Tag Archives: Don Rickles

Toy Story 3 (2010) Review

Time: 103 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Joan Cusack as Jessie
Ned Beatty as Lotso
John Morris as Andy
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Blake Clark as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head
Michael Keaton as Ken
Jodi Benson as Barbie
Director: Lee Unkrich

The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it’s up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren’t abandoned and to return home.

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It’s been 11 years since the last Toy Story movie, I remembered seeing it in cinemas but I hadn’t watched it again since. So watching Toy Story 3 recently was the second time I’ve seen it. On top of the animation looking absolutely fantastic, it takes some interesting story turns and directions. For a while it was the conclusion to the series, and it ended things off perfectly, which is probably why most people are so reluctant to the idea of a Toy Story 4, it’s hard to imagine a better ending to these characters and this story.

Considering that it had been 11 years since the last movie, it was very fitting that Toy Story 3’s story would be about Andy being grown up and moving on from the toys. I will say that so far it’s the least memorable of the series, but that’s probably because I’ve only seen it twice. It’s not really as funny as the other 2, but not necessarily because the jokes miss, just seem to be less of them, and I don’t really remember the movie for its humour (the Spanish Buzz Lightyear doesn’t always completely work though). Toy Story 3 is also significantly darker, even before it gets to the third act, and I really liked the places they took the story. The story with Lotso the bear running things at Sunnyside Day Care (where the toys end up) just gets darker and darker as it progresses. It eventually culminating in seemingly a sort of prison escape movie, and I really liked what happened in the movie overall. At an hour and 40 minutes long, it’s longer than the past movies but just as riveting. It also contains probably the most traumatic scene in the Pixar movie, I won’t say what it is for those who haven’t seen it, but it (and many other scenes in the movie) hit on a much deeper layer than the seemingly surface level scare and danger factor. And as for the end, I couldn’t think of a better possible ending for the movie and series.

The returning voice cast and characters return and are as usual good. Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) and the usual cast, all work in their roles. It was also funny hearing Michael Keaton (who voices a Ken doll by the way) and Timothy Dalton (as a toy porcupine named Mr. Pricklepants) having some voice roles here. Lotso (voiced by Ned Beatty) is by far and away the best and most memorable of the Toy Story villains thus far. While it does the typical twist reveal of the villain that a lot of animated movies do nowadays, on the whole he was handled well in this movie. He is present throughout most of the movie, and has some form of backstory given to him as well.

Toy Story 2 in 1999 today still looks pretty good, not as good as most animated movies released today, but still on its own it looks great. However, you can really tell that Toy Story 3 was released 11 years later. From the very beginning the movie looks incredible, as it shows the scenario of toys being played with, however this time it’s different. We saw toys being played with in the two movies but you always saw what happened in real life, with Andy voicing the toys and all that. Here it’s like we are right in Andy’s imagination as we watch everything that’s going on. Even after that, from beginning to end, Toy Story 3 looks like it came out this year and not 9 years later, I can only imagine how phenomenal Toy Story 4 will look.

Toy Story 3 is a perfect conclusion to the series. It’s incredibly animated, emotionally satisfying and was overall everything it needed to be and more. Although I’m not certain about my ranking of the movies just yet, at the moment I’d say that it’s tied with Toy Story 2 as the best in the series. The Toy Story movies is one of the most consistently good movie series’, we’ll just have to see if Toy Story 4 lives up to its predecessors.

Toy Story 2 (1999) Review

Time: 92 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Joan Cusack as Jessie
Kelsey Grammer as Prospector
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Jim Varney as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head
Wayne Knight as Al McWhiggin
John Morris as Andy
Laurie Metcalf as Andy’s Mom
Director: John Lasseter

When Woody is stolen by a toy collector, Buzz and his friends set out on a rescue mission to save Woody before becomes a museum toy property with his roundup gang Jessie, Prospector, and Bullseye.

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Toy Story was such a surprise hit when it released, no one knew that it was going to be as successful as it was. With Toy Story 2 being a follow up to an animated classic, it seemed like it would never even reach the level of the original. Yet against all odds, it managed to top it successfully on pretty much every front, it’s bigger and better.

