donderdag 30 maart 2017

Top 5 Thursday: Saddest Pixar Moments

Pixar and Disney movies are supposed to make us smile and it should make our day better. But even they have moments that make us ball our eyes out. Here are the saddest moments in Pixar movies.

5. “Wall-E” - Wall-E doesn’t remember Eve
The ending of “Wall-E” was super sad. After sacrificing himself to ensure the Axiom space vessel returns to Earth with the plant, Eve is forced to think quickly and replace the broken parts so Wall-E could live. Upon replacing his broken pieces, his memory is lost and he has no sense of who Eve is and starts doing what he was programmed to do… making trash cubes.

4. “Toy Story 3” - Andy gives his toys away
I think every adult had this feeling once: giving, throwing or putting away your toys because you’re getting to old. Hearing Andy tell Bonnie why these toys are special and how they helped him through is just heartbreaking.

3. “Finding Nemo” - Coral dies
Right at the beginning of the movie? Great idea Pixar. Ripping my heart out! “Finding Nemo” starts with marlin and Coral, as they are looking over their eggs that are about to hatch. But a barracuda disturbs their happiness, takes Coral’s life and all but one egg. Why Pixar, why?

2. “Toy Story 2” - Jessie’s story
I think this was the first Pixar moment that made people weep. Jessie is a super likeable character and hearing her backstory and how she was ditched by her owner just makes me cry like a baby.

1. “Up” - Carl and Ellie’s love story
Pixar delivered perhaps the most emotional segment in animation with the beautiful reflection on the married life of Carl and Ellie. It’s happy and sad at the same time.

They Almost Made the Top 5: “Toy Story 3” The toys face the incinerator,“The Incredibles” Mr. Incredible thinks his family is dead, “Inside Out” Riley Runs Away, “Monsters Inc.” Sully says goodbye to Boo, “Ratatouille” Ego’s flashback

woensdag 29 maart 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 44 - Kong: Skull Island

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy
Runtime: 118 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Toby Kebbell, Thomas Mann, Richard Jenkins

Description: A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

Review: The iconic King Kong has had a full life. In 1933 he started building the Empire State Building. In 1976 there was the first official remake, although the story was different. And Peter Jackson did another try in 2005, with an amazing looking remake that was closer to the original story, but had a lot of extra elements. “Kong: Skull Island” has nothing to do with the original story. it’s a complete new story and has a stunning cast.
“Kong: Skull Island” has a lot of elements for a big blockbuster. It’s action packed, entertaining and it has big monsters. And Kong is who we want to see. But for monster movies, it’s always more exciting and scary if you don’t know what’s lurking in the woods. Kong is shown way to soon, completely. The element of surprise is gone. And in the first half of the film, the makers try to put way too much into the film. All sorts of creatures turn up and they eventually don’t have any purpose, beside just showing us a big ass creature.
The second half of the film is much better. The focus is more on Kong, his battle against the so called Skull Crawlers and how he wants to protect his land.
The characters are disposable. Besides John C. Reilly, who is the only one with any substance and a backstory, is the showstealer. Tom Hiddleston (who looks incredibly hot in this film BTW), Brie Larson and John Goodman are amazing actors, but they really don’t have anything to do. That’s due to the writing, not to their performances. Samuel L. Jackson’s character is also interesting, even though he is one of the most unlikeable characters ever. But he does have substance.
“Kong: Skull Island” is a bit disappointing. It was one of my most anticipating films of 2017, but I wasn’t satisfied at the end. The first half was messy, the second half made up for that a bit. It leaves you with mixed feelings at the end. Is “Kong: Skull Island” a bad movie? No. Could it have been better? A lot!

Rating: 3/ 5

maandag 27 maart 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 43: Me Before You

Director: Thea Sharrock
Genre: Drama/ Romance
Runtime: 110 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Matthew Lewis, Stephen Peacocke, Charles Dance, Jenna Coleman, Brendan Coyle

Description: A girl (Emilia Clarke) in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man (Sam Claflin) she's taking care of.

