Sunday, June 28, 2015

(Disney Animated Movie Review #11 ) Pixar's Inside Out 2015 9+ out of 10

Inside Out 2015  9+ out of 10

Pixar strikes again:  Inside Out takes a high concept idea taken to the next level.  As I mentioned in a previous blog about it's box office success, Inside Out takes concepts covered in an old Disney World War 2 cartoon,  an old Epcot attraction called Cranium Command and the TV show Herman's Head  and creates an incredible new universe.    What Tron did for the computer Inside Out does with the human brain.

The Story
The story follows a young girl named Riley whose life has been completely happy until her family moves from their home in Minnesota to San Francisco.   We get to follow how this dramatic life change effects Riley from the point of life of her emotions.   Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness are the emotions that control Riley's mind in what is called Headquarters.  These anamorphic creatures help to guide Riley through life and the film focuses on how they deal with this new drastic change.   Things get a little out of control as the emotions take on this new challenge,  which is where all the fun begins.   This simple sounding story is taken to creative and imaginative places.  There is definitely world building going on in this universe and I could see additional stories being told in this world --whether that be animated shorts of sequels.  I love where they took this concept.

The Cast
The casting of the emotions was great:   Amy Poehler plays the main character of Joy (who has basically been in charge until the life change happens) and totally nails the role.  Phyllis Smith  (Phyllis from the Office) personifies sadness and Lewis Black is an absolute blast as Anger. I would love to see an animated short based on Anger being in control the whole time.  He is a tour de force and the fact that the movie touches on the emotions in other people's head leaves so many possibilities open.   An argument between Lewis Black and Gilbert Gottfried (as someone else's Anger)  --would be epic. 

Emotional Ride
This movie succeeds in not just showing you the emotions that Riley goes through --but actually takes you on an emotional ride along with some of those emotions.  The movie makes you laugh and makes you emotional as well. The journey that Joy and Sadness go on together drags you along with them.  The movie may connect with you on levels an average animated film does not.  In the same way the Toy Story pulled on your emotions when Jessie's owner that once loved her leaves her behind in a box the character of Bing Bong may make you miss your childhood.   The movie deals with the loss of innocence in a similar way and may effect the emotions of both child and adult alike.  The movie just hits all the right notes and ends with a hiliarious montage of the emotions in the heads of many other people.  It left the kids cracking up with laughter , which was a great way for a movie that can actually make you think sending you out of the theater.

I would definitely recommend Inside Out to anyone.  Especially after seeing the trailer for some upcoming animated movies that will soon hit the theaters.  I'd rather watch  take a deep and thoughtful movie like Inside Out over babbling  fart joke Minions anyday.

Dream Productions a great concept.
I just had to mention Dream Productions because I love that concept and about 7 years ago had a concept myself (which I'm sure hundreds of creative  people have considered before me) about an entire movie based on your dream world.   I had about 5 very different concepts for movies based on dreams and the dream world --but one centered on your dreams being run by a Hollywood movie company putting them on for you each night.   This movie is the first movie that really touched on that.  I can see an entire movie based on this concept.  Pixar is the perfect place for this idea and this movie touches the surface of what could be an entire movie --where Dream Central (in my concept) gets a budget for your dream and the whole movie deals with the chaos of trying to put on that production as writers keep changing the script as the dream goes on.  I loved how they dipped into this concept and I would love to see a movie about this like what I had imagined previously.   Do or do Not Pixar  "Dream Productions" would make a great movie.

Follow my Disney facebook page is below

Nerd Block

40% off everything 728x90

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Exploring World Showcase at Epcot: Part 6 Italy/Via Napoli Restaurant Review

Our next stop on our Journey around World Showcase is Italy.  We didn't stop in the America Pavillion because we had reservations for dinner in Italy.  

(Neptune's Fountain)

The Italian Pavilion has no attractions --but they do have food.
Via Napoli was our destination --and I guess this could just as easily have been a restaurant review since our time in Italy was all about Pizza.

An Italian waiter took our order and suggested items we may like with an authentic accent.  As I mentioned before one of the little details that makes Epcot so cool is the cast members from the actual countries.  The pizza was excellent.  My wife and I got a Carciofi Pizza --which was a white pizza with artichoke, fontina, mozzarella and truffle oil.  It was absolutely incredible.     To drink with it I went a little outside the box and got a Bellini --which I heard about from Lou Mongello  on WDW Radio Live Restaurant review. That podcast by Lou is below (of you don't listen to WDW Radio you should be).    Lou was right it was great!


