Soooo many ticketed events, sooooo little time -- I'll save the theatrical Ticket Stubs for next week, but the movies can be dispatched quickly:

* Charlie & The Chocolate Factory: Ah, the pleasant clinking sound of two well-matched minds colliding, those of Roald Dahl and Tim Burton. Finally puts the 70's "classic" version on mothballs with a darkly zany update that stays much closer to the written story, including the lyrics to the OompaLoompa songs! I admit I actually like the earlier Charlie more than Freddie Highmore, who's a bit dull here, but Johnny Depp is the real star anyway, totally in his element as the socially stunted, foppish Candyman. Bonus points for Christopher "Saruman" Lee as his sinister yet loving dad! (A)

* Must Love Dogs: Will there ever be another decent romantic comedy? This stumbler wastes Diane Lane (we're supposed to believe that she's too plain to get a date) and John Cusack (we're supposed to believe he isn't John Cusack) as a pair of divorcees dipping their toes into the shark-infested online dating pool. Weak hijinks ensue. There are a few hilarious moments (chasing down an open drugstore at the end of a date, ahem) but they're smothered by inflated side characters like Christopher Plummer (faking an Irish brogue!), Stockard Channing (don't ask), and Elizabeth Perkins (resurrected from the 80's RomCom graveyard). Awful, tacked-on ending and gratuitous touches like couples talking into the camera and a "spontaneous" family sing-along drag it down to Lifetime Movie Channel level. You could follow this on a plane without the headphones. (C-)

* March of the Penguins: Very cute and inspiring, those penguins, the stay-at-home dads of the avian world. After Winged Migration, I found this a little stagey, like a PBS documentary that builds a "plot" around the raw footage ("But now the mother senses danger..."). But the visuals are great. The Morgan Freeman Voiceover™ I could do without. (B)

1 comment:

Nathaniel said...

I downloaded "Veruca Salt" from iTunes. In the book, the first two lines are "Veruca Salt, the little brute, has just gone down the garbage chute."
However, it sounds like the Oompa-Loompa sings "...the little Brit", which doesn't rhyme with chute. Hmm.

I don't know which is a worse insult: "Lifetime Channel level" or "you could follow this on an airplane without headphones"!

When did you see March of the Penguins? You were busy in NJ! I gotta get out to the theater some more if I am going to keep up with you in 2005...