Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) sure knows how to set the
bar a notch or two higher, just to challenge himself. He follows up his
Academy Award winning film by diving headlong into an adaptation of a
beloved musical and pushes his all-star cast (featuring Hugh Jackman,
Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway) to record their vocal performances
Plenty of contemporary animated features are trying so hard to be clever that they forget to be fundamentally enjoyable — and as for the emotional depth, we can appreciate Pixar's impressive track record without dismissing everything that doesn't live up to that standard. 'Rio' manages to be entertaining by working within an unlikely formula: making something that's fun for kids, in the style of movies that their parents would have watched when they were kids. Grade: B.
Drawn from the same murky well of Hollywood ethical ambiguity that gave us 'Thank You for Smoking' and last year's 'Up in the Air,' 'Love & Other Drugs' audaciously defines its slick anti-hero protagonist as beyond reproach. The filmmakers are clearly banking on the allure of nude sex scenes between Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway to attract audiences, but the love story (and sex scenes) don't amount to much. Grade: C.
Longtime Hollywood director Garry Marshall's latest is yet another date
movie that's less than the sum of its parts. The sheer number of A-list
actors involved spells trouble. With half as many subplots, the filmmakers might have been able to keep the plates of passion spinning atop their spindly knees. Grade: C.