Film Review : The Boxtrolls (2014)

IMDB Score – 6.8
Rotten Tomato Score – 75%
Metacritic Score – 61
Oscar Nominated for Best Animated Feature
Netflix Watch Instant

Directed By – Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi
Starring – Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning, Dee Bradley Baker, Steve Blum, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan, Toni Collette, and Simon Pegg

A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator. Based on the children’s novel ‘Here Be Monsters’ by Alan Snow.

One of my best friends has seen this movie like five times. He likes movies but is so busy all the time that he doesn’t get a chance to see much. He saw this film FIVE TIMES. Seeing as The Boxtrolls has recently been released on Netflix, my excuses have run dry and it was time to see the film my friend calls one of his favorite movies.

I liked it. I can’t say I liked it nearly as much as he did, but I liked it.

The Boxtrolls tells the story of Eggs, a boy growing up in the sewers and aptly named after the box he wears as weird vest/shirt thing. The Boxtrolls spend their night rummaging through the garbage while the rest of the town sleeps. This garbage is taken down below and turned into crazy inventions. They’re like little elves except stinkier and not as cute. Archibald Snatcher is a lunatic that wants to eradicate the Boxtrolls from the town in order to obtain a white hat and attend cheese parties. Yes, this film is British.

Laika, the production company that makes stop motion films, made one of my favorite animated films of all time in Coraline. The film was like a dark Grimm fairy tale and the animation was fresh and alive. Their second film, Paranorman, was also dark and surprisingly very funny. The story didn’t grasp me as much as Coraline did, but I still enjoyed it. The Boxtrolls is a bit like Paranorman but less dark. These creatures aren’t scary at all. They have animalistic little voices and are generally kind spirited and fun. All the evil and darkness comes from Archibald Snatcher, voiced terrifically by Ben Kingsley. It’s a good versus evil story arch that has been done plenty of times before, but in this case a very unique and different world. That’s what made this movie work for me. The fact that it was also gorgeously shot and animated helped out a great deal too. Kids should be able to find some great lessons tucked away in the story of the film. Pride of your personality and where you came from are themes you can’t really miss. Frankly, I just enjoyed watching the way they animated this thing, and listening to the voice acting. There was some real talent on display behind the microphone here. The three henchmen played by Frost, Morgan, and Ayoade were perhaps my favorite part of the film.

It may be my least favorite Laika film, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It’s unique, funny, and gorgeously shot and should provide for some rewatchability, but maybe not five times worth.

Also, now we know what happened to Bran Stark this season.

3.5/5




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Film Review : The World’s End (2013)

IMDB Score – 7.2
Rotten Tomato Score – 89%

Directed By – Edgar Wright
Starring – Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Roseamund Pike, and Pierce Brosnan

Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival.

As stated in my previous post, I’m going to be seeking out the films of 2013 that I procrastinated on seeing in the theater when they were released. First up is the third and final installment of the now infamous “Cornetto Trilogy” which was preceded by one of my favorite films of all time, Shaun of the Dead, and a vastly under appreciated Hot Fuzz.

Honestly, I think this is the most fun out of the three but not necessarily the best. Simon Pegg once again proves he’s one of the best comedic actors working today. His role in Shaun of the Dead might be the best of his career but this role certainly pushed for the title. He is hilarious albeit a bit annoying in this one. I think you just have to buy into the character to see past the frustrating way he carries himself to see what a great character study Pegg and Edgar Wright penned up. Wright has always been almost masterful in pacing. If you have ever seen Scott Pilgrim then you know what I mean. This film doesn’t take a breath the entire time. It’s almost two hours but they FLEW by like I’ve never seen. I honestly wish it was longer because of how much fun it was. The writing is to thank but it also is blessed with a perfect cast.

Usual tag team partner Nick Frost sits opposite Pegg in a starring role, but this time roles have been reversed and it is Frost who has the smart head on his shoulders. Paddy Considine (Please direct another film), Martin Freeman, and the always incredible Eddie Marsan make up the supporting three friends who each have their moments, especially Marsan. I ended up giggling a lot by how his character Peter sees most of the world. The five of them together is enough to see this movie.

This film has the unfortunate luck of having a trailer force feed the entire plot to us in two minutes so the twist in the middle is not surprising in any way but there are still great little nuances to the threat the five face throughout the second half of the film. That’s where the fun really is to be had, the second half, but the first is equally as good. I live in a town with people like Simon Pegg’s character Gary. People hold on to their youth and instead of creating new memories, they hold on to the old ones. Gary is the driving force behind the films main theme which in my eyes was to experience life to the fullest despite what other people tell you to do. I’ll admit that whole thing seems a bit cheesy but they really pulled it off here. The film also has some incredible fight scenes and great special effects. The only thing I can say I didn’t like was the films ending but by that time I was having too much fun to really care.

