From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in many years. Not only does every moment of the movie look exquisite, but the story is smart, original and hugely entertaining. The themes it explores with a very light touch are rich and deep, provocative and engaging. And since there's so much to the movie, the comedy is that much sharper, the action that much more thrilling and the ultimate message that much more powerful.
Set in mythical Japan, the story centres on a cheeky young boy named Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson) who lost an eye when he was attacked as an infant by his grandfather (Ralph Fiennes) and two aunts (Rooney Mara times two). His father died in the struggle, but his mother got him out and raised him in a cave, making sure he never stayed outdoors after dark when his grandfather, the Moon King, could see him. A boy with boundless imagination, Kubo uses music and origami to entertain the villagers with the elaborately epic tale of his father's lifelong quest for three important pieces of armour. But one evening he stays out too late, and has to flee from his attacking aunts. Now his only companion is a sardonic monkey (Charlize Theron) and a forgetful warrior (Matthew McConaughey) who has been transformed into a big beetle. Together they decide to search for the armour so they can take on the Moon King once and for all.
This journey is the main body of the movie, encompassing comedy, adventure and some very scary moments. All of the story's twists and turns echo with the complexity of family and relationships, as Kubo tries to understand the things his parents could never tell him about himself. He also, of course, wants to better understand his own magical abilities, which are animated in breathtaking ways throughout the story. Perhaps accomplishing his father's quest will bring answers. And of course the real challenge for Kubo is to realise that everything he needs is right around him.
Continue reading: Kubo And The Two Strings Review
Kubo is a young boy who lives with his mother. Kubo has always been influences by his vivid imagination and he's able to use magic spells to bring his stories to life to entertain the local towns folk. One night the winds change and Kubo finds himself being haunted by surrounding and characters that he's seen before - monsters, witches and devil like creatures from his stories.
With little other option, Kubo's mother casts a spell on Kubo and sends him on a mission to find his father's armour. She doesn't leave her son alone though, she also brings a protector to life whose sole purpose is to protect the little boy. The only thing is Kubo's protector doesn't look human, she's a monkey who won't take any nonsense from the young boy.
As they journey together, Kubo and Monkey meet another companion called Beetle. Monkey is reluctant to take in the new cohort but the boy is taken in by Beetles tales and knowledge of his father. Armed with his magical shamisen (a musical instrument) Kubo must battle demons and ancient gods to resolve the mystery of his father's life and death.
Pepper Flynt Busbee (Jakob Salvati) is a 7-year-old boy who stands much shorter than any of his classmates, to the worry of his mother (Emily Watson). He has few worries himself though, despite the occasional bully, forever playing adventure games with his beloved father (Michael Rapaport) and feeling like he can take on the world. Things take a turn for the worst, however, when his father is sent off to fight during the troubles of World War II. Distraught, Pepper is willing to do anything to get his father back, and when he is encouraged to use his focus to move an object during a magic show, he starts to see that he really can do anything. He's determined to use his ability to summon Mr. Busbee back home, but he has to be careful never to let a single trace of doubt cross his mind.
Continue: Little Boy Trailer
Kai is a half-English and half-Japanese outsider who was exiled from his homeland, beaten within an inch of his life and enslaved for his heritage. Now he is stronger; an accomplished fighter with an ability to triumph over even the most formidable of adversaries. He is enlisted by a group of samurai warriors to help them regain their land which has been overrun by an infinite army of demons, witches, monsters and giants who have enslaved their people following the dishonourable death of their leader. The forty-seven ronin vow to avenge their master, sacrificing their own lives to attempt to free their compatriots; though as the land becomes more and more sated with savage beasts and ruthless mystics, Kai is left wondering if this is one battle he can't win.
