Archives for posts with tag: Woody Harrelson

The constant challenge in animated cinema is creating a story that will appeal to parents (who control the wallet) as well as kids. “Free Birds” (2013) may have gone a little overboard in catering to mom and dad. Time-traveling turkeys try to save their ancestors from a Thanksgiving destiny. Multi-dimensional hijinks, humorous pop culture references (George Takei is the new HAL) and cutesy animation ensue. So far, so good. But the pilgrims (who are us, remember?) come off as a-holes, the turkeys become a metaphor for the Indians, and the amount of terroristic violence creates a subtext that’s uncomfortably dark.

In “Money Train” (1995), a heist gets derailed before it reaches its destination. So does the plot. It was actually a decent buddy/action flick until the director decided to just destroy a bunch of shit instead of having an actual ending. The movie catches several careers in transition. Wesley Snipes was beginning to cool down. Woody Harrelson was moving from TV to movie star. So was Jennifer Lopez, long before her recording career. Chris Cooper was still a character actor, eight years before his Oscar. And last but not least, Robert Blake was shifting from famous actor to famous psychopath.

Every good journalist knows when something is old news. “Shock and Awe,” the story of the good journalists who were skeptical about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, should get the Pulitzer Prize for irony. Not because the lonely crew of the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau was ultimately vindicated, but because it’s 2018, and every sane person has known for at least 10 years that the WMD excuse for invading Iraq was bullshit. Old news. And it’s not even that good a movie. There are a lot of speechifying moments that smell of made-for-TV fakeyness. Surprise! Rob Reiner directed and co-stars.