Klaus

A long time ago, director Sergio Pablos set up an animation studio in Spain, in his homeland. He had worked for Disney in the 90’s, on such films like Hercules and Tarzan as an animator. He believed in 2D animation still, and didn’t want to make CGI movies, so he decided to focus his studio on just that. 2D, hand drawn, animation, but with upgrades from the technical side to make other parts easier.

And from his mad, Amish brained body came the movie Klaus.

They wanted dynamic backgrounds and characters, and not just one or the other. They wanted to capture the magic of animation again and really pour their heart and soul into the picture.

And hey, if you want to capture magic, why not start with a little bit of Santa action?

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Pictured: A little bit of Santa action.

Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) is a piece of work, I tell you what. He has lived a privileged life, his father in charge of the post offices around the world, and he hasn’t had to do much. So when he is put into the postman program for training, he doesn’t take it seriously and he slacks off. Despite this, his father still decides to send him to Smeerensburg, a tiny island far, far North, away from everything.

Jesper’s goal is handle at least 6,000 letters within a year, in the city or our of the city, and get the post office up and running. It sounds bad, but it is actually worse than he imagined. In this city, very few people are out and about. In fact, they are a town known for holding grudges and fighting.

There are two ruling families, the Ellingboes and the Krums, who have been fighting for decades, and won’t be nice at all. This means they don’t go to school. They don’t do nice things. They don’t frolic down the streets. And they definitely have no need to send any letters.

Well, thanks to circumstances, a child’s picture makes its way to Jesper and the lone woodsman in his cabin (J.K. Simmons), who decides that the picture needs a gift. So he demands that Jesper deliver the child a toy that he has created.

This spreads throughout the village kids, and they also want to make letters for toys. This is a good idea, thinks Jesper, this will get him back home to his luxury.

Also featuring the voices of Rashida Jones, Joan Cusack, Will Sasso, and Norm MacDonald.

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Pictured: Not home in his luxury. 

Klaus blew me away on so many levels.

The first, worthy of talking about, is the animation style. It was a breath of fresh air! Much like how Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse changed the animation game last year, from American movie releases, Klaus is doing the same thing. The traditional 2D animation is so gosh darn full of visual pleasure that every frame feels more than a painting. The backgrounds, the characters, the details, everything is so full.

The story, a re-imagining of the story of Santa, is also a lot more unique. It isn’t a guy just trying to bring toys to kids who banned fun, or whatever those older stop motion cartoons said. It is creative, so despite hearing about Santa all my life, it was refreshing to see a new take on it. A legit, new take.

The voice acting was really well, although Schwartzman sounded liked David Spade at parts of the film (probably just because of MacDonald’s voice to get me in that 90’s SNL mood).

This film had a lot of darker moments early on, and so the transition from dark to gushy Christmas spirit was a nice and welcome one, instead of starting high and Christmas and leaving us sick of it. This feels like a new holiday classic to me. Something that can pair nicely with A Nightmare Before Christmas.

The only way it could be better is if it was a musical as well. Or maybe not. I’ll take it the way it is.

4 out of 4.

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Did you see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? It was a documentary about Mr. Rogers, came out last year, it is amazing and the best documentary of 2018. It wasn’t nominated for an Oscar though, because everything is stupid and life is meaningless.

Wait wait wait wait. I shouldn’t say that. Mr. Rogers would certainly disagree with that statement.

And in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood we have to look at Fred Rogers and get judged all the while, because it is hard to live up to perfection.

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How can he interact with kids all day, and keep his house clean at the same time?
It’s a beautiful day in the late 90’s, and Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) is a journalist. He writes for Esquire, and has a history of really going hard after people. He is an investigative reporter, he brings up dirt, he exposes people, and a lot of people don’t want to work with him now. He also recently had a baby with his wife (Susan Kelechi Watson), who has stopped work to stay with their baby boy.