Continue: 47 Ronin - International Trailer
Kai is an outsider, banished from his home, beaten and forced into slavery for being half-English and half-Japanese. He was among a small group of samurais exiled after the dishonourable death of their leader, and now his suffering has turned him into one of the land's most formidable warriors, able to defeat even the largest of beasts. He is enlisted to be part of an army of forty-seven ronin who vow to seek revenge against the infinite army that has taken over their home and killed their master. However, their plan looks almost impossible as the nation is rapidly becoming overrun with a myriad of colossal shape-shifting monsters with the ability to wipe out the ronin all at once.
'47 Ronin' is a fictional interpretation of the real events that happened in Japan in the 18th century, when a small group of samurais sought to avenge their leader. There have been many variations of the story and it has been described as Japan's National Legend. First time director Carl Rinsch is at the helm of this gripping fantasy war film and it has been written by Chris Morgan ('Fast & Furious', 'Cellular', 'Wanted'), Hossein Amini ('Snow White and the Huntsman', 'The Wings of the Dove', 'Drive') and Walter Hamada in his screenplay debut. It will hit the UK on December 26th 2013.
Without the faintest hint of director Tim Burton's uniquely uncanny style, "Planet of the Apes" version 2.0 feels like nothing more than a generic (albeit overblown) sci-fi summer movie -- and a forgettably mediocre one at that.
A passionless, elementary endeavor of wow effects and a yawn plot (which has been reinvented from the 1968 original), the picture opens circa 2029 with astronaut Mark Wahlberg working on a space station, training chimps to pilot one-man pods into electrical storms encountered in deep space.
After losing contact with one chimp in a rather ominous anomaly, Wahlberg establishes his maverick personality (which soon fades into a vanilla version of your standard action hero) by swiping a pod against orders to go rescue him. Once inside the storm, our hero is sucked into a wormhole that turns his helm dead and spits him out to crash land on a faraway world in the distant future where -- as if you didn't know -- a brutal, medieval society of evolved simians enslaves primitive humans as labor and pets.
Continue reading: Planet Of The Apes Review
Cool as dry ice, Wesley Snipes comes off a two-year action movie hiatus like a bad-ass, black-belt James Bond with some ghetto in his blood in the opening scene of "The Art of War."
Dressed to the nines for a well-heeled Y2K New Year's Eve party in Hong Kong, he's doing a little workaday blackmailing of Chinese government officials when he is spotted by security and has to kung-fu his way out of there before parachuting off a skyscraper to escape.
Somebody shoots holes in his chute, but while Wes lands safely, the movie crashes face first into the pavement.
Continue reading: The Art Of War Review
The handful of battle scenes that make up a good hour of "Pearl Harbor" are adrenaline-pumping and hyper-realistic on a massive scale.
You feel the impact of every single 7.7mm round from dive-bombing Japanese Zeros as they rip through pavement, planes and people in the infamous attack around which the film in centered. Director Michael Bay's camera goes inside cockpits, rides along on bombs from release to explosion, captures the terror of a torpedo in the water from the deck of a ship and includes some of the best special effects ever put on film.
The money shot is a hull-buckling blast that rips through the USS Arizona. It makes being on a luxury liner hit by an iceberg look like a 25-cent carnival ride.
Continue reading: Pearl Harbor Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.
From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...
Kubo is a young boy who lives with his mother. Kubo has always been influences...
Pepper Flynt Busbee (Jakob Salvati) is a 7-year-old boy who stands much shorter than any...
Kai is a half-English and half-Japanese outsider who was exiled from his homeland, beaten within...
Kai is an outsider, banished from his home, beaten and forced into slavery for being...
Wesley Snipes is a master of selecting bad action roles. Murder at 1600, U.S....
Without the faintest hint of director Tim Burton's uniquely uncanny style, "Planet of the Apes"...
Scantily clad action heroine with a sexy-tough pout? Check. Supernatural bad-guy gang of tattooed, Goth-punk...
Cool as dry ice, Wesley Snipes comes off a two-year action movie hiatus like a...
The handful of battle scenes that make up a good hour of "Pearl Harbor" are...