Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality. 110 minutes. Three stars out of four.
The movie is called “Wanted” and the star is Angelina Jolie. No, it is not a documentary.
It is, in fact, a super-stylized, wildly outlandish action flick that will pick you up, throw you around, drop you back down on the ground and leave you begging for more.
It’s the ideal, mindless summer thrill ride — one you can never take too seriously, even when it starts to take itself too seriously.
Based on the graphic novels by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones, “Wanted” follows the unlikely transformation of Wesley Gibson (the increasingly versatile James McAvoy) from miserable cubicle dweller to master assassin. When we first meet him, he’s being berated yet again by his obnoxious hag of a boss; if you know anything about anything, you know that in a fantasy world like this, she will surely get hers in the end.
Jolie, as the appropriately named Fox, yanks Wesley from his dreary life and introduces him to The Fraternity, a secret society of freakishly skilled, highly trained killers — of whom his recently murdered father, the man he never knew, was the best of the best. They’ve been around for 1,000 years and, as their cover, they work in a textile mill. Because no one would ever suspect that.
Sure, you’ve seen plenty of this type of amped-up nonsense before — in the “Matrix” series, or in last summer’s ultraviolent “Shoot ‘Em Up.”
That doesn’t make “Wanted” any less enjoyable.
Just sit down, shut up and hold on.
Rated G. Running time: 97 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.
Within the rumbling, stumbling hunk of junk that is WALL-E beats the sweetest, warmest heart — a robotic representation of humanity’s highest potential.
Following high-concept movies about a superhero family, talking cars and a gourmet rat, this is the Disney computer animation arm’s boldest experiment yet. “WALL-E” is essentially a silent film in which the two main characters, a mismatched pair of robots, communicate through bleeps and blips and maybe three words between them.
The smudged, dented metal that makes up WALL-E’s frame looks so realistic, you could reach out and touch it; at the same time, his big eyes often appear so vulnerable and pleading, you can’t help but feel a connection with him.
Seven hundred years after Earth was abandoned, leaving the planet looking like a post-apocalyptic Tomorrowland, WALL-E (or Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) is still doing the job he was programmed to do: pick up all the trash he sees around him and compress it into tidy packages.
He’s an odd, lovely combination: He carries himself like a little old man, but has the innocence and wonderment of a child. It’s only upon the arrival of the sleek, shiny Eve, a robot sent back to the planet on a search mission, that he realizes how lonely he’s been. That she’s everything he’s not — new, quick, high-tech, efficient — is only part of the allure.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the universe, the remaining humans are lolling about in a giant flying cruise ship. Thanks to the big, evil corporation that runs the place (and ruined Earth), every convenience is available at their chubby fingertips.
So maybe it’s more than a little hypocritical for a movie that’s being distributed by a worldwide entertainment conglomerate to condemn needless spending on food, toys, stuff, you name it. You could busy your brain which such complex thoughts. You’re more likely, though, to walk out of the theater with the rare joy of knowing that you’ve just witnessed something that touched your heart.