And sure, things are tough. He actually recently got in a fist fight at his sister’s third wedding, dealing with his estranged father (Chris Cooper) who wanted to recently reconnect after a really rough childhood.

And now? And now Lloyd has to go to Pittsburgh to interview Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) for a fluff piece for his magazine. They are going to do a story on heroes. He only needs 400 words, barely anything. And well, Lloyd things that he can crack him. That there is someone different underneath the Mr. Rogers facade.

But while trying to get to the real Fred Rogers, it turns out that Lloyd is being cracked open as well.

Also starring Maryann Plunkett, Wendy Makkena, Enrico Colantoni, and Christine Lahti.

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How dare a journalist learn something about themselves in an interview. How shocking!

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is going to suffer due to poor advertising on the reality of the film.

First of all, a movie about a journalist interviewing a celebrity and it changing their lives is not a new subject. Just recently we had The End of the Tour and My Dinner with Henre, it is certainly turning into some sort of trope. And with advertising it is not really super clear that this is the case for this film, unlike the previous two mentioned.

No, this looks like a movie about Mr. Rogers! Doing Mr. Rogers stuff! Being humble and awesome! And sure, that happens in this movie, but so, so, so much of the focus is on the journalist dealing with his issues, and Mr. Rogers being the magical other person fixing his life with positivity.

But the issue is, and no offense to the real journalist, no one cares about him. Those parts drag down the film. I went in wanting Rogers, and sure, he was in it. His style his way of talking, his voice, his show. They were all featured and a major aspect. And yet, who cares, no big deal, I wan’t more.

Watch the documentary if you want a better Rogers experience. And yes, Hanks does good at the acting.

2 out of 4.

Lady and the Tramp

I was wrong! Recently I released reviews for all of the Disney remakes this year (2019 for you future folk), all together instead of spaced out throughout the week. It was Dumbo, The Lion King, and Aladdin.

Silly me, it looked like only three remakes would occur from Disney in this year. But as Yoda says, there is another.

Lady and the Tramp was probably meant to go to theaters at some point, but they realized it didn´t have as big of a draw as other remakes, and instead decided to just put it out on Disney+ as an opening day movie.

Heck, I saw it up there and for some days just assumed that it was a TV series. Well its out, and here is a damn rushed review.

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Aww, look at the little puppy. Someone pet her right now!

Jim Dear (Thomas Mann) and Darling (Kiersey Clemons) are an American rich couple living in a nice house/city in the early 1900´s. If I had to guess, I´d say 1920´s or 30´s based on the cars at the time, and no talk of war. No one finds this weird, so let us move on! They also recently got a puppy that they named Lady (Tessa Thompson).

Well Lady has lived a privileged life, hanging with her neighbor dogs (Sam Elliott, Ashley Jensen), getting collars, and nice food. But her owners are pregnant and a baby is on the way. A scrappy dog named Tramp (Justin Theroux) warns her that babies mean bad news for doggies.

Sure enough, it does, because the owners are overwhelmed. Thanks to a trip and some cats and some confusion, Lady finds herself collar-less, and in the big city, having to rely on Tramp to save her from the dogcatcher (Adrian Martinez). This is also where she will learn that even the scrappiest of dogs have good hearts. Just not cats, they suck.

Also starring Yvette Nicole Brown, and the voices of Janelle Monae and Benedict Wong.

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Let´s face it, this is the only reason you are here. 

In the original Lady and the Tramp, not a lot happens. It is a product of its time, no one is really too evil. We have a dog catcher, some cats, and a rat. And that is very much true here as well.

There are not many changes from the source material. Jock is now voiced by a woman, whatever. The couple is interracial and the town very diverse, really weird for the time, but again, whatever. They changed the Siamese cats, which makes sense, to two regular cats and they have a very different song. If they had to change one thing, that is the big one. Oh, and there is no Beaver.

So what we have is basically just a regular remake. Nothing fundamentally different, nothing new to offer, just showing it in a new way. And honestly, it looks really great. The CGI pets are all really well done, and the voice acting is not as jarring as it was for The Lion King.

