WEEKEND REELS
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Friday, July 20, 2012

Director: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath; Cast: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer

Ben Stiller’s Alex the lion provides a review so we don’t have to. Halfway into the third animated tale about New York City zoo animals on their overseas adventures, Alex tells some new circus friends that their act was not too entertaining for families “because you were just going through the motions out there.” So, too, for this latest sequel, which goes through a lot of motions — explosions of action and image so riotously paced that they become narcotic and numbing. With Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, creators of the first two Madagascar flicks, joined by a third director in Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2), the filmmakers just cannot stop stuffing things, to the point of distraction, into Europe’s Most Wanted. The result: A cute story about zoo animals running off to join the circus becomes overwhelmed by a blur of colour and animated acrobatics. The pictures certainly are pretty, but the filmmakers apparently are unwilling to risk the slightest lapse of audience attention, so they put the movie on fast-forward and let centripetal force hurtle viewers along from start to finish. Joining Stiller are returning voice stars Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer and Sacha Baron Cohen and Cedric the Entertainer. PG for some mild action and rude humour. 92 minutes. — AP

 

 

DVD reviews: New releases and classics in stores

Like Crazy (2011) (PG-13)

Shot on a handheld DSLR camera, Like Crazy jerkily follows the lives of madly-in-love Jacob and Anna. Anna, who’s from the UK, is in Los Angeles on a student visa, and due to some homeland security complications has to return home. The two cannot sustain a long-distance relationship and keep flitting in and out, until they decide to get married — only to realise it may not be the panacea they had hoped it would be. There was, reportedly, no script for this film, and all dialogues were improvised during the shooting — lending a freshness/novelty to the at-times absurd situations.

Duration: 90 minutes

Genre: Romantic drama

What’s good: Realistically-drawn characterisations who grow into their roles as the film unfolds

What’s bad: Justifying the title Like Crazy, when neither of the lovers want to make a serious effort to make the relationship work and remain committed  

Cast: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence

Rating: ΗΗΗΗΗ

 

Pulp Fiction (1994) ®

What could hitmen working for a big-time Los Angeles mobster, the kingpin’s wife, a prize boxer, a contract killer have in common — except for, well, more crime? And how does a certain mystifying briefcase play into it all? Director Quentin Tarantino falls back on his trademark highly stylised but non-linear narrative to make sure you won’t find out — not until the very end, when the three intersecting storylines come together in the place where it all began: the diner that’s in the middle of a very tense hold-up.

Duration: 154 minutes

Genre: Crime/ Thriller

What’s good: The plot’s quite decent and the denouement’s crafted to ensure you’re in for a surprise

What’s bad: Overdose of verbal abuse, violence, drug intake scenes; plus you sort of expect a lot more when the cast is reeling off such a list of high-profile names

Cast:  John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth

Rating: ΗΗΗΗΗ

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