Atomic Blonde (2017): A Stylishly Slick Action Flick With A Killer Sound… Trick [Track] (Review)

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[Credit: Universal Pictures]
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Based on the graphic novel The Coldest City by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart, Atomic Blonde follows Mi6 operative Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) as she’s sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of an agent and retrieve a priceless dossier containing the names of double agents. The film also stars James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, Eddie Marsan, John Goodman and Toby Jones and is directed by David Leitch (John Wick).

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

From the moment I heard New Order’s “Blue Monday” playing right at the beginning of this film as something rather peculiarly violent was occurring, I was hooked. Atomic Blonde doesn’t shy away from depicting the violence that can be inflicted upon another human by using a number of everyday objects. As someone who is a lover of movies that know how to toe the line between beautifully executed depictions of violence and downright utter gutter trash (a la The Human Centipede), I admired Blonde’s ability to represent the former with a vast array of lovely head shots and one awe-inspiring skateboard demonstration.

Charlize Theron embodies the cool and ruthless Lorraine thanks to her composed demeanor and ridiculously impressive combat capabilities. While I felt her to be rather monotonous during certain instances, I enjoyed her overall character and thought she worked amazingly well with virtually every one of her co-stars. Truly the standout for me has to be James McAvoy who portrays the slimy yet oh so enticing agent David Percival flawlessly. All of his mannerisms from his proud Sinead O’Connor head rub to his occasional douchey sniffling fit well and added more to his character. Speaking of mannerisms, a particular one I loved and hope future films emulate is Lorraine’s habit of checking to see how many bullets are in a gun before she goes on a rampage. A girl’s gotta know if she’s got enough left in a stolen 9mm for the rest of the bad guys, of course!

[Credit: Universal Pictures]
While I remained intrigued with the overarching story and watching Lorraine maneuver her way around the various obstacles that have the unfortunate fate of being in her way, certain plot points of the film could have been explained a bit better. As much as I kept up with the code names and actual names being thrown around and espionagey occurrences, I ultimately struggled with an apparently major revelation that would’ve been much more impactful if I kind of understood what exactly happened during the instances leading up to that. 

Now the action sequences are absolutely incredible in Atomic Blonde and if more films of the action genre take note of it and your various John Wicks, we will return to the glory of unbelievably enjoyable action films that don’t have to rely on sudden jump cuts and loud noises to attempt to invigorate the audience. David Leitch co-directed the aforementioned 2014 surprise hit John Wick and with Blonde being his official directorial debut (not unless you count the hysterical Deadpool short that played ahead of Logan) one can tell if he sticks to it and sharpens his craft, he can easily be one of the best contemporary action directors. While I did enjoy most of the sequences, there were a few that succumbed to those dreaded quick jump cuts I despise. 

I honestly cannot praise the action sequences enough, they were remarkably enjoyable and any fan of witnessing some serious ass kicking should check Blonde out whenever you can. What elevated these sequences were the moments where Lorraine was seemingly down and out which not only showcased Theron’s incredible acting ability (as if you need any more proof), it gives a sense of realism to this world. There was one particular sequence wherein I remained absolutely giddy for which was a one-shot take involving Lorraine doing what she does best: not having enough time to take names because she’s too busy kicking ass. It’s a pretty impressive shot especially considering this is Leitch’s first major directing gig, however as he has done the stunt work on numerous films – including 1999’s Fight Club and winning a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble with his stunt crew for 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum (well deserved) –  he has been around phenomenal filmmakers for the better part of two decades… Yeah he knows his shit. 

How Were The Other Aspect Of Atomic Blonde?

Alright, let’s talk about this soundtrack. Every song utilized for each respective sequence was fantastic. The instances when it veered in and out of playing on a radio or headphones to the actual film were executed brilliantly and my only wish was that certain sequences lasted longer because the music worked so well with what was occurring on screen. As mentioned, Leitch’s direction is impressive for a solo full-length directorial debut, however there were a few quick jump cuts that I could’ve done without.

