140 Words: Hotel Transylvania

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Adam Sandler clearly knows how to keep it in the proverbial family. Hotel Transylvania is a movie with a cast list that reads like a who’s who of Sandler affiliated actors, so much so, it wouldn’t surprise me if this had been recorded in-between takes on the set of Grown Ups 2 . This is not a criticism; Grown Ups could have done with some of the wit, intelligence and fun found here. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, Hotel Transylvania is a 3D animation that puts a spin on the typical monster tale. Stuffed to the brim with gags, twists on age-old characters and a rather sweet father/daughter narrative, there is much to be admired, including clean, sharp, impressively detailed and action packed animation.

Entertaining throughout and full of a surprising amount of laughs. Sandler’s best title role since the underrated Funny People.

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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

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Steve!

Pixar Studios take the plaudits when it comes to modern day animation. The creators of such gems as Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo and Wall-E have managed to blend child-like innocence, storytelling and humour in a way that captivates kids and adults alike. However, if you were to ask me what my favourite animated feature film is of recent years, I would have to say Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Flint Lockwood is a misfit. He’d rather be inventing spray-on shoes or rat birds than playing outside with his friends. His father wants him to take over the family sardine business on their island (which is under the A in Atlantic), and finds it hard to accept Flint’s enthusiastic, scatty way of living life. When teenage Flint stumbles onto an invention that changes the mood and colour scheme on his tiny island, the meteorological outlook suddenly looks a lot more…meaty.

There are multiple occasions during this movie that will make you feel like a giddy child. The character design, colour palettes, script, plot, adventure, tone, action and humour are almost perfectly executed. There is even a Wilhelm Scream (you have heard, I promise), which is a film history joke for the geeks! Even though you may begin to feel like a kid again, this is almost certainly a film made for adults wrapped up in a kids movie package. There are multiple levels of humour to the jokes, self-referential nuances, and a tone that is easy to revisit again and again.

I’m proud to say, even as a 25 year old male, this movie is firmly cemented in my collection, that I have watched it at least 5 times and intend to watch another 5 and some. What a story, what a film; I wish burgers would fall from the sky. Thank you, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, for making me laugh and making me feel 5 again.

Celeste and Jesse Forever

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Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones as Celeste and Jesse

Directed by Lee Toland Krieger (The Vicious Kind), written and produced by the female lead, Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, and starring comedian and actor Andy Samberg, Celeste and Jesse is a refreshing and mature comedy that has more to offer than the some what juvenile title suggests. The film is about relationships and follows the story of the title characters’ marriage breakdown and the consequences that unfold as a result.

Released in 2012, this film really is a delightful surprise. The story is never boring, predictable or clichéd. The dialogue is fantastically written, genuinely funny and insightful and the performances by all the cast are subtle, heartfelt and moving. Samberg and Jones have a brilliant chemistry and the film doesn’t patronise with trite or sugary sentiments. Samberg alone is brilliant and gives us a glimpse at the potential he has as a dramatic actor.

Celeste and Jesse Forever is a pallet cleanser for the numerous sub-par and emotionally removed rom-coms, such as This Means War’s, that have all too frequently found commercial success. This film isn’t a typical, join the dots, romantic comedy, it has a sophistication and a respect for the audience that is unfortunately rare within the genre.