Review: In “Me Before You”, Emilia Clarke plays Louisa Clark, Lou for short. She is a 26 year old with a love for a colorful wardrobe and no ambitions. She still lives with her parents and gets silly job to support them. When she gets fired from the café she works at, she needs to find a new job. Lou gets a job as caregiver of the paralyzed Will Traynor, a young man that is the complete opposite of Lou. Before the injury, he was a successful banker and lived life to the fullest. When he gets hit by a motorcycle and ends up in wheelchair for life, the ambitious man changes into a bitter and unhappy man. Lou is supposed to makes his life a bit more bearable. At first, they don’t really get along, but the two eventually form an unbreakable bond.
“Me Before You” deals with some really heavy themes, but the screenplay keeps it light. The focus is on the connection between Lou and Will. Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin have perfect chemistry.
Although this movie doesn’t get the best reviews, I’m for once not going to be influenced by that. I loved “Me Before You”, I loved Clarke and Claflin. And one tip: keep the tissues near.

Rating: 5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 42: About Ray

Director: Gaby Delal
Genre: Drama/ Comedy
Runtime: 87 minutes
Year: 2015
Starring: Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning, Susan Sarandon, Tate Donovan

Description: After Ray (Elle Fanning) decides to transition from female to male, Ray's mother, Maggie (Naomi Watts), must come to terms with the decision while tracking down Ray's biological father to get his legal consent.

Review: Worldwide acceptance maybe a long way, but transsexuality reaches a bigger audience nowadays.
In “About Ray” Elle Fanning plays Ramona, Ray. She is sixteen and wants to make the transition from girl to boy, because she always felt more like a boy. Fanning’s performance is really strong. For the testosterone therapy Ray has to go through, she needs consent from both of her parents. But Ray’s father left the family when she was just a baby. Mother Maggie wants the best for Ray, but why does she need to dig up the past.
“About Ray” is a charming drama with little hints of comedy here and there. The cast does a great job, but the film overall never manages to convince completely.

Rating: 3/ 5

zondag 26 maart 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 41: Star Trek Beyond

Director: Justin Lin
Genre: Science Fiction/ Action/ Adventure
Runtime: 122 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella, Deep Roy, John Cho

Description: The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.

Review: It took director Justin Lin a while to turn the “Fast & Furious” series into the success it is now. For the “Star Trek” series it was a little easier, because Lin taking over for “Star Trek Beyond” is an instant success. It’s a great follow up and doesn’t constantly reference the old films and the TV show.
“Star Trek” from 2009 and “Star Trek Into Darkness” from 2013 were trying to build the new Star Trek universe and to reintroduce the characters. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura, Scotty and Chekov finally get to go on their first long space mission in “Star Trek Beyond”, to discover new worlds, civilizations and people.
During a stop, they get a call from the nebula, an unknown part of space where there is no communication possible with the Starfleet. It is a bit suspicious, but the heroes from the Enterprise can’t ignore the call and decide to help them. But they are ambushed and end up on an unknown planet.
The villain is played by Idris Elba, who is unrecognizable but still manages to show his charisma through layers of make-up. Another newcomer is Sofia Boutella as Jaylah.
The film has a high tempo, which makes it feel rushed at times. But the action scenes are great, never over the top. I was sceptic about this film, “Star Trek Beyond” is a really good movie. I didn’t expect that. This “Star Trek” series is very solid.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 40: It's a Wonderful Life

Director: Frank Capra
Genre: Drama/ Romance
Runtime: 130 minutes
Year: 1946
Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Beulah Bondi, Henry Travers, Thomas Mitchell, Gloria Grahame, Frank Faylen, Ward Bond, H.B. Warner, Frank Albertson, Todd Karns, Samuel S. Hinds, Mary Treen, Viginia Patton

