01 December 2012


Summit Entertainment perplexes me.  I do not understand them as a production studio.  They are all over the board.  On one hand, they made The Hurt Locker.  On the other hand, they are behind the Twilight Saga.  Somewhere in between, they have Man on a Ledge and Gone.  I don’t get it.  I spent some time with the Redbox over Turkey Day weekend, and because Amanda Seyfried is gorgeous (I think it is her eyes), and the wife wanted to see it, we rented Gone.

Gone opens with Jill (Seyfried) walking through a park searching for something, but not finding it.  She then goes home, to where her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) is studying for some important exam.  Jill then heads to work where she is a third shift waitress at a diner.  When she gets home from work, Molly is gone.  Jill immediately freaks out, runs around the house frantically, and then calls the police.

Officer Powers (Daniel Sunjata) and his partner, who looks like she doesn’t own a comb, brush or mirror, Lonsdale (Katherine Moening) talk with Jill.  This is where we get the beef of the backstory.  Jill was abducted and escaped.  No one believed that she was taken because they could not find the hole in the ground that she claimed to be thrown into.  So, she was committed to a psych ward.  Jill believes that the same guy has returned to get her, the one that got away.  Of course, no one believes her, except maybe creepy new Officer Hood (Wes Bentley).

So, without the help of the police, Jill sets out to find her sister and the guy that took her, and her.  This is where the movie starts to lose me.  Nothing goes wrong in her investigation.  Every lead she tracks down leads to the next clue.  No red herrings.  No dead ends.  Just clue after clue.  Not even Liam Neeson was that good in Taken.  The story was all too neat and tidy.  There were parts where it seemed that something had been deleted, especially the Hood character.

Gone features enough cameos to choke a donkey.  Most of the actors are from television shows: Jennifer Carpenter – Dexter, Joel David Moore – Bones, Daniel Sunjata – Rescue Me, Hunter Parrish – Weeds, Nick Searcy – Justified.  I would have assumed that it was meant for a direct-to-video release, but it got a theatrical release back in February where it bombed and ended with a gross just north of $11 million.  So, is Gone worth your  85 minutes and $1.30 (gotta hate inflation)?  I would go with “No,” but The Wife would argue me on that.

RATING: 4/10

Wreck-It-Ralph Tears It Up: In a Good Way

I am a little late to the Wreck-It-Ralph party, but better late than never.  That cliché rings true for this film.  Wreck-It-Ralph marks the fifth animated movie I have seen this year.  Of those five (The Lorax, Rise of the Guardians, Brave, Madagascar 3), Wreck-It-Ralph is my favorite, hands down.

Wreck-It-Ralph follows the titular character’s attempt to come to terms with being a video game bad guy.  Ralph (John C. Riley) lives in a landfill full of bricks from the building that he “wrecks” everyday.  He has done his duty for thirty years.  When the other characters in the game throw a 30th anniversary party for the game’s hero Felix (Jack McBrayer), they do not invite Ralph.  When he crashes, literally and figuratively, the party, one of the tenants of the building, Gene (Raymond S. Persi), informs Ralph that if he could earn a medal, then he would be welcomed by the rest of the characters.

So, Ralph sets off to try and find a way to earn a medal.  He learns of a game called Hero’s Duty, where the object is to get to the top of a structure, through the armada of alien bugs, and win the medal.  Unfortunately, it is forbidden for characters to go into other games, as it messes with the programming, not to mention leaves their game missing characters.  With Ralph gone, his game is put “Out of Order” which could lead to being unplugged, trapping all the characters in the game forever, essentially killing them.

Ralph wins his medal, but accidentally unleashes an alien bug into another game, Sugar Rush.  Now, Felix with the help of Calhoun (Jane Lynch), a military bad-ass from Hero’s Duty, must find Ralph and the alien before Ralph’s game is unplugged and/or the bug lays its eggs and takes over Sugar Rush.

In the meantime, Ralph meets Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), a glitch in Sugar Rush.  All she wants to do is race, but she is forbidden to do so by King Candy (Alan Tudyk).  He fears that the user would see her glitch and assume the game is bad, potentially causing Sugar Rush to be unplugged.  Ralph decides to help Vanellope in hopes of getting his medal, which she stole, back.

This barely scratches the surface of Wreck-It-Ralph.  There is so much going on, and so many layers of goodness, that I could go on and on about the plot.  Just take my word for it, and give this a watch.  Along with all the cast already mentioned, Ed O’Neill, Adam Carolla, Mindy Kaling, Dennis Haysbert, and Horatio Sanz lend their voices to this fantastic film.  The story is so cute, and the screenplay by Phil Johnson and Jennifer Lee has the right balance of humor and drama.  There are plenty of nods to classic games such as Street Fighter, Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Q-Bert, and even Pong, to make all ages feel represented  I cannot think of a better film to take your youngsters, or yourself, to see.  I liked Riseof the Guardians last week, but Wreck-It-Ralph is sweeter.

RATING: 9/10