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the penultimate summer blockbuster review: july.

ratatouille: while it came out in june, it still needs to be covered. i never saw cars because i adamantly believe that talking cars are dumb. call me old-fashioned, but talking animals will always be cuter, more identifiable, and less clunky than talking machinery. and this movie proved my point because it managed to make me think patton effing oswalt was adorable, which beforehand was a seemingly impossible feat. not only this, but [SPOILER ALERT!] i'm always a sucker for the villain turning good in the end instead of simply being defeated. this, in addition to the film's ability to make a french rat cook seem surreal, believable, and fantasy all at the same time, made it a sophisticated highlight not only amongst the ranks of previous pixar movies (as it seems these movies are often only compared to each other), but amongst all movies that have a message agenda. next step for disney: please quit it with the ethnic stereotyping. really, all the good-at-heart and smart rats and humans in paris have american accents (aka no accent) and all the scheming and evil ones are distinctly european/foreign? grade: A-.

i now pronounce you chuck and larry: trash. the exact same thing has been said by everyone who has seen it - they wanted to make people laugh with all the gay panic jokes that come to mind so easily when pairing the king of queens with happy gilmore using a bare bones plot and then at the end say, "but seriously, being gay must suck in america, where they're not given any respect or rights by mainstream culture. good thing i'm not gay." that's as close as they could get to saying, "sorry for making this crap movie that reinforces all the false representation you've already endured with seven years of will and grace. at least it's not on every thursday. buds 4ever, right?" grade: F.

hairspray: ever since dancer in the dark, i've grown more and more okay with watching and hell, even genuinely enjoying, musicals. while these musicals that get churned out more and more frequently every year are never as dark or groundbreaking as dancer, i'm glad my rebelliousness as a 16-year-old geek brought me 'round to the whole notion of musicals being acceptable types of films. the fact that i've been dating a former theatre minor for almost four years now doesn't hurt either. so here we are with a musical that's not really special nor is it ghastly. it's not edgy, it doesn't have any pop stars in it, and it's not about famous people. it's just a family-friendly remake of a 1988 edgy cult comedy that turned into a broadway musical. so it was probably already watered down then. now it's just a set of benign but catchy white crooning meets black motown tunes stringed together by the very middle school theme of acceptance sung by a bunch of famous actors and oh-yeah-it's-that-one-guy-from-the-thing teenagers. how it was made so vibrantly and made me actually have a good time during it and not fall asleep is beyond my grasp, so i won't even attempt an explanation. i will just admit defeat. grade: B.

the simpsons movie: sometimes it's just too late. a great majority of our generation got our warped sense of recyclable sarcastic humor by growing up watching the simpsons every weeknight. if i was still attached to this show, i might have the desire to go back and pinpoint exactly where it ended, but let's be honest - at one point or another (somewhere between 2001-2003 is my best guess) the simpsons got too wacky. there were too many jokes. sure it was still watchable and there were some great jokes, but it became an over-saturated mess more concerned with turning eyeballs to induce laughter than snidely and modestly ingraining itself in your brain with equal amounts of silliness and cultural awareness. when something like the simpsons movie comes out, we want to forget that we stopped watching it, but we did. we grew up, moved on, and realized that tv is tv for a reason. nobody falls in love with a straight-up comedy, no matter how "culturally aware" it is. us post-simpsons adults fall in love with comedic tv shows that either have a human edge along with their hijinks (arrested development) or are postmodern and crude yet intelligently layered nonsense (stella, mr. show). we used to have an amateur version of a hybrid of these two types of humor when we were 12, and while it doesn't do harm in a coked-out 86-minute version of itself that does have some laugh-out-loud moments, it also reminds us that we're adults, and that is usually more depressing than hilarious. grade: C.

sunshine: whenever i'm in absolute hypnotized awe over a movie while i'm watching it, i tend to look past its faults until someone else brings them up. some might call this "the hype syndrome" when it's because it's a movie that has been hyped either in the media, amongst a circle of friends, or in one's own mind that the viewer in question decides the movie will be amazing, sees it, comes out smiling, and never looks back. sunshine has flaws. i'll admit it. a lot of them. but really, i just can't let those flaws get to me. at least not right now. maybe next year i'll watch it on dvd and i'll wish certain characters were developed more or that certain plot points were expounded upon further rather than it be a mish-mash of every psychological outer space movie ever. but now, i can't do that. its strengths outweigh every point others might make about it being illogical, half-baked, or overly showy. right now i like overly showy. it is without a doubt the most beautiful science fiction film i have ever seen. i love director danny boyle's use of smeared color and distorted light. i love how he makes the universe feel like claustrophobic infinity. the only thing that rivals it in my mind is kubrick's take on life beyond our atmosphere as stark, pale, and eerily calm. blah blah it's just armageddon for pretentious artfolk, some say. there's a reason i saw all those armageddon-type movies - and sunshine is the first movie where the idea of a team of talents joining together to save the world feels truly human, emotional, and a personal faith-based journey. saving the world can be small and big at the same time. and don't even get me started on how this is also a movie about how people watch movies. who's in the "observation room"? (maniacal laugh). you'll understand that if you see it hopefully. grade: A.

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  1. Blogger P. Arty | 11:08 AM |  

    I got news for ya, Polley. No one will understand that last line. Even me, even after you explained it to me.

    (Great review, by the way. I'm starting to come down off the fence on to the positive side.)

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