Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Pragmatically, Disney’s new version of Aladdin only had one bar it absolutely had to clear, and it clears it. While this is anywhere from the sixth to the eleventh entry in this unkillable cycle of live-action remake nostalgia jobs, depending on how you count them,* it’s only the second one based on one of the 1990s “Disney Renaissance” films that are in large part the reason anybody living in the […]

I’m going to lead off with something that’s kind of small and petty, but it bothers me too much to wait: Aladdin and the King of Thieves, the second direct-to-video Disney sequel ever, and the second sequel to the 1992 blockbuster Aladdin, was released in 1996 on home video, in a 4:3 aspect ratio. This makes perfect sense, given that virtually all televisions at that time had just such dimensions, […]

Going to quite the Disney Top Tens with this one, and one of the most damnably difficult lists I’ve ever put together, it is. The ten best musical numbers in any Disney feature, as defined by the quality of the song, the visual, the performance, and so on and so forth. I have elected to limit myself to one per feature; the film that would have otherwise dominated the list […]

Once again, it all comes down to Howard Ashman: it was in the late 1980s, as animation was purring along for The Little Mermaid, and the story for Beauty and the Beast was just barely starting to take form, Ashman suggested another musical project for Disney: an adaptation of Aladdin, one of the tales in the European versions of the collection of Arabian fairy tales, One Thousand and One Nights […]

Lady and the Tramp was the fifth, count ’em, fifth film released by the Walt Disney Company in 2019 that was more or less a redo of one of their classic animated features done up in some ungainly combination of live-action videography and CGI, following Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, and it’s the one that was chosen to be part of the launch slate for […]

Certain beloved directors – Wes Anderson is an obvious example, but I’m sure we can all think of others – often get slagged for making the same movie over and over again. And while I’m sure we would in general prefer for directors to experiment and prod and try out new things, it’s worth pointing out that at least some of these filmmakers are making the same movie over and […]

A shorter version of this review was previously published at The Film Experience There are two different, and perhaps irreconcilable ways to watch Klaus. First, we could look at it as the directorial debut of Sergio Pablos, an animator who rose through Disney in the 1990s, ending up getting his first supervising animator credits on 1999’s Tarzan and 2002’s Treasure Planet, after which point it was bad business being a […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: Disney revives the evergreen “Arabian Nights adventure” genre with their new remake of Aladdin. The studio’s original 1992 version of that film was itself significantly influenced by a much older classic that was ALSO […]

Happy May Day everyone! It feels a bit presumptuous to start looking at a new month of releases when I still have to catch up from April – I hear that there’s been an Avengers picture that made a bit of money. And just as soon as I have any sort of chance to clear five consecutive hours out of my schedule to catch up with it, I’ll be happy […]

Mid-April is awfully early to be thinking about summer already, but Marvel and Disney have decided for the rest of us that the summer movie season begins this year on Friday, 26 April, with the release of Avengers: Endgame. To prepare, this episode will be all about the blockbuster movies to come: the superheroes, the living toys, the monsters who fit inside your pocket, the Hobbses and the Shaws. In […]

There’s a large section of Disney enthusiasts who, like me, cannot stand these live action remakes. For almost ten years now, the Walt Disney Company has spent a lot of time and money to produce big budget retellings of the most popular movies in their animated canon. Because we live in the age of nostalgia, these movies have proven to be huge commercial successes, and Disney has doubled down on […]

If you’ve seen Stranger Things or the recently released zeitgeist-embracing adventure The Kid Who Would Be King, you know there’s no shortage of nostalgia for the decades in which most of the folks reading this grew up. The 1980s and ’90s are en vogue and ready to transport you back to your Topanga poster-covered walls of your bedroom. Or whomever you were into at the time. Maybe it was just […]