40 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
4/10
The Great and Terrible
8 March 2013
Visuals: Great // Script, Acting, Jokes: Terrible

"I am Oz the Great and Terrible". That's what the wizard says in the 1939 classic (and the book before it) when Dorothy & gang come before his throne.

This movie just has a terrible script. Terrible lead actor (Oh if only Johnny Depp or Robert Downey Jr had said Yes!). Mediocre acting from others -- except Rachael Weisz - more Brits please! and fewer American TV ensemble actors from shows about troubled teens.

The CGI/special effects are wonderful. I nearly plugged in my earbuds and put a white noise track on my MP3 player. So I wouldn't have to listen to the terrible script/acting and could just concentrate on the pretty pictures.

Every joke went over like a lead balloon -- not a lovely hot air balloon. No one in my theater laughed at one of them. Even the cute animal sidekick (here voiced by a white actor, in a surprising turn) just fails to be cute or funny enough. (And I liked Zach Braff in Scrubs).
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Four Lions (2010)
3/10
If you want to see Cumberbatch, forget it
23 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I got this from the library as Benedict Cumberbatch was listed as being in it and I'm a big fan. But I'll just save you the time: He only appears briefly right at the end (as an inept police negotiator), has around 5 lines, and like everyone else in this movie is saying unfunny things that we're meant to think are funny.

About the verbal humor: It's like they had a software program that just mixed references to private parts and threw in "donkey" or "dog" occasionally. It got to sound very formulaic.

The writers' names look Anglo-Saxon to me. So I think 4 white guys wrote a movie about 4 Pakistani guys who want to be jihadists. The fact that they are bumbling and wear silly costumes is meant to be "humorous". I'd say the fact that they plan to blow up themselves and others is ugly. That's all.

Every single character in the movie is stupid or mentally impaired. The main character is intelligent, but no rationale is given as to why this British-born man wants to do this extreme action and leave his loving family.

Allow me to spoil it for you further: They DO all succeed in blowing themselves up -- mostly by accident. And it appears they take innocent people and some animals out with them. The main character leaves behind his doting wife and child.

Hilarious, right?

To sum up: Very little Cumberbatch & lots of racist, uncomfortable humor & people and animals being exploded in unfunny ways.
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Dark Shadows (2012)
3/10
Moribund
11 May 2012
Definition of Moribund: "In terminal decline; lacking vitality or vigor." That's this movie. Don't believe the trailers -- they made it look very witty and fast-paced. Instead it is slow and dull.

Why don't they get the people who make the trailers to make the movie? Trailers are always fast-paced and funny and make the movies look terrific. I think there are jokes in the trailers that are not IN this movie! Why would you remove jokes from a movie that has too few?

Johnny Depp tries his hardest, as he always does. But the script is just flat. Sad to see that Tim Burton has demoted his girlfriend, Helena Bonham Carter, to "older character lady" role. Women in their 20s get the romantic leads. (Is Johnny not aging?)

Also story steals a bit from Twilight. So we've seen it all before.
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Bridesmaids (I) (2011)
3/10
Awful
13 May 2011
And this movie was aimed at me -- I'm a woman and I'm into comedy. I expected to have a good time. I didn't. It just never got funny. A lot of "almost funny" scenes. A few chuckles. But we deserve better than that.

A great cast wasted. The heroine is unlikeable. I don't understand how you write a script for yourself and make yourself unlikeable from every aspect.

Her big "blow-up" scene (intended to be hilarious) just makes you cringe. Shut up and be gracious for your friend, the bride's, sake. Don't make it all about you.

The only actor who got good laughs from the audience was Melissa McCarthy ("Mike & Molly").

But her character is another head-scratcher. She seems to be a butch lesbian. Yet lusts after men. So many things just didn't make sense about this movie. And you get distracted thinking "Why does the Wisconsin highway patrol officer have a British accent?" "Is that rich lady a bitch or not?" "Why is that lesbian coming onto that man?" "Just what is the main character's problem? Is she mentally ill?" None of this is helpful to a comedy.
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5/10
Yawn!
25 July 2008
What a blah movie. There's really nothing exciting or interesting happening here.

