Gores Eats Film : TED

TED (MacFarlane) | ★★

Analysis of Ted may depend largely on one’s appreciation for Seth MacFarlane’s previous work. The humor in Ted doesn’t stray from that of Family Guy with its crudeness, obscure pop culture references, and occasional fantasy sequences. The difference here is that MacFarlane intends to inject a genuine emotional connection to his characters.

Unfortunately, this viewer hasn’t cared much for MacFarlane’s brand of humor, and Ted won’t change that. The film has a handful of laugh-out-loud moments, but the script is frustratingly hit or miss. The biggest miss, however, is not its comedy but its plot. MacFarlane strings the jokes together with a rote story that fails to captivate. Even an ill-advised, dark turn heading into the third act can’t hide its by-the-numbers thematic development.

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MOONRISE KINGDOM (Anderson) | ★★★½

Wes Anderson’s latest entry is a return to form and his best since 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums. Moonrise carries over the director’s occasionally-frustrating idiosyncratic style (perhaps best deemed Instagram Godard), but it never overwhelms the picture.

The story is a charming, funny depiction of young love, beautifully capturing the awkwardness and naiveté of adolescence. Most importantly, however, the film resonates on an emotional level—something Anderson’s last several works failed to do.

Technically speaking, Anderson is at the top of his game. The precise mise-en-scène and artful cinematography are lovingly crafted, producing numerous indelible sequences. Moonrise is easily among the highlights of the first half of 2012.

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