Tag Archives: Art Parkinson

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) Review

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Kubo and the Two Strings

Time: 101 minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Contains violence & scary scenes
Cast:
Art Parkinson as Kubo
Charlize Theron as Monkey
Matthew McConaughey as Beetle
Ralph Fiennes as Raiden the Moon King
Rooney Mara as the Sisters
George Takei as Hosato
Director: Travis Knight

Young Kubo’s (Art Parkinson) peaceful existence comes crashing down when he accidentally summons a vengeful spirit from the past. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) to unlock a secret legacy. Armed with a magical instrument, Kubo must battle the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and other gods and monsters to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known.

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This is a movie that interested me ever since I heard about it, mostly because of the voice acting cast with Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara and Ralph Fiennes involved. Also this film is made by Laika Entertainment, a stopmotion animation studio who’s made quite a few animated movies. Admittedly before this movie the only other film by Laika that I’ve seen was The Box Trolls, which I liked quite a bit. But I know that they are generally well liked with films like Coraline. After seeing Kubo and The Two Strings, I have to say that this is not only my favourite animated movie of the year so far, it is also one of my favourite movies of the whole year. Everything from the story to the animation is so well done. I hope we get more animated films like these.

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I found myself invested in the story from start to finish. All things considered, this film is darker and more mature than most animated movies, both in regards to visuals and some of the things that happen during the story. The film is also willing to slow down for some great character and story moments. This is something that I wished more animated films did, be more willing to be a little more different and challenging for children. I do think that children will enjoy Kubo (even if the film might be a little too scary or slow for them) but adults will enjoy it much more.

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The characters for the most part were also written well and were quite memorable. Kubo was a likable and relatable protagonist. The show stealers for me though, were Monkey (Charlize Theron), Beetle (Matthew McConaughey). I guess if we are talking about weak links in regards to characters, it’s the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes), the main villain of the film. He’s not written badly but he doesn’t have enough screentime and felt a little weak. He’s fine overall though. I thought the other villain(s), The Sisters (Rooney Mara), Kubo’s aunts who are sent after Kubo were much more effective and memorable, they were also showstealers in the film and I loved watching them when they were on screen.

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If you know Laika, you know that they use a lot of stopmotion animation. I don’t know how it compares to most of their other films as I’ve only seen The Box Trolls but I thought the animation for this movie was absolutely fantastic. This movie is beautiful from start to finish, the environment and locations were great, they really blended CGI and practical work well. The costume designs and actually the designs for everything was fantastic. It’s a very well designed movie overall.

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Kubo and the Two Strings is absolutely fantastic and is one of the best films of the year. From the beautiful animation, to the well written and memorable characters (which is helped by the brilliant voice actors) to a great story, this movie was great at pretty much every level. It also goes further than most children’s animated films, both tonally and structurally. Go out and see this movie as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed.

San Andreas (2015) Review

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San Andreas

Time: 114 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive Language
Cast:
Dwayne Johnson as Chief Raymond “Ray” Gaines
Carla Gugino as Emma Gaines
Alexandra Daddario as Blake Gaines
Hugo Johnstone-Burt as Ben Taylor
Art Parkinson as Ollie Taylor
Ioan Gruffudd as Daniel Riddick
Archie Panjabi as Serena Johnson
Paul Giamatti as Dr. Lawrence Hayes
Director: Brad Peyton

In San Andreas, California is experiencing a statewide earthquake that goes on record as easily the biggest earthquake in history. Dwayne Johnson plays Ray Gaines, a helicopter rescue pilot for the Los Angeles Fire Department, who is trying to find his daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), who is in San Francisco amidst the chaos. Ray’s estranged wife, Emma (Carla Gugino), is forced to turn to Ray for help, as he is her last resort. Together they journey to save their daughter.

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Disaster movies have practically become a genre in itself. Some of them are entertaining, others are painfully bad. As disaster movies go, San Andreas is one of the better ones but it’s still pretty dumb. The characters are one dimensional, the story is cliché and predictable and the action while good, at a point gets a little tiresome. Still, you know what you are going into, and you’ll probably get all the destruction and action that you want.

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You should know that the plot really doesn’t matter. If you have a hard time following what’s going on, it’s because not much of this movie makes sense. There isn’t any character development here either, all the characters are one dimensional and cliché. You don’t really care about the characters, you only care about Dwayne Johnson’s character because he’s The Rock. The plot is also predictable, from the get go you know exactly how the plot is going to go, you know what characters are going to live and what characters are going to die. There are also some really cheesy lines, there’s a scene where Paul Giamatti figures out what’s going on and someone asks him “Who should we call?” and he says “Everybody”. Moments like this make me wonder whether they are intentional cheesy or not. However if you’re watching this movie, you probably aren’t expecting a good plot.

Dwayne Johnson once again is a likable lead, he can add credibility to anything and elevate the films that he’s in. The supporting cast is pretty good with what they have, consisting of actors like Alexandra Daddario and Carlo Gugino. Paul Giamatti was good in the movie but his entire purpose in the film is to deliver exposition, I felt like he actually didn’t do that much in the movie. As I said before though, all the characters are one dimensional and you don’t particularly care about them. The only reason you care about The Rock’s character is because he’s played by The Rock.

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If you are going into San Andreas, you are going for the action and destruction. The effects for the most part work but at times it can look really fake. For example in the first scene of the movie a car flips down a mountain many times and it looked like a scene from the SyFj channel. The special effects most of the time do work but after a while, it gets kind of boring. Maybe it’s because there’s so much of it at once and after a while it doesn’t feel as impactful. Also the characters survive unbelievable destruction that there is no tension, like in the case of the aforementioned flipping car, when the car stopped flipping, the driver was still alive. It was like the film is running on Die Hard 5 logic.

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San Andreas is not that good of a movie but if you want to see destruction, you’ll definitely get that, if you want to see The Rock being awesome, you’ll get that. The story is predictable, the characters are one dimensional and cliché and the plot is really dumb. However I do think that if you want to see a mostly entertaining movie, you’ll get that with this movie, but I think there are better movies out there.