It’s a great way to end a hilarious, emotional, and just f’ing fun trilogy.

4.5/5



Summer Preview

It’s almost June which means that the slate of summer movies is close to being unleashed. We’ve already been “treated” to what are going to be the biggest cash cows of the year in Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast 6, and The Hangover 3. There’s still going to be room for some good films to be released this summer. These are the ones I’m excited about seeing…

THE PURGE
The Purge

Release Date : June 7

This is probably not going to be a ground breaking horror film, but damn does it look creepy. I remember seeing The Strangers a couple years ago and while the film wasn’t bad by any means, most of the horror derived from people showing up in living rooms with caricature masks on. This new film from the producer of Paranormal Activity (Seriously how many times are we going to see this in front of a horror film) should at least be unique enough to entertain. A film where for 12 hours an entire city is allowed to do whatever they want crime wise is a pretty solid idea and I’m curious as to where they go with it.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Much Ado About Nothing

Release Date : June 7

Shakespeare? Check. Joss Whedon? Check. Awesome trailer? Check. I don’t know why I’m excited for a modern black and white version of a Shakespeare play I’m not familiar with but I just am. Perhaps its the St. Germain song blaring in the background of that stylish trailer. Maybe it’s because Joss Whedon loves originality and that he secretly filmed this at his own house with his own friends while filming The Avengers. All I know is that it should be interesting.

MAN OF STEEL
Man of Steel

Release Date : June 14

Legendary always puts out some pretty amazing trailers. I remember seeing The Dark Knight Rises trailer and just being floored and excited. I get the same feeling from Man of Steel and I’m not even a Superman fan. Zach Snyder made the vastly underrated Watchmen and I’ve been waiting for a new film of his to watch ever since because face it, I’m not watching an animated owl movie or a movie that looks like a live action anime brawl orgy. I’m not going to tell you what films those are. I want you to google search them. That should be fun.

THE WAY WAY BACK
The Way Way Back

Release Date : July 5

This one reminds me of Little Miss Sunshine which is funny because Steve Carrell is in both. Nat Faxon and Jim Rash are already Oscar winners and they’re taking it a step forward by writing AND directing this film. It was a crowd favorite at Sundance and look pretty hilarious. You gotta love Jim Rash’s bit in the trailer. You can tell he’s channeling Dean Pelton from Community which is great. You also can’t go wrong with Sam Rockwell.

PACIFIC RIM
Pacific Rim

Release Date : July 12

I’m hoping to the lord our God Guillermo Del Toro that he comes through with this and that it doesn’t fall to the fate of Transformers and Real Steel. Both those films/series looked pretty cool but just left you empty and cold inside after watching them. I wasn’t at Comic Con when footage of Pacific Rim was shown but apparently it was one of the most impressive CGI segments ever seen. I’m hoping for entire film of that. If anybody knows how to put monsters on the screen, it’s Del Toro.

ONLY GOD FORGIVES

Release Date : July 19

This is my film to see of the entire summer. Nicholas Rending Refn’s Drive is one of my favorite films of the last twenty years and this is the follow up, also starring Ryan Gosling. The color in the trailer is impressive, like REALLY impressive. It’s going to be a gorgeous film. I’m hoping that the story surpasses that of Drive because that was the only fault of Refn’s previous film. It also looks pretty brutal. Can’t wait.

ELYSIUM
Elysium

Release Date : August 9

I love sci fi. I love original sci fi. District 9 still is one of my favorite theater experiences and favorite sci fi films to come out in the last decade. I’m excited to see what Neil Blomkamp will unveil as there is not a lot of information being given about the film besides what is revealed in the trailer. I like it that way.

THE WORLD’S END
The World's End

Release Date : August 23

This may be another Us v. The Town themed film but Frost/Pegg/Wright do it so well that it really matters nil. I do like how they switched the roles of Frost and Pegg. Seems that Pegg is the reckless nutjob and Frost is the conservative. Great supporting cast too with Eddie Marsan and Paddy Considine. Looks great.

THE GRANDMASTER

Release Date : August 23

Anybody that has seen either Ip Man or IP Man 2 realize the potential for any film centered around the famous kung fu master is sky high. The fact that Kar Wai Wong is directing this only adds excitement. Kar Wai has one of the most unique styles in film right now and his tackling of kung fu should be an epic sight. Did you see that rain fight scene? Crazy.

YOU’RE NEXT

Release Date : August 23

Oh man. This looks awesome. If the actual movie is as good as the trailer then you have yourself the best horror film this year. It’s been getting a lot of buzz from international festivals and is finally getting a wide scale release. By the way, for those who are counting, this is the second film on this list whose main villains are wearing creepy as shit masks.

Honorable Mentions
Monsters University
This is the End
The Lone Ranger
The Kings of Summer
The East
Fruitvale Station