Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card for 09.18.09



Studio: Sony Animation Studios

Rated: PG for brief mild language.

Starring: Anna Faris, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell and James Caan

Directed by: Christopher Miller & Phil Lord

What it’s about: Based on the beloved children’s book, this film tells the story of a would-be inventor named Flint Lockwood. After years of failed inventions, Flint finally develops his masterpiece: a machine that converts water into food. After an experimental test goes horribly awry, the invention is launched into the stratosphere where it starts to convert clouds into food, which rains upon the town. However, soon the inventions starts to become uncontrollable, and Flint is the only guy who can stop it.

What I liked: Growing up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was one of my favorite children’s books, so I approached this movie cautiously. However, I found myself noticeably impressed by the film’s story, which was expanded greatly from the original picture book.

This movie is waaaaaay out there, but in a good way. It’s unlike any other film – live-action or CGI – that you’ve seen before. The story is simple, but it has enough unique elements to make it pop, and there’s humor for both the kids and adults in the audience.

Finally, the voice acting is great, with recognizable people like Mr. T but also solid B-list performances in the leading roles. The producers didn’t just get big names for this movie. They got people who could sell the characters to the audience.

What I didn’t: Not much, to be honest. There are a few cliches in the plot, and the characters aren’t completely original. However, for a kids’ movie, this one really hits it out of the park.

Who is gonna like this movie: Kids and their families.

Grade: A


Studio: Warner Bros.

Rated: R for language.

Starring: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Melanie Lynskey and Tony Hale

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

What it’s about: Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) is in middle management at a company that is involved in a price-fixing scheme. To help better position himself for the future, Mark begins to work with the FBI in an investigation of that scheme. However, in the process, he commits his own series of crimes and throws his life and his career into turmoil.

What I liked: When it comes to Steven Soderbergh, you can expect something unique, and he delivers this with The Informant!. The movie is very funny with a dry wit put on a slow burn. It’s not a knee-slapper, but the misadventures of Mark Whitacre should make you chuckle at least a few times.

In addition to the dry deliver, it’s the acting that makes the film shine. Matt Damon (who reportedly gained weight so he could look more like me) does a great job in his role, and he’s supported by an excellent cast including Scott Bakula, Melanie Lynskey and Tony Hale.

What I didn’t: While Soderbergh strives to give the film its own unique look, the movie does seem to exist out of its own time. It takes place in the early 1990s, but the look and feel of the film feels more like it’s out of the 70s, or the early 80s, at least.

Also, the film is a slow started, throwing a lot of detail about corn products and lysine, which is really extraneous information. It takes a while to get into this movie, but it is worth the wait.

Who is gonna like this movie: Soderbergh fans and people who want to see a light-hearted comedy about corporate greed.

Grade: B-


Studio: Fox Atomic

Rated: R for sexuality, bloody violence, language and brief drug use.

Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody and J.K. Simmons

Directed by: Karyn Kusama

What it’s about: Needy (Amanda Seyfried) is best friends with Jennifer (Megan Fox), the hottest cheerleader at the school. However, after a tragedy strikes a local bar, Jennifer comes home possessed by a demon. Jennifer starts killing the boys at her school, and it seems that Needy is the only person who realizes this or cares to stop it.

What I liked: Considering I thought this movie was a cinematic turd (sorry, Rob Hunter), there’s not a lot of nice things I can say about it beyond the basic hormonal trigger points. Yes, Megan Fox is hot. Yes, Amanda Seyfried has a rack the size of a medieval torture chamber. Yes, you get to see Megan Fox in various stages of undress (with any money shot sorely lacking, though). And yes, there is a make-out scene between Fox and Seyfried (which makes no sense in the context of the movie, but who really cares?).

What I didn’t: There were three main problems with this film… the writer, the director and the lead actress.

First, the writer. Diablo Cody gave us a fantastic script for Juno, but she’s not a very versatile writer. Cody’s script force feeds us the ersatz teen-speak that was endearing in her Oscar winner. However, here, it’s just one failed feminine hygiene joke after another. This film lacks the warmth and heart of Juno, making it as soul-less as the character of Jennifer.

Second, the director. Karyn Kusama may have directed Girlfight, but I simply won’t forgive her for Aeon Flux. She seems clueless in her delivery, taking herself way too seriously and constructing a movie that wants to be both artistic and exploitative at the same time. I honestly don’t think she got the memo that this was supposed to be a comedy.

Finally, the lead actress. I will conceded that Megan Fox is sizzling hot, but she is the worst actor on the planet. She’s the Steven Seagal of hot chicks, and she can’t even deliver basic dialogue. Watching her in this movie is like watching Shannen Doherty in Mallrats. Yeah, she’s easy on the eyes, but you’ll have a better time with her as a fantasy girlfriend if you just pick up the latest issue of Maxim.

Who is gonna like this movie: Die-hard Diablo Cody fans, die-hard Megan Fox fans and goth kids..

Grade: D

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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