Saturday, July 17, 2010

Despicable Me

Despicable Me is a computer animated kids movie that was released on July 9th. It has a pretty notable voice cast, the most prominent actors being Steve Carell, Jason Segal, Miranda Cosgrove, and Russell Brand. It's about 90 minutes long, and has a cute story. WHICH GOES A LITTLE SOMETHING LIKE THIS:

The main protagonist is an evil Russian-type villain named Gru (Steve Carell), who aspires to steal the moon and become the greatest villain of all time. However, he's too poor to obtain the proper resources, and the bank refuses to lend him any more money, given his previous string of failed nefarious schemes. So, he decides to steal a Shrink Ray (which is necessary to his moon heist), from a young up-and-coming villain named Vector (Jason Segal), in order to convince the bank of his competence. Because Vector would never let Gru enter his fortress without suspicion, Gru decides to adopt three little girls, (the eldest of which is voiced by Miranda Cosgrove), and secretly enlist them into his plot. This leads them on a madcap adventure, which ultimately ends with Gru finally realizing what his life has been missing - A FAMILY. AWW.

So, this movie is pretty good. It's actually not as funny as I thought it would be given the voice talent. The humor is mostly built upon zany physical pratfalls, which are amusing exclusively to children. Gru's hoard of identical mindless minions living in his laboratory provide a lot of the comedy. It seems like a weird choice, but it's actually kind of admirable, due to the fact that "cartoon-y" cartoons have become pretty blase in the past twenty years. It definitely stands apart from How to Train Your Dragon and the super existential Toy Story 3. Steve Carell and Jason Segal are pretty funny as their respective characters, and Russell Brand is unrecognizable as Gru's assistant Dr. Nefario, for whatever that's worth. Miranda Cosgrove does a decent job with orphan Margo, although she is perpetually shadowed by the youngest orphan Agnes, who is given all of the adorable cheeky lines. I can't speak for the 3D because I didn't see it in 3D, but there are some sequences during the credits which were clearly intended for 3D, so if you're into the gimmicky pop-out-at-your-face paddle ball type gags, get it while the gettins good. Oh and for anyone who cares, Pharrell did a couple of original songs for this movie, none of which are good or memorable.

Overall 3/5 - it's a cute movie.
Hottie Factor 0/5 - it's animated?
Wacky Shenanigans 4/5 Pretty much as many as you could ask for short of straight up Loony Tunes

Our First Review-Of INCEPTION!

Oh, Chris. Chris, Chris, Chris. You did it again-- you sucked me in. Another amazing, impenetrable thrill ride of a movie.
Inception is Christopher Nolan's follow up to the behemoth summer blockbuster The Dark Knight. He's also directed Batman Begins, Memento, and The Prestige, all of which I have enjoyed/enjoyed being confused about. And I enjoyed being confused about this movie, too.
This movie is BIG. It's long, it's packed full of special effects, and the story...I don't think I could explain it fully if I tried. In simple terms, Leonardo DiCaprio is a thief named Cobb who can enter people's dreams and learn their secrets as they sleep. He is contracted by Saito (Ken Wannatabe) to complete one last, extremely dangerous job. That, of course isn't even the tip of the plot iceberg.
The storyline got so overstuffed, eventually I had to stop even trying to understand what was happening. Part of that is probably purposeful, since a main theme in the film is the fine line between dreamworld and the real world. It's unsettling, but don't worry. Even if you lose track of what's going on, the tense or surprising moments still land. I was on the edge of my seat for the ending, and I probably missed 20% of the plot points.
I focused instead on the absolute beauty and spectacle of the film. Everything from the locations to the lighting to wardrobe to the actor's hairstyles seems to matter to Nolan. All those visual aspects are extremely cohesive and you can tell how much time and effort this movie required. It makes the movie feel like, well, art. I could watch the movie on mute and still be totally enraptured.
And that goes for the blockbuster scenes, too-normally I don't care at all for big loud CGI sequences, but these are amazing! The scene from the trailer of a city street turning on itself is even cooler in the movie (my favorite special effect involves floating people and elevators, but I don't want to give too much away).
The only thing I had a real problem with was DiCaprio. I'm sorry, but I just didn't buy his character at all. He has a very simple motivation (to be vague, he's a family man at heart) that seemed too weak for such an impressive movie. I found myself wanting to spend more time with the other actors, especially Ellen Page, as Ariadne the young student, and Joseph Gordon Levitt as Arthur, Cobb's right hand man. These two characters had very little if any back story and I still found them much more engaging. Sorry, Leo.
So, should you see Inception? YES. The plot is kind of confusing, and the lead character is a bit boring, but all that is minor in the face of the amazing visuals in this movie.
Plus, it stuck with me-I had a dream last night I too could go into people's dreams.

5/5-go see it!
3.5/5-there are some cute dudes, but I hate to say it, kind of not what this movie is about. Just see it anyway!
5/5 turning to your neighbor and asking what the eff just happened Seriously this movie is incredibly confusing, but in a way that makes you want to call Christopher Nolan and get him to explain it to you.

Hi to the internet!

So this is our blog! Soon we will start reviewing movies. Right now, enjoy the lurid pink backround.