Description: An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman (James Stewart) by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Review: Frank Capra’s classic is definitely a feel-good film, but it’s not as overly sweet as you might think. Sometimes the tone of the film is a bit serious and grim. And the sweet, romantic moments are acted out so honest and professional, that it’s impossible not to feel with them.
George Bailey doesn’t want to work in his father’s business, but wants to discover the world and really become someone. When his father passes away and the company is about to be taken over by the evil Mr. Potter, George has no choice but run the company himself. George marries Mary and starts a family.
George builds a life in Bedford Falls, but wants to offer more to Mary. He still wants to see the world and become an important man. George is about to go bankrupt and doesn’t see the point of anything anymore. An angel is send to him in the form of Clarence, who shows George what life would have been like if he was never born.
The story of “It’s a Wonderful Life” is timeless and this is probably James Stewart’s best role ever. It’s a classic and a film that should be seen by every movie fan.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

Movie Trailer Sunday (285)

Here are this week's trailers.

Queen of the Desert
Director: Werner Herzog
Description: A chronicle of Gertrude Bell's life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century.
Starring: Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Robert Patterson, Damian Lewis
Trailer: Trailer "Queen of the Desert"
Comment: IMDb says 2015, so why is this movie trailer just coming out?

The Wizard of Lies
Director: Barry Levinson
Description: The story of Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme.
Starring: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeifer, Alessandro Nivola, Hank Azaria
Trailer: Trailer "The Wizard of Lies"
Comment: It's a HBO TV movie.

Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Description: A ticking-clock thriller following Winston Churchill in the 24 hours before D-Day.
Starring: Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, John Slattery, James Purefoy
Trailer: Trailer "Churchill"

Justice League
Director: Zack Snyder
Description: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's (Henry Cavill) selfless act, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), to face an even greater enemy.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Amy Adams, Connie Nielsen, Amber Heard, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Diane Lane, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Eisenberg, Billy Crudup, Ciarán Hinds,
Trailer: Trailer "Justice League"
Comment: Where's Superman in this trailer?

Director: Dean Devlin, Danny Cannon
Description: When the network of satellites designed to control the global climate start to attack Earth, it's a race against the clock to uncover the real threat before a worldwide geostorm wipes out everything and everyone.
Starring: Gerard Butler, Abbie Cornish, Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess
Trailer: If the movie is as bad as the trailer, we're in for a treat!
Comment: Trailer "Geostorm"

vrijdag 24 maart 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 39: The Artist

Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Genre: Comedy/ Drama/ Romance
Runtime: 100 minutes
Year: 2011
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Missi Pyle, John Goodmna, Malcolm McDowell, Penelope Ann Miller, Beth Grant, James Cromwell, Joel Murray

Description: A silent movie star meets a young dancer, but the arrival of talking pictures sends their careers in opposite directions.

Review: In 1899 the first experiments to combine sound and film took place, but it was three decades later when the eventually executed this plan. In 1927 America was ready for it, with “The Jazz Singer”. The transition from silent film to a film with sound, forms the base of “The Artist”. It’s a modern day silent film, in black and white, about fictional movie star George Valentin. He can’t adapt to this transition and gets into trouble, but also eventually finds love.
Many Hollywood stars from the silent movie era, saw their careers end, because they seemed old fashioned or their voice didn’t match their image. In “The Artist” George Valentin is such a star. He is successful as an actor and makes equally successful movies.
His influence is that big, that the young, unknown Peppy Miller gets a role in his movie and eventually becomes a big star herself. George doesn’t believe in movies with sound and quits the studio to makes his own films. His first film is a huge flop, his wife leaves him and he goes bankrupt.
“The Artist” does a masterful job in mimicking the atmosphere of a silent movie from the twenties, without imitating other films. It manages to also feel modern and fresh, when you have the feeling you’re watching a classic film.
Silent movies always proof how essential music is for a movie. And facial expressions and body language. Because there is no spoken dialogue, the viewer has to depend on all this to follow the story. some dialogue is shown in written words, but it’s very minimal.
I’m so glad movie like this get a green light, Hollywood needs this. What “La La Land” did for musical in 2016, “The Artist” did for the silent film.

