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!

Wedding Crashers

065935221012Wedding Crashers is a decent comedy, in the same vein as Meet The Parents and American Pie. John, played by Owen Wilson (Bottle Rocket, Shanghai Noon), and Jeremy, played by Vince Vaughn (Swingers, Clay Pigeons) are long time friends that have mastered the art of hooking up with girls at weddings. There are dozens of rules and even a Wedding Crashers playbook to follow. All of that goes out the window when they attempt to crash the wedding of weddings. Well known politician William Cleary, played by Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction, Catch Me If You Can), is hosting the wedding for his daughter, and while crashing the wedding John starts falling for Claire, played by Rachel McAdams (The Family Stone, Mean Girls). Wanting to get to know Claire better, John agrees to go to a weekend get-a-way at the Cleary house on the coast, and of course Jeremy has to go along….all the while being pursued by the Cleary youngest daughter, Gloria, played marvelously by Isla Fisher (Swimming Pool). The comedy continues as John and Jeremy experience about every awkward situation you might imagine during their stay, complete with Mrs. Cleary (Jane Seymour, Live and Let Die) hitting on John!

As far as performances go, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn make for a good comedy team pairing. They are so different comically and physically, they really play off each other well. For instance during the touch football game, it is the bigger of the two, Vaughn, that gets so banged up, which is perfect for Owen to chime in and comment on. Probably even a better pairing is Vince Vaughn and Isla Fisher, who are even further apart physically, and she plays the young girl obsessed and possessive so well, and Vaughn’s reactions to avoid her make them a very comical duo to watch. OK, Will Ferrell (Anchor Man) has just a bit more of a cameo in the film and just seemed out of place and in the way. I will admit there are very few things that I have actually enjoyed him in. He overacts so much he is just annoying. Ignore him though, plenty of other things to laugh at in this one.

I don’t believe this was as funny as the movies listed in the beginning, but it is a darn funny movie. There are several sexually themed jokes, but nothing over  the top gross or anything. I would say if you are in the mood for comedy this is a good one to catch.