The spaghetti scene was cute and the songs were fine.

I am giving this movie an average review, basically because of how nice it looks. It is not going to blow you away, it does not change the game, and it is not going to get an serious consideration for watching in my own household. But if they had to remake something and not completely make it worse, this is a good way to go about it.

2 out of 4.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Illumination entertainment keeps putting out movies, and they keep remaining less than stellar and below average, sometimes even bad and horrible. They rose to fame with Minions and forgot that if they want to compete with the big boys they need good stories, not just retreads of old movies.

The first Secret Life of Pets was basically just Toy Story, but with pets, and more violence to make it worse. Fun.

And in between the movies, we had all the bad Louis C.K. stuff, after they already announced The Secret Life of Pets 2! Oh no, will they recast the dog or replace him completely? They went with recasting. And they must have focused entirely on the recasting, because they couldn’t even come up with a single good story for this sequel to exist, with technically limitless possibilities.


Just dogs doing dog things.

Max (Patton Oswalt, a change!) and Duke (Eric Stonestreet) are now good pals, living together, being great. But there is going to be a change in the house. An addition??? Yes, a baby. Something that changes their lives, but something Max feels very protective over. And before the kid can go to school, they take the dogs to a farm to hang out? To have a vacation, I don’t remember at all.

While Max learns to be a better dog, he leaves a toy with Gidget (Jenny Slate) who has a whole big adventure with cats because of that.

And also Snowball (Kevin Hart), now a nice happy pet, likes to pretend he is a super hero. And by doing that, he has to help save a white tiger from a mean circus guy, which puts them on the run from these scary wolf guys who want the tiger back.

Also starring Harrison Ford, Tiffany Haddish, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Bobby Moynihan, Hannibal Buress, and Ellie Kemper.


Hey, that’s not a real cat. You’re a phony!

What do I mean when I say no single good story? Because this film needed to have three main stories instead, and loosely (read: Badly) bringing them together at the end to pretend this was a coherent thought.

It started off with our leads, but to be honest, the main story seems to really be about Snowball and the tiger. It is the plot that at least sort of brings everything together.

None of these stories on their own are enough to carry this movie. It keeps switching between plots, and honestly, the Max plot just feels like filler, and the Gidget plot has amusing moments, but not enough to be worth it. Hart’s character was the best part of the first film, and so it makes sense for him to have a bigger role, but he was less confident and exciting than the first film, for whatever reason.

I also complained that there was excessive violence in the first film, or at least violence being the solution to the problems. And well, same here. I also complained that we had too many pets driving vehicle ridiculousness, which was a theme for movies that year, and they only sort of did it this time.

Overall, this movie feels like they wanted to just make it a TV series, but were given a bigger budget and put a few ideas together. Gotta rush out those sequels, or else they might have to make more Despicable Me movies!

0 out of 4.

The Lion King

It’s the circle of life, and fifteen years after The Lion King graced our screens, we are now given a new The Lion King. But there is so much different between the two! You see, the one twenty-five years ago was animated, while this one is…animated differently!

Only one scene had some live action components, and that was in the opening montage of animals, some of the backgrounds were real. That is it. Everything else you couldn’t even call a green screen, because it is 100% made on computers.

We just really want you to make sure you don’t call this the Live Action version, like a lot of their recent remakes. It is not, it is still animated, and nothing is real anymore anyways.

hakuna my tatas
Hakuna my tatas, life is a lie.

Ah good. Simba (Donald Glover) exists. Maybe this time his Uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) wont trick him into thinking that he killed his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones). Oh… Think again!

No, but this time it is different. We have more animals! Like, we got this spiritual one, Rafiki (John Kani) who likes to wait around and draw on his walls. We got Nala (Beyoncé) who likes to wrestle, we got super mad Zazu (John Oliver) just trying to give advice, we got Sarabi (Alfre Woodard), mad that her husband had to go and get dead. Okay a lot of that is the same.