Rating: 5/ 5

donderdag 23 maart 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 38: Eurotrip

Director: Jeff Schaffer, Alec Berg, David Mandel
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 96 minutes
Year: 2004
Starring: Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Kristen Kreuk, Michelle Trachtenberg, Matt Damon, Travis Wester, Fred Armisen, Jeffrey Tambour

Description: Dumped by his girlfriend, a high school grad decides to embark on an overseas adventure in Europe with his friends

Review: The teen comedy “Eurotrip” is from the same producers that made “Road Trip” and “Old School”. You know what to expect: juvenile humor and a lot of sex jokes. “Old School” I loved, “Road Trip” was fun, but “Eurotrip” is basically “Road Trip” set in Europe. And the jokes are not as funny.
Scott has a German friend, Mieke, that he has been e-mailing for a while. When Mieke e-mails him that he wants to meet him, Scott freaks out and thinks he is a pervert. Scott breaks contact, but then finds out that Mieke is a very hot girl. Together with his friend Cooper, he travels to Berlin to find Mieke.
What’s next is a trip through Europe, because straight to Berlin is somehow not an option (?). They meet up with two other friends and visit London, Paris, Rome, Bratislava and Amsterdam. And all filled with (sexual) adventures. And it’s anything but original and all stereotypical. Amsterdam is the drug capitol of the world and only knows for its red light district. In Germany there is off course a really bad Hitler joke. Hooligans in London. The makers think they are clever, but they are not. It’s super lame.
The leading actors don’t really do anything memorable. It’s the smaller roles that make you laugh, like roles played by Vinnie Jones, Matt Damon and Fred Armisen. That’s actually the only thing that I found funny.
“Eurotrip” is a really bad comedy, I didn’t enjoy it at all. One star for the cameos.

Rating: 1/ 5

zondag 19 maart 2017

Movie Trailer Sunday (284)

Here are this week's trailers.

Early Man
Director: Nick Park
Description: Set at the dawn of time, when dinosaurs and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of how one plucky caveman unites his tribe against a mighty enemy and saves the day!
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Redmayne, Maisie Williams
Trailer: Trailer "Early Man"
Comment: I LOVE claymation, it looks so amazing. Can't wait for "Early Man".

Despicable Me 3
Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda, Eric Guillon
Description: Balthazar Bratt, a child star from the 1980s, hatches a scheme for world domination.
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Jenny Slate, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan,Trey Parker
Trailer: Trailer "Despicable Me 3"
Comment: Is this going to be one of those never ending franchises?

Director: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina
Description: Coco follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who sets off a chain of events relating to a century-old mystery, leading to an extraordinary family reunion.
Starring: Benjamin Bratt, Gael Garcia Bernal,
Trailer: Trailer "Coco"
Comment: Yay, Pixar!!!

Voice From the Stone
Director: Eric D. Howell
Description: Set in 1950s Tuscany, Voice from the Stone is the haunting and suspenseful story of Verena (Emilia Clarke), a solemn nurse drawn to aid a young boy who has fallen silent since the sudden passing of his mother.
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Marton Csokas
Trailer: Trailer "Voice From the Stone"
Comment: It's great to see Emilia Clarke in something else than "Game of Thrones".

The Transfiguration
Director: Michael O'Shea
Description: When troubled teen Milo, who has a fascination with vampire lore, meets the equally alienated Sophie, the two form a bond that begins to blur Milo's fantasy into reality.
Starring: Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine
Trailer: Trailer "The Transfiguration"
Comment: It reminds me of "Let the Right One In" and I loved it. So hopefully this is another one fo those rare horror gems.

zondag 12 maart 2017

Movie Trailer Sunday (283)

Here are this week's trailers.