On a pure selfish note, I will say although I love the choice for the ending song on its own, why nobody thought it prudent to utilize Blondie’s song “Atomic” at least once in the whole film is cruel and unusual. THE NAME OF THE SONG AND ARTIST IS RIGHT THERE! WHY WOULDN’T YOU USE IT?!

[Credit: Universal Pictures]

If you’re looking for an action-packed and kick ass film with great performances and a spectacular soundtrack, check out Atomic Blonde.

Atomic Blonde receives 4/5 Matt Damon heads.

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featured image credit: Universal Pictures

Craving Some More Stupendous Ass Kickers?

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I recently wrote an article for Movie Pilot entitled 5 Bad-Ass Female Characters That Paved The Way For Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde and would love for you all to check it out if you’re so inclined!

 

Dunkirk (2017): Christopher Nolan Places The Audience At The Heart Of The Dunkirk Evacuation To Tedious Results (Review)

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[Credit: Warner Bros.]
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Dunkirk tells the true story of the evacuation of allied soldiers stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk, France during World War II. The film stars Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy and is directed by Christopher Nolan (Insomnia, The Dark Knight, Inception).

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

Let me share a personal tidbit about myself: one of my biggest fears is the prospect of being placed in the deep sea to which I will drown almost instantaneously because I can’t swim and large bodies of water freak me out. There are certain moments throughout Dunkirk where many characters are jumping ship or are faced with the task of attempting to stay afloat when nothing is under them and I truly felt a sense of unease during it. There are a handful of sequences director Christopher Nolan manages to execute extremely well where you’re placed squarely in the shoes of the soldiers as torpedoes are being shot at them and bullets are piercing through whatever form of refuge they’re in. Everything occurring prior to these sequences, unfortunately, are rather a slog to get through. By no means am I advocating for mindless action droning on or disgustingly brutal violence to get my goat going, however when you catch yourself wondering when the next set piece will occur rather than remaining enthralled with the characters on screen, this is somewhat of an issue.

As Dunkirk features as ensemble cast, there were only a few who I believe were the true standouts – Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy (the second husband in my dreams behind my everlasting love, Matt Damon). These three and their stories were the ones I was most intrigued with and I honestly would’ve been fine with watching a separate version of the film solely based on the experiences of their characters. Harry Styles certainly surprised me as the film progressed and his character was given much more to work with. Murphy and Rylance’s chemistry was immediate with the former giving an incredible portrayal of a soldier with clear signs of PTSD (Murphy heavily researched on the then-unnamed disease and it definitely shows on screen). And, of course, there’s Tom Hardy… Is there any role that man can’t do? What he manages to convey with a simple frustrated glance is a talent I will forever be dumbfounded by.

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Tom Hardy’s upper facial region is spectacular | Warner Bros.

The other members of the cast certainly gave serviceable performances. As we weren’t given much to learn about their characters, there simply wasn’t enough to grow an emotional attachment with which is obviously not to suggest that I didn’t care for their unimaginable plight. I actually found myself feeling more connected to the extras like the injured and poor doomed nurses! SPOILER When that one nurse was distributing blankets and referred to one of the soldiers as “love”, I felt a pang in my stomach that this woman will probably die. END SPOILER Those little personality subtleties can go a ridiculously long way and although I didn’t hate any of the main cast, unlike the aforementioned Big Three, their respective characterizations could’ve been handled much better.

| Check Out These 13 BTS Images From Your Favourite Movies |

Nolan has let it be known that he aimed for the PG-13 rating for Dunkirk as he strove to depict a “survival story” that focuses on the suspenseful components of the work rather than the “bloody aspects of combat.” While this is an admirable goal and one that someone of Nolan’s calibre should be able to accomplish, combining the lack of care for these characters and the sanitized violence makes the film feel rather lackluster.

I don’t need a hand-holding kumbaya to feel anything for Fionn Whitehead’s character, however if we’re going to be focused on these individuals for the duration of the run time, I want to see the appallingly horrendous conditions the real life soldiers experienced. I want to feel the grime on my hands and the sweat on my forehead. Nolan has also stated that he didn’t want the film to be “bogged down in the politics of the situation” which is all well and good, unfortunately any form of context was rarely given at all so we were left with higher-ups discussing various plans I could only decipher bits and pieces of. Don’t spoon feed me but damn it, don’t make me construct the spoon.

