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LATE QUICK REVIEW: Kubo and the Two Strings

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for another review I should have reviewed a while ago, I am of course talking about the latest Laika film; Kubo and the Two Strings. Annoyingly I saw this film opening day but didn’t have time to do the review because I had to go to a pre-wedding party and then the actual wedding in Leicester, and after a while work caught up with me and my fresh thought were lost. So I didn’t want to review this film without having seen it a second time, and so that’s why this review’s a month late. 😦 But with that out of the way I’m now ready to pass judgement!

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So the story can be described as the following:

“The film tells the story about Kubo, who has magical powers and whose left eye was stolen. Accompanied by Monkey and Beetle, they must subdue the Sisters, Raiden the Moon King and his army of evil spirits.”

This film tells a wonderful story that felt classic and familiar, yet unique and captivating especially for older audiences and those who are into Japanese mythology. There’s a sense of magic, fun and wonderment, but it was also mixed in with some darker/serious elements which gave this film an edge and a classic Disney kind of tone which made me happy. There’s also deep respect and admiration for the Japanese culture in the way in which the story, visuals and music come together. And as a fan of Japanese mythology and classic tales of grand adventures involving young heroes discovering their destiny this film spoke to me on every level. I also adored how this film had such a great deal of emotional moments whether they were dramatic, sad or funny. The only thing I would say that I was a little iffy on was the ending, while I understood the approach I would have preferred something a little different.

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The cast was really good and did well to bring life to their characters with some of the actors feeling like they brought some of their mannerisms to their roles. Firstly there’s Art Parkinson who did really well as Kubo, this kid is a little delight as he was cocky, yet sweet, imaginative, resourceful and charming. Charlize Theron as Monkey was awesome, she was a no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point badass who while tough kind have a soft side as well. I also loved Matthew McConaughey as Beetle/Hanzo, this guy was really funny because of his dim-witted, charismatic and courageous personality. Rooney Mara was unrecognisable as the Sisters, but I loved her performance as she was able to add such a level of intimidation and aggressiveness to these creepy/scary characters. Ralph Fiennes as Raiden the Moon King was very good too, the first time I really thought I could hear a bit of James Woods, but upon closer listening I could hear Fiennes in there and he was really good offering us a villain who was perceptive and dangerous. I also liked Brenda Vaccaro as Kameyo, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Hashi, and the lovely George Takei as Hosato who I recognised the moment I heard his character speak.

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When it comes to the presentation it was fantastic, Laika always bring their A-game to their films and with each film they produce they go that one step beyond and produce the most insane material in the current stop motion landscape. Visually the film did well to blend the practical side of things with what I could only assume could only be clever uses of CGI. There was such large sense of scope, really great lighting and a diverse colour palette, add on top of that the brilliant art direction and some wonderfully creative imagery especially with the animated origami. Plus as a fan of action sequences involving sword fighting and other Japanese weaponry this film had some kick ass moments and didn’t shy away from the violence which I also loved. Oh and the film score from Dario Marianelli was fantastic capturing the sense of adventure, drama, tension and generally allowing to feel immersed and emotionally invested in what was happening on-screen, and this might be a soundtrack I have to buy too. 🙂

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In conclusion Kubo and the Two Strings is damn good film, one of the best of 2016 and I think it might be favourite Laika film (though I still LOVE Coraline). It pains me that more people haven’t checked this film out just because of its visual aesthetic and lack of the typical 3D CGI stuff that a lot of people have become conditioned to. Kubo is an incredible film and while the story is set in the realm of fantasy, at the same time the film felt very grounded and relatable because of the themes, characters and story elements.

Rating: 8.5/10 (Highly recommended for sure!)

So have you seen Kubo and the Two Strings and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2016 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Pan Trailer #1 Quick Review

Hello there people of the internet, time for another trailer review. With the Jurassic World trailer being less than stellar, I decided to have a look at the first trailer for Pan. Now I liked the old Disney animated film and have massive nostalgic love for Hook (regardless of what people say), so anytime there is a new adaptation I’m always cautious. This new film has sounded questionable from the outset and it seems like this trailer has confirmed my suspicions and more.

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Check the trailer out below:

After seeing this trailer, my immediate reaction is, “What is this?”

In all honesty I am quite perplexed. I’m not sure what to make of what I just saw. Before this trailer, the only hope I had for this film was Hugh Jackman’s involvement, because Hugh Jackman is awesome. But this trailer, hmmmmmm, there’s just things that just don’t agree with me.I’m all for new versions of established stories like Peter Pan, however, that mainly applies for me when the old formula was either broken or done to dead, both of which do not apply to Peter Pan’s mythos in my opinion. But whatever, it’s happening now, I just have to shut up and deal with it haha.