The Italy Pavilion features elements from all over Italy including a re-creation of Mark's Campanile Bell Tower (which is also a prominent feature at the Venetian in Las Vegas.


Here are a couple pictures of the some of the entertainment that marches its way through the Italy pavilion during the day.  The Flag waving act called Sbandieratori Di Sansepolcro features hand painted flags and costumes.  This reflects a tradition that is over 500 years old and can be seen throughout the day at the pavilion.

I wish we could have spent even more time in Italy.  I could probably eat in Italy at least three days in a row.  Tutto Italia's menu also looks excellent and we may need to get back to go there next time.

For the Flower and Garden Festival a Lady and The Tramp topiary greets those in Italy.

The Pavilion also features several small stores that carry Italian Merchanside such as soaps, Venetian masks, chocolates and Italian wines and much more.   We didn't even see the shops because we had our eyes on something from our vacation bucket list.    We wanted to  make a brief stop at the Wine Cellar that was added last year.    I'll feature this in a separate blog.  We sat outside and had a glass of Italian wine since the kids were tired from walking half way around the world.    If we didn't have more countries to try and see and the kids were at home I could have seen us relaxing in Italy for awhile inside the wine bar.

Follow my Disney facebook page is below

Nerd Block

40% off everything 728x90

Friday, June 26, 2015

Rebels Season 2 Premiere on Disney XD: A Game Changer (spoilers)

Season 1 of Rebels seemed smaller to me than the Clone Wars.  The animation style was a little different (a little simpler).  The show felt less epic and the adventures were on a lot smaller scale as they followed the isolated story of the Rebel Crew.  I missed the Clone Wars.   I liked Rebels –but wasn’t in love with it yet.   That being said Season 1 had some really good stuff and ended on an extremely high note that opened the series up to a much larger story.   I think the creators of the show did an excellent job of giving us the time to learn about these characters before plunging them and us into a larger galactic story. 

I was at Star Wars Celebration and wanted to see the Season 2 premiere and Rebels panels–but it filled up hours in advance so I only got to see the Trailer at the Closing ceremonies.   The Trailer had me totally excited and I couldn’t wait to actually see the premiere on Disney XD this week.   The premiere episode was a game changer.  The series is now full on Star Wars.  I was so happy with this premiere episode that I almost thought “I really don’t care about The Force Awakens –if I can continue to get Star Wars this good every week”.    I know blasphemy –but some of the scenes with Vader were visually perfect.    Why can’t we just get the Vader comic as a series?   I know that Season 2 will not be this good on a weekly basis –but if we get moments half as good as this premiere—Rebels will be my favorite show on TV (Sorry Walking Dead)

The Best Parts  (Spoilers)
This episode had several Series defining moments: 
1. The scene with Vader lifting the fallen AT Walkers with the flames in the background was amazing.   It felt like he was just toying with Kanan and Ezra and that there is no way either of them should survive.  
2. The scenes with him in his Tie Fighter taking out Rebels were fantastic.   
3. The moment when Ahsoka and Kanan are reaching out to Vader and the force washes over Ahsoka and Vader at the same time.   Vader knows his old apprentice is still alive and his focus changes.  We aren’t sure what Ahsoka knows—but she may have a clue.     
4. Then Vader talks with the Emperor and discusses this and brings up Obi Wan.    

The possibilities of where this story will go are endless and exciting.   We will probably see Ahsoka and Vader square off at some point.   Will Vader kill her?   Will we get to see Obi Wan in action again.    I can’t wait until the next episode---I’m just as excited now for Season 2 as I am for the new movie.  Especially since I get to see so much more of it.

Follow my Disney facebook page is below

Nerd Block

40% off everything 728x90

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Always Changing Disneyland Bucket List: What is on your Disneyland Bucket List?

I’m an annual pass holder so you would think that I wouldn't have a  big Disneyland Bucket list.   But as a huge Disney fan I do and it changes all the time.   My list will differ from someone who may have never been to the parks or who hasn’t been there for years.  You may have never been to Carsland….So experiencing the newest section of the parks may be your entire list.
My list is always evolving –whenever something new comes to the park I have to check it out and will get antsy if I haven’t seen it yet.   So here is my current list as of June 24th 2015.
1.  World of Color – I haven’t seen World of Color in awhile and missed out on the special Christmas version –So I’m dying to check out the new updated version for Disneyland’s 60th anniversary

    2.  Antman Sneak Peak:   One of my favorite things to do now is to check out the new movie sneak peeks in the parks.  They are always cool and anytime a new one comes out it quickly go to the top of my Disneyland bucket list.

