If you prefer the charm of hand-drawn animation to the computer-generated sort, you’ll love The Illusionist. The primary character, an aging and outdated European magician named Tatischeff, plays one-night gigs traveling from town to town and country to country, often being cheated by his employers. Eventually he crosses paths with Alice, a teenager who plays at being grownup, and who believes him to be the magician he once was. Their ensuing adventure together is both humorous and haunting. The movie is enchantingly slow-paced, and the animation and sound styles create a nearly perfect stage for this character-driven story.
The new children's movie Gnomeo & Juliet is of course an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic work, Romeo & Juliet. In this new world, the bickering enemies are red and blue garden gnomes. The blue garden belongs to the Montagues of 2B and the red Capulets live next door, at not 2B.
The King’s Speech, a period piece set in the 1930s, portrays the story of Prince Albert (Bertie), the man who would never be King, and his relationship with Lionel Logue, a speech therapist, which would later become a lifelong friendship. Bertie’s older brother, David, is first in line for the British throne, and thank goodness, because Bertie suffers from a terrible stammer unsuitable for a public life that now involves not just looking good, but also sounding good. The latter thanks to the new-fangled invention called the “wireless.”
If ever a movie could put the idea of freedom, and what people will do to get it, into perspective, it is The Way Back. Inspired by the 1956 book, The Long Walk, a true story by Slavomir Rawicz, the film is the latest from Australian director Peter Weir.
Director Michael Gondry’s The Green Hornet is a prime example of what happens when a director has a lot of money with which to work but minimal substance on which to stand. While it’s evident that effort was involved in making the film, particularly as it pertains to the action scenes, it is an overall disappointment.