Steve Bencich

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Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore Review


Grim
Things have been ramped up considerably in the nine years since Cats & Dogs, and it's not good news. This film is more of a full-on spy spoof, but unlike the original it's too talky and chaotic to engage with either kids or adults.

Diggs (voiced by Marsden) is a brave but impulsive K-9 cop sacked from the San Francisco police force but recruited by the top-secret dog intelligence agency to work with veteran Butch (Nolte) to stop the menacing Kitty Galore (Midler) from taking over the world. But the cats aren't happy with Kitty's evil plan either, so feline spy Catherine (Applegate) teams up with the dogs. Yes, dogs and cats working together! Of course, Diggs' human partner (O'Donnell) and Kitty's magician owner (McBrayer) are oblivious.

Continue reading: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore Review

Open Season Review


Grim
There was a time, not too long ago, when there was one great computer-animated film per year, and that was it. Then, seemingly overnight, there were a dozen computer-animated films every year, and every single one of them had to do with an animal trying to find its home. This year is no exception; Over the Hedge, Ice Age: The Meltdown, and The Wild have already been released and there's still at least two more coming out before the end of the year and probably four others that escape my mind. Tacked onto this ever-growing list is Open Season, the latest from The Lion King director Roger Allers.

In a small rural town where camping and hunting are daily parts of life, Boog (Martin Lawrence) has a damn good life...99 for a grizzly bear, that is. He does a show with his friend, park ranger Beth (Debra Messing), and has a nice little bed and three meals a day in her basement. Then one day, Boog frees a deer named Elliot (Ashton Kutcher) from the hood of dumb-as-brick hunter Shaw's (Gary Sinise) truck. Elliot considers this an act of eternal friendship and begins to follow Boog around everywhere, eventually causing Boog to lose his show with Beth. Without a home or means of livelihood, Boog is sent back to the forest with Elliot. Here, Boog must find his inner bear (did I just type that?) and Elliot must find the courage to stand up to head buck Ian (Patrick Warburton). All of this happens while the pair are also trying to find their way back home and attempting to not get killed by Shaw.

Continue reading: Open Season Review

Chicken Little Review


OK
Now that Disney finally has gotten rid of that albatross of Pixar, the Mouse can finally get on with making computer animated movies by itself. Gosh!

But seriously, Chicken Little is Disney's first solo stab at a CGI kiddie flick, something that was going to happen sooner or later and which, given Disney's recent track record in animation, has had most moviegoers scared silly. Chicken Little takes an age-old fable and hands the story to director Mark Dindal (who directed the best animated Disney movie in recent memory, the under-seen The Emperor's New Groove). Nice start, but... Chicken Little? "The sky is falling, the sky is falling?" In the original story, Chicken Little gets beaned with an acorn and gathers up all his friends to tell the king that the sky is falling. As they trek to visit the king, they are captured by Foxy Loxy and (depending on how gruesome the interpretation you're reading is) are promptly eaten.

Continue reading: Chicken Little Review

Open Season Review


Grim
There was a time, not too long ago, when there was one great computer-animated film per year, and that was it. Then, seemingly overnight, there were a dozen computer-animated films every year, and every single one of them had to do with an animal trying to find its home. This year is no exception; Over the Hedge, Ice Age: The Meltdown, and The Wild have already been released and there's still at least two more coming out before the end of the year and probably four others that escape my mind. Tacked onto this ever-growing list is Open Season, the latest from The Lion King director Roger Allers.

In a small rural town where camping and hunting are daily parts of life, Boog (Martin Lawrence) has a damn good life... for a grizzly bear, that is. He does a show with his friend, park ranger Beth (Debra Messing), and has a nice little bed and three meals a day in her basement. Then one day, Boog frees a deer named Elliot (Ashton Kutcher) from the hood of dumb-as-brick hunter Shaw's (Gary Sinise) truck. Elliot considers this an act of eternal friendship and begins to follow Boog around everywhere, eventually causing Boog to lose his show with Beth. Without a home or means of livelihood, Boog is sent back to the forest with Elliot. Here, Boog must find his inner bear (did I just type that?) and Elliot must find the courage to stand up to head buck Ian (Patrick Warburton). All of this happens while the pair are also trying to find their way back home and attempting to not get killed by Shaw.

Continue reading: Open Season Review

Chicken Little Review


OK
Now that Disney finally has gotten rid of that albatross of Pixar, the Mouse can finally get on with making computer animated movies by itself. Gosh!

But seriously, Chicken Little is Disney's first solo stab at a CGI kiddie flick, something that was going to happen sooner or later and which, given Disney's recent track record in animation, has had most moviegoers scared silly. Chicken Little takes an age-old fable and hands the story to director Mark Dindal (who directed the best animated Disney movie in recent memory, the under-seen The Emperor's New Groove). Nice start, but... Chicken Little? "The sky is falling, the sky is falling?" In the original story, Chicken Little gets beaned with an acorn and gathers up all his friends to tell the king that the sky is falling. As they trek to visit the king, they are captured by Foxy Loxy and (depending on how gruesome the interpretation you're reading is) are promptly eaten.

Continue reading: Chicken Little Review

Brother Bear Review


OK
Brother Bear is the very Disney tale of a young bear-hating man named Kenai (voiced by Joaquin Phoenix) transformed into a bear and embarking on a journey with an orphaned cub. It's beautiful look at, but minor and sort of inert. I don't deny Disney the right to make a minor cartoon now and then (part of the industry's problem is the expectation that every cartoon should be a $200+ million blockbuster), but Brother Bear is oddly thin. Even the gorgeous visuals fade from your head as you leave the theater.

It goes down pleasantly enough as you watch. In fact, Brother Bear is rife with wonderful details. A prologue establishes only that the story takes place "a long time ago"; this allows the artists a certain freedom in their creation of a vaguely North American environment. There are rustling trees, blocks of ice, and swirls of light, all with an unfussy natural flow, not to mention gorgeous colors (it's not for nothing that the frame switches to a wider aspect ratio once the lead character turns into a bear).

Continue reading: Brother Bear Review

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Steve Bencich Movies

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore Movie Review

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore Movie Review

Things have been ramped up considerably in the nine years since Cats & Dogs, and...

Open Season Movie Review

Open Season Movie Review

There was a time, not too long ago, when there was one great computer-animated film...

Chicken Little Movie Review

Chicken Little Movie Review

Now that Disney finally has gotten rid of that albatross of Pixar, the Mouse can...

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Open Season Movie Review

Open Season Movie Review

There was a time, not too long ago, when there was one great computer-animated film...

Chicken Little Movie Review

Chicken Little Movie Review

Now that Disney finally has gotten rid of that albatross of Pixar, the Mouse can...

Brother Bear Movie Review

Brother Bear Movie Review

Brother Bear is the very Disney tale of a young bear-hating man named Kenai (voiced...

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