Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card: April 15, 2011

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in a fabulous blue feather outfit and takes a trip to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. There, he runs into a couple blue macaws trying to escape exotic bird smuggles, but he’s too busy getting his freak on to help out.

Later, he comes back to the states to visit the quaint town of Woodsboro, only this time he’s traded in his fabulous blue feather outfit for a long, black cloak and a “ghost face” mask. After making some calls to random twentysomething girls who are supposed to be teenagers and asking them what their favorite scary movies are, he spent a night in the hospital from a stab wound to the face. Oh, the humanity!

Want to hear what Kevin has to say on the Fat Guys at the Movies podcast? Take a listen below as Kevin is joined in the Magical Studio in the Sky by Brian Shirley from GeekTyrant.com.

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Studio: Dimension Films

Rated: R for strong bloody violence, language and some teen drinking

Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere and David Arquette

Directed by: Wes Craven

What it’s about: Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returns to Woodsboro fifteen years after the murders started t haunt her life. She is there to promote her new book, but her life starts to get violent again when a new person dresses as Ghost Face and starts slicing up high schoolers. With more than a decade of horror movies behind her, Sidney finds a new set of rules to try and survive this horror movie.

What I liked: I do enjoy the Scream films, putting them in the same category as the classic slashers like Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. They are not meant to be taken seriously, and it’s clear from this new film that SCRE4M doesn’t take itself seriously at all.

SCRE4M works equally well as a comedy as it does a horror flick. It’s not particularly scary, but it has some nice jump moments and enough bat-shit crazy plot points to keep me interested to the end. My favorite part of the movie is the meta references, which the series is known for. However, they are stepped up a notch, not only poking fun at the slasher genre, but also at its own series, stars and hype.

Kudos to Wes Craven for successfully breathing life into another one of his horror classics. After remake hits with The Hills Have Eyes, The Last House on the Left and A Nightmare on Elm Street, the guy still proves he has some horror chops. (Yes, I am conveniently forgetting My Soul to Take, which was the 2010 equivalent of Deadly Friend.)

What I didn’t: Like any movies in this series, the plot relies on distraction and misdirection. This works well when the music is loud and a masked killer is actively working to reduce the local population numbers. However, the movie crumbles under its own weight during the slower moments, particularly the heartfelt dialogue sequences that grind the story to a halt.

But no one’s seeing this movie for the plot, are they?

Who is gonna like this movie: Fans of the series and slasher buffs.

Grade: B-

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Rated: PG for mild off color humor

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, Leslie Mann and Rodrigo Santoro

Directed by: Carlos Saldanha

What it’s about: A blue macaw who lives in Minnesota takes a trip to Rio de Janeiro to mate with the last known species of his kind. However, he is kidnapped by exotic bird smugglers and must fight to escape… and to finally learn to fly.

What I liked: In general, I like the films that come from Blue Sky Studios, including the Ice Age movies, Robots and Horton Hears a Who. They’re not at the level of Pixar (and I ask you, is anyone?), but they’re more consistent than the hit-or-miss DreamWorks PDI studio. What’s neat about Rio is that it’s an original story, not ripped from (or making fun of) fairy tales. This is another example of a 2011 film that doesn’t rely on existing films, books are comics to get its story.

The best parts of this movie are some of the gorgeous animation sequences. From the high-energy and color song-and-dance numbers, which bring back memories of the Latin American promotional Disney films from the 40s like The Three Caballeros, to the well placed use of 3D in the flying shots and action sequences, Rio can be a lot of fun to watch.

And it’s cute enough for the kids to like it. It’s not just some pretty colors and distracting visuals. Rio works as a fun weekend excursion that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

What I didn’t: For as beautiful and amazing as some sequences are, the film is saddled with some pretty tired kids’ movie cliches throughout. The main macaw doesn’t know how to fly, and the film gives him his journey to believe in himself and overcome obstacles. The supporting cast of characters contain obvious stabs at Pixar-style ensembles, but never quite make it with the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tracy Morgan.

And then there’s Jesse Eisenberg. I know the kid was nominated for an Oscar this year, and he’s the darling of the hipster cinema, but he’s such a one-note actor. The macaw character of Blu is nothing more than a nicer version of Mark Zuckerberg using the same Columbus-from-Zombieland stammer. Overall, this voice cast isn’t the strongest one assembled, which is why the sudden break-out musical numbers, which never quite mesh well with the rest of the film, are so refreshing and fun.

Who is gonna like this movie: Kids and animation fans.

Grade: B

Want to see what Kevin had to say about this week’s new releases? Check out his interview on FOX…

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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