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Pixar's Up is a sky-high masterwork
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN Contributing Writer

Up
Now Playing


In the latter stage of his life and unwilling to be sent to a retirement home, widower Carl Fredricksen (Edward Asner) decides to fulfill his wife Ellie's lifelong dream of flying to a secret South American locale and having the adventures both had always said they longed for. Using his skills as a balloonist, he manages to rig a contraption that takes his entire home skyward, onlookers gasping at the sight as he goes floating by.

Unbeknownst to Carl, a young wilderness explorer some 70 years his junior named Russell (Jordan Nagai) has inadvertently hitched along for the ride. Together, these two strangers find a way to bond as danger comes calling, striking out from angles and destinations neither anticipates. It is a friendship no one could have expected but both individuals are in desperate need of, as the lessons learned are ones they will take solace in long after the world forgets who they even were.

Okay, I've had it. There just isn't any more to say. The bottom line is that Pixar, company head John Lasseter, the entire creative team, all the people they have working for and with them, can do absolutely no wrong. It's become an impossibility, and no matter the concept or the subject matter, time and time again, they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they make films better than just about anyone else.

Their latest, Up, is no exception. This is as charming and as moving an animated family marvel as they have created yet. Directors Pete Doctor (Monsters, Inc) and relative newcomer Bob Peterson (who also wrote the captivating screenplay) have taken arguably the studio's most outlandish scenario yet and transformed it into a timeless marvel that viewers of all ages are going to adore. From the sweetly enchanting opening scenes to the energetic set pieces closing it out, this movie does no wrong, and when it was over, all I wanted them to do was rewind the projector so I could it watch it again.

I guess the only thing I can maybe do at this point is try to rank it against what Pixar has done before, but even that is pretty much an absurd waste of time. From WALL-E to Toy Story, Ratatouille to Finding Nemo, The Incredibles to A Bug's Life, very little of what the studio has attempted has even come close to resembling what they've already done. They simply do not repeat themselves, and even when they tackle a sequel, like with Toy Story 2, they still somehow manage to do it in a way that feels fresh and original - a talent the rest of Hollywood would do good to try and emulate.

The simple truth is that it's the story, stupid, and focusing on that particular aspect of a film's creation is what has put them head and shoulders above everyone else. When you watch the DVDs of classic Disney films like Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio and Lady and the Tramp, you can see footage of Walt stressing the importance of the script, that the characters must ring true or nothing the animators attempt to do, even with all their skill and passion, will ever matter to the audience.

Lasseter and company have followed that policy to the letter, each of their pictures, even relatively slight efforts like Cars, ringing of an authenticity few other pictures - animated or live action - can match. Their characters resonate with you long after the film is over. Their decisions and relationships have a tactile authenticity that makes whatever happens to them feel alive and genuine.

In the case of Up this, once again, is certainly the case. The longer I mull it over, the more I realize that this will undoubtedly be one of the best films I see this year, just about certain to take its place at the upper reaches of my year-end personal top 10 as well as secure industry-wide accolades that no other 2009 production will come close to matching. It is, and forgive me for saying this (because I feel like I do so each time out), a masterpiece, and as streaks of brilliance go, here's my hope that Pixar's never comes to an end.

Courtesy of moviefreak.com.


Land of the Lost hilarious and hella fun
by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

Land of the Lost
Now Playing


It's hard to imagine the same person who was making jokes about dinosaur urine and making me laugh as he harasses a monkey-like creature was the same one who was sitting, all gussied up in the audience, waiting to find out if his depiction of George Bush would win a Tony. In fact, until a clip was showed with the performance, I thought they were kidding that former Saturday Night Live alum Will Ferrell had been nominated for a Tony award, one of the most prestigious awards given to actors on the legitimate stage. He didn't win it, unfortunately, but heck, there's always next year, I guess, and in the meantime he's turned out a pretty believable, funny as hell performance as a down at the heels, over the top professor who tries to convince Matt Lauer on a talk show that time travel is the answer to the world's energy problems. And, yes, it's the real Matt Lauer (though being someone who sleeps late, I've never seen his show). Ferrell, joined by another scientist/intern who lost her internship and credibility for supporting his wacky theories, attempt to prove his theory by building a slapdash time machine.

They travel to a place in the middle of the New Mexico desert after she shows him what she thinks to be an artifact that proves someone traveled back in time thousands of years. Intrigued as much by her lanky legs and pouty English voice, our professor follows her advice and with a quirky and questionable guide in tow, enters an abandoned cave said to possibly have a time travel wormhole, or something like that. And before you can say "morlocks," the machine is flipped on and something indeed does happen as all three are whooshed and whirled away and dumped in the same place in the desert, but thousands of years ago! Know ahead of time, that this is not the cartoon version of Land of the Lost, or the B-movie I believe was made from said cartoon, but a hilarious send-up of jokes about lizard creature sex, Neanderthal bonding rituals and almost too many crazy dealings with a "smart dinosaur." Best to set aside your inner critic and take a sense of humor and expect nothing to be all scientific, hoity-toity sensible in this film, and then, believe me, Land of the Lost is just what a summer movie should be: hella fun, and an experience that'll leave you laughing a bit even after you leave the theater. Worth it, I'd say.






At the Zoo, the B-52s shimmied
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Charlene Strong turned tragedy into activist energy
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RENT back to Seattle with stellar cast
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Get swept away with The Tempest
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I.D. art show at Kucera Gallery
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Pride Idol's final show Tuesday at R Place
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Slapstick & mayhem Moonlight in Edmonds
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SGN Exclusive Interview: Dance diva Abigail returns to Seattle Pride
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Much ado about Oregon Shakespeare Festival
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Pixar's Up is a sky-high masterwork
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Land of the Lost hilarious and hella fun
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B-52s, JoBros, Staples all in June
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Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
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Next week: Tori Amos, hottest musicians, best of 2009 ½
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Northwest News
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Computer hell, I'm in love, and loved, and so much more in this Pride Lipstick and Lust
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Deep Inside Hollywood - Romeo San Vicente
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Book Marks
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2009 Sierra 4WD Hybrid Crew Cab
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A Dyke About Town: Mercy and Magnanimity listen to jazz
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