Suspiria Movie Review

8.5/10

A masterpiece mix of Rosemary’s Baby meets Black Swan. Suspiria is a disturbing, shocking, and thoroughly engrossing psychological horror. Yes, it holds a few flaws but ultimately, this is modern cinema at its finest.

The story is set towards the tail of the Cold War in 1977 Berlin. We follow the journey of a young American dancer Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson), who is accepted into the prestigious but mysterious Markos Dance Academy. Strange occurrences begin to occur, and Susie soon finds herself among company that’s of a different kind. Hint: this is not a film for kids.

The most enjoyable factor for me was the suspense, as subtly indicated within the name of the film. A large part of this comes from the story and its incredibly developed mythology teased out an array of harrowing concepts over time. Every time a new detail was shed, the more intrigued I became and the suspense of what could linger in the future was added.

I also loved how the film structures complemented the build-up in sense over time. Like a Quentin Tarantino film, the story was divided up into chapters and each added to this looming dreaded feeling for next part of the story. Think Paranormal Activity and how each new night brought about something worse than the one before.

The other parts that I thought were great to build suspense were the direction and performances.

Director Luca Guadagnino did a great job in breaking up these segments and teasing out important details to solidify the suspense. One of my favourite features was his use of the zoom on particular objects or faces. Apart from adding obvious focus to details important to the story, they were often employed before moments of dread and in turn made these scenes interesting to watch.

Normally directors would cut to a close-up but to me, Guadagnino’s choice of the zoom is far more interesting from a visual standpoint. Most of the zooms were done slowly, forcing me to gradually ascertain what important detail is being put forward.

It reminded me of Yorgos Lanthimos’ works (another great director, see our Dogtooth, The Lobster and The Killing of the Sacred Deer reviews) as he also forces in this feeling of suspense from a zoom compared to a quick cut of a close-up. The latter style speeds up the information transfer process and doesn’t allow momentary confusion while I figure things out. Great in action pieces to hide the cheated punches; less in suspenseful horrors where you want to slowly tease out details and build up suspense (unless of course horror films want to use jump scares).

Interestingly, Guadagnino’s other works Call Me By Your Name and I Am Love which are dramatic films that are very different from Suspiria. Both of those are great films but I was still (pleasantly) surprised to see Guadagnino handle himself quite well in a horror genre.

Performances wise, Dakota Johnson was fine as Susie Bannion but it was Tilda Swinton who blew me away with her two roles; one of which I didn’t even realise she acted for it until looking up the cast credits. I don’t want to give this part away because I think the experience of picking this up later will make you smile but think Gary Oldman level of transformation. Suffice to say, she was simply incredible.

Apart from being a linguistic master, there are so many subtleties in her performance that really does confirm her as my favourite actress to watch. In Suspiria she plays a dance director with great commanding body movements but also real earnest in her eyes. She can give a lot away about her character simply through the way she stares at you and I found it fantastic to watch.

My only gripes with Suspiria are with subplots that could have been cut because they didn’t add anything to the story or weren’t addressed later.

Without giving too much away, there’s a subplot with the RAF (if you watch the film you’ll know what I mean) that kept getting raised but never had a payoff. I’m trying to grasp its relevance to the themes of the film, but I still don’t know what its point was. There’s also one character with glasses (again you’ll know who I mean) who I felt was important to the story but was never addressed by the end of the film. Once again, I’m not sure what her role was and I’m of the mind that this subplot could have been cut.

I also have a slight issue with the way the finale played out which came across as comical in parts even though that the exact opposite of its intention. After a while it became kind of ridiculous and in my opinion, it could have been presented differently to make it feel more harrowing. I can’t say exactly why it came across as comical without giving anything, but this is more of a minor issue compared to the almost pointless subplots.

Overall Suspiria is an incredibly well-made film and I had a blast watching it. I’m thoroughly recommending this to those that enjoyed Rosemary’s Baby and Black Swan because Suspiria feels like a mix of the two. Otherwise, if you like suspenseful psychological horrors in general, then this will still be right up your alley.

Be warned, it is quite long. The film clocks in at 2 hours and 32 minutes but thankfully I didn’t feel the film ever drag on because there’s a lot of intriguing suspense going on (even with the pointless subplots). This is a film that had enough for me to take away from one sitting but also made me more curious to read up on later (though I probably won’t be watching it again because I’m happy with what I got the first time).

