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In-Flight Entertainment 5 April 1, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Reviews, Up and Away.

Here’s another installment of pellet reviews for movies I watched on the trip yet hadn’t seen in theaters:

Bee Movie. For what it is, it’s entertaining enough. Jerry Seinfeld is still funny, cameos by Sting and Ray Liotta are a hoot (though probably lost on younger audiences), and there’s a lot of novelty brought about by looking at the world from a Bee’s point of view. However, the movie’s general premise falls somewhat flat, perhaps in an attempt to distinguish it from A Bug’s Life. No doubt a great film for kids, especially in light of the “moral lessons” tied into the plot; yet this is another Dreamworks offering that falls short of the magic that Pixar is capable of, albeit not by much.

Enchanted. In spite of myself, I must say that this was pleasantly entertaining. Yes, it pulls off the whole animation-real world crossover concept fairly well. Yes, the digs at the “Disney Princess” archetype are spot on and hilarious. But this movie belongs almost completely to Amy Adams, who proves not just her talent but her star power. Oh, and need I mention that James Marsden and Timothy Spall are the splitting image of their animated selves? Geektasticness!

Juno. The reason this film received so much critical buzz? It’s amazing! Everything about it just works: the cast, the screenplay, the soundtrack…I could go on and on (did I mention the soundtrack?). Early into it one gets the feeling that the film could go south very quickly, what with the touchy theme of teen pregnancy, but once it crosses that rubicon it becomes completely engrossing and never lets up. Brilliant and charming, this one’s a must see. And yes, Ellen Page more than deserved her Oscar nomination for the title performance.

Michael Clayton. Sure it’s a good movie, but it comes across as a rather complicated way to tell an otherwise interesting story about corporate greed and ethics. It feels at times that the director and screenwriter don’t care if audiences are able to follow along. Notwithstanding this, everything else about the film cries out to be noticed. George Clooney is still the man — although I personally found it disappointing that it’s only at the very end that viewers are treated to a glimpse of why the Michael Clayton character is someone to be feared — and the entire cast has a solid go at it. Personally, however, I think it was Tom Wilkinson’s portrayal of the mentally unhinged lawyer at the center of the plot that really steals the show.

So there it is: four movies across over around twenty hours in transit. There would have been at least one or two more (for the record, I kept nodding off midway through No Country for Old Men), but the need to reset my body clock in mid-journey was more pressing than my desire to remain entertained.



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