It would be hard to match what the original movie did, but Toy Story 2 manages to still be a Toy Story movie, while doing some different things and keeping things fresh. Once again, they’ve managed to make an animated movie that adult audiences can like and appreciate (both in terms of story and humour), while still making it very much accessible and entertaining for children. This time it’s about Woody coming to terms with his mortality. Pretty much everything from the story, to the characters, humour and more are back here, and even improved on. And yes, it is more funny and entertaining than the first movie, I haven’t seen the 4th movie but I feel comfortable in saying it’s the most memorable entry of the series. It feels larger scale, with a few exceptions, almost every scene in Toy Story took place between Andy’s house and Sid’s house. This time there are more locations that the characters visit, and they get very creative with the scenarios and set pieces. The rest of Andy’s toys didn’t get a lot of screentime in the first movie outside of the first and third acts, but they are present here throughout. The story on the whole is still straightforward and easy to follow, but it feels like the scope has been expanded just a little bit, it feels like much more is going on. Toy Story 2 is a little longer than the first movie at about an hour and 30 minutes long but the pacing is just as good.

The familiar voice cast return and as usual really deliver. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen once again do solid jobs as the characters of Woody and Buzz. The familiar characters of Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Slinky (Jim Varney), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Hamm (John Ratzenberger) and more return. As I said previously, with the exception of Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and Mrs. Potato Head (Estelle Harris), most of Andy’s main toys get a good amount of screentime throughout. We also have the additions of Jessie (Joan Cusack), Bullseye and Prospector (Kelsey Grammar), who add quite a lot to this movie (and the first 2 would of course return to the other Toy Story sequels).

The animation has very clearly improved within 4 years, and you can tell that the moment you first see a dog in the movie. It doesn’t look great but it’s much better looking than the dog in the first Toy Story. All the toys look good, with none of them looking off at any point. Same goes for the human characters, when they are close up to the screen they actually don’t look freakishly lifeless unlike the first movie.

Toy Story 2 is an improvement over the first movie, and it’s especially impressive considering that it actually encountered production problems (and was originally envisioned to be a direct to video sequel). Needless to say, if you liked the first movie even a little bit, you’ll definitely like the sequel. It’s truly a Toy Story movie while improving and expanding on everything in just about every way.

Toy Story (1995) Review

Time: 81 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Jim Varney as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
John Morris as Andy
Erik von Detten as Sid
Director: John Lasseter

Woody, a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy names Andy, sees his position as Andy’s favourite toy jeopardized when his parents buy him a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Even worse, the arrogant Buzz thinks he’s a real spaceman on a mission to return to his home planet. When Andy’s family moves to a new house, Woody and Buzz must escape the clutches of a maladjusted neighbour Sid Phillips and reunite with their boy.

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As the 4th Toy Story movie is out now, I wanted to rewatch the original trilogy beforehand. The first Toy Story was such a massive hit upon its release, it was really revolutionary for its time, and all 4 of the movies are known as one of the best animated film series’. Although I’m pretty sure I’ll like the other Toy Story movies more, the first one is still really good. Dated animation aside, it still holds up well today.

The Toy Story movies are some of the best examples of animated kids movies that even adults can enjoy. They do much more than you think they could with a movie about toys, it’s pretty smart and creative. It is also genuinely funny. There’s even some well placed adult humour that only older people will pick up, and it’s not done in a way that feels forced or inappropriate (like The Cat in the Hat movie for instance), it’s concealed rather well. Then there’s also some way more mature story aspects that children wouldn’t pick up until they are adults. I mean it features a toy literally having an existential crisis after realising that he’s a toy. Toy Story is like an hour and 20 minutes long and works well with its runtime, the pacing is very effective, with not any scene feeling out of place or pointless. Storywise I can’t think of a single problem with it, they keep the story pretty straightforward and simple, and effective like that.

Toy Story has a memorable cast of characters, and the voice cast work perfectly. Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) are the main lead characters and work so well, they embody their characters really well. Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger and more make up the supporting voice cast and also play their roles well, even though their characters are featured much less than Woody and Buzz.

