‘Toy Story 2’ Review: One of the Greatest Animated Sequels Ever Made

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The first Toy Story film introduced us to a new perception of a world that we already saw as familiar, but with that ground having been gotten out of the way a return to the same characters four years later in Toy Story 2 introduces yet another philosophy to come forward in regards to what one’s purpose truly is to make others feel happy. But even as the animation itself has improved thanks to years of practice clearly having given the film a more refined look, Toy Story 2 also shows itself to be a sequel with more ambition to explore the meaning of what hanging onto the memories of defining the best moments of one’s childhood can also feel like. And so when talking about the scope of the ambition present in Toy Story 2, there comes a greater emphasis on what soon becomes one of Pixar’s best qualities – for a far more emotionally challenging journey comes around, but still retaining everything that made its predecessor every bit as wonderful. With Pixar’s continued string of success in mind, not only does Toy Story 2 still find itself easily ranking as one of their best films but perhaps one of the greatest animated sequels of all time, let alone one of the best sequels in general ever made.

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‘Beau Travail’ Review: A Celebration of Claire Denis’s Magnificent Work

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In English, “Beau Travail” translates out to “good work,” which is the perfect way to describe what one is to expect from what the characters do in Beau Travail. Claire Denis’s film Beau Travail is one that embraces how it feels to have achieved something that truly happens to be so great, but also the jealousy that would come forth especially from a field that is often touted for being the greatest service to humanity. But Claire Denis makes a different sort of film about the military, one that many others wouldn’t ever manage to come close to creating because it’s an angle that often seems to be unfamiliar to films with similar subject matter. If there’s anything else to be said, it’s also what makes the work of Claire Denis every bit as hypnotic as it is, for you’re sitting there watching her strip down masculinity to its bare bones in order to make one of the best films about repressed emotions and their effect on the human condition. It’s a film that’s so beautiful for its own nakedness, but among the many hypnotic qualities that Beau Travail carries they neither stop nor end there.

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‘Ratcatcher’ Review: Lynne Ramsay’s Debut is an Unflinching Recollection of Trauma

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Lynne Ramsay’s directorial debut film is an unflinching portrait of life in Scotland, perhaps best described as a film that doesn’t ever hold back in its gritty portrait of childhood in Glasgow. But it also doesn’t ever feel like the sort of film that any other filmmaker could ever have made to the same impact on what was only their first try behind the camera, as if I couldn’t have any more reason to admire what it was that Lynne Ramsay managed to create here. Over the years, Ramsay has shown herself to be one among the most distinctive voices behind the camera in recent memory but all of that had to start somewhere and when talking about Ratcatcher, it also gives oneself an idea of what more was to come in the future. This isn’t any ordinary coming-of-age film, it’s a film all about the economy of the time period and it’s made even more haunting by the very means in which Ramsay captures the misery and suffering that made life as she recognized it the way in which it is. Driving upon the styles that were set forward by the kitchen sink dramas of the 1960’s, yet also with a dash of surrealism, Lynne Ramsay’s Ratcatcher is a film all about a generation defined by its own messiness.

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The Matrix Review: How the Wachowskis’ 1999 Science Fiction Film Continues to Inspire Generations to Come

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In spite of wearing its own influences on its sleeve and many countless imitators that have followed, the Wachowskis’ The Matrix is truly a film of its own kind – one that has went on to define its own era and not without good reason. Blending the cyberpunk aesthetic with Hong Kong-inspired action set pieces, what the Wachowskis have managed to create was no ordinary action film but a film that stretches even beyond the set expectations for the genre. Yet its long-lasting appeal doesn’t ever feel limited, and it’s easy to see why because the Wachowskis also became a household name ever since this. It’s a film that bridges the gap between blockbuster cinema and philosophical cinema, from its weighty thematic content to the stunning action choreography and in the twenty years that have followed ever since it has only ever remained talked about in extensive detail. To take Morpheus’s own words, “The Matrix is everywhere” and for all I know its influence will only continue spreading because it still finds a way into the changing cultural landscape as if there were truly any other sign that the film has only aged like fine wine.

