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Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Based on a favorite children’s book by Judi and Ron Barrett, this is a full-length feature about a big-hearted inventor who finds a way to make delicious food fall from the heavens. Nick Schager of Time Out New York says, “Driven by an idiosyncratic blend of goofiness and sweetness, ‘Cloudy’ serves up vibrant animation in tune with its spirit of rollicking comedic abandon, all while championing nerdy intelligence over bland conformity and gastronomic moderation over supersized gluttony.”

This film, like nearly all animated releases these days, can be seen in standard or 3-D formats. Overall, the technology has been upgraded and the goofy glasses are sturdier and less of a nuisance. Some movie fans have totally embraced this modernized theater experience — a key reason why box office records were once again broken this summer — while some are more slowly coming around. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times is of the latter mindset, but was still impressed with this production. “I continue to find 3-D a distracting nuisance, but it must be said the Sony process produces a sharp, crisp picture, with no visible imprecision between the matches of the images. There is clear definition between closer and further elements. I’ve seen a lot of 3-D recently, and in terms of technical quality, this is the best.”

It’s been a while since there was an animated movie in theaters — “Up” was in May and “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” opened July 1st — so if the kids are off to a good start in school and they’ve earned a trip to the movies, this one should be tons of fun.

cloudy with a chance of meatballs

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The Informant

the informantMatt Damon reteams with Steven Soderbergh, the director of “Ocean’s 11, 12 & 13,” to play a rising star at his agriculture industry mega-corp who suddenly turns whistleblower. Critics are divided about their darkly comic take on this true criminal investigation. David Denby of The New Yorker states, “‘The Informant!’ is a return to form for Soderbergh, who couldn’t seem to put anything resembling an emotional charge into his recent films… This time, Soderbergh is in full control, and his star is on fire.” However, Robert Willonsky of The Village Voice doesn’t entirely agree: “Unlike the director’s usual organic efforts — in which great style never results in overstylized — ‘The Informant!’ feels over-amped from start to shrugging finish. The filmmakers have painted a 1990s story with a 1970s palette, and the tone clashes with the setting, like plaid on paisley.”

Todd McCarthy of Variety calls it “the wacky little brother of ‘Erin Brockovich,'” and I have to agree that this is the most intriguing, original and thought-provoking option of any of the films opening this weekend.

The Informant trailers and clips

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Love Happens

This rom-com stars Aaron Eckhart of “The Dark Knight” and the always lovely, likeable and unoffending Jennifer Aniston. Rafer Guzman of Newsday asks, “What happens when troubled self-help author Burke Ryan (Eckhart) meets disillusioned florist Eloise Chandler (Aniston)? Love happens in ‘Love Happens,’ along with hearts, flowers, wine, roses, sweetness, light and every other cliche the filmmakers can squeeze into a two-hour film.”

Randy Cordova of The Arizona Republic isn’t disappointed in the casting but, “because there’s no mystery, no chemistry and paper-thin characters, the movie coasts by on the charms of its two stars. And while Eckhart and Aniston are mighty appealing, they need to be given something more with which to work.”

It’s apparently another weekend offering that isn’t a truly fresh take on its genre, but this is the best date night option since the indie darling “(500) Days of Summer” this past July. Plus, if you’ve sided with “Team Jen,” how can you not go out and support the girl? Love Happens trailer and clips

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love happens

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Jennifer’s Body

jennyfer's bodyIt’s hard to believe that for all of her incredible notoriety, Megan Fox has never technically headlined a film. Sure, we’ve seen her as one of the human characters in the “Transformers” movies, but this is the first time she’s earned top billing (above Amanda Seyfried, the breakout star of last summer’s “Mamma Mia”). The acclaimed screenwriter of “Juno,” Diablo Cody, penned this teen horror flick about a boy-eating demon chick. According to Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic, “neither Cody nor director Karyn Kusama has come up with anything original here (beyond the admittedly cool idea of what happens when you mean to sacrifice a virgin but your victim isn’t one).” He does give some to Seyfried for making “the shift from virginal good girl to vengeance-seeking hellion seem plausible.”

