Friday, December 30, 2016

Beyond Beyond (2014) Sweden, Denmark

A little kid's fight against the natural phenomenon.






Original title:
Resan till Fjäderkungens Rike (Swedish)


Genre:
Animation (3D), Adventure, Fantasy.


Length:
Approximately 3-minute read.


Review:
     Animated film from Sweden? I don't remember I have seen one. So probably this is my first from that region. It was less than 80 minutes, that means short and sweet. They should have stretched it a bit longer, but the point of the narration was perfectly accomplished, so it does not matter even it was shorter than the usual length. This is a pure children's film, that families might as well enjoy it. I thought everything in it was cute. The characters, and the simple story. But the animation obviously was not that great as we see in Hollywood. Also not bad to ignore it completely.

     This takes place on the planet of the rabbits and tells the story of a young Jonah. He's the happiest kid, living with his loving parents, but until one day when the feather king gets his mother. Missing her presence, the desperate Johan in a boat at the sea alone, uses the situation after receiving a sos radio message. He now enters the forbidden land without an invitation and his adventure begins to fight for his mother's return. It also helps him to learn an important lesson that ends with what seems the right way.

 The feather king took my mom.
And I want her back. 

     After seeing this I think the director should get a shot at Hollywood, so that he can come back and make the international quality animated features for his nation. I said that because American production houses usually pour a big amount because of their international market that gets them five to ten times what they have spent. If you are an animation film fan, then you should try this. But you should not compare it with any Hollywood animations. I saw it during the week of Christmas and New Year, the best season to watch such magical tale.

     I liked how they avoided the word 'loss' or 'death'. You would understand the situation in the story, but the film is not intended to go details. This is the film about losing someone you love and when unable to cope, especially the little kids who can't understand such concept, this film tried to give something fictional version of logic. For that reason alone, it's worth a watch with your little ones. Like the Americans say after someone had died that he/she/it is in a better place, this film set in that place and that's why it was called 'Beyond Beyond' that rhymes with 'Mirror Mirror' kind of fairytale.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent


Similar movies:
Mune, The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, The Little Prince.


External link(s):
    


WCA geolocation:
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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Phantom Boy (2015) France, Belgium

The supernatural 'eye in the sky'.






Genre:
Animation (2D), Fantasy, Thriller.


Length:
Approximately 5-minute read.


Review:
     From the directors of 'A Cat in Paris', but this film set in New York City that narrates the story of a boy with an extraordinary power. If you had liked that film, you probably would like it as well, but a little lesser. Except this is not about the art of theft, but a cop trying to catch a most dangerous criminal. It is so weird to see the New York turned into kind of a province of France as everybody in this speak French, but expected it as it's a French film.

     A very interesting storyline. The characters were well designed and developed. But most of the film was focused on the boy, the cop and the main villain with a dog's perspective. There's a little part of a reporter as well. So I think it should have been called 'A Dog in New York', but the dog is on the wrong side where the most of the story was narrated from. The theme was not fresh, but the way they used to tell the tale makes all the difference. I mean you can compare it to 'If I Stay' kind of plenty of other films. Except it turned into a crime-thriller.

     A young boy named Leo, who is hospitalised for the serious illness, has a special power to leave his body and take an invisible form, and come back again safely within some time frame. On the other side an honest cop trying to hunt down a criminal who is threatening the peace of the city gets a backlash after met with an accident. Now the cop and the boy join the hands to thwart the villain's latest attempt to bring disruption. The mission was not planned well, so how they fight the crime and its result brings to an end to the film.

 I'm not hungry. It's a shame because my dad's pasta is the best in the world. 

     This is a PG film, that means it's aimed for all the ages. But particularly for the grown ups, there's nothing much to enjoy other than cool presentation. That does not mean for all the grown ups. The sketches and the animation technics were same as the previous film. They tried to reach bigger audience worldwide from the success of their previous film, but seems not achieved that goal. As the film had many great features like the characters and the story, they have fallen short to surpass as an overall film. Even anytime I would pick 'A Cat in Paris' over this, but that does not make this one's a bad film.

     It kind of looks like the supernatural version of 'Eye in the Sky'. I'm not talking about the actual film, but the concept of drones to watch over the criminal activity. In here the boy acts as the main communication device. He who one day wants to be a cop, helps to solve the crime. I think the end should have been a little better. Especially from the boy's perspective about how his tale ends were very intentional. Perhaps a bit of emotions at the end would have given a better result.

