Let’s be honest: Pixar is going to dominate this weekend. Brave, Brave, Brave. It’s all anyone is going to see. If you want an action flick then Vampire Hunter may be your best choice, but if you want a good film it’s Brave with a side of Seeking a Friend at the End of the World.Brave
So by all means, go see Brave. But do your best to judge it against the customary standards of animated filmmaking, rather than the improbably lofty ones Lasseter et. al. have set for themselves. If there is one thing I can offer Pixar in return for the pleasure it has brought me over the years, it’s this: a little help in managing expectations.
The tone is uneven and more often morose than joyful. The pacing is slow and at times almost tedious. The end result is something that feels like it was put together from a jumble of Disney clichés tacked onto the skeleton of Beauty and the Beast.
Of course, saying that “Brave” is entertaining but not astonishing is pretty much admitting your straight-A student got a B.
Verdict: Go See It Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
No envelopes are pushed in “Brave,” which was directed by Brenda Chapman and Mark Andrews, and no genres are subverted. It’s a safe experience; but safe, in this case, is better than sorry.
There are two ways to tell a tongue-in-cheek revisionist-history story like this, the clever way and the dumb way. The clever way involves adding fictional details that coincide with — and do not contradict — the actual facts of history. The dumb way involves a half-hearted attempt at that, combined with a lot of flaccid references to famous things. Guess which route we’re taking here.
There’s definitely some empty-calories, summer-movie fun to be found in this ludicrous genre mashup, most of it courtesy of maniacal Russian director Timur Bekmambetov, who stages hilarious, imaginative, almost free-form action sequences like nobody in the business.
Grahame-Smith should have either expanded on the slavery parallel or just scrapped the high-minded ideals in favor of outright camp. If he had, this “Vampire Hunter” might have slain us.
Verdict: Catch it on TV Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Possible resulting “fun” is only slightly mitigated by contemplation of the wearisome decadence of American popular culture.
Sweet and serious as it is, the second chunk of “Seeking a Friend” is the lesser of the two – and hard to reconcile with the more acidic comic outlook in the film’s first half.
A movie that may be, in its own small, weird way, the most bizarrely bittersweet and oddly beautiful romance you’ve seen in quite awhile.
Despite Scafaria’s opening salvo of sharp observations and daringly grim jokes, “Seeking a Friend” eventually gives into false comfort.Carell‘s Dodge is a self-obsessed bummer, but Knightley‘s hip young Penny inexplicably falls for him anyway.
Verdict: Go See It
This is a romantic comedy for people who don’t like rom-coms. There’s no chance of a happy ending, but its tender mercies speak volumes.