In a time when the best movie is so often determined by the most whiz bang technology, Pixar can always be relied upon to remember what is really important — the story. There aren’t many animations that will have you moving from laughter to tears in the first five minutes but with Up you will find yourself rolling through the full emotional spectrum.
When Carl and Ellie find each other as children, full to the brim with the spirit of adventure, it is a true meeting of heart and soul. They grow together, marry and live a life. While it is a very happy life, their many dreams of adventure are still just that, dreams. When Ellie dies, Carl decides he will live the adventure for both of them. With the help, that is, of Wilderness Explorer, Russell, a bird called Kevin, and lovable Dug.
This is most definitely suitable for every member of the household from the kids to the old-timers. While there is plenty of colour, adventure and lunacy for the kids, grown-ups will find a real emotional heart here.
There are lots of fun special features to be found. There is the director’s commentary, background featurettes and alternative scenes. Best of all, however, are the Pixar short films. Partly Cloudy is a special treasure. Clouds have feelings too you know.
Charlyne Yi is a young love sceptic who travels across America making a documentary about the meaning of love. But this is no ordinary documentary. She uses an intriguing mix of documentary, fiction and paper puppets to tell her story and in a very sweet, sometimes too sweet, way she has delivered a refreshing, urban, slightly neurotic take on this great mystery. Amongst the interviews with widows and high school sweethearts and children she meets a boy of her own, Michael Cera. He is… ichael Cera with all his typical awkward charm. Their relationship becomes a bit of a distraction for the audience as they try to work out what is real and what is simply love-arc story telling but that is all part of the game.
Whether you enjoy this film falls entirely on the shoulders of our host, Charlyne Yi. What is sweet, giggly and endearing to some, can be down-right irritating to others.
Parker Posey is magnificent as Nora, a neurotic, flinty New Yorker deeply uncomfortable in her own skin. Intelligent and beautiful, but with an inability to connect to men, she is lonely and looking for the love she feels comes so naturally to those around her.
Written and directed by Zoe Cassavetes, daughter of the late, great actor/director John Cassavetes, Broken English is a small film that feels as shy and complex as its protagonist. Theoretically it is a romantic comedy but the laughs are subtle and the characters are too far from perfect for it to be mistaken for a genre film.
Nora has the potential to be deeply unlikable with her flagrant display of flaws and in the hands of a lesser actress she may have been. Every character in this film is fractured in some way but the firm direction steers them through, making many of them relatable; and even forgivable.
When a throng of itty-bitty aliens attack their vacation home, the kids step up to the battle in this family friendly sci-fi flick.
The kids are a bit too cool and the grown-ups are a bit to clueless but all in all, there is fun to be had for the pre-adolescent set.
Ashley Tisdale of Sharpay fame from High School Musical joins Robert Hoffman (Step Up 2 the Streets), Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond), Carter Jenkins (Bad News Bears) and Austin Butler (Zooey 101) as the last line against the aliens.
The best physical comedy comes from Roberts and Hoffman after they have been taken over by the aliens’ ray gun that turns human adults into zombie puppets. This isn’t a film that works on various levels satisfying kids and parents alike. This is really just for the kids but there are enough laughs throughout to keep them entertained to the end.
The DVD release has a rudimentary selection of special features including an alternate ending, some deleted scenes, a gag reel and a featurette entitled The Ashely Encounters. The Blu-ray has more to play with, throwing in a host of extra featurettes including Behind The Zirkonians, Lights, Camera, Aliens!, Kung Fu Grandma, Brian Anthony ‘Electricity’ Music Video and Fox Movie Channel Presents: Life After Film School with Barry Josephson who is one of the movie’s producers.