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QUICK REVIEW: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a new film review and today I get to talk about a film I’ve wanted to review on here since I think 2013, and that is Fantastic Mr. Fox! So yeah I know this film is not new, it is from 2009 and I saw it in the cinema and I really liked it at the time and said to myself that I’d rewatch it again at some point. And yet even after buying the DVD around 5 or 6 years ago while at university I never got around to it just because of timing and being in the right mood. That being said, since 2014 I’ve really gotten into Wes Anderson’s films and with Isle of Dogs coming out tomorrow here in the UK I thought I’d rewatch my first Wes Anderson film and see if it still holds up.

The story for the film can be summed up as the following:

“The film is about a fox who steals food each night from three mean and wealthy farmers. They are fed up with Mr. Fox’s theft and try to kill him, so they dig their way into the foxes’ home, but the animals are able to outwit the farmers and live underground.”

I like the story because it has a lot of layers, there is the main narrative that goes on throughout the film, but there are also a number subplots introduced that eventually come to a head as the film progresses and what I like is that all of these plot elements are character-driven, have significance and the payoff feeds back into the main plot. And for a film about animals dealing with dangerous humans, it introduces some interesting themes dealing with breaking habits, doing what you’re good at, living up to expectations, being different and a number of other elements that are easy to relate to. And it is presented in a story that has a strange, quirky and fast-paced nature to it, and it very funny on numerous occasions and comes at just the right point with incredible timing, however, it also has brilliant moments of seriousness, darker moments and slows down just enough to have these special moments between the main characters.

As for the characters they are all very fun, interesting and feel like well-rounded individuals even if they’re secondary characters. George Clooney is fabulous as Mr. Fox, Clooney brings his natural charm to this character who is charismatic, daring yet selfish and not fully aware of his actions. Meryl Streep as Felicity Fox is a strong, smart and caring woman, but is also very stern and doesn’t take any shit from anyone. Jason Schwartzman stands out as Ash Fox, I guessed Schwartzman in this role just because Ash reminded me of Max from Rushmore in the sense that Ash is another young man with personal issues that lead to awkward relationships with others, but here Ash is a lot younger and immature and his journey through the film is quite engaging despite his rude and insensitive nature. Bill Murray was delightful as Clive Badger and had some great moments with Mr. Fox, Willem Dafoe’s role as Rat was unexpected, funny and strange and Wallace Wolodarsky as Kylie was one of the most memorable characters due to his subdued yet hilarious nature. And finally, Michael Gambon as Franklin Bean made for a strong and memorable protagonist, Gambon has such a presence with his voice and puts it to good use in humourous and intimidating scenarios.

From a presentation point of view, the film’s incredible. Visually the film’s use of stop motion animation is fluid, stylish and unique. While stop motion has a certain type of movement due to the way it is created, this film goes a step further by presenting movement in a number of ways that looks like frames are missing, but the movement is dynamic, exaggerated and elastic giving them a great sense of charisma and realism at the same time. The choice of camera angles and the general cinematography looks like a mixture of a stage play, a normal film and old film techniques used during driving sequences. I also want to talk about the character models and set design, the models have such an intricate level of detail for the fur and clothing and the sets vary from being large or very small, but they are all well-crafted with a lot of attention to detail from the foreground to background material looking realistic but also stylised. It is elaborate, grand in scale and has such incredible scene transitions. The film score by Alexandre Desplat is wonderful and works very well in each scene it’s used in and the soundtrack is filled with a great variety of songs that really enhance the scenes they’re used in the way that only Anderson can pull off.

In conclusion, Fantastic Mr. Fox is still a wonderful film and perhaps foolishly I was surprised how well it held up after so many years. I may be biased as I really LOVE Wes Anderson’s approach to filmmaking, but even if I was to take that element out of the equation, the film is not a conventional animated kids film, but that’s why I love it. The film, it is fun, exciting, engaging, quirky and hilarious, and yet it also has an engaging story, with fully formed characters that you can understand and relate to. If you haven’t seen this film I highly recommend it especially if you like Wes Anderson films.