Imagine what could’ve been had Dunkirk tracked the nine psychologically grueling days these soldiers experienced through the vision of an R-rated Christopher Nolan. 

How Were The Other Aspects Of Dunkirk?

The technical components of Dunkirk are phenomenal. There is no two ways about it, from the opening sequence to the conclusion, the sound design and editing are at the top of their game – particularly the sound. You truly feel your stomach growing weary as the bomber jets are approaching and there is nowhere to hide. That opening was incredibly well done, the not knowing affected me the most as you’re aware of imminent danger yet you’re essentially handcuffed until you find some semblance of a sanctuary. 

Lest we forget that sound of Nolan’s ticking pocket watch mixed and synthesized via the genius mind of his frequent collaborator Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, Interstellar) which ties the film beautifully together. 

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[Credit: Warner Bros.]

If you’re a fan of Christopher Nolan, you’ve probably watched this film already. If you’re looking for an impactful ride regardless of who is depicted on screen and interested in an event not nearly enough people know about, check out Dunkirk.

Dunkirk receives 3/5 Matt Damon heads.

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War For The Planet Of The Apes (2017): A Fitting Conclusion To Caesar’s Journey Complete With All The Slo-Mo Deaths One Could Hope For (Review)

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[Credit: 20th Century Fox]
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War For The Planet Of The Apes is the third installment of the recent Apes trilogy which follows Caeser (Andy Serkis) and his band of merry apes as they attempt to live out their lives in peace and harmony, however the Colonel (Woody Harrelson) and his band of shitty humans just can’t allow that to happen. The film also stars Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Amiah Miller and is directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes).

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

I’ve always resented the phrase “what are you, an animal??” Because there are instances throughout history where animals have acted with more humanity than actual human beings. The recent Apes trilogy has been a fascinating journey and insight into the character of Caeser portrayed flawlessly in all three films by Andy Serkis with the assistance of the spectacularly talented mo-cap VFX team. War provides a masterful conclusion for Caeser and a fitting goodbye to a friend we’ve all grown immensely attached to since 2011 with Rise. Throughout the film, there are emotionally heavy sequences that feature typical tricks to pull as much as it can on your heart strings (melancholic piano notes, slow mo). While there were a few moments where I felt myself rightfully tearing up, I believe it could’ve been toned down just a smidgen since certain sequences felt majorly drawn out. 

There have been some to criticize the film for its lack of traditional “war” sequences, that is, if you’re going into it expecting bombastic action sequence after bombastic action sequence featuring apes on unicorns shooting RPGs at a wall of humans, you will be sorely disappointed. For myself, I rather enjoyed the focal point being the brutal relationship between the apes and humans since it’s such a great concept that the film explores relatively well. The motivations for all the characters were clear and while Woody Harrelson‘s mustache-twirling antagonistic ways made me roll my eyes occasionally, I understand why he holds such a deep hatred for the apes… There was an actual moment, however, where he blurts out something like “YOU’RE SO EMOTIONAL!” and I couldn’t hold it in. 

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[Credit: 20th Century Fox]
An aspect I thoroughly enjoyed with the film was the introduction of its newer characters. Steve Zahn’s presence is made known in every single film he’s in yet many general audiences have no idea who he is which is frankly quite criminal in my eyes. His portrayal of Bad Ape is absolutely brilliant and provides much needed breaths of comic relief during the latter half of the film. Easily the standout performance for me (besides the obvious Serkis and Zahn) is 13-year-old Amiah Miller (Lights Outwho portrays Nova, a young girl unable to speak who is befriended by the apes. Virtually every time she was on screen I was fixated completely on her performance, particularly during her interactions with Maurice (Karin Konoval). Would I pay for a spin-off series where we watch various hijinks ensue with Nova and Maurice? Absofuckinglutely.

