Isle of Dogs review

I finally got to see Isle of Dogs which for some reason had a limited release. Wes Anderson is a very interesting director. His movies don’t seem too funny to be comedies and they don’t seem too dramatic to be dramas. Isle of Dogs like most of Wes Anderson’s other movies is shot wonderfully. In my opinion Wes’s visual style reminds me a lot of Stanley Kubrick who also has an interesting visual style. The stop motion while not Laika is still really impressive.

Wes Anderson’s movie are also known for having a huge cast full of celebrities (usually Bill Murry). The voices match with the character’s personalities and help give them life. The characters themselves are enjoyable too like Jeff Goldblum as this rumor telling dog, and Edward Norton as the decider dog but the one that really stood out to me was Chief played by Bryan Cranston. Chief starts off as a tough disobedient street dog but after bonding with Atari grows more protective of him. The bath he gets represents his character growth.

Spoiler warning: If I had one problem with Isle of Dogs, it’s near the end. After Atari delivers a haiku his uncle Mayor Kobayashi suddenly has a change of heart and is willing to give one of his kidneys to save Atari. Kobayashi’s heal face turn seems a bit too weird for me. You could argue this is like the Grinch or Scrooge but FYI, this guy killed a scientist though to be fair he does go to prison in the end.

Isle of Dogs is an emotional, funny, and beautifully made stop motion movie. I think this has the biggest chance of winning the Academy Award for Best Animated movie this year. You don’t have to be dog lover to enjoy Isle of Dogs.

Verdict:
+ Balance of comedy and drama
+ Chief
+ Voice talent
+ Wonderfully shot and animated
– Mayor Kobayashi’s change of heart

Score: A

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Ready Player One review

I never read the book but when I heard Steven Spielberg was directing I was hyped. Steven Spielberg is my favorite filmworker. Not only do I love the movies he directs but also the ones he produces too. I’ll be talking more about his movies next month in my top 15 favorite movies list. The Oasis is a cool location and an interesting look at how we use the internet today. The Oasis is also full of references from movies, video games, TV shows, and more. Notable ones include the Iron Giant, the DeLorean, Chucky, and even Tracer from Overwatch which is cool.

The characters however were the weakest part of the movie. The main character is just your generic young adult main character and the villain is just your generic corrupt businessman villain. Art3mis and H were okay but Sho and Daito were forgettable. It was entertaining hearing T.J. Miller’s voice come out of this intimidating character. James Halliday seemed too awkward for the creator of the Oasis and Ogden Morrow was barely in it though I did like that one twist involving him.

I really liked the race, the movie scene and the climax. Both the race and final battle have a lot of references. I have an embarrassing relationship with The Shining. I used to be afraid of The Shining, mostly because of the DVD cover, but now that I’m older it doesn’t bother me anymore. There are so many references in this scene including the creepy twins, blood elevator, and rotting old woman that also swings the ax (sorry no Jack Torrance). It looks just like the movie from the sets, the atmosphere, and the music. What really stood out to me in these scenes were that the characters had to figure out how to get the keys through clues and thinking. That’s really clever.

The tasks were the highlight of the movie. Ready Player One was one of the most fun Steven Spielberg movies I’ve seen in a very long time considering he’s been doing mostly dramas lately. It’s a very enjoyable movie about the internet but let’s face it, it’ll be hard to compete with Ralph Breaks the Internet later this year.

Verdict:
+ References
+ The Oasis
+ The tasks especially….
+ The Shining scene
–  Weak characters

Score: A-

 

Game Night review

This may not be a long review but it is a review of a movie that surprised me. Seeing the trailer Game Night seemed like a regular R-rated comedy with violence and standard jokes. But it turns out to actually smart and funny. Best way to start a comedy review movie is to talk about well, the comedy. The comedy is really good, not just because the jokes are cleverly written but also because the characters help make the jokes work. The cast is very enjoyable and likable. They all have their own personalities and quirks and everyone has a chance to make jokes.