So have you seen Fantastic Mr. Fox and if so what did you think of it? Drop me your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see you in the next review, so until the next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: The Jungle Book (2016)

Howdy people, FINALLY after being stuck at work for the last week I’m back to my blog to write some stuff, yay! 😛 Anyway everyone has gone on about how great The Jungle Book is, but I haven’t, mainly because I hadn’t seen it…  Until yesterday. Now that I’ve seen it I can gush about how great it is too because the film is awesome and I’ll tell you why in this review. 🙂

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Straight to the point, Disney’s live-action The Jungle Book, much like last year’s Cinderella is an updated version of the classic animated film. So if you’re familiar with the story of the original then this is almost beat-for-beat exactly the same as you remember, however, there have been a good few alterations/modifications to compensate for the transition into live-action but also for the changes in the story. What I really appreciated was how the writers took the foundation of the original film, but modified it so that the story got a little darker, layered and had a greater sense of scale, realism and threat which not only encompassed Mowgli but everyone else in the jungle as well. There was a lovely sense of cohesion and community, and I several of the updates to the story really improve the overall experience much more than the original.

I really liked the cast as well starting with Neel Sethi who was great as Mowgli, for a child actor who essentially had to ask like he was surrounded by talking animals he did a bloody good job. I actually LOVED Mowgli in this film. In the original he was such a whiny little brat who had one or two moments of being likeable, but overall wasn’t one of Disney’s better protagonists, but here he’s young, brash and a little hard-headed, but he’s also resourceful, charming and applies logic to a lot of his situations. As for the voice cast they were awesome across the board. Bill Murray was delightful as Baloo, you can tell that Murray was just having a good time with this material and much of his dialogue felt very much like him more so than Baloo, but for me that was a good thing. Ben Kingsley was spot on as Bagheera, Kingsley was able to be strict, relaxed and hilarious without trying too hard was impressive. Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha had a fierce yet calm and caring demeanour, while Scarlett Johansson was creepy, mysterious and a seductive as Kaa, Giancarlo Esposito brought the right levels of confidence and sincerity to Akela and Christopher Walken as King Louie was simply delightful with Walken really adding something special to all of the scenes he was in whether he was lighthearted or aggressive. But as much as I loved the other voice actors it is Idris Elba who stole the show as Shere Khan. Elba just has one of the best voices ever especially for villainous roles and he commits 100% so when he makes threats or shouts you fear him and I loved it!

Oh and let’s talk about that presentation. Do I even have to say it? It was amazing. Visually the film was fantastic, from the time the film opens with the Disney logo you are treated to a visual treat for the eyes with some of the most impression CGI to date. The fact that like 90% maybe 95% of the film was made up of visual effects in mental when you consider all of the landscapes, animals, weather effects and so on that had to be done, but was incredibly realistic, sharp and the attention to detail was insane. I also loved the realism applied to the animals, even though they talked, the facial movements were relatable and had great subtle movements with ears or blinking eyes. Though if I can fault the visual effects in any way I found say that there are sequences at night where things got a little too dark, but that’s about it. And I also really liked the film score by John Debney who captured the spirit of the original music with the pieces he included, but also added a sense of drama and tension not found in the original too.

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In conclusion The Jungle Book was just awesome. There was just the right balance of nostalgia and freshness to justify this film’s existence and with it being executed so well I can’t help but be excited for where Disney and their talented filmmakers go next with their live-action material. 🙂

Rating: 8.5/10 (It was almost a 9!)

So have you seen The Jungle Book and if so what did you think of it? And if you’ve seen the original as well which do you prefer? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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The Grand Budapest Hotel Review

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for another new film review and this one comes in the form of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Now I’ve only watched two Wes Anderson films in the past and they were Fantastic Mr. Fox (really good) and more recently Moonrise Kingdom (brilliant), so I was really intrigued to see what this man was gonna do next and when I saw the trailers I thought it looked amazing. So after watching it today how do I think the film fared? Well read on and find out.

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Story:

“GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.”

The tale of this film is pretty interesting as it takes a non-liner approach and jumps between the present and the past where the primary meat of the film takes place. The themes in this film involves friendship, trust, love and vengeance among other things, it is all very entertaining, humourous and bizarre but never does it feel uninteresting thanks to some good pacing and energetic nature. The film doesn’t quite reach the emotional or funny levels of Moonrise Kingdom, but it really is good.

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When it comes to the cast the film is just filled to the maximum with talent left right and center and while not everyone gets a great deal of screen time, it is just nice to see their faces.

Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave H. is simply brilliant, he brings his natural charisma, charm and a lot of passion to the roll. Gustave H. has very high standards and expects nothing less of perfection, Fiennes is a man who can do no wrong in my eyes. Tony Revolori is great as Zero Moustafa, I really liked his moments of humour and he seemed to handle his scenes really well considering the more expressed cast around him. Adrien Brody as Dmitri is great, it is not that often when Brody takes on a more villainous role, but he looks amazing and has some really funny moments. Willem Dafoe has to be my favourite character as J.G. Jopling, the dude constantly looks moody and dodgy as hell, is so questionable and dangerous and I love Dafoe’s expression throughout the film. Jeff Goldblum is a nother great actor as Deputy Kovacs, I love the way this man spoke, he was smart, sophisticated, calm and innocent, but because it was Goldblum it is awesome.

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Saoirse Ronan is charming and pretty as Agatha and Tilda Swinton is just unrecognizable as Madame D., her dialogue Mathieu Amalric is good as Serge X., he was pretty good but I couldn’t remember his face for the life of me until I checked him out on IMDB and saw that he was that funny villain from Quantum of Solace. Jason Schwartzman continues to be really interesting as M. Jean, the guy is very lazy, but also very funny and it just the little things like his mannerisms that make me smile. Bill Murray as M. Ivan I was hoping to see a lot more of but he was still pretty cool. Other people that were good were Jude Law as Young Writer, F. Murray Abraham as Mr. Moustafa, Edward Norton as Inspector Henckels, Léa Seydoux as Clotilde, Owen Wilson as M. Chuck and Bob Balaban as M. Martin.

As for the presentation it is very good on both the visual and audio front. Visually just like Anderson’s other films it is one of the film’s best aspects. There is some interesting, dynamic and unconventional camera shots and sequences used with very close camera shots, tracking shots and the use of green screen and CGI that make the film so much more fictional than real, but strangely it still works. At points watching this film was like watching a live action version of Looney Tunes which was totally hilarious and nostalgic. The soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat is another highlight of the film as it fits with the random nature of the film having various songs for different scenarios.

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In conclusion The Grand Budapest Hotel is very good film full of charm, wit and touching moments sprinkled all over. While this isn’t my favourite Wes Anderson film, I definitely had a good time with it and I can easily recommend it because it is one of best films of the year so far.

Rating: 8/10

So what did you think of The Grand Budapest Hotel? Have you seen it or are you gonna see it? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next film review yo. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Moonrise Kingdom Review

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, it is time for film review. Now back in 2012, Moonrise Kingdom came out and I thought the trailer looked awesome. Unfortunately I missed it in the cinema and it pissed me off because I heard it was really good. So since I had some free time today I decided to watch it and after seeing it until just around an hour ago I have to say I’m annoyed I didn’t see it sooner because the film is awesome.

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So the story centers around two socially awkward, but very smart children, Sam Shakusky a boy in scouts and Suzy Bishop, a girl who lives with her family but usually keeps to herself. After their initial meeting, the kids become pen pals and write letters to each other, eventually decide to run away together because of their growing feelings for each other. It doesn’t take long for the adults to realise that the children are missing, so the police, along with the scout master and his cubs and Suzy’s parents go on the hunt to retrieve them.

The story in this film was nothing short of amazing, it was beautiful, kind of crazy, quite sweet, but also very funny. What I got from this film was a tale of young love in the most unconventional way, the whole relationship between Sam and Suzy was different and yet very relatable too. The film feels a bit crazy at times with some of the most random things happening to some people, but for some reason rather than question it, you sort of accept it and it sort of just fits in with the rest of the tone of the film. I think the film succeeds mainly due to the script, it’s very well-written and the dialogue is great. Some of the lines that some of these characters come out with range from humourous to quite touching to being a little unexpected. In the end I have found a film that has made me smile this much in a while.

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As for the cast they were amazing, simply loved every one of them. Let’s start with the two leads, Jared Gilman as Sam Shakusky and Kara Hayward as Suzy Bishop, they were amazing. For newcomers they are really good, they both have great presence and have amazing chemistry together. Both of them are pretty similar in terms of character with their very tame and dead pan delivery of their dialogue, but they’re really cute and I can see them growing up to be good actors in the future.

