Rio weighs weighty subjects with a light touch, embraces the music of the culture it visits and delivers delights like few cartoons this side of the Golden Age of Disney. Blu, given a witty, nervous nerdy voice by the wonderful Jesse Eisenberg, was nabbed during a bird-napping expedition. He tumbles into the hands of little Linda, and they grow up in Moose Lake, Minn., devoted to each other. Fifteen years later, a goofy scientist (Rodrigo Santoro) talks shy, homebody Linda (Leslie Mann) into bringing Blu to Rio de Janeiro. Blu is the last male cerulean blue macaw, and there's a female blue macaw who has to be his Miss Right. And then they're poached, again, by a gang of thieves with a wicked pet cockatoo (a perfect Jemaine Clement). All this happens during Carnival. Native Brazilian director Carlos Saldanha may have earned his bones with those obscenely successful "Ice Age" movies, but give him a project close to his heart -- he co-scripted this -- and the movie just sings.
Soul Surfer is an uplifting, entertaining and wonderfully acted account of surfer Bethany Hamilton's life before and after a shark bit off one of her arms in the waters off her favorite Hawaiian beach. It's corny in all the right ways.