Friday, June 15, 2018

The Incredibles 2 [2018]

MPAA (PG)  CNS/USCCB (A-II) (3 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (B+)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Satrs)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. McAleer) review
Los Angeles Times (K. Turan) review (B. Tallerico) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review

The Incredibles 2 [2018] (screenplay and directed by Brad Bird) is a fun Disney-Pixar animinated family-oriented superhero film, IMHO even better than the original, about said "Incredibles" a family -- mom Helen (voiced by Holly Hunter), pop Bob (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), teenage daughter Violet (voiced by Sarah Vowell), tweenage son Dasheill (voiced by Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack (voiced by Eli Fucile) -- with superpowers, that as in the first film finds itself shackled and arguably made "illegal" by a world / society afraid of their superpowers. 

Thus even though in the opening sequence of the film, the family foils the evil plot of a simultaneously family-friendly but FIENDISHLY GOOFY mole-like super-villain calling himself The Underminer (voiced by John Ratzenberger) "Haha, I'm ALWAYS beneath you, but NOTHING is beneath me ..." who tries using ridiculously HUGE tunneling machines to burrow-under, collapse, and break-into Municiberg's (the city in which the Incredibles live) banks, the city shows its "gratitude" by actually arresting The Incredibles for using their super-powers (to save them) and forcing them to leave to the outskirts / margins of town: "You mean, you wanted us to just leave The Underminer alone when we could do good and stop him?"  "Yes, we had everything under control" is the response of the hapless police official arresting them.

Well fortunately for The Incredibles / the world, there were people, including a billionaire named Winston Deaver (voiced by Bob Odenkirk) and his sister Evelyn (voiced by Catherine Keener), who appear to be on their side and accept the occasional wanton collateral destruction that super-heroes cause often in the defense of the rest of society.  But said wanton destruction caused by super-heroes leads Winston to ask that Helen aka "Elastigirl" be the face of his "Bring back the Super Heroes" campaign instead of Bob aka "Mr Incredible" who was, well, known to be far more destructive.

Well much ensues and Helen and later the whole family along with fam BFF / fellow superhero Lucius Best aka Frozone (voiced wonderfully by Samuel L. Jackson) get into a battle with a new and again amusingly super-villain known as The Screenslaver (voiced by Bill Wise) who hypnotizes people into doing fiendish things through the various screens that they'd be looking at.

All in all, it makes for a FUN family oriented film -- emerging super-baby "Jack Jack" steals the show every time he's on the screen ;-) -- with messages of (1) being allowed to become who one's destined to be, (2) using one's gifts in the service of others, and (3) the benefits of working together as a family and/or team.   Good job!  Very good job!

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Adrift [2018]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III) (3 Stars)  AVClub (B-)  Fr. Dennis (2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (K. Jensen) review
Los Angeles Times (J. Chang) review (S. O'Malley) review
AVClub (J. Hassenger) review

Adrift [2018] (directed by Baltasar Kormákur, screenplay by Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell and David Branson Smith based on the memoir [GW] [GW2] [WCat] [Amzn] of Tami Oldham Ashcraft [GW] [WCat] [Amzn]) tells the true story of Tami Oldam Ashcraft (played in the film by Shailene Woodley) who (it was 1983) had been sailing a yacht with her fiancé Richard Sharp (played in the film by Sam Claflin) from Tahiti to San Diego when they got themselves caught in a Hurricane Raymond (they were unable to outrun the storm).

The 40+ foot waves severely damaged the ship and threw Richard overboard.  The story that followed was about getting that ship, again severely damaged, with only a make-shift sail, from the middle of nowhere in the Central Pacific over to Hawaii (without missing the islands ...) to safety.  It took 41 days.

As compelling as these stories always are [1] [2] -- "alone on the sea" -- the current film IMHO did have a somewhat CREEPY DIMENSiON in its filming.  Yes, the film involved a young attractive actress portraying who would have been a young attractive woman first sailing and then adrift for over a month in circumstances where keeping clothes clean, dry and not covered with salt, would be really hard + one would have had _a lot more to worry about_ than about what one was wearing (largely alone) and how.  But one got the sense that the film makers took the approach of "trying to show as much of" the actress, here Shailene Woodley, as she as the contract with her would allow.

So ... while there actually wasn't a lot of actual nudity -- indeed there was EXACTLY ONE VERY SHORT SCENE that could have been _easily_ cut from the film WITHOUT LOSING ANY OF ITS CONTENT ("But Shailene, you're contractually obligated to "give us" at least one scene like this no matter how stupid or pointless to the story it may be...") -- there were _a lot of shots_ with her in tight, wet, form-fitting clothes (get the picture...) that after a while made one roll one's eyes thinking "Oh come on ..."

Seriously, it was silly ... but I do hope that in the post-Weinstein / #MeToo Era this would be one of the last Hollywood films that oozed such creepiness.

Those who would read my blog regularly would know that I rarely complain about either sex or violence portrayed in film SO LONG AS IT LEGITIMATELY FURTHERS THE STORY.  But when it is gratuitous (even of a "glass shattering" variety) or exploitative as it felt here, I make mention of it.

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