is likeable – we like Peter Parker because he is mostly average and has problems that we can easily relate to. Luckily for the filmmakers, they have Andrew Garfield, who is charming and likable and physically is perfect for the alter-ego of Spider-Man – long limbs, loose gait and lithe.

The support characters need to be equally charming and likable and in this series, they are! Emma Stone is endlessly charming and lovely in everything she does and here as Gwen Stacey is pretty much more the same – love Emma, love Gwen. And Sally Field – yes, we still really, really like you. We do!

So yeah, the casting of the main characters is pretty much perfect. Actually I found this was true about the first movie in this version of the Spider-Man franchise. Whoever is doing casting for them – thank you so much!

One of the things about Spider-Man, which was once again clear in this movie, is that his rogues (the baddies, the villains) are kinda lame. They are extremely flat and are often just nasty, mean and either out for themselves or seeking to harm people for the fun of it or to do things to correct perceived slights against them. Jamie Foxx is wonderfully over the top, chewing the scenery in his every scene and Dane DeHann is completely dislikable as Harry Osburn/Green Goblin.

Well, the most interesting thing is how our Peter/Spider-Man struggles to balance the different aspects of his life and in the comic the character is at his best when he is either dealing with this personal struggle or when is paired up with another vigilante that contrasts and compares how they deal with leading double lives and unusual powers. (I’m looking at you Wolverine!) This film doesn’t provide this insight and doesn’t give a sense of this struggle becuz it is a visual and auditory story, not a story that is read – the feelings and thoughts of the character are expressed in a different way and loses a sense of this most interesting aspect of the character.

We opted to give 3D a pass this time round the action sequences are classic Spider-Man, but, once again, filmed too close to get a sense of the overall fight and the physicality of the actors. I’m also sick and tired of the “Matrix-like” stop action and slow-mo in fight scenes – isn’t it time to figure out a better way of showing super speed and underlining the danger of a given situation. Very happy we saw it in 2D, the 3D would not have added anything to the film – I didn’t miss being able to reserve seats though…

Even though I found the movie a bit boring, I have to tell you I also thought it was saved by the incredible natural chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone – they are fascinating to watch onscreen together and are believable as a couple (which is good, as they are – at time of writing – a couple). They show how wonderful and challenging this relationship is and do the comic justice with their interpretation of their roles the relationship between them. I have to tell you that, even though I knew it was coming since the first movie, I was upset when Gwen died (the disclaimer was at the top of the page), if only becuz it means that Emma Stone will have a smaller part in the final film of this trilogy (I’m guessing flashbacks.).

Should you see this?

Probably not, there is nothing new going on here and the movie is pretty much the same stuff from the first movie.

But, see it anyway.

I suggest that you do, if only to show your support for how fascinating the casting and chemistry between actors is in this movie.

The thing that I find most upsetting is that, as much we want it, we will never see Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man team up with any of the other teams or “heros” from the Marvel Universe. And for that, we are the biggest losers.

“Jodorowsky’s Dune” is directed byFrank Pavich and features interviews with Alejandro Jodorowsky,Michel Seydoux, H.R. Giger, Chris Foss, Dan O’Bannon (recording) and storyboards by Jean “Moebius” Giraud.

This is it – the best doc of 2014. If you don’t see any other doc this year, this is the one to see. Especially if you love sci-fi. Or the creative process.

Once again, I seem to have returned to docs that have a theme – artists, artistic process and discovery of abandoned or “unfinished” artist projects.

This doc, explores the “failed” film adaptation of the sci-fi classic (which I have not read) “Dune” by Frank Herbert by the surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky and the creative team he put together.

Disclaimer – if you are thinking right now that there was a film adaptation of “Dune” made back in 1984 and it was horrible, you are totally right. That adaptation was by David Lynch, also a surrealist filmmaker, had starred Sting. And everyone hated it.

Totally different adaptations, same source material.

The Director deftly weaves together interviews, audio recordings, film clips from earlier works, storyboards, designs and other visual art to explain the story of how the project was conceived, the artistic goal and the interesting way in which the creative team and cast were assembled. Jodorowsky had the modest goal of changing the way we view films and elevating the collective consciousness of the world through the creation and viewing of this film.

Ok, so I’m being a bit of jerk about his goal, becuz I think of the films that I tend to watch and yes, I make it a point to see a variety of films – except no rom coms or gross out comedies – and mostly, mostly these films are about seeing a story or being entertained. Very few films are about elevating my consciousness.

But. I also have to admit that yes, I want my worldview to be shaken up and challenged and I want my consciousness to be elevated and expanded. But, I usually don’t find films that want to do these things, for these goals I read, look at paintings or photographs, talk to people, visit places of calm or spend time in nature, climb a wall or maybe sit and enjoy the silence and breathe deeply.