This paragraph contains spoilers because I will be talking about the story. I will admit that the story does have the main character’s sibling is better than him but it turns out that the sibling looks up to him cliché. It’s like Rigby and Don from Regular Show or Helga and Olga from Hey Arnold. It’s not bad but I’ve seen in many times and know how it goes down. It also has a last minute villain which movies really shouldn’t do unless there building them up for a sequel. That being said, the rest of the story is unpredictable. In the beginning Brooks stages kidnappers to kidnap him but it turns out that the actors he hired came after real kidnappers took him. The kidnappers turns out to be staged by the main character’s creepy police neighbor for not inviting him to game night. Then it turns out that the cop had nothing to do with Fabergé egg and that The Bulgarian was real. I had no idea what was going to happen and I was excited to see how it ends.

I also like little details like the music (I have a liking to synthwave music) and a cute detail where some wide shots of the city and neighborhood look like models. I think the idea is that they look like board games. One word that describes Game Night is fun, it’s a very fun movie with a fun cast and fun comedy. When Game Night releases on DVD or On Demand this will be the perfect movie for any game night.

Verdict:
+Enjoyable cast
+Funny
+Unpredictable
-Cliche jealous brother plot
-Last minute villain

Score: B+

Black Panther review

Wakanda Forever!

The theater I saw this was so crowded that the showing I was supposed to see was sold out so me and my friend had to buy a ticket for an IMAX 3D showing an hour later. It was crazy, but I see why because this was great! One reason for this is because it has a lot of mature and adult themes than the other Marvel movie didn’t deal with. It deals with themes such as race since the villain wants to use vibranium to help black people all over the world. It also deals with responsibility and how being a good person is different from being a good king.

Spoiler paragraph: Chadwick Boseman is still great as Black Panther and his arc about finding out his father killed his brother reminds me a lot of Steven Universe dealing with his mother (maybe) shattering Pink Diamond. His sister Shuri is also very enjoyable and fun. Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger is one of the best and most tragic villains in the MCU. What’s really clever about him is that he starts off as just some random henchman working for Ulysses Klaue but throughout the movie his role gets bigger, more is revealed about his past, he kills Klaue and becomes the main villain. Another clever thing that makes the re-watch value great is that in the beginning of the movie we see some kids playing basketball, when it’s revealed that he’s T’Challa’s cousin it turns out Eric was one of the kids. I think the best kind of villains are ones that see themselves as a hero even though his actions harm others and he’s one of those.

The main setting Wakanda is a very impressive setting and has great world building. I like how the country works and the backstory explains a lot. Wakanda also looks beautiful and even the mountains where M’Baku lives is cool. The action was also good as usual for Marvel though I will admit some of the CGI was a little too obvious especially in a clip of the climax that was uploaded on YouTube. Still there are good actions scenes such as the Korea car chase the waterfall duel.

Black Panther is definitely in my top 3 favorite MCU movies up there with The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. All I have to say left is that to Avengers Infinity War or any movie of 2018, Good Luck.

Verdict:
+ Action
+ Cast especially the villain
+ Themes
+ Wakanda
– Obvious cgi

Score: A+

Mary and the Witch’s Flower review

The only anime movies I ever saw in the theater were Spirited Away and Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light. I remember seeing the teaser for this thought it was awesome but I knew that it would probably only have a limited release is specific theaters. Fortunately one day my Mom, Grandma, and I saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri at the nearest mall and I saw a poster saying it Mary would be showing there so I bought my ticket early and now I’m here to review it.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is about a girl named Mary who finds a magic flower in the forest. It gives her and a broom she finds the ability of magic which ends up dragging her to a witch school in the sky named Endor College. While there she finds out that the headmaster wants to use the flower to transform witches into more powerful beings. In terms of story Mary is kind of predictable because when have we not seen anime movie about young witch or villain chasing the hero for a magical object? I also think the setting of Endor College while interesting is not given that much development. Mary doesn’t take any classes or meets any of the students.

On to the good stuff. The main character Mary is clumsy, feisty but also very likable. I like her design and her actress Ruby Barnhill plays the role perfectly. Actually all the voice actors are great in their roles too. I also like Mary’s sidekicks. One of them being a cat (which doesn’t talk). I remember the audience I was with burst out laughing at some of his scenes. The other is the broomstick which acts like the magic carpet from Aladdin and the fact that it has to be placed in a “broom stable” is hilarious.

