TOY STORY 3 (2010) ****1/2
D: Lee Unkrich. S: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Ned Beatty, Michael Keaton, Timothy Dalton.
Years before the new regime took the reigns at Disney, Toy Story 3 was in active develop and I believe in early production. It was to be a direct-to-video release. One of the first things done was to cease production on the sequel, scrap everything and turn the film over to Pixar. I shudder to think how that one would have turned out because the film that Pixar has given us is a true Hollywood rarity. A sequel, let alone a part three, that is not only excellent but is better than the original and the sequel that followed.
Andy is now grown up and is about to leave for college. He must decide what to do with his collection of toys, store them in the attic or throw them away. A series of accidents results in the entire gang being donated to a local daycare center and an all new, funny, smart, touching, thought-provoking and overwhelmingly satisfying adventure begins.
Other than a few story elements, this is a great film. There are a number of memorable set pieces and one in particular that may very well have you on the edge of despair. The characters are still just as endearing and engaging as the first day we laid eyes upon them. Hopefully their adventures will continue. This isn't being pushed as the last chapter in a trilogy but if it were it would be a fine conclusion.
This is the film to beat for Best Animated Feature in 2010.
JONAH HEX (2010) *1/2
D: Jimmy Hayward. S: Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich, Aidan Quinn.
The only good thing that will come of this is that you'll probably want to read the comic instead. I know there's a Jonah Hex film out there but this is not it. Marginally better than Ghost Rider and thankfully very short, 81 minutes.
Johan Hex is a supernatural bounty hunter in the Old West. He has the ability to talk to the dead. He seeks vengeance against the man who killed his family and scarred him for life. Sounds like your typically oater with a supernatural twist.
Unfortunately, everyone is wasted in this...hehe...it probably would have been better if everyone was "wasted." Brolin is sleepwalking, Fox if forgettable and Malkovich is yawn inducing.
For 80 minutes, I was bored. The film makes no attempt to explain how Hex got his powers, let alone clearly explain if the guy actually died or not and came back from the dead.
Oh, well. Nuff said.