There is some pretty brutal imagery in the film that I didn’t expect would pack such a punch but it did tenfold. I’m able to tolerate all the blood, guts and violence seen in a shitty underground guerrilla flick, however when it comes to the idea of a living being treating a fellow living being (regardless of species) as if they are genuinely as important as a speck of dirt, it just turns my stomach. I like how far they went with the depiction of such atrocities, as much as a PG-13 would allow anyway.

While I enjoyed how events unfolded for the most part, an aspect I really wish was executed better was in the actual camp itself. I’m unable to say it without spoilers so here be a warning: SPOILERS I can accept the random stumbling onto the underground tunnel even though it seemed a bit of a deus ex machina. What really irked me was the idea that there was just wide open holes inside and surrounding the camp that nobody managed to realize while on duty or simply walking around. Had there been some type of actual covering or even a plank of fucking wood, I would’ve relatively accepted it for what it was. However this was a glaring thing I couldn’t forgive because it could’ve been solved so simply. END SPOILER. The guards were also wildly incompetent somehow especially during a specific sequence in the camp involving a guest’s ability to seemingly turn invisible in the face of adversity. 

How Were The Other Aspects Of ‘War’?

Matt Reeves clearly knows how to frame these shots to thoroughly highlight the mo-capped actors’ expressions. The tense sequences were executed well and because of the remarkable minds behind the visual effects, it is gorgeous looking albeit incredibly dreary overall (possibly because of the whole “war” thing). Michael Giacchino’s (LOST, Spider-Man: Homecoming) score is ridiculously impactful, I love that man’s work and this is another stellar addition to his composing works.

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[Credit: 20th Century Fox]

If you’ve been invested in the Apes trilogy and are looking for a brilliantly beautiful conclusion to the arc of Caeser, check out War For The Planet Of The Apes.

War For The Planet Of The Apes receives 3.5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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featured image credit: 20th Century Fox

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (2011) (Review)

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[Credit: CBS Films]
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Salmon Fishing In The Yemen follows Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) and Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) as they attempt to bring a wealthy sheikh’s vision of fly-fishing in Yemen to fruition. The film also stars Amr Waked and Kristin Scott Thomas and is directed by Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Casanova, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale).


Upon reading the synopsis for Salmon Fishing, I genuinely thought it would be one of those films that appealed the most to someone like myself. The slow-burner flick that places emphasis on the characters and their development while the simple plot is progressed and concluded at the end of its shorter run-time. In the most extreme examples, something like Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy or the film that makes jury duty invigorating, 12 Angry Men – these grade-A films manage to enthrall the viewer with its phenomenal writing and intriguing characters while having arguably some of the simplest plot synopsises in film history (ie. so a couple walk around a beautiful city for three films and 12 jurors are stuck debating a murder case…)

While Salmon Fishing is heightened with its cast of brilliantly talented actors and hysterical British humour, it ultimately falls flat with its vast pacing issues and (I hate to say it) rather unlikable characters. Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor give delightful performances despite the predictability of where their characters would end up from the getgo and strange reasonings for why their respective relationships fall apart – Alfred’s wife Mary (Rachael Stirling) neglects to tell him when she’s going on a work trip and wants him to keep his comfy government job because it’s fantastic money for working in the frigging Ministry Of Fisheries. Harriet, who kicks all the ass with her financial advising, and her boyfriend Robert (Tom Milson) have dated for 3 weeks and he must go to war so she and Alfred can bond over their mutual troubles. I understand the various intricacies involved with relationships and of course I’m aware that my condensed version isn’t the only reason for them to have issues. Unfortunately the combined charisma of Blunt and McGregor wasn’t enough for me to give any kind of care for their characters and their journey to getting together. I’d also like to reiterate on that pacing issue as this film is less than 2 hours long, however it felt painstakingly longer. No amount of beauty emanating from Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt is worth it.