     I advertise the 2D animations too much on my blog whenever I review them, because they are rapidly fading away art. So my big thanks to those production houses and the filmmakers who still believe in it. If you are an animation film fan, you will enjoy it, no matter you loved it or not at the end. In a simple way to say, it is a fine film for the families with kids aged ten or under. It might look like a typical detective film, but entertaining with a few good moments. So check it out if you get a chance to access it.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent


Similar movies:
A Cat in Paris, A Monster in Paris, April and the extraordinary World, ParaNorman, Hoodwinked.


External link(s):
      


WCA geolocation:
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Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Red Turtle (2016) France, Belgium, Japan

Man always needs a purpose.






Original title:
La Tortue Rouge (French)
Reddotatoru: Aru Shima no Monogatari (Japanese)


Genre:
Animation (2D), Fantasy.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     Since the Hollywood upgraded to the 3D animation, the rest of the world took over and given some incredible films in the last one and half decades. The Japanese animes are undoubtedly the best, but the European animation, particularly the 2D animation started to boom in the recent times with special mention goes to Tomm Moore. So basically I might miss some Hollywood animations, right now, but I'm very watchful over this kind of films. That's how I watched it, but anyway I would have seen it.

     This is the director's first feature animation film, but he was known for his awesome short animations which one of them won him an Oscar. It was jointly produced by three countries, including Japan's Studio Ghibli. It's their first non-Japanese production and a great beginning and timing to expand the production in other continents. Especially after their legend, Hayao Miyazaki retired from the filmmaking.

     The film was short like the 80 minute stretch without a single word spoken in its entire narration. There's no even sign language used, everything's actions and reactions. So you would find empty in the film's cast section which is kind of weird. I mean there are characters in the film, but all were imaginations without names and what year it takes place, where with so many questions like that. Basically to say, a film without the cast, but the crew members managed to give the best to the viewers to get it without any struggle.

     One thing is for sure, that the film is very enjoyable. It is a fantasy film, so whatever you see, you have to accept it. Because that's how things happen in a theme like this, all fictional. Though, the first thing you have to keep in your mind is not the entire film was an hallucination event. There are some dreamy events and that's fine since the film character is coping with loneliness.


     A man who had lost at sea, wakes up in a small island. It's a life supporting land mass with fresh water and fruits, but he also has to put some effort for fishing. His notion is to leave the island as soon as possible to go back to where he had come from, the civilised world. In his every attempt to sail with a raft he had made using bamboos, fails to cross after a certain stretch of the island coast. He later comes to know what stopped him and with an anger reaction he commits a mistake. So now he has to come out of the guilt and to do that he chooses what seems the right.

     It was like a simple story without any meaning about everything that's shown in it. So in my entire watch I thought the same and said it was an okay film with great animation. But the ending changed my stance. That twist, I don't think everybody would understand. But one thing I want to make sure if you yet to see it, that it was about the purpose. The man always looks for a reason to do things and even to live or die. That's where the red turtle comes in.

     Although my biggest question is, is this film a follow-up or in any way connected to the director's previous short animation 'Father and Daughter'? Because it seems the man who got lost in the sea is from that short film. But it never revealed the reason why he was stopped by whomever from return home. Also, both the conclusions syncs. It's just a my theory, so only the director can explain that.

     I'm very sure this film is in the Oscars race. If it fails to make, then its not my prediction was wrong, but the Academy Awards people got it all wrong. I'm also sure it won't win as 3D animation dominated world, particularly 'Zootopia' 'Finding Dory' and 'Moana' are taking the first three frontrunner spots. Except the technical differences, only the grown ups can say this one has a better and meaningful story. It is very similar to 'Ponyo', but a grown-up's version. Anyway, it is a must see film, especially the adults and in particular those who always think animation is for children. If they see it, they might change their mind. Highly recommended!



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent


Similar movies:
Sammy's Adventure, The Painting, The Day of the Crows, Spirited Away, Ponyo.


External link(s):
      


WCA geolocation:
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Alternative 2538 (2015) Thailand

Complexity isn't the time maze, but the romance.






Original title:
2538 Altermajib (Thai)


Genre:
Comedy, Fantasy, Music, Romance.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     I don't remember when I saw my last Thai film. Looks like it has been nearly 3 years. Usually I like Thai films, particularly they are famous for small budget romance or horror films. I was drawn into Thai films, mainly for the teen romance-comedies from last one decade that I have seen and liked plenty of them. Really happy to be back and this time the film I picked was a little different theme which is a time-travel. I felt it was not bad, but felt should have been improved in a few areas.

