Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card: March 25, 2011

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr felt so trapped by the weight of the world that he escaped into an amazing world inside his mind. Ironically, this world bore a striking resemblance to Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, what with all the scantily clad, kick-ass hotties running around. Once free of oppression, Kevin took his kids to check out the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie in a desperate hope for Rachel Harris’s approval.

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 Rudie Obias to talk about this week’s movies and a wrap-up of the South by Southwest Film Festival.

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Studio: Warner Bros.

Rated: PG-13 for thematic material involving sexuality, violence and combat sequences, and for language

Starring: Emily Browning, Jamie Chung, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens and Abbie Cornish

Directed by: Zack Snyder

What it’s about: A young woman is institutionalized after she accidentally kills her sister while trying to stop her step-father from assault. She finds herself in an awful asylum where the only escape is to delve into her mind’s fantasy, where she constructs an elaborate plan to escape.

What I liked: Like any film by Zack Snyder, Sucker Punch looks fantastic. The set design is beautiful. The computer-generated virtual world is amazing. The action sequences are filled with lots of explosions and slow motion fight choreography. In short, Sucker Punch is a visually-stunning picture. And it doesn’t help that the cast is filled with hot young ladies kicking ass in sexy stocking and low-cut tops.

In a strictly visual sense, Sucker Punch is an assault of music video style with intense pixie-like badassery. The action scenes are awesome to watch, and when Snyder is in his element, it’s pretty intense. Unfortunately, there’s more to a movie than visuals and action.

What I didn’t: Like so many films by so-called visionary directors, Sucker Punch suffers from a severe lack of quality in the script. There’s a reason why Snyder has been successful in his last four films. For as much complaints as people make about Hollywood cranking out remakes and adaptations, some directors are just better at doing that than making original stories.

There are so many fatal flaws in the script right out of the gate, from the teeth-grinding dialogue to the nonsensical explanation of the plot. Sucker Punch is one of those films that only works moment to moment because if you start to think about what’s happened before, it just doesn’t make sense.

Finally, Snyder seemed to have stumbled into a bizarre ode to Burlesque with the backdrop of the fantasy taking place in a cabaret brothel. I still don’t know how that fits into the plot.

Who is gonna like this movie: 14-year-old fanboys (and fangirls) who want some action and PG-13 jiggles but no plot.

Grade: B-


Studio: 20th Century Fox

Rated: PG for some mild rude humor and mischief

Starring: Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Robert Capron, Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris

Directed by: David Bowers

What it’s about: In this sequel to the surprise 2010 family hit from last year, we see all the character returning to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid storyline. Greg Heffley is in seventh grade now, and that means he no longer is at the bottom of the social heap. But while things are looking up (only slightly) at school, he’s facing more conflicts with his big brother Rodrick, and their mother is trying to make them get along.

What I liked: What I find most appealing about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid films is how self-contained they are. They aren’t out to take over the world, and the story really only goes as far as Greg Heffley’s life. It’s a refreshing thing to see after so many movies try to go too big for what they are meant to be.

This film is typical fodder for elementary school kids. It’s got fart jokes, vomit jokes and plenty of slapstick comedy, all delivered in a very safe manner. The character of Greg is less of a jerk to his friends, and the story actually swerves into a somewhat touching story of two brothers making a connection.

The real test of this film is the reaction that elementary school boys have to it. I took my two sons, ages 7 and 9, and they loved it. It was a great follow-up to the first film, keeping with the spirit of the movie as well as the original books.

What I didn’t: The only real problem with this film is that the story gets a little disjointed at times. However, that’s a product of how the books were presented. It was meant to be a collage of stories from the kids’ lives, so it doesn’t come across so much as a traditional story but rather a sequence of events.

I did miss several elements from the first film, though. I would have liked to have seen more Rowley (because that kid cracks me up), and a couple more Zoo-wee-mama jokes would have been nice.

Who is gonna like this movie: Elementary school kids, and maybe their parents.

Grade: A-

Want to see what Kevin had to say about the Oscars this week on TV? 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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