The Lego Batman Movie

Will Arnett as Lego Batman is as fun as ever, but it’s only fun for about 30 minutes.

Lego Batman Poster“The Lego Batman Movie” went from “Everything is Awesome” to “Aren’t I Awesome?” The idea that “if you can’t be yourself, be Batman” works great in a meme, but it only sustains about 30 minutes of inanity in this film. The movie’s one punch line is, “I’m Batman.” Now watch me try on a mariachi themed bat suit, or admire my Bat Kayak and Shark Repellent.

A premise like that isn’t hard to love. “The Lego Batman” movie has all the irreverent, screwball humor of the original “Lego Movie” and the same remarkable attention to detail. The animation is breathtaking, the pop culture references span generations, and the product placement is charmingly, aggressively in your face.

Director Chris McKay’s film opens with a madcap action sequence in which The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) is plotting to destroy Gotham, igniting a bomb that will destroy the table their world is built on and send everything into the unknown below (yes, this film isn’t afraid to break the fourth wall either). But then who arrives on the scene but Batman (Will Arnett)? Yay! He was disguised as the mayor the whole time! He takes care of his abs and always pays his taxes! Watch out for those laser guns (pew pew)! Batman foils Joker’s plan, but he won’t admit that the Joker is his greatest villain, or that he needs him in his life. Aww, poor Joker. Let’s put a smile on that face! Continue reading “The Lego Batman Movie”

The Secret World of Arrietty

The Studio Ghibli film “The Secret World of Arrietty” isn’t as strong as Hayao Miyazaki’s movies, but it’s colorful and inventive all the same.

A lot of American children’s films are all about friendship and being yourself. The movies hold your hand and soothe your kids with familiar voices and hypnotizing madcap action.

Only Japan’s Studio Ghibli tosses kids into the dangerous world and exposes them to a lonely, often painful existence before showing them the magic within. “The Secret World of Arrietty” is a touching, but tough children’s film about survival, self-sufficiency and looking the fear of the world right in the face.

After beloved masterpieces like “Grave of the Fireflies” and at least a dozen great ones over the last few years by Hayao Miyazaki, Disney has swept up the distribution of the studio’s output and redubbed their films with American actors so that even obscure animes like “The Secret World of Arrietty” can be seen widely. Continue reading “The Secret World of Arrietty”