Somewhere along the line, film is mostly entertainment and profit and not art. Not these things.

I loved this movie becuz Jodorowsky is explicit in his belief that film is art and he wants his audience to be active in participating, this isn’t passive stuff he is talking about, the audience has to think and be challenged and be active.

This is what I want my art to do.

And at this point, I must pause. I have something of a reputation at work and among my friends as a “film lover” or “film buff” becuz I see a lot of films and I love to tell people about what I’m watching, mostly becuz many people I’m around see films as entertainment. I believe film to be art and I have to see a lot of films to find the ones that I would consider beyond mere entertainment and business and are really art. When I do find a film that is “art” then I’m excited. But mostly, mostly, the films that are accessible are about entertainment, escape and making a profit. And I will go a long way out of my way to see a film that doesn’t have wide release or is about a topic that interests me or catches my eye or someone suggests I see. Or the critics hate…I’m willing to work for my film viewing.

The interviews are incredible.

I had this moment when H.R. Giger appeared and he is just this normal looking-guy, with a bit of scratchy voice and I thought “Wow! This guy is the dude who designed those super scary monsters from Alien.” It was like seeing a hero in person. And to hear him talk about his art and designs and then about hearing a metal band with Jodorowsky was hilarious and wonderful.

The recordings from Dan O’Bannon are pretty incredible too – he is insightful, funny and interesting.

As a subject, Jodorowsky is engaging and human – I loved the way he talked about meeting people, problem-solving and convincing the likes of Salvador Dali, Orson Wells and Mick Jagger to work on the film. His story about Pink Floyd is highly entertaining.

The film uses the storyboard to great effect, showing the drawings, the script, moving in ways that mimic how the shots would have worked in the film.

The coolest about this film is, that is you are someone who loves sci-fi (or has a seen a lot of sci-fi with the sci-fi lover in your life) you know a lot of the creative team. You’ve seen the influences of this project over and over, probably without realizing the roots of the art and design. For example, Giger, for sci-fi lovers, is known for his design of Aliens – but this project was the first time he ever worked on a film and his designs on this film gave him the opportunity to work on Alien with Ridley Scott, the film Prometheus (review by me here) actually uses at least one of the designs originally from this project.

It is a funny, engaging and human look at the artistic process and the process of making a movie. It is an incredibly insightful and thoughtful look into sci-fi as a serious genre and films as art and not just entertainment, escapism or profit.

In this film not being made we lost something, but what we gained by this film not being realized is pretty substantial. We gained so many other films that we love and enjoy and are now considered classics or part of the lexicon.

So treat yourself. See this movie and let the story and art just wash over you. Laugh and be amazed by the stories and feel the pain of a creative process derailed by lack of funds.

And hope that, someday, maybe this film will be made.

Addendum: I used the word “human” a few times in this review. The only explanation that I can offer is that the film made me think of the word “alien” so much that I had to make a distinction between “alien” and “human”…

“Muppets Most Wanted” is directed by James Bobin, written by James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller, based on characters created by Jim Henson.

So, a Muppets sequel.

Hmm. I love The Muppets, so it is hard for me when they miss the mark and when they miss the mark, they do so in spectacular fashion.

The sequel picks up right after the previous movie – it begins with the words “The End” across the screen and then The Muppets break the fourth wall and speculate on why the cameras are still hanging about and realize they are about to do a sequel, during the first musical number “We’re Doing a Sequel”.

Now, I’m a big, big fan of breaking the fourth wall – I love when actors acknowledge that they are being watched, but it is technique you need to use very lightly. In the very first movie, back in 1979 (!), they used this knowledge to read the script! And it was hilarious! They gag worked a couple of times but for the most part, they played it pretty straight ‘cuz there is always wackiness to be found in a Muppet movie and you have to push for the laughs. And in the last movie, they “travelled by map” when they had to go somewhere fast – funny stuff!

Here it was as if these were the best jokes – the Muppets and actors mugged for the camera, but the gag is overused and is pretty tired by the time the story ends. It stops being funny long before the joke ends and still they keep going.

There is also a big problem with the acting, by human actors – Ricky Gervais, Ty Burell, Tina Fey are great and they are two actors that I love to see at work, the problem is, of course that one should never aim to out-wacky The Muppets. I like the moments best when the humans actors play it straight and allow the wackiness to come from the Muppets and not playing for laughs and competing with the Muppets for laughs and wackiness. When I think back on the funniest and most touching moments from Muppet films, they are all when the human actors treat their roles with depth and seriousness which allows the Muppets to do the same – the humour is organic, because the heart is too.