I’m predicting this to be an early contender for Best Adapted Screenplay at next year’s Oscar’s as it’s based on the 1977 original of the same name. But until then, see the 2018 version when you can.

EDIT:

I forgot to add that the music is also composed by Thom Yorke, lead single and lyricist of Radiohead. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better right?

Halloween Movie Recommendations: Part 1 (2018 Edition)

Here’s a quick overview of horror films we recommend for this Halloween (more films in upcoming parts).

Martyrs (2008)

7.5/10

martyrs halloween image.jpg

Gruesome and truly horrifying.

Martyrs is a French psychological horror film that tells the revenge story of Lucie and Anna, two victims of brutal child abuse. Fifteen years after Lucie escaped from an icy torture chamber, she and Anna track down their former captors to exact their revenge. Their search uncovers a secret organization but Lucie and Anna quickly realise that they’re yet to experience the true face of evil.

This is the most brutal horror film I’ve seen and that’s also the main aspect that makes it so engrossing. It’s meant to be dark, bleak and horrifying, and that’s why I love it. For fans looking to expand their horror film library and for those seeking out sheer dread and scare, then this is the film for you.

Audition (1999)

8/10

audition 2018 halloween recommendation.jpg

A slow burn horror with one of the best payoffs.

Audition is a disturbing Japanese thriller that follows Aoyama, a recent widower who decides to pickup dating again. With the help of his film producer, Aoyama holds auditions for a fake dating production that secretly introduces him to attractive and single women. From these mock castings Aoyama meets the gorgeous but reserved Asami and their relationship begins to develop. However, Asami isn’t what she appears to be, and Aoyama eventually finds himself faced with a horror that he’s never known before.

While Audition is a film that gradually increases the tension ever so slowly, ultimately it leads to a harrowing climax that makes the whole wait worth it. This is a film that purposefully takes it’s time because it knows how great the payoff at the end will be. If you’re after something with more pace than Audition won’t be the film for you. But if you’re looking for a masterpiece in horror suspense, you’ve come to the right place.

Pandorum (2009)

6.5/10

pandorum 2018 halloween recommendation.jpg

Dead Space meets Resident Evil meets The Descent.

Pandorum is a sci-fi horror that plays out like a lucid dream reminiscent of films like Memento and The Matrix. Astronauts Payton and Bower awake from hypersleep with no memory of who they are or what their mission was. Payton stays behind to monitor the radio while Bower explores the seemingly abandoned spaceship. The astronauts quickly realise that they are not alone, and the fate of mankind will hinge on what they do next.

While it’s nowhere near being a horror classic, Pandorum is very much so underrated and often overlooked. The story is fast-paced with several action scenes that make it an exciting to watch. The film does borrow elements from other films, but I feel like it combines the best from those classics into something that still makes Pandorum feel original. If you loved any of those previously mentioned film influences and are into sci-fi gore horror, then give this one a watch.

Slender Man Movie Review

slender man.PNGSkip it. 2/10

One of the most poorly constructed films that I have ever seen. Slender Man is easily a front-runner to take out 2018’s Worst Movie prize because to put it quite simply, it’s not even a movie. There is no real story nor any logical train of thoughts on how to present it. It’s completely empty.

The premise follows the urban legend of “Slender Man”, a faceless demonic spirit who haunts children and teenagers unfortunate enough to summon him. Funnily enough, his origins started as a meme created on an online forum which blew up as a worldwide phenomenon back in 2009, even spawning a popular video game of the same name.

Flashforward to the present, Slender Man’s studio creator Sony Pictures have decided to capitalize on this internet icon in an obvious effort to try and rekindle that same popularity for ticket sales. Unfortunately, not only are they nine years too late, they’ve also forgotten how to make an actual movie with interesting characters and an engaging story. Just like the children Slender Man haunts, those two aspects have seemed to vanish altogether.

The film’s characters, who in the story are meant to be high school teenagers, come off sounding anything but high school teenagers. This is because not only is the acting so poor, but the lines of dialogue they’re given is completely detached from what real teenagers, in reality, would be saying. When it gets to a point where one character says, “He’s like a virus, but he doesn’t get into your hardware, he gets into your brain”, I’m bewildered how any of that passes the final edit.

