Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day Four - "Just so you know, my parents think you put drugs in my drink and had sex with me while I was unconscious"

Featured review of the day: Winter's Bone

Toy Story 3

Threequel to Pixar's flagship franchise, in which Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of the toys get accidentally shipped off to a hellish, prison-like Day Care centre after Andy (John Morris) goes off to college.

Expanded version of ViewEdinburgh review: Directed by Lee Unkrich, Toy Story 3 (in 3D) opens with Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of Andy's toys – the Potato Heads (Don Rickles and Estelle Harris), dinosaur Rex (Wallace Shawn), piggy bank Hamm (John Ratzenberger), cowgirl Jessie (Joan Cusack) and Slinky Dog (Blake Clarke) – resigning themselves to being put up in the attic as Andy (John Morris) prepares to go off to college. However, they accidentally get sent to the Sunnyside Day Care centre instead where Sunnyside leader Lotso-Huggin Bear (Ned Beatty) consigns them to the hellish Caterpillar Room, full of destructive, hyper-active toddlers. Realising that they won't survive in the Caterpillar Room, the toys plot an elaborate escape, which isn't easy, as Lotso locks them up at night and runs the centre like a prison, complete with a scary cymbal-clashing monkey as look-out. Meanwhile, Woody meets some new toys when he ends up being taken home by a young girl (Emily Hahn as Bonnie) and Barbie (Jodi Benson) thinks her dreams have come true when she meets Sunnyside's resident hunk, Ken (Michael Keaton). The vocal performances for these much-loved characters are as wonderful as ever, though there are some terrific new additions this time round, most notably Ned Beatty as Lotso, Timothy Dalton as actorly hedgehog Mister Pricklepants, Michael Keaton as Ken, Kristen Schaal as Trixie the Triceratops and Emily Hahn, who is flat-out adorable as Bonnie. Similarly, the animation is also as gorgeous as ever (especially in the inventive fantasy Wild West playing sequence that opens the film) and the 3D effects are extremely impressive, with the film largely steering clear of gimmicks in favour of fleshed-out 3D environments. The script is excellent, developing several powerfully emotional themes, such as the toys' sadness at Andy not wanting to play with them anymore or various subtle observations about the lifespan and purpose of a toy. Needless to say, the script is packed full of delightful gags and devastatingly emotional moments – make no mistake, tears will be shed by adults and children alike, so bring tissues. All in all, this is a worthy threequel to the wonderful Toy Story franchise with gorgeous animation, terrific vocal performances and a brilliantly written script that's consistently both laugh-out-loud funny and powerfully emotional. Basically, those Pixar geniuses have done it again - this is one of the best films of the year and is quite simply unmissable. Five stars. EDIT: Okay, there's not much more I want to add to this, except to say that I really loved the Death By Monkeys gag and thoroughly enjoyed the whole extended Toy-Story-as-Prison-Movie thing.

Barry Munday

Black comedy starring Patrick Wilson as a libido-driven wage slave who is forced to re-evaluate his life after the double-whammy of losing his testicles and discovering he's impregnated a woman (Judy Greer) after a one-night-stand he can't remember.

Full text of ViewEdinburgh review:Superbly written, frequently hilarious and brilliantly acted by a note-perfect cast, this is a hugely entertaining black comedy that has an unexpectedly warm heart. Written and directed by Chris D'Arienzo, Barry Munday is based on the novel “Life Is A Strange Place” by Frank Turner Hollon and stars Patrick Wilson as Barry Munday, a libido-driven wage slave who spends all his time either ogling, fantasising about or trying to pick up women. However, after a freak attack by an outraged father wielding a trumpet, Barry wakes up in hospital to find that his testicles have been removed. As if losing the family jewels wasn't bad enough. Barry gets a further shock when he's hit with a paternity lawsuit by frumpy, bespectacled Ginger Farley (Judy Greer), a woman he can't remember having sex with. Secretly thrilled that the Munday line might not end with him after all, Barry attempts to step up to his responsibilities with Ginger, though he finds it an uphill struggle when he meets her family (Malcolm McDowell, Cybill Shepherd and Chloe Sevigny), particularly when, right before meeting them for the first time, Ginger informs him that she's told them that he drugged her and had sex with her while she was unconscious. Patrick Wilson is brilliant as Barry, delivering a warm-hearted, vanity-free performance that ensures the character remains likeable even when he's being an idiot. Judy Greer (finally graduating to female leads after an eternity of Wisecracking Best Friend-type parts) is equally good as Ginger and the film also boasts a terrific supporting cast that includes Chloe Sevigny (as Ginger's seemingly perfect sister Jennifer), Jean Smart (as Barry's mother), Billy Dee Williams (i.e. old Lando Calrissian himself) as Barry's boss Lonnie and Cybill Shepherd and Malcolm McDowell as Ginger's parents. The script is excellent: the dialogue crackles with funny lines and there are several laugh-out-loud moments. Highlights include: Barry unable to stifle his giggles during a genital mutilation support group; Barry committing a pretty serious faux pas during sex; and pretty much every second that Billy Dee Williams is on screen (he drives a DeLorean, for God's sake). D'Arienzo's skilful direction gets the tone exactly right, expertly blending pitch black comedy with bittersweet moments that reveal a surprisingly warm heart. This a hugely enjoyable black comedy with terrific performances from a wonderful comic cast. Highly recommended.

Coming soon: Thelma, Louise and Chantal, Putty Hill

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