Posts Tagged ‘watching’

We went to see Kubo and the Two Strings today, because even though it seems to be under-advertised, we knew it was made by Laika (who also made Coraline, and The BoxTrolls) and we love everything they do–so yeah, let’s go see it on the big screen!

We didn’t know what to expect, but when you’re making a stop-motion film, you’d better have a superlative story because you need a structure that is going to hold up all that hand-crafting for a very long time. In other words, we didn’t expect a lack-luster story that would disappear into filmdom’s dustbin in 3 months.

And, yay, no disappointment!

Here is a trailer about making the film, instead of the actual film trailer. I don’t think the trailer does the film any justice; the rich underlying themes aren’t even alluded to. I think this film will not get the credit it deserves simply because people will be too confused by the advertising and think, “Nah, that isn’t something that will interest me.” Which would be a shame, so I’m here to tell you: Go see it!

At the theater were two families with children, and a retired couple, and us. That’s it. So I could tell the retired couple knew what they were in for, but the kids (five and under) were too young to appreciate this one. I wish there would have been a bigger audience, but maybe everybody went opening weekend.  I sure hope so.

Here’s the official trailer, just in case you’re curious.

I find that Laika films become richer with each viewing (unlike a lot of films, which offer nothing new on a second viewing), so this one will be added to our private collection when it hits dvd.


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watching: A Royal Affair (2012)

A Royal Affair (2012) was a movie that somehow slipped by me in 2012, probably because it’s Danish. I certainly never heard of it, but our small-town theater doesn’t play half of what’s available.

And you know what? I loved it. I only mention the movies here that I love. I hate movies that leave me indifferent, or worse, bored. (This viewing was part of a Mads Mikkelsen marathon. Stay away from Valhalla Rising (2009), it was awful, but go ahead and watch The Salvation (2014), if you like genre westerns meant to be an homage–but feel more like heavy borrowing.

If you like historical intrigue based on true events, A Royal Affair is a winner. Don’t let the “affair” theme and brief snips in the trailer fool you, this is one you can sit down and watch with kids present.

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watching: The Box Trolls (2014)

There’s only so much we can cram into a lifetime, and I wish I would have realized sooner that working for a company making stop-motion animation sounds pretty cool. There’s only a handful of people making a living at it (and even those, pretty off and on), but you know, I might as well be one of those people, too, right? Anything can happen.

I would love to have worked on The Box Trolls. There’s not a lot of films you can watch multiple times and still be surprised by this or that–what you didn’t notice the first time, or the depth of something you notice the second time around. And then pull it out a third time and still be enchanted.

Everyone who worked on this one should be very proud. (The same company who made Coraline, you remember I talked about that one not too long ago.)

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watching: The Wind Rises (2013)

Our house eagerly awaits each new Hayao Miyazaki movie, and every year he has not retired seems like such a blessing on the world. I admit we are greedy and do not want him ever to retire, because even though the list of his accomplishments is long, there would always be the unanswered: What might have been?

I am linking to the subtitled trailer, just so you can see the longest clip available.

Jiro is in love with aircraft design, becomes an engineer after WWI, and lives an ordinary life within this frame. The story unspools slowly, following Jiro’s life, his chance encounter with a young lady, and meeting her again 12 years later. The pivotal moments propelling Jiro’s life in new directions occur at moments when the wind is blowing harshly, bringing change. The lift the wind gives to Jiro’s aircraft is more of a technical consideration, but similarly thematic.

Truly lovely, and a touch sentimental. Worth watching again and again, as each time you will see more depth.

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watching: Cloud Atlas (2012)

I saw one of those lists of “the 10 best movies you never bothered to see,” and noted down four or five of them. Cloud Atlas is the first to arrive, and yes, it’s one of those WOW movies you should add to your list.

Six stories set in divers settings and time periods intertwine, with the same actors portraying characters in each story line. It’s a marvel just to pick out who becomes whom. If you are already a fan of the Wachowski siblings, you probably were in the theater opening day. –I just checked the stats, and the film was budgeted at 102M, and has had a take of 27M, so ouch! Rent this one and help bring up the stats; we need Hollywood green-lighting more ambitious (visually/story/style) projects like Cloud Atlas.

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watching: Hannibal (2014)

You know that quote by Oscar Wilde?

“The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.”

That’s how I feel about Hannibal. (Link will take you to Hulu.)

Fridays on NBC, I think at 10p.m. but I watch it on Hulu. This is the best show you’re not watching, and you should be.

Hulu will display the last 3 episodes for free, and you can still see episode 1 of season two if you do it in the next 5 days. If you are squeamish it’s not for you, but if you watch most police procedural shows, I think you can handle it. The tension between psycho Hannibal Lechter and his mouse victim Will Graham is a thing of beauty. Also, I should say Gillian Anderson has never looked more stunning. She is aging amazingly gracefully, and is only getting prettier.

I love that I can wait for a quiet moment in my day when I can devote an uninterrupted 45 minutes to it. The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.

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watching: Coraline (2009)

People always say, “The book is so much better than the movie.” But Coraline is one of those rare cases where the movie is so much better than the book. (My other notable exception is Fight Club. The book is okay, but the movie is amazing.)

Filmed in stop-motion, Coraline brings a creepily fascinating world to life. Young Coraline moves with her mom and dad into an old house with a tiny boarded up doorway to nowhere (it’s been bricked over). In her dreams, Coraline travels through the door into a mirror world where everything is the same but better. Her mirror mom is nicer, more attentive, and her mirror dad cooks so much better and also pays attention to her. The colors are brighter in mirror world, and the furnishings of mirror world are new and gay. Of course there’s a catch — mirror mom wants to keep Coraline in her world forever.

Here is a clip of when Coraline first meets mirror mom.

I say the movie is better than the book because I found the end of the book too abrupt, too easy: Parents are rescued from mirror mom, the end. The movie makes the journey a little more complex, adding at least one character, possibly two (I haven’t read the book for several years) to help the little girl understand her journey. I’m always so-so about Neil Gaiman’s books — either they are terrific, or they are meh. He doesn’t have a middle ground. I’m glad someone saw the possibility in this story, and brought it to life. Even if you don’t have kids, you will probably like this one.

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