This week I have decided to institute a small change in the format by adding an expanded review for what I will dub my “Must See” pick of the week. I’ve denoted the movie* and attached a longer, more in depth review. Once again, I found a movie^ that I had previously forgotten to review, so it is included as well.
Law Abiding Citizen – (2 Stars) – After he loses his family, and the legal system fails him, a crafty engineer (Gerard Butler) decides to exact his own revenge on the killers, the legal system and the entire city. Butler chews up the scenery as the psychopathic avenger, while Jamie Foxx plays the unlikeable lawyer protagonist. Lack of believability and apathetic characters make this strictly a “popcorn movie.” (Netflix) (109 minutes - Rated R for Strong bloody brutal violence and torture, a scene of rape, and pervasive language - 2009)
The Brothers Bloom – (4 ½ Stars) – Two eccentric confidence men target an affluent recluse as their final score. The Brother’s Bloom is a wonderfully inventive con movie full of beautiful scenery and rich characters that keep you interested and invested all the way through to its conclusion. (This was the close runner-up for “Must See” Pick). (Netflix) (113 minutes - Rated PG-13 for Violence, some sensuality and brief strong language - 2008)
Doctor Zhivago – (4 Stars) – David Lean’s cinematic epic about a Doctor/Poet caught up in the Bolshevik Revolution. Omar Sharif’s emotionally portrays Zhivago as an individual, a beacon of hope, in the harsh reality of a communist Russia. The movie also stands out in its beautiful landscapes and breathtaking cinematography.(Netflix - currently unavailable) (197 minutes - Rated PG-13 for Mature themes - 1965)
^District 9 – (3 ½ Stars) – 20 years ago an alien ship comes to a stop over Johannesburg, South Africa. On board is a race of malnourished, insect-like aliens. Now, the stranded extraterrestrials are forced to live in slum-like conditions and are seemingly not allowed to leave. The movie starts out very strongly with an intriguing premise but slowly devolves into a decent, but ordinary, action movie. The main character remains unsympathetic until the very end, and the dialogue also leaves something to be desired.(Netflix) (112 minutes - Rated R for Bloody violence and pervasive language - 2009)
My Sister’s Keeper – (2 Stars) – Anna (Abigail Breslin) was born as a “designer baby” to help combat her sister Kate’s leukemia. But as she grows older, Anna begins to have second thoughts about giving herself over to the painful procedures that help prolong her sister’s life. What could be an interesting movie that tackles relevant moral questions is reduced to a run-of-the-mill family drama that, from what I gather, is not faithful to its source material. The movie is full of unnecessary voice-overs, painfully drawn out “dramatic” moments, forced emotion, and a ridiculous amount of “inaudible dialogue.” (Netflix) (110 minutes - Rated PG-13 for Mature thematic content, some disturbing images, sensuality, language and brief teen drinking - 2009)
*Fantastic Mr. Fox – (4 ½ Stars) –
Fantastic Mr. Fox is not your typical “family movie” in much the same way that Wes Anderson isn’t your typical director, or Roald Dahl your typical author. These quirks are what make everything work so well. The movie fits in well with the rest of Anderson’s filmography, utilizing the typical dry humor and dysfunctional family unit. It also stays very true to the heart of Dahl’s literary works. However, Dahl and Anderson are not for everyone.
The movie, in some cases, has been advertised as another of the yearly crop of animated (although to be fair, it’s actually stop-motion) movies that come out every summer much to the delight of kids and the dismay of parents. Despite these perceptions, (Roald Dahl is the author, after all, of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory) most children will more than likely not be as entertained by this movie. In general, the parents will in all likelihood find more they enjoy. Like the book it is based on, Fantastic Mr. Fox is for older children. That’s not to say that it contains content objectionable to young children, but rather most of what happens would probably go over their head. The movie just doesn’t have the prevalent silliness of most family movies that draws the younger crowd in.
If you are a fan of Roald Dahl or Wes Anderson, you will enjoy this movie. It is the cohesion of Dahl’s source material and Anderson’s witty filmmaking that really drives Mr. Fox to be exactly as its title denotes: fantastic. However, if you are looking for some light, family fluff…this is not it.(Netflix) (87 minutes - Rated PG for Action, smoking, and slang humor - 2009)
Movies For Next Week: