Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

Touching and involving documentary about the journey of a loggerhead sea turtle, from birth to laying eggs. The narration can be a tad bit flowery at times, but it's beautifully shot and has more than a few things to say about the unfortunate state of the Atlantic Ocean. **** stars.

RIO (2011)
Like many modern animated films, this one has a beautiful opening that pulls you in with color, emotion, and stylized design... and then the animals start talking. As soon as Jesse Eisenberg's voice came out of that parrot, I ceased giving a shit about anything that happened to him or anyone else. Fuck the majesty of nature: let's make it all silly and small, uninvolving and unchallenging, by reducing the natural world to the same collection of civilized neuroses and agoraphobia. Who cares? * star.

BEASTLY (2011)
A modern version of Beauty and the Beast, about a vain kid who becomes monstrous until someone can love him. I thought it would be braver to end this tale differently, but what do I know? Something like 86 minutes long, but it feels like the year of being beastlike passes by in real time. Could've been something cute, but as usual, concision is beyond American filmmakers. You can tell it's super-serious because Vanessa Hudgens is using her deeper vocal register. * star.

BURKE & HARE (2010)
Why hasn't this been released over here? It's a funny flick--directed by John Landis, of all people--about the Burke & Hare murders, starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis in the title roles. After having endured the terrible The Doctor and the Devils years ago, I was pleased with the approach here, playing it as a quirky comedy with a terrific cast. Jessica Hynes is especially funny as Hare's wife, and Isla Fisher is cute as can be. Always nice to see Tim Curry, too. And Ronnie Corbett! ***1/2 stars.

I didn't realize this was written by Gene Stupnisky & Lee Eisenberg, the Office duo who wrote the underwhelming (but sort of okay-ish) Year One. Every film they write makes me pretty glad that their Ghostbusters III script has yet to be produced. And I actually liked this one, but I think it's because director Jake Kasdan doesn't approach it as a hysterical comedy but as a movie about quirky characters. It's more amusing with occasional big laughs than it is a successful comedy. But it's not bad, even involving, and I liked Cameron Diaz in it--I checked, first movie I've liked her in since 2000. *** stars. Oh, and I adore Lucy Punch. I say that every time I see her in something, but it hasn't stopped being true since... well, since 2000.

SCREAM 4 (2011)
Surprisingly enjoyable flick--better than Scream 2 and Scream 3 combined--that basically reboots the franchise by updating the original with a fresh group of bodies. I especially dug my darling Hayden Panettiere, with her New Wave hair and her jacket, like an 80s dream. I don't understand the hate thrown at this film, honestly, as it's the first of the Scream sequels to actually justify its existence in a clever way. They missed the title, though; the movie itself suggests the much better meta-title Screamake. Still, fun movie. *** stars.

1 comment:

sanford said...

Check out the John Landis interview on Kevin Pollacks chat show. Kevin usually spends about 15 minutes or so yakking so you can forward it ahead a little bit. Just google kevin pollack chat show and check the archives. They are on you tube as well