Loading...

Rango 

Thursday, Mar 3 2011
Comments

RANGO A rollicking, surreal and existential kids' Western that worships at the altars of Sergio Leone, Hunter S. Thompson and Chinatown, Rango drowns under the weight of discordant objectives and influences. With his crooked neck, bug eyes and Hawaiian shirt, reptilian Rango (boisterously voiced by Johnny Depp) is a Ralph Steadman creation come to anxious anthropomorphic life. A lizard with delusions of dramatist grandeur, Rango is unceremoniously stranded in a simmering Nevada desert, eventually stumbling upon the drought-plagued frontier town of Dirt. Assuming the part of a lifetime, Rango feigns gunslinger grit and nabs himself the job of sheriff tasked with returning water to the thirsty citizenry — a heroic mission that director Gore Verbinski and Industrial Light & Magic (both working on their first fully animated features) visualize with inventive photorealistic cartoonishness. Rango's ultimate quest is a search for the self, which his saga suggests — via myriad Thompson references and meta-cinema twists, including run-ins with Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo, as well as the Man With No Name — is achievable through role-playing fiction. Yet for all its genre-bending cleverness and technical dexterity, Rango's overstuffed plot fails to consistently blend its brainy pretensions with its chase-and-slapstick family-film obligations. Like Dirt's water supply, laughs are scarce. (Nick Schager) (Citywide)

Related Stories

  • Tax Nightmare

    A new analysis of state taxes across America concludes that California is "the second worst state to be a taxpayer," says the personal finance site WalletHub. We were beat out only by New York. See also: California Ranks Almost Last in Business-Friendly Taxes WalletHub's analysis shows that our annual state and...
  • 5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week, Including Christopher Columbus' Shipwreck

    Discovery of America narratives get a redesign in Echo Park this week, and a video artist known for giving Wonder Woman her due screens work in Chinatown.  5. Same problem, different space At one point in his 2001 film Habit, artist Gregg Bordowitz sits in bed with a friend wearing a purple...
  • News of Porn Industry's Move to Vegas is Flat-Out Wrong

    News of the porn industry's flight to Las Vegas is premature, to say the least. The evidence is scant. Porn's not actually legal in Vegas. And the one production facility at the center of the false headlines ("Porn production moves to Las Vegas after California condom law"), Mission Control Studio, has...
  • The Best Acts at Coachella Weren't Even on the Bill

    Nate Jackson GZA destroying bros with his lyrics at the Heineken House Special guests at Coachella are commonplace at this point. It's just something you expect when you set foot on the Polo Fields. But on Saturday night things went to another level; it was a fantastic evening due to...
  • Our Water Obsession

    "Either you bring the water to L.A. or you bring L.A. to the water." - Chinatown Countless documentaries are released into theaters every year, the majority of which are info dumps that take the talking-head structure as a given. There's rarely much thought given to form, which is sometimes fine - not every...

Related Content

Now Showing

  1. Wed 16
  2. Thu 17
  3. Fri 18
  4. Sat 19
  5. Sun 20
  6. Mon 21
  7. Tue 22

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!

Slideshows

  • Nicolas Cage's 10 Best Movie Roles
    As video-on-demand continues to become the preferred route of distribution for a certain kind of independent film, much is being made of Nicolas Cage's willingness to slum for a paycheck, with recent examples including already-forgotten, small-screen-friendly items like Seeking Justice, Trespass, Stolen, and The Frozen Ground. (His character names in these projects -- Will Gerard, Kyle Miller, Will Montgomery, and Jack Halcombe -- are as interchangeable as the titles of the films.) Aside from citing the obvious appeal of doing work for money (a defense Cage himself brought up in a recent interview with The Guardian), it's also possible to back Cage by acknowledging the consistency with which he's taken on "serious" roles over the years.

    David Gordon Green's Joe, which hits limited release this weekend (more details on that here), marks the latest instance of this trend, with Cage giving a reportedly subdued performance as an ex-con named Joe Ransom. In that spirit, we've put together a rundown of some of the actor's finest performances, all of which serve as proof that, though his over-the-top inclinations may make for a side-splitting YouTube compilation, Cage has amassed a career that few contemporary actors can equal. This list is hardly airtight in its exclusivity, so a few honorable mentions ought to go out to a pair of Cage's deliriously uneven auteur collaborations (David Lynch's Wild at Heart, Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes), 1983's Valley Girl, 1987's Moonstruck, and Alex Proyas's Knowing (a favorite of the late Roger Ebert).

    --Danny King
  • Ten Enduring Conspiracy Thrillers
    With the approaching release this week of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, many critics, including L.A. Weekly’s own Amy Nicholson, have noted the film’s similarities (starting with the obvious: Robert Redford) to the string of conspiracy thrillers that dominated American cinema during the 1970s. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of ten of the most enduring entries in the genre -- most of them coming from the ‘70s, but with a few early-‘80s holdouts added in for good measure. This is by no means an exclusive list, and more recent films like Roger Donaldson’s No Way Out (1987), Jacques Rivette’s Secret Defense (1998), Tony Scott’s Enemy of the State (1998), Stephen Gaghan’s Syriana (2005), and Redford’s own The Company You Keep (2012) speak to how well the genre has sustained itself over time. Words by Danny King.
  • Behind the Scenes of Muppets Most Wanted
    "The endurance of the Muppets isn't just the result of the creative skills of Henson and collaborators like Frank Oz, or of smart business decisions, or of sheer dumb luck," writes this paper's film critic Stephanie Zacharek in her review of Muppets Most Wanted. "It's simply that the Muppets are just ever so slightly, or maybe even totally, mad. Man, woman, child: Who can resist them? Even TV-watching cats are drawn to their frisky hippety-hopping and flutey, gravely, squeaky, squawky voices." Go behind the scenes with the hippety-hopping Muppets with these images.

    Read our full Muppets Most Wanted movie review.

Now Trending