3. The Hatbox Ghost:  I can’t believe that I’ve been out to the park twice since it arrived and haven’t seen it yet.

4.  The new Yeti.    I’ve seen the new effects online and it looks incredible.     (I wonder what happened to Harold --pictured below --waving to his fans)

 5. The New Fireworks –From Main Street USA.   We caught the new Fireworks the other night from down near the Small World –which was cool –but I really need to see them from Main Street to get the full effect  (here is an old picture from a really cool --not so crowded place to catch the fireworks from)

6. Alice in Wonderland-   They added some new effects to Alice early in the year which I haven’t seen yet.   Since then the lines have either been long or the ride closed after the fireworks.

Follow my Disney facebook page is below

Nerd Block

40% off everything 728x90

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Disney Restaurant Review: The Brown Derby

While at Disney’s Hollywood Studios the other place on our must stop restaurant list was The Brown Derby.  
  The old Brown Derby in Hollywood is the home of the home of the original Cobb Salad and is the first place I ever had a Cobb Salad over 10 years ago and is still the best Cobb Salad I have ever had.  The original Derby is pictured below.

This is where you want to eat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios if you are looking for something a little fancier and more fine dining—yet you can still find some reasonable food at a decent price if you aren’t going full blown Steaks and Seafood plates. 

The decor of this old Hollywood themed restaurant is classic Hollywood with old caricatures of famous Hollywood actors.  Like the Carthay Circle at Disney’s California adventure –this restaurant is stylish and classy.  

I had the Appetizer Cobb Salad which was awesome.  One of our friends had the Pan Sear Salmon and absolutely loved it.
We also had the Artisanal Cheeses  which consisted of  the following:
Wensleydale Carnberry, VSOP Reypenaer Gouda, Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese with House-made Pickles, Spiced Pecans, and an Apple-Mustard Marmalade

I had a great Martini called the Varm Dame Martini
 My wife had  a  MacMurray Ranch Chardonnay from Sonoma:  This is a good Chardonnay that we had tried previously in Disney’s California Adventure – which is featured at that park one of what they call the Disney Family Wines.   (Here is a blog we did about that over on our wine blog).    
What is the Disney connection you ask..  It is a winery connected with Fred MacMurray of Disney movie fame from the Nutty Professor, Shaggy Dog movies.

We absolutely loved the Brown Derby.  My stepdaughter wanted to go back to Disneyworld so she could get the Salmon that our friends let her have a taste of. 

If we return to Disney’s  Hollywood Studios  we would like to hit there outdoor lounge which has  some great sounding appetizers Martini, Margarita, Wine and Scotch Flights.

Follow my Disney facebook page is below

Nerd Block

40% off everything 728x90

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Disney/Pixar Animated Short Reviews: #60 Reason and Emotion 1943 7+ out of 10 (This one is for the adults)

Reason and Emotion 1943  7+ out of 10

After reading an article  on yahoo about an old Disney war Propaganda film being an inspiration for Pixar's new hit film Inside Out --I had to check it out. 

 Reason and Emotion was an Anti-Nazi Propaganda film the Disney made during the war effort and takes a look at the battle between Reason and Emotion in the human brain when making decisions.  This was an interesting cartoon that in today's "Politically Correct world" is not so politically correct.  I would say this particular Disney cartoon is not really for the kids--but worth checking out as an adult fan of Disney history. 

The character of Emotion in this cartoon is played by a cartoon caveman that seems all ID battling for the control of the human brain with Reason that is portrayed by a Felix Unger type  (basically the Super Ego).  The caveman character is funny despite being a extremely inappropriate by modern standards.  The cartoon hits some heavy topics when its discusses Hitler  (yes Hitler)  and how he played on the people of Germany's emotions to work toward world conquest in his propaganda.   If you are a fan of Disney history definitely check this cartoon out. It can be found in the article below from Yahoo, with an intro from Leonard Maltin.

The films obvious influence on Inside Out is in the concept of different characters inside a person's head representing their emotions and  controlling their actions.   

Follow my Disney facebook page is below

Nerd Block

The Easiest Way to Create a Website. 40% off everything 728x90