Kubo And The Two Strings Review

Kubo And The Two Strings Poster

You know what I haven’t seen in a long time, an animated action movie, that wasn’t anime.  Thinking back I am having a hard time thinking of one.   I guess Big Hero 6 was one, but it didn’t feel like it.  The Incredibles was for sure.  That was over 10 years ago.   Maybe I am just forgetting, but they seem to be scarce enough that it made Kubo And The Two Strings even more welcome.

I had a wonderful time with Kubo.  Sometimes the stop motion animation can not quite hit on the emotion and the facial features that standard digital animation can, or at least that is what I used to think.  Kubo And The Two Strings did not have this issue at all.  It was amazing looking.  The Animation team did a stellar job and really brought to life these characters.  Better than any previous movie this studio has done.  It was beautiful looking.  Make sure you stay half way through the credits for a little behind the scenes of how they did some of the work.  It really shows the dedication to this movie.

The story was very fun as well.   Japanese culture, action, very cool characters and a good story really made Kubo work on many levels, not just the animation.  I loved the music and the magic that this movie created.  It was fun, funny, and has some very cool scenes.  I really can not get over the art direction in this movie.  This feels like Laika’s masterpiece.  Such a good recovery after The Boxtrolls.

So I think it is pretty obvious that I would recommend seeing this movie this weekend.  It is totally worth paying to see in the theater.  Also for sure skip the 3-D, this movie is darker than most animated movies and the 3-D ruins the beauty of it.

5 Stars for Kubo And The Two Strings

Sausage Party Review

Sausage Party Poster

So remember this is a rated R movie.  It is not for your kids.

I was a bit surprised by Sausage Party.  I was a bit worried about it, it looked like a cash grab and that the animation was going to be very poor.  I am glad to report that I was wrong on both counts.  It was well put together and funny and the animation did not suck at all.

I think I will start with the animation, which was very well done.  Animation and art direction actually.  Everything looked amazing, the personification of all the food and non-food products was very well thought out.  It really helped deliver the point of the jokes and the commentary of the movie as a whole in a way that would not have worked if they were not talking food products.  While almost literal in their symbolism, I think having it be so blatant helped with everything this movie was trying to say in the subplots.  The subplots were what I liked most about this movie.

The top level story was a little too simple and almost too cartoony for me.  It really felt like too young of a story line for the movie they were making.  They had all this stuff going on behind the main storyline that was far more interesting and really made the movie feel smart.  Then you had this main plot point that was not smart enough.  I don’t think it is enough to make me disregard this movie, because I still had a lot of fun with it, but it did let me down a little bit on what I think could have been something a lot better.

Everyone did good voice work and the characters were very fun.  The jokes were solid.  I would not say this was the funniest movie I have seen by this team, but it was solid enough.  Overall I would say this movie is good enough and looks pretty enough for you to go see in the theater.

4 Stars for Sausage Party

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters Poster

I used Kate McKinnon’s poster for Ghostbusters because I think she is hilarious and I think she was a big issue with Ghostbusters.  She is representative of exactly what I thought about the new Ghostbusters.  They had an idea and they executed it incorrectly.  With Kate McKinnon, I am not sure if this was the character she created or was directed to act that way, but she was underused and very odd.  Not in a funny way, in a weird way, a way that stuck out and left me confused.  There were a lot of choices in this movie that left me confused.

I am just not sure what this movie is.  If it is a comedy, it was not very funny, and very slow.  It had so many slow parts, that could have been more silly or more something.  There were some scenes that just drag on.  If it was a thriller or action movie it wasn’t those either.  The threat was not really a threat, and it didn’t feel scary, or exciting.  Not that I was expecting scary, I was just expecting something.  It was almost like a science documentary of made up science terminology where people tried to make up the silliest things that sounded real.

It was an explosion of special effects, in a movie that did not need special effects.  We know what the ghostbusters beam looks like, and we know what ghosts look like, you do not need to spend all the time making pretty ghosts.  Make a funny, interesting story, that is what people want.   It really just got lost and did not work for me.  I didn’t hate it, and I don’t think the haters have even seen it, but I am just disappointed because it could have been so much more.

 

The Neon Demon

The Neon Demon

I was with The Neon Demon.  I was loving the color, the music, the crafted coolness of the story.  It was dark, sinister, and innocent all at the same time.  It was working, and it wasn’t going to lose me.  Then The Neon Demon appeared in the movie and it all just fell apart.  It went from something that felt like it had a purpose and a reason for being made into a joke.  A color mopped student art house film that was made over a 2 day period after he just learned about symbolism and went very literal.  It felt like Nicolas Winding Refn got bored and decided to just finish it without regard to making something watchable or good.

There is no doubt that there are some thing that were high points at the start of this movie.  The signatures of Refn’s color and music choices drive the movie forward.  Elle Fanning, Jenna Malone, Abbey Lee, and Bella Heathcote all play their parts well.  They push what is an obvious movie, and a story told many times before in an exciting direction.  All these things grab you, and make you want to see what will happen.  It all plays out very well for the first half of the movie.  Then there is a scene, with what I am calling The Neon Demon.  From this point on, it completely loses it’s way.  It pushes the boundaries of what needed to be shown for the story to a comical overreach to shock and to write a signature on the movie.  It takes the stylish and cool and turns it into a sad joke, and it is all the worse for it.  I wanted to be able to support this movie, and say that I liked it, or even tolerated it.  Letting the first half shine and making excuses for the second half, but there is nothing there to support.  It is not worth the time nor the effort.

