This Week In Cinema: March 10-16, 2013

FRANKENWEENIE

I can understand not wanting to part ways with your dog, we feel the same way about our dog and cat in this household!

Only a few movies this week,

Frankenweenie (2012, Tim Burton, United States Of America) ***1/2

A gentle mix of heart and science makes for quite the odd, but effective, combination. I’m not willing to say that Tim Burton revitalizes his career with Frankenweenie, but he sure does put in his best effort in a long time. Frankenweenie is two things. It is a tome to friendship and how that is not something to be taken for granted. It’s also a treatise on why the United States needs to improve its support of science at a primary and secondary school level. It’s telling that the experiments that take place without the support of the community fail while the one experiment that the people get behind succeeds greatly. The stop motion animation is lovely, the message of the film is one that’s easy to get behind, and I’m always a sucker for a great dog story.

Frankenweenie (1984, Tim Burton, United States Of America) ***

The short film version of Frankenweenie is much simpler than its later feature counterpart. The theme of the importance of science is not present in this Frankenweenie. What that leaves is a sweet tale of a boy, his dog, and friendship. I was able to get behind the way that Frankenweenie handled friendship, and again I’m always a sucker for a good dog story. The visuals in Frankenweenie are very interesting and aesthetically pleasing. This film is Tim Burton minus all the bloated trappings that would come to dominate his gothic vision in his later outings. Frankenweenie isn’t a great short from Mr. Burton, but it’s a good outing that should tug at any dog lover’s heart strings.

Kærlighed På Film (Just Another Love Story, 2007, Ole Bornedal, Denmark) ***

Kærlighed På Film gets off to a rocky start, and stumbles again on its way across the finish line. What happens in between the first twenty minutes and the final twenty is an interesting film about love, memory, and what matters in life. The first twenty minutes is too laden with camera tricks and attempts to show off film school technique that it is an off putting stretch of filmmaking. The climax of Kærlighed På Film suffers from predictability and one twist too many in executing the story of the film. The middle, however, manages to touch on its themes in a way that I appreciated. Kærlighed På Film is a decent movie, but it could have been a lot better than the end product that was delivered.

Dinoshark (2010, Kevin O’Neill, United States Of America) *

It’s big and stupid, but it’s actually quite a bit of fun. The CG is horrendous, the acting is even worse, and the story is “insert hyperbolic statement about terribleness here.” About the only thing that could make something like Dinoshark better would be if it were an actual direct-to-DVD production and thus was willing to be gorier, and feature various bits of nakedness. But, for what it is Dinoshark is fun, and funny, in ways that aren’t really expected and I enjoyed it for that.

Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009, Peter Chelsom, United States Of America) **1/2

It would be far too easy to outright dismiss this movie. It was easy to hate on Hannah Montana when it was a popular television show. Heck, I will own up to being guilty of bashing the show without having seen more than a couple of episodes. Having now seen some more of the television show I can say that it’s not that great and is guilty of the same problems found in almost all the Disney teen shows that are not named Good Luck Charlie. All that being said, Hannah Montana: The Movie is certainly not great, but it’s not awful either. Both Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus display a great amount of charm in their roles. Miss Cyrus especially manages to grab the camera and not allow its attention to divert for any reason. The slapstick could have been better and I do feel the film fails in its ultimate message about stardom and normalcy. However, there’s no real reason to dismiss Hannah Montana: The Movie as it’s a pretty decent film with charming leads and some funny moments.

Wrap-Up:

There wasn’t much competition this week. In fact, only one movie had a chance of being the top dog. The 2012 version of Frankenweenie takes home movie of the week honors. Until next week, watch more movies!

Cheers,
Bill

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