The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

I saw a trailer for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, I was astounded by the screen in front of me.

I honestly didn’t know this was a movie coming out, and my first impression was, “…is this another goddamn Alice in Wonderland movie sneaking its way out?”

I have an easily hate relationship with those two movies. Alice in Wonderland was telling a story so awkward, because it decided to be a secret sequel, and Through the Looking Glass is just legit one of the worst films I have ever seen.

This film just seemed to be equally CGI heavy, with a British slant, and some sort of fantasy uncomfortable world.

But why a CGI fantasy movie about the nutcracker? Was there clammoring for a nutcracker based movie? I mean, it seems to only be loosely based on the play/ballet as well. It certainly is not going to be a ballet showcase. So, a serious non dancing version of a famous dance? Like…Why.

That would be like taking a Tony award winning musical and turning it into a not really musical movie. A very poor decision.

Group
Speaking of poor decisions…the agents of these famous people!

This yarn is about a girl named Clara (Mackenzie Foy) who is really smart and charming in her own way. The kind of girl that boys will chase later in life when she is successful, not when boys are stupid and in school. Her mom died in the last year, and that made things really sad. She has an older sister (Ellie Bamber), a younger brother (Tom Sweet), and a dad (Matthew Macfadyen) who is trying to keep things normal by avoiding the issue almost completely.

So they are taken to a big Christmas Eve ball party for their British aristocratic friends and neighbors. Clara had received an early present before the ball of an egg with a lock, but no key. Her mom had left it for her before she died. Clara is more focused on the key than silly dances.

And sure enough, thanks to the plot, at some point Clara wanders into a different wintry world. No, this is not a world with lions and witches and wardrobes. This one has nutcrackers, mice that seem extremely intelligent, toy soldiers, and sugar plum fairies (Keira Knightley). A world of four lands that have come together to be swell together, or something. A land that her mom used to be the queen of and now it is her time to lead! Once she gets the key and fixes a few issues of course.

Also starring Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and also Jayden Fowora-Knight as a major role, his second role after Boy Playing Tennis in Ready Player One.

Rats
“Go my rat minions! Go and steal the cheese!”

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms…first, the title is terrible. Honestly, why did they not just call it The Nutcracker? That is good, iconic enough, and can get those ballet people in. This title is too hard. THE nutcracker and THE four realms. The first THE could be cut out and it works better. But they wanted the play title too badly. And the second half? The four realms? That does nothing for anyone.

Alright, this is a movie about the nutcracker and four kingdoms. Will we have very location specific places? Different worlds? One of candy, one flowers, one of ice? Yeah, probably. But guess what. Most of the film that takes place in our magical land, takes place just at a castle and one of the realms that is now forsaken.

I have no clue if the “castle” is actually one of the realms or not. Because we don’t do a damn thing with the other 2-3 realms. Why the fuck is the title and advertising focusing on four realms, when we don’t even get to play in four realms? What are they setting up? What is the point?

And the point is nothing. There seems to be very little point in this movie. I guess it is about a young girl who has to use her daring and smarts to save the day. Save the day of a fantasy kingdom that has relatively low stakes. And that effects her regular life about zero. Where no one is close to dying, and everything just feels…flighty.

Speaking of flighty, the only strong connection to the Nutcracker ballet (besides aspects of the story) is the soundtrack, which features music from the nutracker. Some of it is obvious, a lot you may not notice, but they did not fit the story that great. If the music takes out of the story, then it might not be doing its job.

Near the end, a scene with a giant robot fighting toy soldiers (sigh, yes) spliced with other action shenanigans ends up feeling dead. It felt like an unfinished movie. There was no sense of dread or suspense, and it just didn’t feel like it matched what was supposed to be an intense scene.

And you know what? To top it all off? There was a small dance scene to music, where the characters involved were dancing a waltz. But the music was not a waltz song. Come on guys. You’re not even trying.

This film is forgettable, regrettable, and probably something that Disney is really going to bury in the future. I expect no sequels, no great toy tie ins, and just a lot of disappointment from everyone involved.

