DVD Tuesday: ‘Ratatouille’, ‘Fido’

by W. Andrew Powell

RatatouilleArriving this week on DVD: A rat helps a clumsy cleaner become one of Paris’ star chefs, the dead rise again to serve the living, Chuck and Larry tie the knot, the ninja turtles get animated, and Michael Moore lands in two films.

In the sewers of Paris, a rat named Remy dreams of great food when all his friends are content with garbage. Risking his life and sneaking into a restaurant after it closes, Remy tries his hand at cooking and discovers he’s an amazing chef but the only way he can reach his public is through a clumsy, young man named Linguini. Ratatouille is probably one of the most well-liked films of the year with glowing reviews from almost every major critic. It also further cements Pixar as one of the truly great animated studios of the last decade following their other smash hits, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, and Toy Story.

Take a classic zombie movie and mash it up with an old Lassie film and the result is what many have called a zombie buddy story that teams a young boy named Timmy, played by K’Sun Ray, with a zombie servant, played by Billy Connolly. Set in a technicolor suburb from a bygone day, we jump into this satirical story some years after a meteor shower has caused all of the dead to rise again. The remaining zombies are now servants under the control of the living, but of course there are still some problems from the undead hordes. All told, Fido is a genuinely funny, bloody, and yet touching story that crosses multiple wires for a really unique story. The film also stars Carrie-Anne Moss and Dylan Baker.

I Now Pronounce Chuck and Larry
For anyone looking for a dumb comedy this week, you only need to look as far as Adam Sandler and Kevin James‘ latest film. James plays Larry, a firefighter who discovers that the one way he can provide for his children after his wife died is to have Sandler’s character, a chronic ladies man, pretend to be his domestic partner. If the concept alone makes you cringe, this isn’t the film for you, but as dumb comedies go this one features some big cameos, including Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Richard Chamberlain, and David Spade. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times trashed the film, of course, saying that it was “sporadically funny, casually sexist, blithely racist and about as visually sophisticated as a parking-garage surveillance video.”

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles return to the big screen in an animated story that pits the turtles against the evil Foot Clan, living statues, and a bunch of monsters. Including the voices of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Patrick Stewart, Laurence Fishburne, and Kevin Smith, the film doesn’t look like much of a followup to the live-action film from the 90s. Peter Debruge of Variety was less than positive in his review, saying, “Ditching the cheeky, self-aware wink that helped to excuse the concept’s inherent corniness, the movie attempts to look polished and ‘cool,’ but the been-there animation can’t compete with the then-cutting-edge puppetry of the 1990 live-action movie.”

Sicko, Manufacturing Dissent
And lastly, two films out this week focus in on Michael Moore. First there is Moore’s own film, Sicko, which explores the issues of America’s current health-care system with a comic approach, and some firm assertions. On the other hand there’s the film Manufacturing Dissent, which takes a critical view of Moore’s documentary style of filmmaking and points out how Moore can be misleading using editing, and personal viewpoints.

Of the two, Sicko is the more well-received film with numerous positive reviews about the way Moore handles the topic, even if he doesn’t handle it as a true journalist or documentarian.

Also out this week: The Beatles leap into colour for the special edition release of Help!

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