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!

Leatherheads

937_frontTo be honest, when I saw this in the theatre, I was on the fence about liking this film. After watching this again on bluray, I certainly enjoyed it more the second time around. Maybe because my expectations are were lowered a bit since going into it the first time, I really was wanting laugh out loud funny, and it didn’t deliver on that. Seeing it for what it is now, it is a light-hearted film with pleasantly funny scenes.

George Clooney (Oceans 11, Best Supporting actor for Syriana, Michael Clayton) directs and stars as “Dodge” Connelly, one of the veteran players in a dying professional football league. Clooney is adequate in this movie, but doesn’t deliver on the funny lines like O Brother Where art Thou. He still has some good chemistry going with Renee Zellweger (Chicago, Bridget Jones Diary), especially in the scene when they first meet. Trading one liners back and  forth was great and could almost used a few more of those type of quick witted fast talking scenes in the movie. The Film also stars The Office regular, John Krasinski (Away We Go) who is nicely cast as the young college super star.

Ok, would I recommend it to people, yes. Not to mention enjoying period pieces, especially from the roaring 20’s era, this film is solid, and enjoyable from start to finish. It is a lot of fun seeing the old-time football, leather helmets, wooden scoreboards, very few rules and half empty stands. Nothing groundbreaking or innovative from this film, but it is film that is well done in all areas. Just sit back and enjoy this easy-going and lighthearted journey about the beginning of professional football.

Burn After Reading

barblucoverSeeing this at the theatre for the first time, I left thinking to myself that this film was just an average ho-hum movie. Watching it again on bluray, I thought a bit more of the film. Maybe because I knew the plot line and the story and it was easier to watch it as a dark comedy rater than trying to make sure you get all the facts straight so you can know what is going on. For what ever reason, I did enjoy the humor in the film much more the second time.

 This film is about personal trainers Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys, Legends of the Fall) and Frances McDormand (Best Actress Fargo) who find a disc that is simply information on a novel that belongs to a government employee, John Makovich (Rounders, In the Line of Fire). Linda and Chad, the trainers, try to blackmail Osbourne Cox for a quick get rich scheme. George Clooney (Oceans 11, Best Supporting actor Syriana) has a great character whose only goal is having affairs with women, and one of the women, Tilda Swinton (Best Supporting Actress Michael Clayton, The Deep End) is one of the cheating wives, and married to Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) the government agent. Paths cross, stories overlap and the insanity begins!

This film is directed by the Coen Brothers also known for No Country for Old Men and  Fargo. Don’t think that this film will measure up to those two, they won’t. But if you enjoy their style of comedy, or like me, want to give it a second chance, there are a lot  funny moments, I just needed to know where to look. Worth watching but not a must see.