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ROBOT DREAMS: THE OTHER NEW ANIMATED FEATURE

Of course moviegoers turned out en masse for Inside Out 2 this weekend. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy more of the experience the original film provided in 2015? My only quibble is that the new release is a sequel and therefore lacks the freshness of the first film, which was a marvel of ingenuity. On the other hand, Pablo Berger’s Robot Dreams, loosely based on a graphic novel by Sarah Varon, is a true original—one of a kind. The storyline is deceptively simple: a dog (named Dog) orders a robot (named Robot) after watching a TV commercial and the two become the best of friends…but life doesn’t always go according to plan. That’s all I want to reveal about this sleeper, a Spanish-French co-production that takes place in New…

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REMEMBERING RICHARD SHERMAN

The first time I visited Richard Sherman, I rang the doorbell of his Beverly Hills home and heard the first seven notes of “It’s a Small World.” Naturally, I smiled. The smile has only faded this past week with the news of his passing, but I refuse to be sad. Instead, I am grateful: grateful for all the happy occasions he and his wife Elizabeth shared with my family, for the many kindnesses he showed us, and for being such a warm and inspiring person. He lived a full 95 years. He was a special figure in my daughter’s life. She has known him since she was a tot and we spent many happy times together at home and at various Disney occasions out of…

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WHAT’S NEW ON DVD/BLU-RAY/4K IN MAY

The following article was written by my friend and colleague Alonso Duralde. You can learn more about him HERE. What’s New on DVD/Blu/4K in May: Jonathan Demme, Bob Marley, Dune Part: Two and More! NEW RELEASE WALL Stop Making Sense (A24): Forty years later, this electrifying collaboration between Talking Heads and director Jonathan Demme remains one of the great concert films ever made, and its remastered IMAX reissue was one of the most joyous cinematic events of 2023. Now that 4K restoration makes it to physical media with a Deluxe Collector’s Edition featuring extras fans will burn down the house to get: an extended cut (restoring the songs “Cities” and “Big Business/I Zimbra”), a 64-page booklet with never-before-seen photos and a foreword by Jerry Harrison, David Byrne’s…

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FURIOSA: A MAD MAX STORY 

After forty-five years, it’s amazing that Aussie filmmaker George Miller can still derive compelling ideas from the car-crazy world of Mad Max that he created so long ago. I’d never seen anything like the scrappy stunt work and go-for-broke attitude of Road Warrior (aka Mad Max 2) when it opened here in 1981.  With success came more money and a broader canvas, which Miller was only too happy to fill in several follow-up features. But the last entry, Mad Max: Fury Road was so intense I couldn’t actually enjoy it; the visceral, tangibly believable action sequences made me physically uncomfortable. I’m happy to report that Miller has dialed it back (from 11) in his terrific new prequel, Furiosa: A Mad Max Story. We meet Furiosa…

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REDISCOVERING ‘THREE GODFATHERS’

There aren’t many stories that have been filmed five separate times—not counting homages and ripoffs—and even fewer that attracted the same A-list director on three occasions, but that is the case with Peter B. Kyne’s Three Godfathers. The director was John Ford, who first made it with his then-collaborator and star Harry Carey in 1916. Unfortunately, both that film and a 1919 remake that reteamed them called Marked Men no longer exist. An up-and-coming William Wyler tackled the first talkie adaptation (also released in a silent version), called Hell’s’ Heroes, in 1930. Ford returned to the sturdy vehicle with John Wayne, Pedro Armendariz, and a fresh-faced Harry Carey, Jr. in 1948. The film is dedicated to Ford’s departed comrade Harry Carey and costars the actor’s…

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WHAT’S NEW ON DVD/BLU-RAY/4K IN APRIL

The following article was written by my friend and colleague Alonso Duralde. You can learn more about him HERE. What’s New on DVD/Blu/4K in April: Mean Girls, Basket Case, Nancy Savoca, Lars von Trier, and More! NEW RELEASE WALL Mean Girls (2024) and Mean Girls (2004) (both Paramount Home Entertainment): Audiences who were teenagers when the original Mean Girls was in theaters now have the 2024 musical version to share with their own children, and so goes the circle of life. The success of the latest iteration of this teen tale — buoyed by memorable performances from Auli’i Cravalho and Jaquel Spivey – has prompted a 20th-anniversary 4K release of the original, which just goes to show you that remakes don’t obliterate their predecessors. Also available:…

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SAYING GOODBYE TO FRIENDS

One of the perils of growing older is losing friends and colleagues. This past week or so has been tough, while the three people who died couldn’t have played more different roles in my life. Cari Beauchamp was a fellow film historian, Ned Comstock was a research librarian, and Richard Leibner was my agent for nearly forty years. I had no previous television when Entertainment Tonight gave me a job as their film critic in June of 1982. Most of the other staff reporters had worked their way up in the world of television, moving from “market to market” in a giant game of checkers. I had already acquired a wonderful lawyer but when he hit a wall with the business affairs people at Paramount…

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