Isle of Dogs – Review

Whether you are a die-hard fan, or unconvinced viewer, there is no denying that writer and director Wes Anderson is a true auteur. With his distinctive visual style, quirky humour, and strong ensemble casts, his work has spawned more than twenty years.
His latest project reunites him with many of his long time actor collaborators and sees him tackle his second animated feature film. Isle Of Dogs puts Anderson’s humour, visuals, and casting talents to brilliant use inti a charming film about man’s best friend, featuring the voice talents of Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Greta Gerwig and Frances McDormand to name just a few. The film is smart, funny and warm enough to convert those not usually in-tune with Anderson’s work, (myself included), while still satisfyingly his loyal fanbase.

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Set in a near-future Japan, a new strain of flu has infected the countries K9 population. Corrupt Mayor Kobayashi, orders that all dogs be banished to nearby Trash Island without testing a potential cure. An oddball band of Dogs, led by Chief (Cranston), gathers together to survive and meet a young boy who travels to the Island. Young Atari has travelled to find his dog, but can the gang keep Atari safe?
Writer, Director Anderson has worked in both live-action as well as stop-motion animation. His previous animated effort saw him adapt Roald Dahl’s classic Fantastic Mr. Fox. Despite using stop-motion element’s in his work, this is only his second full length animated feature.
As usual with Anderson’s work, the film contains darker elements, such as death and betrayal, while portraying it’s themes with dry humour. The dogs, although cute, are ragged and damaged and the human’s are equally dishevelled. The humour is equally slap-stick in visuals while still feeling sophisticated. This mix gives the film a wide appeal.
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What drives the films story is it’s wide range of characters, from stern stray Chief to neurotic Rex and tough Nutmeg, The characters all speaking different languages (English, Japanese or Dog) but the film informs us that the audience will understand all, even when characters will not. You watch the characters learn to understand one another regardless of their language barriers.
With his directing style described as detailed, Isle of Dogs shows a film maker more confident in his craft. The movement is smooth, the settings ambitious and the range of characters are brilliantly realised. Here split screens are often used to contrast different events and emphasise time. The result is an engaging and accomplished film. 
Anderson’s name is synonymous with acting talent. For his large ensemble cast he has gathered familiar varied names. He has garnered a different kind of performance from his cast – voices feel softer and more monotone than their usual. Yet the dialogue gives them edge and character, led by Cranston as the hardened Chief becoming a young boys protector and liberator of Trash Island.
Once again Anderson has produced a visually stunning stop-motion feature film. Quirky and charming while engaging those not usually accustomed to his style. Isle of Dogs takes the simple boy and his dog trope to new heights.

Isle of Dogs is out 30th March! 

If Beale Street Could Talk – Brand New Trailer!

Barry Jenkins blew us away with the absolutely marvelous and Academy Award winning Moonlight. Ever since, we’ve been in hot anticipation of his next project. If Beale Street Could Talk looks to be an amazing follow-up.

Based on a book by James Baldwin, the movie revolves around a man who is falsely accused of rape and his family’s race against time to free him.

The look is amazing and it looks to boast some impressive performances. What do you think?

If Beale Street Could Talk is making it’s way through festivals.
There is no official release date. 

Unpopped Kernels: A Ghost Story (2017)

You know those films that leave you a little cold, and then just hit you like an oncoming truck? A Ghost Story is a lot to take in, but it’s one of the more rewarding films to come out in recent years.

Written and directed by David Lowery, A Ghost Story is the tale of a young musician (Casey Affleck) and his wife (Rooney Mara) living in Texas, when tragedy strikes and the musician is killed in a car crash. He awakes in the hospital, draped in a white sheet and returns to his home where his wife grieves for her lost love. It’s definitely best that we leave it there.

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This is a film that will test your patience; long drawn out shots and extended periods of silence are a little hard to take in at first, but it’s all worth it. In fact, the only real weak moment of the film is an inexplicably expositional moment where a character literally explains one of the film’s major themes. Beyond that, it’s a deep and emotional journey masterfully framed by Lowery in a testing and reflective manner. There’s little to be said about Affleck’s performance – Perhaps the less said about him in general, the better – but a great deal to say about your main character literally being a stereotypical ghost, a white sheet with eye holes. On paper, this should not work; this idea could be a catastrophically bad metaphor, a contrived expression or just plain laughable, but there’s something mesmerising about a painful journey told through a blank expression. Not a word spoken out loud, not a single change in manner, just wandering through all the same. It’s quietly exhilarating and offers far more than a mopey Affleck being his usual sad self. Mara also gives one of her strongest performances yet, a broken character who’s pain is anchored down by Lowery’s direction.

