Tag Archive: Brave

Tow big releases face off against “Man of Steel”. Marc Forster’s and Brad Pitt’s troubled zombie film “World War Z” finally hits theaters while Disney/Pixar goes back to the well again with “Monsters University” featuring John Goodman and Billy Crystal. Which film will come out on top?

The Pixar brand has taken a hit lately. After the masterpiece that was “Toy Story 3” we got “Cars 2” and the disappointing “Brave”. Now comes “Monsters University”, a prequel to “Monsters, Inc.” That movie is considered one of Pixar’s better movies. But prequels are inherently unnecessary .We already know Mike and Sully become best friends. And, as I’ve written before, without Boo, I think you take away the catalyst to the first movie’s charm. Reviews have been OK, but not great and with “Despicable Me 2” looming, one has to wonder if this will fail to reach the heights of other Pixar films. Opening weekend, however, should be strong.

Opening weekend: $75-80 million

“World War Z” has had such a troubled past with various rewrites and reshooting the third act. But reviews have been surprisingly decent and the trailers play up the end of the world aspect instead of the zombies. Brad Pitt is a big star, but “Inglourious Basterds” was the last film he was in that opened to more than $20 million, and he was really part of an ensemble. The film should battle it out with “Man of Steel” for second place.

Opening weekend: $45-50 million

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

I wrote something similar last summer before Pixar’s “Brave” came out. Now with “Monsters University”, that idea seems to be cemented. Pixar is no longer the masterful studio producing classic after classic. We saw such original films like “Wall E” and “Up” that not only made us laugh, but made us cry and made us feel. The only time during its peak years it ever went back to sequels was for “Toy Story 2” and “Toy Story 3”, both masterpieces in their own right. Turns out “Toy Story 3” may go down as the last great film Pixar made in its golden age. Since then we’ve gotten the downright bad “Cars 2”, the OK but startling formulaic “Brave” and now “Monsters University”. Don’t get me wrong. I love “Monsters, Inc.” But, according to the early reviews, even the positive ones say this is just mildly funny children entertainment. It’s a good, not great film. Why is that sad? Because once upon a time Pixar pushed the envelope, brining very adult themes into “kids movies” and making both older and younger audiences alike feel real emotions. Now we get essentially “Revenge of the Nerds” with Pixar characters. Gone is that heart that made so many Pixar films so great. Instead, we’re getting college gags. I suppose it could make for somewhat funny scenes. But you know, think about your favorite Pixar movies. It wasn’t about immature jokes and gags. In fact, for many of the films, the humor was secondary. We came for the heart, for the unique stories and memorable characters. And, if you think about it, the best moments from “Monsters, Inc.” came when Boo was involved. You take away Boo, you take away most of the charm from that movie.

For the first time since I’ve been a huge movie fan, I wasn’t excited for this summer’s Pixar release. In fact, I barely realized it was coming out this weekend. That’s a shame. Because once upon a time Pixar was the master of making great films. Looks like Pixar’s fairy tale is over.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Disney has made a ton of money off its princesses from Snow White to Bell. Last summer’s “Brave” from Pixar introduced us to Merida. Now Disney is receiving backlash for changing Merida’s appearance, as one site put it, “sexing up” the character. Now fans and director Brenda Chapman are angry. Here’s what she said:

“I think it is atrocious!!! I’m all the way down in Santiago, Chile at a film festival, and this hits the fan while I am gone! It is outrageous! I’ve signed the petition and given Bob Iger a piece of my mind. Since I am no longer with the company, I’m sure they could care less what I think on the matter. But they have betrayed the essence of what we were trying to do with Merida – give young girls and women a better stronger role model. She’s strong inside and out – she’s not just a simpering pretty face waiting around for romance! She was created to turn that whole ideal on it’s head! – Oh yeah… that’s why I created her… they’re just in it for the money… not the integrity. They don’t care what message they send about women, as long as it makes them a buck.

Yep… that’s what I have to say about it”

Now it should be noted that Chapman was fired from the film, though she still accepted the Oscar for Best Animated film. But you can read the petition at change.org. I have to agree with this petition. The whole point of “Brave” was to turn the princess image on its head a little bit.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

This summer will see the release of two high profile animated films. “Despicable Me 2” sees Steve Carell return to voice Gru, everyone’s favorite bumbling villain. Pixar goes back to the vault again, this time for “Monsters University”, a prequel to “Monsters Inc.” and with Billy Crystal and John Goodman returning to voice Mike and Sully. Which of these films will stand tallest? Here’s my very early preview of the two anticipated films.