Carrie Pilby
Director: SUsan Johnson
Description: A person of high intelligence (Bel Powley) struggles to make sense of the world as it relates to morality, relationships, sex and leaving her apartment.
Starring: Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne, Vanessa Bayer, Jason Ritter
Trailer: Trailer "Carrie Pilby"
Comment: Yes! I hope it's as good as it looks!

Director: Joseph Cedar
Description: Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere) is a small time operator who befriends a young politician at a low point in his life. Three years later, when the politician becomes an influential world leader, Norman's life dramatically changes for better and worse.
Starring: Richard Gere, Michael Sheen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dan Stevens, Steve Buscemi, Hank Azaria
Trailer: Trailer "Norman"
Comment: Richard Gere is back, I love him!

Rough Night
Director: Lucia Aniello
Description: A male stripper ends up dead at a Miami beach house during a bachelorette party weekend
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Zoë Kravitz, Kate McKinnon, Demi Moore, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Ty Burrell
Trailer: Trailer "Rough Night"
Comment: Wasn't there "Very Bad Things". This is basically that, but with women. Maybe it's really good!

Atomic Blonde
Director: David Leitch
Description: An undercover MI6 agent (Charlize Theron) is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.
Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, John Goodman, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan
Trailer: Trailer "Atomic Blonde"
Comment: Charlize Theron is super sexy and kick ass in this trailer. Can't wait!

Baby Driver
Director: Edgar Wright
Description: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Flea
Trailer: Trailer "Baby Driver"
Comment: I love Edgar Wright, I'm super excited for this film!!!

vrijdag 10 maart 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 37: The Addams Family Values

Director: Barry Sonnefeld
Genre: Comedy/ Fantasy/ Horror
Runtime: 94 minutes
Year: 1993
Starring: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci, Joan Cusack, David Krumholtz, Carel Struycken, Christine Baranski, Peter MacNichol, David Hyde Pierce, Nathan Lane, Tony Shalhoub

Description: A comical Gothic horror-movie-type family tries to rescue their beloved uncle from his gold-digging new love.

Review: If you love macabre humor, this sequel to “The Addams Family” is right up your alley. And “The Addams Family Values” manages to keep the magic of the first film intact.
The family welcomes a new member, baby boy Pubert. Gomez and Morticia are very happy with their new baby, but his siblings Wednesday and Pugsley aren’t. they are trying to do everything to get rid of him. The Addams family decides to hire a nanny, in the form of Debbie. In real life she is a serial killer, who marries rich men to then eventually kill them and take their money. Her eyes are on Fester this time. And Wednesday and Pugsley are send to summer camp.
Probably the best parts of the film are set on Camp Chippawa and Wednesday, played by Christina Ricci, steals all the scenes.
Director Barry Sonnenfeld is energetic and inventive. Great eye for detail and a wonderful way to bring this family to life. Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston and Christopher Lloyd are again great in their roles and Joan Cusack is a lot of fun to watch.
Again the story isn’t that complicated, but it’s a good move to let the kids of the family have their own adventure. “The Addams Family Values” is not as good as the first film, but it’s not very far from it.

Rating: 4/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 36: The Addams Family

Director: Barry Sonnefeld
Genre: Comedy/ Fantasy/ Horror
Runtime: 99 minutes
Year: 1991
Starring: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci, Dan Hedaya, Carel Struycken

Description: Con artists plan to fleece an eccentric family using an accomplice who claims to be their long-lost uncle.

Review: In this satirical film, we meet the Addams family, an eccentric family with an extraordinary lifestyle and interested in death and destruction. Most people find them weird, but they are a surprisingly loving family. Father Gomez has been looking for his long lost brother Fester for years. Con artists see this as an opportunity to get money out of them.
Actor Raul Julia plays the role of Gomez formidable. He is a decadent gentleman who loves his wife to death. Angelica Huston plays his wife Morticia. Calm and collected, with perfection. Christoper Lloyd plays Uncle Fester, and it shows that he had a lot of fun doing it. A very young Christina Ricci portrays daughter Wednesday, a very down and morbid girl with intelligence. She is probably my favorite character of the family.
The story isn’t complicated, but the execution is done very well. The cast rbings the family to life and the décor and costumes are amazing. “The Addams Family” is a timeless comedy that is now just ast entertaining as it was in the nineties.