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Magnolia, a San Fernando Epic About The Search for Redemption Through Mere Coincidences: A Review

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The consistency of a filmmaker like Paul Thomas Anderson is enough to place him among the very best American auteurs working today, for his sophomore feature Boogie Nights he has only ever managed to turn out hit after hit at a rate that’s near indescribable. But determining a favourite film of such an impressive body of work can already be enough of a challenge for many, although for me I feel like it would be easy enough to admit that my answer whenever I’m asked what my favourite Paul Thomas Anderson film is none other than his third feature, Magnolia. While all of his films have their many distinguishable qualities, something about Magnolia has a specific potency to it that I think many of his later films never lived up to. That having been said, I can’t help but admit that this film was a turning point for my own love of film, with it being my all-time favourite film for a period of time while I was in high school. Even today, I can’t help but hold the film in such high regard, because I feel like there’s so much about Magnolia that also feels so fully realized for a young filmmaker like Anderson, because every time I come back to this film I keep thinking to myself I’d never be able to make anything of this sort at any point of my life.

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Sofia Coppola and How Male Obsession Amplifies Female Pain in The Virgin Suicides: A Review

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Sofia Coppola’s directorial debut The Virgin Suicides is a teen film with a dreamlike quality that is so rare for the genre, but it is within this quality alone where you have a directorial debut so fully realized it’s difficult to even believe that it was a first feature. Though to talk about what it is that this movie manages to accomplish as a teen drama, everything starts from the way in which it is structured – for it plays out like a fantasy in order to emphasize one’s perspective that understands circumstances like a mystery. In telling the story of the suicides of the Lisbon sisters, who have been loved by a group of teenage boys for obvious reasons, there is yet another dimension to this story that only a director like Sofia Coppola can bring to the table that would also make this one of the best teen films of the 90’s, let alone ever. As Sofia Coppola frames this as a story about teenage obsessions and how they affect the way we grow, what she also shows us in The Virgin Suicides is a darker side of growing up that is so often misunderstood by the images that have been set inside one’s head.

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Man on the Moon – Review

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“Man on the Moon” has always been one of my favourite songs from R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People, because it was as beautiful a tribute to Andy Kaufman as one can create. It was only fitting that when Milos Forman were to direct a film based on Kaufman’s life, he wouldn’t only take the title from the R.E.M. song but he’d also have them score the film. And to play Andy Kaufman himself, he’d cast a comedic actor who’s already odd in his own ways, Jim Carrey. But as I’ve never known so much about Andy Kaufman prior to watching Man on the Moon for my first time as a younger kid who would look up to Jim Carrey’s comic persona, only to find myself appreciating the man all the more after looking into his performances and my appreciation for Man on the Moon had only grown stronger. And it still remains a side to Jim Carrey that I wish was more common.

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Being John Malkovich – Review

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As human beings, we all carry some sort of fascination with celebrity culture and it’s natural to wonder what the sort of lifestyle must be like. If any film managed to sum up what it’s like to carry that sort of fascination to the point we end up living it, then Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich would be the first film I point to. The bizarre concept to which it carries is already one factor as to why it stands out on its very own, but even more impressive comes from how it was the feature film debut of director Spike Jonze, who had directed many music videos prior, and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. But knowing how such films are outright impossible to repeat in this day and age, it’s among more reason I still find myself in awe of a film like Being John Malkovich, for it goes beyond its own quirks to become one of the very best films of its time, let alone one of the best debut efforts of all time.

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Election – Review

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There’s already something up the moment in which a high school comedy manages to become a dead-on accurate picture of the flaws within the voting system in American politics – something which Alexander Payne’s Election was already aware of. I remember having seen this for my first time back in my early years of high school and while I found it entertaining, it wasn’t until a recent revisit that opened myself up to how it also presented so much more than something entertaining on the surface – it was also much darker and more cynical than I remembered it having been. I have to admit though, it was fun watching it after the presidential election, but to talk about it afterwards it’s suddenly not as fun as we thought. The fact that even a high school comedy film’s campaigning system seems to be better working compared to the federal election only shows a bad sign for the future.

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The Insider – Review

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An on-the-spot impression left from Michael Mann’s The Insider doesn’t leave it out to be my favourite of Mann’s films (he’s done many which I find to be quite superior) but knowing what Mann is an expert with, it is still a strong footing from the great filmmaker. While it definitely contains touches that would indicate weaknesses that are strange coming from Michael Mann, there are many elements to The Insider indicative of strength, for what he leaves behind is a truly riveting piece of work as can always be expected from the great filmmaker’s very best work. It flops a little bit then and there, but it’s strong enough to warrant a watch or two. Continue reading →