Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Blu-Ray Review (Kirk Haviland)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Blu-Ray

Starring Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Devon Bostick, Peyton List, Grayson Russell, Laine MacNeil, Rachael Harris and Steve Zahn

Written by Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky

Directed by David Bowers

Back for their third outing are Greg, Rowley, Fregley, Greg’s brother Rodrick and the rest of the family for Dairy of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. The new release from Fox Home Entertainment is aimed squarely at the teen and preteen set, focusing on physical humor and teaching a lesson or two. But is there enough in the film for the entire family?

School’s out and Greg (Gordon) is looking forward to enjoying the best summer of all time.  But when his dad (Zahn) decides that some father-son bonding is in order, directly opposing Greg’s plans for video games and hanging out with the girl of his dreams Holly (List), Greg must do everything he can to keep him from ruining his vacation.  So he hatches a plan to pretend he has a job at the ritzy country club that his best friend Rowley (Capron) takes him to. But Greg’s plans never go completely as planned and lead him further into trouble as he manages embarrassing mishaps at a public pool and a camping trip that goes horribly wrong. The hare brained schemes of his brother Rodrick (Bostick) aren’t helping his case to stay out of military school either.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 1

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days sadly forgets that anyone but 8-15 year-olds are in the room as the focus is squarely upon them at all times. The gags are goofy and unimaginative, the humor is mainly slapstick and born out of goofy situations and settings. The actors are in their third go around and for the most part can perform these roles with their eyes closed. Gordon actually has some charm in the role of Greg, but the actions of Greg in the film make his character very easy to dislike, and he is our supposed to be our sympathetic lead. His lack of realization of the consequences of his actions is the main message and story of the film, but it’s because of this that he becomes someone you stop rooting for halfway through. The character’s treatment of Rowley is particularly awful and their eventual reunion is very implausible.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2

The set pieces in the film also rarely seem to work as they are over-the-top and take you out of the story. A particular sequence involving a sweet sixteen party is particularly bad. Director Bowers seems to be a follower of the ‘bigger is better’ philosophy as he keeps adding more layers of goofiness in a failed attempt to add scale to the production. The entire camping sequence comes off very poorly and the extremely dangerous nature of the sequence is ignored almost completely in favor of the slapstick resolution the script and director call for.

The Blu-Ray does feature a solid amount of special features. Director Bowers does an audio commentary for the film and we also get a moderately funny gag reel. We also get a FX movie channel featurette and an additional featurette entitled Class Clown. Finally, we get the obligatory trailer package covering new attractions and the Dog Days trailer itself as well as the deleted scenes.

Diary of a wimpy kid: Dog Day

With other more entertaining and family friendly currently available, like the amazing ParaNorman and the fun and endearing Rise of the Guardians, there may be better options for your money. Hardcore fans of the series will be sure to enjoy this installment, but likely a lot less than its predecessors. But the film falls flat in its efforts to entertain the entire family as most parents will likely want to leave the room. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is a non-recommend.

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO

Make sure to keep up with what’s going on at Entertainment Maven by liking our Facebook page and having updates delivered right to your Facebook News Feed. It’s the only way to stay on top of all of our articles with the newest blockbusters and all the upcoming films, festivals and film related events in Toronto.

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ParaNorman DVD Review (Kirk Haviland)

ParaNorman DVD

Starring the voices of Cody Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin and John Goodman

Written by Chris Butler

Directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell

New this week on DVD and Blu-Ray from Alliance Films is the stop motion animated wonder, from the same studio that brought us Henry Selick’s Coraline, which scared up some decent box office this summer, ParaNorman. Directors Chris Butler and Sam Fell bring us the story of a boy with the gift to talk to the deceased and a mission to fulfill. So what does the DVD have in store for us?

Norman Babcock (Smit-McPhee) is an awkward child with an extraordinary gift, he can see and converse with ghosts. Norman regularly converses with his dead grandmother, much to the exasperation of his incredulous father (Garlin), mother (Mann) and his sister Courtney (Kendrick). An outcast at school, Norman is constantly tormented by Alvin (Mintz-Plasse) and his cronies, and is constantly made fun of over his gift. But when the anniversary of a heinous act in his town’s history approaches, Norman’s estranged Uncle Prenderghast (Goodman) tracks him down as Norman must take over his role in order to save the day. But when all hell breaks loose it’s up to Norman, his friend Neil (Albrizzi), Neil’s hulking brother Mitch (Affleck), Courtney and Alvin to save the day and put everything right.

ParaNorman is a film that actually works even better at home. It remains a smart film that doesn’t pander to the audience while never getting scary enough to truly frighten its target audience. The script is smart with the more adult targeted humor playing better on the small screen. The story does borrow from films like the Sixth Sense quite a bit, but the endearingness of Norman and his friends more than compensates for some of the more familiar story beats.  The animation style works extremely well and the stop-motion is fantastic. It does not try to be anywhere near photo-realistic thankfully and I found it very reminiscent of the old Rankin/Bass TV specials I grew up on and still watch around Christmas every year. Directors Butler and Fell keep the film tightly paced and on target as it clocks in at a satisfying 93 minutes. The actors performing the voice work all work well here, especially our leads Norman and Neil along with Norman’s perfectly casted parents. Kendrick’s work as Courtney is really solid here as well, as the nuances of her character play better on the small screen.

