Monday Movies: Rio’s boisterous charms

Tropical musical Rio 2 offers eco-theme with style; Spider-Man 2 and Alan Arkin/Jon Hamm dramedy Million Dollar Arm soon to come

Although I had initially planned on reviewing Raid 2, having been a huge fan of the original for its breathtaking brutality and dazzling fight choreography, the ponderous follow-up left me cold. So I jumped genres and travelled halfway around the world from Indonesia to Brazil for a rather different sequel: Rio 2. Brighter and more colourful than a Tommy Bahama shirt, this popular animation series centres on a family of ultra-rare blue macaws. In the original, Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) was an insecure, domesticated bird who gradually earned the love of an independent-minded jungle macaw named Jewel (Anne Hathaway). The main obstacle to true love was a malevolent white cockatoo named Nigel (Jemaine Clement), who reveled in his own villainy with the hammy panache and plummy vowels of an over-reaching Shakespearean actor.

Happily, Nigel is back and thirsting for revenge, although he has to share screen time with a new villain, an unscrupulous mogul who is illegally strip-logging the Amazon rainforest. As luck – or, more properly, plot contrivance – would have it, these arboreal depredations are occurring in the same part of the rainforest where a large, previously unknown flock of blue macaws has just been discovered. And as Blu and Jewel and their three cute fledglings head north from Rio to discover their ancestral roots, they are destined to collide with the perfidious Nigel as well as a gang of murderous tree poachers. But not before the citified Blu has to confront his true nemesis: Jewel’s father, a tough old bird with no patience for Blu and his need to carry a GPS, electric toothbrush, and Tic Tacs in a fanny pack. Needless to say, lessons are learned on both sides as these noble birdbrains ultimately unite to save their wild home.

Although no one is going to mistake this for Finding Nemo, the boisterous Rio movies are notable for their fun characters and wacky sense of humour as much as the vivid set design and bold colours. Rio 2 is also a tropical musical, and a few of the many elaborate set pieces cheekily reference Carmen Miranda as well as the choreography of Busby Berkeley. The eco theme and Blu’s concerns about where he belongs in the world are handled age-appropriately for children (without being too gratingly heavy-handed for their parents). In other words, this jungle rocks!

RIO 2 ★★★

Stars Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway

Directed by Carlos Saldanha

PERFECTLY POTABLE:

Primal Roots is an up and coming “red blend” from California. Very much a younger brother of the crowd-pleasing Apothic, Primal is a lush, flavour-forward combination of Merlot, Syrah, and Zinfandel.

Definitely on the sweet side, Primal ingratiates itself with your palate thanks to strong notes of black cherry, black raspberry, mocha, and spice that lead towards a long, sensuous finish.

Hedonists will love this one – especially since it is on sale for $14 (down from $16) at select LDB stores till May 3.

COMING SOON:

The Other Woman

When a woman finds out her husband has been cheating on her with two others, the three betrayed babes – Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton – join forces to metaphorically kick him where it hurts. Repeatedly and inventively. This raucous comedy is directed by Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, My Sister’s Keeper).

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The reboot of this high-flying series was a delight, and this sequel has some incredible villains played by the likes of Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti, and Dane DeHaan.

Devil’s Knot

The latest from Victoria-raised director Atom Egoyan is a true-life look at the witch hunt that erupted in an Arkansas town when three eight-year-old boys were brutally murdered and three “goth” teenagers were soon on trial as Satanists. With Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon.

Million Dollar Arm

Jon Hamm (Mad Men) stars in a true story about a fading sports agent who travels to India to search for young cricket players with pitching arms good enough to get them a contract in major league baseball back in the States. This genial comedy-drama co-stars Alan Arkin and Bill Paxton.

 

 

Just Posted

Thousands attend 31st TD Art Gallery Paint-In

Artists display their work along 20 blocks of Moss Street

Power the music: the Victoria Bike Music Fest returns

Audience members on stationary bikes will energize speakers as musicians play

Rat Pack back in Sidney

Tribute group re-ignites the magic of a Vegas gone by

SYMPHONY SPLASH: Movie music keeps things fun at Splash

Victoria Symphony event is far more than just a classical music concert

Iconic Langham Court keeps community involved in theatre

Rockland-based company continues building legacy after nine decades

Big-time racing on tap in Langford this month

Western Speedway the place to be for a roaring good time in summer

Black Press videographer to direct full-length feature, wins Telefilm grant worth $125,000

Arnold Lim to expand story of All-In Madonna with writer Susie Winters, producer Ana de Lara

Saanich Fair: An idea is born

The attaining of a 150th year anniversary is a notable event in… Continue reading

B.C. singer up against Shania Twain for Canadian country music award

Madeline Merlo and Shania Twain are two of five nominees for female artist of the year.

Reviews are in for B.C.-shot ‘Skyscraper’ action movie

City’s film liaison recalls four days of filming at city hall last fall, with Dwayne Johnson on set

Nicolas Cage films in B.C. town

Hollywood actor filming A Score to Settle in North Okanagan

Five fun things to do this weekend

From a paint in to festivals, there are lots of fun events taking place this weekend

Canadian actress Sandra Oh makes Emmys history with ‘Killing Eve’ nomination

Oh made history as the first Asian woman to be nominated for an Emmy Award for lead actress in a drama series.

Most Read