RSS Feed

Tag Archives: animation

Finding Dory (2016): Sigourney Weaver, Savior of the Universe

Finding Dory (2016): Sigourney Weaver, Savior of the Universe

Finding Dory (Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, 2016)


It’s a big ocean. photo credit:

To me, and I know I am in the minority on this, Finding Nemo (2003) has always been one of Pixar’s minor successes; it’s nowhere near as awful as their worst output, like Cars 2 or Wall-E, but it’s nowhere near as good as their classics (Toy Story, Monsters Inc.). And since Pixar’s track record with post-TS2 sequels has been, to put it kindly, abysmal, I wouldn’t have even gone to see Finding Dory if my four-year-old hadn’t begged. And I wasn’t exactly predisposed to liking it today; the mall had a Pokémon Go event going on, so it took half an hour to find a parking spot, and of course at a Saturday matinee, the theater was full of loud toddlers. (I’m not going to say mine is a model, but his mother and I have taught him that quiet is necessary in a cinema, and he mostly gets it.) And yet, I walked out of that theater amazed. Finding Dory is a far, far superior film to its predecessor, and continues the jaw-dropping revitalization of Pixar that started with Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur last year.

Read the rest of this entry

Capsule Reviews (vault): July, 2014

Peter D. Hipson, What Every Visual C++ 2 Programmer Should Know (Sams, 1994)

[originally posted 19Feb2002]

A "just the facts, ma'am" cover with the red title on a green background.

Even more dated now than when I wrote this review.
photo credit: ebay

What Every Visual C++ 2 Programmer Should Know is the perfect compliment to Gurewich and Gurewich’s Master Visual C++ 2. Both put out by Sams in the same year. Coincidence? Probably not. Everything the Gurewich book lacks is covered here. The detail and amount of code examples is lacking in comparison, but given the topics covered, that’s an excusable oversight.

What Every Visual C++ 2 Programmer Should Know looks at the more advanced features of Microsoft’s primary development platform: programming with Unicode, OLE, ODBC, multithreading, etc. It’s more a reference book than a how-to manual, but the user who’s followed and mastered the Gurewichs’ book should already have enough coding under his belt to integrate the information presented here without much trouble. The two books, taken together, provide the best introduction to Visual C++ 2 on the market, and are highly recommended for those still programming in DOS/Win3.x/Win95. *** ½

Read the rest of this entry

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001): Pretty, but Not Much Else

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (Hironobu Sakaguchi and Moto Sakakibara, 2001)

[originally posted 4Feb2002]

A bright light obscures everything else on the movie's poster.

Just over the horizon…
photo credit: Wikipedia

Every review of this movie I ever read says roughly the same thing: “the animation in this movie will astound you. If you’re not impressed by animation, though, you might as well ignore it, because there’s nothing backing it up.” I hate to say it, but despite animation that is, truly, fantastic, and a cast that redefines “high-powered” in an animated film, those reviews are dead on, and you won’t read anything new here.

Read the rest of this entry

Rango (2011): Drameleon

Rango (Gore Verbinski, 2011)

Rango, clutching a clockwork goldfish, stares out of the movie poster and into your very soul.

Drop the chaluuuuuupa.
photo credit: Wikipedia

Rango is something very rare in the current American culture: an animated movie created specifically for grown-ups. Thankfully, it’s also brilliant, the kind of movie that provides hard evidence that such a thing can still work in American film culture. Artistically, at least; while the movie performed relatively well at the box office, it didn’t make back its budget theatrically. I hope that doesn’t doom Industrial Light and Magic’s animation department to the dustbin, because Rango is the best American animated movie in a decade.

Read the rest of this entry

Shrek (2001): The (Short-Lived) Return of Adult Animation

Shrek (Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, 2001)

[originally posted 4Feb2002]

The principal cast adorn the movie poster.

Oh, Oh, Ogre!
photo credit: Barnes and Noble

Shrek is the consummate fairytale, a sendup of hundreds of fairy tales that have come before while still being one itself. It also has one of the finest endings in modern filmmaking, but by the time you get there, that’s almost beside the point; you’ve had so much fun on the journey that you hate to see it end.

Read the rest of this entry

Monsters, Inc. (2001): Kitty!

Monsters, Inc. (Pete Docter, 2001)

[originally posted 14Nov2001]

Mike and Sully decorate the movie poster.

Just some good ole boys, never meanin’ no harm.
photo credit: Wikipedia

Docter gets his feature-length directorial debut after working behind the scenes on Pixar’s Toy Story films. They took a chance having someone other than John Lasseter helm this one—and it paid off big time.

Read the rest of this entry

Astro Boy (2009): Better than You Heard It Is

Astro Boy (David Bowers, 2009)


photo credit: Wikipedia

A lot going on in the poster. An accurate reflection of the movie.

I have no idea why it has taken me so long to get round to writing a few words about Astro Boy, which I watched a while back and quite enjoyed; I should mention right up front that I haven’t read the manga on which the film is based, so I can’t give you an exhaustive list of differences or anything like that. I just took it as a stand-alone movie, and a pretty darned cute one at that.

Read the rest of this entry