Meet the Robinsons
Meet the Robinsons
"Meet the Robinsons" is a truly odd little movie. It's certainly the most frenetic and unpredictable CGI animation film I've seen in this rapidly-growing genre. To begin with I intensely disliked it. The story of 12-year-old Lewis, an orphan boy with a mania for inventing things, struck me as despicably contrived and cynical. But I must admit by the end of the film my senses had been battered and beaten into a sort of dumb appreciation. The really strange thing about "Meet the Robinsons" is just how strange it is. It's as if they made the story up as they went along. You name it, it's all there bar the kitchen sink: time travel, evil men in bowler hats, a cutesy T-Rex, countless pop culture references, a kitsch Technicolor future, even a joke about Tom Selleck. The story might be a bit too convoluted for most children to follow but then most people's attention will surely be distracted by the never-ending on-screen chaos. "Meet the Robinsons" may not have the charm of "Finding Nemo" or the sophistication of "The Incredibles" but it certainly is an impressive spectacle. The question is whether this hysteria was deliberate or simply a desperate cover-up.
1/2 ( Tim Ochser )
Much like "Meet the Robinsons," I intensely disliked "Alpha Dog" to start off with but ended up being absolutely fascinated by it. At first I thought it would be yet another tedious story of teenagers indulging in macho posturing. But director Nick Cassavetes subtly lets this tragic true-life tale unravel in the semi-documentary fashion that his father was such a master of. Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch) is the son of a major drug dealer and a drug dealer himself. Despite being a distinctly un-Alpha male, his social status means that he's surrounded by hangers-on. When he gets into a feud with Butch Mazursky (David Thornton) over an unpaid debt, he rashly kidnaps his brother Zack (Anton Yelchin) in revenge. The film is all the more powerful because the truly horrifying ending comes as such a shock. Amazingly, the real star of the film is Justin Timberlake as Truelove's best friend Frankie. Given his recent catastrophic performance in "Edison," Timberlake steals the movie with a nuanced and touching performance. His relationship with the kidnapped Zack, whom he has to take care of until they can figure out what to do with him, highlights the ridiculous and potentially deadly roles the group are mindlessly playing out.
( Tim Ochser )
"Sunshine," by director Dan-ny Boyle ("Shal-low Grave," "Trainspot- ting"), presents a crew of astronauts and scientists on a mission to save mankind from a dying sun by triggering the birth of a new star to replace it. En route, they pick up the distant signal of the previous mission, which disappeared mysteriously seven years prior, and decide to investigate. The film is a cut above most science fiction adventure films. I especially liked the ethereal music, wide-angle slow motion takes and omnipotent on-board computer, elements which recall Kubrick's classic "2001: A Space Odyssey" and give this film, like "2001," a haunting and epic quality. The recurrence of dilemmas weighing the value of one life against many and the idea that the human race should die out when God intended add a moral dimension. Then there's the strong mystical element running through the film, clearest when characters experience a kind of glorious rapture. The magnificent visuals and sounds in these scenes are unforgettable. In style and substance, "Sunshine" is what I really like about the cinema; it's entertainment, first and foremost, but it's entertainment that's tho-ughtful and gives you pause for reflection.
( Sherwin Das )