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The Boxtrolls Review

Good day to you ladies and gents, with the summer film season well and truly over I haven’t really had any reason to go back to the cinema, until last weekend when I watched The Boxtrolls. Now this is one of the few animated films I’ve been really excited to see because I love Laika as an animation studio and with their great work on Coraline and Paranorman, this was a must-see film. So how does this film fare? Well, read on and find out!

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The story for the film can be described as the following:

“The film tells the story of an orphaned boy named Eggs who was raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collecting trolls called the Boxtrolls. The Boxtrolls are targeted by an evil exterminator named Archibald Snatcher and Eggs has to save his family from Snatcher.”

The story for this film was pretty good, it offered a familiar tale while still being fun and interesting. I liked Egg’s origin story and how it tied into  the villain’s story too, and seeing the way everything unfolded was quite bizarre but also fun and unexpected. Now if I were to compare it to Laika’s previous projects, I would say that this film is better than Paranorman due to its story and character’s being much stronger, but I still don’t believe that Coraline can be touched when it comes to story and characters. That film was special, creepy and full of all sorts of scary stuff you just don’t see in a children’s animated film. In the end it comes down to the source material and this film’s material is good, but just not that strong to be innovative or too different from what we’ve seen before.

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As for the cast they’re all wonderful offering great performances in unexpected ways.

Isaac Hempstead-Wright does well as Eggs, he’s a boy who has been raised by the Boxtrolls and it is the only life knows, but once things start to go wrong for his friends and he has to step up and become a hero he definitely grows as a character and becomes a likeable protagonist. The guy is strange, funny and has a good heart and Hempstead-Wright brings a great deal of passion and flair to his role. Someone who might have outdone him is Elle Fanning, who is great as Winnie Portley-Rind. This girl is good-natured, if somewhat spoilt, rude and headstrong, she is very curious and finds herself in trouble because of it, but after she connects with Eggs they bond and then become intertwined in this mission to save his friends and Fanning does a such a good job, her delivery of some her lines is nothing short of funny and delightful. Ben Kingsley is completely unrecognizable as Archibald Snatcher, Kingsley does an absolutely stellar job as the main nemesis of this film being quite humourous, mean and at times very disturbing too. The great thing about this performance is that it is so charismatic and larger than life, but you just wouldn’t expect it from someone like Ben Kingsley, it was such a massive surprise when I saw his name in the credits, just  goes to show you how versatile he is.

And then there’s Snatcher’s henchman played wonderfully by Nick Frost as Mr. Trout, Richard Ayoade as Mr. Pickles and Tracy Morgan as Mr. Gristle. Mr. Trout and Pickles were my favourites, they are both very funny and strange henchmen who follow Snatcher, but question his actions and sometimes discuss matters of moral code from time to time and it makes for some great moments in the film, Richard Ayoade’s voice is just amazing while Nick Frost is awesome as a character who clearly has the most sense out of the lot of them. And lastly Tracy Morgan is the last person I would have guessed as Mr. Pickles however, after I thought about it, it started to make sense. This character seems like a brain-dead idiot, but he is definitely gunning and dangerous, he’s just prone to delivering pain and is single-minded about many things.

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Jared Harris is awesome as Lord Portley-Rind, this character is an upper-classmen, enjoys the finer things in life (especially his obsession with cheese) and has no time for his daughter. I love Harris in this role, I recognized his voice in an instant and after seeing him in Fringe and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows it is impossible to not notice him in anything even if it is just identified by voice alone. Toni Collette is fine as Lady Portley-Rind, Winnie’s mother and the appearance of Simon Pegg as Herbert Trubshaw was totally unexpected, but very much welcomed as his character is totally jokes. And lastly Dee Bradley Baker (Fish, Wheels and Bucket) and Steve Blum (Shoe and Sparky) were awesome, especially Steve Blum who is one of my favourite voice actors.

