Sunday, February 9, 2014
Cindy Prascik's The Lego Movie & The Monuments Men
Dearest Blog, yesterday it was off to the cinema for two flicks about which I'd been very excited: The Lego Movie and The Monuments Men.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
So, dear Blog, you may ask WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING going to the Lego Movie on a Saturday afternoon that was nice enough for people to GET out, but not nice enough for people to BE out, thus ensuring I'd be sharing the experience with a roomful of kids? I suppose my answer would be: No. Earthly. Idea.
The Lego Movie follows an ordinary Lego guy on his adventure as he tries to save the universe from an evil Lego tyrant...with a little help from some familiar Lego faces.
The Lego Movie was, indeed, packed wall-to-wall with young 'uns (including two birthday parties, if my eavesdropping skills are accurate). They talked, they ran around, they slammed into my seat, and one little boy directly in front of me stood, hand on hip, waving his drink at his mother and yelling, "There's no straw!" until I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one considering stuffing him in the bin. That being said, they didn't ruin the movie for me, which can mean only one thing: it's a damn good movie.
The Lego Movie is, first and foremost, a unique experience; the art and animation are extraordinary. This is a movie that grabs your attention in the first minute and never lets go, and I think that would be the case even if nobody ever said a word. Luckily, the little Lego people do say words, and they're funny words at that. The Lego Movie is "family entertainment" that really does entertain the whole family and, while my 200 kidlets brought down the house over pantsless Lego people, there were plenty of jokes for the grownups, too. The cast is comprised of notable folks that, even if you don't know their names, you'll surely know their voices. Will Arnett is particularly effective as a grumpy, Bale-esque Batman, and Charlie Day's spastic 80s robot is a treat. The movie smartly doesn't wear out its welcome, and I think I speak for the 200 kids when I say it left us all wanting more.
The Lego Movie clocks in at 100 minutes and is rated PG for "mild action and rude humor."
Though 2014's Oscars haven't even been handed out yet, it's hard for me to imagine something that's going to beat this as Best Animated Feature at 2015's. (Disclaimer: With How to Train Your Dragon 2 on the way this year, I fully anticipate having to eat those words.) Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Lego Movie gets seven and a half.
The second half of yesterday's double-feature was George Clooney's The Monuments Men, based on the true story of a group of unlikely soldiers tasked with saving stolen art from the Nazis and returning it to its rightful owners.
When I first started seeing trailers for The Monuments Men, the cast and the subject matter had me thinking it would be an awards-season favorite. The release date and the Internet (which never lies, right?) tell me that's not the case, and for the life of me, I just don't get why not.
While it may be about as historically accurate as Argo, The Monuments Men does its job as a movie; it presents a relevant, interesting story in an entertaining way. The film moves at a good pace, holds your attention for the duration, and reinforces a message that's important even 70 years later. In addition to Clooney (who also handled directing and co-writing duties), the terrific cast includes Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin (that's "dude from The Artist that I'm still mad at for stealing Gary Oldman's Oscar," in case anyone didn't know), Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban. It's a smart, moving, and, yes, sometimes funny look at a not-at-all-funny historical event, and the reaction around my theatre tells me I'm not the only one who thinks it's getting shortchanged by critics.
The Monuments Men runs 118 minutes and is rated PG13 for "some images of war violence and historical smoking." (Is that really a thing..."historical smoking??")
While it may not be setting the world on fire like the Oscar-hopeful it once seemed, for my money, The Monuments Men is a total success, no less entertaining for having an important point. Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Monuments Men gets seven.
So, dear Blog, that's all the news that's fit to print for now. Next weekend brings the year's first Gary Oldman Cinema Experience, so there will be swooning a-plenty on this front.
Until next time...
Your efforts are futile in the face of my box-office prowess!