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Member's Reviews

Monsters, Inc., a review by Jon


Monsters, Inc.
4 out of 5




Who knew that the monster in your closet was just doing his job? Monsters, Inc. is where Sulley (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) work, good naturedly scaring kids in the human world to provide energy for their own. But actually, the monsters are more scared of the kids, which are toxic to them. So when Boo gets trapped on the other side of her closet, Mike and Sulley have to get her back while fending off the villainous Randall (Steve Buscemi)...

What a wonderful world of cinema we're in that can accurately call a fantastic film like this merely average, but thanks to Pixar, the best studio working today, that's exactly what we can do. Monsters, Inc. is less ambitious or subtle than most of their others, yet it's still better than most other children's films since. So, average it is then!

It's great fun from start to finish, very funny and quite clever in its own way. The broader target of the story means everyone has wider margins they can stretch into, so it becomes quite extravagant, with even the background monsters getting their own gags. Like many of Pixar's stories though, it still comes down to a double act and this is one of the best oddest of odd couples. Mike Wachowski, Billy Crystal has a perfect match for his stand-up brand of humour and in turn, the banter with John Goodman works beautifully. Steve Buscemi as the slimy Randall and James Coburn as Waternoose are similarly well cast. The film could die on the Boo character, but in a brilliant move, she's voiced by just recording one of crews daughters and using the resulting gurgles, giggles and screams, so she's cute and believable when compared to a typical Disney child, and that goes for live action too!

I watched the Blu-Ray version and after the incredible quality of WALL.E and Ratatouille, I was expecting it to be, well, average. However, whereas there have been undeniable advances, this film is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. I think it's simply because the monsters are all sorts of weird shapes and primary colours, they contrast even in their own world (which actually appears a bit like New York anyway). Normally, the figures would suit and to some extend, blend into their environment, but here they dazzle in the differences and you can really pick out the detail, especially texture in the slimier characters! Randall is particularly fanatastic, changing colour all the time, but the real star is Sulley. I remember the articles at the time saying how they were animating the individual hairs of his fur. Now for the first time, I can actually see it properly and it is astonishing. Add in beautiful moments like when he emerges into a dark, red-lit tunnel, and trying to justify calling this film average gets harder by the second.

Oh, yeah. I suppose the kids will like it too...  ;)

(From Jon's Marathon of Horror! 2009 on October 18th, 2009)

Member's Reviews

if.... , a review by Achim


    if.... (The Criterion Collection)

(1968/United Kingdom)

(United States)
Director:Lindsay Anderson
Writing:David Sherwin (Screenwriter), David
Sherwin (Writer), John Howlett (Writer)
Length:112 min.
Video:Anamorphic Widescreen 1.66:1
Audio:English: Dolby Digital: Mono,
Commentary: Dolby Digital: Mono
Subtitles:English

Stars:
Malcolm McDowell as Mick
David Wood as Johnny
Richard Warwick as Wallace
Christine Noonan as The Girl
Rupert Webster as Bobby Phillips

Plot:
Lindsay Anderson's If.... is a daringly anarchic vision of British society, set in a boarding school in late-sixties England. Before Kubrick made Malcom McDowell's mischief iconic in A Clockwork Orange, the actor made a hell of an impression as insouciant Mick Travis, who, along with his school chums, trumps authority at every turn, finally emerging as violent savior against the draconian games of one-upmanship played by both students and the powers-that-be. Mixing color and black and white as audaciously as it mixes fantasy and reality, If.... remains one of cinema's most unforgettable rebel yells.

Extras:
  • Scene Access
  • Audio Commentary
  • Feature Trailers
  • Featurettes
  • Interviews

My Thoughts:
My personal guess is, that this is actually a fairly accurate portrayal of life at a boarding school in 1968. With a class system firmly in place, things can get pretty rough for those on the lower levels being oppressed by "the upper class".

Travis' transformation from small rebellious behaviour to revolution is very well performed by Malcolm MacDowell and it's easy to see why Kubrick found his Alex for Clockwork Orange in this. The acting in general is good, including the younger cast members playing the "freshmen". It was a bit strange that in the beginning to other characters are set up very prominently, new student Jute and a new teacher, yet nothing really comes from this and the film only shows them on occasion during the second half :shrug:

The obvious political subtext is mostly lost on me, as it is apparently very British, maybe more relevant for the time it plays in, and I have never been interested in politics much. I am not sure what you'd call it (farce, satire...?) but especially at the end they completely go over the top with the final confrontation of the film (in a good way :laugh:). Beyond this the film also shows latent homosexuality as being present (it's an all-boy boarding school...) and at one point a teacher clearly touches one of the boys in a slightly inappropriate way; these topics are touched on but not made topic.

I could never quite figure out what the use of black and white represents. It seems a bit inconsistent to me, as every time I thought I figured it out another scene would come up that "should have been" black and white but wasn't. Unless somebody can tell me, I may have to try the commentary for this.

Here is the link to Wikipedia for further information. It was here that I saw that apparently two sequels were made:
O Lucky Man! (1973)
Britannia Hospital (1982)

Rating:


EDIT:
As commented by Dave and also mentioned in the special features of the DVD, the use of black and white was actually rather random and initially based on an economic decision (the lighting of the church was cheaper for black and white than it would have been for color).

As for the political subtext, I was apparently spot on in that it was a comment on the British class system. The film also happened to coincide with the student revolts in France and other countries, which gave it an eerie actuality at the time.

(From The Movies from Within My Lifetime on July 4th, 2011)

Member's TV Reviews

Samantha Who?: The Complete Second and Final Season, a review by addicted2dvd


     Samantha Who?: The Complete Second and Final Season (2008/United States)


Stars:
Christina Applegate as Samantha Newly
Jean Smart as Regina Newly
Jennifer Esposito as Andrea Belladonna
Kevin Dunn as Howard
Melissa McCarthy as Dena
Barry Watson as Todd
Tim Russ as Frank
Cybill Shepherd as Paula Drake

Extras:
  • Bonus Trailers
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Featurettes
  • Outtakes/Bloopers
  • Closed Captioned


My Thoughts:
This completes this series. It isn't a bad series.. I did enjoy it. But at the same time I am not surprised it got canceled as quickly as it did. There is far better sitcoms out there. The finale does a fairly good job at closing the series out... but at the same time it does set up a 3rd season... in case it got one. The way they put the episodes on the discs is a bit confusing. Instead of running the episodes as they aired... 1 through 20... they for some reason pulled 3 episodes out of the middle of the season. Numbered the rest 1 through 17... and then put the three they pulled under it's own menu option entitled "More Sam." No idea why they did this.... makes no sense to me what so ever. There is some decent (though all very short) extras added to the set as well.


My Rating:
Out of a Possible 5


(From Addicted2dvd's Random TV Series Watched on June 20th, 2012)