Review : Incredibles 2

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“Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is left to care for Jack-Jack while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world.”

That tagline would make it seem like the original Incredibles came out last week, and that this second iteration is just the next episode, and not 14 years later. This movie however, does treat it as if the original movie was a week ago, and it picks up right after the events of the last movie, and goes forward from there. 14 years is a long ass time, and that brings a lot with it. The more time goes past with a beloved movie like the predecessor to this, the more fondly we hold it, and the higher the expectations are of any sequel. The weight of expectation couldn’t be much bigger than those on the shoulders of this movie, and glad to say, it pretty much doesn’t let down. This movie takes almost everything from the original, and ramps it up. More supers, more powers, more action, more adventure, more heart, its all here. Its even more political and ideological, there’s a much heavier feminist slant, and a real great critique of the real responsibility of being a super, and what that should be and mean. We get a great combination also of old and new characters, with a thoroughly amazing voice cast of talent here, and they are all truly spot on. Brad Bird also shines here, back in animation where he probably just honestly belongs. His directing holds a great pace, and there are so many creative and stunning visual choices, especially with the use of powers on display, it really is a shame it took us 14 years to get back here. The movie isn’t perfect, and it may have some very minor detractions to it, but overall, the Incredibles 2 is pretty much everything all the fans of this franchise could have wanted and were waiting for. It also did have a bit of a feel of being a middle movie, so looking forward to not waiting another 14 years for the hopeful end of the trilogy.

Review Score: 9.5 out of 10

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Devilman Crybaby, a deeper look.

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So to be fully clear from the start, Devilman Crybaby is 100% an R or I guess NC-17 rated anime series, that is 100% made for people 18 years and over, and as we will discuss, there is more to it than just violence and nudity, but there is a lot of that so if you can’t get past that don’t even waste your time. With all that out of the way, what exactly is Devilman Crybaby? Its a new anime series on Netflix based on the original manga “DevilMan”. It tells the story of a world invaded by ancient demons who start regaining power in the world by possessing people in an attempt to take over control of the world It follows Akira and Ryo, who devise a plot to fight back against the demons by becoming half devil and half man (a devilment) to try and fight on equal footing.

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So that all sounds standard enough about a fantasy, action type anime, where’s all the controversy? Well, like I referenced before, this is DEFINITELY made for adults. The first half of the series especially, is filled with copious amounts of nudity, sexually content, drug use, murder, violence, gore and all that stuff, and on the surface, I can see why people would have a problem with it. And if that was the only purpose of those things then maybe it would be an issue, but like a lot of anime, the purpose of many things is kept hidden till its needs to reveal itself. That in a nutshell, is probably one of the best ways to describe this series.

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It starts by hitting you over the head with loud and out there imagery and actions, but it does so to prove a point, a point though, that it proves later on in the series. And this time delay, is where the series works the best, but is also what could put people off of this show. The shock and owe of the first few episodes, only becomes apparent when you get into the real meat of the story, and then you realise you’re hooked, and when you realise you’re hooked, everything comes into to focus. What this show does, is actually trick you, and by tricking you, it can have a more profound affect on you later on, and that makes what does happen later on, so much more impactful. There is a brilliance to that, that I don’t think should go unnoticed.

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Best of all though, the true brilliance of Devilman Crybaby, is that it manages to take you on a roller coaster ride from such a seemingly vulgar beginning, to a very surprisingly beautiful and poignant ending. And to be able to take the viewer on a ride like that, makes this show really worth seeing. If you’re a fan of anime ( and you really probably have to be for this one) Devilman Crybaby is a rare combination of things. It has an interesting and unique animation style, it uses a non traditional arch of story telling, it goes from seemingly one type of show to the polar opposite, and it manages to do all of this in 10, 20 some odd minute episodes that are as compelling and fun to watch as anything recently.

Review : Coco

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“Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to work out the mystery.”

Coco is the latest in the long and storied history of Pixar the animation studio, and like most everything they lay their hands on, it turns to gold. Coco, named for one of the main characters in the movie, takes us on a cultural, gripping, emotional and entertaining story about family. This movie really does play like a valentine to Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican celebration of the day of the dead. It represents the day on which families give thanks and remembrance to their ancestors who have gone before them. Coco also does a fantastic job in teaching anyone who isn’t aware of the celebration and what that all entails, in a manner that comes across as sincere, and never felt like it was watering or dumbing down the material for a wider audience. It pulls you into the world of Miguel and his family, and then takes you on a journey with him, from this world to another, with some really great twists and turns that are earned and genuinely well done. The animation is gorgeous, and they take full advantage of the added visual style that the day of the dead inspires and allows. The added lore also creates a great bed to lay this story on, especially because this celebration is based around family, and at its core, thats what this movie is really about. It is about music, it is about being an artist, and what it truly takes to be an artist in this world, but everything is swirling around this core of family, and what family means. And it all feels so authentic, and it is. The voice talent here is all on point, and they all do really well with their singing, as well as they do sound like a real family, and one that really cares for each member. The only thing keeping this movie from reaching the peak though are the songs. Not the music, the guitar work here is really amazing, but the original songs are good, but there isn’t that stand out, or song that will really break through, and I really wish it did, to give is this movie the extra exposure it deserves. All in all, Coco is a fantastic movie for any member or the whole family, and is worth seeing on the big screen with some popcorn.

