A little later today than usual, I know. Let’s just say it was technical issues (even though it wasn’t). Yes Man came out today, but we didn’t get it in until after I’d rented my quota for the week. I’m sure you know what to expect from it, though ;-).
The ones to see:
The ones to avoid:
More detailed reviews below…
The Tale of Despereaux — PICK OF THE WEEK
This is the one I hope everyone sees this week. Doubt is good, but The Tale of Despereaux is just wonderful. As with WALL-E, I will have to fight the battle of ignorant folks sticking their nose up at a good animated movie because “animation is for kids.” Yes, this movie is based on a children’s book, but the story is wonderfully layered, with mature character subtleties and a great ensemble cast. The lead character is certainly our hero – but he is not at all alone in having a strong arc… and that’s the whole point of the story. The visual style is beautiful and only adds to the rich story. The best part about it all, is that this IS a kid’s movie. One can tell that it is aimed at children, but it does something that kid’s entertainment does so little anymore – it treats the material with maturity and respect. Just like The Dark Knight was a movie the general public didn’t realize they wanted, The Tale of Despereaux is a movie that kids never knew they deserved. Besides, what kind of kid movie doesn’t feature loud, zany characters who make fart jokes and reference topical humor that will be dated within a year? Oh, that’s right… a good one 🙂
I almost didn’t rent this one because of its subject matter. As with Marly & Me and its story about a family dog, the topic of abuse allegations in Doubt hit a little close to home, but I tried it out anyways. I’m glad I did, because while it was a little rough, it’s still a good movie. The best part about it is just how uncreepy it is. When I saw The Changeling, I was shaken up for a little while because of just how unsettling some of the events were in the movie. I feared the same with Doubt, but considering its plot, it never becomes uncomfortable. Every actor does a grand job, and I can see where the praise for the movie comes from. The highlight for me was Amy Adams. Not because she’s a beautiful woman (which she is), but because her character was so endearing – innocent and decent. Just know, going in, that you’ll never get a definitive answer on what really happened in the story. That’s the director’s point, but I know some who might be annoyed by that fact.
The Day the Earth Stood Still
The first thing people will jump to is the irony of Keanu Reeves playing a stoic, emotionless alien. Perfect casting, right? Right?? Haw haw haw?? Look, give the man a break, folks. He’s a fine actor, he just doesn’t have a huge character range. Sylvester Stallone is a great actor (watch Rocky or Copland and tell me otherwise), but he has certain physical characteristics, like his voice, that will always peg him as one thing or another. As the alien, Keanu Reeves does very well. Not that it matters, though, because the movie is lousy. The blame for this is mostly in the script. The original movie featured an alien that comes to Earth to warn us. This time, the alien’s purpose isn’t as easy-going. The worst part about it isn’t that choice of story, though, it’s the missed opportunities. There are some horrible things happening near the end of the movie, but there are no moments of genuine terror. Everything in the movie, from how they transport the giant robot (what on Earth would the military have that kind of equipment for?) to how the government representatives react to the situation, is played out in cliche, safe simplicity. It’s all very easy and convenient. Of course, I forgot about what was really the worst part of the movie. Little Will Smith, I hate you. Have you folks ever seen a spoiled rich kid who grows up lazy and ungrateful because they never had to buy anything themselves or work hard? That is what we have with Little Will Smith. An actor can’t be good unless they earn it, and it’s sad, because Little Will doesn’t have to face any challenges because of who is dad is. Jennifer Connelly is still hot, though… so there’s always that 😉
As always, if you see any of these movies let me know… even if it’s just to disagree with me 🙂