If it's crap ... We'll tell you
No, this isn't about "The Who", although some of them are getting so ancient they're sort of starting to look like at least a few of the old lesbians I've met. This is one of the most satisfying character dramedys I've seen this year, telling the story of Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Benning), a gay couple who has been together for a long time; married as far as they're or anyone else should be concerned. They have two children, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) with whom they used the same anonymous sperm donor to respectively give birth to. When Joni turns 18, she uses her legal right to find and contact her biological father, who turns out to be the laid back Paul (Mark Ruffalo). True to the actor's name, he ends up ruffling some serious feathers around the homestead as he begins to have a familial relationship with the kids, amongst other more scandalous behaviors. Ruffalo pulls off the toughest balancing act here, having to be so likable yet so completely misguided in his behavior, but all the actors stand out 100 percent in their own way."The Kids are All Right" is smart, funny, and completely charming. It's about family values. Real ones that have nothing to do with what gender the parents are.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY The Kids Are All Right [Blu-ray]
There's almost nothing to like about M. Night Shyamalan's adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon animated series that came out in theaters this year. If I was one of those 6 percent of critics listed on Rotten Tomatoes who actually liked this awful, AWFUL movie, I'd STILL be hanging my head in shame. I don't care if it DID make a shit load of money, I have a feeling that if audiences (who largely didn't like it either) are presented with a sequel, they'll be twice shy. The story follows Aang (Noah Ringer), a prophesied wielder of the magic of the four elements who awakens after a long sleep only to find that the fire clan has taken advantage of the absence of 'he who provides balance' and is aggressively taking over the other kingdoms. Aang, with the help of a young water 'bender' named Katara (Nicola Peltz) and her brother Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), has to dodge around the vigorous attempts to capture him by the ousted son of the fire clan leader, Prince Zuko (Dev Patel), and learn how to bend all the elements so he can bring back order to the unbalanced world. The only problem is, that the only thing even mildly going for this film, is that the CG isn't totally horrible; what you can see of it through the murky filter laid over everything, anyway. All the performances are shallow, the dialogue is laughably terrible, its plot moves forward like the Cliff's Notes of a story, with characters looking completely befuddled as the events of the story whiz by them at a pace that makes them impossible to know how to react to. The blu-ray, for those whose better senses have left them and still want to own the film (I'll concede that it might be worth it, just for the Rifftrax), comes with a series of featurettes that are mainly self-congratulatory back-slapping, a gag reel, 11 minutes of deleted scenes, and a PIP track that reuses much of the featurette content. Bah.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY The Last Airbender (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
This 2009 animated science fiction film has a completely unique (and pretty creepy) style that takes photographs of actors, digitizes them, and then animates them in a way that looks like if one was having a super-bad acid trip while watching Robert Zemeckis' mocapped films. Which isn't to say it isn't cool; it most definitely is, and it's a look well suited to the dystopian noir-ish story "Metropia" tells. A near-future world, well into a debilitating energy crisis, has created a vast underground metro system that joins all of Europe. A normal joe named Roger (Vincent Gallo) doesn't like to use it; he tends to hear voices in his head the closer he comes to it. One day he sees the hottie who advertises a popular shampoo he uses (Juliette Lewis) who turns out to be the daughter of the head of the corporation who more-or-less runs this Metropia, and who opposes his use of mind-controlling drugs to keep a handle on the populace. See, that shampoo makes folks inner-most thoughts accessible to a mind-control center, where 9-5 grunts read out suggestions into the minds of the population, pretending to be their consciences. Time to burn it all down. While I can't say that "Metropia" is the kind of film you 'enjoy', it's much too bleak and joyless for any happiness to be a viewing result, it's an inventive, cerebral, social examination for those who like their science fiction of the finger-pointing sort and their animation of the downright disturbing kind.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Metropia