Wednesday, October 26, 2016

'Finding Dory' Greatly Improves on 'Finding Nemo'

Finally, I got to watch Finding Dory.  Like most Pixar films, I thoroughly enjoyed its predecessor, Finding Nemo.  However, it’s not exactly one of my most favorite Pixar films, and a sequel is not at the top of my list of preferred Pixar follow-ups (at the top, by the way, are The Incredibles and Toy Story, which are both in the works.  Yay!). Hence, I wasn’t really looking forward to Finding Dory that I missed watching it when it first got released in theaters earlier this year.

Finding Dory is set a year after the events of Finding Nemo (while in real life, it took 13 years before the sequel got made, that Nemo had to be recast since the original voice actor had obviously grown up).  Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), the regal blue tang fish suffering from short term memory loss, has now been living with Marlin (Albert Brooks) the overprotective clownfish and his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence).  One day, an occurrence triggers Dory to recall her past, that she has parents, and she decides to look for them.  Empathizing on her situation, Marlin and Nemo proceed to help and accompany her in her.  Their journey brings them to the Marine Life Institute in California, wherein Dory encounters old friends like Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) the near-sighted whale shark, and meets new ones like Hank (Ed O’Neill) the snappy, camouflaging, seven-tentacled octopus (“septopus”), as she gets one step closer to the family reunion she is aching for.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

In 'Schwarzesmarken', an Alien Invasion Is Not Enough to Stop the Cold War from Happening

Schwarzesmarken is 12-episode anime series that serves as a prequel to the Muv-Luv Alternative visual novel and also Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse anime.  Maybe.  I’m not really sure.  Muv-Luv is such a confusing franchise of alternate timelines, and I haven’t encountered any of its titles prior to Schwarzesmarken.  Fortunately, as the very first story in its chronological timeline, its premise and plot can be understood without any prior knowledge of the rest of Muv-Luv lore.  It can be enjoyed on its own.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Regardless of Its Target Audience, 'Bad Moms' Delivers the Laughs

Bad Moms tells the story of an overworked and overcommitted mom named Amy (Mila Kunis) who is at the brink of being burned out from juggling her career, managing her home, and being hands on with her kids’ academics and extracurricular activities.  One day, she finally gets fed up and decides to stand up against the dictatorial PTA head Gwendolyne (Christina Applegate), whose perfection-demanding administration proved to be taxing for both kids and moms.  Teaming up with a laid-back, rowdy single mom named Carla (Kathryn Hann) and a quirky, meek stay-at-home mom named Kiki (Kristen Bell), Amy decides to run against Gwendolyne for PTA president, while at the same time, loosen up with her new friends – abandoning their daily domestic tasks to have some fun.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

'Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell' Blows an Unconventional Setup by Opting for a Conventional Story

Marvel doesn’t produce animated movies as often and as well as DC.  They don’t really need to, since they’ve been winning when it comes to producing theatrical films, which is a more significant front.  But I’ve always wished they would also start exerting serious effort in making great direct-to-video animated films as well, minuscule the profit may be when compared to blockbusters.

Their latest offering, Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell, is unfortunately not the breakthrough that I’ve been waiting for.  In the four DC animated movies released this year, I actually only love one, but I like them all over Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

'Sausage Party' Is as Cringy as It Is Funny and Smart

Sausage Party is set in a supermarket called Shopwell’s wherein anthropomorphic food products and other grocery items enthusiastically worship humans as gods, eagerly waiting for the day when they will be finally purchased and be taken to the “Great Beyond.”  The plot centers on a group of food products – led by a hotdog (sausage?) named Frank (Seth Rogen) – who discovers the dreadful truth about the horrific fate of food at the hands of their “gods”, and the existential and survival struggles that ensue.

Monday, October 17, 2016

'Don't Breathe' Is a Solid Home Invasion Movie with a Twist

Don’t Breathe is about three young Detroit burglars named Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette), and Money (Daniel Zovatto) who learn of a blind Army veteran (Stephen Lang) who keeps in his house a sizable amount of cash, which was the settlement awarded to him after his daughter was killed in a car accident.  Thinking it’s going to be an easy job due to the man’s disability, the trio breaks into the man’s house after minimal deliberation and reconnaissance.  However, the home invaders soon discover that the blind man is not as helpless as they have assumed, and is keeping a shocking secret inside the house – a secret that the man is very ready to kill for in order to keep.

So Far, ‘Nerve’ Is the Best Modern Movie Made About Internet Culture

Nerve isn’t an amazingly innovative, cerebral science fiction film.  But it does have an intriguingly original albeit absurd premise that is pertinent to this age of apps, social media, MMORPGs, and Internet anonymity.  And by having a fast-paced, satisfactory execution, it made itself the best movie I’ve seen that explores such themes, as well as be an effective cautionary tale on the kind of culture that could evolve from them.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Asa Butterfield's Insufficient Charisma and the Overlooked Implications of the Time Loop Prevented Me from Loving 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children'

What if the X-Men aren’t trained to use their powers to “protect a world that fears and hates them” but are instead isolated from the world, keeping their existence a secret, by living inside a time loop, in which they can go through the same day over and over again (just like in Groundhog Day) for the rest of their lives as unaging immortals?  That’s the premise of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children in a nutshell.  This movie is about a boy named Jake (Asa Butterfield) who discovers a magical place wherein young “Peculiars”, individuals born with remarkable abilities, live under the protection of Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine (Eva Green), an Ymbryne (a Peculiar that can transform into a bird and manipulate time).

Friday, October 14, 2016

'Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders' Is Not Just Delightfully Campy as Expected, but Freakin' Brilliant!

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is easily my most favorite Batman movie – animated or otherwise – of 2016.  Yes, I found this movie more gratifying than Batman: Bad Blood, Batman: The Killing Joke, and especially Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  And it’s not only because I had enjoyed the classic 1960’s Batman TV series this animated movie is based from (watched the reruns as a kid) – that was just the initial reason why I was looking forward to this film.  But beyond being the nostalgic, campy fun that I expected it would be, it turned out being absolutely brilliant!  This is a better, more delightful revisiting of the TV show than the excellent Batman ’66 comicbook series.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Taika Waititi Builds His Reputation Some More with 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople'

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a New Zealand comedy-drama directed and written by Taika Waititi, the same guy behind the brilliant vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows.  This movie has become New Zealand’s highest grossing film of all time, and for good reason.

It tells the story of a problematic, rebellious city kid named Ricky (Julian Dennison) who is sent by child welfare services to live in the countryside with the loving Aunt Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and her grumpy husband, Uncle Hec (Sam Neill).  But just when Ricky is starting to warm up with his new foster family and environment, Aunt Bella unfortunately dies.  Afraid that child services will take him away and send him to “juvy”, he runs away to the bush with Uncle Hec in pursuit.  When the over-the-top child welfare officer Paula (Rachel House) arrives and finds the house empty, she comes to the overblown conclusion that Hec has abducted Ricky, inciting a sensational police and military manhunt.