Life Of Pi – Review Feb25

Life Of Pi – Review...

4/5 – Ang Lee earned his Best Director Oscar With less than eight hours to go before the start of the Oscars, I upped the number of Best Picture nominees I had seen by one by catching an early afternoon showing of Life of Pi. It’s good we showed up early, because it looked like everyone in the vicinity of Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill Cinemas had the same idea. Before the movie began, the old lady sitting behind me decided to walk her husband through the entire story of the movie in her loud old lady voice. Thanks, lady, you rock. I haven’t read the book, so I thought about turning around and yelling “Dobby dies in book 7!” at Madame de Spoiler. Instead, headphones went in, Foo Fighters came on, and spoilers were avoided. I have to admit, I considered keeping Foo Fighters going a little longer when I saw the first trailer was for the latest  Fast and Furious movie. Life of Pi started, and despite the constant running commentary from the old lady behind me (She loves meer cats! Tigers are scary!), it was a really good movie. First off, it’s beautifully shot, and the 3D looks awesome. This is the best 3D I’ve seen in a live action movie since Avatar. But unlike Avatar, everything doesn’t look like it’s CGI. Oh, a lot of this movie is CGI, but it doesn’t have that telltale fake look that CGI usually has. I was surprised to find out that the tiger in Life of Pi, Richard Parker, was a CG creature throughout the entire movie. I thought they used an actual tiger for at least some of the scenes. Cesi n’est pas un tigre. Life of Pi walks the line between endearing and...

At The Theater #18: Date Night May09

At The Theater #18: Date Night...

I should have known that Date Night was going to be a disappointment right at the first scene. Steve Carell, playing New Jersey accountant Phil Foster, is in a meeting with that annoying SNL couple that call each other babe all the time and ignores whoever they’re talking to. A couple of questions: Does anyone anywhere find these characters funny on SNL? Does even Jason Sudeikis hate these characters enought that they had to replace him from a role he started on SNL? Speaking of SNL, Kristin Wiig also has a minor part in the movie. You might not recognize her, because she’s not playing the Target Lady. Until now I was convinced that the Target Lady was the only character Kristin Wiig could play. I can’t be the only one who thinks that every one of her characters on SNL is the Target Lady in a different outfit. When your movie revolves around how boring the main characters’ marriage is, you have to be very careful to not bore your audience. Unfortunately, no one seems to have told the makers of Date Night this. The movie has some very funny comedic high points, but for the most part, it just meanders around why Phil and Claire’s marriage is a snooze fest, which causes those scenes to be a bit of a snooze fest. I can’t hate on Date Night completely. Looking at the graph, you can see that I thought there were some very funny bits in it. And it’s true, the jokes that work really work. There just aren’t enough of them, and one of the jokes that worked, Phil and Claire being given a hard time about taking another couple’s dinner reservation, is beaten to death so badly that I think...

At The Theater #14: How to Train Your Dragon 3D Apr17

At The Theater #14: How to Train Your Dragon 3D...

While watching How to Train Your Dragon 3D, I couldn’t help but think that the whole movie was a big metaphor for coming out of the closet. Hiccup, the main protagonist, is not like the other Vikings in his town. He’s not a testosterone fueled muscle-head, which pretty much describes every other man here. He’s shunned by his peers for not being athletic, and his father wishes he wasn’t so different. After a fierce battle with some dragons, dad leads a Viking horde to hunt the dragons on their home turf and sends his son to dragon-killing school, which if you’re still following my metaphor is the equivalent of one of those camps parents on the religious right send their to kids to purge them of their homosexual tendencies. Hetero-camp, um, I mean dragon-hunting school backfires, as Hiccup realizes that he cannot bring himself to kill any dragons and begins to pacify them in ways he learns from training his secretly kept pet dragon. Hiccup sneaks off to frolic with his pet dragon every chance he gets. He has to do it in utter secrecy though. If the other Vikings found out that he had befriended a dragon, they would scorn him and kill his new friend. Unfortunately, he is found out, his dragon is locked up and dad wishes he never gave Hiccup his helmet fashioned from Hiccup’s mother’s breastplate. Hey daddy Viking, if you’re so ashamed of your son’s gender identity issues, don’t ask him to wear his mom’s bra on his head and call it a helmet. Just sayin’… In the end, as can be expected in these stories, Hiccup proves to his dad that his skills as a dragon whisperer are worthwhile when Hiccup and his pet dragon save the day....

At The Theater #13: Greenberg Apr12

At The Theater #13: Greenberg...

Dear Noah Baumbach, In your attempt to create a movie that could be described as Garden State for old people, you succeeded in some respects. Unfortunately, you decided to mimic possibly the worst parts of Garden State in Greenberg. You got a lot of the surface elements right. Ben Stiller plays Roger Greenberg, a single guy on a bunch of psych meds who isn’t certain of his place in the world, similar to Zach Braff’s character Andrew Largeman in Garden State. Also like Garden State, he meets a girl who changes the way he looks at and interacts with the world. You included an indie-music heavy soundtrack. You even had Roger stand in front of garish wallpaper in one of the early scenes, but without the matching shirt. Garden State: like Greenberg for young people…and much better too. What you failed to capture was any of the charm that made fans of Garden State fall in love with that movie. Before, I could never understand why some of my friends hated Garden State so much. But watching your movie, I now have more of an understanding of their opinion. If the charm of Garden State was lost on a viewer, I think his experience would resemble mine while watching Greenberg. I find it hard to believe that you could be responsible for one of the best movies I have seen this year, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and one of the worst, Greenberg. The Fantastic Mr. Fox is full of humor and has a great plot, two things lacking in this movie. Some might point out that The Fantastic Mr. Fox was an adaptation, but to I would point out to them that I have enjoyed your original work as well. I thought The Squid...