Bruce Willis as Captain Duffy Sharp was also great, this is one of my favourite roles I’ve seen him in for a while, I like him because he’s righteous, authoritative, but also awkward too and not so serious. I think my favourite of the adults would be Edward Norton as Scout Master Randy Ward. He was just adorable, Randy was a scout master who looked like a person in charge but let little things get by him and occasionally lost control of his troop. And it was in those venerable moments which made you feel sorry for the guy, you knew he was kind of useless but due to the situation he couldn’t help what was happening.

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Bill Murray was great as Walt Bishop, I think it was Murray playing himself, but whatever it was he was great and his humour whether it was verbal or physical was great. Frances McDormand as Laura Bishop was also good too, she was very secretive person with a lot of nice and dramatic moments. Tilda Swinton as Social Services was incredible, she had such a great and commanding screen presence and I loved her tone and conviction while being so mean to some of the other characters. Jason Schwartzman as Cousin Ben was another good performance, it seems like every new film I see Schwartzman in, I see a new side of his acting abilities that I didn’t know existed. Bob Balaban as Narrator was amazing, I loved it anytime he was on-screen, his timing of dialogue was great and I thought he was really funny in every scene he was in.

When it comes to the presentation it is great. I love the way this film is shot, it constantly feels like you’re always inside the film with the characters, especially when the characters are so close to the camera or when the narrator is talking to you. The soundtrack was amazing, besides the great music selection, the music score by Alexandre Desplat was very good with a pretty upbeat and kid-friendly.

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In conclusion Moonrise Kingdom is one of the most delightful films I have seen in recent memory, I really wish I had seen this in 2012 because I’m pretty sure it would have jumped into my top ten films of that year. It is funny, adorable and just a feel-good film. If you couldn’t tell already I really liked this film and I highly recommend it!

Rating: 8.5/10 (Such a good film about young love)

So have you seen Moonrise Kingdom and if so what do you think of it? Be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next film review yo. 😀

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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The Monuments Men Review

Howdy ladies and gents, I have returned again for another film review, yay! 😀 So after watching Her I checked out The Monuments Men, a film that had really caught my attention thanks to a good trailer and cool cast. The reviews for it after its release were pretty mixed, but I just had to have a look for myself. So how did it fare? Read on and find out!

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So the story of the film follows an allied group, the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program, tasked with finding and saving pieces of art and other culturally important items before their destruction by Hitler during World War II.

The premise for the film sounded great and I was hoping for something insightful, fun and dramatic, however what I got was a film set during war times with an unbalanced tone and a lack of engaging elements for around 60% of the film’s duration. I guess it also didn’t help that I nodded off a few times during the film, now to be fair to the film I went to be really late this morning. However the does take a while for it to get engaging as I found myself really irritable during the film wondering when something more interesting would happen. It wasn’t until the actual physical hut for the stolen art was in full-swing when the film got interesting.

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When it comes to the cast they were fine for the most part, but no one really did anything overly amazing, having said that there were a few people that stood out. Bill Murray as Sgt. Richard Campbell and John Goodman as Sgt. Walter Garfield were clearly the best people in this film. Their performances were good, funny and charismatic and they were the center of attention when they acted. Also I really liked Bob Balaban as Pvt. Preston Savitz, he was pretty funny. Everyone else was okay and not really bad or great, but I do want to highlight that Cate Blanchett as Claire Simone was beautiful, I mean Blanchett is beautiful all of the time, but in this film there is one point when she gets dolled up and she look INCREDIBLE. Nuff said. One thing I did love was the soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat, this man has scored some of my favourite films in recent years so it is no surprise that I actually liked this music in this film.

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In conclusion The Monuments Men was okay film, I had hope for so much more given the source material that was being used. The film just isn’t that interesting and suffers from an uneven tone of humour and drama. It is only thanks to the cast that the film isn’t a total failure. I do apologize if this review seems a little lacklustre however I don’t really have much to say about this film. I’m not actually gonna give this film a rating just because I don’t think I can in this case due to my indecisiveness and my lack of consciousness during a fair amount of the film too.

So what did you think of The Monuments Men? Have you seen or are you going to see it? Whatever your thoughts are drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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