Fantastic Mr. Fox

Went out Saturday morning to see Fantastic Mr. Fox. Going off a friends recommendation, a friend that loved The Life Aquatic and I hated, I was not sure what I was in for. Sitting through the first two previews of a sequel for Alvin and the Chipmunks and a new film that has the Rock dressed in baby blue tights playing a tooth fairy, I did not have a good feeling at all.

Ok, so I can be wrong and what a nice surprise this film was. Directed by Wes Anderson, known for his fun and quirky style (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore), if this is your cup of tea, you will love this movie. And even if it isn’t, it is not so over the top that it can’t be enjoyed by all.

The film is about Mr. Fox, a newspaper reporter, that is bored with life and decides to go back to his old habits of stealing chickens from the local farmers to help pay for his new above ground home. Involving many others in his schemes, he eventually gets his visiting nephew in trouble. Of course Mrs. Fox disapproves and wants him to stop before he gets everyone in over their head, and that is exactly what happens.

Normally I don’t like really big names playing animated parts, just because you see a lot more in a character than you should, but George Clooney (Oceans 11, Syriana, Michael Clayton) is great as the quick talking know-it-all center of attention Mr. Fox. Meryl Streep (Bridges of Madison County, Doubt) is the voice of Mrs. Fox. Wes Anderson regulars Bill Murray (Lost in Translation, Caddyshack), Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, The Darjeeling Limited) and Owen Wilson (Shanghai Noon, The Royal Tanenbaums) play significant characters as well.

To me, this film was a very refreshing animated film and a change from the normal picture perfect Pixar releases. Not that there is a thing wrong with Pixar, just nice to see someone venture out and do a totally different style of animation. The roughness of the animation really adds to the overall feel and tone of the movie. If you are one normally scared off by Wes Anderson films, go ahead and give this one a chance. This film is a lot of fun with great dialog and story. Worth catching for sure!

Analyze This

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Mobster Paul Vitti is having problems after surviving an assassination attempt. It just so happens that hit man “Jelly” has run into (literally rear-ended while driving) a therapist, Ben Sobel. Vitti shows up in Sobel’s office, and before the session is over, Vitti has a therapist. The only problem is, Dr. Ben Sobel is getting married and you never know when a mobster is going to show up and need a quick session. 

This is a wonderful comedy that plays off of the typical gangster cliches, to the point of  discussing who is Fredo in Dr. Sobel’s dream. A mobster in therapy just sets up nice for so many comedic opporotunities. Mob Boss Paul Vitti is played by Hollywood heavyweight Robert DeNiro (Best Actor Raging Bull, Best Supporting Actor Godfather II).  I am glad DeNiro didn’t stay typecast as a too tough crime character after playing in so many of those roles, because he certainly does play well in comedies, especially this role and as the CIA Dad in Meet the Parents. Deniro’s performance and facial expressions are absolutely great in this film, a real treat to watch.

Dr. Ben Sobel played by comedian Billy Crystal (City Slickers, When Harry Met Sally), and is a perfect match to DeNiro. Crystal is great at subtle lines,  very quick witted lines that are wonderful. The underated performance has to go to Joe Viterelli (Mickey Blue Eyes)who plays Jelly. He is the ultimate lovable thug.

This film is directed by Harold Ramis (Caddyshack), and is a much better representation of his work than the junk he spit out earlier this year in Year One. In all, this is a very entertaining film and is worth catching when you are in the mood for something light hearted that will make you laugh.Check it out for sure!