0 out of 4.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Apparently The House with a Clock in its Walls was a book. I haven’t heard of it. The author really loves it, and made a whole bunch about these people. Studios be trying to get all pseudo famous books into movies, because the scripts are halfway made and have a following.

I don’t know it, nor do I care. This title is unforgivably awful. At no point does this scream out sexy, fun, or cool. It sounds god awful. This is about magic? This is the least magical sounding title of a movie ever.

How anyone saw this title and wanted to read the book is beyond me, but at no point is this one I would want to watch without being a reviewer. This is a film that I would skip on principle alone.

Goggles
Why the fuck is this kid wearing goggles? To show he is whimsical?

Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) just lots his parents, in some sort of car accident. Now he has to move to some place in Michigan, to live with his Uncle John (Jack Black), an eccentric man that his family never talked about and whom he never met. for many wonderful reasons. He lives in a mansion. It is weird, and decorated with Jack O’Lanterns.

And shit, inside the house things move around and are a bit spooky. Why? Well, his Uncle is reluctant to tell, so we have to let things be a mystery for a while. Maybe he is a murderer, and he will kill Louis one day.

There is also a purple loving neighbor, Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett), no relation to the Florida vigilante, who is hanging around, also involve in some sort of shenanigans.

Alright, okay, they are warlocks and witches. Not bad ones, not necessarily good either, but certainly not evil. And Louis is showing promise so, shoot, he can be one too.

No, this is not The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. This is the Warlock’s apprentice, damn it.

Also starring, Kyle MacLachlan, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Colleen Camp, Sunny Suljic, Lorenzza Izzo, and Vanessa Anne Williams.

Old people
“Hey, we’re cool, we’re hip, we know magic!”

To be honest, it has been a good while since I fell asleep during a movie in the theaters. The last one was probably Deadpool 2, I know, how dare I do that thing.

Well, when a movie is boring, its boring. I know I missed full scenes, because they referred back to them later in the movie. “What cemetary scene? A blood what?” I think to myself. Oh well, not important. Because of how slow the film decided to start, really going hard after that old time asthetic, we had to watch character development scenes that really don’t move the story forward.

At no point would I say are the school plot points really useful for this story. People don’t like him because he is new. Normal stuff. People don’t like him for being a nerd? Hard to say. Really, they don’t like him for wearing goddamn goggles. Take that shit off your head. Which another character even points off, but nah, need those goggles on.

The school scenes are all just to set up future movies that probably won’t happen. Even the normal plot line of finding a friend didn’t work out, defying no tropes along the way.

The movie feels overly polished and CGI heavy when we get to the magic aspects. The ending isn’t fun or exciting. It mostly feels like convenient moments after convenient moments to get to what they eventually call an ending.

Eli Roth tried to do a family film. I shouldn’t be too surprised at the low ranking, since he has been disappointing me with his R rated endeavors recently as well.

1 out of 4.

Peter Rabbit

Ah, Peter Rabbit, a classic story turned into a movie about a rabbit and real people. CGI and humans. And bunnies.

The last time we had a CGI/live action film involving bunnies and real people was Hop, 7 years ago, and it was a goddamn disaster. It was racist and classist, with a terrible story. It was an attempt to teach that some discrimination is okay. I have no idea how the whole thing got green lit.

Is 7 years enough time to try again? Probably not. Because the one thing I heard about this film before seeing it was the huge controversy over a scene where the bunnies attack a man through his allergies. Trying to kill him by making light of a dangerous scenario, in an amusing way.

A good set up to go into a movie that already has a legacy of shit to pile its way through.

Bunny Pals
Stand back Cookie-Monster, get ready for a new healthier form of gluttony.

Old Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill) is a mean old man, who chases the bunnies out of his garden. He wants to grow his crops, they want to eat his crops. He has an artist neighbor, Bea (Rose Byrne), likes the rabbits and they trust her, so she likes to protect them.

Either way, when Peter Rabbit (James Corden) is doing his thing, taking that food, McGregor has a heart attack and dies. Damn.

Now the rabbits own the place, a big farm party, all animals, lots of foods lots of things break. But then one day, a young Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) shows up, the new owner. He has a lot of anger issues from his job, and now he finds this place he would just like to fix up and sell a disaster.