Where's the circus freaks, the father and son with tails, the fluke, the guy who crawled thru narrow vents to attack Scully? Where's the incestuous hillbillies who keep their half-a-mom on a trolley under the bed?

Seriously guys, *this* is what we've been waiting all these years for? You had many years to write a script and *this* is all you came up with? Was Darin Morgan not available to help you?

This is the most uninteresting story. If it had made it to an "X-Files" episode, we would have forgotten it already. No aliens, no freaks. The villains are barely seen and not really that scary.

The first chase doesn't start till an hour in. The big "freaky-deaky" moment isn't for 1:20 (and it ain't that freaky. They really pulled their punches.) The rest of the movie is padded with Mulder whining at Scully and Scully whining back.

Mulder: "I believe" Scully: "I don't believe".

Multiply that by about 20 times.

The subplots just peter out and go nowhere. No satisfying ending. It's all a wash of beige.

Save your money and maybe buy or rent a boxed set of "X-Files" on DVD. Far more entertaining.
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3/10
Dumb & Unfunny
26 April 2008
I think even if you were high as a kite you couldn't find much to laugh at in this movie. Rarely heard a chuckle from the audience I was with.

Gross-out shock moments are substituted for actual funny stuff. They're not the same thing, guys. "Hey look at this shocking thing! And here's another shocking thing! Not actually funny -- but it was gross, right?"

I pretty much enjoyed the first H&K movie -- but this was so inferior. NPH's brief cameo is enjoyable -- but that ends in a "huh?" way.

Rob Corddry works hard, but doesn't have much to work with. And Kal Penn and John Cho are in their mid-30s and really don't pass for stoner kids anymore.

Don't waste your money.
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Smart People (2008)
5/10
Pointless
10 April 2008
The laughs are few and far between and the characters just wander about drinking too much, staring into space or being rude and their story lines don't amount to anything. And they're all unlikeable.

Ellen Page was the bright spot -- but her character doesn't have enough to do and her story arc doesn't really resolve. Ditto Thomas Haden Church.

Dennis Quaid is unattractive and unappealing and I couldn't believe Sarah Jessica Parker's doctor character would waste a moment of her time with him. He's doughy, sloppy, zoned out, self-absorbed and rude. And his family is a mess. What's the attraction? Can't she find a handsome doctor her own age? She should go work at Seattle Grace.

SJP is like a far duller version of Carrie Bradshaw (but still wearing her bra during sex! Yeah, that's comfortable.) The dialog is not actually smart -- it's about boring pompous twits TALKING about how they're smart.

Then somebody gets pregnant and that supposedly "fixes" everything.

Just rent "Juno". Far smarter people (and writing) there.
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Prom Night (I) (2008)
3/10
Save your money
10 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
and rent a GOOD horror movie. It's like the writer had never seen a horror movie before and didn't realize every single thing he wrote was clichéd and hackneyed and has been parodied to perfection in movies like "Scream" and "Scary Movie".

In between the scary bits is the most BANAL and BORING dialog ever written. Stupid "we're going to the prom" junk. I wanted to claw my ears off. Honestly, "The Hills" has better dialog.

There really was no need to make this movie. Leading lady is uninteresting and I kept thinking "Her? Really? Guy is obsessed with her? Really?"

All the characters act in stupid ways, including the police. (Cover the place in teams of 2! Front and back! Not one sleepy cop sitting in his car with the window rolled down just waiting for his throat to be slashed.)

The serial killer just swans about murdering everyone he wants without the least bit of problem. No resistance from victims (or doors). Nobody has any protection or the least idea of fighting back (or flipping the security lock on the hotel room door). The people are like mentally disabled sheep.

By the by, if you're a gore fan, you'll be disappointed too. All the killing is kept offscreen and is -- ahem -- tastefully done. (So boo hoo for you!)

None of the killings is the least bit interesting. Most of the time they've already happened by the time we find out.

The only cliché missing was the cat that always pops out in this kind of movies. "Oh kitty! You scared me! I thought you were the killer -- AIIEEEE!"

