PINK PANTHER 2
Rated: PG for some suggestive humor, brief mild language and action.
Starring: Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Yuki Matsuzaki, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, John Cleese, Lily Tomlin and Jeremy Irons
Directed by: Harald Zwart
What it’s about: Steve Martin returns as Inspector Jacques Clouseau, the bumbling French detective who manages to actually solve crimes. This time around, the infamous Pink Panther diamond has been stolen by a mysterious thief who has also stolen many rare antiquities. Clouseau is tapped to head an international dream team of detectives to track down the diamond and whoever took it.
What I liked: Unlike many critics around the world, I actually enjoyed the first Pink Panther with Steve Martin. What I liked, which is also true with this sequel, is that Martin didn’t try to top Peter Sellers’ portrayal of the iconic Clouseau. Rather, he did his own version of the character. While inferior to Sellers’ Clouseau, Martin’s slapstick buffoon has his moments.
The cast is almost too good for this movie, in many respects, with smaller parts played by John Cleese, Lily Tomlin and Jeremy Irons. They all do well in their roles, even if the characters don’t fit together properly. Still, I had to laugh at the call-back to the “hamburger gag” from the first film, this time featuring Martin and Cleese. And that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is one hot tomato.
I have to admit that I did laugh at the really stupid parts. But if Paul Blart: Mall Cop can rule for two weekends, why not Clouseau?
What I didn’t: Okay, let’s face it. This Pink Panther is really a stupid movie, easily stupider than its predecessor. The story doesn’t really follow its own lead and crumbles in the middle. Even the best actors seem to be slumming it in some of the roles.
Basically, if you hated the first movie – or think that Sellers’ legacy left the role of Inspector Clouseau untouchable –you’ll want to avoid this one like the plague.
Who is gonna like this movie: Paul Blart movie fans.
Studio: Focus Features
Rated: PG for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor.
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, John Hodgman, Robert Bailey Jr. and Ian McShane
Directed by: Henry Selick
What it’s about: An eleven-year-old girl is bored with her life and her family. After moving into a new house with her folks, she discovers a sealed-off doorway in the spare room. When she goes through the doorway one night, she’s transported into an alternate world that features her “other” family. While everything seems happier, brighter and more pleasant, there’s sinister things lurking behind the illusion. Soon, she must escape her “Other Mother” and save other children that didn’t see the warning signs.
What I liked: Henry Selick proves with Coraline that he doesn’t need Tim Burton at his side to make an innovative, visionary animated masterpiece. And I’m sure that this film is going to live on forever in the annals of cinema – possibly even as a better movie than The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Coraline is simply breathtaking, whether you see it in 3D or with traditional projection. The stop-motion animation is astounding, featuring a dark spin but not the over-used Gothic look that Tim Burton would have pushed on the film.
The story is expertly crafted, offering a sense of dread from the beginning but luring us into a false sense of security soon enough. It’s a story that is relatable to adults as well as children, although the youngest of viewers might be a bit scared.
What I didn’t: The only real complaint I have about the film is that there are a few moments where the smoothness of the animation breaks down a bit. It’s only a few times, and it’s relatively subtle, but I noticed it.
Who is gonna like this movie: Animation fans and people who love a good, dark fairy tale.
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, brief strong language, smoking and a scene of teen drinking.
Starring: Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle and Djimon Hounsou
Directed by: Paul McGuigan
What it’s about: Nick (Chris Evans) is a “mover,” which is a slang term for a telekinetic. Cassie (Dakota Fanning) is a “watcher,” a person who can see the future. They’re trying to help a girl named Kira (Camilla Belle), who is a “pusher,” someone who can force their own thoughts into your head. Together, they’re trying to escape a top secret government agency that wants to control them and others like them, using them as weapons.
What I liked: This movie reminded me a lot of modern science fiction tales like Jumper and TV’s Heroes. It grounds itself in a certain reality, which is supernatural but does follow a set of rules. I’ve always enjoyed these cat-and-mouse type movies featuring heroes on the run. Throwing in some really cool psychic background into the film only helped me enjoy it more.
At its core, Push is an action piece that culminates with two massive psychic showdowns in the film, unlike anything you’ll see in Heroes. I had fun watching this movie, and it really didn’t slow down much throughout its full run time.
What I didn’t: I’ll admit that the story, characters and background can be a bit hard to follow. You might want to read up on the movie at its web site before venturing out to see this movie. And, if you’re not a big fan of a film with four or five endings, which sets itself up almost too perfectly for a sequel, this might not be your cup of tea.
Who is gonna like this movie: Action fans and modern-day sci-fi junkies.