(4/5) comedy – action – adventure
Reviews: Roger Ebert (3.5 of 4) | IMDb External Reviews | Rotten Tomatoes 83% | Metacritic 71%
In Tropic Thunder (2008) a frustrated director (Steve Coogan) sends his actors into the jungle (filmed in Hawaii) to make a more realistic Vietnam-era film. Local drug runners mistake the actors as Drug Enforcement Officers. The actors mistake the drug runners for other actors attempting to induce better performances. Comedy ensues.
I liked Tropic Thunder a lot. I laughed a lot. The cinematography was beautiful.
It has a large ensemble case. Ben Stiller plays a an actor attempting to prop up a sagging action star career. Matthew McConaughey plays his agent – seemingly willing to do anything to keep his cash-cow of a client working. Jack Black plays a low-brow comic actor not concerned with much more than his next drug fix. Nick Nolte plays a Vietnam vet. The movie being made is based on his book.
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(5/5) – animation, action, comedy
Kung Fu Panda is a beautiful, vibrant, original and, dare I say, inspirational, movie. I had high expectations going in and they were exceeded.
With a few notable exceptions (Nacho Libre) I’ve enjoyed pretty much every movie I’ve seen that featured Jack Black. This role, which seemed written for him, is no exception.
Animated features are hardly a novelty these days. We take their high production values for granted. Yet this Dreamworks production is a notch above. It has an authentic Chinese and kung-fu look and feel. The directors and artists pay particular attention to the details of Chinese architecture, painting, sculpture and philosophy. The colours are more vibrant, more real than usual. It ‘feels’ warmer and more believable. During the movie I noted to myself that this movie should be well received in China. It’s as close to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) as an animated movie can get.
It’s funny. I laughed out loud many times. With one exception (hint, there’s a Nacho Libre reference) it does not rely on the inside-Hollywood humour that has become common in animated movies. Instead, the movie’s original story stands on its own.
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