Chris Wyatt

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Think Tank Review


OK
Think Tank itself tells us there's a thin line between "genius" and "stupid." You needn't look any further than this film, which seems to have gone straight to DVD, and which takes absurd plotting to an extreme, with generally pleasant, though hardly groundbreaking, results.

I hesitate to summarize the plot for fear you won't believe me, but here goes. Four childhood friends obsessed with science (in the loosest possible interpretation) remain pals into their 20s. Ultimately, they decide to use their talents to save their favorite pool hall, which is being threatened by a Vegas-style wannabe who goes by the moniker of Lord Billiards. Their big idea (which comes to one of the quartet after he is knocked unconscious and dreams of Tron) is to invent a game of "frictionless pool," which is played with competitors wearing jet packs. It's unclear how this is going to save anything, but nonetheless, there we go.

Continue reading: Think Tank Review

Napoleon Dynamite Review


Excellent
If one had to find a problem with teenage underdog movies, one of the most prominent ones would have to be that they always seem to want audiences to feel sympathy for the plight of their sad protagonists. In Napoleon Dynamite, even though the hero of the title (Jon Heder) is a four-eyed teenage misfit with no social skills and a truly frightening haircut - and he couldn't care less. Napoleon Dynamite is confident about his ability to draw fantasy characters in the pages of his Trapper Keeper ("I'm pretty much the best at it") and isn't afraid to voice his approval when something goes his way ("Sweet!") or get pissy when somebody asks him what he's doing that day ("Whatever I feel like doing, gosh!"). He's a hero for the ages; it's just not entirely clear what age.

Napoleon Dynamite isn't much of a film, when you break it down outside the theater, when the cheers have died away and you're left with the nagging question: But what was it about? Napoleon attends high school in a small Idaho town, living with his much older but just as dweeby brother, Kip (Aaron Ruell) and his grandmother who, at the start of the film, has just landed herself in the hospital after a four-wheeler accident. This precipitates sleazoid Uncle Rico (Jon Gries), with his dreams of lost football glory and ideas about door-to-door sales, moving into the house to watch the boys and generally make them feel crappy about themselves. There's the barest hint of a storyline about Napoleon getting a crush on a girl from his class, Deb (Tina Majorino), but that's really only there to give him somebody to dance with at the prom. Slightly better is Napoleon's friendship with the nearly-mute Pedro (Efren Ramierez), the new kid in school, and the battle they wage against the cool clique in order to win Pedro the school presidency. Oh, and there's a big joke about tater tots - Election it ain't.

Continue reading: Napoleon Dynamite Review

Napoleon Dynamite Review


Excellent
If one had to find a problem with teenage underdog movies, one of the most prominent ones would have to be that they always seem to want audiences to feel sympathy for the plight of their sad protagonists. In Napoleon Dynamite, even though the hero of the title (Jon Heder) is a four-eyed teenage misfit with no social skills and a truly frightening haircut - and he couldn't care less. Napoleon Dynamite is confident about his ability to draw fantasy characters in the pages of his Trapper Keeper ("I'm pretty much the best at it") and isn't afraid to voice his approval when something goes his way ("Sweet!") or get pissy when somebody asks him what he's doing that day ("Whatever I feel like doing, gosh!"). He's a hero for the ages; it's just not entirely clear what age.

Napoleon Dynamite isn't much of a film, when you break it down outside the theater, when the cheers have died away and you're left with the nagging question: But what was it about? Napoleon attends high school in a small Idaho town, living with his much older but just as dweeby brother, Kip (Aaron Ruell) and his grandmother who, at the start of the film, has just landed herself in the hospital after a four-wheeler accident. This precipitates sleazoid Uncle Rico (Jon Gries), with his dreams of lost football glory and ideas about door-to-door sales, moving into the house to watch the boys and generally make them feel crappy about themselves. There's the barest hint of a storyline about Napoleon getting a crush on a girl from his class, Deb (Tina Majorino), but that's really only there to give him somebody to dance with at the prom. Slightly better is Napoleon's friendship with the nearly-mute Pedro (Efren Ramierez), the new kid in school, and the battle they wage against the cool clique in order to win Pedro the school presidency. Oh, and there's a big joke about tater tots - Election it ain't.

Continue reading: Napoleon Dynamite Review

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