Capsule reviews

  • Updated: August 14, 2008 - 3:28 PM

Capsule reviews of 'Fly Me to the Moon,' 'Henry Poole' and 'Animation Show 4'

Fly Me to the Moon

★ 1/2 out of four stars.

Rated: G.

"Fly Me To the Moon" deserves a splattering swat. This cut-rate computer-generated imagery comedy is a stumbling step for animation, following three young houseflies who stow away on Apollo 11, fulfilling their grandfather's appetite for adventure. Ever-hungry Scooter, brainiac IQ, and heroic Nat sneak onto the moon flight while Soviet spy fly Yegor (voiced by Tim Curry) offers token attempts to sabotage the mission; we all remember what happened. So there's not much suspense in the proceedings.

Viewers who are old enough to eat without a bib are unlikely to find much of interest in the procession of puns and generic zero-gravity gags that fill out the film's running time.

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  • COLIN COVERT

Henry Poole is Here

★★ out of four stars.

Rated: PG for thematic elements and some language.

Heaven help us if we are so spiritually deprived that we need the simplistic explanation of faith contained in "Henry Poole Is Here." Burdened with the ephemerality of life, Henry Poole (Luke Wilson) buys a house in a quiet suburb hoping to disappear. When an effigy in the form of a face appears on his newly stuccoed wall, miracles start happening, and Henry's planned life of isolation and self-pity is turned upside down.

Both Wilson and director Mark Pellington are diving into new territory with "Henry Poole." Pellington ("Arlington Road," "The Mothman Prophecies") acknowledges that this is a personal film that reflects his struggle after his wife died four years ago. Wilson takes on the dramatic role with subdued seriousness, stretching himself to accommodate moments of melodrama with moderate success. The emotional impact, however, is largely subjugated by Pellington's willingness to cue the quasi-sentimental music.

"Henry Poole" works hard to convert us, even pulling out quotes from Noam Chomsky, but it feels a little too much like a bumper sticker. In the end, it is unclear whether Henry's life is turned around by divine intervention or simply by moving next door to a beautiful single woman, but I guess that depends on where your faith lies.

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  • KATHIE SMITH

The Animation Show 4

★★★ out of four stars.

Unrated, but includes sexual situations, strong language, violence.

Theater: Lagoon.

Mike Judge's annual compilation of independent animation gathers more than two dozen funny short subjects in a gallery of mind-blowing animation from tomorrow's top animators.

The subject matter extends from grumpy slapstick undertakers in the computer-generated story "This Way Up" to a vexed sex worker in Steve Dildarian's hilarious "Angry Unpaid Hooker."

"USAVITCH (Beware of Distraction)" features a family of fanciful bunny-like creatures taking a car trip on a cliff-edge highway, the family sedan steered by an extremely distracted driver. "Spaghetti Western" is a phantasmagorical, semi-disgusting cooking lesson involving Rubik's Cubes, Post-it notes, candy corn, dice and Pick-up Sticks. Bon appetit.

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  • COLIN COVERT
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