At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
Troubled Jackass star Steve-O has written a message to fans on his MySpace page from the psychiatric ward of a Los Angeles hospital.
The stuntman reveals pals including former Jackass co-star Johnny Knoxville "physically forced" him to seek help for his mental issues, including bipolar disorder that had left him suffering "high highs and extremely low lows."
After being taken to L.A.'s Thalian Mental Health Center, Steve-O was transferred to the Cedar’s-Sinai Medical Center, where he has been placed on a 14-day hold, while medics observe his condition and behavior.
In his blog--entitled "You Should All Know I'm In the Looney Bin"--Steve-O blames his condition on the lasting side effects of years of abusing drugs. He also apologizes for the damage his behavior has caused to loved ones.
The 33-year-old writes, "'Before the day when Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine, Big Regg, Swizz, Rick Kosick, Dimitry Elyaschevich, Cordell Mansfield, and Trip Taylor came to my home and, physically, forced me into the hospital, I had thought of 'bipolar' as a 'good' thing. I rationally deduced that, with our time in this life being so limited, it was productive to stick to nothing but extremely high 'highs,' and extremely low 'lows.'
"I figured that, since I am an extraordinarily 'tough' individual, I could handle it.
"After four days in a psychiatric ward... I am no longer '5150-status' (which was the three-day 'hold' on me, resulting from suicidal behavior). I am now '5250-status' (which means that the 'hold' has been extended to 14 days, for the exact same reasons).
"I'm not getting out of this 'insane asylum' any time in the immediate future, so I'm going to learn as much from the experience as possible. So far, I've figured out that I did a great deal of damage to my brain by abusing drugs and, now that they've all worn off, I'm facing the consequences."
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