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Blu-ray Review: ‘Westworld’ (1973)

The 1973 android disaster classic "Westworld" finally gets a Blu-ray treatment via a single-disc debut package. This film is the first directorial work of novelist and filmmaker Michael Crichton. It was released a good two decades earlier than the more familiar classic "Jurassic Park," which was originally written by the same man behind "Westworld." The said Steven Spielberg opus is actually an adaptation of Crichton's 1990 novel "Jurassic Park." The two movies "Westworld" and "Jurassic Park" clearly utilize a very similar

Animated Classics With Charming Dinosaur Characters for Kids

Children are often fascinated by dinosaurs in movies. A number of animated offerings feature charming renditions of these creatures to entertain kids. Classic movies that showcase these prehistoric beasts can be ideal choices for a family movie marathon. There are also those that serve as historical and educational offerings readily available online -- becoming points of comparison on how the earlier days of cinema and animation have evolved through the decades. "Gertie the Dinosaur" (1914) The general interest in dinosaur characters

‘The Red Balloon’ Short Film Critique: Relationship and Poetry Through a Child’s Gaze

A short essay for my Film Theory and Criticism Class The 1956 French short film classic “The Red Balloon” (Le ballon rouge) features a tender drama with a fine touch of flight of fancy. Its subdued setting features a lot of grays, suggesting the depressing quality of the film’s mood and tone, which is then contrasted with the blazing red balloon in mid air.  This post-war motion-picture classic written and directed by Albert Lamorisse features a seemingly cynical world that turns magical

‘Hedgehog in the Fog’ Short Film Critique: The Phantasm of Venturing Into the Unknown

A short essay for my Film Theory and Criticism Class The 1975 short animated film “Hedgehog in the Fog” (Yozhik v tumane) by Yuri Norstein offers an amalgam of terror and pleasure using the phantasm of venturing into the unknown. This evocative work of imagination features the journey of a hedgehog one evening to see his bear cub friend. As he travels in the foggy forest, he encounters many scary things that eventually become transformative moments of wonder. This 11-minute Russian

‘Tango’ Short Film Critique: Overlapping Routines as a Collective Ritual

A short essay for my Film Theory and Criticism Class Filmmaker Zbigniew Rybczyński presents his critically acclaimed 1981 Polish short film “Tango” as a rhythmic play set in a stage that gradually progresses. It begins with a vaguely minimalist room where there are three points of entrance and exit: two doors and a window. These points become the gateways of a plethora of characters that initially starts with easily recognizable parts until each one’s repetitive acts create layer after layer of

Video #2: The Pixnoys and getting hired at Pixar from ‘Inside Out’ co-director Ronnie del Carmen

This is a documentation filmed during the "Inside Out" Press Conference in Manila, Philippines with director Pete Docter and co-director Ronnie del Carmen. Ronnie talks about his Filipino colleagues at Pixar and their advocacy projects, then Pete and Ronnie discuss their successful working relationship starting from the film "Up," then all the way to "Inside Out." These came from the unplanned handheld shots with the GoPro I apparently brought with me during the press conference invitation, and I guess the footage turned

Video #1: How the Story Came About From the ‘Inside Out’ Directors

This is a documentation filmed during the "Inside Out" Press Conference in Manila, Philippines with director Pete Docter and co-director Ronnie del Carmen. This video features the filmmakers' introduction to the "Inside Out" story development and Pete and Ronnie's working relationship at Pixar. These came from the unplanned handheld shots with the GoPro I apparently brought with me during the press conference invitation, and I guess the footage turned out fine and worth watching. Thanks to the awesome responses from these two

‘Inside Out’ Film Review: Happy + Sad

“Inside Out” is a powerfully moving animated piece exploring the importance of emotions in people's lives. Daring to explore the existential crises of the human mind and the feelings affecting one’s life, this formidably ingenious film works similar to a thesis or research project. With a material that strikes as a reflection on the power of emotions, it targets the family audience, particularly those with ages ranging from pre-teen to adult. Packaged as a motion picture set inside someone's head and how

Blu-ray Review: ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition

The 1971 fantasy musical "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" releases its "40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition" featuring a three-disc set with one Blu-ray disc and two DVDs. This screen adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" tells the story of an underprivileged boy who finds one of the five golden tickets to visit Willy Wonka's famed chocolate factory. He and four other lucky children find themselves in an unusual adventure with the world's greatest chocolate maker

Blu-ray Review: ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" comes out on a single-disc Blu-ray package featuring Tim Burton's rendition of the Roald Dahl novel about the eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka and the children visiting his renowned chocolate factory. This astonishing and enduring visionary piece is filled with jaw-dropping sights and visually appealing oddities. It showcases a star-studded cast including Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, Helena Bonham Carter, Deep Roy, Danny Elfman, and David Kelly. This 2005 motion picture adaptation tells the story of Charlie and

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