Saturday, June 25, 2016
Dir. Andrew Stanton
In a year of lackluster sequels (both critically and commercially) like Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Huntsman, Zoolander 2, etc, Pixar is defiantly holding its head above the water, with its sequel earning a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and the highest opening weekend at the box office for an animated film ever. Finding Dory, arriving 13 years after the Academy Award-winning Finding Nemo, continues the undersea journey of Marlin, his son Nemo, and their forgetful friend Dory. Yet again they are on a cross-ocean adventure to find a lost family member - this time Dory's parents - but their travels leads them to become trapped inside a Marine Life Institute not unlike Seaworld, with the film essentially playing out like a feature-length version of the Dentist Office escape from the first film. Despite its reliance on the "Pixar formula" and its similarities to the first film, Finding Dory does enough to hold its own, introducing new fun characters and providing a heartfelt message about living with a disability. In other words: it's predictably high-quality animation from Pixar.
Friday, June 10, 2016
Dir. Duncan Jones
Movies based on video games don't have the best track record. Just recently we've seen Hitman: Agent 47, Ratchet and Clank, and Need for Speed tank both critically and commercially. The state of video game movies is much like how comic book movies used to be - considered as trashy b-movies not meant to be taken seriously. What the genre (if you can call it that) needs right now is the equivalent of Tim Burton's Batman or Bryan Singer's X-Men to legitimize it for the masses. When it was announced that Duncan Jones, the brilliant director behind Moon and Source Code would be directing Warcraft, it seemed like we just might have finally made that breakthrough. So, after 20-some odd years after the release of the Super Mario Bros. movie, is Warcraft finally the "Batman" of video game adaptations we've been waiting for, to usher in a whole new era of big-budget video game movies? I wish. Instead, it's yet another mind-numbing, cluttered, boring mess of a film that only reinforces the idea that video games don't inherently make for good movies.