The Reel Deal


Quick Takes on Three Films

Film Insight by Tyler Malone

May 2011


Reel Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Imagine if you crossed a Disney-Pixar movie like Up with the Disneyland attraction the Tiki Room. It’s not quite up to the Pixar gold standard–so comparing it to Up is my effort at being very charitable with my references–but Rio is an enjoyable picture. It may not be up to the quality of Up and may not even be quite as good as Rango, another non-Pixar animated film that came out a few weeks ago, but it is much better than most non-Pixar animated films. So long as you’re not expecting the next Up or Wall-E or Ratatouille, it’s hard not to enjoy this adventure below the equator.


Reel Rating: 2 out of 5

The original Scream was a fascinating film, and almost single-handedly revitalized a dying genre, mostly because it was a truly successful horror film on three fronts: it was scary, it was funny and it was clever. It really isn’t easy to sustain all three simultaneously because that involves allowing the audience to know what you’re doing so they’re in on the joke and understand how you’re playing with genre clichés, while also keeping them at a distance so that while they appreciate the cleverness, and laugh along, they are also genuinely scared and don’t know what will happen next, i.e. who will die next or who the killer is. Scre4m, the fourth installment in the franchise, just can’t seem to walk that fine line. Even though Scre4m may actually be the bloodiest and goriest of the Scream films, it is not scary in the slightest. Though it does provide a few laughs, and does skewer plenty horror genre clichés (perhaps even more than the previous installments), it just doesn’t really give the audience anything that would hold their interest. It is a little too clever, in a way that isn’t really clever at all. The Scream franchise instead of invigorating new life into old horror clichés has become overrun by its own ridiculous clichés–by trying to outdo itself on every front, including by being so meta that it even talks about being meta. This fourth installment becomes little more than a Scary Movie. Not a scary movie. It is a comedy spoof of itself.


Reel Rating: 3 out of 5

From the mid-70s to the mid-80s, there was an interesting group of artists/musicians/filmmakers/writers that emerged out of the rubble of lower Manhattan. At that time New York City was bankrupt, dangerous and…EXCITING. Blank City, Celine Danhier’s first documentary, focuses on the fascinating characters that populated the bombed-out artist mecca that was lower Manhattan. Some such fascinating characters are featured in the film’s interviews: Jim Jarmusch, John Waters, Steve Buscemi, Thurston Moore, Fab 5 Freddy, Debbie Harry, Amos Poe, Richard Kern, Lydia Lunch, Ann Magnuson, etc. Others, long dead, can only be talked about. But what emerges from these interviews and clips is a somewhat sentimental portrait, but no less captivating examination, of a period of time that if you’re at all interested in–as I definitely am–you won’t be able to help yourself from thoroughly enjoying Blank City.

Rio is a film directed by Carlos Saldanha and written by Carlos Saldanha, Earl Richey Jones, Todd Jones, Don Rhymer, Joshua Sternin, Jeffrey Ventimilia & Sam Harper. It stars Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway and George Lopez. When Blu, a domesticated macaw from small-town Minnesota, meets the fiercely independent Jewel, he takes off on an adventure to Rio de Janeiro with this bird of his dreams.

Scre4m is a film directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson. It stars Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette and Emma Roberts. Ten years have passed, and Sidney Prescott, who has put herself back together thanks in part to her writing, is visited by the Ghostface Killer.

Blank City is a film directed by Celine Danhier. During the punk rock stage in the late ’70s, downtown New York experienced a wave of “Do it yourself” independent filmmaking.

Written by Tyler Malone

Image Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Design by Jillian Mercado

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