Monday, June 28, 2010

A story about much more than toys, conceived and told with childlike glee Piling on the accolades for "Toy Story 3" may seem like a waste of good adjectives.  Touching.  Heartfelt.  Family-riffic.  But I won't dispute that they all apply.  My rating after seeing it Saturday with kids and other adults in tow - a deserved full A.  It is, without a doubt in my mind, a perfect movie.  Aside from all the obvious emotional and intellectual plaudits, I must add a few that might get lost in the mix of blubbering and self-identification experienced by kids and adults alike.  Foremost, the storytelling is brilliant in its efficiency.  A few lines of dialogue and well-crafted animation sequences here accomplish more than even the most masterful filmmaker could muster (the scene where Mrs. Potato Head uses her detached eye to see that the toys being taken to the dump was a tragic mistake is what earned this compliment from me).  And secondly, the animation has improved to the degree where the facial features of the "human" characters are more expressive than real actors.  I mean that.  "Toy Story 3" introduces Bonnie, a beautifully creative young girl, and re-introduces Andy, the boy who is now headed off to college and whose decisions of what to do with the toys in that light form the cohesion in the storyline of the movie.  Giving anything away would be infinitely lame.  Harping on the intensity of certain scenes for very young children would be unfair given the overall arc of the film.  But missing this movie, would be the real shame.  It's just that damn good.

On a very different level, the new album from art rock weirdo Ariel Pink (and his backing band, Haunted Graffiti) is a hard thing to recommend.  It's dressed up, formerly low-fidelity artiness.  You need to be a major music geek to even care about this dood's ascendancy.  But if you appreciate challenging new music that inspires conversation and strongly held opinions, this album will whet an appetite.  I even recommend a pairing with the decidedly hard to pigeonhole funk parade debut album by Janelle Monae discovered from the orbit of Outkast around Atlanta.  Both "Before Today" and "The Archandroid" earn the same rating from me - slightly uneasy C-pluses.  Someday I may like them.  But for now, it feels like music appreciation by way of a long forced march through unfamiliar terrain.  If you have entirely different opinions of both albums, I won't be surprised in the least.

Hope your own playthings give you many more years of pleasure going forward from today.  Rock on.

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