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I like it when a movie surprises me.

Maybe it’s a narrative surprise or an aesthetic surprise or a thematic surprise – doesn’t really matter to me. I dig it when a movie does something that is genuinely unexpected, when it becomes something different than anticipated.

And when it’s a kids’ movie? Let’s go.

“The Mitchells vs. the Machines” is the latest from the folks at Sony Pictures Animation. Directed by first-time feature director Mike Rianda and co-directed by Jeff Rowe from a script co-written by the two, it’s a CG film that manages to bring together two fairly disparate concepts together in a way that is both functional and fun.

Basically, what we have here is a movie that is a dysfunctional family road trip comedy AND a dystopian battle against the machine uprising. It really shouldn’t work, but somehow, the film manages to maintain its sense of goofball whimsy while also conveying genuine tension regarding the end of the world. It is heartfelt and hilarious animated fun that balances its seemingly incongruous parts with aplomb.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 13:43

Judgment Day jollity This Is the End'

Apocalyptic ensemble comedy proves surprisingly entertaining

I'm a firm believer in the humor potential inherent to actors playing themselves. There's something wonderfully anarchic about performers playing hyperstylized versions of themselves; it can really make for a phenomenal guest-starring turn.

But the idea of making an entire movie that way? Where every one of the main players is playing him or herself or at least, a version thereof? Could you really build a quality film on that sort of foundation? It seems unlikely, no?

Published in Movies

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