Friday, February 27, 2009

Review: Is it Good or like hitting a WALL-E?

Okay, so the Jester will admit that he likes animated movies as much as any other genre.  Being the parent of a young lady I sit through a variety of movies, including, but not limited to, Barbie, CareBears, Hannah Montana, and the like.  I've always been a fan of good movies and especially those put out by Pixar Studios.  I was even more intrigued, since WALL*E was produced by the same folks who brought us "Finding Nemo".  What's interesting is that they brought the same beauty and wonder from that movie and made it work "in space".

After the sudden snow that fell in our area a few days ago and the fact that Thursdays will cease to be .99 cent rentals at our local store  I figured it was a great time to finally pick-up Wall-E, along with a couple of others.

The premise of WALL*E is based on the question of "what if mankind left an uninhabited Earth and only one working trash-compacting robot was left?"  My daughter told me that once the movie started "I had to sit down and not move, since I'd miss important stuff".  I brushed it off, since anyone who knows the Jester knows that he multi-tasks even when movies are going.  I figured I'd satisfy her for a short time by sitting there and later I'd get up and do stuff, while watching at the same time.  That last part didn't actually come to fruition.  Okay, I digress...

As the movie started we see the outline of a big city, but thankfully I listened to my daughter, since it becomes apparent that this isn't just any cityscape.  We find WALL*E doing what he's been programmed to do, namely cleanup trash and turn it into compacted cubes.  After hundreds of years of doing this, along with a sidekick cockroach, his world is turned upside-down when a rocketship appears with EVE, a sleek female robot searching for something.  Now, normally I would find it difficult to watch a movie in which there is no speaking by the characters for the first twenty minutes or so, but WALL*E was clearly different.  Anyway, back to the movie, WALL*E is clearly in love when he lays eyes on EVE, but she is single-minded in her secret task.  After numerous close calls from EVEs deadly "laser-blast", they finally meet.  In a eerie, robots like humans interaction between the two, we see WALL*E expressing his attraction to EVE, only to have his advances turned away by her single-mindedness.  In many heartbreaking scenes we see WALL*E being vulnerable only to be turned away.  Soon after yet another rejection, WALL*E retuns to his original work and it's here that he accidentally stumbles on the secret item that EVE was searching for.  When he shows EVE the item, her programming causes her to shut-down, with just a blinking green light.  Again, we see WALL*E being loyal toward EVE in rain, wind, storms, and the like, despite her unresponsiveness.  Alas, this will come to light later. 

Soon, a rocketship appears to take EVE off with the item, namely to inform the humans who have been waiting in space for years for this fantastic find.  WALL*E doesn't want EVE to leave without him, so he latches onto the spaceship carrying her.  Thus begins an exciting movie that had me entralled with the fun, yet poignant story of loneliness, hope, fear, loyalty, sloth, heroism and yes, even love.

Perhaps the Jester could relate to WALL*E, but then again, I think each of us can in some way.  This is a movie that you'll enjoy with kids, but even adults can enjoy the path of love that's woven throughout the story.  I didn't see this in the theater and I waited quite awhile to see it on DVD, but I'm very glad I finally did.  I highly recommend that you don't read any reviews, except this one and definitately DO NOT read any wikipedia articles about the story.  This is a movie that you'll want to watch, without any knowledge ahead of time.  This is a movie that can be enjoyed by all ages and the story is worth taking in throughout. 

Now, it's rare for the Jester to recommend a movie as a "must see", but WALL*E fits in that category.  Take my daughter's advice and sit down with a bowl of popcorn and enjoy the movie with your loved-ones, without getting'll be glad, like me, that you did.

out of    

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Review: What Happens in Vegas

whathappensvegas.jpg Okay, so I rent this movie at the local "99 cent Mondays" at a local store and figure "what the heck".  Now, any movie with Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher as the lead's isn't one that I think will particularly "inform me", "make me double over in laughter" or "wow me".  As I think back to the movies these two have been in lately, none of them "Jump out".   Okay, to the movie itself...."ready, go"

The basis of this movie is that Joy McNally (Diaz) and Jack Fuller (Kutcher) end up in Vegas separately, after facing relationship trauma; Kutcher after being fired by his boss/father and Diaz after her fiance breaks their engagement due to her uptightness.  Each one comes to Vegas with a best friend, yet a hotel mistake plops them all in a single room.  After some one upping each other with the desk clerk, the four end up partying late into the night.  Cue to the morning where Joy and Jack find that after a drunken night they're now married.  When cooler heads prevail they end up downstairs determining how to end the marriage when Jack borrows a coin from Joy and plays a slot machine.  <Cue the music>  Lo and behold, Jack hits the jackpot and wins $3,000,000.  Problem is whose money is it?  <Cue the court room>  Conservative judge, played by Dennis Miller, freezes the money and orders the couple to really work on their marriage for six months, including weekly couples therapy.  If they both finish the six months then the money will be split evenly, but if either one breaks the order then the other person gets the full amount.  Got that?


What transpires are the hijinks of each person trying to get the other to want out of the marriage.  Time together and therapy changes people and Joy and Jack's attitudes toward each other soften.  The question is whether greed or love will win out.

I went into this movie with little expectations or worry, since it was a buck rental.  While the stereotype scenario is there and Diaz and Kutcher don't wow us on screen, the movie wasn't half bad.  There are funny parts, mixed with some sappy scenes.   Unfortunately, the ending seems rushed and fits a lot in a short time frame.  Of course, neither Kutcher or Diaz will carry a movie by themselves, so perhaps the ending came "just in time".


Jester says "wait for "99 cent day" at your local rental store and enjoy the movie, despite its shortcomings.


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