When it comes to the presentation it is clearly the strongest element of the film both on the visual and audio front. Laika as an animation studio have always been incredible when it comes to crafting impressive-looking visuals and have gone from strength to strength when it comes to shows how much further they can push stop-motion and I feel like they’ve done it again. All of the animation is incredibly smooth, the art design is very nice and the cinematography is so much more dynamic than before with fancier lighting, more camera angles and really impressive tracking shots too. The soundtrack by Dario Marianelli was nice as well offering some great pieces of music to suit the different tones throughout the film.

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In conclusion The Boxtrolls is a very good animated film, which is full of fun and is a very good-looking film which shows that stop-motion is a form of animation that can still be impressive in this world of CGI animated films. Is it the best animated film this year? No. However, that shouldn’t stop you checking this film out, it has plenty of laughs, a great cast of characters and story that is simple, strange, but also very effective.

Rating: 8/10

So what did you think of The Boxtrolls? Have you seen it or are you gonna watch it? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Lincoln Review

I’m sorry for taking so long to get this review online, but as some of you may have seen who follow this blog I have been posting like a crazy man over the last 3 days and I didn’t want to overload their subscription lists haha. Anyway I saw Lincoln on the weekend just to see what the hype was about and see if it was worthy of all the praise, so is it a great historical film or just another boring biographical film? Read on and find out!

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So the story covers the final few months of Abraham Lincoln’s life, focusing on the President’s efforts in January 1865 to have the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the United States House of Representatives. I found it interesting to see how Lincoln tried to get this amendment passed in order to abolish slavery, and I also found it interesting to see how a lot of people weren’t down with the idea and thought it was too radical for time too. The story in this film is dramatic, emotional and impactful. There are elements of corruption, dirty dealings in the background, and there is also a lot of tension in the film too. It was captivating though the story was hard to follow at times because of the specific dialogue used. And speaking of the dialogue, this film is very dialogue-heavy and not that much action happens, but if you can sit still and embrace the story then you’ll enjoy the film a lot.

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Then there’s the cast of Lincoln, they were all grand. Firstly Daniel Day-Lewis really does give an Oscar worthy performance as Abraham Lincoln. He carries the role with such gravitas and conviction, and he embodies the character to the point where you don’t even see him as an actor. The way he moved and spoke, I saw Lincoln in him and while I can’t tell how accurate it was to real thing I felt that he really kicked ass! Also Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln was outstanding, her performance was emotionally charged and you could see that she was a fragile and complex and Field handled the role wonderfully especially in her intense scenes with Daniel Day-Lewis. But my favourite performance came from Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, he was this intense force of nature who was a no-nonsense kind of guy who insults people he doesn’t like, so badass. Jones was incredible and his performance was powerful, unforgettable and quite funny at points too. And there was also some great performances from David Strathairn, Hal Holbrook, James Spader, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Costabile and Jared Harris to name a few. There really are too many people to mention in this film, but all of the cast were really on the mark.

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The presentation is also very good. The cinematography and camera work was excellent with some great shots and angles at many points in the film. And the soundtrack by John Williams, well John Williams is automatically awesome and while this isn’t one of his most memorable soundtracks, the score he composed for this film was fantastic.

So in conclusion Lincoln is probably one of the best historical dramas I’ve ever seen. Now while I haven’t seen too many films of this genre I have seen a good few before this film and this one is great. I was surprised with how much I actually enjoyed this film, but it was definitely a brilliant film that deserves all the praise it’s getting. Steven Spielberg has done a great job with this film, the cast is great, the story is solid and the presentation is grand. I highly recommend this film; it is worth your time and money.

Rating: 9/10 (Super Seal of Approval!)

There’s another review done, I hope you enjoyed and whatever your thoughts on the film drop them below in the comments section! See ya on the next review! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows Review

 

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, in this blog post I’m going to give you my review of the second Sherlock Holmes film from Guy Richie; Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

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So the story of the film is an easy one to follow, basically we have Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson having to join forces again to take down their most calculating adversary, Professor Moriarty. The story in this film for me is a lot interesting than the first film because the characters in this sequel the characters are much more interesting and involved in the plot than before. Even some of the secondary cast lend themselves to the story in a great way. There is also a greater sense of danger and urgency in this film then there was in the last film and that is something I always love in sequels; having greater stakes and a deeper story for the audience to get invested in. It has been argued by some that the story is a lot further from the original source material and because of that the film has faults with the story and its characters. Overall I thought this story was pretty impressive, although I wish the writers had dived a little deeper into the darker areas of the film which would have made the characters and plot a lot better. But for the most part Sherlock Holmes 2 has a great story worth telling.