The highlight of the movie to me is the animation. Let’s face it, any animation from Ghibli or anyone who worked on Hayao Miyazaki’s movies are beautiful. The character designs are great, the colors pop out and the movements of the characters are smooth and wonderful. I wouldn’t have been excited for this movie if it wasn’t for the animation!

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is not one of the strongest anime movies out there but for me it was still a great treat to see this.

Verdict:
+ Beautiful animation
+ Mary
+ Mary’s sidekicks
+ Voice acting
– Predictable story
– Undeveloped Endor College

Score: A-

Star Wars the Last Jedi review

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

FYI, this is a Spoiler filled review. Also Merry Christmas, and what better way to celebrate this holiday than to talk about the most anticipated movie of the year, Star Wars the Last Jedi. It has a very dark tone compared to the rest of the movies since a lot of characters die and has some deep themes. There are still some fun moments like on Canto Bright which is think is a really cool location. The two things that stood out to me were the acting and actions.

The three actors that really stood out to me were Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, and Daisy Ripley. Rey and Kylo have great moments together but what stood out to me in there acting was when they both talk to each other using the force. The angles and editing in those scenes make it look like there talking to each other in the same room. I also like that both struggle from falling to their opposite sides. Rey gets too close to the dark side while Ben gets too close to the light side. Mark Hamill is at his most tragic and emotional as Luke Skywalker. His final scene is a great conclusion to his arc and a beautiful call back to the first Star Wars movie. Carrie Fisher was also great as Princess Leia even though this was her last movie and Yoda was a great surprise.

The actions scenes are incredible. Holdo ramming Snoke’s starship at lightspeed with her ship was probably the most badass sacrifice in any Star Wars movie! I love how the Battle of Crait has the colors white and red to represent blood. I did however feel that it looked more like a middle of a movie battle rather than the climax but Luke’s duel with Kylo was a great climax to the climax. I think me and my brother’s favorite fight was with Rey and Kylo Ren vs Snoke’s guards because the choreography is great and it’s awesome seeing two opposite sides working together.

Big Spoilers: My main problem with this movie were some of the reveals and twists though it’s mostly out of anticipation rather than presentation. Rey’s parents turn out to be nobodies who sold her for alcohol, Kylo Ren kills Snoke and becomes the main villain. At first they seemed odd but thinking over them they kind of work. We don’t learn anything about Snoke but to be fair we didn’t know much about the emperor before the prequels. I was expecting Kylo Ren to have a redemption arc but it’s like what Garnet said in Message Received “Not everyone deserves that patience”. Rey’s parents being nobody’s shows that the main character doesn’t have to have a tragic backstory to be a good protagonist.

There are elements from The Empire Strikes Back but it still feels like a new movie than a repeat like Force Awakens. The Last Jedi is just as great as The Force Awakens maybe even better and it made me excited for Episode IX. Hope you have a Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Verdict:
+ Action scenes
+ Canto Bright
+ Dark tone
+ Great acting
+/- Plot twists

Score: A+

May the Force be with you
Carrie Fisher

Coco review

Here’s what The Book of Life and Coco have in common. They both take place in the land of the dead and that’s about it. Seriously it’s like saying The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo are the same just because they have fish in it. I’ll be frank with you, I knew this would be better than Cars 3 even before watching it, and after watching it, I was not surprised that it was better.

The Land of the Dead is a great setting. The buildings look cool and the colors really pop out. The world building is also great because the movie does explain how this world works and it’s easy to understand quickly. Details like having your photo on your family’s ofrenda lets you visit the living, alebrijes acting as spirit animals, and the final death help build this world Pixar has created.

Miguel is a likable main character and you do support his dream of playing music. Hector is also a likeable character who has a great design and the animation on his body makes for really fun moments. To me Miguel and Hector are the real standouts in the cast and there’s a surprising connections between them. I think my main problem with the movie is the villain, Ernesto de la Cruz. First off, he’s another surprise villain (as if we didn’t have enough from Disney), and two it’s just a retread of the villain from Up (both protagonists idolize the antagonist).  I think Charles Muntz was better because he didn’t start off as evil but years of obsession have turned him evil, Ernesto was just greedy and was willing to murder Hector to get famous.