Let me start by saying both have great potential to be the biggest letdowns of the summer. “Despicable Me 2” has the advantage of still having the minions and the child characters returning. The question will be whether this will be another installment of the same antics from the first film or can they bring something truly new to the table? Where “Despicable Me 2” has a very big advantage is even if it’s just more of Gru doing pretty much the same things from the first film, it’ll still be funny and still draw in a large audience. “Monsters University” doesn’t have that luxury. A friend pointed this out to me and I went back and watched “Monsters Inc.” and completely agree with him. The first film’s funniest movies had the little girl as the catalyst. What I mean to say is no little girl and that film becomes a lot less funny and endearing. The prequel presumably takes humans out of the equation. So, will Mike and Sully be able to carry this film when they really didn’t carry the first film? I’m worried that they won’t be able to. Pixar’s track record as of late hasn’t been great. That’s not to say films were terrible, but after a string of films like “Wall E”, “Up” and “Toy Story 3”, dealing with “Cars 2” and “Brave” frankly was a huge step down from Pixar’s standards. And I’m not sure that this film will do anything to break that streak.

Of course, “Monsters University” does have the advantage of having a more unique premise. Taking the beloved characters back to college, meaning they can target a whole new brand of humor that we haven’t seen from Pixar. From the looks of “Despicable Me 2”, all we’re getting is Gru vs. another villain once again. So if Pixar’s script is fresh and its ideas new, “Monsters University” does have the much higher upside in terms of creativity.

It’s still way too early to tell if either of these films are going to be a stinker or a classic, but if I had to choose one, I’d choose “Despicable Me 2”. I just worry that Pixar is cutting out what made the first film so funny and won’t have enough creativity to replace it.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Oscars 2013: Best Animated Film

So over the next couple weeks I’ll be predicting some of the bigger categories at this year’s Oscars. From Best Picture to Best Actress, I’ll be taking a stab at this. First up is Best Animated Feature.

This is a very close race this year with the five nominees: “Brave”, “Frankenweenie”, “ParaNorman”, “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” and “Wreck-It Ralph”. Frankly, the only ones I don’t see as serious contenders are Pirates and “ParaNorman”. Pirates

You could make a case for the other three, however. “Brave” won the Golden Globe. And it was close to a return to form for Disney/Pixar after the “Cars 2” debacle. “Wreck-It Ralph” won the Producers Guild of America and the Annies award though, giving that some serious momentum. But don’t count out “Frankenweenie”. It may have underperformed at the box office, but the Oscars love stop-motion (just look at this list of nominees) and they could view this as a way to recognize Tim Burton.

That being said, the Oscars love for stop motion could mean “ParaNorman” could be in for the upset. It’s an outside shot, but the film received great review and did well at the box office. Still, with no major wins, it’s tough to see that winning. And Pirates…I would have much rather seen the stronger “Rise of the Guardians” get into this category.

As for my pick: This is a category I could be very wrong in, but I’m going with “Brave”. Here’s why: Out of the serious contenders, it’s the most original film. I didn’t think it was great, but the presence of a strong female lead probably works in its favor as well. My choice on what should win would be Ralph, but honestly, I think it’s video game subject matter will turn away the older Oscar voters.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

“Argo” once again a big winner

Since being snubbed by the Oscars in the Best Director category, Ben Affleck and the film he directed and starred in, “Ar’go”, is on quite a roll. The film won Best Picture and Best Director at the BAFTA Awards. Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor, Emmanuelle Riva won Best Actress. Christoph Waltz took home Best Supporting Actor while Anne Hathaway took home Best Supporting Actress. “Brave” won Best Animated Film.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

I’ll admit it. Part of me remained very skeptical about “Monsters University”. I mean Disney/Pixar decided to make “Cars 2”. And “Brave” was an OK entry. I was thinking perhaps they’ve lost their golden touch. Here’s the newest trailer and let me tell you, I think Pixar may have regained that magic.

The film presents the plot in a pretty natural way. And it seems very funny and the new characters look to be strong too. Billy Crystal and John Goodman return to voice Mike and Sully.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Golden Globe winners!