Rating: 5/ 5

donderdag 9 maart 2017

Top 5 Thursday: Movie Plot Twists

I hate predictable movies, movies that are anything but surprising. So when a film has an twist that you didn’t expect, it makes my day. Here are my five favorite plot twists in movies. Warning: *SPOILER ALERT*

5. The Empire Strikes Back
As the rebel alliance runs from Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker is trained to become a Jedi Knight. When Luke abandons his training to save his friends from Darth Vader, he finds out that he is his father.

4. Planet of the Apes
Three astronauts crash land on an unknown planet. On this planet, apes rule the world, while humans are considered second class citizens. The final scene sees the surviving astronaut stumble upon a half-sunken statue of liberty. He has been on planet earth all along.

3. Seven
Two detectives, Somerset and Mills, search for a serial killer obsessed with the seven deadly sins. In the end, killer John Doe, decides to lead the detectives to his final two bodies. When they arrive, they find a box. In the box is the head of Mills’ wife. Doe admits to have killed her out of envy and challenges Mills to kill him, making wrath the seventh and final sin.

2. The Sixth Sense
Dr. Malcolm Crowe attempts to help a young boy, who sees dead people. In the end it appears that Crowe has been dead himself the whole time.

1. The Usual Suspects
Five criminals plot against the police after being called in for a crime they didn’t commit, but begin to uncover a larger plot stemming from legendary criminal Keyser Soze. But who is he. In the final scene we see that it’s the pretending to be cripple Verbal Kint.

They Almost Made the Top 5: Psycho, Fight Club, Chinatown, Primal Fear, Fallen, Memento, The Prestige, Shutter Island

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 35: Kubo and the Two Strings

Director: Travis Knight
Genre: Animation/ Adventure, Fantasy
Runtime: 102 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Rooney Mara

Description: A young boy named Kubo (Art Parkinson) must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.

Review: When you think of animation, you think of Disney or Pixar. Maybe also Dreamworks, but probably not LAIKA Entertainment. It’s a smaller company that started in 2005 and is specialized in stop-motion animation. It did make some successful movies: “Coraline”, “ParaNorman” and “The Boxtrolls”. Smaller films that have atmosphere, are artistic and cost hundreds of hours of work. Why “Kubo and the Two Strings” didn’t win the Academy Award for best animation is beyond me.
Together with his mother, the one-eyed boy Kubo lives in a cave nearby a small village. His mother fleed for her father, Kubo’s grandfather, the evil Moon Kind who killed Kubo’s father Hanzo. Kubo’s mother lives in a catatonic state ever since Hanzo died, so Kubo needs to take care of the both of them. He is known for his storytelling. Every day he tells stories about his late father, with his guitar. It’s a magical instrument which makes paper move and turn into origami art and form the most beautiful images for his stories. When Kubo’s hiding place is discovered, he has to step into his father’s footsteps. He gets the help of a strict white monkey and a heroic beetle.
The film looks amazing, perfect to every detail. Everything created by hand, so much love and hard work has been put in to this film. Stop-motion always fascinates me, it amazes me, it blows my mind. The movements of all the characters are so fluent. It’s an extraordinary film.
The story has all the ingredients of a classic adventure story: a young hero taken under the wing by a mentor, looking for a magical weapon and discovering powers to help him beat the enemy. But this classic adventure story has some adult themes: grieving, forgiveness, keeping memories alive by telling stories. None of these themes are forced, just like the moral of the story.
“Kubo and the Two Strings” is an animation every kid should see. Imagination, adventure, emotion, deeper layers. And the film looks amazing. It’s a piece of art.

