Bennett Miller’s Moneyball is not like most other sports movies. In most sports movies, no matter which game they concern, the drama takes place in the arena – on the basketball court and the football field, in the boxing ring and the baseball diamond. It is there that muscular athletes conquer pain, adversity and inevitably sharp odds to steal victory (or occasionally suffer honourable defeats) in front of lights, cameras, [...]
If Pixar is the venerated superhero of digital animation, DreamWorks is their conniving arch-nemesis, their grand plans for global animation domination (and Oscar glory) constantly being thwarted by Pixar’s pristine reputation. But if there’s one thing DreamWorks have proven with their villainous comedy Megamind, it’s that bad guys still have the capacity to do good. Indeed, Megamind is very good.
The golden rule of film criticism (for me, anyway) is to always consider the target audience. During a family film, for instance, I occasionally glance around the cinema to see how the children are behaving; are they quiet and attentive, or fidgety and disruptive?
In the case of the animated adventure How to Train Your Dragon, the cinema was blissfully silent. There wasn’t a peep beyond gasps of elation and bursts of laughter. And I’m not just talking about the kids.
The art of keeping up appearances through both lying and telling the truth has been explored in various Hollywood films over time. Strangely enough, Jim Carrey comes to mind – he’s involved himself on both sides (think The Truman Show and Liar Liar). But when one of Hollywood’s newer funny-men introduces himself to the ‘lie’ sub-genre in a film concerning the invention of the lie, it appears to be a fresh idea full of possibilities. Englishman Ricky Gervais is no doubt a witty guy, and while his characters all seem to be immersed in small bubbles he often makes it work. But it’s when the story goes pear-shaped then the character can’t hold it together, and this is the major flaw of The Invention of Lying. It’s comfortable, but not confident in bursting out of its bubble.