Movie Review: Rio (2011)

Hi guys!

Last weekend we had an opportunity to go see the new Dreamworks Animation movie Rio at the theater. We didn’t see it in 3D simply because it wasn’t playing in 3D at the time we wanted to go. But good old 2D CGI animation works just as well in my book, so I can’t say I was disappointed.

Rio is about Blu (Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network and Zombieland), a blue macaw living in small-town Minnesota with bookstore owner Linda (Leslie Mann, Knocked Up and Funny People). When ornithologist Sylvio (Bernardo de Paula) comes from Rio de Janeiro and tells Linda that Blu is one of the last of his kind, he implores her to fly to Rio with Blu to see if Blu and the last known blue macaw female would be compatible and possibly keep the species alive.

Of course, when Linda and Blu get to Rio, things aren’t quite that cut and dried. When Blu meets Jewel (Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs and Get Smart), sparks fly but not quite in the way Sylvia and Linda might have hoped. When a boy breaks into the facility to steal the rare macaws, Blu and Jewel have to work together to survive…

Honestly, this movie was cute and probably one of the better animated features from Dreamworks. I don’t think it quite has the emotional pull of the first Ice Age movie and doesn’t come close to Pixar’s Up or Wall-E, but it was fun. The addition of Jamie Foxx (The Soloist and Dreamgirls) and Will i Am (The Black Eyed Peas) as birds Nico and Pedro was fun as they sang many of the musical scenes in the film. And George Lopez (TV’s Lopez Tonight and the George Lopez show) as the toucan Rafael and Tracy Morgan (TV’s 30 Rock) as the slobbering dog Luiz added quite a bit of humor as well.

Beyond that, though the movie was very colorful and cute, I just don’t get the fascination. That said, I don’t know that it matters. The target audience was families and my wife and daughters loved the film. So I’ll count it as a partial success.

The animation was smooth and gorgeous, so that wasn’t my problem. And the characters seemed to have good chemistry together. I just wasn’t all that sucked in by the story I guess. It was very family friendly however and had a number of positive messages.

According to IMDb, it’s already made nearly $40 million domestically in its first week, so I would expect it to quickly earn a profit on its reported $90 million budget in the next few weeks domestically and abroad.

If you have kids, Rio is a fun way to spend an hour and a half at the movie theater together. Have fun and let me know what you think!

–Fitz

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Mini Reviews: Recent Movies – Gamer and Zombieland

Hey all…

Thought I’d catch up on a few of the movies I’ve seen recently but haven’t had a chance to write up a full review of yet…

Gamer

Gamer PosterI saw Gamer a few weeks ago, starring Gerard Butler (300, Phantom of the Opera) as virtual hero Kable and Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under, Dexter) as Ken Castle, creator of the game. Created by the same sick, twisted, and brilliant minds who did Crank, Gamer is an interesting cyberpunk world mixing the worlds of cybernetic implants and virtual worlds to portray a brilliant and disturbing scenario where real people can slip into the minds and bodies of other real people – and use them as avatars in huge online games.

Butler is always a joy to watch, but I have to admit I haven’t seen any of Dexter, so I honestly had no idea how warped Hall could be. His portrayal of an evil Bill Gates has to have been the best movie villain I’ve seen in forever. He had the moves, the lines, and the attitude that sold me hook, line, and sinker.

I give this one a solid 3.5 out of 4 stars ([rating:3.5/4]). It will definitely be one I pick up when it’s on DVD. Not for everybody and definitely not for kiddies (sex and language mostly, but some seriously sick situations as well). And if you get motion sickness from shaky-cam – I’d avoid it. But I really liked it. I can’t wait to see what Neveldine and Taylor come up with next!

Zombieland

Zombieland PosterOk, I have to say that I’m a huge fan of Shaun of the Dead, so when I saw the initial press for Zombieland, I wasn’t holding my breath. Starring Woody Harrelson as Zombie-killer at large Tallahasee and Jesse Eisenberg as college student Columbus, this wasn’t what I was expecting. And I have to say I really enjoyed it. This Zombedy (or is it a Comabie?) is a road movie the likes of which I can’t say I’ve ever seen.

Columbus wants to get home to his family in Ohio and Tallahassee simply wants to kill zombies and find a Twinkie. Along the way they meet con artists Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and head to a zombie-free amusement park in California.

Be sure to watch for all of Columbus’ rules – there are 32 or 33 of them and they’re all hilarious. Definitely things to keep in mind when our own zombie apocalypse comes to pass. 🙂

If you like zombies and comedy, then Zombieland is for you. I think it will fit beautifully next to Shaun of the Dead in my DVD collection when it comes out! I give it a solid 3 out of 4 ([rating:3/4]).

So there you have it… A couple of quick reviews. Both were fun in very different ways, but were high on body count and had lots of destruction!

Let me know what you thought of them!

–Fitz

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