Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Two films, two short reviews

Time to focus on 2011 films and while January and February provided some pretty crappy films that I chose to ignore, I will start off my new year of reviews with two films that were actually fairly enjoyable.

Paul - Directed by Greg Mottola, starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Seth Rogen. "Paul" is a very fun, goofy ride with an inspired blend of sci-fi and comedy. A film filled with a number of sci-fi references that geeks all over the country will laugh at. And while the subject of the humor may be geared toward a specific audience, Pegg and Frost have enough appeal that just about anyone can laugh at their misadventures. Paul is about two British sci-fi nerds who come to America to visit Comic-Con and then go on an adventure to track down various alien landing sites. In the midst of their travels, they have a run-in with an alien named Paul who escaped from the CIA and is looking to return back to his home planet. What follows is a very entertaining comedy, albeit one that doesn't hit the notes quite as hard and as fluently as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz... two films that also star Pegg and Frost. The main difference here is that this film is directed by someone not named Edgar Wright and while Greg Mottola does an admirable job filling in his shoes, he doesn't necessarily provide the film with the amount of energy that Edgar Wright inserts into every single scene of his films. You can't fault a director for not being enough like another direction, but the film does lose steam after awhile and some of the recurring jokes can get a bit old, but overall, it's a film with great comedic performances, including Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader. A good film to watch with friends, but lacking the visceral punch that made Shaun and Hot Fuzz so great. Rating: 7.5/10

Rango - Directed by Gore Verbinski, starring the voice of Johnny Depp. This cute, weird, funny little animated picture is perhaps one of the most charming, visually inventive animated films to come out within the past few years. The charming weirdness of this film almost outmatches Fantastic Mr. Fox although Fantastic Mr. Fox had the fortune of being a Roald Dahl adaptation and the pristine vision of Wes Anderson. But both films are the products of normally live-action directors trying their hand at animation and coming up with some very interesting results. The story of Rango isn't necessarily important, but nevertheless... Rango is a lizard who was originally kept as a pet but is suddenly thrust out into the wild west where he becomes the sheriff of a town called Dirt. Yeah. I think it's best if I just leave the rest up to your imagination. In a time where animated movies are slowly starting to become more and more homogenized, it's refreshing to see one that truly stands out from the rest of the pack. Sometimes Rango can just be flat out weird and occasionally the jokes may fall flat, but Rango should already be considered a contender for some major animated-related awards by the end of the year. This year, it doesn't really have much competition (Cars 2, Kung Fu Panda 2). Rating: 8/10

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