Red riding hood
BY AMBER DODD
As i sit here trying to review this film, i have some difficulty finding the words. "Disappointing" comes to mind, as does "absurd," and phrases such as "waste of time" and "hot mess." But are any of these truly worthy of describing what may be the weakest excuse for a horror movie i've ever seen, one which i predict will find itself on dozens of Worst of 2011 lists despite its being released in March? Catherine Hardwicke, fallen so far from her Lords of Dogtown days, crashing through the roof of the Twilight franchise to land in this steaming pile, brings us the worst interpretation of this well known fable to date. Valerie, played by a vacant amanda seyfried, is a girl with no personality from an indeterminable time whose plywood set of a village is being stalked by a werewolf. Her fellow townsfolk are amazingly ignorant, ignoring the warnings quite literally shouted at them by one-note villain Father solomon (Gary oldman, who i can only assume lost some kind of bet) to their detriment. and the "heroes" of the tale, two pouting Pattinson-clones, inspire no more sympathy than Valerie herself. The thinly veiled mystery behind the wolf's true identity is lame, predictable, and so boring that by the time the film reaches its ludicrous "what big eyes you have..." scene (shared with Julie Christie, another whose participation here is kind of baffling), audiences should appreciate the comic relief. in the end, red riding Hood isn't about a werewolf, or a strong young woman standing up to her demons. it's about how it's okay to behave like a brainless, reckless twit, so long as you have two cute boys vying for your love who will always be around to rescue you. sound familiar? i really wish it didn't.
BY DAViD VICARI
I'd start off by saying that whoever cut the preview trailer to Paul should be shot. it's an awful trailer, giving the impression that the movie itself isn't going to be very funny. Happily, though, Paul actually is funny. it's exactly what you'd expect from the Shawn of the Dead stars/writers nick Frost and simon Pegg collaborating with superbad director Greg Mottola—a profane yet smart comedy with many laughout-loud moments.
Pegg and Frost play, respectively, Graeme Willy and Clive Gollings, two English science fiction nerds visiting the states to attend the convention of all conventions—Comic-Con. They also take a detour to check out the infamous area 51 in nevada. That is where they meet fugitive space alien Paul (voiced by seth rogen). Graeme and Clive reluctantly decide to help Paul escape from government agents (led by Jason Bateman) and rendezvous with his mother ship. along the way they pick up one-eyed Christian, ruth Buggs (Kristenis not the cuddly little guy from E.T.
Best of all, the movie is loaded with science fiction movie references from star Wars to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. now i generally get annoyed when a TV show or movie, i.e., "Family Guy" or shrek, throw out pop cultural references randomly in a desperate attempt to be hip. They work here because a) they are well thought out and b) the references are mainly confined to the genre that Paul is spoofing. a good gag is when our heroes walk into a red-neck bar and a band is playing a hillbilly version of the cantina theme from star Wars. i won't dare spoil any