Monday, January 16, 2006


Films Recently Watched:

Hoodwinked (2005) dir. by Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, Tony Leech
Sometime back in December we got a flyer from Anderson University indicating that we, as alumni, could get free tickets to a film called Hoodwinked created by some fellow alums, Cory and Todd Edwards, et. al. Interesting. I hadn't been particularly impressed with their previous film, Chillicothe, but this looked like it was in a completely different vein: An animated take on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. The voice talent they had was impressive: Glenn Close, Anne Hathaway, Jim Belushi, Patrick Warburton, Andy Dick. It said that it was appropriate for ages 3 and up, so we decided that we would all go. In the meantime, my long-time friend, Stacy called and said that they she and her family were planning to come too, so we decided that we should try to go together. So we did. I am happy to say that all of the kids in our group (including Stacy's 7-month-old) were very well behaved. This was only Hannah's second theatrical movie viewing.

The event was yesterday and I came out of it pleasantly surprised. The story-telling here is pretty tight. The basic concept is a Rashômon-like telling and re-telling of a story from the various perspectives of the characters involved. The way it all comes together is really quite clever and well done. There is no question that the animation is not up to par with what Pixar, DreamWorks, and Blue Sky are doing, but it serves the story well enough.

A couple of the songs (mostly written by Todd Edwards) were really good, too. I was especially fond of the song, "Red Is Blue," performed by Ben Folds. That sequence also features some of the best animation of the film, as well, in my opinion.

The Paramount Theater, Anderson, IndianaWe saw the picture at the beautiful Paramount Theatre in downtown Anderson, Indiana. Unfortunately, we had terrible audio during the movie. Though they indicated that they had done all they could to make the audio work in the room, I am certain that there were several gags that we missed due simply to the lousy audio. The DVD will be a "must-buy" for me when it releases.

Naked Red Riding Hood??Co-director, Cory Edwards

As you can see, they did see fit to cover all of the indecent sculpture in the theater with thematic apparel.

One cool thing about the event (besides the fact that it was completely FREE) was that several of the film-makers were there in person (including director, Cory Edwards - above, right) to introduce, meet & greet, sign autographs, etc. Christy and I were a couple of years behind the Edwards' clan at AU and though we didn't know them, we were familiar with their style of comedy from various skits at variety shows and their aspirations to create film. We are happy to see them achieving their dreams.

We did, however, run into several college friends while we were there. Several of them we hadn't seen in years and it was great to be able to catch up with them a little bit.

All I can say is, if you get a chance to see Hoodwinked, I highly recommend it. If you get a chance to see Hoodwinked for free, in a beautiful 75-year-old theater with several hundred of your closest friends, including the writers and directors, then absolutely don't miss it!!

Rashômon (1950) dir. by Akira Kurosawa

Daredevil (2003) dir. by Mark Steven Johnson
Worst -- Villains -- Ever

What? a dude named Bull's-Eye with the evil skill of throwing darts and similar sharp objects with generally amazing accuracy? With (what else?) a tattoo of a target on his forehead? Are you kidding me? This guy would better spend his time amazing his buddies playing yard-darts or something. Colin Farrell didn't do the character any favors either. What a pathetic hammy performance. Wow, just, Wow. And then John Coffey from The Green Mile? I thought he was supposed to be nice, let alone, dead! He tried to take it back, but it was too late. Yeah, well, I wish I could have my 133 minutes back, but it's too late for that, too!

Speaking of villains, Ben Affleck was not believable, for me, as a superhero. The film didn't seem to abide by it's own rules. OK -- Daredevil is blind but has his remaining senses miraculously enhanced. OK, but where does it indicate how he got his super strength? What about his apparent ability to defy gravity? I'm usually able to "suspend disbelief" for these types of movies, but this was a stretch for even me. And, for what it's worth, I did watch the supposedly improved Director's cut of the film.

Having said all that, the audio on this DVD is amazing. The DTS mix is immersive and aggressive. Perfect for the scenes that put you inside the head of a blind-crimefighting-vigilante!

Elektra (2005) dir. by Rob Bowman
Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. After being underwhelmed by Daredevil, I just had to.

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