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.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on film production on central and north Vancouver Island, says Vancouver Island North Film Commission. Pictured here, production of TV series Resident Alien in Ladysmith earlier this year. (Black Press file)
Film commissioner says COVID-19 cost central Island $6 million in economic activity

Jurassic World: Dominion, Chesapeake Shores among productions halted due to pandemic, says INFilm

Chelsey Moore’s character Chloe in the upcoming virtual reality game Altdeus: Beyond Chronos. Screengrab
Vancouver Island actress finds success in a virtual world

Black Creek’s Chelsey Moore lends her voice to a new video game set for release in December

Ceramic artist Darrel Hancock working on a clay jug in his home studio in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach potter Darrel Hancock celebrates 40 years in business

‘It’s wonderful to do what you love and make a living at it’

Artist Daniel Cline discusses his sculpture, Harmony Humpbacks, during the June 20 walking tour of Oak Bay’s 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures. Harmony Humpbacks was purchased by Oak Bay as the 2019 people’s choice winner and is permanently installed at the Beach Drive entrance to Willows Park. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Next month Nanaimo musician Spencer Hiemstra releases his solo debut album, ‘Wildlife.’ (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo musician Spencer Hiemstra releases solo debut album

New record ‘Wildlife’ about taking chances and going through changes

Dover Bay Secondary School student Victoria Hathfield’s poem <em>Dear Santa</em> appears in<em> Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas is in the Air</em>. (Photo courtesy Darren Lee)
Nanaimo high schooler has first poem published in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’

Victoria Hathfield’s ‘Dear Santa’ appears in new Christmas-themed edition of anthology series

Nanaimo graphic designer Amy Pye has written and illustrated her first children’s book, <em>G is for Grizzly Bear: A Canadian Alphabet</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo graphic designer releases first children’s book

Amy Pye teaches the Canadian alphabet in ‘G is for Grizzly Bear’

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – including trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson and French horn player Karen Hough (from left) – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Symphony brass quintet’s Christmas concert series cancelled

Performances were to happen at venues in Parksville and Lantzville next month

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, near Shirley. (Contributed - Lee-Ann Ruttan)
New book shines a light on Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Publication examines history, lightkeepers, and volunteer society

Victoria-based guitarist Eric Harper performs at the Port Theatre on Nov. 27. (Photo credit Tatum Duryba)
Classical guitarist to play at the Port Theatre

Eric Harper to play new songs composed during the pandemic

A sample of some of Lou-ann Neel’s jewelry.
Lou-ann Neel wins the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art

Originally from Alert Bay, Neel’s family is steeped in renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artists

Most Read