Uhhhh, we got Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen), and they like to relax, but this time more animals in the oasis have words too!

Oh, oh, oh, the real difference. None of our hyenas are unable to speak! Yeah that’s it. Nailed it.

Also featuring the voices of Chance the Rapper, Eric André, Florence Kasumba, JD McCray, Keegan-Michael Key, Penny Johnson Jerald, and Shahadi Wright Joseph.

circle of life
“Shit, I was brought into this world just for this?” – Simba, probably.

Let’s take something people like, bring it back again, and make it worse, while also technically improving it. Because sure, the animals looked very realistic, which is what they were going for. Technology sure is wonderful.

And the realistic animals is also the cause of all of the other problems in this movie.

Because they are so realistic, having them talk looks awkward. And more awkward than talking animal films like Homeward Bound, because in Homeward Bound, they didn’t try to match words to their mouth movement, they just put voice overs. Watching the animals talk is distracting and downright wrong. The animals don’t have emotions on their faces either, so when the voice actors ATTEMPT to give emotion, then it is seemingly lost and wasted.

I do say attempt, because honestly, most of the voice acting was phoned in. People coming from the movie usually talk about Eichner and Rogen being the stars, because at least they are funny. Everyone else is super serious all the time. Sure, there are dark moments, but many characters provide laughs in the original.

However, even Rogen falls short for me, because his singing is terrible. I can’t enjoy Hakuna Matata when Rogen is bringing it down. Poor Eichner, actually singing well. Speaking of songs, whatever they did to Be Prepared will forever be seen as one of the biggest mistakes int his films history.

Now, what I am most disappointed about is this movie added almost 30 minutes of material, so I figured we’d get expanded characters. All we really got expanded was Sarabi, and that is barely. We still have a whole trove of lionesses that are just background, and still only three hyenas. No new animals to speak of and introduce as characters.

The only little bit of reprieve we get is in the oasis, where finally some random animals are also talking and adding in words, especially during the grub scene. How do we not have more of that?! It is so easy to do, and plus, more goddamn toys to sell.

Instead we got a movie with worse music, worse voice acting, technically better animation, but a lot less heart.

1 out of 4.

Aladdin

Out of all of the Disney remakes this year, I think Aladdin got the worst rap before it came out. Specifically, no rap at all. Didn’t Will Smith used to make a song before starring in movies? I want the 90’s back. (The 90’s that gave us the Aladdin original).

The people did not like Smith as the Genie. But he had the impossible task of doing what Robin Williams did, in live action with graphics, and not just voice acting. And Williams was crazy good at what he needed to do.

I think a lot of hate came from people who knew nothing of the Broadway version of Aladdin that already existed, where the Genie was typically played by a black man and done in a way like Smith is likely to do.

And hate by people who don’t know about Broadway is hate we can ignore.

genie
This is Smith, ignoring the haters.

Prince Ali, mighty as he, and technically not real. Because that’s not how this story starts.

Instead, we have a street rat named Aladdin (Mena Massoud) with his monkey, Abu. They steal, they give to the poor, and they live lavishly in the city in secret. Well, not rich, but the sites are sweet.

One day, he meets a princess in disguise, Jasmine (Naomi Scott) and they hit it off. He doesn’t know she is a princess though, and it is a surprise to him when he finds that out in the palace! Well, this also gets him arrested, led by the royal vizier, Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), who really just wants to use him to steal a magical lamp from a fucking tiger head sand cave. Whoa.

Anyways, lot of crazy stuff started happening. A genie in a lamp (Will Smith), wishes, and trying to pretend to be a prince to get with a pretty and smart lady. Oh yeah, magic, and lies, and singing.

Also starring Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, Numan Acar, and Navid Negahban.

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This whole knew world has a lot of beards!