So of course he hates the rabbits, and says no to their shit. Even if he starts to find Bea attractive and wants to impress her. And this is the story of their war.

Also starring mostly the voices of Fayssal Bazzi, Sia, Colin Moody, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley.

Familypic
Some family trees are hybrids.

For a majority of this story, this film is spending its energy and effort on convincing me, a normal(ish) human male, that I should be on the side of the bunnies on this story. The bunnies who are certain that they should be able to eat the wonderful things that are grown in this garden, that a human spent time growing in order to make food for themselves or to make a profit in order to buy other things.

What in the fuck kind of movie is this? If the bunnies are so sentient that they can talk, and are just not talking to the humans out of secrecy, then goddamn it, go raise your own carrots in a garden and eat it. We can see them making traps and hatching plans, and grabbing and picking things up, then there is no excuse for this insanity.

The old man they have was mean, and he never searched out and tried to kill the rabbits. He just protected his land. Fair. The new guy? The one dealing with grief. Who also only goes out of his way to stop the bunnies when they trash his house, injure him, and kill him with his allergies. No. Just no.

They try to change it by the end, but what doesn’t change is that at least the first half if not more, it is a plot just wanting me to hate the rabbits.

What kind of values are this shit? Grow and go into poverty and depression so some bunnies can eat?

0 out of 4.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

When Jurassic World came out a few years ago, it was a big deal for me. Jurassic Park is probably the first movie theater expirence I remember. Jurassic World was, at the time, the biggest movie I was able to see early as a member of the press.

And unfortunately, that film had issues. It had some new things, but other elements just felt rehashed, and them we had the ridiculous assistant death and heels fun.

Needless to say, I didn’t care much about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The story had a volcano and seemed to sort of give away a lot of the film. I couldn’t tell from the trailer if it really had anything new to say.

Balls and dinos
Look, there’s most of the same cast with the same magical travel balls.

Jurassic World has fallen, from that last film, because the dinosaurs got out and people had a bad time. They had to pay a lot of law suits to cover the costs, and didn’t really fight it too much. But now they are defunct and everyone basically agrees to leave the island alone.

Well, nature doesn’t want to leave it alone. The dormant volcano there has become active, and is ready to fuck a lot of things up. It is riling up, it is getting explosive, and now the dinosaurs might all become extinct, again. Should we save them, or let nature fix is course? The government decides to not intervene, so it is up to private groups to pick up the cost.

Namely, Lockwood estate. It is an old man (James Cromwell) who helped Hammond (Richard Attenborough) back in the day with their initial research to open Jurassic Park. He wants to save several species on the island, more if there is time, and put them on a new island. One that isn’t a volcano, has its own natural borders and it can be a sanctuary where dinosaurs can live peacefully. Something not for tourists. Time is of the essence. They also have a great need for Blue, the velociraptor, as they feel it is the second smartest creature on the planet and the only one left of its kind.

Getting the creatures back is one difficulty, especially when it involves an exploding volcano. Once they are on the ship and ready to get out of the island though, that is where the real drama and intrigue begin.

Also starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Daniella Pineda, Justice Smith, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Jeff Goldbloom, BD Wong, Geraldine Chaplin, and introducing Isabella Sermon.

Skeletons
Herein lies the sins of Jurassic Park’s past. Dey be ded, now. Again.

JW:FK seems to have heard some of the biggest complaints about the last film and respond appropriately. For example, the footware is more appropriate in this film. But how could they respond to the assistant death? How could they fix something like that?

I don’t know. How about by having that same giant dinosaur do a very similar thing, once again, to an undeserving character. Technically it is acknowledging the controversy by doing it a second time, although a bit less graphically.

JW:FK is certainly an entertaining movie. You will have some thrills, some screams, and some laughs. But overall it doesn’t offer anything really new. Last movie we had a man made T-Rex looking dinosaur that was too smart and caused problems. It was defeated by OG T-Rex. This film replaced T-Rex with Velociraptor. The same shit happens in different scenarios.

It also enforces normal Jurassic franchise tropes. Military people are always bad. Ugly people are always bad. People who aren’t bad but just working are expendable.