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[Credit: CBS Films]

Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked) was also a walking Hallmark card. Everything that came out his mouth related to the existential struggle of a person and he was the source of plenty of the cheesiness involved with the film. If anything, Conleth Hill was the standout of the film with his portrayal of Bernard, the lethargic boss of Alfred’s. His “I-am-completely-over-this” face his character had throughout the film and his various quips made me pine for a spinoff where it just shows his everyday experience at the Fisheries Ministry.

Humour Resides Where Men Believe It Resides

The strength of the film lies with those quips that had me laughing out loud. I’d occasionally snap out of the monotonous funk I was in courtesy of the witty dialogue uttered out of Alfred and the hilarious messages between the Prime Minster and his Press Secretary, Patricia (Kristin Scott Thomas). I’m a lover of the dryest of the dry humour (the dryer the better, I always say) and thankfully the humour present in the film made me enjoy it as much as I had.

Lest we forget that disgustingly gorgeous Scottish Highlands backdrop I first noticed in 2012’s Skyfall. Thanks to that James Bond installment, I will now perpetually notice any film where such a lush and beautiful landscape is featured.

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Skyfall | Columbia Pictures

If you’re looking for a visually and humorously pleasing film with some stellar actors portraying less than stellar characters, check out Salmon Fishing In The Yemen.

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen receives 2.5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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Unforgettable (2017): Rosario Dawson Deserves Better Than This (Review)

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‘Unforgettable’ | Credit: Warner Bros.
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Unforgettable tells the story of a jealous ex who becomes jealous when their ex hooks up with the Nick Fury of the Defenders universe. It stars Rosario Dawson, Katherine Heigl, Geoff Stults and Whitney Cummings and is the directorial debut of Denise Di Novi.

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

Sorry for those who had been counting down the days until the release of Unforgettable for it does not live up to its name at all. There are certain films I like to refer to as “yacht movies” wherein those involved are solely in it for that pay cheque that will go toward purchasing that trillion-dollar yacht they’ve been saving up for. Kevin Spacey had Nine LivesAlec Baldwin must have had a heyday with The Boss Baby and the stupendous Rosario Dawson has this rejected Lifetime flick – actually, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a rejected Lifetime movie because I’ve seen my fair share of LT and those are genuinely insufferable. I laughed a few times throughout Unforgettable which was a nice experience.

Honestly, my biggest issue with this film is that nothing happens. If you’re planning on making a wild ride that has adultery, domestic abuse and child endangerment, you make that shit INSANE! If the filmmakers of this film were looking to focus on a character-driven piece filled with subtext and engaging dialogue, they have come to wrong place.

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You’re right, Tyrion | Credit: HBO

 

Remember the Beyonce film, Obsessed which followed a similar concept that starred Ali Larter and Idris Elba for some reason? As that film progressed, so did the insanity. It got to the point where Ali Larter’s character stopped giving a fuck and Beyonce uttered her infamous, “you think you crazy? I’ll show you crazy.” Most of the progression of events in Unforgettable take place in a dark room with Heigl diddling herself while insufferably typing on a fake Facebook chat. So much drama! Dawson’s performance was mesmerizing and I hated that her talent was just wasted on this… Hey man, a girl’s gotta have a yacht. I can’t even hate too hard.

I don’t understand how Heigl’s character was seemingly sharp enough to execute even half of the hijinks that occurs yet SPOILERS is too fucking dumb to remove the ring that will literally put Dawson away! After all this precious time was spent withering away on a fake Facebook account and all that other bullshit, you forgot to hide that ring under your pillow?!? This bitch deserved everything that happened to her END SPOILER

How Were The Other Aspects Of ‘Unforgettable’?

Looking through director Di Novi’s filmography, she has been producer on numerous films that I adore. These include Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Ed Wood, the 1994 remake of Little WomenJames And The Giant Peach, Original Sin, A Walk To Remember and her very first credit as producer is the 1988 classic, Heathers. To be fair, her name is included as a producer for Catwoman and If I Stay but damn it, her producing skills are out of this world! I understand the differences between being a producer/director however I didn’t realize just how vast the worlds apart could be. There are so many wasted opportunities with Unforgettable, it really could have been an intriguing mix of Fatal Attraction (the movie all these kinds of films attempt to emulate and fail horribly at) and Heathers.