With remakes, we are allowed to compare to the originals. This has all of the songs from the original, plus about 2 more given specifically to Jasmine. This film does a great job of expanding Jasmine. In the cartoon, Jasmine feels trapped and then uses her body to help defeat Jafar as a distraction. In this film, she is seen as smarter, wanting to get out, but also doing a lot more shit on her own. She tries to take the lamp, causes more distractions, and just makes sure everyone knows she is here to kick ass. Jasmine is much improved in this version.

Another plus is the Genie. He isn’t improved, but he is different and still fun. The references are nice, the jokes and callbacks work, and he is a fresh face in this film.

Unfortunately, the rest of our leads aren’t as great. Massoud never seems to capture the thrills of the cartoon or whimsy, although I did laugh at his jam jokes. Jafar is so much worse than the cartoon. He barely feels conniving and never that threatening. Iago is completely pointless in this one. The Sultan is really just a body.

The city and palace are full of color, but also seem to feel like cheap imitations. They feel and act like a movie study, and don’t reach any level of realism I’d expect with those Disney budgets. It looks like something they could have made for a TV movie.

Overall, it could have been a lot better. It didn’t have to feel rushed or so fake. It could have made the male leads like, better or at least as good as the cartoon. But the improvements to Jasmine and extra songs are worth admission alone and the best Disney remake of the year.

2 out of 4.

Dumbo

The first of the three Disney remakes this year, Dumbo has always felt like an odd choice for several reasons.

First, the original Dumbo doesn’t have a whole lot of plot going on for it. It is a simple story, so they will have to expand a lot of it in order to be worth a revisit.

Second, it was going to be directed by Tim Burton. For the most part, everything he has touched lately has been pretty shit. It has been five years since Big Eyes and 12 years since Sweeney Todd. A lot of forgettable things in between. Could he reimagine it, or will he just make it his basic Burton brand?

And thirdly, like…who the hell cares about Dumbo? Honestly? I can honestly understand most of the remakes, but I can’t imagine Dumbo was high on the list of the average viewer of something they wanted new and updated.


That doesn’t include the people who say no to every remake.

Our main-est adult character is Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), an amputee from World War I (not called that during the movie) has returned home for work, and well, is going to work for the circus. His old boss (Danny DeVito) gives him the job to take care of the pregnant elephant, and Ms. Jumbo gives birth under his watch to a strange, large ear having elephant baby.

What a weirdo! And when they show him off eventually, the crowd makes fun of him, calls him Dumbo, and that makes his mom so mad, she gets angry and causes a ruckus, so they have to get rid of her. Damn.

Well, Holt’s kids are with him, and Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) take a liking to Dumbo. Shit, they find out he can fly if he has a feather. That sounds fun. That sounds like something that can be exploitable!

And exploit the circus does! More and more stunts, bigger and bigger audiences, more and more money!

Also featuring Michael Keaton, Eva Green, and Alan Arkin.


This frame went on to inspire the film Joker.

The original Dumbo came out in 1941, so that means two things. Honestly, a lot of people have probably never seen it. And sure, 78 years is probably long enough to wait for a remake. Much longer wait for more films. I won’t hurt them for that.

For those that saw the original, there is not a lot of film after Dumbo both learns to fly and learns to do it whenever he feels like it. So a lot of this film takes place after that, which is great. I need expanded stories.

However, they sure picked a dull way to expand his story. Just more exploitation and sadness, and corporations taking over corporations as some weird meta explaining what Disney is doing to everything.

The cast of characters are completely ones that no one will care about. Our lead girl to help inspire the youth of the world has the personality of “liking science” and apparently that is good enough.

And honestly, this whole thing was unappealing to look at. It felt too dark physically at times.The animation never grappled with me, and yes, this film oozes Burton.

I would say this is the biggest live action mistake Disney has done, but I would watch this film a dozen more times before I ever watch either of the Alice films again. Which are directed or produced by Burton too. Ah, now we know where the major problem lies.

0 out of 4.