And then at the end when it's time for the killer to die -- well, let's just say it's the easiest and most obvious choice. Snore.

The audience was jeering and talking back to the screen throughout. It was too dumb to believe and not really scary enough. Don't encourage this kind of lazy film-making.

(Oh, and by the way -- no crowning of a prom king or queen. No tiara. No bucket of blood.)

So save your money and rent "Carrie" or "Friday the 13th" or "Halloween" or "Scream" or "Scary Movie" (any of them) to get a good scare with some original twists.
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8/10
Another inventive comedy from the Apatow crew
26 February 2008
I love IMDb.com. I just came here (after seeing the movie) and saw that John Hughes (using a pseudonym) was one of the writers of this movie. That makes sense, because the movie covers the awkwardness, danger and constant potential for life-ruining humiliation that is freshman year high school. Being "skinny, scared and lonely", as Drillbit Taylor puts it.

One of the other writers is the awesome Seth Rogen, co-writer & co-star of "Superbad" and co-star of "Knocked Up".

Owen Wilson is funny, sexy and heartwarming in this role. The trio of geeky lads who hire Owen as their protector are all played by wonderful young actors. The Apatow organization seems to have a genius for finding great and funny teen actors. I was especially impressed by Alex Frost (he plays the bully) who I think has stardom in his future.

The small roles of the film are filled by standup comics and "The Daily Show" alumni. Good talent all around.

The movie is not perfect. It's front-loaded -- meaning the first half has so many laughs you can't hear all the lines for the laughter. Then it suddenly slows down in the second half. It's still interesting -- just not as funny. And when you get to the violent fighting, that dries up the laughs.

Overall though, any film from the Apatow organization is going to be 6 times funnier and more inventive than the average movie comedy out there. So go have some laughs.
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Cloverfield (2008)
5/10
Left me Nauseous & Headachey
19 January 2008
I'm deducting 2 stars for how ill this movie made me.

Why did NO one warn me that the ENTIRE film was shaky, hand-held video? (I thought it would just be the opening party scene.)

"The Blair Witch Project" did the same thing to me.

THE X-FILES EXPLANATION: About 40 minutes into every X-Files episode, there was a kind of an explanation for that week's monster. (Something) might have happened to (create/release) this sort of a (monster/disease)!"

The same thing happens here 40 minutes in. Pay attention, cuz it's the only sort of explanation you're going to get.

(But I have a sneaking suspicion this is the monster that's been stomping around "Lost" island for the last few years!)

I'm left wondering:

Why does anyone live in Manhattan anymore? It's always being attacked by gigantic Godzilla-like monsters, Muslim extremists, tsunamis, aliens in spaceships, killer viruses, zombies, Donald Trump...
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6/10
Leave a bad taste in your mouth
21 December 2007
This is like "Saw: The Musical".

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not squeamish. Murder + humor + music = fun for me.

I'm a big fan of Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd" -- have seen 2 professional theatrical productions. Couldn't wait to see this movie.

Started to chuckle at "The Worst Pies in London" (which is a very funny song) -- but the laughter dried up when we were shown close-ups of cockroaches. Lots and lots of cockroaches scampering across Mrs. Lovett's filthy countertop. Too realistic.

Dark humor has to be done with a very deft hand. You can't show the murders too clearly. Yet Tim Burton shows us EVERY slit throat, arterial blood pumping and gushing all over the place. Then down the trapdoor it goes and SLAM! lands on its head. He shows this again and again and again....

Well, nobody felt like laughing after that.

Johnny Depp is gloomy and glowering throughout. Not a good showcase for him. If you love Johnny Depp -- well, go rent a "Pirates" movie instead.

This is a very non-fun and depressing movie. And I think popcorn sales will be down. You don't feel like eating for a long while after.
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7/10
A Chuckler
12 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It's a hit-and-miss comedy. There's a few laugh-out-loud moments, but mostly you'll only be chuckling or going "Was that meant to be funny?"

John C. Reilly is not naturally funny and is NOT good to look at in close-up. In one scene a man's naked tackle appears next to his head. I didn't know where to look! EW! (Naked guy was no Dirk Diggler.)