And this is the biggest issue with this film – there doesn’t seem to be a heart. The previous film was a touching, emotionally complex journey which had layers and humour. This film isn’t so finely crafted – it goes for cheap gags where it should have gone for heart – 2 Kermits? – and contrived plot points where organically moving the story forward would have worked more effectively.

And why are they on a European Tour?! This doesn’t make any sense at all – The Muppets is a thoroughly North American franchise and although they have international fame, why send them to places that children may not be able to appreciate or understand? The travelling took away from character development and spending so much time flipping back and forth between locations made for a disjointed tale. The new characters had no need to be European neither did the places. Although I did enjoy the guest star of “Christopher Waltz doing the waltz”…

There were more cameos this time round too – but not necessarily better. Some of them were so fast that you were left wondering “I know that person! Who was that?!” and “That was a bit of a waste.” I think a better way to use cameos would have been to gone with less cameos and made them more meaningful – Lady Gaga pretty much says this in her one-liner.

I really missed the heart, the affection for The Muppets that Jason Segel brought to his movie a few years ago and, even though I’m still really angry at him for “How I Met Your Mother” ended, it would have been lovely to have him pen the next movie – I could have used more heart in this film. The worst moment of the film for me was when a Muppet who wasn’t in the last movie says something along the lines of “In the last movie we introduced this new character even though there are already all these beloved characters that could have been used” and then beckons to another character (my favourite Muppet, in fact!!) and they leave the movie…yeah, I kinda felt like that too.

The music this time around, too, felt less sincere, never mind the whole “We’re Doing A Sequel” there were just far too many duets with humans and Muppets – let the Muppets do their thing! And why anyone thought it was a good idea to have Miss Piggy and Celine Dion do a song together I have no idea – Celine Dion tries to out diva Miss Piggy and let me tell you, when I see a Muppets movie, I’m only interested in the pig diva.

My biggest problem with this film is that they tried to do a crime movie before, “The Great Muppet Caper”, and it was a failure, and again, they allude to heist movies not working in the script, so why they thought they should try another crime movie, I have no idea. For me, I want to see them in simpler stories – saving their theatre, the story of how they got together, doing a variety show night after night, re-telling a version of “Christmas Carol” etc. etc. And I’m far less interested in the human actors too, when I walk into a Muppet movie, give me as many and as much of the Muppets as possible, don’t waste my time with showing me human actors that I can see on other shows or in other movies – humans should be used lightly and should always play it straight.

This film made me want to see “The Muppet Movie” from 1979 and, even more, their version of “The Frog Prince” (which introduced two of my favourite characters – Kermit’s nephew, Robin and Sweetums – to the world), stories with more heart, more laughs and less humans.

I’m afraid I came off as a bit anti-human in this write-up…I have nothing against humans, really. Some of my best friends are human…



“Monsters party Central” is directed by Kelsey Mann, written by Kelsey Mann, this is animated by the good folks at Pixar and takes place (presumably) as part of the “Monsters” story arc.

A few weeks ago, I made the huge mistake of reading about “The Pixar Theory”. Somehow I completely missed out on this theory when it was new – the perils of taking continuing education courses, I guess – so when a friend referred to it in conversation she was pretty surprised that I had never heard of it. So I read all about it.

I have to tell you that it gave me nightmares, kept me awake for a few nights which made for some pretty grumpy days at the office. Luckily for me, I’m a chick, so was able to cover most of the visible damage with make-up.

The biggest problem with knowing “The Pixar Universe Theory” is all the movies now seem far…darker. I’m bothered by observations such as “Oh man! They are doing double time travel to steal that party! This can’t be good!” and “Oh! Sure they are partying it up and meanwhile, in their time, all the humans are dead!” Needless to say, these intrusive thoughts sometimes impact on my enjoyment of the film.

That being said, yep, Pixar does it again – another fun romp. This time, a fun romp before a fun romp. There are no heart-strings tugged no innovations, just some fun gags and killed tag ending after the short’s credits.

That said, I find Pixar is increasingly missing something that I used to love about their films – a difference in story-telling from Disney. Now that Disney owns Pixar, The Muppets and certain Marvel characters, I’m increasingly getting the feeling that my film-watching has been somewhat co-opted, it has been Disney-fied. I don’t have an issue with Disney, but I think there is something to be said for being able to pick and choose between franchises. They have so far done a pretty good job of keeping things separate, but it used to be a matter of pride that you could say “I like Pixar animation and stories better than Disney.” You can’t say that anymore and neither can I, it is the same studio.

On the up-side, I try to balance this Disney experience with seeing other films – docs, indy films, art films – and enjoy the Disney films for what they are when I see them.

So, yeah, fun time, but not incredible or anything. Just another cute film by Disney.