Futurama–Bender’s Big Score: I love Futurama and this movie was all I’d hoped for. Spammer aliens take over Earth and our heroes use time travel to stop them. Except I didn’t expect to see Hermes get DECAPITATED in the first five minutes! AUGH! It was really hard to handle, but I figured something out. It was okay because I know it’s a series and Hermes will be just fine by the next episode. So I wasn’t as worried about him as I would have been otherwise. Aside from that, the movie was screamingly funny and very clever. I liked all the time travel craziness and the wacky paradoxes that ensued. I’m really sad that time travel is a cliche, because I sure like stories about it.
Happy Feet: A penguin who tap-dances instead of singing (like normal penguins apparently do) makes his way into penguin society and ends up saving it. It was cute and sweet. A little stretched out–they had about 60 minutes of good material that they made last for 90–but enjoyable. I liked the Mexican penguin fiesta and the penguin religious revival meeting while they huddle for warmth. I’m also glad the filmmakers got their penguin anatomy and behaviors right (aside from the singing and tap-dancing…) I would probably have liked it more if I hadn’t just watched Planet Earth about real penguins, but it was still enjoyable.
The Muppets Take Manhattan: I’d seen this years ago as a kid. Kermit and friends head to New York to make it big. Like other Muppet movies, the quality is inconsistent, but overall it’s fun. It also features the cute Muppet Babies, who eventually made a spin-off cartoon that I used to like (and I’m SO glad they added Skeeter so there would be a decent female role model). Miss Piggy had a really scary ’80’s perm which reminded me uncomfortably of my own perms. I’d scan a picture and post it for you, but I don’t want to break your Internet.
Singin’ In the Rain: LOVED it. What a delightful movie. I always figured I’d like it, but hadn’t seen it yet. Gene Kelly plays a movie star who’s fallen in love with a talented singer, and his jealous co-star tries to sabotage the singer’s career. There’s lots of wonderful singing and dancing, and the story is, well, happy. It’s hard not to enjoy the movie. It pays tribute to the history of film–something I’m not especially interested in, but found fascinating in this movie. How crazy it must have been for silent film stars to have to adapt to “talkies” when they came out! If you like musicals, this is a film that will leave you smiling and relaxed. Another of my favorites I watched this week.
The Road to El Dorado: I didn’t have high hopes for this one, because I heard it wasn’t very good, but I ended up liking it a lot. Two Spanish con men end up in the New World and try to con the people of El Dorado out of their gold. The thing is, this movie is completely implausible in just about every way. But that’s okay. Because they get you through at least six impossible things in the action-packed first 13 minutes, so you get the idea–this film is completely ridiculous and that’s just what it is. But it’s FUNNY. Unlike most movies which ignore laws of reality and so forth, this movie was laugh-out-loud funny, with very likeable protagonists, a nicely evil villain who gets what he deserves, and a satisfying ending hinting at brand-new adventures.
The Road Home: I thought this was amazing. It’s the 40-year love story of a young Chinese village girl and the local schoolteacher she’s fallen for. It’s very simple (some might find it slow) but incredibly moving. I was astounded at the scene where she wants to bring him the mushroom dumplings she made, but he’s leaving in a horse-drawn carriage. So she sprints after him… I won’t spoil it. If you like Chinese films or moving love stories, you might well enjoy this film. It was just what I wanted to see.
Mirrormask: A young artist gets trapped in the world of her drawings and needs to find a way home. I thought this was a good movie that fell a few steps short of a great movie. It was incredibly beautiful and the story was terrific… but something went wrong in the editing of the scenes. If I were a film student, I could explain this better, but what I noticed is that a few seconds of film, here and there, seemed to be missing. It confused me–in certain scenes, I couldn’t quite follow the action. It moved too suddenly, or the angle made it look like something different was happening, and so on. It’s a shame, because I really liked the movie and I wish that had been done better. That said, I loved the scene with the music “Close to You,” where Helena is falling into the Shadow Queen’s spell, and thought that was done perfectly. If you watch this, you may want the subtitles on; I think part of my confusion was a few slightly mumbled lines with British accents/slang that just didn’t quite register on my ears.
More movies to come.