Wednesday, November 10, 2010

“Movie Review: Megamind (PG) - Associated Content” plus 2 more

“Movie Review: Megamind (PG) - Associated Content” plus 2 more


Movie Review: Megamind (PG) - Associated Content

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 09:20 PM PST

And now for the plot. Megamind (voiced by Will Ferrell) has for years been the archenemy of Metro Man (voiced by Brad Pitt), a goody-two-shoes Superman caricature who defends the citizens of Metro City. Despite being well-crafted, Megamind's evil schemes have all been foiled, and by now, it has gotten to the point that they no longer carry any weight - least of all for Metro City's star news reporter Roxanne Ritchi (voiced by Tina Fey), who has been kidnapped by Megamind more times than she can remember.

On the day a museum opens in honor of Metro Man, Megamind appears to achieve the impossible by defeating his rival and taking control of the city. He's happy about this, but only at first; after a while, it seems that, without a hero to battle against, his life has absolutely no meaning. Using technology of his own invention, he creates a new adversary, hoping it will help him relive his glory days as a criminal mastermind. Here enters Roxanne's cameraman, Hal Stewart (voiced by Jonah Hill), who's transformed from a pudgy computer nerd into a muscular superhero named Tighten (apparently a spoof of the word "titan"). Hal hopes to use his new abilities to woo Roxanne, who he has always had a crush on. Unfortunately, Roxanne is already dating someone else, and of that, I will say no more.

In due time, Tighten devolves into Metro City's newest enemy. With Metro Man out of the picture, it seems the only hero the city has left is Megamind. Does he have it in him to be a defender of the people? The answer lies in a strange but appropriate skewing of a line Aaron Eckhart delivered in The Dark Knight: "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

It's practically a guarantee that children will enjoy this movie. It has a lot of action, the sight gags are plentiful, the colors are bright, the 3D is noticeable, and some of the dialogue is just silly enough to hold their attention. But adults will enjoy this movie, too. One of the funniest subplots involves Megamind's ability to disguise himself with a series of holographic projections, controlled by a wristwatch-like mechanism; as he trains Hal into becoming a superhero, he transforms himself in a short, stocky send-up of Marlon Brando as Jor-El, complete with a hilariously pronounced lisp. I also enjoyed the parody of Shepard Fairey's Hope poster, made famous during Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. Let's just say that the phrase, "Yes, We Can," no longer applies.

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Movie Studios Support Debut of ‘Conan’ on TBS - New York Times Blogs

Posted: 10 Nov 2010 12:05 AM PST

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Movie review: Tyler Perry's 'For Colored Girls' - The Post-Standard - Syracuse.com (blog)

Posted: 03 Nov 2010 12:12 PM PDT

Published: Wednesday, November 03, 2010, 2:58 PM Updated: Wednesday, November 03, 2010, 3:13 PM

(AP)--Tyler Perry, whose name usually adorns the titles to his films, hasn't disowned his latest, the simply dubbed "For Colored Girls."

On the contrary, his gesture of seeming humility is a self-conscious stab at respectability. With his 10th film, Perry has tried to make a "serious" film, one that courts critical acclaim and maybe even some of the Oscar buzz that the Perry-produced "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" found this time last year.

But make no mistake about it, "For Colored Girls" is not much of a departure for Perry, who has made a trademark out of extreme melodrama, done quick and cheap. That might be good news for his ardent fans, but it's bad news for everyone else.

Unlike "Precious," ''For Colored Girls" at least hasn't awkwardly jammed its source material into its title. It's based on the Obie Award-winning play, "for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf," by Ntozake Shange.

First performed in 1974, the play — which Shange called a "choreopoem" — was a sensation. Played by seven wounded but resilient black female characters (each known only as a color), it's a series of 20 poems.

The play was a powerful flow of eloquent, full-blooded testifying, one that has since been revered and repeatedly staged. That Perry would be drawn to it makes sense: Raised by women, he's made them his specialty.

Finding a narrative to string Shange's poems together, though, is no easy task. Perry has put most of his nine women into one Harlem apartment building (they were scattered across the country in the play), where their stories overlap.

There is Crystal (Kimberly Elise), the mother of two and wife to an abusive war veteran (Michael Ealy). Her boss is a fashion magazine editor, Jo (Janet Jackson), whose steely success castrates her husband (Omari Hardwick).

Across the hall from Crystal is Tangie (Thandie Newton), a bartender who slides into bed easily with her customers. Her sister is a high school dancer, Nyla (Tessa Thompson) who has just lost her virginity. Their angry, righteous mother (Whoopi Goldberg) is a religious fanatic clad in only white.

Living in between Crystal and Tangie is Gilda, a concerned, motherly neighbor (Phylicia Rashad). Then there are the health workers: Juanita (Loretta Devine) runs a women's health clinic, and Kelly (Kerry Washington) is a visiting social worker. Dance instructor Yasmine (Anika Noni Rose), who is betrayed by a date, rounds out the protagonists.

If that sounds like a lot of characters to keep track of, it is. Perry juggles them all awkwardly. Fitting all their stories in leaves room for little character development, and what's left is the most sensational aspects of their stories.

"For Colored Girls" plays very much like a typical Perry soap opera, with the exception that every now and then his characters spout a poetic soliloquy. The rich language of the ruminations are utterly disconnected from Perry's dialogue.

The monologues still offer some sanctuary, surely proof that Shange's words remain strong even when insufficiently surrounded. Jackson and Goldberg may be among the bigger names in the film, but their characters come across especially thin.

Thompson shines, particularly in her post-abortion soliloquy: "Eyes crawling up on me, eyes crawling up my thighs." Rose, too, resonates in her speech as someone "betrayed by men who know us." Elise, another character who must reconcile herself to tragedy, also gives a strong performance.

Perry, himself an incredible rags-to-riches story, is intractably drawn to characters who survive hardship, often through faith. But he lacks subtlety in fleshing out characters, and he doesn't have the filmmaking talent for anything more than low-rent television.

His urge to face real ugliness in the world and inspire perseverance is admirable. But "For Colored Girls" can only go down as a missed opportunity, where a work of art should have been trusted to more capable hands.

"For Colored Girls," a Lionsgate release, is rated R for some disturbing violence including a rape, sexual content and language. Running time: 120 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.

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