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Thread: 3-D Holiday Fare: "Puss and Boots" plus "A very Harold and Kumar 3-D Christmas"

  1. #1
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    3-D Holiday Fare: "Puss and Boots" plus "A very Harold and Kumar 3-D Christmas"

    "Puss and Boots" directed byChris Miller

    Presented in a widescreen 2.35 to 1 panavision aspect ratio, this film is framed in a way that is perfect for this format, with characters appearing in far left or right shots, not pre-cut for TV. Startling to see in an animated feature, Miller took his experience from "Shrek 3" and crafted a very funny and nicely framed film that delivers its puns with all the panache one tends to expect from the latest savvy group of directors to emerge in Hollywood. It doesn't matter that the plot is someone corny (the hero must redeem himself - a rehash). What matters is the fun along the way, a theme that seems common in today's entertainment and which I also found in the second 3-D picture. The idea is to take the audience along on a roller coaster ride, because that is what most audiences expect, fill the screen with plenty of razzle-dazzle special effects and throw in some great punchlines.

    "Puss and Boots" starts out with a look back at puss's beginnings in a very humorous way and to the effect of endearing his character. Now we understand his thievery is a motivation to do good? While the validity of that could be debated, who could not like Antonio Bandaras and his very sexy voice. One can imagine the recording studio where the producers were licking their figurative lips over the seduction that pours from his elocution, a very bankable quanlity. The writing is fun, too, with plenty of puns thrown in for good humor. In a dramatic opening chase scene, Puss pursues a bandit who thwarts his theft of the magic beans at the film's start. When he challenges his nemesis to a dual, the other bandit points to the wall. Tuesday night is dance off night. Puss agrees to the conditions and the two go at it flamingo style. The line in the previews, "You are not doing the litter box at me!" is in reference to the contrast of their dual dance styles. Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws, a very sexy voice in her own right, plays Puss's romantic interest. And Zach Galifianakis plays Puss's backstabbing friend, Humpty Dumpty, who must redeem himself as well. The movie has a sumptuous feel in 3-D with rich desert settings and a castle sequence that definitely feels like an amusement park ride. The score by Henry Jackman (X-Men, first class) was riveting, bringing up the level of this holiday treat as one of the best animated features for this year.

    "A very Harold and Kumar 3-D Christmas" directed by Todd Strauss Schulson

    They're back with a vengence, that irreverent duo for whom no subject appears to be taboo, including the presentation of their penises this time, stuck to a cold metal pole ala "A Christmas Story" take-off. Every Christmas film is spoofed here, with the most side-splitting one for me being the "White Christmas" scene that I would not spoil for anyone. Suffice it to say that drugs and naked women are potent subjects for the two young men with a major scene-stealing sequence at the end by Neil Patrick Harris (jokingly called NPH) who brings down the curtain with, shall I say it, holiday gaiety on a grand scale.

    Kumar (Kal Penn) has grown apart from his friend Harold (John Cho) as the two men have gone their separate ways. Kumar's girlfriend shows up on Christmas Eve to announce she is pregnant. Kumar, high on grass, is not interested in what she has to say but is focused on the television show of "A Christmas Story." After she storms off, a package arrives but addressed to Harold. Meanwhile, Harold is living in the suburbs with a wife and a very up-scale large house, wearing the suit and tie along with the corporate image. Although his wife is a knockout, her family resembles a huge Hispanic clan of illegal aliens that have descended upon his house for Christmas. Harold tries to be gracious when his wife's father lays down the law on the use of a real Christmas tree. Harold promises to decorate the new tree while the family goes into the city. The fireworks begin when Harold shows up with the mysterious package that turns out to be a magical marijuana joint.

    Every kind of "thrown at you" 3-D trick is used in this film to exploit the hilarity of three dimensional viewing. The only problem is that most of these "comin at ya" tricks have been done to death. However, they do find a way to sneak some new ones in and it is in these moments of brilliance the film shines, perhaps makes up for the rest of the movies' short comings and why the critics forgave some of the cringe themes in the film, such as the coke baby (which will most certainly make some right winger cry foul).

    Kal Penn, who works in the White House, actually quit work last year to shoot the film, only to return this year and resume his post as Associate Director of White House Public Liason Office. Let us hope this movie does not affect his job. I found the humor very funny, but some may not. This is Todd Strauss Schulson's first film, which I thought he handled well, despite the rigid format he to which he had to adhere. He brings the film home to the fans of the series' duo with special homages to both film one and film two. This is one movie you must see in 3-D just to get all the jokes. Don't bring your critic's eye but your down-to-earth one and you'll enjoy the laughs.

    I liked both films in 3-D. They were shot for the format and work well. Recommended for fun holiday relief of the pent up funny bone.
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  2. #2
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    If you have read my reviews for a while you will know how much I dislike 3D; I also don't get all the pop movie references, but I am a Harold and Kumar fan so I will certainly see this new installment. If they are spoofing 3D itself I may like that. Will also look forward to Neil Patrick Harris. Animal animations aren't my thing at all, but i guess I'll have to drag myself to Puss in Boots.

  3. #3
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    Don't go there unless you want to laugh and be spoiled... here is the best trailer on the film.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rILHv...com%2Fsite.swf
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