     The film is about the teenager Kong. When he upset with his parents who are fighting frequently, he decides to spend a night out. So makes a quick call to his friend in a rainy night. A while ago, he had found some old pictures, and a pager with a message beeping. Now he does a crazy thing by responding to it which transports him to the year 1995. He's not yet born, but he finds his parents' romance stumbling over another girl. He decides to sort it out and after the task how he makes back was revealed with a twist.

     One thing I find hard in Thai films is the names of the actors, which are too long and almost impossible to pronounce. But I know a few actors, only by recognising them than by names. The last time I saw Pimchanok Leuwisetpaiboon in a small role from 'Bangkok Knockout'. But nobody can forget her from 'A Little Thing Called Love' as Nam. In this, the story was not presented from her perspective, though she was good in the character Som. The character was almost similar, like crazily being in love with her senior.

 You have to feel like feeling good about someone and secretly falling in love. 

     When it comes to the time travel, this film was nothing special. They did not prioritise on that part, but concentrated more on the event followed. And again, I'm little disappointed on that, as the characters had flaws to fit-in in the time maze. Like if it was a loop, somebody from the future should have recognised the Kong, particularly his parents. So some parts of the film need to be explained, particularly for Kong completely exposing himself in the alternate time.

     On the other side, it was a decent entertainer. Especially if you are not a Thai or don't know the Thai language, then the percentage goes down a bit. Because most of the comedies were hard to catch up in the subtitle translation as its meaning altered. Since it took place in the 90s, we don't know what was the trend in the Thailand at that time, especially the local music industry where most of the film plot revolved.

     That's not it, the final twist lifted the film a bit, but from the romance perspective, it remains unclear as the time gap influenced it to end in one way. It might be foolish to expect, but a sequel to built a story on that to solve the second romance track could work. Apart from one of the actors I mentioned earlier, the rest of the cast was excellent as well.

     One of the major issues with the screenplay was the romance which is not deep enough to impact. Kong had perspective, but all the romance sentiments were held with Tom. The film focused on the task Kong has taken than Som's romance. Anyway, the film will work for most of the viewers, particularly for the youngsters. So I don't think it can be classified as a below average. For me, it hangs between 'average' and leaning mostly towards 'good'.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent


Similar movies:
Camille Redouble, Big, The Kid, The Girl Who Leapt Through the Time, 13 Going on 30.


External link(s):
  


WCA geolocation:
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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Elle (2016) France, Belgium, Germany

Sometimes the crime decides its own fate.






Genre:
Drama, Thriller.


Length:
Approximately 4-minute read.


Review:
     I had no thought before the watch, but while watching it, I felt it was overrated. That's for a moment, once I finished watching it, realised it's a better film. I mean I changed my stance, after over and over thinking about the film. So its the patience you need, wait till the film to end to decide how much you liked it. It was too long, but every space was filled up with the best parts. It took time to understand the characters, and with multiple angle events in one woman's life. Isabelle Huppert was amazing. Despite so many characters in the film, she ruled it. One of her best films I have seen.

     The film focused on the boss of a video game designing firm. It opens with as she's been sexually assaulted in her home by an intruder. Followed by one of her employees morphed her face to an animated character as a sexual explicit material for the game they are working in. So she begins her investigation to find both the culprit who might be the same person. This is where the suspense comes into play to develop interest in us. Besides, facing family troubles takes some extra development. Subsequently, all the mysteries will be solved and to know how it ends, you should watch it.

 Michele to her cat: You did not have to claw his eyes out, but scratch him at least. 

     It is official French submission to the 89th American Academy Awards. But as per the latest news bulletin, this film is out of the Oscars race, despite made into the Golden Globes. From the director of the original 'Total Recall' and his first French film. Based on the book named 'Oh...'. But I felt it was developed from a small part of 'The Little Death'. Basically, there's an understanding being it is the story of the adults, despite the sexual violences and that's how this story was built. So you must compromise on a few things that is shown in it if you really want to enjoy it.

     I did not like it all the sudden, though looking back all the film events and joining them together made me see the film was decent. Especially that final line said by a woman who was evacuating her house makes whole thing sense. Maybe that's the real twist in the tale. Initially I did not think to write a review, but surely it deserved one from me, so I wrote this short and quick. This is the film for the grown ups, but not for all the grown ups. So I hope it will meet your expectation if you decide to try, but according to me definitely it is worth.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent


Similar movies:
The Little Death, The Boy Next Door, Revolutionary Road, Side Effects, Revenge a Love Story.


External link(s):
      


WCA geolocation:
Right now we're in