As a Disney-not-Pixar feature, I never expected this to live up to the promise of its trailer. Surprisingly, most of the film takes place inside kiddie racing game Sugar Rush. More surprisingly (but in true Pixar fashion), the character who seemed the most irritating in the trailer, Sarah Silverman’s Vanellope, becomes the heart of the film. Lots of good movie-star casting (Jack McBrayer’s Fix-It Felix is a bit too Kenneth-reminiscent) and classic video game shout-outs (including references to character glitches and cheat codes). Veteran Futurama director Moore is welcome to make as many sequels as he’d like.
Paperman (2012, John Kahrs)
Predictably, my coworkers are talking more about this short than the main feature, since the short, which involves a cute couple being brought together by magic paper airplanes, is meant to look like old-fashioned drawn animation with its rough pencil lines, but it’s all cutting-edge software trickery.
The opening and closing shots of children conspiring at a great distance from the camera remind me of the final shot of Cache – this could be its comedy sequel. Besides those shots, it’s set in a single apartment. Based on a play (duh) by Yasmina Reza, which won the Tony a couple years ago. Amusing little real-time drama where world-class actors portray friendly, enlightened parents whose behavior soon degrades until they seem worse than the kids. If that piece of minor irony wasn’t the point of the film, then I’m afraid I missed it.
Set in “New York” in the home of Jodie Foster (whom I haven’t seen since Inside Man) and John C. Reilly (haven’t seen since Walk Hard), whose son was nailed in the face by the son of Kate Winslet (last seen in Contagion) and Christoph Waltz (Water for Elephants). Waltz is a terribly important lawyer always on his cell phone, Winslet can’t hold her liquor (there’s a lot more throw-up in this movie than I expected), Foster is insufferably liberal and Reilly the opposite. Or something – there’s not much to it, and the trailer gave away too much, but watching the actors is total fun.
A. Nayman in Cinema Scope:
The only thing more pretentious and transparent than the behaviour of Reza’s straw men and women is the playwright’s own notion that she’s revealing something about human nature. The simplest way to point out what’s wrong with this material is to say that Carnage is exactly the sort of acclaimed easy-bake drama that its own characters would probably hustle to see: a hot ticket for patrons eager to be reduced to social stereotypes and howl like hyenas at the “keen-edged” observations of their own foibles and frailties. … Where a director like Sidney Lumet or, God forbid, Sam Mendes might have felt this high-end horror-show in their bones, Polanski seems triply unimpressed: with the characters’ regressive lunacy, with Reza’s pride in hoisting them on their own petards, and with his own easy grace in crafting a watchable welterweight prestige picture.”