Julia Pistor

Julia Pistor

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Barnyard: The Original Party Animals Review


Weak
The animals populating Steve Oedekerk's Barnyard: The Original Party Animals remind me of the plastic Little People figurines with which my two-year-old plays. The cows wear snap-on noses and hold objects in synthetically smooth velvet hands that look more like designer gloves than hooves. The bulbous pigs each sport perfectly positioned mud blotches, as if the spots were painted on by toy factory workers.The visuals fit the overall mood, because Oedekerk has penned a Lion King clone that's tailored to the Fisher-Price crowd. Instead of an MPAA rating, the Barnyard poster should carry a warning: "For ages 5 and below."In this environment - as in many animated scenarios - the animals behave like people whenever humans are out of sight. They talk, dance, sing, belch, blow bumblebees from their nostrils, and cower in fear of wild coyotes (because hyenas were already used in the aforementioned King).Our hero, Otis (Kevin James), is an immature teenage cow sowing his wild oats... or whatever it is cows sow. Think of him as Simba. Otis is nagged by dad Ben (Sam Elliott) - or Mufasa - to take more responsibility. But the selfish cow would rather spend his downtime entertaining his adolescent buds during late-night concerts in the barn.Yes, Barynard forces itself to follow a musical format. It mimics Disney's animation formula to the letter, which means every 10 minutes of exposition must be interrupted by a serenade - in this case, it's a series of barnstorming ditties that includes a slow-churning country cover of Tom Petty's plucky pop castoff, "I Won't Back Down."The predictable Barnyard brings some balance to this summer's animated output. We began with Cars and Monster House, enjoyable features that married relevant messages to their impressive art. Since then, we've chipped away at their progress with noisy, colorful but hollow adventures like this and The Ant Bully. Kids are entertained, but parents are cheated.During my Barnyard screening, a boy who had giggled at every kick, drop, and tumble turned to his mom and asked with sincerity, "Why are you not laughing?" She didn't respond. The kid is Oedekerk's ideal audience member - old enough to chuckle and too young to know better.Out, damn spot!

Clockstoppers Review


Bad
A car going 25 mph is passed by another going 225 mph, but the slower car will appear frozen to the one going faster. This is the rudimentary physics lesson awaiting kids who venture to see the latest Nickelodeon film adventure Clockstoppers.

Teenager Zak (Jesse Bradford) is just days away from getting his dream car, yet his dad (Robin Thomas) is too busy with his complicated inventions to help make Zak's dream become a reality. While his dad is out of town attending a convention, Zak stumbles across a space-age watch that somehow freezes everything in time at the click of a button. At first, Zak and his new friend Francesca (Paula Garces) use their new powers, called hypertime, to play pranks on their friends, but later, they must save their own lives from a group of evil assassins who want the watch back.

Continue reading: Clockstoppers Review

Snow Day Review


Very Good
It's tough for a Texas boy to relate to the concept of a snow day. We had the occasional sleet day or hurricane day, sure, but snow? Whether you live in the tundra or not, I'm sure everyone can relate to the real story of Snow Day, the tale of a boy who pines for the school beauty, a girl far above his station with whom he never has a shot.

Maybe we can relate a little too well. This story has literally been done to death (it feels practically like a remake of 1995's Angus), but at least Snow Day is reasonably funny along the way. Thanks to the movie's "fresh new stars," Snow Day feels newer than it should. And thanks to leading kids Mark Webber (Drive Me Crazy) and Schuyler Fisk (daughter of Sissy Spacek), the movie has a lot of charm and heart.

Continue reading: Snow Day Review

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Julia Pistor Movies

Barnyard: The Original Party Animals Movie Review

Barnyard: The Original Party Animals Movie Review

The animals populating Steve Oedekerk's Barnyard: The Original Party Animals remind me of the plastic...

Clockstoppers Movie Review

Clockstoppers Movie Review

A car going 25 mph is passed by another going 225 mph, but the slower...

Snow Day Movie Review

Snow Day Movie Review

It's tough for a Texas boy to relate to the concept of a snow day....

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