June 26, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom - 2012

Writer/Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Ed Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton

Two 12-year-olds (Gilman & Hayward) decide they're madly in love after briefly meeting, so they run off from their respective scout troop and family in an attempt to get married and fulfill all the dreams a 12-year-old could fathom. The stakes rise when a storm of legendary magnitude threatens their small New England town.

If you know me, you know how much I love Wes Anderson. He's my second favorite director after Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and the upcoming Looper), and I identify far more with Rushmore's Max Fischer than I care to admit. Maybe that means the following needs to be taken with a grain of salt, maybe not: Moonrise proves that Anderson's first foray into a period piece is right up there with any of his other works. He's got a wonderful script (perhaps a second Oscar nomination is in store?) and works with a mostly fresh cast (all of who deliver in spades, even the young leads) this time around. There's an effect in the climax that could have been more polished, as well as an element to the young relationship that seems completely inappropriate, but once that squicky scene passes, the audience is back to being immersed in a remarkable cinematic experience. A

Brave - 2012

Directors: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews & Steve Purcell
Writers: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, & Irene Mecchi
Starring: Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, & Julie Walters

A soon-to-be betrothed princess (MacDonald) sets out to change her fate, rather than follow the path her parents have chosen for her.

This is a spectacular film in every facet, and I'm stunned that it doesn't have a stronger critical approval. First of all, major recognition to the folks responsible for the ad campaign, the vast majority of which is pulled from the first 30 minutes of the film; I don't think I've ever been less spoiled in my entire filmgoing career. It was quite a relief to hear a bunch of authentic Scottish (or at least British) voices in a movie about Scottish characters, and the plot is very solid, save for a minute detail of the climax. I'll support any film with a strong female protagonist like Merida, especially when the idea is wholly original, and the native 3D works really well. Cars 2 really worried me, but Brave proves that Pixar still has terrific potential (and they can somehow sneak male rear nudity into a PG-rated film). A

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World - 2012

Writer/Director: Lorene Scafaria
Starring: Steve Carell & Keira Knightley

Rating: B-

June 16, 2012

Rock of Ages - 2012

Director: Adam Shankman

Starring: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise
Cast: Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Malin Ackerman, Mary J. Blige

Rating: C-

Prometheus - 2012

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce
Cast: Logan Marshall-Green
Rating: B

Snow White and the Huntsman - 2012

Director: Rupert Sanders

Starring: Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth
Cast: Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Toby Jones

Rating: C-