The frantic, occasionally surreal, and, above all, fun tale of a lonely, delusional lizard who discovers the big, bad world outside his terrarium, Rango is a loving homage to the Western genre. Full of a cast of supporting animal characters that are so grotesque in appearance that they only have a passing resemblance to their real-world counterparts, the film tells the story of how Rango (voice of Johnny Depp) saves the day after unintentionally making things worse. After being lost on the highway, he finds himself in the town of Dirt, where water is scarce and the townsfolk are looking for anyone to save them. It’s colorful, inventive, and sometimes gruesome in its comedy, a rare animated film that appears aimed at kids but will appeal far more to adults. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray (on Friday, July 15).
Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) runs his law firm from the backseat of his car, takes on any client who’ll pay him well enough for the work, and believes in honesty above all else. The Lincoln Lawyer presents a distinct character and, instead of allowing him to run free, plants him firmly in a generic plot of deception and legal juggling. He takes on the case of a rich man from a rich family Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), who allegedly assaulted a prostitute. It all relies upon whether Roulet is innocent or guilty, and the tension dissipates once that’s revealed. The movie builds to a ridiculous courtroom showdown in which Mick shows a level of foresight that is nearly superhuman. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Insidious has one plot turn that should have anyone who’s seen a movie about a haunted house smiling. Just when the audience starts to wonder why they family being tortured by some demonic spirit or two doesn’t just move out of the damn house, they move out of the damn house. It’s a shame, then, that the punch in the arm to the story is only short respite before the conventional scare moments accompanied by a zing on the soundtrack kick in again. Cliché after cliché unfolds until a sound and light show of a séance and a trip to the Other Side where a generic, demonic force awaits. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
The American remake of its predecessor has a huge aesthetic influence on [Rec] 2. Whereas the original [Rec] (remade in the US as Quarantine) had a genuine sense of unease to accompany its startles, this one is all shaky camera, spiritual mumbo jumbo, and ruining the mystery put forth by the first movie. A SWAT team enters the apartment complex minutes after the end of the last movie to fight off a horde of not-zombies suffering from demon-itis after a priest’s attempt to isolate the chemical composition of demonic possession went predictably wrong. My review is here. Available on DVD.
Now you have the opportunity to not see the worst movie so far of 2011 in your home. I’d rather not waste any more time on this dead weight than I already have, so here’s a quick rundown. It’s a remake of the 1981 movie of the same name but with Russell Brand playing an obnoxious near-billionaire (instead of a charming millionaire) who has to decide between keeping his fortune and marrying a financially viable partner (Jennifer Garner) or possibly losing it all by dating a common girl (Greta Gerwig). It’s insufferable stuff. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray (on Friday, July 15).