Charlize Theron in "Young Adult"

Theron -beyond her attractive looks- is a great actress. You don't believe me? check out her crazy as fuck performance acting out serial killer Aileen Wuronis' devilish insides in 2003's Monster or her more tamer -but nonetheless revelatory- performance in 2005's North Country. Like it or not she's a real treat to watch when she actually accepts a challenge, such as in her latest picture Jason Reitman's Young Adult, which I must say is really not that interesting a picture safe for Theron and her co star Patton Oswalt's likeably ballsy performances. My eyes were all over Theron as her gestures and facial expressions did wonders on a not-so good screenplay by the overrated Diablo Cody. The Academy Awards stupidly neglected her in the Best Actress category, yet another reason to diss the Oscars.

Weak animation

It's kind of hard to make great animation. You got to not only craft some handsome looking stuff but you also have to put some heart into the story and have us -the audience- suspend our disbelief while watching what is essentially drawn out characters. However I have stated over and over again the pat few years that we live currently in the golden age of animation. Classic after classic gets released on a yearly basis. Astonishing art that will surely last a life time. Lately we've however been in a rut. 2011 was the first year in which I couldn't even find one animated film that I thought was exceptional. Many found lot to like in Rango, a tripped out ode to spaghetti-westerns with a main character in the form of a chameleon-cowboy voiced by Johnny Depp. Got that? many did, I didn't. Rango was -in these eyes- too self involved to work out on screen yet it was one of three animated films that got a "best animated film" nom for the Oscars. Pixar also struck out for the first time in their short 16 year history with Cars 2, a devastatingly dull sequel to a good, solid 2006 treat.

The other nominees? Kung Fu Panda 2? A follow-up to a decent 2008 movie that wasn't necessarily deserving to get made into a sequel. Puss In Boots? A movie based on a character introduced in the Shrek series? mixed reviews greeted it and I didn't even bother to watch it based on .. well just based on the fact that there was much more promising stuff to watch. Rounding out the nominees is Chico and Rita + A Cat In Paris, the academy's justifiable attempt to support hand drawn animation but these two films aren't the ones to rally behind a practically lost art form. Tin Tin -reviewed HERE- justifiably failed to get a nomination and proved once again that animated quality was quasi dead in 2011. Further proof had the prestigious New York Film Critic Circle erase the Best Animated Film category from their ballot based on a weak playing field.

However, ending on a positive here's the truly great movies in animation of the past 15 years of cinema. Most of these are ground breakers that have evolved over time into true classics.

1) Spirited Away
2)Wall E
3) Ratatouille
4) Les Triplettes De Belleville
5) The Fantastic Mr. Fox
6) Up
7) Waking Life
8) The Incredibles
9) Finding Nemo
10) Toy Story 2
11) South Park
12) Toy Story 3
13) The Iron Giant
14) Chicken Run
15) Shrek


I don't think a movie like Haywire is meant to stay in your head when the lights come up and the credits roll, after all its plot is necessarily what I call a well thought out one. Director Steven Soderbergh knows that, his cast knows that and I sure as hell hope his audience knows that. Listen, you won't find a single plot-related coherence in this cross-cutting, globe trotting, spectacularly stylish CIA agent gone-rogue movie. Gina Carano, an actual mixed martial arts fighter, is perfectly cast in the role of the said agent. Which is why the action scenes are so briskly paced and furiously lewd and -yes- even realistically made. It's quite clear Carano did her own stunts. Soderbergh knows he's got one hell of a fireball fighter here and he takes advantage of her talents every step of the way. Carano is so fiercely intense that she will likely get another chance in another movie very soon, it's a star making performance which leaves an impeccable impression on the viewer when the movie is done. The same can't always be said about the movie, its plot is so over-cooked and confusing that one might wonder why it had to be done this way. The screenplay by Len Dobbs tries too hard to stuff in plot twists and plot points, I felt suffocated by film's end. Dobbs might learn a thing or two next time with his infusion of filler that almost ends up being killer to the film's momentum. Too bad, because some scenes really stuck in my head and Sodebergh's direction is as assured as his last effort Contagion. Try to turn away when Carano's character goes through a chase scene jumping from one roof top to the other, it's a chase that lasts close to 20 minutes and shows the potential Haywire truly had before it melted away in a speck of dust.