The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes gets it right. This Disney/Marvel Comics animated series has the same well told, serialized storytelling you’ll find in the comic pages; excellent animation from Film Roman; lively performances by the voiceover cast; and a well blended mix of action and comedy. It even has a killer theme song (sung by some dude who sounds like James Hatfield of Metallica). The DVD’s for Volume 1 and Volume 2 are single discs sold separately and are the perfect introduction to the ongoing animated series, as well as the characters who will be featured in the Avengers live action film being released in the summer of 2012. Continue reading
If you haven’t yet seen the charming Ramona and Beezus, it’s well worth checking out for your next family movie night. Beverly Cleary’s beloved character, Romona Quimby, comes to life in a rare family film that has a little something for everyone, not just the elementary aged kids the film is marketed at.
For the young ones you have the story of Romona, an adventurous third grader with a vivid imagination. Romona always seems to be on the cusp of getting in trouble, but it’s not because she’s a bad girl. It’s just that things don’t always go her way. Loud and independent, Romona is an example for all kids to follow. She’s wonderfully portrayed by Joey King, a young actress who has that ability to appear cute and make you smile, but isn’t sugary sweet. Romona also has an abundance of love for her father and older sister, Beezus. Continue reading
There is no doubt that Toy Story 3 is not only one of the best animated films of 2010, it’s one of the best films of the year. Period. Should there never be another adventure of Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang, the filmmakers certainly went out on a high note. Toy Story 3 has it all: adventure, laughs, suspense and surprisingly, a lot of grown up emotions that come to the surface in what was definitely sold as a childrens film. The film’s climactic third act was gripping and near heartbreaking, while its epilogue was poignant and beautiful, bringing as many adults to tears as the kids.
If you haven’t seen this blockbuster film, here’s a brief synopsis: Andy, the beloved owner of the toys in the first two Toy Story films, is now 17 and heading to college. His mom gives him an ultimatum: pack up his old toys before he leaves for school of they wind up in the trash or donated to a local day care center. Through a mix up (there’s always a mix up), our beloved toys, who have been pared down to the core favorites- Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jess (Joan Cusack), Bullseye, Hamm the Piggy bank (John Ratzenberger), Slinky the dog (Blake Clark, replacing the late Jim Varney), Rex, the not so scary dinosaur (Wallace Shawn), Barbie (Jodi Benson), the Potato Heads (Don Rickles and Estelle Harris) and their adopted alien toys – nearly get crushed by a compactor, but then are driven off to the Sunnydale daycare center.
Woody is upset. He insists that being sent to Sunnydale is a mistake. Of course, the others don’t believe him. Besides, Sunnydale looks like the perfect retirement home. The gang is greeted by a parade of new toys, led by the ever-cheerful Lots-O-Huggin Bear (Ned Beatty) and his right hand doll er, man, Ken (Michael Keaton). Ken is immediately smitten with Barbie and Lots-O-Huggin sets the gang up in a room where children will play with them all day long.
Woody makes his escape, adamant that he should be with Andy. Meanwhile, the gang finds out that Sunnydale has a hierarchy and that all new toys must start at the bottom rung— with the toddlers, who beat and paint and slobber all over toys. This isn’t heaven; it’s toy hell. As you’d expect, Lots-O-Huggin wasn’t telling the whole truth. The gang, now led by Buzz, tries to clear things up with Lots-O-Huggin. Meanwhile, Woody winds up in the home of an adorable little girl named Bonnie, who has just as rich an imagination as Andy did when he was a little boy. Through the efforts of some new toy friends (voiced by Bonnie Hunt, Timothy Dalton, Jeff Garlin and Kristen Schaal) Woody meets at Bonnie’s house, he learns the dark truth about Sunnydale and sets off to rescues his old friends. Continue reading