I think Judd Apatow is going "I got away with a closeup of a vagina giving birth in 'Knocked Up'. Time for a closeup of male genitalia!" (And there were lots of drawings of penises in "Superbad".)

Did you notice that "Walk the Line" and "Ray" were practically the same movie? I'm guessing Judd Apatow and Jake Kasden did and set out to write a movie spoofing the formulaic musical biopic. This starts out looking like "Walk Hard" but then veers into a trip through popular music history -- which is sometimes fun. I enjoyed the Bob Dylan and Glen Campbell phases of Dewey's career.

The most delightful scene to me was when they were in India in 1967 with the Maharishi and the Beatles (finishing with a "Yellow Submarine"-like cartoon).

The guys playing the Beatles were hilarious (and dirty -- that's why you only see the briefest snippet in the TV commercials.) Jack Black is Paul and Paul Rudd is John and their bickering is hysterical. Justin Long ("Mac" on the PC vs. Mac commercials) was George and Jason Schwartzman ("Rushmore") is Ringo. This scene was far too brief. If only the whole movie had been this funny. I think they need to get these guys back together and make a whole movie about the Beatles!

There are lots of delightful cameos from your favorite comedy actors. The songs seem to be clever, well-written parodies -- I'll have to hear them another way and read the lyrics to fully "get" them.

But it's not as sharp as "A Mighty Wind" or "Spinal Tap".

Reilly is a good character actor and a fine singer -- but he is not the guy to carry a comedy. He doesn't have the "funny bones" of Will Ferrell, Jack Black or Jim Carrey. You start laughing the second those guys appear on screen.

It reminded me of "Blades of Glory" or "Talladega Nights" -- some wonderful moments, but a lot of dull or mis-fired ones. Gags that are repeated till they become annoying.
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Beowulf (2007)
8/10
Warning: IMAX 3-D made me nauseous
14 November 2007
However, I loved the movie and the 3-D was 85% of what was enjoyable. I think a "flat" version would be flat.

Most of the excitement comes with the 3-D images coming at ya. I had to keep from reaching my hand up to touch the bubbles (or whatever) seemed to be floating in the air right in front of me.

After about 20 minute, I started to feel ooky, so took off my glasses and closed my eyes for a few minutes. Had to repeat this several times. But I'm proud to say I made it thru the 1:55 movie length without barfing.

It's now 2 hours since I left the theater and I'm still slightly nauseous.

However, other people weren't bothered. SO maybe it's just me -- or where I was sitting (last row, far right seat). I think you have to find out exactly where your head needs to be so you don't see double images -- then pin your head to the back of your seat and DON'T MOVE IT!

Another warning: it's pushing the limits for a PG-13 movie. For the timid or very young, it might be too much. Lots of limb-ripping, head-chomping, torso-goring and nudity.

Several children in our theater were crying. (At the sight of Angelina Jolie's 3-D boobies, perhaps!)
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6/10
It's no "Something about Mary"
7 October 2007
The horrible crude scenes leave a bad taste and overshadow any funny scenes. I think the Farrelly Brothers wanted to recapture the success of "There's Something About Mary" -- but they've flopped hard.

The universe of "Mary" was completely wacky and any naughty parts just fit into that universe. This one feels like there were too many screenwriters tinkering with it. (5 are listed). Someone wrote a mainstream romantic comedy script -- then someone else (The Brothers, I'm guessing) came along and just stuck in gross shocking bits.

It's very uneven. It loses steam in the third act. Has a very unsatisfying and unpleasant ending. Carlos Mencia is obnoxious. Ben is looking too old to be playing these parts. Meanwhile, the girls still look 25.
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5/10
Better luck next time, Dane
13 September 2007
A very uneven comedy. If 3 out of every 10 jokes working is enough for you, then go ahead.

If you're hoping to see Dane Cook (nearly) undressed, you won't be disappointed. He strips more in this movie than Demi Moore in "Striptease".

If you're hoping to see Jessica Alba undressed -- too bad! Scanty attire is the best you'll get.

