Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Root’

Cedar Rapids – A Town, Uninsurable

Posted 17 Jul 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Cedar Rapids, USA, 2011

Directed by Miguel Arteta

Cedar Rapids is a character piece. Not just a screwball comedy, though it is that.Most of the time during this film, I thought to myself, “This feels like an Alexander Payne movie.” Payne, for those unaware, directed wonderful and heartfelt movies like Election (1999) and Sideways (2004). Sure enough, by the time the credits rolled, Payne’s name was listed as a producer for the picture; his fingerprints are all over it, though this is a bit more screwball than anything he would normally direct. The actual director here, Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl), doesn’t have the handle on human sympathy that Payne might, but he certainly hits it pretty close to home. Certainly pretty far from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which doesn’t seem to hold much sympathy for those who pass through it. Read More

Rango

Posted 25 May 2011 — by Nicole P
Category Animation, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Rango, USA, 2011

Directed by Gore VerbinskiRango film

I wasn’t prepared for Rango to be as dark as it was. Gore Verbinski has always been a director to dabble into life’s bigger questions with a lot of subtle ease, without losing the ostensibly fun side to his films, but, with this being an animated Nickelodeon production and all, I was blind-sided by the depth of John Logan’s screenplay and the heartfelt genuineness of Johnny Depp’s performance as a chameleon with an identity crisis. To be fair, the screenplay’s base elements are very standard – there is a formula, and you know where the film is headed as soon as it starts – but, to the film’s credit, everything that happens in between is remarkably intelligent.

And the whole thing feels like a painting. Gotta love that.

Consider that this one of the rare CGI films that pays respects to traditionally animated films; remember that Tangled (2010) was specifically designed to look like oil paintings and 2D animation. Rango achieves this without the oil painting angle, and does so seamlessly. I couldn’t point to one shot that didn’t look carefully rendered. I also had a hard time not picking out references to other films. I like movies that respect their elders. Nods to Star Wars, Raising Arizona (tell me that score doesn’t have echoes here), and obviously older westerns are everywhere. There’s even a certain cameo that ties the entire story together and references that by which the entire Western genre has come to be recognized. Read More