Which goes the same for the rest of the script because there was no real narrative structure. After ten minutes of introducing who Slender Man is, the story is scene by scene of characters coming into strange and weird interactions with the spirit. There’s no overarching theme or adventure; no trials and tribulations; and no real character arcs or even logical planning. Things just happen with such repetitiveness that I don’t understand why anyone could think this would be an entertaining horror film.

What’s more bizarre is that almost half of what was showed in the trailer doesn’t even make it to the actual film. This suggests to me that the gaps and plot holes that I saw in the film, more than likely came from Sony’s executives toying with the final product. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if there were a number of quickly made reshoots that don’t work with the story because this film is screaming that it’s been poorly made.

Scenes that were meant to be scary followed the typical trend of slowly building tension and then hitting with a disturbing payoff that completely fell flat Some of these moments came off as unintentionally hilarious and the whole theatre was laughing at the stupidity of the characters. It was so bad that it almost became good.

The only positive aspect that I can stand to mention are the few montages of disturbing imagery which were very well edited. Quick cuts and the setup to intercut these scenes together indicated that there was at least some level of effort put into this film but those were the only times this film did something right. Everything else had a complete lack of thought put into it.

I don’t think I can remember a time where I’ve watched a film and when the credits roll, felt completely empty to what just occurred. I wasn’t frustrated like I was with Truth or Dare, nor was I eye rolling like with Happy Death Day, which were two other uninspiring horror films to come out in the past year. I was just confused and in disbelief that something like this was ever made in the first place. Hopefully, Sony Pictures can learn a lesson from this failure, because at the very least, if fewer people go to watch stupid films like this, the less of a chance they’ll be made in the future. Which is why I’m saying skip this because Slender Man is an obvious marketing cash chow that deserves to be forgotten.

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learnt To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb Movie Review

dr strangelove

See it. 9/10

When it comes to political satires, you can hardly beat this. Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or How I Learnt to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is a hilarious yet tense drama that pokes fun at its subject matter and isn’t shy about delving deep into its underlying seriousness. What happens if the end of the world can be started by a push of a button?

Peter Sellers puts on a masterclass of acting by dwelling into three characters; Captain Mandrake, President Muffley, and Dr. Strangelove, the latter being his finest. The film explores the predicament facing the U.S President tasked with stopping a madman from unleashing a thermal nuclear war with Russia. The trick here is that the madman is, in turn, a general that’s with the Royal Air Force who has gone completely insane with conspiracy theories against the communist regime. It’s the Cold War that could have been and one that never ceases to make you smile.

I think one of the reasons this film is regarded as a classic is because no matter how insane and convoluted its plot becomes, it remains believable as it has deep-seeded relevance. We never feel that this is too ridiculous to be a possibility simply due to the story’s roots in logic. Nuclear war was almost a very true possibility at the time, and the tools to do so today haven’t changed. In fact, the fears of nuclear war have worsened and have an increasing resonance with today’s society (think North Korea).

What makes the film brilliant is the subtle yet hilarious undertones throughout the film. You can’t help but smile at the escalation of each disastrous situation, even though you feel tense at the same time. Peter Sellers as Strangelove also steals the show with apparent buried Nazi tendencies still surfacing in front of others.

Whilst it might not make everyone burst out laughing in comparison to traditional comedies we’ve come to know lately, Kubrick’s films are in a class of their own. It’s sharp, witty, and rooted in a fully realized fictional world that could still be our future. A must watch for any film lover. See it.

Happy Death Day Movie Review

happy death day

Skip it. 3/10

If only it was me who starred as the main character of Happy Death Day so I could have been killed over and over again instead of watching this garbage.

Blumhouse Productions continues to bring out crappy horror film after crappy horror film, and I’m wondering whenever will we see another great film in this genre since It Follows. I’m still saddened by the fact that when this film came out, it took in more money at the box office than the infinitely better movie at the time Blade Runner 2049. I don’t know, maybe it’s just because it’s so unique man. It’s like Groundhog Day but instead, there’s someone out there who kills you every time and then you wake up to do the same thing over and over until you’re killed again. Sigh.

