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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #26!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

We’ve got four of a kind this week, as I join Jay Coyle, Grace Duffy and Ronan Doyle to discuss the week in cinema. This week, Jay has watched Experiment in Terror, Booksmart, Metal Heart and Hotel Monterey. Grace has watched Stoker, Night Moves, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Ronan has watched The Front Page, Night and Fog, Ricky and Lemonade. Jay and Ronan have also both watched the latest installment in the Up series. I have watched Anima, Shaft and the entire Toy Story franchise.

In film news, it’s a packed July at the Irish Film Institute, the Lighthouse has a special screening of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Phantom Islands released on Vimeo on Demand, a list of industry experts announced as speaking at the Galway Film Fleadh, and the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel in the upcoming live action remake of The Little Mermaid.

The top ten:

  1. Child’s Play
  2. Apollo 11
  3. Avengers: Endgame
  4. The Queen’s Corgi
  5. Rocketman
  6. The Secret Lives of Pets II
  7. Men in Black International
  8. Aladdin
  9. Yesterday
  10. Toy Story 4

New releases:

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

Note: Podcast contains spoilers for both Yesterday and Spider-Man: Far From Home.

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137. Toy Story 4 – This Just In (#116)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, This Just In is a subset of The 250 podcast, looking at notable new arrivals on the list of the 250 best movies of all-time, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Josh Cooley’s Toy Story 4.

At time of recording, it was ranked 116th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #25!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Graham Day and Jay Coyle to discuss what we watched, the week in film news, the top ten and the new releases. Graham has rewatched The Shining. Jay has watched Cléo from 5 to 7: Remembrances and Anecdotes, Cabaret and Victor/Victoria. I have watched What We Left Behind. There is also a lively discussion of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

In terms of film news, the Galway Film Fleadh has announced its full line-up. The makers of the documentary Gaza have donated their prize money to the Gaza Red Carpet Festival Appeal. The Gaze LGBT film festival also unveiled its line-up. The SXSW hit Extra Ordinary was purchased by Cranked Up Films. Donal Foreman’s The Image You Missed is now available on Vimeo on Demand. Also, Hollywood is having (another) existential crisis this summer.

The top ten:

  1. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  2. Child’s Play
  3. Diego Maradona
  4. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  5. Brightburn
  6. Rocketman
  7. The Secret Lives of Pets II
  8. Men in Black International
  9. Aladdin
  10. Toy Story 4

New releases:

  • Yesterday
  • Drive
  • Support the Girls
  • Apollo 11
  • Metal Heart

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #24!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Jay Coyle and Grace Duffy to discuss what we watched, the week in film news, the top ten and the new releases. Grace has watched ThievesMissing and My Own Private Idaho. Jay has watched A Day in the Country, Without Name, Craig’s Wife, The Loved Ones and One Sings, The Other Doesn’t. I have watched The Dark Knight Rises, Sanjuro and Lone Wolf and Cub in Sword of Vengeance. There is also an extended discussion on the merits (or lack thereof) of Batman Forever.

In terms of film news, the Galway Film Fleadh continues to roll out announcements – including its slate of masterclasses and an unexpected Cagney and Lacey celebration with Tyne Daly. The IFI is hosting a number of seasons in July – one celebrating the work of Robert Bresson and also the annual Family Festival. Meanwhile, the Lighthouse and Palais Galway are hosting a season of coming of age favourites.

The top ten:

  1. Late Night
  2. John Wick: Chapter III – Parabellum
  3. Detective Pikachu
  4. Diego Maradona
  5. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  6. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  7. Rocketman
  8. The Secret Lives of Pets II
  9. Men in Black International
  10. Aladdin

New releases:

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

 

Non-Review Review: Toy Story 4

Toy Story 4 is a lovely grace note.

Understandably, the largest tension that exists within Toy Story 4 is the question of whether the movie is “necessary”, as much as crowd-pleasing feel-good film must be “necessary.” Rather, it’s the question of whether its presence enhances or diminishes the immediately previous film in the franchise. Toy Story 3 was in many ways a pitch-perfect franchise closer, the perfect place in which to leave these characters and this world. It was bittersweet and deeply moving, striking a perfect balance between providing closure and suggesting that the adventure continues.

The real Toy Story is the toys we made along the way.

This creates an interesting challenge for Toy Story 4. Because Toy Story 3 provided such a fitting ending, it is not enough for Toy Story 4 to simple be amusing or engaging. To quote another popular Tom Hanks vehicle from the nineties, it has to “earn this.” To a certain extent, Toy Story 4 exists in conversation with Toy Story 3, and with the notable handicap of being unable to play many of the same emotional beats as strongly. “This is the epic last go-round” is a card that is difficult to play in two consecutive movies. So, quite apart from how funny and how thrilling and how clever Toy Story 4 is, it faces an uphill struggle.

It is to the credit of Toy Story 4 that it justifies itself so effectively. A lot of this is down to canny structuring; Toy Story 4 is much less of an ensemble piece than any of the two previous films in the series, focused very tightly on Woody as its focal character. This provides a nice change of pace, even compared to the fun “toys mount a rescue” template of Toy Story 2. To a certain extent, Toy Story 4 feels – in terms of tone, plot and character – much closer to the original Toy Story than any of the intermediate films in the franchise. This allows it a certain freshness and lightness on its feet.

A forkin’ delight.

However, the smartest thing about Toy Story 4 is that it understands its position. Toy Story 4 is shrewd enough to understand that it can neither ignore nor repeat Toy Story 3. Indeed, Toy Story 4 is cognisant of the fact that it must be an ending of a sort, but also a different kind of ending than Toy Story 3. The film has to both justify and distinguish itself, fitting with what came before while finding something unique to say. This is a delicate balance to strike, and it is to the credit of Toy Story 4 that it succeeds as thoroughly as it does.

Toy Story 4 exists in the shadow of Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, but most animated films do; they are both among the very best films that Pixar has produced, making them among the very best animated films ever produced. Toy Story 4 works well as an epilogue or a coda. It’s charming, smart, funny and very moving in the places where it needs to be. Toy Story 3 existed at the full stop at the end of the story, but Toy Story 4 draws a line under it.

Home on the range.

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