Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Incredibles - Review and Expectations

I recently rewatched Brad Bird's The Incredibles, and was left with one impression: that this film was amazing when I first watched it ten years ago...and it's still amazing, if not more so. While in the midst of this revelation, lo and behold if a sequel wasn't announced, to my deep worry.

The thing is, the first film was so close to perfect. It remains one of my favorite Pixar films, a tightly-scripted, beautifully "shot" action movie that has so many truly human relationships that it puts the majority of live-action films to shame. True, it's not a very original premise - family with supernatural abilities attempt to negotiate ordinary life - but never has it been accomplished so convincingly.

It begins like any other superhero story, with excitement and one-liners and spectacular urban destruction. But fifteen years after this comic book world of heroes and villains, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible - alias Bob and Helen Parr - are living in a cramped suburb with three boisterous kids. Bob works for a sleazy insurance company; Helen changes diapers and wearily makes trips to the principal's office. The irony is thick, and extremely effective.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Best of January/February 2014

[As a bit of an aid to refresh my memory when "Best of" lists come around next January, here's my pick of the month.]


January's decision is tough, but the only 5-star review I gave was to Life is Beautiful, a funny, earnest Italian film set during WWII. My review.

As for February, it's a toss-up. I think entertainment wins the day (because yes, I am that shallow), so I choose Princess Mononoke over Lawrence of Arabia. The film is practically my first experience of Hiyao Miyazaki, and, though flawed, it's pretty incredible. My review.

This is pretty much a no-brainer - to January I happily give the gold to Broadchurch, an exquisitely made murder drama about the death of a young boy in a seaside town. My review.

As for February, I'm able to name Sherlock, since the last episode aired on the 3rd. (But if I did put it in January, I'd have to give Broadchurch the edge, by a bit.) I didn't agree with all the decisions made in Sherlock's third season, but still, it's good to be back. My reviews: The Empty Hearse, The Sign of Three, His Last Vow.

Hannah Long