So what’s in this trailer? Well, there’s Peter (played by Levi Miller), who was left by his mother at an orphanage that looks like something out of Oliver Twist, but he finds a letter from his mother telling him that he’s special and that they will meet again in this world or another. Then he and good few other boys get abducted from the orphanage on to a pirate ship heading to Neverland with an overly charismatic Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard. Then cue the obligatory uplifting song and montage! We see Peter exploring Neverland, Tiger Lily (played by Rooney Mara) and Hook or some person claiming to be Hook (played by Garrett Hedlund). Apparently according to this film, Peter has some ties to the tribe that Tiger Lily is part of and Peter makes some form of alliance with Hook and Blackbeard is the primary bad guy. The film certainly looks good, if I can give the film any props it’s for the presentation, the film is certainly colourful and large in scale. I think on of the biggest offenses to my eyes is the fact that Hook is so different not only in look, but persona and I UNDERSTAND that it an origin story and different adaptation from the source material, that being said, I feel like there is a certain level of familiarity that is required. Seeing this version of Hook just troubles me. I don’t like it. Not my cup of tea. Sorry, but I am attached to the past.

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In conclusion the first teaser for Pan has just rubbed me the wrong way and I feel like this isn’t going to be a film I will want to watch. I think nostalgia is preventing me from accepting new interpretations of the Peter Pan mythos and I am having a hard time seeing anything that makes me think that this will be a good adaptation of the source material. I am open to change and if this film does end up being good I’ll take back my negative thoughts, but as it stands, no way not for me.

So what do you think of the first trailer for Pan? Does it make you excited or are you not interested? Also as a fan of previous Peter Pan adaptations does this film make you more or less interested in this film? Please leave your comments below and let me know. Laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Her Review

Howdy ladies and gents, its time for me to review a film and today’s film will be Her. From the time I saw the trailer for this around 2 months ago I knew I had to watch it because of the premise of the story from the trailer and plus there was a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding this one. So I watched it today and I am ready to share my thoughts.

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So the story of the film in a nutshell centers on a man who develops a relationship with an intelligent computer operating system (OS) with a female voice and personality.

I thought the story in this film was nice as it had a great emotional pull, some complexity and drama. That being said at times the film felt very bizarre and uncomfortable and thing that is due to the whole connection between Theodore and Samantha. When it comes to films dealing with AI I prefer them to be like HAL 20009 from 2001: A Space Odyssey or Skynet from the Terminator film series because they’re less human and more interesting as devious or dangerous threats to humanity. The story started out interestingly enough but really got a bit dull for me at points. It wasn’t until the complexities in the relationship got brought up or when Theodore’s ex-wife comes into play when the story got a lot better. Also one of thing that I found really interesting was the whole future setting where humans are interacting with technology so heavily, in addition to having the new OS blur the line between the connect between humans and machines. I can’t say I was completely invested in the story like I thought I would be which is a shame because I really liked some of the subtle moments of beauty or when things got heated and dramatic I was having a good time.

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When it comes to the cast they were all really good with the stand-out performances coming from Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. So let’s start with Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly, Phoenix was really incredible in this role. I have never seen too much from Phoenix in films and my most memorable role from him was when he was in Signs, in this film we get to see his full emotional range as this recluse character who has issues with letting go of the past and other personal issues that he must overcome. Also Scarlett Johansson was great as Samantha, even though it is just a voice role, you can tell Johansson really puts her heart into the character as you can really feel her emotions through her voice and it is really impressive. Just the way she talks and says specific things, you can almost imagine that she’s on-set in the film somewhere.

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Amy Adams as Amy was good, it was nice to see her play a role that was a little more subtle and more down-to-earth and relatable, Amy is a kind and thoughtful friend of Theodore and I liked her. Rooney Mara was also really nice as Catherine, Mara is good actress and it is great to see her in roles that require her to be both nice and kind of cruel too. Olivia Wilde was really as Amelia, I didn’t even know she was gonna be in the film but she was an interesting and emotive character and Wilde did a wonderful job. I also really enjoyed seeing Chris Pratt in this film as Paul. Pratt was almost unrecognisable with that moustache and interesting dress attire, he was this delightful character who had this great aura about him and was pretty funny in a subtle kind of way where it wasn’t too goofy. Love how he’s just popping up in films all over the place now.

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In conclusion Her is really beautiful if somewhat bizarre film. Joaquin Phoenix does a great job in the central role and Scarlett Johansson does some great voice work to and the film is shot really well and looks pretty too. I don’t think it was as amazing as I had heard and it didn’t connect with me on the emotional level that other films have in 2013, but for those looking for a different kind of film viewing experience I would recommend this one.

Rating: 7.5/10 (A strange and yet beautiful kind of film)

So what did you think of Her? 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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