The songs are great but I think Remember Me is definitely the standout song and will get nominated or even win the Oscar for best song. There’s two reasons why Remember Me stands out to me. Not only because every version of the song is great but also because the song actually has importance in the plot. Spoilers from here: What was the most popular song Ernesto sung was originally a lullaby for Hector’s daughter Coco. At the end of the movie, Hector starts to disappear due to Coco starting to forget him so Miguel races back home and tries to play Remember Me to her great grandmother in order for Hector to not disappear. I think it’s very clever and leads to an emotional moment at the end.

Coco is definitely the best animated movie 2017 and a shoe-in at winning the Oscar for Best Animated Film this year.

Verdict:
+ Miguel and Hector
+ The land of the dead
+ The songs
– The villain

Score: A

Before I finish here’s my thoughts on Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. It’s cute but did it have to be 20 minutes long?! Either shorten the short or show it on TV. Though it was cool to hear John De Lancie aka Discord in it.

Justice League review

Let’s face it, considering the success of Marvel, the anticipation for the movie was low for me. But I saw it anyway because it’s cool to see Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg on the screen for the first time. Thank god, it also had a shorter running time.

I want to talk about the opening scene first since hey it is the opening of the movie of course. It starts off with Superman talking to some kids about is the S on his suit which stands for hope. It then cuts to after Superman’s death showing landmarks with his logo while “Everybody Knows” plays.  It’s a nice and tragic way to show how people reacted to his death. Is it just me or are the best parts of Zack Synder’s movies the opening credits?

Speaking of the best parts of movies. The best thing about Justice League is well the Justice League themselves. For a superhero movie like this I think the most important thing to get right is the heroes themselves. They all have variety in terms of powers and abilities, the actors were nicely picked and even the costumes look great too. Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot are still great as Batman and Wonder Woman. Aquaman was badass and funny and Cyborg was cool too though I see Cyborg more like a Teen Titan rather than a Justice League member. I think my favorite was the Flash. He’s awkward, funny, and the visual effects on his running are different from Quicksilver from Marvel. Even Superman was good in this even though he’s not in it that much. While the heroes do keep the film nicely together the villain however does not. Steppenwolf is just your generic destroy or concur the world or something like that I don’t care villain, he’s boring, he’s bland and who even knows who this guy is in the comic?

The story was clunky which honestly does not surprise me. Something about a cgi villain who was defeated by Amazons, Atlantians, humans and Green Lanturns (which was a nice touch) looking for three boxes that contain power or something. I also think the story was predictable because I knew that a villain would show up, Batman forms a team, Superman comes back to life, they fight and defeat the villain, The End. So yeah the story isn’t anything new. Fortunately the movie is a lot more lighthearted than the other DCEU movies. Sure it does look dark grey, but it has more light humor and is fun at times. I watched this with a full audience and a lot people were laughing at the jokes. It wasn’t Thor Ragnarok funny but it was a nice change of pace for DC. I remember people cheering when Superman showed up in his brightly colored suit at the end.

I am not sure whether this or Wonder Woman is better but there pretty neck to neck together. Justice League is proably the most fun of the DCEU movies and gives hope to the series.

Verdict:
+Lighthearted
+Opening
+The heroes themselves
-Clunky and predictable
-Steppenwolf

Score: B-

Thor Ragnarok review

I’m Thor, you’re Thor? Well it hurt
Once again, this whole broadcast has been brought to you by sand! It’s everywhere!

Thor Ragnarok is the third and final Thor movie and Marvel Cinematic Universe movie of 2017. Thor 3 is the very first MCU movie to have a main female antagonist Hela, so I’ll talk about her first. It is refreshing to see a main female antagonist in the Marvel movie and Cate Blanchett put a lot of effort and ham to make this character enjoyable. Doug Walker said in his review of this movie that every green MCU villain (Loki, Vulture, and Hela) are the good ones and he’s kind of right.

