Ernest & celestine
⋆⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rating: PG for some scary moments. Showing in both subtitled French and English dubbed versions.
The unlikely cross-species friendship of Celestine the mouse and Ernest the bear teaches a gentle lesson about irrational intolerance in this French animated charmer. Rendered in a delightfully wobbly, watercolor style, it gives us humanized creatures living in a two-level world. Bears live in provincial towns of cafes and bicyclists, gendarmes and cobbled streets. Mice populate elaborate subterranean cities.
The rodent, a tiny, plucky orphan, has been taught by her caretakers to fear the clawed, furry, hungry beasts above their underground world. She has an artistic, independent personality, however, and can’t believe that bears are as boorish as she’s been told. A trip to the surface introduces her to Ernest and after an initial period of misunderstanding they form an unconventional bond. The unlikely buddies are put on trial by each other’s peers for intermingling, and must ride out some tough challenges on their way to a tender relationship. Forest Whitaker and Mackenzie Foy play the title characters with support from Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman.
in the blood
⋆⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rating: R for strong violence and language.
Here’s a slick, edgy little action movie with a twist. When their Caribbean honeymoon turns into a nightmare, it’s the new bride who has to crack heads and save the day.
Mixed martial arts star Gina Carano (the lethal lead of Steven Soderbergh’s “Haywire”) takes matters into her own fists when her wealthy groom vanishes following a mishap on a remote jungle zip line. Was he kidnapped? Killed? Local police chief Luis Guzman and her father-in-law Treat Williams both see her as the likeliest suspect, given her rough background (the newlyweds met in a drug sobriety program).
The script is smarter than it has to be, weaving a web of island corruption that’s consistently surprising and moderately plausible, with rounded, juicy characters.
Carano is persuasive in her abundant fight scenes and acts a lot better than most pro athletes. Danny Trejo and Stephen Lang (“Avatar”) spice up the supporting cast. Director John Stockwell (“Turistas,” “Blue Crush”) knows how to make lush tropical settings emanate menace. While the stunt choreography isn’t A-list, it’s adequate for a solid B movie.