How to Train Your Dragon [Blu Ray]: a teenage viking wants to follow in the dragon-slaying tradition of his tribe, but comes up with an unorthodox plan when he doesn’t have the heart to kill one. As the story plays out it’s clearly well-written, with lots of details and nice touches – the father/Son angle in particular is very well-played, and the swash-buckling finale delivers more than your standard Statham flick. The voice cast is amazing, star-studded and everyone’s distinct – despite every Viking speaking in a ‘krrrayy-zzeee’ Scottish accent – annoyingly the whiny voice of main character is one of the weaker performances. The BD picture detail is jaw-dropping: barnacles, hair, fur, water will drop your jaw, and the colours are extremely vivid and vibrant – sound wise, everything from explosions to ambience punches through – no questions, it’s a must-own Blu Ray. You’d like to think that a film as solid as this would have been a warning shot at Pixar, but being followed by Megamind and a bunch of sequels/spin-offs it feels like more of a fluke – which is disappointing, as it showed progress for DreamWorks Animation. Pitching to both children and adults How to Train Your Dragon makes for a great kids film, but will also entertain the big kids!
Goon: a bar bouncer joins a misfit Ice Hockey team as their tactical muscle (a goon) and helps them struggle through the play-offs. Humour is about the only thing that carries this film; it’s crammed with classic jock/locker-room insults. Sean William Scott somewhat over cooks the stupid angle, making Doug the Thug look a bit more Forrest the Gump at times. The ragtag team are a great bunch of characters though – the juvenile eastern Europeans and Richard Clarkin as the divorcee in particular are great to watch. The insult-centric jokes won’t be for everyone, but with ‘Superbad’ and ‘Pineapple Express’ plastered over the poster/trailer you should know what to expect – a swear x-rated comedy. Full of sports movie underdog clichés and sports-comedy clichés (like the inappropriate announcer) it adds absolutely nothing new to the genre, and when you think about it, nobody – not the director, not the fans, not even the cinema audience – even cares if the Highlanders win the cup at the end, it’s all about the brawling! Like Win Win it’s an indie-feeling sports flick centered around a normal guy; but this focuses more on the humour than developing a decent story. Baseketball, on ice, on drugs. Goon is funny beyond expectations if you like these sort of films, and enjoyable to watch, even if it’s a predictable sports story.
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist: 3 gay guys try to set up the ultimate band-nerd guy with the ultimate Indie Cindy, for double the awkwardness. Michael Cera plays himself again but to balance it up there’s loads of shots of Kat Denning‘s extraordinary, super-sized, super-bouncy, jiggly-and-beatuiful… lips. The first hour has a drunken side-story that Ke$ha seems to have based her career on, although it’s got the most rancid (toilet) gross out I can remember. Samberg & Burrell get blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos. The film only just loses out to (500) Days of Summer on the quirk score leader board, no mean feat! There’s some good running gags (chewing gum/Taxi) and a few good scenes; the romantic moment where the camera follows the mic leads through to the studio is great. It’s enjoyable but totally vapid and inoffensive with a predictably boring N.Y. based indie/art rock soundtrack.