Whatever the case, Happy Death Day serves to suit a cause to satisfy moviegoers interested in seeing a simple horror film with just enough originality to make it slightly different from others like it. This is what the film does well and is probably the only reason Blumhouse Productions made a profit over so many of their horror films of the same formula. But does this make it a great film? No.

Because the twists are there to be spotted through various clues in the plot. Our main character develops a love interest which is the standard for almost any horror film of the modern age. But most importantly and how can I forget, we get our dose of nonsensical scares and silly teenagers dying (I mean, it’s only one person in this case but it’s basically the same thing). The only mildly interesting part about Happy Death Day is the Groundhog Day-like concept. Which if you’ve already seen the trailer, wears off quite fast after the first half hour.

I found several details about the plot that either didn’t make sense or could have been solved far easier than what it was made out to be. I also still don’t understand why a college sports team has a baby face mascot and that ultimately becomes the killer’s trademark mask. I couldn’t help but laugh every time I saw it, or even just thought about the fact that they used that particular image as the emblem for their football team.

Would they be chanting something like, “let’s go babies let’s go!” (claps’ hands). What do they even call their team then?! The Atlanta Babies? No one in the right mind would use such a figure as a sign of team power but I guess it is set in the United States so it might some sort of sense to American audiences. Or maybe it’s a just subtle dig and “ingenious” commentary towards how they voted in Donald Trump as President whom the world sees as essentially a giant baby that has access to nuclear weapons. Oh, now I see the master plan of the “brilliant” writers of this film.

From that point on whenever I saw the baby face mascot, it quickly went downhill from there. What would have been enjoyable to see would be placing a hated celebrity as the main character. I swear if Justin Bieber had been cast as the one to be killed over and over again, this movie could have destroyed Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the box office. Better yet, throw in Martin Shkreli and the whole world would thank the director for giving us one of the best casting choices of the decade.

Go see Happy Death Day if you either want a simple horror flick or a film to laugh at its cringe-worthy dialogue and plot holes. Perhaps that’s why it did so well compared to the thought-provoking and intelligently written Blade Runner 2049. But if you want to see a better horror-esque film that came out in the last year, catch mother! or flashback to the 2014 film It Follows. You haven’t seen nothing yet if you haven’t watched those. Skip it.

I Feel Pretty Movie Review

i feel prettySkip it. 3.5/10

Not as horrendous as I thought it was going to be.

Going into this film I had very little hopes that it would be a funny comedy, let alone something that could be thought-provoking given it was tackling a seemingly simple premise. But hey, I was thankfully surprised, because it was nowhere near as bad as I felt about the god-awful Truth or Dare. I’m not saying I would go see it again because it’s still just a typical romantic comedy in most respects. Though its concept elevates it as a film slightly and its themes of empowerment are a nice touch.

The idea here is that one day, you get knocked on the head so hard that when you wake up, you see yourself as the most beautiful person in the world (hence the name of the movie, duh). But this is all the more fitting for our protagonist, Renee Barret (Amy Schumer), who constantly feels insecure about her image and always dreams about having the perfect look that she admires from so many other women around her. Her desires and dreams get fulfilled, when, after a fateful accident, she awakens to this incredible gift and now she can only view herself with a model-like body.

When I heard of this concept, I immediately thought of the film Shallow Hal. In some ways, it’s very akin to the themes in that movie, which dealt with viewing people for who they truly were inside, ignoring the physical exterior and seeing the personality that was inside. Again, a simple concept but it worked well enough to be original and to make some commentary on society as a whole.

The same is done for I Feel Pretty only it’s done in a slightly different way because, for Renee Barrett, the way she sees herself is attached directly to a physical image. It might seem like a superficial notion, but I enjoyed the fact that the film never presented it in that light or focused on that. It wasn’t about finding the perfect way to look but to simply just find the self-confidence behind that. This is what I liked most about the film’s premise as it explored scenarios where Renee Barret would take her newfound confidence and apply it to situations that previously she would have no place being in because of her insecurities.

