Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

Kubo had his eye taken from him when he was a baby.  Now, a few years older, his mother’s sisters come to claim Kubo’s other eye for their father.  Only after Kubo finds the legendary armor his mother once spoke of will he be strong enough to withstand his enemies and defeat them.  Along the way Kubo befriends a monkey and a beetle who join his quest to help him.  Kubo must not only find this legendary armor, but learn to hone his magical abilities as well–one ability which involves bringing origami to life.  Despite all the hardship Kubo has endured over the years, he’s also only ever wanted to have a complete family and  by the end of the movie, you hope that he can have it all too.

Wow.  Just wow.  This movie is breath taking and definitely a step up from Laika’s other movie, The Boxtrolls.  This movie definitely has a little bit more mature content (and some fight scenes), but it’s also told and shown in a way where children could probably understand it as well.  They might be a little creeped out by Kubo’s mother’s sisters, who are two of the main antagonists, but I was creeped out by them too and I’m an adult.  Haha.

Laika’s animation has always been amazing to begin with, but in this movie, even more so.  I put off seeing this movie because I was afraid I might be a little disappointed (for whatever reason that was I have no idea), but I was far from disappointed.  It exceeded my expectations.  It’s one of those movies where you really do have to listen and watch and pay attention to every little thing that is shown or said in order to understand every little thing that is happening, but at the same time, if your attention darts away for a second, you’ll still be able to put the pieces together eventually anyway.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone interested.  It’s almost two hours long, but it’s totally worth it.  This movie is worth your time to see.  It’ll definitely be worth your money.

The Secret Life of Pets Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

A dog, Max, has his life turned upside down when his owner adopts a new stray.  He does not like him, but then their antics to make each other look bad ends up taking them on an unexpected adventure where they actually bond and learn to live with each other.

Okay, first off, I’m aware that these movies are meant for kids, but I’ve always found most animated G features enjoyable even though I’m older, however, I found this movie lacking something… the usual spark.

There were so many characters to keep track of, that I don’t think I remembered all of their names and when I normally watch an animated film, it’s usually playing back in my head for a couple days after my first watch, but that didn’t happen for this movie.  I watched the movie and then forgot the majority about it only a few years after I watched it.

And while I didn’t mind the animated violence in this movie, it’s supposed to be a kids movie so I’m not sure if some parents or children would enjoy it.  There’s no blood or gore, but it’s there.  It probably depends on what adults are okay with their children seeing or not.  I wouldn’t have minded it as a child, but I’m sure some families are different.

I felt like I didn’t always understand some of the character motivations and relationships to one another other than they lived in the same apartment complex.

I liked Despicable Me 2, but I found this movie kind of lack luster.  Still, children will probably enjoy it, which is the targeted demographic anyway.  If you’re an adult, don’t have children, and are still interested in seeing this movie, I wouldn’t spend a lot of money to see it.

A Perfect Murder Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

When a husband finds out his wife is cheating, normally he would be devastated.  Not Steven Taylor (Michael Douglas).  With Steven’s financial business plummeting, he sees his wife Emily’s (Gwenyth Paltrow) affair as an opportunity to get rid of her and inherit her millions of dollars for himself.  After learning about Emily’s lover David shady past (Viggo Mortensen), Mr. Taylor hires him to murder his wife.  Steven Taylor has thought out every detail for it to be the perfect murder.  It couldn’t possibly go wrong . . . too bad he didn’t think of everything.

While this movie started off a little slow and I didn’t understand everyone’s motivations, by the end of the movie, I understood where the characters were coming from more or less.  For example, David says he loves Emily, but clearly doesn’t love her enough since he goes through with Steven’s plan.  He’s more concerned with saving himself rather than actually being in love with her.  That didn’t make sense to me.  But by the end, I understood that David cared more about the money than anything else.  How incredibly similar to Steven.  As for the rest of the characters, there were a few plot holes in their motivations I thought could have been worked out more, but all-in-all I enjoyed the movie.

To be honest, I was a little skeptical of this movie at first.  I normally don’t watch this type of movie and I figured it would basically be the same-old-same-old set up.  It wasn’t.  At least not to me (although, I did just say I haven’t seen many in this genre either lol).  I mean it did have some of the similar aspects you would expect a murder mystery couldn’t do without.

By the end of the movie I was convinced that all three main characters were sociopaths from the start.  Even the victim.

I found it funny how I went into this movie thinking I wouldn’t like Emily all too well.  She seemed kind of bland to me.  They all kind of did, but I think that works because in the end they all acted like sociopaths (to an extent) anyway.  At least they all had a similar mindset to one.

While this movie did have its flaws, most films do.  I still enjoyed it and would definitely watch it again . . . when I have time.

 

The Nice Guys Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

The Nice Guys takes place in 1977 Los Angeles where Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is and alcoholic and the world’s worst private eye.  Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) makes his living as basically as a hitman.  When Healy needs to find Amelia (Margaret Qualley), a girl March had been searching for earlier, Healy seeks his help.  They team up for an adventure of hilarious fun to find the missing girl.  But they aren’t the only ones searching for her.  Along the way they discover that anyone who was affiliated with the movie Amelia was in, are the targets of murder.

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it was just going to be yet another lackluster crime/comedy film, but when I read many peer reviews that said it was good, I thought I’d give it a try.  And I was not disappointed.

While this movie did have its slow moments that I didn’t always think they were necessary scenes and while the villains’ identities and motives were pretty predictable, this movie’s entertainment/comedy and action scenes far outweighed the weaker aspects of the film.

