Isle of Dogs – Review

Weirdly despite my love of animation including other stop motion animated films like those from LAIKA or Aardman I wasn’t excited for this film. Mainly that’s because my limited experience with Wes Anderson films hasn’t been positive. From seeing Grand Budapest Hotel and the nonsense he stuck at the end of Fantastic Mr. Fox that dragged out the movie long after the original book had ended I feel his films would probably work better as shorts. The fact this film is longer didn’t really help, nor did the fact it’s not showing at my local Odeon so it wouldn’t be covered under Limitless . But positive reviews from friends and critics I follow convinced me to at least give it a shot.

I still had problems with the pacing but this is an improvement. That said the way they handle the Japanese speaking characters was a bit awkward. I get not subtitling their dialogue since we’re supposed to be seeing this from the dogs’ point of view but the scenes with the translator take away from that and often make no sense (why are people in Japan, who speak Japanese, watching the English translation of the news?). There was also the foreign exchange student only ever speaking English even when talking to Japanese characters, even though it’s obvious she does understand Japanese. I think the effect would have worked better if none of the humans spoke English.

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The strengths of the movie are the animation and the dogs. I think it’s because of this that I didn’t feel the movie was too long because the focus was on stuff I liked. The dogs have entertaining personalities and there are several funny recurring gags. Also for a celebrity voice cast none of the voices stood out as “hey it’s that person”, even Jeff Goldblum.

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If your someone who enjoys Wes Anderson’s movies you’ll probably enjoy this more than I did. I liked it but I would also consider it overrated. Now to figure out what Netflix movie to watch next…

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Irreplaceable You – Review

Decided I’m going to try catching up on some of this year’s movies this week. Went with this one first because of the cast and the last Netflix movie I watched technically wasn’t a Netflix Original.

It’s alright. The problem with the movie for me is that I wasn’t really invested in the main story. There are several good moments but they’re all when the film shifts the focus away from Abbie  planning her finance’s love life after she dies and instead focuses on other parts of her life, her cancer and the people she interacts with.

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My main reason for watching this was the cast and in that area the film didn’t disappoint. Christopher Walken is the best part of the movie and there’s a great moment with Kate McKinnon’s character. I also think Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Michiel Huisman play off each other really well as the main couple.

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If you just want to watch a movie on Netflix it’s fine but not one of their better films. And honestly as far as bitter sweet romance movies involving cancer go you’re better off just watching The Fault in Our Stars. I’ve got a few more Netflix movies lined up but I think for today’s film I’m going to pop to the cinema.

Love, Simon – Review

So this is another book adaptation where I’ve not read the book so I can’t really judge how it handles the source material but also won’t have any book bias. The main thing I knew going in was that it was pretty cool that trailers for a movie about being gay were playing before films like A Wrinkle In Time that are being seen by a mostly young audience.

It’s a nice film with a lot of heartwarming and heartbreaking moments. The sort of thing you want a young romance movie to be. Sure it’s got its cliches but they’re presented well. The romance is sweet and the mystery element is fun to watch as Simon imagines each of his suspects narrating Blue’s emails and when his identity is eventually revealed it’s really nice scene. I’m also glad that when the third act starts and Simon is outed the consequences aren’t really to do with him being gay but his actions earlier in the movie while his sexuality has more impact on his interactions with his family.

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I think the film’s use of existing media is done well with the bands, shows and movies characters bring up liking or crushing on people from are popular in real life and Simon’s room has a bunch of neat elements that stand out like Adventure Time Pops and pictures of Bob’s Burgers characters. Too often films like this are either void of pop culture or have very forced advertisements (Peter Parker using Bing in Amazing Spider-Man for example).

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Is this the most original setup for a gay romance? Not really but honestly most straight romances in movies have pretty cliche setups so that’s not really an issue. What matter is if the story is told well and I think it is. The trailers include “from the producers of The Fault in Our Stars” as a selling point and while the films have different directors I do think this has a lot of the same charm as the John Green book movies so if you like them you’ll probably like this too.

Annihilation – Review

So when looking through Netflix Originals for new films I’ll often find many aren’t even Netflix Originals, just films Netflix owns the distribution rights to in the UK. Turns out everyone else has been having that experience with this film, though at least this time it’s actually from this year.

It’s an interesting film that can be both beautiful and disturbing as the characters encounter more mutations as they make their way through the Shimmer. It’s more of a thriller than a horror but it does use horror elements in several scenes and if you don’t like seeing gruesome deaths you’ll probably want to avoid this film.