My qualm with this is that many of these setups were just terribly cheesy and filled with dumb humor so it feels like such a wasted opportunity. To me, it felt like the story had a lot of these scenes that would either be crude for the sake of being crude or just be very unrealistic and convenient. But hey, the effort to show what happens when we simply believe in ourselves so we can do something we weren’t sure of before is still there. Even if it is misaligned and could have been targeted in a more intelligent way.

As a comedy, I didn’t find myself laughing too much but that’s only cause it’s not really my type of humor. The jokes are simple and basic, which is what you get with typical romantic comedies. It’s not really my thing because I can see how predictable the punchline is going to be.

There’s also a couple of annoying characters that are meant to be funny, but I just don’t see why they had to be there in the first place. One of the characters has a certain defect in her voice which she’s really insecure about and this ties into the themes of the whole movie. But it was so distracting, and I don’t see why they couldn’t have chosen to give her something else to have as a flaw.

I also found the plot formula fairly predictable with a lot of conveniences that have been thrown in. A couple of aspects seem impractical and the reactions of the characters should really be reflecting something else and not what was portrayed in the movie. Renee’s friends showing up at the highly publicized fashion launch event, seemingly passing all the security that’s there. Um OK? Preparing a presentation that you’ve worked on for ages but then giving it suddenly to your boss without any explanation and that somehow doesn’t make her angry when you next see her at the launch event? Um OK? Again, these are the same issues I have with any typical romantic comedy so it’s nothing new and it might be something you’re happy to overlook.

What this film aims to do, and I feel does it successfully, is the message of empowerment especially for women. It’s obvious that this film is targeted to females and is about the embodiment of women, which sitting in a whole cinema filled with women will also drill into you, but it does work.

But could these same themes be applied to everyone and not just females? I think the story’s concept could be a great way of simply exploring the power that self-confidence can have in any of us and I would have loved to see this film go into that as well. To not just see one person’s perspective on it but from both male and female, and not necessarily only about seeing yourself as a gorgeous supermodel. There’s a whole range of things that you could tackle that would be great to watch.

Anyways, I’d recommend skipping this but if you did end up watching it, it won’t feel like that much of a waste time compared to other films currently out (cough, Truth or Dare, cough). It is a nice step in the right direction, even if it is a small one.

Nightcrawler Movie Review

nightcrawler

See it. 8/10

Jake Gyllenhaal in what is yet another fine performance.

I’ve hammered on about it in another review of the film Prisoners but damn do I love watching Gyllenhaal take on a new and challenging role, and with Nightcrawler we definitely get just that. This film is a fantastic character study of a disturbing sociopath and it does so by shining a camera on a topic most audiences wouldn’t be privy towards.

Nightcrawler is all about the world of shooting horrifying and graphical images of real-life incidents for local news television updates. It’s about the people who are behind the camera of what you see on television and those that are responsible for putting themselves out there to capture what you don’t want to see but can’t help but look. And just like that very notion, this film is a perfect example of being captivated by something that you normally wouldn’t be but also something that you know you shouldn’t be.

This film pits the issue of what is allowed to be filmed and shown on television alongside the question of whether you can do so without feeling any sense of moral or ethical burdens. For most, and just like myself, I’d side on the traditional and conservative side. But for others that we come to watch Nightcrawler, it’s just another opportunity to make it into primetime.

A moral dilemma like this is examined by Gyllenhaal’s character Louis Bloom, who is one of these people that records violent events in the city of Los Angeles and sells it to the news. But Nightcrawler’s story goes deeper into psychic of what makes Louis Bloom tic and why he often crosses over those traditional lines of ethics, to simply profit off those that are so unfortunate. All of which, wouldn’t come to fruition if it weren’t for how great Gyllenhaal’s performance is. In Louis Bloom, he installed a new set of creepy quirks and traits, from the way he interacted with other characters to even just how he was by himself. From the tone and delivery of his dialogue to the way he looked and moved, everything was intended to create an unsettling portfolio of a sociopath, which worked fantastically and I had a blast watching him every time he was on screen, which thankfully was a lot.

The compliments for creating such a fun and interesting character to observe ultimately come down to the great script by writer and director Dan Gilroy. His discovery of what is called the “stringer” profession and the idea to develop it to a psychological drama setting, is an aspect I’m glad we got to be introduced to. I feel like, for whatever reason, Nightcrawler is akin to a sleeper hit, as it isn’t really discussed or brought up in conversation. Although it went onto be nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 87th Academy Awards and thankfully grossed a nice $50 million from an $8 million budget.

