Toy Story 3
Grade: A- | 2nd Viewing
I went to the theatre with a group of friends this week and although we had all seen Toy Story 3 at the theatre once already it was still the most enticing movie playing. Like all Pixar films it definitely holds up on a second viewing allowing for new discoveries and laughs.
This time I was even more touched by the scene where the toys are moments away from dying in the garbage furnace and are saved by a bit of deus ex machina. The toys grabbing hands in a show of solidarity is one of the finest moments of the movie and a great representation of all the attributes that Andy describes in the toys at the end. Namely their determination to never give up.
Grade: B | 3rd Viewing
About halfway through Christopher Nolanâ€™s magician film The Prestige, after learning how a trick works Rebecca Hallâ€™s character points out: â€œitâ€™s not so exciting once you know the secret.â€ That actually describes the film well, which is structured like a three-part magic trick that hinges on a final act twist. After knowing the secret some of the magic of the experience wears off.
Nevertheless Christopher Nolan once again illustrates his masterful directing skills and his ability to derive great performances from his actors. This is one of my favorite Hugh Jackman roles and Christian Bale is fantastic as a sort of antagonist. The brilliance is that everybody on screen is portraying their characters who in turn is playing a part. Nobody is always themselves throughout the entire movie because that would risk giving away the trick.
Grade: A- | 4th Viewing
I donâ€™t think any 2009 movie release has grown on me as much as Coraline. I still maintain that it is the best 3D film I have ever seen and it looks gorgeous on Blu-Ray. Iâ€™m very sad that Henry Selick has left the filmâ€™s production company, Laika Entertainment, which seems headed for disbandment. After seeing the quality of work they put in on their first feature film Coraline, I thoroughly believe that they could have been the only animation studio capable of competing with Pixar in terms of cinematic quality.
Youth in Revolt
Grade: C+ | 1st Viewing
The writing and directing team behind Youth in Revolt present a pretty idealized look at American youth. The teenagersâ€™ rooms are plastered with posters of Jean-Paul Belmondo; they write Futurist poetry and watch Fellini movies in their spare time. The film constantly wants to remind you that itâ€™s smarter than the average comedy.
The problem, however, is that it is too disjointed to completely work. Scenes transition from live-action to stop-motion animation and back with little explanation or opportunity to collect ones thoughts. The characters are also underdeveloped, which adds to the overall confusion. Even Michael Ceraâ€™s protagonist who narrates the film is not given enough of an arc to make his alter-ego creation really believable. Itâ€™s a very funny film and the talented cast makes it watchable, but I thought the film had higher potential.
What movies did you see last week?