This is a great film: Real life edited into drama, and elevated into art. Director Mike Leigh made his cast improvise their parts for months before they wrote the script, maybe that's why you can't believe Staunton's acting. Her performance is so real, you'll swear they found a real person, followed her with a camera and built a film around things she really said. Grade: A.
Team America: World Police: In 1999, when the guys who did "South Park" made their first feature film, it made my 10-best list. Now, they've just gone too far.
In "Team America," a squad of anti-terrorist puppets hunts for weapons of mass destruction in Paris. On the way, they mistakenly blow up the Eiffel Tower, but nobody's perfect.
Some of "Team America: World Police" is funny. In one bit, U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix tells Kim Jung-Il of North Korea that if the United Nations can't inspect his weapons programs, they'll send him a very angry letter. Blix ends up in the shark tank. It's funny.
The set design, the tiny little props, and the 2-foot-tall puppets are all terrific. But so what? I've read the humor described as lewd, rude, and adolescent. The word for this is dirty. It's way over the top, and under the bar.
This R-rated movie looks like a kids' film, and it's advertised for kids. Kids are going to sneak in. I hope they're not yours. This is Hollywood at its most cynical. Grade: C+