Overall, not enough new. What was new was obvious early on, but it didn’t go hard enough into it leaving more for sequels. But hey, Smith was better than expected as well.

2 out of 4.

Avengers: Infinity War

I really don’t have to spend a lot of information on this intro, do I?

Avengers: Infinity War (originally called Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, but people were nervous about half movies, and now the next one’s title is a secret because of spoilers or something.

I was an ecstatic little girl when the first Avengers film came out, waiting for it as soon as the first Iron Man film finished. Since then, things have been a bit more middling. My reviews have generally always been positive, none of them ever received under a 2 out of 4, and some of which are maybe too highly rated. Not everything I am extremely excited for, but most I definitely have a higher interest.

Last year, no superhero movies made my top of the year list (although one of them was about a super hero, sort of). This year, I already had Black Panther as a 4. And yet this film, this one right here, has me just as giddy as the first one for so many reasons.

So let’s just get into it.

Group 2
Oh yeah, look at these folks. Maybe this is just Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

At the end of Thor: Ragnarok, we had a surprise for Thor and his crew. This film takes place right after that point. Bad news for the Asgardians, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is here. At this point he has one of the infinity stones, out of six total. His goal? To wipe out half of the life in the universe.

Now presumably this just means sentient life forms who walk around and have languages. I don’t think he has anything against puppies. Or plants. He isn’t doing it out of spite, he is calling it mercy. It is sort of his thing. He has been doing it manually with his own crew for a while, but he wants the stones to do it instantly, so that the survivors can flourish. You know, by having more resources, more space, less crime, whatever. He is a benevolent God.

It turns out some people have some issues with him wanting to do this though. And with two of the stones (that we know of) being on Earth, he is going to have to come crashing down, where a few people down there are decently strong and going to have to put up a little fight.

Starring every goddamn person ever. You know, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Benedict Wong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Idris Elba, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Chris Pratt, and Benicio Del Toro.

Also featuring some newbies, like Peter Dinklage and Carrie Coon! Two whole people! Wow! And some technically regular people like Gwyneth Paltrow and William Hurt. Damn, did I get them all?

Group
What is this a crossover episode?

What’s to say that isn’t already all over the internet?

Avengers: Infinity War is a fan pleasing romp across the universe, adding most of the cast we have come to love into a few surprising show downs, where the stakes have never been higher. It is certainly one of the darker and serious Marvel films at this point. People are going to get hurt, people are going to be sad, and people are going to cry. Well, maybe. I know I cried near the end, and almost another time before then.

Acting wise, a lot of the stars gave their A-game. Shout out to Cumberbatch who really felt like a leader of this group, despite being one of the most recent additions. Holland was brought in for his acting ability, and it really showed by the end. A lot of pain was on Evans’ face throughout the film. Hemsworth is so goddamn Thor-y, its fantastic, and I am glad we got so much of him in the last few movies. And finally, Saldana, who is normally a low point from the acting carried a lot.

Of course I also have to talk about Brolin as Thanos, a role we have been waiting for for years and it really paid off well. This is a goddamn villain right here. It is really great writing when you sympathize with someone who is trying to kill half of the universe.

I don´t entirely know where Marvel is going with its ending, but I do have a feeling I will be incredibly annoyed by it in the next film. I think they are going to take what they did great here and ruin it with the second part, but that is just a gut feeling.

Avengers: Infinity Wars has some of the best fight scenes and team ups yet, and is just pure fan service through and through while giving an incredible story as well. I wish this film was longer.

I don´t have to tell you to go see this one, I know you will, and I can´t see anyone who likes the series to be disappointed with this milestone achievement.

If there is anything to be disappointed in, it is Marvel´s poor decisions to not include their other people. I haven´t seen Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in forever, but it seemed to react to the movies but never impact them, but someone from there might have been involved. And the Netflix shows? Come on, there was stuff happening in New York. If the Netflix shows ignore this event (which they didn´t ignore the first Avengers movie…) then they are just making poor decisions.

Group
You’d think with three group shots I’d have gotten all the heroes. But nope.

4 out of 4.

Tomb Raider

Lara Croft first entered our lives in 1996, with giant pointy boobs, and a woman hero that has never been that defined ever in video games. Them polygons.