If you're hoping to see Dane be as funny as he is in his stand-up -- you'll be disappointed.

If you're hoping to see Jessica be funny -- what are you, nuts? She's got no comedy chops! And that old tired "pretty girl falls down a lot" shtick wasn't funny when it became a movie cliché about 5 years ago.

The only funny moments seem to be when Dane is improvising. When he's doing the written parts of the script, it clunks hard. (Him dressed in a penguin costume? Yikes.) The two leads try SO hard to show us they have chemistry (a lot of shoulder wiggling and cutesy facial expressions mostly) that it backfires.

There were a lot of gross-out moments that just weren't funny -- the fat sidekick scrubbing his backflap with a scrub-brush for sexual pleasure, a penguin eating his crap, two seduction scenes with obese women (straight out of "Norbit" -- also unfunny).

The sidekick is so foul and obnoxious he throws the movie completely off-balance. You feel like the movie needs a sorbet after one of his scenes to get the bad taste out of your mouth.

The only likable person was the guy playing Jessica's brother (Lonny Ross of "30 Rock"). I actually think he might have made a better romantic lead, than Dane -- who was somehow off-putting.

Maybe Dane will have more input into his next comedy movie. Maybe that will help.
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9/10
Enjoyable British Comedy -- but not as zany as you might expect
27 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Simon Pegg leaves his pregnant bride at the altar and 6 years later is regretting it -- especially when he sees her new rich, handsome, perfect suitor (Hank Azaria's comedic talents wasted in a straight role -- you know he does 100 voices on "The Simpsons", right?).

Simon loves his little boy dearly and fears the new guy might take his place in the boy's heart. So he's going to try to pull himself together before it's too late.

There were only 26 people at my noon-on-a-Monday (!) preview screening, but we all were laughing a lot throughout this film. I even found myself wiping away a tear at the moving ending.

This film was written by Simon Pegg ("Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz"-- which I loved) and Michael Ian Black (edgy American TV sketch-comedy) and I expected it to be a lot wackier than it was.

But maybe they wanted to make something more mainstream to reach a wider audience. Or maybe it was the tempering hand of new movie director David Schwimmer ("Ross" of "Friends"), who does a good job.

A quite enjoyable movie to go see when you want some laughs. A good date movie too, I think.
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Take (2007)
5/10
Excruciatingly Slow Moving and Depressing
19 August 2007
I notice all the people giving this high marks saw it at a film festival -- with the actors and writer/director in attendance. I think this has tilted their objectivity -- made them more enamored of it.

I found this movie just dark, grimy, grungy and relentlessly sad and slow-moving. There is some deep booming sound on the soundtrack that occurs just before something bad happens (and a lot of bad things happen) -- it made me want to jump out of my skin.

I'm sure the cinematography is great -- but it's mostly of junky-looking places.

The actors are all very good. The story was OK -- but I think I've seen the topic addressed on Lifetime made-for-TV movies.

If you like really slow-moving stories about hopeless people leading hopeless lives -- then this is the film for you.

It's not my cup of tea. I had to come home and put on a DVD of a good comedy movie so I wouldn't have nightmares.
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Superbad (2007)
8/10
The First Smart Raunchy Teenboy Movie
7 August 2007
This is a lot more creative than most of the "high-school-boys-want-to-get laid-before-graduation" genre. The whole audience was laughing all the way through, and the movie kept surprising us.

Michael Cera lives up to the promise he showed in "Arrested Development" as the sweet dork -- you empathize with every excruciatingly awkward moment he experiences.

There are lots of cuss words and naughty gestures and drawings -- so if you're easily shocked (or on a first date) this is not the movie for you.

There are a pair of cops like you hope don't exist in real life -- but played very amusingly by screenwriter Seth Rogen and SNLer Bill Hader.

I'm a bit dubious that boys this nerdy could get girls this hot -- but hey, I guess this is a male fantasy, right? (Someday women writers/ producers will make a movie about plain teen girls getting laid by the cute boys at school. Who call them the next day and ask them to go steady. Girl fantasy!)

The ending is a bit ambiguous. There were murmurings in the audience as to what exactly was going on with the Seth character.

