After some um—rather interesting internet ballyhoo, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is finally brought to the big screen in what is a shockingly good adaptation. Although I’d argue that the “video game movie curse” ended in 2018 (ahem–“Tomb Raider”), “Sonic the Hedgehog” does open the door for more, higher quality video game movies down the road. While I’d be hard pressed to say that “Sonic” re-invents the wheel, it also dodges a lot of video game movie pitfalls by side stepping cloying pop culture references, and paying homage to the source material.
The preparation Jim Carrey undertook to play Andy Kaufman has often bee cited as a surreal experience that went oddly under reported and barely discussed. In 1998, Jim Carrey played iconic stand up comedian and performer Andy Kaufman for a biopic and embodied the man in every form, refusing to break character even between takes. For years the studio behind “Man on the Moon” hid the footage recorded of Jim Carrey on set of the Andy Kaufman film to avoid bad press for the actor. Nowadays with the man known as Jim Carrey shunning Hollywood, “Jim & Andy” is a glimpse at how he crossed that road, and how it began with Andy Kaufman.
Once Mel Brooks proved that horror could be lampooned while also paid tribute, Hollywood followed suit with a lot of horror comedies that were sometimes mild spoofs and other times very heavy (“Transylvania Twist”) to the point where it was literally nothing but winks and gags. In either case, “Love at First Bite” took advantage of George Hamilton’s star power and put him front and center in a full fledged Dracula spoof.
It’s often completely ignored or dismissed in the annals of Jim Carrey’s film career, but “Once Bitten” is one of my favorite of the Carrey comedy works. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but it’s one of Carrey’s most restrained roles, where he’s funny without being over the top or rubbery as he was in his more successful films. “Once Bitten” is that eighties guilty pleasure I go back to again and again for a good chuckle. And to ponder the idea of being seduced by a vampiric Lauren Hutton. Either way, it’s all good.
While director Ron Howard’s “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is by no means as wretched as “The Cat in the Hat,” it’s definitely a grim sign of things to come for the legacy of one of the greatest authors that ever lived. Typical of the Hollywood factory, the studios take a simple and meaningful story and bloat it to obscene proportions, turning it in to a ridiculous facsimile of the source material.
It’s rather disheartening how a film that is filled with such a visual epic scope can in the end feel so cold and lifeless. Even with the title now being “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” with Charles Dickens (you know, the author of the actual story?) craftily omitted from the publicity campaign. Robert Zemeckis’ insistence on delivering some of the more stone cold animated films, that continue to attempt to convince us that it’s so much more than a simple demo reel continues with “A Christmas Carol.” It’s yet another spin on Charles Dickens tales of Christmas and redemption through the lens of motion capture computer animation. And much like the method of motion capture, it tries to be about as humanistic and moving as possible, but never can capture the subtle quirks and nuances of the human face and their emotions.
If you could wipe a tragic event from your life completely from your memory, would you? If you could wipe clean a tragic, abusive, or damaging relationship with someone clean from your mind, would you? If you, I, anyone had the chance, would we? I know I would, but the tragic picture painted here by the talented Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman. While I just did not like the duo’s previous outing and my first introduction in to their abilities “Human Nature”, I did manage to find a lot to like in films like “Adaptation.,” and “Being John Malkovich.” Regardless, “Eternal Sunshine” might seem like a high concept confusing movie for the casual movie-goer who doesn’t want to think, but open your mind and watch this heartbreaking, often sad, and very surreal love story that will surely manage to play on many viewer’s vulnerabilities.
“Bruce Almighty” makes the message perfectly clear; everything has a consequence. Every choice, every reflex has a consequence and everyone pays for it in the end. Bruce is taught that there are people far worse than he could ever imagine though he refuses to see beyond his own self-centered self obsessed world to discover that. He pulls in the moon and creates stars for his girlfriend one night and ends up causing a massive monsoon on the other side of the world, he grants everyone’s blessings with a “yes” answer thus causing chaos, even granting everyone the win in the lottery and people only getting 17 to 20 dollars. It’s never that simple, it can’t be that simple and Bruce discovers that with terrible results.