By Original-Cin Staff
Call it a spork of genius. Back in 1995, Pixar’s Toy Story ushered in a new era of computer animation. Now we have Toy Story 4 (Rating: A-) which, reviewer Karen Gordon reports, makes the franchise a rare, successful four-peat, fusing fresh and familiar elements in another rich story for children and adults.
Along with Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), we have new toys and voices (Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves) and, most notably, a plastic craft-class “spork” doll named Forky, who’s trash and knows it.
Bonne Laufer has an interview with the great Tony Hale (Veep, Arrested Development), who provides the voice of Forky.
For Toy Story counterprogramming, there’s Child’s Play (Rating: B), a satiric reworking of eighties’ horror franchise with an anti-technology theme. Featuring Aubrey Plaza as a concerned mom and Mark Hamill as the voice of the defective robot killer doll, the reboot — according to reviewer Thom Ernest — dispatches people with forklifts, pumpkins, Christmas lights, buzz saws, vehicles, and utensils (sporks?) with creepy gusto.
We also have a couple of very different female-centric tales. Reviewer Kim Hughes says the indie UK film Wild Rose (Rating: A) features a terrific acting and musical performance from Irish actress Jessie Buckley as Rose-Lynn, a Glaswegian mother of two with a prison record and a desperation to be a country music star. Anna (Rating: C) from director Luc Besson, indulges in the action auteur’s familiar fetish “for plucking broken young women from a life of neglect and obscurity and transforming them into elite assassins,” says reviewer Thom Ernst.
There’s also two canine movies this week and, says reviewer Liam Lacey, neither is a dog. Italian director Matteo Garrone brings us the dark corruption tale Dogman (Rating: B+) with Cannes best-actor winner Marcello Fonte as a meek dog groomer bullied into crime, set on a fantastically dilapidated strip of beachfront north of Naples. Buddy (Rating: A), from celebrated veteran Dutch documentarian Heddy Honigmann, explores the relationship between six people and their service dogs.
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir (Rating: C+), a multinational singing-dancing-travelling-everything, is directed by Quebec’s Ken Scott (writer of Seducing Dr. Lewis) and stars Indian matinee idol Danoush. The movie, says Jim Slotek, tries to pack too much into its antic 90 minutes.
Finally, on this week’s podcast (our 28th, with the full entourage), we talk good and bad dolls and dogs, and how Trump’s trade war with China might affect the future of Hollywood heroes in Spandex.
Have a great weekend.