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When it comes to the characters Robert Downey, Jr. as always is just incredible as Holmes, he is funny, complicated and a very strange man, but he does have a brilliant mind and the way in which he figures things out is nothing short of astounding. Holmes is also very similar to how he was in the first film, but I think this film takes him into deeper emotional territory than the before. At first I thought Holmes was an invincible smart man who couldn’t be touched but this film shows he can be hurt, physically and mentally and even the great Sherlock Holmes can get things wrong sometimes and I really liked that. When it comes to Watson, Jude Law is simply wonderful, he is the stern, yet fair friend of Holmes who brings his own level of smarts, wit and charm to the film. Even as he gets married and his life changes with his new wife we see that he still is the same man he was in the first film and like Holmes he goes though some emotional episodes that makes Watson all the better for it. Together throughout the journey of this film Holmes and Watson find that they need each other, that their bond extends further than just their journeys together, that for all the dysfunctional aspects of their relationship and all the problems that Holmes usually causes Watson in the end they really do need each other and it’s that bond that is one of the most powerful aspects of the film.

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The other powerful character that completes the film is Jared Harris as Moriarty, as the antagonist he gives a much more memorable performance than Mark Strong’s villain in the last film. Unlike Strong’s character, Harris’ actually has a presence. Moriarty is one of those sort of villains that doesn’t act like one out in the open and operates behind the shadows while having a very different persona to the public as a cover. And as charming as he is, when his calculating villainy side comes out and his cruel side becomes apparent you realise he’s a force to be dealt with. He’s definitely not the type of guy you’d want to meet in a back alley at night. And the way in which Moriarty and Holmes interact is just incredible, they’re both incredibly smart and are constantly trying to outwit each other. Also Noomi Rapace is good as Simza, though I believe her character was incredibly underused and wasn’t in the film as much as I thought she’d be which was disappointing, but for what she did contribute to the film it was pretty good. The same can be said for Rachel McAdams and Kelly Reilly who reprise their roles as Irene Adler and Mary Morstan/Watson. And lastly but by no means least a special mention has to be given to Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes, he was just incredible in the film, he was witty, funny and just larger than life, he had much more of a role than I thought he would, but every scene he was in he was very memorable. As usual Stephen Fry delivers.

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Now when it comes to the action sequences this film does not disappoint. From the fights, to the chase sequences and everything in-between everything is on a much higher level than before. Everything is on a much bigger and better scale than the last film; Holmes’ fights are even more interestingly choreographed than before, the gun fights are on a better scale and with all of the different locations in the film all of them introduce interesting scenarios and scenes of thrills, tension and adventure. And like the previous film Hans Zimmer returns to compose the soundtrack and it’s just a good as it was in the previous film, possibly better due to the darker nature of this film. Either way Hans Zimmer continues to be invincible and cannot do any wrong.

Conclusion

Overall Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a great follow-up to the first film and in a lot of ways is much better than its predecessor. The pacing is a lot better and with a much deeper plot, good character development, a much better villain and incredible action sequences this is definitely a film worth checking out. Director Guy Ritchie and his filmmaking team have taken what has worked in the first film and re-applied it in this film on a much bigger scale and I feel they should be commended for it. A lot of film critics and audience members have given this film bad reviews stating that it’s not as good as the original or stating that the film doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself from the first film. And while some of that may be true and there were issues and elements that this sequel didn’t fully commit to, overall the film isn’t nearly as bad as many people make it out to be. It is a well-made film with action, story and its fairly intelligent too. It’s not perfect but I still enjoyed it immensely and will probably be seeing again very soon.

Rating: 8/10

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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