REVIEW: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Written by: Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright (screenplay), Bryan Lee O’Malley (graphic novels.)
Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jason Schwartzman, and Anna Kendrick

It almost seemed as if America had had enough of Michael Cera.  His “quirkier than thou,” acting career had cornered its hipster niche, and then pummeled it with character after awkward character until they just couldn’t take it anymore.  As we saw with his two earlier and still best movies, Superbad and Juno, his comic style’s effectiveness is screenplay dependent.  Thankfully, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World‘s got one of those, and it doesn’t pummel you with his long pauses or dopey, annoying sensibilities.

Another thing this potent, and fully alive comic book adaptation’s got is a visual style.  I’d rather be pummeled by fantastic visuals than awkward pauses any day, and director Edgar Wright does this.  It can overwhelm at times, and if it were in 3D it would kill you, but Wright effectively makes up for this summer’s lack of visual polish.  You’ll feel like you’re watching a music video and playing a video game, especially if you’re familiar with the artistry of both mediums.

Continue reading

ARCHIVE REVIEW: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Written by: Wes Anderson (screenplay), Roald Dahl (book)
Starring: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray

The world of awkward young males and disapproving father figures often associated with the world of Wes Anderson is polarizing.  You have those who absolutely despise his style and those who absolutely love it.  Typically I fall into the former.  For all his faults, though, he does have a style.  Had I seen Fantastic Mr. Fox before Mr. Anderson’s other features, I’d have wondered what he was getting at with all of the others.  This is his best, most assured, most mature work , and it’s a stop-motion animation adaptation of a children’s novel.

It becomes perfectly clear in this film that all of the characters in Anderson’s other movies really were just cartoon characters.  Now that they are in the literal sense, their absurdest actions look and feel right.  The stop-motion techniques of the animation greatly help flesh out the emotion and style.  The camera work is amateur in the best sense of the word, making this feel like chaos that came together at the last minute.

Continue reading