Sakaar is a really cool location. I like the design, the use of colors, the music, the costumes, The Grandmaster and Valkyrior are good additions and Korg steals the show whenever he’s on screen. The Incredible Hulk also steals the show and I like that he actually speaks clearly when he’s green. Pretty much anything on Sakaar is great. It’s a way better setting than the desert or Svartalfheim.

The comedy in the movie is really funny.  I think the first joke that really made me laugh my ass off was when Thor returns to Asgard and finds Loki “disguised as Odin” watching a play on Loki’s death (I won’t give away who plays Loki). Thor greets “Odin” and Odin replies “Oh Shit”. The way Anthony Hopkins delivers that line is hilarious. I don’t want to mention any more jokes because 1. I don’t want to spoil them, 2. If I were to talk about these jokes this would take too much time. Also Doctor Strange’s scene was great, just check it out.

While the movie is funny it does lead to my main problem with the movie. When I first heard about Thor Ragnarok it said that it was going to be darker and edgier. I was thinking it would be kind of like the Gravity Falls episode Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future, mostly void of humor and setting up the finale. This problem mostly out of expectation than what we got. Thor 3 at least take risks in changing the status quo. Spoiler Warning from here on: Odin dies, Thor’s hammer is destroyed, Thor loses his eye, Asgard is destroyed, and worse of all Thor’s hair gets cut. Curse you Stan Lee cameo! There no oh his hammer is fixed or Odin comes back to life scenarios that fix the status quo, everything is changed and I really like the risks it took in the end.

This is definitely my favorite Thor movie and maybe my favorite Marvel movie of 2017. It’s one of the most fun and hilarious Marvel movies and a great conclusion to the Thor trilogy.

Verdict:
+Hela
+Sakaar
+Status quo change
+The humor
-Lack of dark tone

Score: A

My Little Pony The Movie review

I’m back from Orlando! Had a great time and now I getting ready to write my top 20 favorite Orlando rides. It will take me some time to think it out but it’ll be worth it. For now I want to review a movie that I’ve waited to see since I left home.

I was excited for this not just because MLP FIM is one of my favorite cartoons, but also because it’s a 2d animated movie. The last fully 2d animated movie I remember seeing was Winnie the Pooh which was in 2011 (Sponge Out of Water had live action). Watching a 2d movie in the theater now is like watching one of those once every 100 years comets. I’ve always been excited when movies based on cartoons like the Nickelodeon movies came to theaters. If it was all computer animated then I wouldn’t have been excited.

The animation is really good. Though Canterlot does look a bit odd compared to the one in the TV show. At first I thought the character designs of the Mane 6 looked a bit too cutesy but they still had good expressions and smooth animation. Though is it me or does the animation style seem similar to Penn Zero Part Time Hero? Still, I wasn’t really bothered by the animation because it was just nice to see 2d on the big screen again.

The new characters do have good designs and actors that put their best into their roles. Voice and design aside however they are kind of weak. The Storm King only shows up for a stupid skype joke and the 3rd half of the movie. The new characters the Mane 6 come across in one scene and then come together in the climax, it doesn’t give us enough time to get to know them, and Songbird was just Sia as a pony. I think Tempest was the strongest new character.

The songs were also kind of weak. I went to the bathroom during a few of the songs because they weren’t that catchy or memorable. The only song I think was good was Open your eyes mostly because it did tell Tempest backstory and had an epic feel to it. Come to think of it, Tempest Shadow is one of the strongest things about this movie. I like that she has a broken horn (it must be really painful to break one).

A problem I do have which is also a problem I have with the two-parters in the show is that the supporting characters such as the Cutie Mark crusaders, Starlight Glimmer and others are only background characters. The Two-parters only focus on the Mane 6, Spike, the princesses, and the villain. This is a movie based on a cartoon with many characters, they could have had some of them play a role in the story but to be fair a lot of supporting characters do get cameos. Still did they really have to exclude Discord?!

If you’re wondering yes I do think this is better than all of the Equestria Girls movies. I do think the film is just ok but too be fair most movies based on cartoons are just ok too.  I would recommend this obviously for bronies and fans of the show.

Verdict:
+Animation
+Tempest Shadow
+/- New characters
-Weak Songs
-Show characters

Score: B-