Sunday, March 30, 2014

Perflix of the Day

Ah Spring Break.  Makes you think of babes, on beaches, with beers?  Well, here in Oregon we do spring a little differently.  It started out well enough with Monday being a flawless spring day.  A flowers were blooming birds were chirping kind of day. Thusly (seemingly along with every other family in Oregon and Southwest Washington) was I required to accompany my wife and kids to the Oregon Zoo, which I understand to be a "good" zoo, though to me that seems like an oxymoron.  (When a Polar Bear is doing a strange rhythmic 12 step dance routine over an over again, wagging his head and doing the moon-walk, something is not right.  And to see 19 foot tall giraffes awkwardly splaying their legs in order to eat green grass instead of hay out of cage - to a 4 year old a thrill, to me  another example of the awfulness of humans.  You would think everyone that has been to a zoo would be forever imprinted with the idea that we need to protect their habitats in the wild, and yet the relentless destruction continues unabated.)

And yet I digress.  So, Spring Break started out fine but then devolved into a week of torrential rains with a few hours of sunshine here and there.  My pre-K son Colin and I took advantage of every ray of it, but on the days where it rained all day long (there are many days like that here - it's a temperate rainforest; it has been reported that there were 400-foot Douglas Firs here when settlers first arrived…my house may be made of one of them) we sought indoor activities such as the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and a couple movies - The Lego Movie and Muppets Most Wanted.

I had heard good things about The Lego Movie but found it to be break-neck paced and too fast-moving, especially for kids.  It felt like a video game.  I didn't really feel like I could get a good look at the animation and came away feeling disappointed.  The production quality was really good, rich, and I like the way the movie looked, but it sailed along so fast I felt like I missed a lot.  The story was pretty predictable (I fell asleep several times and not because of sleep deprivation this time) and Will Farrell was great at the end.  I would say go see it in 3D, but from the bits and pieces I've seen of Frozen, I'd say see Frozen first.  Last thing on Lego - Elizabeth Banks gives voice to Wild Style, the main character Emmett's love interest.  I went back and looked at her bio and hadn't even recognized her as Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games - thought that was interesting and that I'd pass that along.  Loved the Hunger Games book series even though I found the writing to be appallingly sophomoric.  I mean, I'm no novelist, but wow - maybe I should be.

If given the choice between Muppets Most Wanted and Frozen, I would also say see Frozen first.  I saw a bit of Frozen in the dentist office and the last 30 minutes of it at my mother's house.  From what I saw it was produced in a style similar to Tangled (which, honest to God, I absolutely love and believe is one of the best animated films of all time).  I don't think the story was as moving as that of Rapunzel's in Tangled, but from what I saw it looked good.

Muppets Most Wanted was better and more fun than the Lego Movie.  Both of these you could probably wait to watch at home though the 3D is fun for Lego.  Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey are perfect for their Muppets roles, Gervais humorous as the Muppets' deceitful world tour agent, and Fey is hilarious as the warden of a Siberian gulag (yes, you heard that right).  Embarrassingly, it took me a minute to place her - I guess because of the accent and costume.

I guess I'd say all three of these are worth seeing in the theater (if you can even still catch Frozen).  Colin, who will be 5 end of May, liked Frozen the best, Muppets second, Lego last.

A little late to the game with these reviews I know, but I hope you find them useful.

*** No new Perflix to report, though I was remembering that I really, really liked Youth in Revolt (2009) which stars Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Superbad, Juno).  Need to watch it again to make a determination if it goes on THE LIST, but you should definitely see it - in fact this may be the only useful information you get out of me here tonight.  Enjoy!
  1. Alien
  2. Top Gun
  3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  4. The Road
  5. Warm Bodies
  6. The Shining
  7. School of Rock
  8. Say Anything
  9. High Fidelity
  10. Fight Club
  11. Risky Business
  12. Star Wars
  13. Brokeback Mountain
  14. Animal House
  15. Jerry McGuire
  16. Silver Linings Playbook
  17. Dallas Buyers Club
  18. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  19. No Country for Old Men
  20. Tangled
  21. Children of Men
  22. War Games
  23. 28 Days Later
  24. The Graduate
  25. From Dusk Till Dawn
  26. Lost in Translation
  27. The King's Speech

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