Hard as it is to pick one scene that captures everything that is so delightful about the endlessly entertaining The Muppets,
let me go with this one: During the climactic live Muppet Show revival
at the end, Camilla — beloved chicken of Gonzo the Great — and several
poultry friends perform a version of a certain recent, ubiquitous Cee Lo
Green hit. The tune is sung entirely in “buck buck” noises, without
2006 Happy Feet incorporated live-action actors to surreal effect and presented a
hard-to-miss allegory for tolerance of “alternative lifestyles”
that inspired outrage from the likes of Glenn Beck and Michael
Medved. Happy Feet Two is, in its way, also utterly distinctive
from the great mass of contemporary animated fare — yet it’s also
far too frantic and muddled to work as simple storytelling.
Director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Dustin
Lance Black have as a subject one of American history's most
enigmatic, polarizing figures in J. Edgar Hoover, and yet J. Edgar
almost never offers the buzz of discovery. It's merely a 50-year
kaleidoscope of American history, with the founder of the modern
F.B.I. serving as Forrest Gump.
based on Hunter S. Thompson’s early years as a journalist circa 1960, The
Rum Diary casts Johnny Depp once again as Thompson’s surrogate, this
time a young writer named Paul Kemp. Flailing in his attempts at
completing a novel, Kemp accepts a job at an English-language
newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the atmosphere is
considerably less than quietly professional.
Director David Frankel
takes a story of single-minded pursuit and squeezes it into a convenient
package — albeit one that doesn't feel as though it has all that much to
do with the subject at hand. Inspired by Mark Obmascik's fascinating nonfiction
Big Year follows three avid birders
trying to identify the most individual bird species in North America over the course
of one calendar year.
Myers (Ryan Gosling) — the precociously successful political media
consultant at the center of The Ides of March — knows how to
handle his business. Sure, he might believe that the man he’s
working for, Pennsylvania Gov. Mike Morris (George Clooney), is the
best candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination and the man
who can do the most to make America better. But he’s also just fine
with feeding a specious allegation about their opponent to the media,
just so it will require time spent to fight it off.” If you’re
looking for a starry-eyed idealist in The Ides of March, whose
utopian dreams might be crushed by harsh reality, you best look
adapting the nonfiction book by Michael Lewis, director Bennett
Miller and screenwriters Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin are telling
the story of people who decided to throw away the romanticized notion
of baseball in favor of something pragmatic that actually worked
for their circumstance. And it feels not at all coincidental that
Moneyball itself takes a uniquely un-romanticized approach to
making a baseball movie.
We all bring certain baggage to movies, and here’s one of my too-big-for-carry-on pieces: I hate holy fools. Film history is full of stories about cynical and/or Type-A people whose lives are changed for the better through their experiences with plot devices in the shape of a simple-minded person. Your Rain Mans and your Forrest Gumps charmed audiences, sure, but largely on the basis of the brutally anti-intellectual notion that real wisdom only comes from the mouths and hearts of those who aren’t all about the book smarts.
As directed by Raja Gosnell, 'The Smurfs' hits every required element for such movies: musical number, toilet gags, rib-nudging pop-culture references, sloppy sentimentality. The familiar blue faces from the '80s cartoon, now in CGI, form-fly through a vortex from their Smurf village to New York City, where they can be a problem for an overworked, soon-to-be-first-time-dad marketing executive (Neil Patrick Harris). Grade: D-.
If you’ve followed the cinematic adventures of Harry Potter over the last decade — whether in print or cinematic form — it’s hard to imagine how Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 could fail. A series that began as an investment in J.K. Rowling’s remarkable hero-quest narrative evolved, over the course of seven films, into something else: an investment in the coming-of-age of three young actors.