A strange video game feminist and sex icon, she raided the fuck out of tombs, and in some versions of the story, fucked the raiders in the tombs. It led to more female protagonists, more hybrid shooter puzzle games, and was a real win for the genre defying starlet.

Well, many years later they decided to reboot it a bit. They had Lara change her body type and her motives, and we got more polished games, more puzzle focused, but with a strange and many easy ways for her to die terrifying deaths. Not as bad as Dragon’s Lair, but relatively similar.

So why not also have a movie reboot as well? A new Tomb Raider. Get someone up and coming, get her in her first real action movies, and get her on the big screen.

Abs
Oh, and get her some abs and some muscle.

Laura (Alicia Vikander) grew up in the lap of luxury. Her father (Dominic West) was basically this perfect specimen of a man, who treated her well, trained her to be a model citizen, was into charities, being rich, and of course, cultural secrets. You see, he was sort of absorbed with the idea of finding a missing tomb of an ancient Japanese queen who was said to bring death to the world. Why did he want to find it? Well, it is a goddamn challenge, lost in history. That’s why!

But when he left on that fateful afternoon, he never returned.

Now, many years later, Laura is working, being athletic, doing things, but refusing to sign the papers acknowledging that her father is dead. No, he must be out there. If she signs the papers, she inherits the fortune, but she would rather struggle on the street and hope than admit to his death. She would rather starve, damn it.

Well, eventually she almost signs it, so she is given a puzzle key and that leads her to a secret message from her father. Following the clues, she is led directly to his research, with information on where he went, his goals, and learned about a bad organization and what they wanted to do with that information.

Oh no Laura, what are you going to do? Follow your father’s wishes and destroy all the evidence? Or go on a trip to complete his mission once and for all? Well, we know the answer to that one.

Also starring Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Alexandre Willaume, Derek Jacobi, Nick Frost, and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Bows
Everyone knows that girls like to play with bows growing up. In and out of their hair.

The original Tomb Raider film was pretty okay. For the 12 year old budding reviewer, it was beyond everything I had hoped for, well, almost. The sequel I didn’t watch until years later and don’t really recall much about it.

If I had to describe this reboot in two words, the words “pretty okay” would be perfectly acceptable towards this film as well. If you want action/adventure, you will get a decent amount of it. Most of it takes place after she leaves London of course, outside a thrilling-ish bike race scene. It seems that after we got to the island, a scene where she escaped capture seemed to last for fucking ever. I was just waiting for her to finally die, or just get caught. Of course neither would happen, but I knew those scenarios would finally let the movie chill out a bit.

The ending parts with the tomb really didn’t let the movie shine. A lot of silly things occur, with puzzles that don’t feel smart or anything, just inconvenient. I want the obstacles they overcome to be actually well written is all.

Overall, there is a lot of hope for this movie. Vikander does do a wonderful job as the new Lara Croft, I believed in her ability to do awesome things. It is still a bit cheesy with mostly lazy thrills and stunts though. An adrenaline junkie might have a good time, but this is still not the video game movie savior.

2 out of 4.

Ready Player One

I probably first heard about the Ready Player One four or so years ago, as a book recommendation from a friend. I figured I would rush right out and read it, due to their very appealing sell, but I also had found out that no, they are going to be making a movie out of it. Eventually.

So I did the right thing, and knowingly did not ready the book, knowing one day, Steven Spielberg was going to make the movie. Years later, it appeared!

Now I did hear eventually a general plot synopsis. And I did get to see parts of the book. Especially cringe worthy scenes of nostalgia for nostalgia sake, or lines that were very transphobic. All of it certainly turned me off from the book, knowing I would probably hate it at this point if it wasn’t very well written.

Sign. Somehow I became a book snob when it comes to prose. Blame Patrick Rothfuss. And let’s get on with the nostalgia.

Tech
Our star is living in a van down by the river?

RPO takes place a few decades in the future, in 2045. Life sucks by now, overpopulation, war, all the reasons you can imagine. People are living in stacks of trailers to get by and deal with the number of people. Columbus, Ohio is one of the central hubs now! Why?

