New Reviews

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See “Oh, the Humanity of a Heist” (Countywide)

Sharply adapted from the William Joyce book A Day with Wilbur Robinson, this speedy animated film features Lewis (voiced by Daniel Hansen and Jordan Fry), a bespectacled science geek and orphan who, though well cared for by a loving foster mom (velvety-voiced Angela Bassett), is too weird to get himself adopted and so goes forth in search of his birth mother. Catapulted into a future (long story) with an uncanny resemblance to a Disney theme park, Lewis falls in with a similarly gifted family who must defend him (or vice versa) from a yellow-toothed villain and his sinister bowler hat (both voiced by director Stephen Anderson), and point him toward a better life. Juiced by 3-D glasses that had my daughter and her pal grabbing at the air in order to trap the movie's fickle weather, Meet the Robinsons is so cleverly executed that one forgives—just—the frenetic pace and absence of down time (save for a couple of sweet numbers sung by Rufus Wainwright) that have become standard in G-rated studio pictures aimed at kiddies who are surely too young to have their developing attention spans smashed to smithereens. (Ella Taylor) (Countywide)

Also showing:

Will Ferrell, having moved on from the anchor desk and NASCAR, at long last ridicules a hallowed profession. I refer, of course, to men's figure skating. Who until now has dared to mock the sequined costumes, the fondness for power ballads, the Spandex pants? Luckily, Our Man Ferrell is up to the challenge, along with a troupe of the usual suspects (Luke Wilson, Amy Poehler). In Blades of Glory, he gives us the story of two male skaters (Ferrell and Jon Heder) who decide to become a pair due to a chain of events too ludicrous to mention here. Even as it points its finger and laughs at every easy target in sight, the film is also bizarrely earnest: Don't worry, it tells you, figure skating with another man doesn't make you gay, not even when your partner lifts you so high your crotch is in his face. It almost goes without saying that this undercurrent of homoeroticism is not handled deftly. Blades does capture the obvious eccentricities of the skating world, and is funny up to a point, but by now Ferrell N Co. have the formula for a mild comedy down pat. What they need is a little soul. (Julia Wallace) (Countywide)

Hey, have you ever heard the one about how marriage is like eating the same kind of steak every night for the rest of your life? Writer/producer/director/costar Stefan Marc seems to think it's a brand-new observation, along with several other bon mots on the dating scene like “He who hesitates, masturbates” and “I have been rejected more times than a stereo salesman at an Amish convention” (do the Amish even have conventions?). Romantic comedies need a gimmick, and save for a brief side tangent about sex with vacuum cleaners, and some odd midget humor, there's nothing going on in this film beyond the generic boy meets girl, boy gets it on with girl, boy has fight with girl, then everyone apologizes and stuff (sorry if that's a spoiler, but if it is, you need to check your IQ). Filmed almost entirely in Newport Beach, the movie's arguably no worse than recent big studio fare like Because I Said So, but if you can't get Mandy Moore and Diane Keaton, you need a damn good hook, and Marc just doesn't have one, or any original insights whatsoever. (Luke Y. Thompson) (Regency Lido, Newport Beach)

Destiny is as loophole-free as an IRS audit in this appointment-in-Samarra yarn from Children of Men screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, in which cocky salesman Jimmy Starks (Guy Pearce) risks the love of his doting girlfriend (Piper Perabo), not to mention his life and sanity, to avoid a fortune teller's ominous reading. The presence of Memento's Pearce, the poster boy for narrative dislocation, would seem to herald yet another gimmicky puzzle movie about the interconnectedness of every speck of dust and the hair-trigger whims of the space-time continuum. But first-time director Fergus' film is more a moody, tedious anti-thriller about ineluctable fate, keyed to the hero's dawning acceptance of an inverted bumper-sticker truism: “You die, but life doesn't have to be a bitch.” Speaking of fate, is it written somewhere that every indie quasi-noir must include a dripping faucet, ceiling fans, shadows of slatted blinds, and a traveling shot of highway lines? As surely as Fergus' establishing shot of the desert must begin with a tumbleweed. (Jim Ridley) (Edwards University, Irvine)


Sat., 7 p.m. (Countywide)

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