In case you missed the Golden Globes telecast, here’s a full list of all the categories and winners. Among the highlights were seeing “Argo” and Ben Affleck get some recognition the Academy denied him and seeing Jennifer Lawrence get her due, given that I get the feeling “Silver Linings Playbook” will be passed over by the Oscars.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
WINNER: “Argo”
» “Django Unchained”
» “Life of Pi”
» “Lincoln”
» “Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
WINNER: “Les Miserables”
» “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
» “Moonrise Kingdom”
» “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
» “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
WINNER: Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
» Richard Gere – “Arbitrage”
» John Hawkes – “The Sessions”
» Joaquin Phoenix – “The Master”
» Denzel Washington – “Flight”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
WINNER: Jessica Chastain – “Zero Dark Thirty”
» Marion Cotillard – “Rust and Bone”
» Helen Mirren – “Hitchcock”
» Naomi Watts – “The Impossible”
» Rachel Weisz – “The Deep Blue Sea”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
WINNER: Hugh Jackman – “Les Miserables”
» Jack Black – “Bernie”
» Bradley Cooper – “Silver Linings Playbook”
» Ewan McGregor – “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
» Bill Murray – “Hyde Park on Hudson”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
WINNER: Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook”
» Maggie Smith – “Quarter”
» Emily Blunt – “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
» Judi Dench – “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
» Meryl Streep – “Hope Springs”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
WINNER: Christoph Waltz – “Django Unchained”
» Alan Arkin – “Argo”
» Leonardo DiCaprio – “Django Unchained”
» Philip Seymour Hoffman – “The Master”
» Tommy Lee Jones – “Lincoln”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
WINNER: Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”
» Amy Adams – “The Master”
» Sally Field – “Lincoln”
» Helen Hunt – “The Sessions”
» Nicole Kidman – “The Paperboy”

Best Director – Motion Picture
WINNER: Ben Affleck – “Argo”
» Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”
» Ang Lee – “Life of Pi”
» Steven Spielberg – “Lincoln”
» Quentin Tarantino – “Django Unchained”

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
WINNER: Quentin Tarantino – “Django Unchained”
» Mark Boal – “Zero Dark Thirty”
» Tony Kushner – “Lincoln”
» David O. Russell – “Silver Linings Playbook”
» Chris Terrio – “Argo”

Best Original Song – Motion Picture
WINNER: “Skyfall” – “Skyfall”
» “For You” – “Act of Valor”
» “Not Running Anymore” – “Stand Up Guys”
» “Safe and Sound” – “The Hunger Games”
» “Suddenly” – “Les Miserables”

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
WINNER: “Life of Pi”
» “Argo”
» “Anna Karenina”
» “Cloud Atlas”
» “Lincoln”

Best Animated Film
WINNER: “Brave”
» “Frankenweenie”
» “Hotel Transylvania”
» “Rise of Guardians”
» “Wreck-It Ralph”

Best Foreign Language Film
WINNER: “Amour”
» “A Royal Affair”
» “The Intouchables”
» “Kon-Tiki”
» “Rust and Bone”

Best Television Series – Drama
WINNER: “Homeland”
» “Breaking Bad”
» “Boardwalk Empire”
» “Downton Abbey”
» “The Newsroom”

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
WINNER: “Girls”
» “Big Bang Theory”
» “Episodes”
» “Modern Family”
» “Smash”

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
WINNER: “Game Change”
» “The Girl”
» “Hatfields & McCoys
» “The Hour”
» “Political Animals”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
WINNER: Damien Lewis – “Homeland”
» Steve Buscemi – “Boardwalk Empire”
» Brian Cranston – “Breaking Bad”
» Jeff Daniels – “The Newsroom”
» Jon Hamm – “Mad Men”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama
WINNER: Claire Danes – “Homeland”
» Connie Britton – “Nashville”
» Glenn Close – “Damages”
» Michelle Dockery – “Downton Abbey”
» Julianna Margulies – “The Good Wife”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
WINNER: Don Cheadle – “House of Lies”
» Alec Baldwin – “30 Rock”
» Matt LeBlanc – “Episodes”
» Louie C.K. – “Louie”
» Jim Parsons – “Big Bang Theory”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
WINNER: Lena Dunham – “Girls”
» Zooey Deschanel – “The New Girl”
» Julia Louis-Dreyfu – “Veep”
» Tina Fey – “30 Rock”
» Amy Poehler – “Parks and Recreation”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
WINNER: Kevin Costner – “Hatfields & McCoys”
» Benedict Cumberbatch – “Sherlock”
» Woody Harrelson – “Game Change”
» Toby Jones – “The Girl”
» Clive Owen – “Hemingway & Gellhorn”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
WINNER: Julianne Moore – “Game Change”
» Nicole Kidman – “Hemingway & Gellhorn”
» Jessica Lange – “American Horror Story”
» Sienna Miller – “The Girl”
» Sigourney Weaver – “Political Animals”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
WINNER: Ed Harris – “Game Change”
» Max Greenfield – “New Girl”
» Danny Huston – “Magic City”
» Mandy Patinkin – “Homeland”
» Eric Stonestreet – “Modern Family”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
WINNER: Maggie Smith – “Downton Abbey”
» Hayden Panettiere – “Nashville”
» Archie Panjabi – “The Good Wife”
» Sofia Vergara – “Modern Family”

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Full list of Oscar nominations!