Nightcrawler is one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s best films and a greatly entertaining character study. It’s something original and fresh but also dark and disturbing enough to make a great film. It isn’t perfect but it’s positives far outweigh the negatives and I’d recommend seeing this out on Netflix if you get the chance, because it’s one of those hidden gems that need a spotlight on it. So, check it out when you can.

Black Dynamite Movie Review

black dynamite

See it. 9/10

By far, the best comedy to have come out in the past decade. Black Dynamite shines as a film that mocks classic 70’s black exploitation (blaxploitation) movies, but it does so in a way that doesn’t make mean-spirited jests at such a genre. Rather, Black Dynamite simply uses the blaxploitation medium as a mask to bring forth a hilarious story that works in such a setting.

Only in a film released in 2009 can you get a seriously funny plot about the life of a man known as Black Dynamite who is a crime-fighting, off the rails ex-police detective. The story sees him searching for justice when his younger brother is killed, but instead leads into an entirely different journey that you wouldn’t have seen coming. Without giving anything else away, it is so much better if you go into seeing this film without knowing anything because you’ll love all the laughs that come with the surprises of the story. But if you do want to know what kind of movie you’re walking into, the film’s trailer alone is hilarious and still doesn’t reveal much of the laughter that you’ll find after you watch the film.

What makes Black Dynamite so great, is its self-awareness in what it is trying to mimic and parody. By disguising itself as a blaxploitation film, it plays on the characteristics that made those films so cheesy and poorly made, instead of capitalizing on it and turning them into laughs. An aspect of this is the use of intentional filmmaking mistakes. For example, a boom mic that pops into the frame that seems like it was there by accident and is a fault of the film but it’s actually something that was done on purpose by the directors, to both subtly lampoon the B-grade blaxploitation genre and garner up laughs. This extends to moments where the fourth wall is broken, people break characters or even appear to be bad acting.

All of this is done with a sense of self-awareness, knowing full well that they are meant to look bad and be perceived in a hilarious light. This is what gives the potential for a comedy that is self-aware, to be so great if done well, and is something which Black Dynamite has utilized. This is a movie that is not intended to be taken seriously and is willing to poke fun at themselves to add another dynamic to the comedy.

But apart from the meta-like humor, the film is enough to stand alone as a hilarious comedy in its own right. There are plenty of laughs throughout the story and the jokes per minute are at a staggeringly high rate. You could re-watch this film over and over again and pick up on new little nuances that you mightn’t have seen the first time. It’s the quality of the writing that truly adds depth to the quantity of these jokes and is the reason for why you’d want to come back to watch it another time or show it to your friends.

Black Dynamite has a script so good that it outweighs its direction, but it doesn’t matter because both serve each other as much as they need to. Perhaps for some, the silly like nature or the jokes relating to African-American stereotypes aren’t in their ballpark. But this script is so well made, that’s it very difficult not to find yourself quickly swept up in its fun and nonsensical world. There are far too many notable lines of dialogue and memorable catchphrases, that are just worthy enough by themselves to standout as comedy gold in a film and was something I was completely up for.

I got every bit of my hopeful and high expectations from watching the trailer (which almost never happens in other films) and then some. Black Dynamite is almost the perfect comedy to have been made in the last ten years, because of so many different little things the filmmakers have managed to get right. It’s smart, funny and above all just simply entertaining. I can’t wait to see what these guys make next. They currently have a crowdfunding page to acquire funds for their next movie The Outlaw Johnny Black and by the looks of things, I’m already excited about that. So, go see this film and then go help fund their next one because man if these guys aren’t the comic geniuses of modern day cinema, I don’t know who else could come close.

Fantastic Mr. Fox Movie Review

fantastic mr fox

See it. 8/10

Given Wes Anderson is about to release another stop-motion animation picture, Isle Of Dogs, let’s dive into reviewing his very first animation, Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Based on Roald Dahl’s children’s book of the same name, the plot follows the life of a thieving but good-hearted fox, who is simply trying to provide for his family. Unfortunately, he is thieving from three of the meanest and wealthiest farmers in the area, who become tired of Mr. Fox’s criminal activities and decide to think up a scheme to get rid of him once and for all. You might already gather that the story does feel very much like it was intended for children, and I mean duh, it was based on a children’s novel, but unlike most children book to film adaptations, this is a film that can be pleasantly enjoyed by adult’s as well.

