The Croods

Croods posterDreamWorks (2013) 98 min. PG

Director: Kirk De Micco & Chris Sanders     

Screenplay: Kirk De Micco & Chris Sanders; Story: John Cleese, Kirk De Micco & Chris Sanders

Cinematography: Yong Duk Jhun; Editing: Darren T. Holmes

Production Design: Christophe Lautrette; Art Decoration: Paul Duncan & Dominique Louis

Score: Alan Silvestri

Stars: Nicholas Cage (Grug), Emma Stone (Eep), Ryan Reynolds (Guy), Catherine Keener (Ugga), Cloris Leachman (Gran), Clark Duke (Thunk), Chris Sanders (Belt), Randy Thom (Sandy)

Whenever I hear a familiar voice I can’t put a face to booming out from an animated film, it nags at me no end. Names are never given at the beginning of these pictures, like we’re used to seeing pursuant to the billing dictates of most star contracts. And the figures we hear these voices eerily emanating from are so unlike the faces we’ve associated them with, it triggers a short-term form of dissociative disorder. Such was the case with The Croods. The entire movie long I was waiting to find out who that gnawingly familiar voice behind Grug, the movie’s caveman father, belonged to, making it difficult to concentrate on anything else. Continue reading

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Brave

Pixar (2012) 93 min. PG

Director: Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman

Screenplay: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi & Steve Purcell; Story: Brenda Chapman

Editing: Nicholas C. Smith Score: Patrick Doyle

Stars: Kelly Macdonald (Princess Merida), Emma Thompson (Queen Elinor), Billy Connolly (King Fergus), Julie Walters (The Witch), Kevin McKidd (Lord MacGuffin & Young MacGuffin), Craig Ferguson (Lord Macintosh), Robbie Coltrane (Lord Dingwall), Steven Cree (Young Macintosh), Callum O’Neill (Wee Dingwall); non-speaking characters include Mor’du (the bear), Angus (Merida’s horse), Harris, Hubert & Hamish (Merida’s triplet brothers)

Animation is among the most visually exhilarating of movie forms because it’s the only sort of cinema, apart from silents, that is conceived primarily from a visual standpoint. The dizzying optic dynamism never lets up for a minute, so cartoons can easily start to seem overbearingly energetic. They have to in order to sustain the interest of kids’ increasingly shorter attention spans, now preconditioned to this kind of constant stimulation. Continue reading