Inside Out

Inside Out isn’t bad, it’s just not especially good—certainly not by Pixar standards. It feels like a creative studio going through the motions—checking off boxes to put together a story with the proscribed number of thrills, jokes, emotional moments and lovable characters to...

Monsters University

Director: Dan Scanlon Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Helen Mirren, Steve Buscemi, Nathan Fillion Review: 4 stars (of five) There’s not much to say here. This is the kind of excellent work you expect from Pixar. It’s not even top-tier Pixar—it’s second, or arguably third-tier, and it’s still worlds better than what the rest of Hollywood craps out of its back lots. The only movie reviewed on Badmouth this year that rivals this one is Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. Monsters University is a prequel to the 2001’s Monsters Inc. Here we see how the comically mismatched duo of Mike (Billy Crystal)...

Brave

  Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walter Review: 3.5 stars (of five) For the last several years, America’s best movie studio has alternated between ambitious experimentation (Wall-E, Up) and sequels in service of its most digestibly mainstream fare (the magnificent Toy Story 3, the ill-starred Cars 2). With Brave, Pixar takes another shot at the kind of stirring, heartwarming adventure that it did best with Finding Nemo and Ratatouille. This time, it’s as sweeping an epic as possible—a medieval period adventure with princesses and...

Wall*E

  Director: Andrew Stanton Starring: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard, John Ratzenberger Rating: 5 stars (out of five) Pixar’s Wall*E continues an amazing run of top-flight entertainment marred only by the execrable Cars, a misstep already made up for with last year’s charming Ratatouille. Wall*E does right exactly what Pixar always (minus one) does right. What’s more interesting about this film is the two specific risks it takes as the Emeryville animators continue to push themselves and their audiences. First, the usual victories: Wall*E gives us a tale of adventure starring a likable hero whose...

Ratatouille

[rating:5] Director: Brad Bird Starring: Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Janine Garafolo After the disappointing detour into mediocrity that was “Cars,” one could fear that perhaps the Disneyfication of Pixar meant that a great era of animation was ending prematurely. This would...