Film Review

‘Knight And Day’ And ‘Toy Story 3’

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On The Aisle

By Tony Macklin


“Knight and Day” is a hoot. It’s a doozy. It’s Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote teamed up. By the end, Wile E. has become wily Wonder Woman.

If you think Road Runner cartoons are silly, you probably won’t like “Knight and Day.” If you think the snap, crackle and pop of Rice Krispies aren’t tasty, you may not like ‘Knight and Day.’

But if you like exhilarating, escapist nonsense with personality, “Knight and Day” is for you.

Set in Massachusetts, Spain, Austria and other environs, it’s Planes, Trains and Motorcycles on steroids. “Knight and Day” has an Acme of armament and a billion bodies. But there are only a few drops of blood spilled.

“Knight and Day” is the tripwire tale of Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) and June Havens (Cameron Diaz) who meet at an airport in Wichita, when Roy “accidentally” bumps into June. Twice. It quickly becomes, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

June is going to her sister’s wedding, and he is flying somewhere. They wind up on the same plane, mostly empty except for a few scattered passengers.

Those passengers are government agents assigned to kill Roy, whom they think is an agent gone rogue. Roy supposedly is in possession of a valuable, secret product. Hitch’s “Notorious,” anyone?

In a heady sequence, while June is in the plane’s restroom preening herself for a possible romantic interlude with Roy, he is committing mayhem in the cabin outside. It’s a buoyant juxtaposition that should bring a smile to your face. The entire movie is a chuckle.

Then June also becomes a target, so Roy makes yeoman efforts to protect her. Slowly she evolves into an able sidekick, as the duo battles never-ending assaults.

Cruise is at his starry best as the manic Roy. “Knight and Day” is Cruise’s wild ride. Along for the amusement park antics is a sprightly Diaz. As spunky June, Diaz adeptly mixes anxiety and engaging spirit. Fortunately, the two stars collide with infectious chemistry.

Peter Sarsgaard is the agent pursuing Roy and June with a battalion of disposable toy soldiers. Also in pursuit are the minions of Spanish arms dealer Antonio (Jordi Molla). Paul Dano is winning as an eccentric, very vulnerable tech wiz.

The screenplay by Patrick O’Neill is a ludicrous funfest with some charm and an occasional dollop of wit.

Druggings abound. June complains, “You drugged me, Roy,” and he responds, “You weren’t coping well.”

James Mangold keeps the movie bristling with amusing energy, helped by deft editing that cuts scenes short to keep the action in motion.

Mangold, who directed “3:10 to Yuma” and “Walk the Line,” knows that “Knight and Day” has none of their realism. He’s off on an outrageous feat of fantasy. As such, “Knight and Day” delivers.

One’s reaction to lots of his scenes is, “That’s ridiculous.” Quickly followed by, “Wow!”

Mangold’s use of CGI adds to the animation effect. “Knight and Day” has a buffed body of action. And it has the scintillating soul of a cartoon.

‘Toy Story 3’

“Toy Story 3” is a Mr. Potato Heady assemblage of nostalgia, excitement and danger. It flies in all directions, but Woody keeps it pleasurably intact.

Seventeen-year-old Andy is heading for college, and he has to put away childish things. Except for Woody, whom Andy’s taking with him, Andy is sending his other toys to the attic.

But because of a mistake, the other toys are sent to Sunnyside Daycare, where they are abandoned and victimized. Woody has to save them. The intrepid toy leader leaps into action.

With “Toy Story 3,” Pixar Animation Studios still has its flair and passion. Director Lee Unkrich is inventive.

The screenplay by Michael Arndt, et al., is clever, especially putting Ken and Barbie through preening paces, and Buzz Lightyear through Hispanic shtik. It even takes an occasional shot like at Buzz’s Academy.

The familar characters again are admirably served by voices full of personality and verve.

Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz), Don Rickles (Mr. Potato Head) and Joan Cusack (Jessie) lead a harmonious cast.

“Toy Story 3” perhaps is the most scary popular animated movie yet. A fire in it is as scary as the fire in “Bambi.” But mostly “Toy Story 3” is enthralling entertainment. It’s fire and Lightfoot.

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