Author: Robert Wilonsky

  • Animal House: Matt Damon Needs Your Love in We Bought a Zoo

    When I told someone I was off to a screening of We Bought a Zoo the other day, the response was an eye roll. The reaction is understandable: Save for two music docs—an Elton John–Leon Russell album making-of and that Pearl Jam anniversary infomercial—Cameron Crowe has been MIA since 2005’s autobiographical Elizabethtown, about the prodigal […]

  • The Formulas Work in Moneyball

    At the time of this writing, the Oakland Athletics sit at a distant third in the American League West, 18 games behind the Texas Rangers managed by Ron Washington, once the first-base coach under A’s wonderboy Billy Beane. The A’s have not had a winning season since making the playoffs in ’06, which is to […]

  • Welcome to the Planet of the Aping in Paul

    Paul, it should be noted up-front, is not the third installment in the so-called Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy featuring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, though there are indeed servings of both. Note the one key missing element: Edgar Wright, who directed and co-wrote with Pegg both the 2004 zom-com Shaun of the Dead and […]

  • The Dilemma: Not Comedy, Not Drama, Not Clever, Not Insightful

    Vince Vaughn is Ronny, co-owner of a boutique car-engine manufacturer. He’s the pitchman; the brains belong to Nick, played by Kevin James. Their intention—to build the guts for the first electric-powered muscle car and sell the prototype to Dodge. From Ron Howard, director of the better carmaker dramedy Gung Ho (his final comedy—cough—before the move […]

  • Villain With a Heart of Gold in Animated Rehash Megamind

    On matters animated and three-dimensional I take my cue from the seven-year-old sitting at my right, who got mega-fidgety about 10 minutes into Megamind, a 3-D superhero story about the villain who—shocking—turns into the good guy. (“Same story as Despicable Me,” said the wee one.) To recap: Will Ferrell, as the titular blue meanie with […]

  • Killer Instincts, Bad Knees

    Classiest. Comic. Book. Movie. Ever. Not the best. Not the worst. Just the classiest—Helen Mirren (and Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich and Brian Cox and Richard Dreyfuss) can spruce up any pulp. As far as comic-book adaptations go, though, Red is a little closer to the bright side of so-so—somewhere between, let’s say, Iron Man […]

  • Michael Cera’s Precious Little Life Gets Soul in Scott Pilgrim

    Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is every bit as faithful to its source material (Bryan Lee O’Malley’s six-volume series about a 22-year-old go-nowhere man-boy fending off his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes) as Zack Snyder’s Watchmen was to his (Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s brooding comic-hero deconstruction). Both treat the comic-book panels as […]

  • Luke Wilson Brings Hardcore to the Masses in Middle Men

    If the plot of Middle Men sounds familiar—Luke Wilson gets in bed with James Caan, who just wants to fuck him—that’s because it’s the same as the plot of Bottle Rocket, Wes Anderson’s 1996 directorial debut, in which Wilson and Caan worked together for the first time. Middle Men is that tale told without the […]

  • Paul Rudd: He’s an Actor…Right?

    When last I saw Paul Rudd, in person, it was March 2009 in the lobby of the Four Seasons in Austin. It was 3 in the morning, hours after I Love You, Man had its premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival, and co-star Jason Segel had long ago packed up his pack of […]

  • The Childish, Funny, 3-D Delights of Silly Despicable Me

    As the lights were dimming before a preview screening of Despicable Me, the six-year-old who lives in my house leaned over and said, “I hope this is funny—not like Toy Story 3.” Now don’t misunderstand: He adored that movie. It’s just that whenever the subject comes up, the first word he uses to describe the […]

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