Whether you grew up with 101 Dalmatians or discovered the film in your childhood (like I did) or you hope to revisit it with your children as an adult, Disney’s diamond edition of the 1961 animated classic will make a great addition to your movie collection.
Although originally written in the ’70s, the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day was made into a movie in 2014, followed by its Blu-ray/digital release this year.
In all honestly, I was a bit upset that the filmmakers made a movie out of one of my most cherished childhood books after seeing a god-awful-looking promo, but the film wasn’t as tragic as its trailer led me to believe and is actually a somewhat funny family film.
Before reading on, just know that you don’t have to be a fan of classical ballet to appreciate Jody Lee Lipes' documentary Ballet 422, which premiered at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and also played at the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival.
Yes, there’s the obligatory opening sequence that zooms closely in on the dancers’ – ahem – well worn feet and quite a bit of ballet jargon that quite honestly went over my head, but for the most part, this 75-minute documentary offers a unique glimpse into the lives of the professionals behind the curtain of The New York City Ballet.
Across the Sea follows Damla (Damla Sönmez) and her American husband, Kevin (Jacob Fishel), as they visit Damla’s family home in Turkey, a beautiful seaside paradise where everyone seems to know everyone else, where small fishing boats bob in the shallow waters and children squeal with joy along the water line, and where there is a dark secret yet to be revealed to its inhabitants.
I must say I was underwhelmed by the latest chapter in The Hunger Games film saga, Mockingjay Part 1, which catches back up with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) after a major event occurs in the narrative's last installment, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
A fan of the books, I eagerly awaited the all three movie versions and was flush with joy and relief upon seeing the visual treatment of the film adaptations for books one and two. Whereas my mind’s eye could imagine only so much of the eerie juxtaposition between the subjugated districts and the ruthless Capitol, the films stepped in (and stepped up) to satisfy. Seeing the bleak conditions of Katniss’ coal-covered world of District 12 next to the Capitol’s over-the-top, opulent monuments filled with its apathy-ridden, ridiculously dressed residents was just what this reader needed.
Unlike other Star Wars spoofs, such as Spaceballs and the Family Guy parodies, Disney takes on the famous franchise with its cartoon stars Phineas and Ferb in starring roles alongside animated versions of Luke, Leia and Han Solo, instead of just embodying them.
DisneyToons Studio’s Planes: Fire & Rescue is a sequel to last year’s animated feature Planes. The film picks up not long after Planes ends — with Dusty Crophopper, a lowly crop-duster airplane, winning the Wings Across the Globe race, a mighty feet considering that (according to Dusty’s critics) his type of aircraft can’t compete with more elite flying machines.
The Boxtrolls, the third stop-motion film by Laika Entertainment, following 2009’s Coraline and 2012’s ParaNorman, is a story about a family of tiny, curious creatures and their adopted human boy. The boxtrolls live underground in a wonderland-like hive among their gadgets, widgets and gizmos that they have built from the trinkets and trash they’ve collected from the human town of Cheesebridge.
After my editor handed me a copy of the Blu-ray for Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart, I popped it in the player and settled in for what I thought would be a heartwarming, animated tale of who-knows-what. Frankly, it didn’t matter; animated movies get me every time. But that aside, this is a release from Shout! Factory, which is known for its high-quality releases and is the parent company of the Film Pulse darling, Scream Factory.
I was already sold on Disneynature's Bears when the trailer featuring Phillip Phillips' song "Home" offered up a heartwarming overlay to the captivating shots of grizzly bears frolicking in the wild.
But from the moment I popped in the Blu-ray and hit 'play,' I was immediately reminded how impressive these studio documentaries truly are. Every scene was so perfectly framed; one could easily do a screen grab at any time, hit print, and produce a beautiful still image suitable for hanging on a wall.
Okay, I admit. I rarely will turn town a "dance movie." Perhaps it's like romantic comedies for the lovelorn, shoot-em-ups for the trigger happy or car movies for the speed freaks; there's just something about seeing the craft up on the silver screen (timed to expertly selected music and sound effects) that can highlight the form in a way really no other medium can.
But I can also admit that, with a few exceptions, dance movies are never really that good. If you know going into the theater that you're only there for the dancing - and the dancing alone - you will probably enjoy these films. In fact, if you're still reading this review, you will probably see Step Up: All In anyway.