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For a first time watch, it’s ideal to know as little as possible as you can, but believe me when I say that it’s a rich film; you may struggle with it at first, but mere hours after, you’ll be sinking in it’s genius. Truly a film that deserves your thought, it’s a careful contemplation on grief, closure and the passage of time. It goes to great lengths  to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, with the very ending being one of the most satisfying I’ve ever seen. It may only be a small picture but it’s deeply exploratory and it’s reach goes far beyond what you may expect. There’s a great deal of frustration, reflection, loss and moving on, and whilst it’s not easy to deal with, it’s a film that’s actually exciting to dissect for the sake of a new revelation, or a new source of pain.

Pun intended, but mean sincerely, A Ghost Story is a haunting masterpiece; a daunting take on the afterlife with stunning performances, masterful direction and concepts that just keep on giving, save for one off-moment. A truly endearing experience.

A Ghost Story is available to watch on Netflix! 

The Best Of…Paul Rudd

Some actors are timeless. In Paul Rudd’s case, he’s just ageless. Yes, the unwrinkled and smooth perfection of Rudd’s features have caused many to proclaim more sinister and mysterious than simple product, Botox, and wealthy, healthy living. Beyond his youthful looks, Paul Rudd has made a staple for himself by appearing as a lovable loser in comedies and beyond. Charming us with his sparkling eyes and great delivery

To celebrate the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp, we’re here to celebrate all things Paul Rudd!

Bonus: Knocked Up for that shrooms sequence; I Love You, Man for “slappa da bass,” and Parks and Recreation for the gift that kept giving – Bobby Newport!

Clueless (1995)

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One of Rudd’s first ever performances gave many young people their first ever crushes. In this modern nineties adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. The film revolves around Cher, a fashion-obsessed popular girl who is trying to navigate high-school the easiest way possible. Using her intellect, she sets-up teachers, friends, and more and reaps the benefits of their pairings. But is she truly happy?

Rudd plays her step-brother Sonny who actively rolls his eyes at Cher’s antics but the pair soon begin to find a kinship. Smart and open, Rudd’s Sonny was on the book of every teenager in the nineties.

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

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Wet Hot American Summer is a spoof outrageous comedy that tackles all those summer teen movies. It skewers tropes, adds eccentricity, and has become a really fucking hilarious film tht spawned off two television series just as brilliant as the last. The film sees a camp and the counsellors who run it, prepping for the last day of camp as they say goodbye to the relationships they’ve built over summer. Paul Rudd plays hot douchebag Andy who seduces all the girls despite being in a relationship with our leading lady. Rudd is clearly having the best time as the long-haired seventies Lothario who gets his comeuppance in the end.

Also, the film did also provide us with this gif too…

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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

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“Sixty per cent of the time, it works every time.”

Classic lines a plenty come in Will Ferrell led comedy Anchorman. The sensational comedy that spawned an unnecessary sequel is still regarded as one of the funniest comedy films of the 21st Century. The film revolves around Ferrell’s titular character as he rides the high and low waves of being a TV news anchor. Rudd plays the sex-obsessed woman “charmer” Brian Fontanna , even though his “charms” fail to work. By this point, we just know that Rudd has absolute impeccable comedic delivery and

Prince Avalanche (2013)

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Ugh. You just really want Paul Rudd to continue making these types of films. That brooding and unassuming indie film that broils with character and mute comedy. The movie by David Gordon Green is a charming and eloquent sleeper hit where an odd pairing – the meditative Alvin and the dopey Lance – head to the woods in order paint traffic lines. Bonding over their work and scenery, Rudd alongside Emile Hirsch move greatly with heart and redolent emotion. Their dysfunctional relationship is an absolute draw and intensely beautiful to watch, brooding with that Sundance spirit.

The Fundamentals of Caring (2014)

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There were about two different roles Rudd was type-cast into before he put on a really, really, ridiculously small super-suit: The kinda loser straight guy in a group of crazy drunken idiot friends or the kinda loser adult trying to teach a younger audience the way forward. With The Fundamentals of Caring, he gets to marry both these stereotypes in a great way. Playing the down-and-out Ben, a retired writer who starts to look after a disabled young man, Rudd is in his element. Having great rapport with the young Craig Roberts, Rudd meets many poignant moments in this surprisingly tender and very funny road trip comedy.

Captain America: Civil War (2015)

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There were two great things about Ant-Man. Michael Pena and Paul Rudd. Sadly, it was just a wasted opportunity. Rudd never really got to shine in a lacklustre movie. That being said, for the half an hour he appears in Captain America: Civil War, he’s a riot. Look, Rudd definitely does embody the role of master-thief Scott Lang in a roguish type manner – making him somewhat of a loser but with enough mettle to become a superhero as well as adding undying love for his daughter. In Civil War, Rudd takes those elements to brand new heights, literally, and steals every scene. Ok, he steals every scene until Spider-Man appears!

We’re excited to see what he does next with Ant-Man and the Wasp!


Ant-Man and the Wasp is out in cinemas now! 

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