February 4, 1999 |
An eloquent return to form for the Disney animation studio tops this week's list. Mulan (1998) (Buena Vista) $26.99. 88 minutes. Voices by Ming-Na Wen, Lea Salonga, Eddie Murphy, B.D. Wong, Donny Osmond, Harvey Fierstein, Gedde Watanabe, Miguel Ferrer, Pat Morita. Disney animation returns to top form with a triumphant, gorgeous work that speaks to children with rare eloquence about identity and coming of age. G. (CC) Shooting Fish (1998) (Fox) 93 minutes. Dan Futterman, Stuart Townsend, Kate Beckinsale.
April 30, 2010 |
Imagine a world without Ariel from The Little Mermaid or Belle from Beauty and the Beast. No motormouth genie from Aladdin, no noble Simba from The Lion King. And maybe Buzz Lightyear or Cowboy Woody never existed, either. If Walt Disney's once-mighty animation studio had, in the early 1980s, continued its downward trend of failed concepts and lackluster 'toons, it's quite likely that these now-iconic figures - not to mention merchandising brands - would never have seen the light of day, or of a projector bulb.
October 6, 1988 |
There will be three big draws at the video store this week: a delightful slice of Disney animation, a vapid voodoo thriller and more of the same from Sly Stallone. CINDERELLA $26.99. 76 minutes. That blond simp with the cruel stepmother and wicked stepsisters isn't really the star of this classic Disney animation. Rather, it's those adorable mice, Jaq and Gus-Gus, who help Cinderella with the housework and design her ball gown. They're good singers, too. Features the voices of Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley and James MacDonald.
January 20, 1995 |
When Don Bluth led a group of disgruntled animators in deserting Disney in the late '70s, the studio resembled a sinking ship. Fittingly, The Secret of NIMH - the debut effort of Bluth's dissident group - features rats and mice. Bluth's first independent animated feature was released in 1982 and in many ways it is his best effort (he went on to make the far more successful An American Tale). Released in 1982, The Secret of NIMH boasts a level of technical virtuosity that was far ahead of anything the Disney folks could manage at the time - especially after the defection of so much talent.
June 15, 2001 |
When the submarine sets out in search of the legendary city beneath the sea in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, it marks a radical departure in the course of Disney animation. Conspicuous absentees on this trip are the Elton John songs, the cute animals and the comic-relief sidekicks. Instead, the production team behind such smashing Mouse House successes as Beauty and the Beast and Tarzan has gone for a curious melange of New Age myth and old-fashioned Indiana Jones adventure. It leads to a confusion of tone and an occasional incoherence in the plotting.
June 19, 1998 |
For too long, Disney just didn't get it. After its animation rebirth via 1989's "The Little Mermaid," the studio lived on film after film about plucky heroines and heroes seeking true love in musical adventures inevitably spiced with one big Busby Berkeley-style production number. Can you spell formulaic? Many filmgoers could, and Disney's animated fare, while consistently lavish, began getting diminishing returns. But while A-team animators in Burbank, Calif., toiled on "Hercules" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" - whose respectable $100 million grosses trailed far behind their predecessors' - the B-team at Disney's newer Florida studio launched a lesser project.
January 7, 2014 |
Inside Llewyn Davis , Joel and Ethan Coen 's study of a struggling folk singer in 1961, was the big winner Saturday at the National Society of Film Critics, taking best film, best actor for Oscar Isaac , best director for the Coens, and best cinematography for Bruno Delbonnel . American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave placed second and third for best film; Chiwetel Ejiofor in Slave and Robert Redford in All is...
December 10, 1995 |
As with some holiday meals whose side dishes are as big as the roast, many film-book stocking stuffers are as big as the tree. The snappy volume Money, Women and Guns would seem to say everything there is to say about Hollywood, and yet this season there is more. There are essential chronicles of screen deities Katharine Hepburn, Charlton Heston, Buster Keaton, Burt Lancaster and John Wayne; there are appraisals of screen sprites in Disney animation; and then there is a book devoted to that connoisseur of money, women and guns - 007 himself.
September 12, 1999 |
Toy Story, the simple tale of the rivalry between an old-fashioned cowboy doll and a newfangled action figure - a cowpoke named Woody and a space-case named Buzz Lightyear - is a movie milestone for a couple of reasons: One, it's the first feature in Hollywood history to be wholly animated by computer. And two, it's one of the best children's films - and by extension, one of the best family films, and by extension, one of the best film films - of the 20th century's ultimate decade. According to Tinseltown's Laws of the Sequel (they aren't as good, and they don't make as much money - but they make a lot)