4 items from 2015
Chicago – They didn’t screw it up, and that is good. Eschewing modern conventions or typical animation pop culture jokes, “The Peanuts Movie” honors its source (Charlie Brown and the gang) and its creator, Charles M. Schultz, in a joyous and nostalgic celebration.
The filmmakers – director Steve Martino (“Horton Hears a Who”) and writers Craig Schultz (Charles’s son), Bryan Schultz (grandson) and Cornelius Uliano – kept a philosophy of “Wwcsd” (What would Charles Schultz do?), and produced a animated feature that contains the best of what made “Peanuts” great. The look is as if the comic strip has sprung to life, especially in optional 3D, and the character voices and feel have the same warmth as the familiar TV specials (there are several references along the way to those treats as well). The story was incidental to the subplots that played like mini comic strips, featuring Good Ol’ Charlie Brown, »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
You’re in love, Charlie Brown (and wouldn’t you know it, so is Snoopy). That’s the simple, slender premise behind “The Peanuts Movie,” Blue Sky’s gorgeous fan’s-best-friend adaptation of a comic strip that is beloved by so many around the world, director Steve Martino’s biggest challenge was simply not to screw it up. The late Charles M. Schulz almost surely would have appreciated the result, which presents a wholesome, goody-goody view of childhood emotional challenges barely advanced since his “li’l folks” first graced the big screen back in 1969’s “A Boy Named Charlie Brown,” apart from the risky move or transforming the cartoonist’s hand-drawn bobble-headed characters into complex computer-generated models of themselves — in 3D, no less. While the old-fashioned story barely feels adequate to fill a half-hour TV special, the new look positions all involved to make as much in tie-ins and merch »
- Peter Debruge
All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Click here for a complete list of our essays. How to decide in the grand scheme of things which film year stands above all others? History gives us no clear methodology to unravel this thorny but extremely important question. Is it the year with the highest average score of movies? So a year that averages out to a B + might be the winner over a field strewn with B’s, despite a few A +’s. Or do a few masterpieces lift up a year so far that whatever else happened beyond those three or four films is of no consequence? Both measures are worthy, and the winner by either of those would certainly be a year not to be sneezed at. But I contend the only true measure of a year’s »
- Richard Rushfield
McKuen was twice-nominated for Oscars, first for the song “Jean” from the film “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” in 1970, which won him a Golden Globe, and then again in 1971 for his work on the animated film “A Boy Named Charlie Brown”; he also received a Grammy nomination for his work with the team that included Vince Guaraldi.
Born in Oakland, McKuen moved to Paris in the 1960s, where he wrote poetry before returning to the U.S. where he worked as a poet, singer and film composer in the late ’60s and throughout the 1970s. His hit songs “If You Go Away” and “Seasons in the Sun” (performed by Terry Jacks) were based on Jacques Brel works and he also translated other French songwriters into English. »
- Kevin Noonan
4 items from 2015
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