michael gallucci

Posts Tagged ‘toy story 3’


In top 10 on 12/17/2010 at 12:11 pm

Inception: a wild ride

If 2010’s best movies weren’t messing with your mind, they were almost daring you to sit through some potentially dreadful premises. The behind-the-scenes startup of a website. A psychological thriller revolving around ballerinas. A historical drama about a guy’s speech impediment. A film centered on some dude whose arm is stuck underneath a giant rock for 90 minutes. Each served as foundation to the year’s most riveting films.

1.  Inception

Director Christopher Nolan turns the world upside down, literally, in this stunning epic about a group of “extractors” (led by Leonardo DiCaprio) that penetrate people’s dreams to get to their innermost secrets. As they go deeper and deeper into their target’s dreamworld, things twist, turn, and – like the top that serves as the movie’s pivotal imagery — almost topple. It’s a brilliant and stylized work that challenges you to make up your own mind about what’s real and what isn’t.

2. Toy Story 3

Pixar’s best-ever movie accomplished two near-impossible feats: It’s the rare third movie that’s better than the first two outings in the series, and it made grown men cry (though most of us blamed it on those damn dusty theaters). Solid storytelling, great new characters, and one of the warmest and most touching endings ever put on film are just the start of Toy Story 3’s charm. Just try keeping your eyes dry when Andy plays with his toys for the last time.

3.  The Social Network

You can thank David Fincher for making the story of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg more than just a biopic for the computer age. The Fight Club director turns it into a fast, thrilling look at a college kid, with way too much time and money on his hands, who also happen to be a wily (and, no irony lost here, friendless) businessperson. Who knew geeks writing code and deposition hearings could be so exciting?

4.  Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky has made movies about obsessive people before – Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler. But in this one, obsessions take on a life of their own, as an emotionally fractured ballerina (played by a terrific Natalie Portman) lands her dream role – which happens to overlap with her total mental breakdown. In a quieter way, it’s just as much of a mindfuck as Inception, and its ending will leave you just as baffled.

5.  Kick-Ass

It’s based on a comic book about a makeshift superhero who has zero superpowers, and many of its scenes make all the villain-fighting stuff seem not only irresponsible, but incredibly dangerous (these heroes bleed – a lot). Still, these kids have guts – especially Hit-Girl (played by scene-stealing 13-year-old Chloe Moretz), a tiny fireball who busts heads and breaks faces as the embodiment of girl power. Often funny, occasionally obscene, and very kick-ass indeed.

6.  127 Hours

No surprise that 28 Days Later … director Danny Boyle could pull off this movie’s climatic scene with squirmy brilliance. But he also manages to make a movie about a real-life rock climber whose arm gets pinned beneath a boulder a truly fascinating piece of filmmaking. Credit also goes to James Franco, who plays a shaggy-haired dude you wouldn’t mind spending five days trapped in a canyon with. And that ending is one of the most emotionally stirring of the decade.

7.  The King’s Speech

Albert, Duke of York – who eventually becomes King George VI of England – dreads speaking in public because of his stammer, so he reluctantly begins working with a speech therapist. That’s The King’s Speech in a nutshell. Exciting stuff, no? Surprisingly, yes. Unknown director Tom Hooper’s period piece is short on stuffiness and long on great acting — especially Colin Firth, who injects his royal highness with humor, self-consciousness, and a spark of common vulnerability.

8. Shutter Island

Leonardo DiCaprio messes with your mind (again) as a U.S. marshal looking into some strange things happening on a remote prison for the criminally insane. Martin Scorsese is somewhat restrained in his first thriller, but he stages the movie’s twists with reserved style — even if you’ll probably figure it all out about halfway through. And unlike his other mind-blowing movie this year, DiCaprio gets to show off some acting chops here.

9.  Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

This explosion of comic books, indie rock, and video games is the most geektastic movie of the year – a celebration of everything that’s in the way of you and a hot date. Based on a series of graphic novels, the movie plays like a Mortal Kombat-inspired fever dream, as a 22-year-old bass-playing nerd takes on his new girlfriend’s “seven evil exes” with powers straight out of classic video games. A great double bill with Kick-Ass.

10.  Winter’s Bone

The backwoods folks in this indie hit are scary — Deliverance scary. Actually, they’re much more frightening because they seem so real. Debra Granik’s deliberately paced thriller sneaks up on you, as a 17-year-old Missouri mountain girl (a terrific Jennifer Lawrence) searches for her dad, who skipped bail after putting the family home up as collateral. Along the way, she meets vicious meth cookers who don’t like her snooping one dang bit.



