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Pixar's Rat Chef Looks Like a Winner

Posted on Friday, June 29th, 2007 9:14 AM

The big release this weekend is the Disney/Pixar collaboration "Ratatouille," which opens today. This one's an easy call, though, as Pixar hasn't had a bad movie release (which is one of the big reasons Disney finally came to their senses and bought them before someone else did).

While it may be difficult to attract people at first glance when the star of the movie is a rat, anyone remotely interested in animated movies and seeing the Pixar name will take a closer look. Disney is providing a 9-minute preview, which provides a great introduction to the storyline, the main characters, and a great kitchen action sequence, so be sure to check that out (and many other videos) on our Trailers & Videos page for the movie.

Wednesday's release of "Live Free or Die Hard" did pretty well considering that it had been 12 years since we've seen Bruce Willis' John McClane go after megalomaniacal bad guys, so don't count it out as a serious contender for the weekend box office.

Next Wednesday is July 4th, so we have quite the extended double holiday weekend, with some people opting to group their vacation time to take off the days beforehand, and others, the days after, to make the most of their time off. That gives movie theaters a great chance to build up their summer revenues, and the movie studios have delivered two movies on Tuesday for just that purpose.

The big release is "Transformers," which has been hard to miss if you've seen any television shows in the past month. While I missed the whole Transformers craze when I was a kid (too old by a year or two), this movie looks interesting. It's directed by Michael Bay (The Island, The Rock, Pearl Harbor, Armageddon), so you know it's going to have great action sequences, but it's also possible that the plot may not have gotten the polishing it needed. The CGI looks top-notch, though, so I'll be seeing this with expectations of eye candy, and anything else is just icing on the cake.

Robin Williams is back with another comedy in "License to Wed," where his Reverend Frank takes Mandy Moore and John Krasinski through a trial of tests before he will let them get married in his church. His foolproof marriage-prep course makes them jump through many hoops and invades their privacy to make sure that they are right for each other as they can be.

Williams has been hit-and-miss with comedies lately, so it will be interesting to see how this one turns out. His dramas have actually been more critically praised and commercially successful than his comedies. That's an odd fact all in itself, though, so you have to wonder if he's run out of steam on the comedy front, or if directors and screenwriters can't figure out how to channel his humor into their movies. If you've ever seen a Robin Williams stand-up act ("Live at the Met" is hilarious, if a little raunchy) or seen him interviewed, he's a force to be reckoned with! One can imagine that he could be set loose on a movie set and fill two hours of time with improv comedy that would have you rolling on the floor. Could that translate into a movie? Probably not, but it would still be funny.

Looking to the future, we have showtimes for many theaters for the July 11th release of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." There also are the now-obligatory night before showings, so get your tickets in advance for this one, as the first week is going to be very busy with muggles and wizards alike!

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