Well, Halliday (Mark Rylance) and Morrow (Simon Pegg) created a game called Oasis. It is a completely VR experience, where a user is transported into a digital world where they can live their fantasies. They can be anyone. They can be tall, short, strong, fat, boy, girl, something more fluid, whatever they want. The way to buy gear and get better is through in game currency, through leveling up. If you die in game you lose all your items and go back to level one.

Anyways, everyone loves Oasis. It helps them escape their bleak miserable worlds. Wade (Tye Sheridan), our hero, is one of the people in the game hoping to find the three hidden keys to unlock and easter egg. Before Halliday died, he inputted a secret competition, so that the best of the best would compete his crazy challenges. The first one to get all three keys would gain a controlling share of the Oasis, money, and worldwide honor and praise.

But one company, IOI, is hoping to find them first, to change the Oasis into a money making ad tool, and also, do this thing with people slaves. Just general bad stuff.

Also starring Ben Mendelsohn, Olivia Cooke, Hannah John-Kamen, Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, and T.J. Miller.

Oasis
Hello, totally not Kratos thing!

Ready Player One is a CGI-fest film, taken to the next level, and is animated enough to qualify for Best Animated Film, should they want to go that route. It has obvious references to pop culture throughout it, using the fact that the main creator was a very autistic pop culture junkie, who wanted all of the biggest things in his world. Pop Culture knowledge was supposed to be some sort of saving grace for the characters in the movie, but only one example really helped save the day. Or at least, one non common example.

There is a lot of problems with this film. It is going for a pure popcorn flick, so it isn’t really trying hard on certain levels. Acting is never really believable, and they turn Mendelsohn into a cartoon villain, quite literally with his behavior. It just feels so juvenile.

A lot of artifacts are brought up and clearly used later in the film, but one has to wonder why they exist. Why would they put in an item that kills everyone in the game so everyone goes back to level one? Why? Why would someone make special real life suits for you to wear to feel everything that happens? Most people would just feel pain and hurt in the constant warring atmosphere, its popularity doesn’t make sense.

The game makes you wonder who are the real people behind certain avatars, and well, yeah, for the most part they are all average to attractive looking people. No uglies in this VR world, despite their fears. Come on, almost 30 years from now, in a land where most people just play video games all day? Where are the fatties at?!

One thing that Ready Player One had going for it is that it didn’t feel like a 140 minute film. It was relatively interesting to watch, but it is not something that made me very excited or happy or sad while watching. I just felt indifferent. Throwing a quick scene of a character I recognize into a film isn’t going to increase its grade, it is just going to distract me from the story that is relatively weak.

Ready Player One is a convenient movie (one where things just keep lining up nicely), that relies on nostalgia and an average story and flashy effects to sell the tickets. Easily something that can be better watched at home.

2 out of 4.

Isle of Dogs

Fantastic Mr. Fox came out in 2009. It was not my first Wes Anderson movie, but it was the first Wes Anderson movie I really, really loved. Not saying I hated everything before it, no. In fact, at that time, I only had seen one of his movies which was The Royal Tenebaums. I maybe saw it too young and was not ready for its quirks, and still haven’t seen it for redemption, but I didn’t love it. The fox though? Yes. Every one of his movies since then? Yes.

But this is something different and special. This is 9 years later, and another goddamn animated stop motion movie. Can he recreate the magic of Fantastic Mr. Fox but with Isle of Dogs? More talking animals?!

At least with his last one, it was based on a previous book. But this is a new idea, based on dogs, a culture that isn’t his, and a sort of throwback to a cinema that he loves. I was certainly excited again, especially given how much shit 2017 gave us for the animated category.

Dogs
Can I have all of these doggos? Please tell me no doggos actually die.

Set in the fictional future of some world that is similar to our own, we have to go to Megasaki City to find our story. In this city, the new mayor, Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura), is from a family with a long hatred of dogs. They are cat people and want to get rid of dogs forever! Well, that is great, because these dogs are gaining some sort of dog virus and snout flu, which has the ability to transfer over to humans! He declares that all dogs in the city must be sent over to Trash Island, in order to quarantine them until a cure can be found. Speaking of cures, Professor Watanabe (Akira Ito) thinks he is really close to getting a cure and hopes everyone will wait. But mobs be mobbin’, yo. And the dogs start getting sent that very night.