Last Christmas

After the (lame) success of Bohemian Rhapsody, and then Rocketman, I figured that we might get a George Michael movie also at some point. I mean, he is also British and famous from the 80’s and 90’s.

I just didn’t think it would be like…this.

Last Christmas is a RomCom that is inspired by a George Michael song and also other George Michael things? So it is not a story about George Michael. But I do find it sad that a gay man’s song has been turned into a heterosexual romance movie. But that is what happens when you die. People do whatever they want with your legacy.

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Ew, kissing. 
Life is not going well for Kate (Emilia Clarke). She is technically homeless, in that she crashes on the couches of her friends until they get sick of her. Which is often, as she is klutzy, she likes getting drunk, and she brings strange men to their apartments without permission.

She could live with her mother (Emma Thompson) and father (Boris Isakovic), but since they moved to London from Yugoslavia during the war, they have been too extra. Distant and worrisome. Overbearing. And her sister (Lydia Leonard) hates her as well.

So Kate lives her life couch to couch, working full time at a Christmas store for Santa (Michelle Yeoh), and badly auditioning for musicals with her heart not being fully into it. She loves singing, she wants it as a career, but she can’t get her life together.

And then she meets a man, a Tom man (Henry Golding) who is incredibly weird. He wants her to see the world around her and take things…slow? What the hell is this?

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Santa’s made up, so Santa can be an Asian old lady too.

Last Christmas has some positives! Like Thompson, who is incredibly delightful as an older Eastern European worrisome mother. She is fantastic and completely wasted in this role for the movie. She is one of the main saviors from making this a 0.

I also enjoyed Golding, another one of the leads. I have seen him in a few roles, but in this one he really struck for me. He was a really good ideal dream hunk.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie exists, and what we got on the screen is not worth watching unless you are on the Hallmark channel working on a Christmas movie marathon. We all know that is where this one is destined to be.

Clarke is playing the lead in an anime with her level of klutz, and her transformation doesn’t stick in my eyes. As I thought the movie was building up to be something more endearing, the ending happened and it totally ruined my evening. I won’t go into more details there, but it literally went too dumb.

Also, it clearly didn’t go enough into George Michael. Kate is obsessed with him, and sings like, one of his songs? They went out of their way to say this took place in London, 2017, so we had a setting. You’d think they’d also go out of their way to talk about his death in that same location the year prior. Just seems weird.

1 out of 4.

Jojo Rabbit

Taika Waititi has quickly risen up the ranks of directors that if they make a film, I will want to see it. I don’t even have to realign my values at any point. He already makes films that sound interesting to me, and then I find out he directed it and can get double happy! You know, like those rainbows!

Hunt for the Wilderpeople, his last movie before Thor: Ragnarok, made my top of the year list for 2016.

Now this title of Jojo Rabbit doesn’t scream out anything on its own. Knowing it is about Nazis in WW2 does…not also make anything clearer. Those people going into this movie with a blank slate are going to be quite shocked at what they have picked, but lets be honest, how many people do you think would go into a movie with this title without any advertising?

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This screenshot really just raises more questions than it answers.

Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) is 10 years old, it is 1945, and he loves Hitler! Oh, he is also blonde haired, blue eyed, and in Germany as a German. He has grown up entirely in the Nazi hype, and hasn’t known anything besides the Third Reich.

His mother (Scarlett Johansson) is basically raising him on her own, as his father was sent off for the war effort years ago and is somewhere in Italy. He hasn’t been heard from in a few years, so he might be dead, maybe he ran away, who knows. But with his mom working, Jojo is alone most of the time. Sure he has a sort of best friend, Yorki (Archie Yates), but his real best friend is Hitler (Taika Waititi). Or at least his imaginary friend version who tells him how to be a man and how to live his life so he can please his family and friends.

He joins the Hitler Youth war effort. He dons the uniform. He gets a job and volunteers the best he can do at home. And yet, is it enough? Is his mom pleased?

