Thursday, March 6, 2008

Meet the Robinsons - an old review

This is one of my first movie reviews, obviously written when the movie came out (so, over a year ago). Just thought I'd add it to my repertoire.

*****
I was not surprised at all when I walked into the Post Mall in Milford this Saturday and saw a crowd of children leaving the theatre. I knew what movie they had been there to see, and by the expressions on their faces, I could tell that I was going to love it, too.

“Meet the Robinsons,” the newest Disney film, turned out to be exactly as I had hoped: brilliant. I have never been a big fan of computer animated films, but good-ol' Walt has roped me in once again with wit and humor that appeals to any age group (the first time being with the 2006 box office hit, “Cars”).

Based on the book “A Day with Wilbur Robinson” by William Joyce, the movie is set in the modern-day and centered on a boy named Lewis, who was left at an orphanage by his mother when he was an infant. He is what most people would consider a “genius,” creating such inventions as the perfect machine to properly portion the peanut butter and jelly on your toast, “because too much peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth and gets crunchy, and too much jelly spills out the sides and makes your hands sticky.”

Lewis, just a few months away from turning 13, feels like a failure after over 100 interviews with possible adoptive parents, none of whom feel he is right for their home. When all of his inventions end in misery (and often explosions), he nearly gives up hope. It isn’t until a mysterious boy named Wilbur whisks him away to “Todayland,” set in the future, that Lewis finally discovers the confidence in himself to live up to his potential, and maybe even to find a family.

The movie is a hit, packed, of course, with the humorous innuendos intended for adult audiences that Disney is known for, as well as the comedy needed to keep the attention of younger viewers. My attention was held the entire time, as well as that of my boyfriend and our mutual friend, and we are all in our early twenties. I can safely say that I am glad to have seen that movie, and maybe even a better person. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but it was definitely a $7 well-spent.

While I did not see it in 3-D, I did see Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” in 3-D this past October and I have to say that it wasn’t really three-dimensional at all. This movie may be different because it was made to be 3-D, but hey, life is already in 3-D – why spend the extra $3?

“Meet the Robinsons” was officially released to theaters this past Friday, offered in Disney 3-D where applicable.

I'd rather lose my eye than watch...

*****

And so the era of American-remade Asian horror cult classics continues. David Moreau and Xavier Palud’s remake of the Hong Kong classic Gin gwai was rated as just “Another tedious remake of an Asian horror film” on rottentomatoes.com, receiving only a 4.2 out of 10. I know it’s over a month late, but I was only recently able to catch The Eye.

Hottie-boom-bottie Jessica Alba stars as Sydney Wells, a violinist who lost her eyesight at the age of five while playing with firecrackers with her sister, Helen, played by Parker Posey. Helen convinces Sydney to get corneal transplants, allowing her to see for the first time in over 10 years; but what she begins to see turns out to be more frightening than a lifetime of darkness. It’s up to Sydney to find the meaning behind her mysterious and daunting visions before they come true.

While an interesting plot, the movie does not live up the potential the Pang brothers set it up for in 2002. The eerie style they usually employ was missing from Moreau and Palud’s 2008 version. The elements were there for an exciting thriller, but the film unfortunately just didn’t follow through.

It seems that recent horror movies have employed lazy tactics in attempting to scare the audience, and The Eye is full of them. Loud noises, sudden faces and disappearing apparitions are shocking, but they are only momentary scares. The best horror films are those that leave things unexplained, that scare the audience with silence and a lack of imagery rather than flashy sets, ridiculous screams and computer-animated ghoulies.

The Eye follows the same tired footsteps of The Grudge and The Return; even The Ring comes to mind when watching this film because of the striking similarities, although I much prefer it to the other Asian remakes. Isn’t it funny that they all start with the word “The”? Also, I hate when lead characters narrate, either throughout or just in part; it really makes the movie seem worse than it may already be.

The only reason I could possibly think any person would still want to see this movie would be to drool over Jessica Alba or the lead male, New Englander Alessandro Nivola.

What a hunk.


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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sweeney Todd steals my heart

*****

It's true - Johnny Depp has successfully managed to steal my affection yet again, much in the style that he did in Edward Scissorhands.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is an amazing musical gothic drama about love, lust and revenge. A mysterious man by the name of Sweeney Todd (Depp) makes his way to London with the hopes of seeking revenge against Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman), the man who wrongly accused him of a crime and stole his wife and child in a time when Todd was a barber named Benjamin Barker. Todd returns to Mrs. Lovett's (Helena Bonham Carter) Bakery, where Mrs. Lovett recognizes him as Barker, tells him his wife is dead and helps him concoct a plan to retrieve his daughter by killing the judge. However, when the judge is not so easy to get to, Todd and Lovett decide to practice on other less-than-innocent clients until the time comes that he can exact his revenge. But what to do with the bodies? Well, Mrs. Lovett knows just what to do, and she won't have to kill stray cats for her meat pies any longer.

Johnny Depp can model, act, steal my heart and sing. Very well, in fact; his voice was actually surprising. Helena Bonham Carter has a talent for music as well, which I already knew from Corpse Bride.

This is a great movie, one which I wish I had seen in theaters (but as of late I've been low on movie theater funds so I've been watching them free online!). I would recommend that anyone who loves Depp, Carter or Tim Burton films see this one - I'll definitely be buying it when it hits stores on DVD.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Another great Will Smith performance

*****

I didn't even bother trying to see I Am Legend in theaters because there was so much hype built up for it that tickets were sold out for days. I finally found it to watch on http://www.movieforumz.com/ - in great quality, I might add.

Dr. Robert Neville (Will Smith) is a scientist in the Army who helps discover a cure for cancer when the vaccine begins having side effects similar to those of rabies. Minutes after boarding his wife and daughter on a helicopter to evacuate Manhattan, a recognizance copter collides with theirs and kills them. Three years later, Neville is the only man alive on Earth - or at least, he is the only man free from infection. He and his German Shepard, Samantha, spend their days collecting food, returning DVDs to the local rental store and flirting with attractive mannequins, which Neville is actually nervous to do; needless to say, he lost a few of his marbles, what with being seemingly the only person on Earth. He meets up with two other survivors, Anna and Ethan, as he struggles to find a cure for the disease to fix what he helped create.

The movie, overall, is very well animated and interesting from start to finish. Smith performs so well that you actually believe he knows what it feels like to be the last man on Earth. At one point he begs a mannequin to say "Hello." It was actually very sad.

A few questions in the plot are left unanswered, however. For instance: how did the cure for cancer go so awry? How did it spread (besides being airborn)? Why was Smith's character immune to the disease? There are others, but I can't remember them all at the moment. I did enjoy the movie, though, and I found myself yelling at my computer monitor repeatedly during the scenes that scared me.

It would be neat to see this movie on the big screen with the sound all around you. Since I already saw it, though, I won't pay $10+ to see it again.


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