Chirlane McCray and Teri Hatcher - The United Nations Official Commemoration Of The International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women - New York, United States - Tuesday 25th November 2014
Teri Hatcher - Photographs from the Unite Campaign to End Violence Against Women and raise awareness of these issues. The campaign event was held at the Empire State Building in New York City, New York, United States - Monday 24th November 2014
George Kotsiopoulos and Teri Hatcher - Photographs from the audience and atmosphere at the Gavlak Hollywood gallery opening fashion show held at the Gavlak Gallery in Hollywood, California, United States - Monday 27th October 2014
Despite the fact that this too-soon spin-off feels like a mere cash-in on the Disney Cars/Planes marketing machine, this sequel is actually a lot more fun than expected. Not only is the animation witty and sometimes even exhilarating, but there are some solid messages in the story. On the other hand, there's also the continuing problem of making movies in which the central characters are inanimate objects with cute faces drawn on them. But never mind: see the movies, buy the toys, keep the kids happy!
After the globe-hopping race in 2013's Planes, the new champ Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook) sees his new celebrity career grounded when he develops a problem in his gearbox. He can still fly, but the torque required for racing stunts could do him in. So he decides to retrain as an aerial firefighter to help his local airfield maintain its certification in time for the annual Corn Festival. In training, he is mentored by veteran chopper Blade (Ed Harris), working alongside his starstruck fan Dipper (Julie Bowen), the noble Windlifter (Wes Studi), the sassy Dynamite (Regina King) and the genius mechanic Maru (Curtis Armstrong). But a raging wildfire is threatening the nearby Fusel Lodge, and the local park superintendent (John Michael Higgins) doesn't want to shut it down with so many stars as guests.
The best touch here is to make Dusty utterly full of himself, never listening to any advice before charging in unprepared for the next challenge. It's predictable and underdeveloped, but it makes this chirpy crop-duster far more interesting, and adds some unexpected diversions in a plot that otherwise heads exactly where it has to go. Meanwhile, the screenwriters pack the dialog with witty puns and some snappy verbal and visual gags that allow the actors to give their vehicles a bit of personality, even if some of this is merely ethnic stereotyping or simplistic hero/villain morality.
Continue reading: Planes: Fire & Rescue Review
Disney takes over Pixar's "World of Cars" with this spin-off that no-one really asked for (Cars 2 wasn't exactly a mega-hit). Indeed, this is an essentially disposable adventure, smiley and formulaic with a few minor thrills and a gentle sense of humour. Fortunately, the animation has some charm, as well as the occasional exhilarating moment. So kids are likely to enjoy it.
The protagonist is Dusty (voiced by Cook), a cropduster in rural America who dreams of racing against world champion Ripslinger (Smith) in the Wings Around the Globe race. So he gathers forklift Dottie (Hatcher) and fuel truck Chug (Garrett) as his pit crew, and convinces war veteran Skipper (Keach) to coach him. Despite being afraid of heights, he makes it into the final against Britain's Bulldog (Cleese), Mexico's Chupacabra (Alazraqui) and French-Canadian Rochelle (Louis-Deryfus). But as the race gets underway, Ripslinger and his henchmen continually sabotage the increasingly plucky Dusty.
The plot is so simple that this feels like one of Disney's straight-to-DVD sequels, complete with the deeply bland hero and ruthlessly evil villain. Fortunately, it's livened up by snappy dialog and a cast of offbeat characters that continually add deranged touches adult viewers will enjoy (such as a German forklift in lederhosen or a group of chanting Himalayan-monk tuktuks). There's not much else the strong voice cast can do with these characters. But the animators have a lot of fun with the settings as the race zooms to Europe, India, Nepal, China and Mexico, with whizzy race action that makes the 3D worthwhile for a change.
Continue reading: Planes Review