In Uncategorized on 06/17/2010 at 12:01 am

Toy Story 3

For a movie studio as innovative and as consistently terrific as Pixar, it’s kind of odd that they’re reaching into the Toy Story box for a third time. Not that we’re complaining. The first Toy Story, and Pixar’s first feature, from 1995 is a masterpiece of CGI storytelling. The 1999 sequel nearly tops it. The third outing achieves the near impossible: Toy Story 3 is the best of the bunch. This time, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), and the gang are accidentally shipped to a daycare center as all-grown-up Andy gets ready for college. And things don’t go well. The toys run into some sticky situations (literally: the tots disassemble and try to eat the new recruits) and a hierarchy led by the pink, vindictive, and strawberry-scented Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear (Ned Beatty). Like the other two movies in the series (or most Pixar films, for that matter), Toy Story 3 expertly mixes poignancy and humor. There are so many standout moments here: The gang’s first afternoon at the daycare is exhilarating. Woody ends up in a home of a little girl whose overactive imagination exceeds Andy’s (I’d love to see her toys, especially thespian porcupine Mr. Pricklepants – voiced by Timothy Dalton — in their own movie). And bring tissues for the final scene. Seriously – you’ll need them. Credit Pixar’s creative team for pulling together these great characters with such an emotionally rich and thrilling story. Nothing else in theaters will deliver as much as Toy Story 3. It’s the funniest, smartest, and most touching movie you’ll see this summer.


In Uncategorized on 06/14/2010 at 8:00 am

When Toy Story 3 falls with style into theaters on Friday, it’s a safe bet that most of the scene-hogging won’t come from Woody or Buzz. If past Pixar movies are any indication, a minor character will get all the best lines and probably a totally excellent short on the DVD. Our money is on Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear, a cuddly, and probably downright evil, pink bundle of cute. But how does he rank with Pixar’s other awesome supporting characters from the past 15 years?

Toy Story

Pixar’s first movie, from 1995, introduces Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

Awesome supporting character: Aliens

Scene-stealing moment: Stranded in a Chuck E. Cheese-like circle of hell, Buzz asks a group of tiny toy aliens in an arcade claw machine who’s in charge. “The Claw!” answers one. “The Claw is our master,” says another. “The Claw chooses who will go and who will stay.”

A Bug’s Life

Meek ant Flik defends his colony against a mean grasshopper.

Awesome supporting character: Francis

Scene-stealing moment: Francis is a ladybug … voiced by Denis Leary. We’re not the only ones surprised. “So, bein’ a ladybug automatically makes me a girl. Is that it, fly boy?” the long-lashed Francis barks at a fellow insect in a voice scarred by years of smoking tiny cigarettes.

Toy Story 2

More adventures with Woody and Buzz in this terrific sequel.

Awesome supporting character: Mrs. Potato Head

Scene-stealing moment: We always figured Mrs. Potato Head sounded like George Costanza’s mom. As Buzz and the gang prepare to rescue Woody from an evil toy collector, she fills her husband’s back compartment with accessories. “I’m packing your angry eyes,” she tells him. “Just in case.”

Monsters Inc.

Furry Sully and one-eyed Mike protect a little girl from scarier monsters.

Awesome supporting character: Roz

Scene-stealing moment: Roz is the grumpy dispatch manager at the factory where Sully and Mike work. After Mike blows off his paperwork (again), Roz scolds him (again): “I’m watching you, Wazowski. Always watching. Always.”

Finding Nemo

Clownfish Nemo gets lost. Dad Marlin searches the ocean for him.

Awesome supporting character: Crush

Scene-stealing moment: Crush is a wake-and-bake turtle who lends Marlin a helping flipper after the fish’s encounter with deadly jellyfish. “Saw the whole thing, dude,” says the probably stoned Crush. “First you were all like ‘whoa,’ and we were like, whoa, and you were like ‘whoa’.”

The Incredibles

Mr. Incredible raises his family in a world where superheroes are outlawed.

Awesome supporting character: Jack Jack

Scene-stealing moment: The family’s infant son is presumably a normal baby … until the end of the movie, when he shows off an explosion of super powers. His flame-on moment at the climax is classic.


Racecar Lightning McQueen learns a lesson or two about friendship.

Awesome supporting character: Mater

Scene-stealing moment: Mater is a slow-witted tow truck voiced by the slow-witted Larry the Cable Guy. He introduces himself to Lightning: “Like tuh-mater, but without the ‘tuh’.”


A food-loving rat becomes a star chef in chi-chi Paris.

Awesome supporting character: Emile

Scene-stealing moment: Ratatouille’s overweight and boorish brother doesn’t share the same refined tastes. The star looks at his sib with disdain as Emile munches on an indiscernible object. Shrugs Emile: “I think it was some sort of wrapper once.”


Pixar’s best film stars a robot on a mission to save a dying planet – ours.

Awesome supporting character: BURN-E

Scene-stealing moment: Blink and you’ll miss the Basic Utility Repair Nano Engineer. As WALL-E and gal pal EVE enter a spaceship, they inadvertently lock out the tiny worker droid. BURN-E became the star of the short included with the WALLl-E DVD.


Pixar’s most sentimental film is about an old man, a little boy, and a house.

Awesome supporting character: Dug the talking dog

Scene-stealing moment: Dug’s joke: “A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, ‘I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead.’ Ha! It is funny because the squirrel gets dead.”