A Thunder Matt Movie Minute

8:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Wall E

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: The year is 2700. WALL*E, a robot, spends every day doing what he was made for. But soon, he will discover what he was meant for.

In theatres: June 27

Review: I don't have children (gay? sterile? both?), so I don't see a lot of kids movies. I didn't hop aboard the Pixar bandwagon until last year's Ratatouille. Toy Story? Never seen it. The Incredibles? Nope. Finding Nemo? I'm more likely to find Hideo Nomo. But after Ratatouille knocked my dick in the dirt (way to include that phrase in a kid's movie review asshole), I hopped aboard the Pixar bandwagon and went into this space-age Short Circuit knockoff with high hopes. It did not disappoint. Wall E is a kids movie that you don't need to feel like a child molester for going to without kids. Wearing a dark trench coat. Full of candy. Reeking of rum and desperation.

Wall E is the last remaining robot on Earth. Humans abandoned the planet years ago, when it became an uninhabitable trash heap*. Wall E himself was the brainchild of Buy N Large corporation, the same company that owns the spaceship that all humans now circle the solar system in. (There are a bunch of non-functioning Wall E's rusting away back on earth, but he's the only one that still works). Wall E still goes about his daily routine, compressing garbage into square little heaps, his only friend being a cockroach. Everything soon changes when one of BNL's probes, named Eve, is sent to Earth and finds plant life and of course Wall E, bringing both back to the Mothership, where all the humans have become so fat and lazy that they can't even move out of their motorized chairs. Think The Jetsons, if they were force fed Old Country Buffet for every meal.

Equal parts ET, 2001 Space Odyseey and Idocracy, Wall E is a visual marvel. The first 45 minutes are entirely dialogue free, which is a fairly ballsy move for any movie, much less one targeted at kids. That said, those 45 minutes were more immersing than anything I've seen on screen all year.

Wall E isn't the funniest movie of the year. There are more chuckles and knowing smiles than guffaws. Once the action moves to the spaceship, it occasionally loses some of it's unique sensibilities. Even so, it entertains on multiple levels throughout, even working in subtle themes regarding the environment, corporate entities, and even laziness, without ever seeming preachy. At it's robotic core, it's a simple (and effective) love story with a positive message that's got the vintage charm of a record player along with all the cool features of an iPod.

Thunder Matt Rating: 4 Non-Functioning Remote Controls Out of 5

*"Oh my God," cry the Cherokee-driving, conservative soccer moms. "A positive 'green' message? Liberal brainwashing!"

Wanted

In theatres: June 27

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: "Wanted" tells the tale of one apathetic nobody's transformation into an unparalleled enforcer of justice.

Review: Wanted is the cinematic equivalent of doing a line of coke off of a stripper's ass, dumping 3 packs of Pop Rocks in your mouth, washing them down with a 2 liter of Jolt Cola, and then proceeding to rip off your shirt and shocking yourself with a defibrillator. Good, clean fun for the whole family.

Wanted tells the story of Wesley Gibson, a tired and bored corporate lackey, stuck in dead end job with a nagging girlfriend who has a taste for his co-workers love gun. Wesley can't even muster up the energy to let that bother him. Then one day, while minding his own business at a convenience store, he is approached by a tattooed and gun toting Mrs. Pitt, who tells him that he's an assassin. If I had a nickel for every time that happened to me at the 7-11**...Anyway, one thing leads to another, which leads to a gun battle, which leads to a high speed chase through downtown Chicago, which logically, leads to Angelina adopting more African babies.

The plot is pretty ridiculous to watch unfold and even more so to try to explain. Suffice it to say, Wesley, like his father before him, joins a fraternity of assassins called...wait for it...The Fraternity, led by of all people, Morgan Freeman. Cue the training montages. Even more preposterous is how the victims are chosen. The Loom of Fate. That's right, a loom, just like the Amish use! Once deemed ready, Wesley, with the help of Fox (Jolie) has to find and kill the man that murdered his father.

Despite plot holes big enough to drive Governor Schwarzenegger's Hummer through, Wanted has a 'I don't give a shit what you think' attitude which is oddly endearing. Taken for what it is, which is a dopey, over-the-top, candy-coated, 'check your brain at the door' action flick, it's bloody brilliant. The action is all of the 'yeah right' variety, but is done with such gleeful abandon that you find yourself chuckling not at it, but with it. Curving (!) bullets, knife fights, high speed train wrecks on mountaintops, bosses getting what's coming to em', Morgan Freeman dropping F bombs, and a naked Angelina Jolie, soaking wet. I'd like to go up for seconds, please and thank you.

Thunder Matt Rating: 3.5 Baby Shiloh's Out of 5

**I would have zero cents.

Hancock

In Theatres: July 2

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: A hard-living superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public enters into a questionable relationship with the wife of the public relations professional who's trying to repair his image.

Review: In this post-9/11 world that we live in, America needs a superhero. No, not Spiderman or Batman. I'm talking about a man of the people. Someone not afraid to get shitfaced and sleep on a bench. Someone who hates children and doesn't shave for days. Someone not unlike Saloon bartender The Hundley. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for America), Hundley's screen test didn't go so well (see: unwilling to perform sexual favors on the casting director, a cologne-drenched Swede named Phillip), so they offered the role to Will Smith.

The idea of a flawed, uncooperative superhero without a secret identity is fairly unique in this day and age when every summer weekend brings about the launch of another Marvel superhero franchise. My Super Ex-Girlfriend aside (out of sight, out of mind), this is a fairly intriguing concept for this genre.

And for the first half of the film, it works. Will Smith, a black man that white people can all agree on, is cast against type as the drunk, angry and thoroughly unwilling superhero. Unlike, say, Tom Hanks, Will is able to pull it off with gusto and aplomb. Cursing at children and fat people, swilling whiskey from a bottle and causing millions of dollars of damage to the city of Los Angeles doesn't exactly endear him to the public. (Although he did capture my heart when he scolds a rather obese gawker, telling him, "McDonalds done fucked you up.")

Enter Jason Bateman as Ray Embry, a struggling PR executive, who meets Hancock courtesy of a hilarious train incident and decides to take Hancock on as a client in an effort to revamp his image and kickstart his struggling PR career. This involves some voluntary time in the Big House (even though he could easily escape whenever he wants) and lessons in common superhero etiquette.

Unfortunately, this bastardly behavior can only sustain the film for so long, so about halfway through, a 'twist' is introduced. The twist seems fairly contrived, and from that point on the tone goes from dark comedy to more standard superhero fare, with all previous traces of uniqueness left behind in the bottom of Hancock's whiskey bottle. A whole movie's worth of backstory is crammed into one five-minute piece of expository dialogue, and with no real nemeses to go up against, the ending feels tacked on, as if the writers couldn't really think of anywhere else for the story to go.

Jason Bateman is a great and Charlize Theron is fine (and by fine, I mean it in the sense of 'Damn girl, you lookin' fine') as his uptight wife, but all the good acting in the world can't save a muddled script. And a note to the writers: The first one or two times Hancock lands on the ground and breaks up the concrete? Cool. The 20th time? Ok, we get it.

Hancock didn't ask to be a superhero; he just wants to be average. In the end, the movie achieves exactly what he wished for.

Thunder Matt Rating: 3 Copies of 'Big Willie Style' Out of 5

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