‘WTF’ and ‘Zootopia’

By on March 9, 2016

A dichotomy of comedies, Part 2

I caught an interview with “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” star Tina Fey last week, otherwise I would have had no idea the movie was opening this past weekend. So, I went and saw the film based on the novel “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan” by Kim Barker.

Fey plays, Kim Baker in this loosely biographical tale of a journalist who dives into the role of a foreign correspondent. Baker — who I assume is really the author Barker — leaves the lackluster roll of copy writer for a war-torn world, trading a seat at a desk for one in a Humvee. In Afghanistan, she befriends fellow journalist Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie) and photographer Iain MacKelpie (Martin Freeman). She is escorted in and out of danger by Fahim Ahmadzai (Christopher Abbott) and wins the respect of Gen. Hollanek (Billy Bob Thornton).

First off, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is billed as a comedy, and it’s not. Yes, there are some funny parts, but this movie is more of a drama/documentary. I expected to see a Tina Fey-heavy dose of nonstop laughter, what I saw was an inspiring, dramatic performance from a comedic actress. “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is a glimpse into the lives of foreign correspondents, people we don’t really think of on a regular basis. They give us news and we don’t often imagine what the rest of their day or night might be like.

Plot wise, there are a lot of holes and loose ends in this movie. No offense to the directing duo of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (“Focus”), but I have to wonder what this movie would look like in other hands. This movie could have gone two distinct ways — toward an Oscar-buzzworthy message on the unseen casualties of war or to a cacophonous glimpse into the often hilarious world of relationships and stress. “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” tries to do both, but succeeds at neither. It will soon be a forgotten movie.

Tina Fey in “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” now in theaters.

Tina Fey in “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” now in theaters.

Zootopia’ … or not

So, I thought I could send out a reconnaissance team to see “Zootopia” while I was catching “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” …not happening! Evidently folks were ready for the next animated flick from Disney, and “Zootopia” sold out. So, my wife and kids didn’t get a ticket. Bummer.

“Zootopia,” starring Ginnifer Goodwin, (who plays Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard in the TV series “Once Upon a Time”) as Judy Hopps and Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde, set Disney’s opening weekend record by bringing in over $73 million.

Since I’m one of the few people who didn’t see “Zootopia” this weekend, let me tell you about a little film I caught at the North Museum of Nature and Science on Saturday. If you haven’t been to the little museum with big aspirations in a while things surely have changed. The old plaster planetarium is gone and has been replaced with a state of the art SciDome. The SciDome allows the museum to project a wide array of options, not just twinkling “stars.”

I took the family to see “Secret of the Cardboard Rocket,” a family friendly flick great for youngsters. It’s a bit cheesy, but wonderful in the eyes of a kindergartener. The story follows two young explorers who magically travel through the solar system using their rocket, which they made from a refrigerator box. With the help of Book, a talking astronomy tome, the travelers visit the Sun and planets. The 40-minute feature is filled with fun facts.

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *