Pam Marsden

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Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs Review


Excellent

Like a comically deranged Twilight Zone episode, this colourful animated feature underscores its fantastical story with some intriguingly serious issues. But it never gets preachy, and a stream of warped humour will keep adults chuckling all the way through.

Geeky inventor Flint (voiced by Hader) has finally created something that will make him famous: a machine that makes food from water. When it's inadvertently catapulted into the clouds, it starts raining cheeseburgers, much to everyone's delight. Now famous, he remotely programmes the machine to rain everything from ice cream to spaghetti and meatballs. While Flint's mono-browed dad (Caan) doesn't really get him, the greedy mayor (Campbell) wants a piece of his success. Meanwhile, Flint meets weather reporter Sam (Faris), who might actually understand him.

Filmmakers Lord and Miller somehow manage to keep the film utterly silly, with outrageous visual flourishes and zany comical asides, while maintaining a sharp intelligence beneath the surface. As a result, grown-ups will probably find the film funnier than kids, who will be entranced by the visual antics and miss the sophisticated wit. And they quietly hide the serious subtext as well, including a knowing look at celebrity and pointed comments on how tricky it is for people to truly communicate.

But all of this is mere icing on the cake, as it were, for a film that's raucous, nonstop fun. Images of food falling from the sky are pure dreamlike fantasy, especially when Flint's machine overheats and produces oversized culinary delights that look utterly delicious even as they flatten the houses they land on. Of course, this gives the screenwriters plenty of running gags and punning opportunities, which the talented vocal cast run wild with.

Even side characters like Mr T's supercop and Bratt's Guatemalan cameraman get terrific moments along the way, while Flint's relationship with his dad has a surprising resonance. And along the way, there are some superb sequences that combine goofy humour with awkward emotion plus a hint of unhinged weirdness (such as the Jell-O palace). And as global chaos threatens to erupt, along with Mt Leftovers, the film develops into a hysterical disaster movie satire that's brilliantly animated and, for once, makes full use of 3D to throw everything right into our faces.

Dinosaur Review


Weak
Leave it to Disney to finally come up with a family-friendly way to explore natural selection. Much like The Lion King's "Circle of Life," Dinosaur regales itself in survival of the fittest, only few people are going to be humming "Hakuna Matata" after this one.

For starters, Dinosaur is that rarest of Disney animation flicks which is not a musical. There's a thumping James Newton Howard score, but the only singing here comes from trumpeting iguanodons and brachiosaurs. The story, on the other hand, is typical Disney kiddie fare: Iguanodon Aladar (D.B. Sweeney) is orphaned as a wee dino-egg on a remote island, where he is raised, Tarzan-style, by a family of lemurs (er... okay). When a freak meteor strike blows the island away, along with much of the rest of the world, Aladar swims to the mainland with his lemur family on his back, where he meets up with the surviving herbivorous dinosaurs who have banded together to trek to "the nesting grounds," a Waterworld-style vale which hasn't been reduced to desert and ruins like, apparently, the rest of the earth. (And never mind the fallout; there is none...)

Continue reading: Dinosaur Review

Dinosaur Review


Weak
Leave it to Disney to finally come up with a family-friendly way to explore natural selection. Much like The Lion King's "Circle of Life," Dinosaur regales itself in survival of the fittest, only few people are going to be humming "Hakuna Matata" after this one.

For starters, Dinosaur is that rarest of Disney animation flicks which is not a musical. There's a thumping James Newton Howard score, but the only singing here comes from trumpeting iguanodons and brachiosaurs. The story, on the other hand, is typical Disney kiddie fare: Iguanodon Aladar (D.B. Sweeney) is orphaned as a wee dino-egg on a remote island, where he is raised, Tarzan-style, by a family of lemurs (er... okay). When a freak meteor strike blows the island away, along with much of the rest of the world, Aladar swims to the mainland with his lemur family on his back, where he meets up with the surviving herbivorous dinosaurs who have banded together to trek to "the nesting grounds," a Waterworld-style vale which hasn't been reduced to desert and ruins like, apparently, the rest of the earth. (And never mind the fallout; there is none...)

Continue reading: Dinosaur Review

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Pam Marsden Movies

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs Movie Review

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs Movie Review

Like a comically deranged Twilight Zone episode, this colourful animated feature underscores its fantastical story...

Dinosaur Movie Review

Dinosaur Movie Review

Leave it to Disney to finally come up with a family-friendly way to explore natural...

Dinosaur Movie Review

Dinosaur Movie Review

Leave it to Disney to finally come up with a family-friendly way to explore natural...

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