Everything else was relatively predictable, although (as mentioned) there are certain moments that will have you genuinely laughing aloud at the lines these actors had to say. There was a use of “YOLO” uttered about six years too late and Heigl had to say with a straight face something to the extent of: “I could get a job… I have a degree, you know.”

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Betty was my favourite character on ‘Mad Men’ FYI. She was in a sorority, you know | Credit: amc

If you’re looking for a funny and insane flick to watch with your group of friends one weekend, check out 2009’s Obsessed. When that one’s finished, pop in Unforgettable.

Unforgettable receives 1/5 Matt Damon heads.

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The Boss Baby (2017): A Prime Example Of Why You Shouldn’t Judge A Baby By Its Pacifier (Review)

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‘The Boss Baby’ | Credit: 20th Century Fox

 

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The Boss Baby follows the perils of a wildly imaginative seven (and a half)-year-old named Tim who comes face-to-face with his mortal enemy, a baby brother… But oh ho, this is no ordinary baby! The film stars the voice talents of Alec Baldwin, Miles Bakshi, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow and Tobey Maguire and is directed by Hendel Butoy and Tom McGrath.

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

I had virtually no expectations coming into this film. When it comes to “kids” movies I’ve always held them to the same regard as any other film because regardless what the film is about, it should always strive to be the best version of whatever it is about.

So when I saw the trailer for an animated flick of a cute kid whose baby brother magically appears wearing a suit with the voice of Alec Baldwin, I prayed to the everloving Gods that it veer toward something like a Shaun The Sheep than a Nine Lives… I am eternally grateful that it was actually an enjoyable watch that had me genuinely laughing aloud a few times.

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‘The Boss Baby’ | Credit: 20th Century Fox

 

The relationship between Tim and the Boss Baby (the baby’s name is literally “The Baby”) is developed well and the various hijinks that ensue with them was great. The neighbourhood babies who plague communities with their pooping and crying are fun to watch and I liked watching the BB lead them. Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow portray the parents and they’re kind of just there, there was a startling lack of adult supervision throughout that had me wondering why they think it’s appropriate for one lone seven year old to have to handle all these little monsters so they can swing with the other parents. I truly found myself enjoying the film whenever the Baby named Boss was on screen because he was given some brilliant lines and Baldwin’s execution was fantastic. The film included humour that appealed to the adults in the crowd so I appreciated that aspect of it; I mean there were some serious bum-undertones I could have done without but I guess when you have a baby (especially one who is the Boss), bums are abundant (I am loving writing this).

The logistical components of the film is where it becomes kind of a slog because, as a full grown adult, there were moments where I found myself asking “what the hell is going on?” Tim has an incredibly overactive imagination and there were some serious blurred lines between what was reality and what was his imaginativerse. Steve Buscemi is also in the film and is included in the blurred reality issue because of his convoluted plan involving rockets & kittens and not to mention, there is no true time period or setting established in the film so there are all kinds of TSA issues that arise during a certain sequence of the film that had to have it set pre-2001. Buscemi’s character, however, was given a brilliant backstory that was fleshed out pretty well, if the execution of his ultimate plan was equally as brilliant as his character The Boss Baby would have easily been an A in my book.

How Were The Other Aspects To ‘The Boss Baby’?

The animation of The Boss Baby is absolutely gorgeous looking. The babies were all adorable looking and the execution of Tim’s imaginary world (when it was well established) was also great looking. Oh man, there was a running gag involving Mr. Baby (literally) throwing money and it CRACKED ME UP. I have no idea why I loved it so much but I did, great going for the guy that thought that gag up.

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‘The Boss Baby’ | Credit: 20th Century Fox

If you’re looking for an animated film to watch with both adults and children in the room that makes you laugh and think “what tf am I actually watching right now?” check out The Boss Baby.