Here’s the entire nominee list for the Oscars:

Best Picture
“Django Unchained”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Zero Dark Thirty”
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
Hugh Jackman – “Les Miserables”
Joaquin Phoenix – “The Master”
Denzel Washington – “Flight”

Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain – “Zero Dark Thirty”
Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”
Quvenzhané Wallis – “Beasts of Southern Wild”
Naomi Watts – “The Impossible”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin – “Argo”
Robert De Niro – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Philip Seymour Hoffman – “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones – “Lincoln”
Christoph Waltz – “Django Unchained”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams – “The Master”
Sally Field – “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”
Helen Hunt – “The Sessions”
Jackie Weaver – “Silver Linings Playbook”

Animated Feature Film
“The Pirates! Band of Misfits”
“Wreck-It Ralph”

“Amour” – Michael Haneke
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” – Benh Zeitlin
“Life of Pi” – Ang Lee
“Lincoln” – Steven Spielberg
“Silver Linings Playbook” – David O. Russell

Writing – Original Screenplay
“Amour” – Michael Haneke
“Django Unchained” – Quentin Tarantino
“Flight” – John Gatins
“Moonrise Kingdom” – Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
“Zero Dark Thirty” – Mark Boal

Writing – Adapted Screenplay
“Argo” – Chris Terrio
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” – Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
“Life of Pi” – David Magee
“Lincoln” – Tony Kushner
“Silver Linings Playbook” – David O. Russell

Music – Original Song
“Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice,” music and lyrics by J. Ralph
“Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from “Ted,” music by Walter Murphy, lyrics by Seth MacFarlane
“Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi,” music by Mychael Danna, lyrics by Bombay Jayashri
“Skyfall” from “Skyfall,” music and lyrics by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
“Suddenly” from “Les Miserables,” music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Foreign Language Film
“Amour” (Austria)
“Kon-Tiki” (Norway)
“No” (Chile)
“A Royal Affair” (Denmark)
“War Witch” (Canada)

“Anna Karenina”
“Django Unchained”
“Life of Pi”

Costume Design
“Anna Karenina”
“Les Miserables”
“Mirror Mirror”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”

Documentary – Feature
“5 Broken Cameras”
“The Gatekeepers”
“How to Survive a Plague”
“The Invisible War”
“Searching for Sugar Man”

Documentary – Short
“Kings Point”
“Mondays at Racine”
“Open Heart”

Film Editing
“Life of Pi”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Makeup And Hairstyling
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Les Miserables”

Music – Original Score
“Anna Karenina”
“Life of Pi”

Production Design
“Anna Karenina”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”

Short Film – Animated
“Adam and Dog”
“Fresh Guacamole”
“Head over Heels”
“Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare'”

Short Film – Live Action
“Buzkashi Boys”
“Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)”

Sound Editing
“Django Unchained”
“Life of Pi”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Sound Mixing
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”

Visual Effects
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Life of Pi”
“Marvel’s The Avengers”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”

My initial thoughts:

I wish they would have nominated 10 films for Best Picture. A film like “Cloud Atlas” or “Moonrise Kingdom” really deserved to get recognized. Looks like Joaquin Phoenix’s little Oscar rant didn’t cost him a nomination after all. Stay tuned here in the coming days for predictions of all the categories!

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

This year in movies had many high points. From “The Hunger Games” all the way to “Django Unchained” there’s been a lot of great movies. But, as with every year, there were several movies that just failed to meet expectations. Which one was the biggest disappointment of all?

Some movies that were in the running for my biggest disappointment:

“Brave”: Not that this was a terrible film. But it wasn’t good by Pixar’s standards. What could have been a return to form was instead a second-rate Disney princess film that lacked the inventiveness and the heart of Pixar’s classics.

“John Carter”: It was based on the book that inspired such classics like “Star Wars” so this should have been a home run. Instead it was a boring, muddled mess.

“Resident Evil: Retribution”: Look, I had low expectations. But when I started mocking the movie with fake lines and events that then later happened during the movie, we’re in a whole new level of bad.

“Dark Shadows”: I’m starting to become worried about Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. The two made the sub-par “Alice in Wonderland” and this year’s “Dark Shadows” was just plain bad.

“The Amazing Spider-Man”: Simply because the trailers seemed to show much more promise. The film left entire scenes from the trailer out and seemed to skip the parents’ backstory, which was one of the biggest selling points.

“Red Tails”: This should have been a moving experience a la “Saving Private Ryan”. Instead we got a cheesy, badly acted film that does nothing to honor the pilots.

My biggest disappointment: “The Dark Knight Rises”

Again, not a terrible film. In fact, it’s a good film. But that doesn’t cut it. Christopher Nolan is a victim of his own success here. But the film is probably the least tense, least exciting, least interesting and the worst of the trilogy. It falls back to normal Superhero convention. And after “redefining” the rules with “The Dark Knight” this is a major step backwards.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.