This is thanks largely to its marvelous director, whose filmography is one of the best in the business. In his first venture to stop-motion animation, Anderson’s eye for detail is matched with an amazing production design. From the set pieces to the tiniest amount of character traits that have been precisely manufactured, everything in this world that Anderson oversees is amazing to look at. Since everything has to be animated, later on, it just staggers me how much effort would have to be put in to make it all happen. It might also have helped that Anderson directed a crew that also worked on Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, another stop-motion animated film, so I’m not surprised by how great everything looked.

Another great aspect, which should be no surprise, is the obvious skill of Anderson’s shot selection. Apart from being a director who loves to have symmetry in his films, he’s also one of the best users of the lateral tracking shot. Often these scenes, which employ this type of shot, will follow sideways with the characters for extended lengths of time, taking with it all the beautiful visual design in the background. It’s even crazier to think that whilst there was a large amount of effort put into building these set pieces, the shots whizz by so quickly and the set piece is never seen again. These extremely small one-percenters, that have an incredible amount of work behind them but only are used for a few seconds of the runtime, is why I love this film and this director.

There’s not much else to say when it comes down to it because, at the end of the day, when you hear the name of Wes Anderson, you know exactly what you’re getting into a great film. He’s one of the best working in the business and he’s been growing strength to strength with every movie that he’s made. I’m happy to see him return back to the stop-motion animation platform with his latest about to be released, and the fact that’s it set in Japan and has dogs in it is putting almost all of my favorite things in this world together. So, before you go and enjoy that film, make sure you revisit Fantastic Mr. Fox, especially since it’s on Netflix and easily watchable.

The LEGO Movie Review

the lego movie

See it. 9/10

I can’t believe I liked this so much, but Goddamn (!), The LEGO Movie is if anything, seriously underrated.

Like most others, when I saw that LEGO was making a movie, I couldn’t help but think this was just going to be yet another way for a company to market their product to a mass audience. That this was just going to be a big ass LEGO commercial for kids, which would make their parents buy them more LEGO because they saw the new movie and they want everything and anything that was in the new movie.

But what no one expected was that it was actually going to be a cleverly written and very funny film. A film that was smart enough for adults to enjoy but also still is childishly delightful for kids. If you’re still a skeptic, let me explain why in this review.

The movie follows a construction worker Emmet Brickowski (get it, Brick-owski), who finds himself quickly swept up as part of a resistance group, who are trying to overthrow a tyrannical maniac that is about ruining the world of LEGO as they know it. Sounds simple enough but hold your horses, this synopsis doesn’t do justice to the number of layers and degrees of complexity that is behind it.

It is a movie that takes common film and narrative clichés, that would have dragged it down as any other normal kids movie would, and throws it upside down by being a parody of all those said clichés. This happens straight from the get-go, as Emmet shows us the aspects of how to be awesome and happy in this world, what everyone else is meant to do, and why everything is how it is. It’s this dystopian exaggeration of our society, that’s translated to a computer-animated LEGO world that makes it so clever. All of this is subtle enough that you might be mistaken to pass it over as a film that is following typical cliché’s, and that doesn’t realize it’s actually just an intelligent satire of those aspects.

This is why The LEGO Movie isn’t just any ordinary kid’s movie. Thanks to the incredibly spectacular computer-animation, you’ve got yourself a seriously underrated film. I am baffled at how this film wasn’t even considered for an Academy Award in the Best Animated Feature Film category and is probably a reflection towards the idea that most of the Academy members don’t even watch the films they nominate. If you just watch the trailer alone, you’ll be astounded at how amazing the visuals are, and much like my love for stop-animation, the detail to set designs and character movements are fantastic.

The LEGO Movie is a story within a story. It is one of the most entertaining animated movies to date and a movie that is leagues beyond what I was expecting. Equally smart as it is funny, if you are yet to see this film, go check it out on Netflix because you’d be hard-pressed to find others that can come even close to giving you the same experience. See it.