The Lion King Is My Favorite Film This Year

The Lion King brings one of Disney’s most beloved animated films to life in visually stunning photo-realistic CGI adaptation. I’ve kept a close eye since Disney decided to update their library in a contemporary manner.  I remember how impressed I was with The Jungle Book‘s Oscar-winning visual effects in 2016.  Where these two Jon Favreau-directed films differ are that there is no motion-capture performances in The Lion King.  It would have surely made a difference…

"The Lion King Is My Favorite Film This Year"

Halle Bailey cast as Ariel in The Little Mermaid

Halle Bailey has been cast to portray Ariel in the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures live-action adaptation of beloved animated classic, The Little Mermaid. The film is directed by Rob Marshall and produced by Marshall, John DeLuca, Marc Platt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film will feature beloved songs from the animated classic by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as new songs by Menken (music) and Miranda (lyrics). “After an extensive search, it was abundantly…

"Halle Bailey cast as Ariel in The Little Mermaid"

National Treasure: A Fun Adventure 15 Years Later

National Treasure is still a fun adventure to be had some fifteen years after the adventure film was released in theaters in 2004. The film asks us to imagine a map being on the back of the Declaration of Independence.  It is a fun idea no matter how preposterous that the idea sounds.  But before we get to this point, a young Benjamin Franklin Gates must learn the Gates family history.  It turns out that…

"National Treasure: A Fun Adventure 15 Years Later"

Cinderella joins Walt Disney Signature Collection

Cinderella is joining the Walt Disney Signature Collection with a new Blu-ray release in honor of the animated classic’s upcoming 70th anniversary in 2020. For the studio’s 12th animated feature film, Walt Disney and company turned to a fairy tale written by Charles Perrault.  This story would prove to be a solid choice in adapting.  I can point out the obvious with Cinderella fulfilling the Disney trope of a parent dying in the film.  The…

"Cinderella joins Walt Disney Signature Collection"

Tomorrowland: An Underappreciated Disney Film

The futuristic Tomorrowland, starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson, is certainly an underappreciated Disney release. Frank Walker (George Clooney) takes us back to his childhood during the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.  Young Frank unsuccessful in selling his prototype jetpack to David Nix (Hugh Laurie).  Athena (Raffey Cassidy) hands Frank a Tomorrowland pin and gives him instructions to follow her to Walt Disney’s It’s A Small World attraction.  Next thing we know, he’s transported…

"Tomorrowland: An Underappreciated Disney Film"

Jon Favreau talks The Lion King at Siskel Gala

Actor-writer-director Jon Favreau was on hand Saturday night in Chicago to receive the 2019 Gene Siskel Film Center Renaissance Award. With Robert Downey Jr. on hand, it’s no surprise that Iron Man would be a matter of discussion.  There were certainly other films brought up throughout the evening.  These films would include Elf, Chef, and Swingers.  The latest film to be directed by Jon Favreau is Disney’s The Lion King.  Of all the films based…

"Jon Favreau talks The Lion King at Siskel Gala"

Aladdin: A Whole New World in Live Action

It’s a whole new world for Aladdin as the animated classic is the newest film to receive the live-action treatment on the big screen. Much like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin stays true to the animated film in terms of plot.  Aladdin (Mena Massoud) meets Agrabah Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) and falls in love with her thanks to an assist from the Genie (Will Smith).  There’s the evil Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) trying to steal the…

"Aladdin: A Whole New World in Live Action"

Penguins: Ed Helms livens up Disneynature Film

With comedic narration provided by Ed Helms, Disneynature’s Penguins is able to offer some lively insight into the lives of Adélie penguins. Earth Day traditionally means the release of a new nature documentary from Disneynature.  This year’s offering takes us to the cold of Antarctica and go after our funny bone in the way that Helms narrates the film. We’re quickly introduced to Steve.  He is a 5-year-old Adélie penguin making his way back home to Antarctica after…

"Penguins: Ed Helms livens up Disneynature Film"

A Whole New World of Alan Menken rocks Chicago

Disney Legend Alan Menken took to the stage of the Auditorium Theatre in the Chicago Loop to perform A Whole New World of Alan Menken. If you’re like me, Alan Menken was a large part of your childhood.  After all, Menken would write for so many Disney films!  I couldn’t even begin to choose my favorite Menken song because there are way too many of them.  This truly speaks to his legacy with having written…

"A Whole New World of Alan Menken rocks Chicago"

Dumbo gets the Live-Action treatment

The hour-long Dumbo gets the live-action treatment in a film running nearly double the run time of Disney’s 1941 animated classic. Max Medici (Danny DeVito) runs the Medici Bros. Circus and we’re introduced to all the characters moments into the film.  It’s post-war Sarasota, Fla. when Captain Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) returns home to children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins).  Things are much different from when the two children last saw their father.  For…

"Dumbo gets the Live-Action treatment"