Thursday, May 12, 2011

From the archives: June 2008

A short month, thanks to a badly needed vacation ... and hey, film critics need to re-charge their batteries, just like anybody else. Besides, being gone during these two crucial weeks in June 2008 allowed me to skip the dubious pleasures of Mike Myers' The Love Guru. (Thank God for small favors!)

As for what I did see and discuss, at length, it was a month of extremes. Pixar demonstrated the ability to work sneaky political content into its crowd-pleasing blend of engaging characters and absorbing storylines; WALL-E is nothing short of a masterpiece, and the animation studio's best effort to date. (That statement is certain to prompt debate, with the equally excellent likes of Up, The Incredibles and Ratatouille demanding similar attention. But that's a discussion I always enjoy.)

Adam Sandler's early summer effort, on the other hand, was a jaw-dropping mess: a lazy, sloppy, so-called "comedy" that appeared to have been thrown together solely to cheat the ticket-buying public out of its hard-earned cash. With swill like this, Sandler — capable of so much better — deserves the contempt also frequently bestowed upon Eddie Murphy; both have a habit of abusing their fans' trust.

Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman demonstrated the importance of well-cast voice talent in the delightful Kung Fu Panda, while Russian director Timur Bekmambetov proved himself just as incapable of making a coherent fantasy thriller in English, as in his native language. The man has style to burn, but it's inevitably in service of slapdash narratives that sacrifice logic for blind momentum.

Just in passing — to share the journalistic process — yes, of course I saw more than four films during this month, even with the fortnight off. But newspaper space constraints limited my ability to publish full-length reviews; I had to be content, in numerous other cases, with abbreviated capsule commentaries that aren't worth reproducing here. Rest assured, though: I paid attention to everything else, as well.

Well. Most everything else, except for The Love Guru.

Step into the Wayback Machine, and check 'em out:

Kung Fu Panda



You Don't Mess with the Zohan

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