No matter, we're back and ready to go so here's a few brief movie reviews:
GUNNER PALACE (Dirs. Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker)
A.O. Scott of the New York Times says "not a movie anyone should miss.” Well, I think a lot of people would do just fine missing this flick. Don't get me wrong this is fascinating stuff at first approach. U.S. soldiers take over a bombed out pleasure palace formerly owned by Uday Hussein in Iraq, and they party while carrying on their service from those headquarters.
Filmed on video in 2003, this is a rough and poorly constructed documentary. The hushed tones of the director’s voice-over, and the loose thread narrative does little to engage the viewer. A shame really, because in all the rubble that litters the streets of Baghdad and in all of the footage taken of the 2/3 Field Artillery lies a much better film than this.
ROBOTS (Dirs. Chris Wedge & Carlos Sardanha)
A slick but disjointed PIXAR competitor from Twentieth Century Fox's Blue Sky Studios, the crew that brought you ICE AGE. Some laughs in this noisy animated effort, but they are few and far between with Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel’s trademark sentimentality sabotaging the mechanics at nearly every step.
The death-to-death plot mechanics concern Ewan McGregor as Rodney the Robot, an idealistic inventor who tries to stop the evil corporate doings of Phineas T. Ratchet (Greg Kinnear), who heads Bigweld Industries in Robot City.
The voices of McGregor, Robin Williams, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Paul Giamatti, and bit-part roles by Jay Leno and Al Rooker are warm and welcome presences (well, except for Leno) help make the time pass by, but the fart jokes, lame pop-culture references and weak one-liners makes me want to see THE INCREDIBLES again to appreciate how this sort of enterprise is much better done.