One thing I wasn’t sure about was I’m not entirely sure how March even became a private investigator in the first place.  He’s not the brightest person and is a goof more than anything.  The only reason I can think of is that he used to be a great investigator.  His daughter knew what she was doing more of the time than he did, but because of this it made me think that before March was an alcoholic and lost his wife, he may have taught his daughter how to be a good investigator and be safe before he became an alcoholic.  That, to me, told me he probably used to be a good private investigator until he became jaded.   Maybe I’m overthinking it, but I like to think I’m not.

While I thought this movie was good, you also do need to like a certain amount of dark and slapstick humor in order to enjoy this movie.  If you don’t have a problem with either, then you’ll probably enjoy this movie.

Back in the Day Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

 

Anthony Rodriquez is a half-Italian, half-Puerto Rican boxer who just won his final boxing match.  The story begins with him talking to a reporter to share his journey that made him who he is today.

While I did like the idea behind this premise, I didn’t feel that the movie did it justice.  This movie alternated between flashbacks and present day.  I suppose the director and producer may have been trying to present the story in a different way, but I think I would have enjoyed the movie more if they had just told the story in chronological order.  I know it would have had a larger effect on me in the end if they had they done so.

We barely know the present day protagonist before the flashbacks start and then almost immediately his “torture” starts.  I personally would have liked to get to know the main characters a little more before they started with all the violence and drama.  I think I would have felt more connected to the characters as a viewer if the writers had set up the character introductions and characterizations better.

I felt that the few bigger names thrown in like Alec Baldwin were mainly to distract us from the sub-par acting and writing.

A fight broke out almost every ten-twenty minutes.  I like to watch fight scenes, but, as a viewer, I also like there to be a point to it—like it would help advance the story forward—but with some of the bar brawls, you could have removed the scene (s) and the story/plot and characters wouldn’t have changed at all.  If a scene doesn’t affect or change the plot/story or characters, then there’s no point in having them in the movie.  Some of those scenes honestly just felt like time wasters.

I think the biggest let down that I had was that in the end of the movie.  Anthony’s best friend was still alive.  After we think he’s dead, Anthony’s motivation to win his next few boxing matches makes sense—for his deceased mother and friend—a vengeance of a sort, but in the last scene of the movie, it turns out that his best friend is alright.  While that’s probably a better conclusion for them as people, it was kind of a letdown for me.  What was Anthony’s motivation to keep winning if he already knew that his friend wasn’t actually dead?  We were shown that his deceased mother had also been his motivation, but Anthony hadn’t started winning until we think his best friend was dead.  The fact that his friend ended up alive I think took away from the final fight scene.  I felt that the way the movie presented it, it was just put in there as shock for shock’s sake.

Overall, I didn’t think this movie was amazing, but if they had edited and worked with it more, refined it, I think it could have been great.

 

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

 

This movie begins by following ex-models Derek Zoolander and Hansel’s downward spirals after the conclusion of the first movie.  They are old news to the world, but they eventually find themselves in the spotlight again.  When Zoolander’s son is kidnaped, he, Hansel, and a new character, Valentina Valencia, team up to get him back and uncover the mystery of who is killing famous popstars.

I’m not entirely sure why there was a sequel made since I didn’t think the first one was amazing, but if you enjoyed the original, you’ll probably like this one as well.

Like the first movie, this one was a little over the top and you may need to watch the first movie again in order to understand certain scenes in this movie, but the audience is shown refreshers of past events in case s/he choose not to rewatch the first movie.

Overall, I felt this movie was weird and awkward.  I know it was on purpose and a lot of the ha-ha scenes were in the movie trailer.  Like I mentioned before, if you liked the first movie, you’ll probably like this one too.  While it did have its funny moments, it was also pretty predictable.

 

Keanu (Key and Peele) Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

Keanu is a story about how two ordinary men find a cat named Keanu and decide to adopt it, but what they don’t know is that the cat belongs to some crime lords.  It’s a comedy of how their ordinary lives become introduced to gangs and violence and how far not only they, but also the crime bosses, will go just to own one adorable kitten.

I have watched Key and Peele’s show in the past and feel that a lot of their skits were hit or miss, which I think it normal for comedy, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw this movie.  I think this movie was a hit.  I enjoyed it.  While I do think it was a little over the top at times, it was still entertaining.  Even though it wasn’t my favorite movie of all time, it was still well done.

Key and Peele not only played the two main protagonists, but they also play two of the criminals that are after Keanu.  The opening scene looked great.  It was both comedic and epic to watch.  Not only that but their motivations (minus a few blips here and there) were well constructed.  They even went as far as to show one of the characters a bit traumatized after witnessing his first accidental shoot out and it wasn’t in a comedic way.  The way he showed how he was shaken up at the “after party” made me feel sorry for him.  Of course, this movie was primarily comedy, but it was nice to see that human emotion part of it thrown in as well.  Honestly, their motivations made more sense than what Batman and Superman wanted in the Batman vs. Superman movie.  Even Keanu’s (the cat’s) actions and reactions made more sense than Batman vs. Superman.  That in itself probably made me like this movie more than Batman v. Superman.

So if you’ve been a fan of Key and Peele in the past or still are, you’ll probably enjoy this movie all the same.  It’s fairly short.  Only about an hour and a half long.

Also: cat lovers all over the world will like this movie and Keanu saves their lives multiple times.  Cat power.  It’s understandable why everyone in this movie even the crime bosses want this cat.  It’s too adorable not to want.  Not to mention watching these super trigger-happy criminals risk everything just for this one adorable cat is pretty hilarious.  Owning Keanu is the last thing you’d think criminals would make a top priority.