Most people have grown up with some form of the muppets. Either Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock or the Muppets themselves. As technology has made the puppet almost obsolete, it is an inevitable truth that producers would stop wanting to make the fuzzy creations. So a come-back movie like this has its charm. That said, The Muppets isn't all that charming. The film starts off plain old bad, going for a purposefully lame type of humor that is neither funny nor charming, and, well, is just plain lame. Things do pick up once the gang gets back together and the Muppet Telethon starts and the film gets back to a lot of 'real' muppet humor. And some of the cameos are a blast (David Grohl as animal was hilarious). But the problem here is that there isn't really anything creative, endearing or clever happening. The producers just wanted to hit all the muppet sweet spots from past films/shows, dumb it down for a bonk-on-the-head-2-year-old crowd, and add some lame songs. And unfortunately, while I was a fan of Flight of the Conchords, here that element is the weakest part of the film. The weird, lame songs worked in that series because that type of humor was aiming for awkward, 'unfunny' humor (and then because it was so bad it became funny). The muppets, however, was always about 'zaniness.' So here, that lame humor just turns out lame. And that leaves me on note opposite to what I would normally finish with: if you were never that big into the muppets (like the young kids this is aimed at who were born after the muppets heyday), then you might get a giggle out of this. But if you were a muppets fan, you might be disappointed.
I haven't seen a movie this unenjoyable in a long time. Even Abba's entire catalog of catchy tunes can't save it. The problem here is, some musicals just don't translate to film. Especially this one. The concept of Mamma Mia is that it is a story created around Abba's catchiest songs. As such the story is secondary. In a stage musical, this doesn't matter. People go to see the performance. Story, staging, etc are secondary because of the limitations inherent to the stage. In a film, much more is expected. MM is a great example why you can't just port over any old musical to film. Because here, if you don't turn off your brain completely, it will be impossible to accept what happens story-wise. Plain and simple things don't work. The bubblieness feels more empty than fun, the story tries to have conflict but inserts obstacles that are fake and incomprehensible, and a great deal of the time the lyrics of the songs don't really match the situation. In the end, it feels like nothing more than a bunch of situations contrived to cram in all of Abba's greats (which hey, it is! But it shouldn't feel like that). And to top things off, the direction/acting/style is just trying too hard. Everyone knows that anyone who tries too hard at something (humor, coolness, etc) usually turns out looking pathetic. And that is what happens here. MM is just trying so hard to be 'fun' that it isn't , ending up feeling like a very bad high school musical. All of that said, I think I'd actually like to see the stage musical of this. But this film version is for die hard Abba fans only. All others stay away. Very far away.
Starting as an expertly photographed yet routine crime documentary, it quickly becomes obvious that The Thin Blue Line is something much more, as it skillfully strings the viewer along weaving an intricate tale of injustice. Morris deftly constructs this retelling of the prosecution of Randal Adams, a suspected cop killer, using a haunting sound track and artfully photographed re-enactments to add a dynamic rarely seen in documentaries. At the same time, without becoming propaganda, the film clearly demonstrates that an injustice took place in the conviction of Adams. A brilliant documentary!
Source Code is an entertaining mind-bender, trying to achieve the mental brilliance of Memento and Butterfly Effect, but relies on cheating and sloppy structure to get there. I think the main problem is, this was not made as a sci-fi film, but instead shooting for a wider audience. Because if you've seen any sci-fi you have seen this type of story done much better (similar Star Trek episodes, and a great deal of borrowing from Quantum Leap (even throwing a secret cameo of Scott Bakula)). The entire (unneeded) father plot is almost a direct rip off QL's in execution. And while the film was entertaining, the ending deflated quicker than a worn out woopie cushion. I believe this is a result of sloppy storytelling. (WARNING SPOILERS). Early on, when explaining what the source code was, the scientist explained it as an "alternate reality." In sci-fi worlds, this is exchangeable with "alternate universe" (a scientific theory where other realities like ours exist). So that is exactly what I thought they were talking about the first time it was mentioned. This was then reinforced by the small details changing each time he visited, the way the dialog was structured in other conversations, etc. The problem is, I don't think you were supposed to know that. Doh! Because when we got to the twist ending, I was completely baffled as to what it was trying to say (thinking, "Um...so what. we've already established this. This isn't a twist"). Only after a great deal of talking with friends, and re-watching many scenes, I discovered what the the filmmakers were trying to do (and where things went wrong). That aside, this still is a decent thriller, if not somewhat forgettable.
Whether the book in question is the masterpiece it is claimed to be or not, The Stone Reader is a wonderful journey to take, especially for those interested in writing. Meandering at a pleasant pace the film investigates a book written in the 70's that received rave reviews, claiming it was the book of a generation. The book however wasn't successful, soon disappearing from shelves, and the writer never went on to write another book, simply disappearing from existence. SR is the journey one fan takes in trying to track down what happened to the author. And while he takes his merry old time, there is revelation at the end of the film that is truly rewarding. A very entertaining documentary!