And now, a few months later, the island gets a non furry visitor. Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin), a young boy who is ward of the mayor, has crashed a tiny plane in the island, in hopes of finding his old dog Spots (Liev Schreiber) location. Although dogs cannot speak any form of human language, we the viewer are happy to note that the film translates their language into English! Yay!

He finds a group of alpha dogs to help him on his quest. These dogs include Chief (Bryan Cranston), Rex (Edward Norton), King (Bob Balaban), Boss (Bill Murray), and Duke (Jeff Goldbloom).

Can these dogs find the missing dog for this little human boy? Can they also cure the dog flu, and put an end to this corrupt mayor? Well, maybe. I don’t know. Or if I did, I wouldn’t tell you.

Also starring the voices of Courtney B. Vance, Tilda Swinton, Yoko Ono, Ken Watanabe, Akira Takayama, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, and F. Murray Abraham.

Sling
The human has thumbs so he can do some interesting things with them.

I loved, loved, loved Isle of Dogs. A lot, very much so. Before I get into those details, lets talk about the controversy.

You see, there is a lot of talk of white savior complex, cultural appropriation, and more going on with this movie. It is set in a fictional future dystopian-esque Japan, or at least one city in Japan. And coming from a place of white privilege and all of that, I can honestly say I really don’t see it at all. The white savior thing just seems like it would be assumed by people who read a plot outline, not watched the film, because it is no where close to the normal problematic levels. The other issues I just also really can’t see well. I can’t say that they aren’t true, because I certainly don’t speak for Japanese people or their culture, but I can say that I didn’t really get that vibe at any point, and didn’t affect me negatively either for this movie.

Back to the film! Holy shit dogs!

What a totally immersive story. There were little quirks here and there that could remind you of it being a film, especially when it came to the various translation methods, but I just wanted to live there and run around and frolic despite all of the bad things that were going down. The dogs in particular all have their own personality and jokes that surround them, for good quick laughs.

I really enjoyed that I couldn’t understand the entire film. The Japanese characters spoke Japanese, and didn’t always have a reason to be translated or subtitled, and during those times, well, if you knew Japanese you could follow 100%. The audience was required to watch the facial expressions and to hear obvious key words to make sure we could follow. It was great to not get everything super dumbed down.

Isle of Dogs is an interesting adventure, a unique tale, and a story that just seems to have so many tiny perfect details that it would be fun to watch over and over again. Until though, I will just settle for a rewatch of Fantastic Mr. Fox.

4 out of 4.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I was relatively excited going in to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi, even with them deciding to drop the iconic episode numbers. For Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it was clear it was a step in the right direction, even if it wasn’t too original. And Rouge One was great.

But the people who let me see things early switched to a different PR company, specifically to the one company that I didn’t have. I found out late November when the change occurred, which made it clear that I wasn’t going to be seeing Star Wars 8 early at all. And at that point, all the pre-sale tickets had already happened for early showtimes.

So if I was going to see it, I knew I would have to wait at least a week after the fact, maybe longer. And then I waited longer, I waited to see how many times I could keep putting it off. I didn’t see this movie until mid-February, still on a nice big screen. And that is why it was never reviewed, and why I decided eventually to wait to put it as the final movie in my “2017 Movies I should have seen last year” list!

Jedi Master
I’m a Jedi master, bitch!

I don’t feel like tagging all of the many characters who are in this film, at least naturally through this review, so I will post them all at the end.

Yay Luke Skywalker was found by Rey! Boo, she is avoided because Luke wants to be alone and doesn’t think the Jedi should be apart of the world anymore. He wants to die and let the Jedi order die with him.

While she convinces him that he is stupid, the Resistance are getting fucked over by the Empire, First Order. A lot of ships are running around, people dying, pew pew pews. And the resistance has to run and get away to not die.

And that is the movie.

Starring, of course, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Frank Oz, Billie Lourd, Joonas Suotamo, and Jimmy Vee.

Also starring newbies to the galaxy, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Amanda Lawrence, Justin Theroux.