Rating: 5/ 5

woensdag 8 maart 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 34: Logan

Director: James Mangold
Genre: Drama/ Action/ Science Fiction/ Thriller
Runtime: 137 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant

Description: In the near future, a weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) cares for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.

Review: There aren’t a lot of Hollywood stars that stayed so true to their break through roles as Hugh Jackman. For “Logan” he portrays the role of Wolverine for the ninth time. For about seventeen years he carried this role, starting with “X-Men”. “Logan” takes the super out of superhero. Jackman plays Wolverine for the last time, and he was never better.
It’s 2029 and the world is not doing well. Logan is a broken man: he drinks, curses and doesn’t care about the world. He works as a limo driver and also takes care of Charles Xavier, who is old and ill. Logan himself isn’t in the best physical shape either. He doesn’t heal as quickly as he did before. They are the only mutants left, until they find a girl named Laura.
Wolverine has always been the rougher character in the X-Men series, but in “Logan” he is rougher than ever. Jackman gives his all here, it looks like he had to hold back in all the other films he played Wolverine in. The film is rated R. It’s explicit, raw, bloody and very violent. And it all looks fantastic. The choreography of the fight scenes is amazing.
Director James Mangold clearly doesn’t like the stereotypical superhero. In the previous film “The Wolverine” he showed that he had more affinity with the human side of Logan than his powers. In “Logan” that’s also the focus.
When Laura comes into Logan’s life, you expect it to be emotional. But the connection between the two never gets too sentimental. I loved “Logan”, it’s a fantastic film. My favorite X-Men film and a worthy good bye to Hugh Jackman as this iconic character.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

zondag 5 maart 2017

Movie Trailer Sunday (282)

Here are this week's trailers.

Alien: Covenant
Director: Ridley Scott
Description: The crew of a colony ship discover an uncharted paradise, with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.
Starring: Danny McBride, Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, James Franco, Noomi Rapace, Billy Crudup, Guy Pearce
Trailer: Trailer "Alien: Covenant"
Comment: The aliens terrify me, also in this trailer. This is hopefully as good as it looks.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Director: James Gunn
Description: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' continues the team's adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) true parentage.
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan, Sylvester Stallone, Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker, Tommy Flanagan, Glenn Close,
Trailer: Trailer "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"
Comment: The 2017 movie I'm most excited for. Now even MORE!!!

How to Be a Latin Lover
Director: Ken Marino
Description: Finding himself dumped after 25 years of marriage, a man (Eugenio Derbez) who made a career of seducing rich older women, must move in with his estranged sister (Salma Hayek), where he begins to learn the value of family.
Starring: Eugenio Derbez, Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, Rob Riggle, Michael Cera, Rob Corddry, Raquel Welch
Trailer: Trailer "How to Be a Latin Lover"
Comment: This looks really funny.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Director: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Description: Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.
Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Stephen Graham, Orlando Bloom, David Wenham, Brenton Thwaites
Trailer: Trailer "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales"
Comment: Yet another one. Don't know if I have to be excited for this.

The Promise
Director: Terry George
Description: Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, The Promise follows a love triangle between Michael, a brilliant medical student, the beautiful and sophisticated Ana, and Chris - a renowned American journalist based in Paris.
Starring: Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, Tom Hollander, James Cromwell, Jean Reno
Trailer: Trailer "The Promise"
Comment: Good cast!

donderdag 2 maart 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 33: Mother's Day

Director: Garry Marshall
Genre: Drama/ Comedy
Runtime: 118 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Jason Sudeikis, Julia Roberts, Britt Robertson, Timothy Olyphant, Shay Mitchell, Sarah Chalke, Jon Lovitz, Hector Elizondo, Larry Miller, Jack Whitehall

Description: Three generations come together in the week leading up to Mother's Day.

