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Entries in isla fisher (2)

Friday
Sep072012

Bachelorette

This week’s limited release, Bachelorette, is bound to remind most viewers of Bridesmaids and The Hangover, two films with similar ideas and settings, but whereas those movies had charm, smarts, mystery and laughs, Bachelorette has none. The story centers on four best friends, Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Becky (Rebel Wilson), Gena (Lizzy Caplan) and Katie (Isla Fisher), who have all gathered together to celebrate Becky’s marriage and they’re the most appalling people you could possibly imagine. Aside from the relatively sweet and innocent Becky, these women are vile and ugly and they—supposed best friends—don’t evet treat other well, much less anyone else. The characters are too mean to be funny or likable and even at a brief 87 minutes, Bachelorette ends up being one of the biggest wastes of time of the year.

Shortly after the film begins, the four girls find themselves all together for the first time in a long time. Their way of reconnecting is to scold each other and bicker about events that happened many years ago. This early event is, believe it or not, the least unpleasant in the entire movie. Later, at the reception, Gena calls Becky out on her stint with bulimia in high school, which, if we’re putting a positive spin on things, was at least said to her face; most of the discussion that goes on about Becky is obscene, off-putting and behind her back, mostly directed towards her larger body type. Then, while on a drunken stupor, Regan, Gena and Katie rip her wedding dress while trying to fit two of them in it (because look how large it is!). It’s this event that puts them on a twilight adventure to fix the dress before the wedding the next morning and it’s a downward spiral from there.

The things these women say and do to each other and others are so despicable that they aren’t worthy of repeating here, but they aren’t the only awful characters. The men in the movie, spearheaded by Trevor, played by James Marsden, are just as bad. Early on, Trevor condones date raping Katie while she’s in a state of inability to consent, but not before heading to a local strip club seemingly for the sole purpose of demeaning the dancers. The only person that scrapes by unscathed is Joe, played by Kyle Bornheimer, who treats everyone as kind as can be and refuses to sleep with Katie, even as she (probably unknowingly) beckons him to do so. He’s the only person in the film with a conscience, but his presence comes off as contrived in a sea of such shamelessness, as if he was put there solely because the film needed someone who wasn’t a complete and utter ass.

No doubt some will call this a black comedy, where you would expect this type of behavior (it would be hard to justify liking it as anything else), but it’s not dark enough to be called such. Instead, it’s just incredibly mean-spirited. Seemingly the only time the characters don’t say something mean is when they’re too drunk or high to speak, which hardly qualifies them as upstanding individuals. Bachelorette comes off like a movie made for and by high school bullies, the pretty people who spoke down to others simply because of their quirky personalities or appearances.

Did I mention the film simply isn’t funny either? Of course, one wouldn’t expect it to be with characters as deplorable as this. Bachelorette is a wanna-be, a movie that tries so desperately to be like those aforementioned popular comedies, but mistakes cruelty for wit. It’s easily the most vicious movie of the year. To find amusement in it is to find amusement in hate.

Bachelorette receives 0.5/5

Friday
Mar042011

Rango

If you’ve ever heard me talk about animation, you know I’m at the forefront of the “Animation is not just for children!” movement. Opponents of that train of thought are, quite simply, daft. Just because children can find enjoyment in a particular animated movie does not mean adults can’t, or even that it was meant for them. Accessibility does not equate to target audience. While it's true that movies like Planet 51 are strictly for kids, films like How to Train Your Dragon, Tangled and many more have proven that animation can delight the young ones in the audience while also sparking the long lost imagination of the older crowd. Well, you can now add Rango, a downright delightful animated Western that ranks among the best non-Pixar offerings in recent memory, to that ever growing list.

As the film begins, we meet a chameleon (voiced by Johnny Depp) trapped inside of a glass cage as he rides with his family across the Nevada desert. After the car swerves due to an animal in the road, his cage falls out of the window and smashes, leaving him stranded and alone. However, he soon meets Beans (voiced by Isla Fisher) an iguana who is on her way to Dirt, a town inhabited by animals whose only resource is precious water. When he arrives, he creates a rough and tough identity for himself, calling himself Rango and boasting of violent scuffles that never happened. Impressed by his words, the townsfolk make him sheriff. And he couldn’t have come at a better time because the water is drying up and they hope he will be able to find out why.

If you’ve seen the trailers for Rango, you may be aware of the unique filming style. Although animated, the actors voicing the roles physically acted out the performance. It wasn't motion capture, however. As Depp put it, it was “emotion capture.” This technique allowed the performers to interact with each other (as opposed to the usual solitary voice recordings most other films use) and be as silly as possible while cameras filmed their every move, footage that was later used as reference in the animation process. The approach worked because the fun they undoubtedly had creating the movie flows through the screen like no other film in recent memory.

While much of that is due to the terrific script and the funny delivery by the voice actors, it is also due to the beautiful and vibrant animation that is (shockingly) not hampered by the dimming glasses of 3D. The choice to not put Rango in 3D is a wise one and it shows just how much livelier your film can be with every bright color in its palette popping off the screen. In addition, the attention to detail is astonishing. Some are merely nice touches, like the inclusion of mustache-esque scales on Rattlesnake Jake (voiced by Bill Nighy), but others add to the realism of the unforgiving desert, like backgrounds that look like they’re moving because of the scorching humidity.

Rango may not have the heart of a Pixar film (though it tries), but it has fun, particularly with old Western tropes like horseback riding and standoffs, by putting its own little spin on them and crafting some clever jokes at their expense. It has everything that makes a great Western, only exaggerated and manic to properly fit with the animation style and it works. With the exception of True Grit, Rango is the best example of the genre to come along in years. All things considered, that’s pretty impressive.

Rango receives 4/5