I like animation in just about any form, whether it’s the stop motion brilliance of Coraline or the computer graphics gleam of Toy Story or Shrek. I’m not a huge fan of manga, however, Japanese comics,though I am a definite fan of graphic novels and probably buy a dozen or so every month (which my kids definitely appreciate). Astro Boy was a mixed bag, therefore, because it’s animated (good) but based on a very Japanese manga comic and story (not so good).
It’s not hard to find someone with a cynical view of lawyers, especially trial lawyers, many of whom are more interested in their own careers and in winning cases than they are in seeing that justice is served. It’s an old story that’s been told again and again in the cinema.
Director Peter Billingsley had a tough assignment: take four suburban couples and put them through a series of “relationship building” challenges that were thought-provoking, poignant, revealing, and funny. In his attempt to accomplish this, he commits the cardinal directorial sin: he makes everyone a crass caricature, preventing us from engaging with any of them, nor caring about the outcome of their journey. Worse, it’s just not that funny.
Some films start out with bad buzz from the get-go and never seem to shake it, even as people actually see the film. The comments end up being “it’s not as bad as I thought it would be” or “ah, it’s okay”. Surrogates had this problem, and it’s because of the star: Bruce Willis. He’s an actor who has had what Hollywood types call a “checkered career”, with some great films (Die Hard, The Sixth Sense, Twelve Monkeys) and some bombs (Hudson Hawk, Hostage).
It takes a certain sense of humor to enjoy a horror comedy film like Zombieland, but if you can laugh at graphic violence and can see the humor in parody, then this is a great movie for you to catch. Brilliantly funny, full of great lines, Zombieland offers a zombie film unlike any other I’ve seen, though perhaps the cult hit Shaun of the Dead comes somewhat close.