Short Reviews: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Everybody’s Fine, Amelia

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs | A Lot of People, 2009

I can usually handle it when a movie has a little plot, but only as long as it makes up for it in other parts. In animated movies the things that can make me forgive the plot is the quality of the animation, the voice performances, the dialogue, the overall message of the movie, and how much I enjoyed it. Cloudy does meet my standards for the first category, and to some extent the second, but it fails to deliver on the rest.

The story is very thin, and the dialogue doesn’t elevate the screenplay enough. The message is the one that you can find in just about every animated movie (“be your self,” “don’t be greedy,” “family is the most important thing”). Also, I did not have much fun. I laughed a few times at the irreverent lines and the quirkiness throughout. I also enjoyed how creative it was, but I did not enjoy it very much. By the end so much weird stuff is happening that I just didn’t care anymore. I guess it is my fault for expecting so much from a non-Pixar animated film.

Everybody’s Fine | Kirk Jones, 2009

It has been a while since Robert DeNiro gave a truly great performance. Lately his focus has been comedies. Based on the trailers, Everybody’s Fine seemed to be a movie that would continue his comedy streak but would also allow him to stretch his drama muscles a little bit. The performance, although not one of his greats, is pretty good, and elevates the movie a lot more than it deserved to be.

One of the main problems that I had was that this was marketed as a comedy, when it truly isn’t. Yes, it is a light movie, but the themes it takes on is not the stuff of heart-warming comedies. And there is one scene, that truly embodied this near the end that completely took me out of the movie. If I got anything out of this movie it is that DeNiro still has one great performance in him, but he just needs to find the right vehicle for it.

Amelia | Mira Nair, 2009

Before this came out it felt that I was the only one that didn’t hate it already. I mean, the amount of hate that Hillary Swank gets just because she is in a movie is ridiculous. Upon release this movie got killed by the critics and it bombed at the box office. Even with all this, I thought the movie looked good, but it was until this week that I finally saw why the critics hated it.

Amelia Earhart’s life seems like a perfect fit for a movie, but the script, the direction, and Hillary Swank totally destroy what could have been a great movie. The entire script, from the way the scenes are set up to dialogue, is so horrible that I cringed a few times. Mira Nair, although she has a great eye for beautiful images, was not right for this. I’m not very familiar with her work, but from what I’ve seen she does not have what it takes to take on this story. And Hillary Swank just doesn’t have her heart in this. All she did was try to look liker her and sound like she is from the 30s, and even fails that that. Mrs. Earhart deserved better than this.

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