All in all, a wild and funny and original comedy.
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The Ten (2007)
4/10
Big Stinkin Turd of a Movie
31 July 2007
There's a cartoon rhino in this film who lays big stinkin turds everywhere. That's a good description of this movie.

There was an Exodus from the theater starting about halfway through.

It's just a loose collection of sketches that have original concepts -- but like an SNL sketch, they just keep pounding the same joke in over and over into boredom.

Forget about the Ten Commandments -- it's really not about them or religion -- or anything much. There's no satire even.

If you think "oh I love dirty comedies" -- you'll be disappointed. There's no naked breasts. Just a lot of fairly unattractive naked men and endless ass-raping mentions.

I like "dirty and brilliant", but "dirty and lame" is a sin against comedy.
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5/10
Geez, Lady -- you need AA, not a man
12 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
So there's this shaky quaky single neurotic New York Gal -- she's aging! She must find a man! Now!

So she goes here and has a drink and there and has a drink and comes home and has a drink and goes out again and has a drink. Drink drink drinky drink drink. (Sometimes there's also pills.)

The film is mostly her staggering around looking like a hangover hag and boo-hooing about guys who don't stick around.

Uh, maybe guys don't want to get stuck with a neurotic drunk?

It's a very meandering film, with scenes that seem promising -- but abruptly end, without accomplishing anything.

It reminded me of another film by a another famous director's daughter -- "Lost in Translation". That film had Bill Murray to save it. He improvised all those funny lines and moments that you remember -- that made people think that was a great film. Otherwise it just meandered a lot.

I think Sophia Coppola and Zoe Cassavetes just transcribed some events in their lives and hoped it made a movie. I think an unknown would have no luck getting either of these scripts filmed.

Zoe must love "Before Sunset" -- because this movie ends with the EXACT same two last lines and just as abruptly.
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Transformers (2007)
6/10
Pssst! If you're a woman -- read this!
28 June 2007
The guys in the audience at my screening were practically ejaculating in their seats. This was VERY exciting for them.

For me (middle-aged woman), eh. Not so much.

(Look at all those 10 star reviews on here. They're all written by these guys.)

See there's this 17 year old boy who has a crush on a girl in his class. Who appears to be 30 and a supermodel. When she finds out he's got a car that's an alien robot, she's all over him. (Yes, it's all about boy fantasies.)

Keep your little kids (or anyone nightmare-prone) FAR away from this film! A LOT of nightmarish images. Nice people and little kids have very scary pointy metallic objects reaching for them. Or batting them around. (I'm pretty sure a lot of people were killed -- but they glossed over that quickly.)

Even tho I'd never seen a Transformer cartoon or toy or whatever the frick these things are, I was able to grasp the plot easily. But the movie just wore me down.

These huge piles of garbage (or whatever the frick they are) were hard to wrap my eyes around. When they stood up and moved they were impressive (frightening even). But when they spoke, they just seemed dorky.

The movie whip-sawed between goofy comedy and terrifying action movie. Seems to be a mish-mash of styles. It didn't have an even tone. (And yes, I understand about comic relief.) The movie just seemed cobbled together from a lot of different parts -- like the creatures.

Around 3/4 of the way thru, I got tired of big things whamming each other and shut my eyes for a few moments. Open my eyes: Still going on. And on and on.

I couldn't wait for it to be over. At the end of the movie I was headachy and slightly nauseous.

But the guys were jumping in the air. Outside they were peeling out in their over-sized trucks way too fast. ("Look at me! I'm a Transformer!")

Ah. Boys and their toys.

If you're a male in real or prolonged adolescence this will probably be the high point of your life.

But if you're anyone else, I suggest you find something else in the cineplex to see and let the boys have this one all to themselves.
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9/10
Nearly Died Laughing
27 June 2007
I went to this screening expecting it to be a serious movie -- you don't expect to be laughing at a movie with both "Death" and "Funeral" in the title -- but this film was hilarious! It wasn't just me -- the theater was full of people screaming with laughter and clapping at various moments.