The DVD is packed with a ton of great features to check out as they really go deep behinds the scenes and into all aspects of the production. We get a feature length commentary track going into all aspects of the filming with Directors Butler and Fell along with some pre-visual animatic sequences used for the filming. At around 40 minutes in total, the multi segmented Behind the Scenes package “Peering through the Veil” is full of informative and fun facts. And if that weren’t enough there are 7 additional featurettes covering other aspects of the film. A great pack for adult and child alike.

Sure to be present under many a Christmas tree this year, if you can hold out that long, ParaNorman is a treat and delight for the entire family. Loaded with special features and featuring a brilliant crisp and clean digital transfer, the DVD really becomes a can’t lose package. Based on this, ParaNorman on DVD is a must buy DVD and will be a fun holiday watch for the whole family.

You can read my original ParaNorman review HERE

Also Noteworthy : Rise of the Guardians Review  and Wolf Children Review

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO

Make sure to keep up with what’s going on at Entertainment Maven by liking our Facebook page and having updates delivered right to your Facebook News Feed. It’s the only way to stay on top of all of our articles with the newest blockbusters and all the upcoming films, festivals and film related events in Toronto.

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Email me at moviejunkieto@gmail.com

The Movie Junkie’s 2012 Summer Movie Preview Part 2 (Kirk Haviland)

JULY

The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3rd)

So we are already getting a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, a move Sony has made to ensure that the web slinger’s movie rights don’t revert back to Marvel’s control. But I must admit, with every new trailer that hits the web I actually become more interested in seeing this.

Savages (July 6th)

Oliver Stone directing a film about 2 drug dealers on a Mickey and Mallory sized killing spree to get back their mutual girlfriend? Sign me up!

The Queen of Versailles (July 6th Limited)

The Hot Docs 2012 hit, and one of our own Dave Voigt’s faves of the fest, makes it to theaters in a limited run. Seek it out.

Ice Age: Continental Drift (July 13th)

Well at least Scrat is fun.

Ted

Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guy, makes his feature directorial debut with this comedy of a grown man and his living, breathing, smart-alec of teddy bear named Ted. Trailers look extremely funny as this could be the comedy of the summer.

The Imposter (July 13th Limited)

Another standout at Hot Docs this year gets a limited theatrical run. Most of my fellow critics had this one as the best of the fest, I unfortunately missed it. I’m looking forward to catching up with this one.

The Dark Knight Rises (July 20th)

THE film of the summer. Christopher Nolan brings in Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Tom Hardy to add to the already stellar returning cast from the last entry of the Dark Knight trilogy. I have faith in Nolan as he has yet to let me down in anything he has done.

The Watch (July 27th)

Formerly titled Neighborhood Watch, this film stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill as alien fighting Neighborhood Watch/Guardian Angels types. With these three as leads this could be a fun romp in the cinema in the midst of the sweltering July sun.

Klown aka Klovn: The Movie (July 27th Limited)

Klovn has been tearing up the festival scene for a while. This irreverent and ruthlessly politically incorrect Danish road trip film has left a swath of laughter behind it. Check it out if you can.

AUGUST

The Bourne Legacy (Aug 3rd)

Can Jeremy Renner make us forget about Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne? I’ll be there to find out, that’s for sure.

Total Recall (Aug 3rd)

Colin Farrell stars in this remake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger 80’s actioner where a man has his memory tampered with and does not know if he’s a spy or not – only that the answers lie on the planet Mars. With Brian Cranston and Kate Beckinsale in the cast I have high hopes, but Jessica Beil?

The Campaign (Aug 10th)

Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis as rival politicians in a race for a seat in the U.S. Congress? Well consider my vote as cast already.

The Expendables 2 (Aug 17th)

This time around Sylvester Stallone manages to round up more action stars from the 80’s and 90’s including Jean Claude Van Damme as the heavy, and perpetual good guy Chuck Norris. But where does Liam Hemsworth fit in?

ParaNorman (Aug 17th)

From the creators of the brilliant Coraline, that is all you should need to know.

Premium Rush (Aug 24th)

Joseph Gordon Levitt stars as a bike courier being chased by crooked cop Michael Shannon. In what appears to be a remake of the Kevin Bacon 80’s film Quicksilver, I’m relying on the excellent cast to uplift the material.

The Possession (Aug 31st)

Quite possibly the creepiest film of the summer will come right at the end of it with The Possession. In hoping for more Last Exorcism than the dreadful Devil Inside, The Possession could make you think twice about what you find at a garage sale.

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO

Make sure to keep up with what’s going on at Entertainment Maven by liking our Facebook page and having updates delivered right to your Facebook News Feed. It’s the only way to stay on top of all of our articles with the newest blockbusters and all the upcoming films and festivals in Toronto.

Follow me on twitter @moviejunkieto

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