1. Happy Bastille Day.
2. WALL*E is (in my son’s words) “as good as Wanted was bad.” I liked the sparing touch with exposition, the soaring visuals, the courageous decency of most of the characters (and the plausible self-interest of the villains). Then there were the sneaky references: “The Blue Danube” and “Also Sprach Zarathustra” appear in the soundtrack at appropriate moments; WALL*E’s pseudo-relationship with the dormant Eve is Pygmalion-in-a-garbage-dump; the movie’s credits cunningly recapitulate the history of human art. But all those are just decorations: the story works, the characters are as dynamic as one can expect from a cartoon, the animation is beautiful. WALL*E is another one of those classics from Pixar which justify the existence of animated movies.
3. Hellboy II: The Golden Army: Eh. Wonderful integration of CGI with non-CGI, and wonderful visuals in general, not just on technical grounds. Some decent humor (although, as Nathan Long notes, a little too much straining for it). Some really good fighting scenes, particularly with the evil (but not unsympathetic) elvish prince. (I kept wishing that this were a movie about Moorcock’s Elric: del Toro has the horror/fantasy chops to pull off a screen adaptation of the White Wolf.) But my biggest problem was the plodding plot. It was perfectly self-evident from around minute 15 exactly how the antagonist would be defeated and by whom. The rest of the movie is a series of more or less sparkly beads strung on this all-too-straight thread.
There were some genuinely magical moments, as with the burst of glorious green life which followed the death of the plant “elemental.” It suggested a level of meaning which nobody talked about directly. That was cool.
Worth seeing in the theater for the spectacle. Did not leave me wishing for Hellboy III: Blood from a Stone, or whatever it’ll be called.