I have to say this is the most interested I’ve ever been in one of Disney’s non-Pixar CG products. Mix “Toy Story” with a bit of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” in a video game world? Those are some strong influences to draw on. In fact, I have to say this looks like the most Pixar-ish non-Pixar Disney movie ever. If that makes sense.
Anyway, the story is intriguing, the voice talent on hand (John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman) is superb, and I’m already enjoying the cameos from real-life video game characters like Bowser, the Pacman ghost, Q-bert, Dr. Robotnik, etc. Along with “Brave” and “Frankenweenie,” it’s looking like a good year for the House of Mouse.
And now for something completely different.
The first trailer for Tarantino’s latest is more light-hearted than I was expecting, considering the high-spirited music and quite a bit of comic relief thrown in amongst the expected amounts of copious gunplay and bloodshed. But then again, Tarantino’s filmmaking is nothing if not energetic, even when he’s being serious (which, let’s be honest, is essentially never) – it’s what adds such great tension to certain scenes in “Inglourious Basterds” and “Reservoir Dogs.” It’s difficult to say if, after the Academy’s blessing of “Basterds,” Tarantino will be a regular awards-season player now, or whether he’ll just go back to making flashy “Kill Bill” style genre pieces – but however this plays out, it sure looks like everyone involved in “Django Unchained” is having a whole mess of fun. DiCaprio is clearly enjoying himself as the villainous plantation owner (he’s set to have a hell of a Christmas, with “The Great Gatsby” opening at the same time), Christoph Waltz must relish having Tarantino dialogue to work with again after mostly flopping in his other post-“Basterds” endeavors, and cinematographer Robert Richardson has the green light to come up with as many gorgeous, striking compositions as possible. After the Coen Brothers made a surprisingly non-ironic genre piece with “True Grit,” I’ll be happy to see Tarantino take on the Western with his tongue firmly wedged into his cheek.
Robert Zemeckis has, I presume, been unofficially banned by the studios from ever trying to make an animated film again. And I think we can all get on board with that, particularly if it means a quality genre flick starring Denzel. Can “Flight” be anything more than that? Some early reports say that the film is not actually quite as breezy as the Rolling Stones soundtrack here might imply. It’s been a while since Denzel had a really good dramatic vehicle for him to strut his stuff – could he finally make his way to his first Oscar nomination since he won for “Training Day?” It might require some prestige fare to fall flat, but a great performance can raise an otherwise forgettable drama to new heights (see, um “Training Day”).