The Boss Baby receives 3.5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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Your Name (Kimi no Na wa) (2017): An Animated Masterpiece That Contains As Much Heart As It Does Visual Beauty (Review)

Disclaimer: ‘Your Name’ originally came out in Japan in 2016, however it received its release here in Canada in 2017 which is why I am referring to it as a 2017 film. Also because I want to include it in my Best of 2017 list so there is my selfish reason 🙂
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[Credit: Toho]
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Your Name follows two high schoolers of varying economical and societal worlds, Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi) and Taki (Ryunosuke Kamiki), as they experience a body swap and develop a growing connection through this bizarre occurrence. The film also stars Masami Nagasawa, Etsuko Ichihara, Ryo Narita and is directed by Makoto Shinkai (Children Who Chase Lost Voices, The Garden of Words).

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

Back in 2014, my older brother taught English in Japan for a full year and since then, he has praised the country immensely for virtually every aspect of it. When I heard about how much acclaim this film called Your Name was receiving, I asked if he would want to watch it with me and (of course) he couldn’t resist… I watched it last night at my local theatre with the English subtitles and feel an overwhelming need to see it again, possibly with the English dub to see how well it translates over. I can confidently say Your Name is one of the greatest animated films I have ever seen in my life.

| ‘Your Name’ Becomes The Highest Grossing Anime Film Of All Time |

There are certain comedic-style films that are funny in their own right, however when they attempt to include any type of emotional arc to either a character or situation, it can come off as jarring or off-putting. Your Name managed to have me genuinely cracking up during one instance and when it transitions to the more heart-wrenching components, my eyes welled up like no other. What I appreciated the most out of these components were that they were not included simply to make the audience feel bad. They contributed to the progression of the film and, in the realm of the film’s universe, made complete logical sense. There was one beautifully executed sequence that the film was building up to and when that scene concluded ugly tears were formed, my friends.

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‘Spider-Man’ [Credit: Columbia Pictures]

The relationship developed between Mitsuha and Taki is just so well done, if I continue to write about them this will just be a 10,000 word thesis of me gushing about these two. I think I enjoyed their coupling as much as I did because this universe was unbelievably fleshed out. The town of Itomori featured staples a ridiculously beautiful town of its calibre would have and its residents felt like real, breathing individuals instead of inclusions of characters to fill up the screen. The rich landscape of Tokyo, with its towering infrastructure surrounded by bouts of greenery, was fucking incredible and the bustling transit system was filled with real commuters.

The deep connection you feel for Mitsuha and Taki is because you experience their lives and the people they surround themselves with. Everyone serves a purpose yet in many instances seen in other films, the inclusion of secondary characters and their backstories occasionally feel forced to the point where you just don’t care about them. You don’t even realize how much of a connection you feel for the characters included in Your Name MILD SPOILER until certain instances occur. END SPOILER

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[Credit: Toho]

Your Name isn’t solely a goofy body-swapping story where these two are destined to be together and you’re spending the whole movie wishing they’d get together so it would end already. Quite the contrary for me, I wanted them to get together because they deserve each other, damn it! The connective tissue included in this film is marveling, there are instances where I found myself thinking, “… ohhhhhhhh! Oh that’s good, I didn’t even think of that.” There are quite a bit of revelations made that seemingly pile on one another, however it is executed brilliantly and isn’t patronizing to the audience whenever a character attempts to rationalize what they uncovered.

How Were The Other Aspects Of ‘Your Name’?

Calling Your Name a “beautiful looking” film simply doesn’t do it justice. From the very first frame to the very end I was in awe at the sheer magnitude of fantastic I was witnessing. The visual spectacle of it is only made greater by the enjoyability of the film and the development of its characters. If you’re not tired of my gushing, the final aspect of this all-around flawless film is its music. Besides the insanely catchy original pop songs, there is a distinctive piano piece incorporated throughout Your Name that enhanced every single scene it was utilized in.

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[Credit: Toho]

If you’re looking for an anime film with developed characters and a unique take on an intriguing concept that is unlike a typical Hollywood animated flick, check out Your Name.

Your Name (Kimi no Na wa) receives a coveted 5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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