The animations are clearly decades old, and some aspects don’t look that great. But you can tell that with it being from 1995, that it was very revolutionary for its time. Thankfully most of the attention is focussed on the toys, which look better than everything else in the movie. Sure, some of the designs and looks can look very dated (Bo Peep amongst the worst cases, especially when compared to her design in Toy Story 4), but most of them work. When it comes to more familiar looking objects like cars it looks more fake, and the worst of it is when it comes to the human characters (as well as a dog who appears a few times), who really look unnatural, especially when they are close up to the screen. However, all of this is just something that you can come to accept within the first 10-20 minutes of the movie.

Toy Story 24 years later is still an animated classic. It’s great for both kids and adults, and grown ups will probably get more from it than children. If you haven’t seen Toy Story yet, you definitely need to check it out soon, and even if you’ve seen it before, it’s worth a revisit for sure. Even if some of the dated animation bothers you, the script, characters and voice work no doubt make up for it.

Casino (1995) Review

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Casino

Time: 178 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence
Cast:
Robert De Niro as Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein
Sharon Stone as Ginger McKenna
Joe Pesci as Nicky Sontoro
James Woods as Lester Diamond
Don Rickles as Billy Sherbert
Director: Martin Scorsese

Ace Rothstein (Robert De Niro) and Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) are mobsters, who move to Las Vegas to make their mark, live and work in this paradoxical world. Seen through their eyes, each as a foil to the other, the details of mob involvement in the casinos of the 1970’s and ’80’s are revealed. Ace is the operator of the Tangiers casino, while Nicky is his boyhood friend and tough strongman, robbing and shaking down the locals. However, they each have a tragic flaw-Ace falls in love with a hustler, Ginger (Sharon Stone), and Nicky falls into an ever-deepening spiral of drugs and violence. This movie is based on some true events.

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A lot of movie buffs have movies that changed their viewpoint of film just being entertainment, to the idea that film is an art form. In my case, Casino is that film. It is wonderfully shot, brilliantly acted and has a style that really gets me interested in the type of world the characters are in. It unfortunately often gets overshadowed by the more well-known Goodfellas, a film that it is very similar to. Once again, Martin Scorsese has again created a masterpiece that has made a significant impact on me and many others as Casino presents the best that film has to offer.

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From the start, Casino had my attention and I couldn’t stop watching despite the movie being nearly 3 hours long. The narration is mostly done by Ace and Nicky and we really learn about how they thought, what they thought of and how things in Las Vegas worked. Regarding the characters in this movie, I didn’t feel any empathy or any kind connection to them, where as some people may be able to feel that in Goodfellas to some of the characters (even when they aren’t glorified) – this isn’t a negative; it is just something I have noticed. What is a positive is; is that by the end I felt that I learnt more about the characters in this movie more than Goodfellas. The film actually felt darker than Goodfellas, especially with the violence. Casino’s violence was much more brutal and unflinching than Goodfellas’s, especially a scene near the end that involves baseball bats in a cornfield. Overall, it doesn’t matter what movie you see first; they are both brilliant films in their own right.

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Robert De Niro is really good as always, and really fills his role here as Ace Rothstein, who is in a high position, running the casino. Joe Pesci is good here, playing someone who is quite a lot like his character in Goodfellas, a short tempered and violent person; however I actually feel that his performance here has more depth. It would be a crime to overlook Sharon Stone’s performance which would lead to the film’s only Oscar nomination. She plays her role extremely well and is on par with De Niro and Pesci. Other actors like James Woods and Don Rickles are good as well. Everyone in this movie is great but those three main actors stole every scene they were in.

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This being a Scorsese movie, is filled with a lot of energy, as most of his films are; the style was the icing on the cake that drew me into the story more, which was very similar to Goodfellas. The cinematography is great as always and has great music that fits in with the time period and the location of Las Vegas.

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Maybe it was the fact that I saw Casino before Goodfellas but this movie has made a bigger impact on me. Whatever you feel about how it holds up against Goodfellas, Casino deserves to be judged on its own. It certainly isn’t for everyone (An example being the cornfield scene) but overall, this is one of my favourite movies of all time and I owe a lot to it.