Review Score : 9 out of 10

In Case You Missed it!

Your Name (Kimi no na wa)

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Your Name is a 2016 film by Makoto Shinkai, and centers around a two main characters Taki and Mitsuha, and a connection that forms between them. That is to say, Your Name is really a love story, but probably not like any you’ve seen before. There really is something special in what Makoto Shinkai’s has created here. The movie is also based on a Novel and subsequent screen play, all by Shinkai, and that really does show in the story telling, and its adaptation from novel to film. But what does make this such a special movie?

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Now I’m sure, this isn’t the first, last, and only movie to deal with a subject matter like this, or to tell a story that uses similar tropes, but its the way this movie does it that makes the biggest difference. This movie is a love story, but its a love story across space and time. The movie also knows just how much information to deal out, and how fast or slow to do it, and that pacing keeps you both interested and simultaneously allows for the twists and turns in the plot to really hit home. And hit home they do (hard).

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That in itself is another way in which the movie shines. It does such an amazing job bringing you on the journey with these characters, that you feel for them deeply, and the are totally invested in the conflicts that arise. Not only are these characters deeply layered and unique, they are also extremely identifiable with in a way that only draws you further into the plot and intrigue. All of this is then wrapped up in a package that can only be delivered in a medium such as this.

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This is an absolutely gorgeous movie, and not just in its actual animation which is really top notched, but also in the more traditional film aspects like lighting, framing and camera movement, and visual effects. It adds that final layer of complexity and attention to detail, that seals up this movie so tightly. Your Name is truly a movie worth checking out by anyone, not just fans of animation or anime, but anyone who’s a fan of good and compelling story telling, complex characters, and in this case, romance. Yes you have to read subtitles, and yes thats not always anyone favorite thing in the world, but here it actually makes you pay even more attention, to a movie that 100% deserves it.

Trailer of the Week!

This weeks trailer of the week goes to:

Coco (Trailer 1)

Now I know what you’re thinking, “I’ve seen this movie before, and it was called the Book of Life”, and you’re not really wrong. Coco comes to us from the heavy hitters that are Disney Pixar, who are known for a a laundry list of amazing films, so I think as much as this idea might seem to be taken, I think we have to give this film the benefit of the doubt that it will one of real quality.

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Coco follows a young boy, who find himself on the wrong side of the tracks after the annual Day of the Dead celebrations, putting him in a place where no living person has set foot before. The movie also uses a mostly hispanic cast of voice talent to lend  a lot of authenticity to this project. The movie is directed by two directors who have been main stays in many of the previous Pixar movie line up, getting their bump up to full time directors for Coco. Though this trailer is mostly an introductory teaser trailer, we can really get a scene for the visual style, and their take on the classic Day of the dead imagery, and is a slight departure from the generally more photo-realistic styles used in pervious Pixar films. Are you excited to see Coco, or think its just gonna be a Book of Life knock off?

Review : Kubo and the two strings

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“A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.”

The very first frame of this movie, to the very last, the first words spoken, and the last muttered…this movie is brilliant. Laika, the studio that seems to want to single handed make sure we never forget the mastery of stop motion animation, brings us this new and instant classic. Kubo and the two strings takes on a whirlwind adventure across time and space, full of magic, fright and wonder enough for adults and children alike. Thats definitely one aspect of this movie that really shines, and thats is ability to tell both a story worthy of adult attention, while also being plainly entertaining enough for younger audiences. Kubo is also absolutely stunning in its visuals, and those visuals only barely win over the voice acting here as the most outstanding feature of this film. This movie combines all the best things about film making and story telling, and tells its narrative in a timely manner, keeping bloat to a minimum. When all of these things combine we are truly left with a film that I would call damn near perfect. If there is a movie you are going to see this weekend or soon, let it be Kubo, so these kind of film making doesn’t go away anytime soon.

Review Score : 9.5 out of 10

Review : Sausage Party

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“A sausage strives to discover the truth about his existence.”

Simple premiss, solid execution, but this movie is a great example of it would have been better without the trailer, but without the trailer no one would see it. If you’re like me, and the trailers for this movie had you rolling across the floor, then you will enjoy Sausage Party, but you will feel somewhat let down I think. To be clear the movie is funny, and does have funny moments, but a lot of them have already been seen, and there is also just a lot of connective tissue in this movie that just isn’t super funny. This movie is also most certainly rated R, and it goes everywhere you think it could and beyond. At points that raunchiness seems a bit forced just to push the envelope, but at other times it fits perfectly with the sick and twisted world created for these walking, talking and everything elseing grocery items. The movie does make great use of its soundtrack and those songs come in at perfect times. They also do well to play on popular stereo types and some good play on words action. All in all, Sausage Party I’d say is a success, and is funny, but if you’re going in there with high expectations like I was, be prepared for a let down.

Review Score : 6.5 out of 10