Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

Pixar maintains their high standard of quality family entertainment with Up, and I can’t help but admire their willingness to take risks with their material. When was the last time a major family movie was released starring a crotchety old man and a pudgy Asian-American kid? The quirkiness of the protagonists and the whimsy that abounds throughout Up are worth the price of admission alone, but the standout elements of the film come in the form of an adorable talking dog named Dug who is quite unlike every other talking animal ever put in animation, and the first fifteen minutes, which manage to be sweeter and more heartfelt than most big-budget romance movies released in recent years…and Up does it with hardly any dialogue! The movie kind of falls apart in the third act, and there are a few glaring problems with the film – the one that bugs me the most is the introduction of a perilous labyrinth…which no one ever enters – but overall Up is still worlds above so many other movie, both live action and animated. It isn’t Pixar’s best, but it’s sweet, funny, heartfelt and entertaining.
3.75 out of 5

It’s Kind of a Funny Story
This is sort of like a lite version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, set in modern times with a younger protagonist and a love story thrown in. Overall, I enjoyed It’s Kind of a Funny Story, but I felt like a few plot points were a bit forced, and the ending failed to satisfy. Still, there are a number of good performances and heartwarming moments, and the portrayal of some of the characters, most notably the character played by Zach Galifiniakis and the parents of the protagonist, aren’t handled in the typical ways you would expect from this kind of movie. It’s a solid flick, but if I want to watch a movie about finding one’s self within the walls of a mental ward, I’ll go watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
3.25 out of 5

Mirror Mirror
I expected this movie to be absolute garbage because of the many negative reviews that I read, but I actually wound up enjoying Mirror Mirror more than the other revamping of the Snow White story seen recently: Snow White and the Huntsman. Mirror Mirror at least knows that it’s silly, and never takes itself seriously. The quirky director Tarsem brings his trademark visual flair to the proceedings, and while it’s an undeniably kiddy movie, Tarsem knows it and doesn’t try to make Mirror Mirror anything but an enjoyable fairy tale for younger viewers. The costumes are great, there are some neat ideas tossed around, and above all, it’s actually quite a bit of fun. Not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it put a smile on my face, and at least in this version of Snow White the dwarves are actually played by dwarves. Check your seriousness at the door and you’ll have a good time.
3 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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