Justin Chang from Variety puts it this way: “While not exactly lifeless, ‘Jennifer’s Body’ sure could be fresher. Even with Megan Fox ideally cast as a sharp-fanged succubus with a lusty appetite for young male (and sometimes female) flesh, this high school horror romp tackles its bad-girl-gone-really-bad premise with eye-rolling obviousness and, fatally, a near-total absence of real scares.”

Even though the film’s story isn’t entirely original, horror fans and teenagers will totally get a kick out of Megan Fox’s danger-sexy character. Jennyfer’s body trailer and clips

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Bite Club: ‘Vampire Diaries’ vs. ‘True Blood’ vs. ‘Twilight’

elena, bella, sookie vampires

As if it wasn’t already impossible to avoid the living dead in pop culture these days, along comes The CW’s new “The Vampire Diaries” to — ahem — drain more blood from the genre. And although the young-adult novels that inspired the seres were published way back in 1991 — years before Sookie Stackhouse or Bella and Edward were created — we can’t help but compare the show to the popular “True Blood” and “Twilight.” Here’s how all three stack up against each other.

The Ingénue

“True Blood”: Sookie’s a waitress with psychic abilities and an open mind.

“Twilight”: Bella’s a moody high school student who wants to stay young forever.

“Vampire Diaries”: Elena’s a gorgeous teen with a tough past.

WINNER: Sookie. While she can make moronic life choices, she’s strong-minded, can defend herself in perilous situations and is generally pretty darn adorable.

Vampire Boyfriend

“True Blood”: Bill is a Civil War vet and Sookie’s neighbor.

“Twilight”: Edward is a dreamy high school student with a big family.

“Vampire Diaries”: Stefan is a renaissance man from classic Italy.

WINNER: Edward. He’s more appealing than Stefan and carries less baggage than Bill.

Shape Shifter Guys

“True Blood”: Sam’s a sweet bar owner who can turn into any animal.

“Twilight”: Jacob’s a werewolf who is totally in love with Bella.

“Vampire Diaries”: Stefan’s brother Damon is not only a vamp, but can also turn himself into a scary crow.

WINNER: Jacob. This good-hearted Native American boy only turns himself into a vicious killer to protect his loved ones.

The Romance

“True Blood”: Sookie loves Bill, but it’s slightly a strange love given that his blood saved her life and may have put her under his thrall somehow.

“Twilight”: Bella and Edward are complete and utter soul mates, determined to be together for all eternity.

“Vampire Diaries”: Elena is torn between two brothers that she’s attracted to.

WINNER: “Vampire Diaries.” Elena’s is the classic love story, and what girl wouldn’t want two hot siblings vying for her love?

The Vampire Rules

“True Blood”: The bloodsuckers on this show abide by most of the common vampire rules: They can’t go out in the sun without turning into a fritter, can be killed by stakes or by being beheaded, need to drink blood (though synthetic is acceptable), have super speed and can fly (at least some can).

“Twilight”: While you could kill one of these vamps with a stake, the sun is not their enemy in the traditional sense of the word. They don’t get burnt to a crisp; instead, they get all sparkly in the sunlight.

“Vampire Diaries”: These vamps can go out in the sun, but only when wearing a special piece of jewelry that keeps them safe. They like to drink blood and try to keep their identities a secret.

WINNER: “True Blood.” We prefer our undead to be creatures of the night. Call us old fashioned.

By the Book?

“True Blood”: It hits some of the major plot points and character traits, but has gone its own way and invented new characters, kept some alive and embellished a lot of details.

“Twilight”: It’s extremely loyal to the books — painstakingly so, as the fans quibble over any slight alteration or omission.

“Vampire Diaries”: Based on the first episode, it’s very loyal to the book, but the producers are going to have to do a lot to stretch this into a weekly series.

WINNER: “True Blood.” We like the fact that the show is willing to take chances with the source material that usually pay off.

Source: Yahoo TV

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