Alan Tudyk is hilarious every moment he is on screen. Finally this underrated actor has gotten a good-sized part where he can show off his comedy skills.

Most of the actors are British and I did not recognize them, but they were excellent.

One I recognized was Jane Asher (she was Paul McCartney's girlfriend in the 60s -- he shoulda married her -- she's still alive and she's not a gold-digger). She plays the very composed widow here. (Oddly she has fewer creases on her face than her middle-aged sons.)

This film reminded me a bit of "Four Weddings and a Funeral", but even more of those British madcap black comedies of the 60s with Alec Guinness or Peter Sellers.
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Evan Almighty (2007)
8/10
Think of it as a Light-Hearted Religious Epic, rather than a comedy
23 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
If you go expecting to see a gut-busting laugh-out-loud comedy like the usual Jim Carrey-Tom Shayac production, you'll be disappointed. (But it also doesn't have the bathroom humor -- a relief to me.)

But INSTEAD I suggest you think back to those great religious epics of the 1950s -- but with many light-hearted moments (instead of the heavy melodrama those movies had). I think then you can just sit back and enjoy this movie.

Steve Carell is a master of subtle comedy -- the comedy of character nuances. He's not a big broad over-the-top comedy actor like Jim Carrey. So it's not really fair to compare him to Jim and the Ace Ventura movies.

It must be a lot of pressure on him: "You're the star of the most expensive comedy ever made! Talk out of your butt or something!"

They have him doing some slapstick while clumsily building the ark, but it isn't really funny. The film is stocked with expert comedy actors, but only Wanda Sykes got any laughs out of the audience. (But then, it's said Wanda Sykes can get laughs just reading a phone book.)

Sadly John Goodman is wasted as "the heavy". Over the closing credits, you see a moment of him comic dancing and you remember how funny this guy is.)

I was amazed to find tears rolling down my cheeks about halfway through -- when God disguised as a waiter has a little talk with Evan's wife (who thinks her husband has lost his mind). It happened a few more times till the end.

So if you turn off your laugh-o-meter expectations and just look at it as a sweet story of faith with a few smiles and a lot of delightful animals and some great disaster effects, you'll enjoy it.
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Ratatouille (2007)
6/10
Unengaging Story
15 June 2007
If you love snobby French cooking, you'll love this.

If you're looking for a fun movie like "The Incredibles", you'll be disappointed.

It's not really a funny movie -- more of an "Eek!" (will the rat be killed?) and "Awww" (isn't that heartwarming?) kind of movie.

The animation is superb -- but the story is weak.

How Remy the Rat controls his human is just dumb. They lost me there. That and when hundreds of rats swarm a house, a kitchen -- I was on the side of the exterminator then.

One rat in a kitchen MIGHT be cute. Hundreds are horrible.

I loved Patton Oswalt as Remy and Peter O'Toole as the mean food critic. But Janeane Garofalo can barely be understood under her fakey French accent. (Which raises a good point: how come some of these French people have French accents -- but some have English or American? Shouldn't they be consistent?)

They were meticulous in creating a French restaurant kitchen, the scenery of Paris and the animation. I only wish they'd put as much effort into the script.
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Surf's Up (2007)
7/10
Hang 7
5 June 2007
It's not the funniest animated movie you've ever seen -- most of the jokes are amusing, rather than laugh-out-loud -- but it does the job.

Sometimes the humor just seems to be "it's penguins doing human things -- get it?"

But it's fast-moving, colorful, and the voice cast is good. (Fortunately, they didn't give Jon Heder too much to do, so he wasn't out of his depth.)

Shia LeBeouf was very good (esp. considering how young he is). Several of us thought it was Bruce Willis doing the character of Cody. Snappy and smart. I liked Mario Cantone as the snarky sandpiper.

The animation is so deft you can actually see subtle emotions play over the faces of these birds. The waves sometimes look real, not animation.

There's a lot of stuff about surfing. Seemed like one of those old surfing documentaries sometimes. I didn't know if the kids could follow all that -- but the 3 little girls sitting in front of me pronounced the movie "fantastic" afterwards, so I guess it did its job.
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