Review: Mother’s Day is the day that we celebrate all the great mothers on the planet. They deserved their own film, but this is not really the tribute I was hoping for.
We follow several stories revolving around mothers a week before Mother’s Day. Jesse has to solve a fight with her mother, but also kept it a secret that she married an Indian man and together they have a son. Her sister also hides something, the fact that she is gay. Kristen is adopted and wants to meet her biological mom: career lady Miranda. Sandy has to share mother’s day with her ex-husband’s new wife, who is much younger than her. And Bradley and his daughters are still struggling after their wife/ mother’s death.
We had “New Year’s Eve” and “Valentine’s Day”, which weren’t all that great to begin with. “Mother’s Day” isn’t either. I liked Jennifer Aniston, but I always like her. But the rest of the cast is a bit bland. And that story of Jess was just oo ridiculous. She and her sister kept such a big secret, because their parents are pretty racist and not very open minded. And everything is forgiven and forgotten in literally one second. Not believable at all.
I don’t think “Mother’s Day” is film that would make a lot of mothers happy. It’s hardly funny, super cliché and predictable. Out of all the assemble films with multiple storylines, that eventually cross paths, there is only one film in this genre that wins. And it’s not by Garry Marshall (it’s “Love Actually”, in case you were wondering). So if you want to watch a film with your mom on mother’s day, don’t watch this.

Rating: 2/ 5

Top 5 Thursday: Movies I Wacthed for My Challenge (February 2016)

What a good movie month! Let’s see which were my favorite for the month of February.

5. Stoker
A weird film, but weird in a very good way. A movie that was overlooked or at least didn’t get enough praise. The performances are great and the cinematography is pure art.

4. Manchester By the Sea
Not a happy story, it’s actually quite depressing. But “Manchester By the Sea” is an amazing drama. Casey Affleck proofs he can easily carry a film, especially now that he has taken home the Academy Award for best leading actor. Well deserved!

3. Colonia
The story interested me and I loved “Colonia”. This movie doesn’t get the praise it really deserves, because a lot of people just haven’t seen it. It flew pretty much under the radar. Sad, because “Colonia” is such a good film.

2. Anatomy of a Murder
My New Year’s resolution of watching more classic films is still going strong. I’m a fan of James Stewart, he is one of my favorite classic actors. I loved him in “Anatomy of a Murder”, which can easily be called THE courtroom drama.

1. Control
Director Anton Corbijn did such a fantastic job with “Control”. It’s such a good portrait of Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division. The way it was filmed, the way the story is told. Bravo!

They Almost Made the Top 5: Safety Not Guaranteed, Glengarry Glen Ross, Selma

woensdag 1 maart 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 32: Loving

Director: Jeff Nichols
Genre: Drama/ Romance
Runtime: 123 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Will Dalton, Dean Mumford, Terri Abney, Alano Miller, Chris Greene, Benjamin Booker, Justin Robinson, Dennis Williams, Keith Tyree, Sharon Blackwood, Rebecca Turner, Christopher Mann, Mike Shiflett, Winter-Lee Holland, Karen Vicks, Lance Lemon, Marquis Adonis Hazelwood, Marton Csokas

Description: The story of Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga), an interracial couple, whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court.

Review: It should be very simple: a man and a woman meet each other, fall in love en eventually get married. But if one of them is white and the other is black in the south of America in the fifties/ sixties, it’s against the law.
This happens to Richard Loving and his pregnant wife Milfred in the state of Virginia. The marry in 1958 and soon after that, they are taken by the police from their own house while they are sleeping. A smart lawyer manages to get them on parole, but they can’t live together in Virginia for at least 25 years. Years later, the couple takes this so supreme court, in the hope this ridiculous law will change.
The story is touching and it this insane true story makes you mad. But somehow the movie didn’t grab me as much as I thought it would. I really wanted to love this movie. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good movie. Especially Ruth Negga’s performance really impressed me. She says so much with just her eyes.
“Loving” is a movie with a strong message, but doesn’t have the emotional load I hoped for.

Rating: 3,5/ 5