Sunday, August 28, 2016
Kubo and the Two Strings
Dir. Travis Knight
Stop-motion animation studio Laika has established a foothold against the modern tidal wave of 3D CGI cartoons with a series of refreshingly morbid children's entertainment like Coraline and Paranorman; Kubo and the Two Strings is a similarly dark and beautifully hand-crafted tale, only the ghouls and ghosts have been replaced by samurais and badass origami warriors. While Kubo suffers from the same "hero's journey" plot that's literally older than film itself, and at times feels disjointed, with Kubo's voyages more or less evoking the "fetch quest" aspects of video games like Legend of Zelda, it still ranks as one of the most beautiful-looking films of the year, and its painstaking attention to detail is astonishing.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Dir. Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan
While there have been precedents for R-Rated "adults only" animated films (i.e. South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, Fritz the Cat), writer-producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are the first to plant the flag for raunchy 3D cartoons in the Pixar vein. Like many of Pixar's films, which employ the familiar formula of "The Secret Life of (non-human thing)," the stoners who gave us Superbad and This is the End explore the secret life of food, which if you think about it has horrifying implications. Sausage Party is essentially the college freshman version of VeggieTales - featuring non-stop immature sex jokes, lazy racial stereotypes, and even hot dogs that smoke pot out of a kazoo. While I was hoping for a clever, pun-filled adult-oriented Pixar-esque film, what I got was an obnoxious, shocking just for the sake of it bro-fest that rarely made me laugh.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Dir. David Ayer
While we're already in "Phase Three" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warners' DC Films division has just barely learned to crawl with only three wittle movies under their belt, and there's so much fan-created hooplah over which studio is "better," you could almost replace the words 'DC' and 'Marvel' with 'Democrat' and 'Republican' in any given news story and the fervent passion between each side would be just as intense. Before it was even released Suicide Squad's generally negative critical response on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes caused a petition from unemployed mouth-breathers to shut the site down. Hopefully they don't come after my blog as well, because I also found Suicide Squad to be a bit of a mess.