Finding Dory

Finding Dory Poster

I need to first state that I watched this movie in 3-D and it was so dark that I could not enjoy this movie.  It was so dark with the 3-D glasses on that I took them off half way through the movie and watched it without the glasses on.  It was easier to watch fuzzy than it was with the 3-D glasses on.  So I really think my ability to properly review this movie is compromised.  I just have a bad taste in my mouth about it.

So I can already tell I am not in a good mood about this review.  Thinking about the 3-D issue has made me upset and it is making the flaws glaring and the good parts fade into the darkness that was Finding Dory in 3-D.  So I guess let’s just go with the 3-D review, because you all are going to watch this movie anyway, with or without my review.

Most times I find 3-D to be completely useless.  Seeing all movies that are available in 3-D has made 3-D visually unviewable to me for most movies.  If the color is right, then I literally will not see the 3-D effects.  If there is an issue with the 3-D it effects the movie greatly.  This is usually in the form of color, or darkness.  The 3-D glasses are practically sunglasses, and if they do not adjust the color upwards to account for that, you get a lot less detail.  Finding Dory has a lot of dark scenes.  Scenes in dark pipes, or kelp gardens that are very dark.  I felt like I missed over half the movie because of the color issue.  If they were not on the surface or at the reef I felt like it was too dark to watch.  Usually animated movies have the least problems with 3-D because the color adjustments are made during the creation process for 3-D, but it doesn’t seem like it happened with Finding Dory.  So it is pretty obvious if you are at the box office and looking at if you should see it in 3-D or not.  Skip it, stop paying for it and the studios will stop doing it and I will not have to watch all these damn movies in 3-D anymore.

Now You See Me 2

Now You See Me 2 Poster

See the cast, see the all black wearing trenchcoats and hats cast, they are the attempt at making another Ocean’s Eleven.  See the maze of cards, it’s all twisty and misdirected.  It is what this movie is attempting to be, twisty, but it just ends up being misdirected.  The first movie was entertaining enough, and was obviously popular enough to warrant a second movie.  So now we get to see what happens to The Horsemen.

In this one, there is far less cool magic, and heisty stuff, all while being more confusing and adding in computer chips.  As we go along with the story, we are left wondering where is the magic, and the electricity that we had from the first movie.  Instead of magic, we have a card throwing scene, that, while cool, isn’t about magic tricks and more like a fun dance.  This is one of the scenes that are supposed to stick out as a highlight.  The execution of the big heist scene, and it just didn’t deliver what I was hoping for.  This happens throughout the movie.  It is more like the second best magicians in the world, because they did not do nearly as many cool tricks as they did in the first movie.

The bigger more convoluted plot led to a bigger cast.  Adding Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Radcliffe.  Lizzy Caplan was very enjoyable and quite underused.  Her light fun character helped breath life into this very confusing movie, but was not used nearly enough and her big magic trick was cut for plot.  The whole movie felt like it was cut for plot, when there was already too much plot and not enough spectacle.  It is hard for me to say that a movie needed more spectacle and less plot, but Now You See Me 2 needed just a little more magic.

 

TMNT: Out Of The Shadows

TMNT: Out Of The Shadows Poster

I recently went to the Austin Toy Museum.  They have displays set up of different toy lines that have come out since the 60’s.  You should really check them out if you are in Austin.  The one that really stuck out to me was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles display.  It was an amazing time when the history and knowledge of toy making ran into the crazy characters of TMNT.  The toy quality of that series is really amazing, good molds, amazing colors and quality.  Looking through it all it made me realize how bonkers TMNT was.  The story line is off the rails crazy.  Men turning into all kinds of animals.  Samurai rabbits from other times.  A giant brain that controls a giant robot that is trying to get through a dimensional portal to take over Earth, and then ninjas.  The modern day ninjas led by a man wearing blades all over himself is the most normal part of the story line. After thinking about all of that and taking into account that TMNT: Out Of The Shadows is for kids, I can say that it kind of worked.

Now, the movie is awful if you are an adult hoping for a quality super hero action movie that is focused and targeted at adults.  It has horrible jokes, terrible dialogue, and a plot line that is all over the place.  This movie isn’t for adults and it is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, based on a comic, that was crazy, and a cartoon that was even crazier.  The CG is very good.  The turtles look awesome and the 3D is well done.  Then it just delivers all the things that were so off the wall from the old show.  It is unbelieveable and it is silly and I noticed I didn’t really care how weird it was.  If I had an 8 year old I think he or she would of loved this movie and I think that is why this movie delivers.  It is just as bonkers as the toys I collected in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

If you are an adult without a child that is looking for a movie on par with a Marvel Studios movie you are going to be quite disappointed.  If you have 2 kids that watch the Nickelodeon show that is on now, then be prepared for a groan fest, but open up your heart a little bit and I think you will have a good time with this horrible, crazy, off the chain movie.

3 Stars for TMNT Out Of The Shadows




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