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The designs of the mutations themselves are especially impressive. They start off subtle but get more and more drastic as the film progresses. It really looks like an alien world mixed with a fantasy world with a bit of post-apocalypse horror thrown in. The music also really helps give the place this really unsettling yet fascinating feel.

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It’s a movie designed to make you think about things including its ending and the nature of the Shimmer. If that sounds like your kind of movie I think you’ll enjoy this. While many people are saying it’s a shame this got a Netflix release outside of the US I actually think it’s a shame this technically isn’t a Netflix Original because Netflix really needs more movies that get the same amount of positive attention as their shows.

Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay – Review

First DC Animated Movie Universe movie of the year and considering how often these movies include C-list DC villains having brutal deaths I’m surprised it’s taken them this long to make a Suicide Squad movie. The weird part is that despite being the first Suicide Squad movie of this universe it starts off with Task Force X already being an established thing with Deadshot, Harley and Captain Boomerang all being familiar with how things work from past experience.

It’s honestly what I expect from the DCAMU at this point, in fact the way they tend to kill off characters actually makes a Suicide Squad film less unique. You already know going in everyone outside of the main three are expendable and you’re only really given a reason to care about one expendable member.

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Like most recent DC animated projects the character designs are done by Phil Bourassa, some look cool and others look like he only put effort into the costume and just used a template for the face. The characters themselves are fine but when some get killed off it really doesn’t mean anything. There is a neat tie-in with The Flashpoint Paradox but other than that the film is mediocre.

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Out of the three Suicide Squad movies this is probably the weakest. Yes the live action film is a poorly edited mess but it’s got more fun and has better versions of Deadshot and Harley. If you’re a fan of the DCAMU movies you’ll probably enjoy this but otherwise you can probably skip this. Now I think it’s time to have a look at what movies Netflix has released this year.

Ready Player One – Review

While I do own the book I haven’t read it yet. It was bought for me as a present so I do plan to read it at some point, probably after I finally get around to reading Turtles All The Ways Down. During the build up to this film’s release I’ve heard both good and bad things about the book and figured rather than try and rush read it I’d watch the film first and avoid any book bias.

It’s a fun movie. It’s not great and the plot isn’t without its problems but as a movie about an adventure through a pop culture themed puzzle quest it’s enjoyable. From what I’ve heard several improvements have been made to the contents of the book while other details have had to be downgraded due to copyright limitations and the difference of mediums.

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As far as the references themselves go most are just neat visual references, they look cool but don’t really make much good use of the abilities of the characters. It really is just like VRChat only with less chibi versions of Knuckles the Echidna showing up quoting lines from Who Killed Captain Alex. There are some abilities that get shown off like a Tracer using her blink ability and a Sonic using a homing attack but mostly abilities are used by the characters with unique avatars. I do think the Iron Giant is a poor substitute for Ultra Man but the Gundam still makes the giant robot fight near the end pretty cool.

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The animation is pretty cool but I really wish all the locations weren’t so dark (with the most well lit in-game set being a recreation of The Shining). I’ve seen reviews praising and criticizing the movie and in a typical me fashion my opinion falls somewhere in the middle, I enjoyed it but still agree with a lot of the criticisms I’ve read. Will you enjoy this? Maybe, just don’t go in expecting the next Spielberg classic or something along the lines of Who Framed Roger Rabbit or Wreck-It Ralph. It’s just a fun adventure and I’m fine with that.

A Wrinkle in Time – Review

So I’ll admit I wasn’t really sold on this film from the trailers. I didn’t think it looked bad but apparently people really liked those trailers and were excited for this film and I just didn’t have a reaction. But as far as movies that came out this month go it was a higher priority to see than Peter Rabbit (which is apparently really popular at my local Odeon).

It’s ok. It’s based on a pretty old book so a lot of these story details have been retold better in other media. In fact that’s probably the main issue with the film, it feels more like a template compared to things that were probably inspired by it. You can see attempts to modernize it but the dialogue is still weirdly old fashioned clashing with the modern day look of the main characters. The thing that stuck out in this respect for me was that Charles Wallace is always referred to as Charles Wallace making every time a character spoke to or about him sound really formal.

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The main strength of this movie and why seeing it on the big screen was a nice experience was the scenery. The locations they visit in this movie look great and being a Disney film once again seeing beautiful scenery just makes me miss Disney Infinity more because I would love to see a sky dome of this movie in the toy box.

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It’s an average film with a cast of talented actors (though there were some lines that could have been said better) but nothing special. Had a better time than I did with Pacific Rim: Uprising though, that film annoys me the more I think about it. I’ve managed to see enough films this month to make up for not seeing three films at the Odeon in February but I’ve still got one more film I’m planning to see before the month ends, and no it’s not Peter Rabbit.