Pew pew pew
Yeah, but how many of those dozen plus names can wield a light saber and shoot out red dust!

Star Wars 8 clocks in at around 2.5 hours, because apparently we can never get enough Star Wars. It is the longest Star Wars film yet, cracking the other top place holders by about 10 minutes. And boy did it sure feel long.

You see, it is made apparent from this film that this trilogy is in no way planned out. We have a lot of plots that were set up from the first film that end completely out of nowhere in this film. Characters die off, questions get answered, and most of it is extremely disappointing.

The worst part of the film is a subplot that has a few characters going on a mission alone, in order to find a character in a casino. It lasts very long in terms of the overall movie and again, none of it feels justified or worth it by the end. It felt like this movie had filler, which is inexcusable given its rather long run time. That isn’t even getting into the really awkward Leia scene.

The only reason this film didn’t get a 1 out of 4, is because the ending was pretty rad. It still seemed to have a lot of poor plot developments, making what felt a side plot last the entire goddamn film. It was very character focused, even though a lot of the characters they decided to kill off. I just cannot help but think of the poor merchandise that was sold for the first two films that never really amounted to much.

2 out of 4.

Justice League

Justice League promised to be The Avengers, but for the DCEU. Obvious comparisons are obvious.

Unfortunately, unlike Marvel, most of the films that led up to Justice League were either shit or average. The only one to break the mold a bit was Wonder Woman, but it still couldn’t fully escape the terrible grasps of these franchises by having a completely shit and eye sore ending.

So I didn’t go out of my way to see Justice League. One of those fool me four times, shame on me sort of things. It didn’t help that it had behind the scenes director changes, a lot of issues with reshoots, and extreme studio interference. Clearly another great film to fit the theme week of ones I should have watched last year.

Team
Is this the whole team? Eh, close enough.

Batman (Ben Affleck) really wants to bring all these super people together, to fight off giant threats that they cannot do on their own. Remember Superman (Henry Cavill)??? He totally died, but didn’t die as they made clear at the end of the last movie, so they gotta work together to beat future gods.

Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is generally on board. They just have to find more people. These people beings who will eventually go by their names of The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and Aquaman (Jason Momoa).

Unfortunately, the next biggest threat is just some god dude from the Wonder Woman mythos. His name is Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), who is maybe where the band got their name from. He was here a long time ago, got defeated by the races of men, Amazons, and the Merfolk. There were some power cubes that they all split up to defend, and now he is back, wanting all three cubes, to have so much power.

So their goal is to prevent him from getting all the cubes, and once he still gets them, then hopefully defeat them and split up the cubes. Pretty basic plot.

Also starring Amber Heard, Amy Adams, Joe Morton, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Connie Nielsen, and Diane Lane.

Steppenwolf
It was hard to find a good picture of the villain. Clearly I still failed.

When it comes to Justice League, there are so many places you can point to in order to determine what went wrong. And you’d be right! All of those reasons are why this movie was so poor!

First of all, Steppenwolf. What a goddamn terrible villain for us care about. Some CGI’d dude who is just super strong, and oh no, he might destroy the world. He has no great backstory, and he doesn’t even feel threatening on any scale. Sure, they show he is strong, but also, he doesn’t feel like a real threat. Not one bigger than Ares in Wonder Woman at least.

The CGI is a travesty. And so much of the film is just drenched in it. From the terrible Amazon horse fight scene, to the climatic battles, this one just reeks of cheap graphics.

Our characters come together and never feel like a team. It is clunky. Aquaman is shown as badass and strong, but never really embraces the powers unique of Aquaman. I have no idea if I care about Cyborg still, which is less a human with powers and more a…robot. But then again, Batman is on this team, so whatever.

And fucking Superman is in this movie. Once he finally shows up, he basically does most of the work on his own. They point out that he is indeed faster than The Flash, and the strongest, and can do no wrong. Steppenwolf is a villain who can kick most of the Justice League’s ass. Unfortunately, the one he cannot can also do it on his own.

Justice League is just a farce of a great movie. It is amazing how the DCEU just hates its characters so much that it continuously pumps out these mediocre or worse films.

1 out of 4.

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