Oh, and eventually he finds that there is a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) hiding in his house, with his mom’s permission. What is he to do? Turn her in? That would get his mom in trouble. No, he should study her, and maybe publish a book on his Jew findings.

Also starring Alfie Allen, Rebel Wilson, Sam Rockwell, and Stephen Merchant.

Jew!
Ah! Jew behind you!

Jojo Rabbit is an unapologetic look at German youth during the final year of WW2. Why is it unapologetic? Well, it has nothing to apologize for. It should be noted first and right away this movie is not trying to glorify Nazi culture or upbringing in anyways. It isn’t trying to say there are fine people on both sides.

It does however highlight that people who were involved could be involved because they know nothing else, which sure, is true. It wants us to know about the German resistance groups who were killed trying to protect others, even when the country was clearly about to lose. Those in power wanted to “win at all costs” even if it meant taking out its citizens and throwing them in the path of the bullets.

Now obviously this is not a historical non-fiction story, but it does tell a unique story. The Jewish girl isn’t a magical other force to make Jojo see the wrongness of the actions, but just a piece of his own growth.

Every scene between Davis and Johansson was wonderful, especially the dinner scene, and one of the scenes in the middle. There was so much sadness in Johnasson’s character over her inability as a single parent to raise her boy the way she knew was right for fear of death for her and her family.

It is a powerful story about overcoming everything you have ever believed in, in the face of overwhelming evidence that you are wrong. It is a movie that tells us that people can change for the better.

And let’s not forget, Waititi is himself part Jewish, and that is why he decided to play Hitler. He figured it was the biggest insult he could give to an evil man.

3 out of 4.

Parasite

Bong Joon Ho is a pretty big deal right now in the Korean cinema world. His last two movies before Parasite were Okja (which was a big deal at the time to be on Netflix) and Snowpiercer (the best film about apocalyptic train rides ever made).

His film Parasite has been hitting big waves and, before I saw it, the word on the street was I needed to know as little as possible going into the movie.

And you know, so I watched it and wrote a review on it so I could tell you about it! For shame!

poor
Spoilers: It features Koreans!

The Kim family is living in rough times. Both parents (Hye-jin Jang, Kang-ho Song) are out of work. The two kids (So-dam Park, Woo-sik Choi) are adults, but haven’t got jobs either, weren’t able to make it to college, and they all exist in a shitty below the street house where they mooch off of free WiFi and find out ways to make money.

I mean, shit, the economy is tough. Hundreds of people are graduating and can’t get jobs, so what are the chances of an older couple? They can only do odd jobs or con people.

The good news is, our boy has a gracious friend who is about to study abroad. And he wants to recommend him for his job of tutoring a local family’s oldest daughter English. He is qualified, even if they have to flub parts of it, but it ins’t super bad at that point.

However, once he has an in with the family, he realizes he can lie and get his other family members into jobs for additional sources of income. And from then on? Well, things just get really weird.

Also starring Hyun-jun Jung, Myeong-hoon Park, Jeong-eun Lee, Sun-kyun Lee, Ji-so Jung, and Yeo-jeong Jo.

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Paper is for losers, give me the recommendations!

Parasite is over two hours long, and at times feels like it is way longer and shorter. I felt so hooked only 10 minutes into the movie, and at that point, very little had actually happened. By 30 minutes into the film, it is clear some bigger plot is afoot. After an hour, it was like a train wreck, and I was shocked. And after about 75 minutes, I couldn’t believe that there was still so much more movie to go.

Where could it go from the pits it dragged me to? How could this story ever resolve?

Parasite is an unpredictable romp through class warfare, cons, and dirty little secrets. It is about what lengths one will go to in order to protect their family. It is about the little things in life, and how people perceive events.

It is about so many things, it is so hard to define and feels like the sort of film people will watch for decades to explore various themes. I loved this movie, and it is hard to find any real thoughts with the wild story that is told. It is not necessarily a film we need now, but by golly, I will take it and run with it.

4 out of 4.

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