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Toy Story 4 (2019)
Yes, TS3 was great. Now let it go!
Almost every negative review I've read of Toy Story 4 makes some reference to it's being "unnecessary, " or that "they should have stopped with Toy Story 3." In other words, instead of fairly reviewing TS4, they're expressing their love for TS3 and its beautiful ending. Of course they are! How else could you explain giving such a wonderful movie a less-than- five-star rating? And anything tied up with childhood memories is bound to make emotions run high...but...
Before I wrote this review, I saw TS4 four times (so far). I also watched the first three movies over again. Plus, I have the advantage of having been an official, chronologically speaking, grown-up since well before the inception of the series, which may aid my objectivity. There are only a handful of movies that I've wanted to watch over and over again, and the reasons are always the same: good story, good acting, and good cinematography, plus the one undefinable quality of--no other way to say it--magic.
Toy Story 4 has it all; in my opinion, even more so than the other great movies in the franchise. I must point out my special affection for Gabby Gabby, a three-dimensional role if ever there was one. Yet all the main characters display recognizable human qualities and growth. The uplifting "message" conveyed in the plot is that happiness is found through the selfless service of others, and that there is more than one way to be of service.
There are some scenes that will seem spooky to children, but nothing as downright horrifying as the denizens of Sid's room in TS1.
The graphics are amazing. Some of the backgrounds made it hard to believe that I wasn't watching a live-action film. But go for the story--it has an appeal that, again, I can only describe as Magic! No doubt, TS3 was a great movie, and had a tremendously moving conclusion, but lucky for us, the creators took the story to a higher level. This is not primarily a "money grab" (but of course, movies are made to make money), it's a beautiful labor of love. Don't miss it!
No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948)
English crime noir follows a small-time criminal's plan to violence and unexpected tragedy.
Forget the dumb title! This English Noir throws in every Hollywood cliché of the genre, and almost pulls it off smoothly. Certain plot points will remind you of some big American films, like "White Heat" and "The Asphalt Jungle", although this one came first. The "unacceptable" aspects, production code-wise, will surprise you, and the unpredictability of the plot is pretty wonderful in a film from this era. Look out for spoilers on this one! Hardworking actor Jack La Rue does nothing wrong in a role that begs for Bogart-- as so many past and present roles do.(He always reminds me of a sort of composite Bogie, Glenn Ford, and Victor Mature, especially here, without having quite their class, soul or looks, respectively.) And Linden Travers does everything she can with a practically impossible role-- you can't help but think that she could have used a little more help from director Clowes with the exposition. We don't expect noir, where style should come before substance, to be "believable" in the usual sense, but check this one out and see if it puts you in mind of how strong direction tells us what we know and can't see. If you like noir, and can roll with the punches, you'll love it.