Animated adventure, action, comedy and horror… Although there isn’t anything new this week for the art house crowd, everyone else should find something to suit their tastes.
The biggie of the new movie releases is Pixar’s highly anticipated animated release for 2012. Screening in 2D and 3D, Brave is the first Pixar flick to A) centre on a female character, and B) resemble a traditional fairy/folk tale. In 10th Century Scotland, tomboyish princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) turns to magic to escape a stifling future as a demure wife and mother. When her actions unleash supernatural chaos, it falls to her to restore normality. Also with the voices of Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters and Robbie Coltrane.
Sitting with an aggregated review score of 77% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, Brave is apparently more serious-minded than previous Pixar films. It provides emotion, action and a stunning setting, but fumbles with an overly conventional plot and uneven tone. The result? This fantasy-infused examination of mother-daughter relationships is strong but not among Pixar’s greatest. Still ideal for the whole family, though.
The latest Jason Statham actioner sticks to the “safe” formula we’ve come to expect of Mr Transporter: high-octane, minutely choreographed action and sublimely ridiculous stunts, all centred on a mostly silent dude in a suit. Statham is a former MMA fighter who defends a little Chinese girl – a mathematical genius – from gangsters.
Safe evidently delivers the goods that Statham fans expect. It hits hard, keeps adrenalin levels high and brings inventiveness to the requisite brutality. It doesn’t have much depth, though, and bounds from cliche to cliche, but Statham is actually called upon to emote here… even if cheesy bonding between child and father-like defender is gratefully avoided.
That’s My Boy:
Your second Adam Sandler comedy for the year. In this R-rated effort the funnyman plays a deadbeat man-child who achieved Z-grade celebrity when, at age 12, he had a child with his teacher (Susan Sarandon). Years later, in deep financial trouble, he seeks money from his successful son (Andy Samberg). The Wikipedia entry for That’s My Boy includes this choice descriptor: “The film has been criticised for its comedic portrayal of statutory rape, pedophilia and incest.”
It’s hard to accurately gauge how good or bad (or should that be “bad or worse”?) Adam Sandler movies are these days, given the gleeful bashing they receive from reviewers. That’s My Boy is apparently substantially better than Razzie-winning Jack and Jill, but it’s still been called mean-spirited, juvenile and vulgar. Oh, and unfunny.
Hey horror fans, not yet tired of films shot in the found-footage style? Well, here’s another one for you, written and produced by the creator of Paranormal Activity. A group of twentysomething tourists embark on an illicit “extreme tour” of Prypiat, the abandoned city next to the notorious Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Surprise, surprise, our rent-some-protagonists find more than they bargained for…
Despite a setting that should be instantly unnerving, Chernobyl Diaries is apparently short on suspense and tall on stupidity, typically in the form of illogical decisions made by its bland cast. Way stronger in concept than execution.
Last Updated: August 3, 2012