movie review

The Muppet Christmas Carol Review

Love Actually wasn’t the only holiday classic I had been neglecting. When my friend found out I had never seen The Muppet Christmas Carol, she set out to change that. After our first merry movie marathon of the season, I’m happy to say that I finally understand the love for this classic film.

It’s the same story we all know. Scrooge’s work partner passes away and his greed is left to wreak havoc. Three ghosts appear and take him on a journey of self-discovery to learn the true meaning of Christmas. But this time, the Muppets get their turn to spice things up.

I think one of my favorite things about this movie is the fact that it’s a musical. It would be a bit odd if the Muppets didn’t fill this with their own show tunes. The opening number reminds me of a wildly happier version of “At the End of the Day” from Les Mis. It’s a grand opening that starts the film off with a bang. The only song I find that lulls is “When Love is Gone.” I wasn’t swept away by the romance in general so I used this song as quick social media break from the movie.

I think having two narrators for this flick was a fun choice. I loved getting a break form the plot and watching Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat argue or crack a joke. Their humor was self-aware and would even make fun of the story itself.

I had a lot of fun playing the “which Muppet will be who” game. My favorite surprise was Statler and Woldorf playing Marley and Marley. I thought having two Marley characters was a great idea and they could only be played by these sarcastic old men. I enjoyed the Christmas Past party scene where we could see the majority of the Muppets all together. I loved Fozzie Bear as the employer and I always look forward to seeing Swedish Chef.

I will say, there were some times where I wish there had been more Muppet magic. I think the first ghost was a letdown for me as she was a creepy angel-like creature. I also found her to be scarier than the Ghost of Christmas to Come, who was unfortunately also not a Muppet.

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Of course, this story wouldn’t have been as enjoyable if not for Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit and Michael Caine as Scrooge. It was neat to see Caine as a slightly younger actor than I’m used to. Kermit played a sweet Cratchit who demanded sympathy for Tiny Tim. I even got misty-eyed during Kermit’s scene after Tiny Tim had passed away.

I didn’t think this version of A Christmas Carol would be as touching as it is. With the amount of cute comedy and wit that comes along with everything the Muppets do, It’s also the most enjoyable version of this movie. What is usually a dull traditional Christmas movie now has a fun alternative.

What do you think of this movie? Do you prefer the older versions, like my father does? Or do you prefer this musical Muppet rendition? As always, if you have any recommendations, let me know. See you soon!

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Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Review

I’ve always been the kind of person who obsessively re-watches favorite movies. Being the time of year where the same few movies are played nonstop, Christmas is right up my alley. Growing up, I had one favorite that I was devoted to. Now, I may not watch it every day, but it is a yearly must-watch for me. If I’m in the mood to feel nostalgic, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas is what I turn to.

Yes, it’s a movie for children but I couldn’t skip over it on my first Blogmas. It’s got a special place in my heart that has withstood the test of time. This movie is actually a collection of three mini stories with Disney’s classic characters.

Donald Duck: Stuck on Christmas

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Donald’s three nephews are so excited for Christmas that when the big day comes, they feel as though it has whizzed right by them. They wish upon a star for the holiday to last all year and, lo and behold, a Christmas miracle happens and their wish comes true. In order to break the spell, the boys must learn the true meaning of Christmas.

In what is basically a retelling of Groundhog Day, Disney adds their magic touch. It’s a cute short with a good meaning. Christmas isn’t meant to be a holiday dominated by presents and food. We should cherish our time with loved ones and find joy in giving and not receiving.

This isn’t my favorite short of the trio, but I do always look forward to it. Admittedly, I really only think I like it as much as I do because it reminds me of DuckTales, an old Disney series about Huey, Dewey, Louie and the rest of Donald’s crew. I don’t remember much of DuckTales anymore, only that when I saw that VHS tape come out of the movie cabinet, I knew it was going to be an action-packed night for my 5-year-old self.

A Very Goofy Christmas

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Goofy and Max are on a mission to get their letter to Santa when Pete steps in to ruin the day. Max is told that Santa isn’t real and his whole holiday is thrown off because of it. Goofy tries to lift Max’s spirits to no avail. But when even Goofy starts to lose faith, Max takes matters into his own hands.

This is one short that seems like it could be made into an entire movie. Unlike the other two, this story, from what I can find, is original. Its originality shows in how much personality is present in the story. It’s heartwarming and full of Disney charm.

I’m also mainly attached to this short because it reminds me of A Goofy Movie, which has always been a favorite of mine. Yes, this entire Christmas special really just feeds my love of old Disney movies. I really loved seeing Goofy, a single father, raising Max during the holidays and demonstrating their hard but close relationship. The older I get, the more I appreciate this short in particular.

Mickey & Minnie’s Gift of the Magi

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Both Mickey and Minnie are facing financial difficulties heading into the holidays. Mickey wants to buy Minnie a gold watch for her special watch heirloom. Minnie wants to buy Mickey a case for his beloved harmonica. However, for each to buy the gifts they want, they have to sell those two items that matter most.

This is a retelling on that classic story about the poor married couple who sell their prized possessions for gifts for each other. I much prefer this adorable Disney version, especially since Minnie doesn’t sell her hair to a creepy woman in an alley. Watching this as an adult, I really enjoy the commentary on corporate greed and how this can be one of the hardest times of year for people struggling with money.

This has always been my favorite short. I’m a sucker for Mickey and Minnie and love the cutesy version of this classic tale. I also just really like seeing Mickey and Minnie go through life like a normal couple. It’s a striking difference from the fantastical life we usually see them lead.

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Let me know what you think of Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas! Was it a childhood favorite for you? Which is your favorite short and why? As always, I’d love to check out any recommendations you may have for me. See you soon!

The Santa Clause Trilogy Review

I think it’s just about time that we talk about a series packed with holiday fun. Branching from an original and unique concept, these movies all have widely varying outcomes. Let’s dive into The Santa Clause trilogy.

The Santa Clause

Tim Allen In 'The Santa Clause'

Scott, a struggling divorced father, has custody of his son, Charlie, for Christmas Eve. What started as a disaster of a Denny’s dominated evening quickly turns into a festive frenzy. When Scott scares Santa, causing him to fall off the roof, he enacts the Santa Clause. It’s an ancient law stating whoever knocks Santa off the roof must take on the role that comes with the red suit, willing or not.

Tim Allen plays his usual sarcastic shtick but is much more bearable in this than Christmas with the Kranks. Paired with Eric Lloyd as his adorable son, the two of them have a fun dynamic as polar opposites. Judge Reinhold and Wendy Crewson were absolutely wonderful to hate. They’re straight-up irritating down to their very last scene.

The first half hour or so of this movie is a great time. It’s cute-yet-self-aware aided by Allen’s wit. The last thirty minutes becomes a festive fun time with a happy ending that anyone can enjoy. However, the middle portion of the movie is a giant custody battle over Charlie. While this movie is a classic, it’s also one that can leave you feeling tapped out of cheer.

The Santa Clause 2

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Scott has accepted his fate as Santa and does a killer job as the jolly-old-man. Years have passed and his time away from Charlie shows as his son has landed a spot on the naughty list. As distraught as he is by this news, Santa finds out about the Mrs. Clause. An oversight by his elf Curtis gives Scott until Christmas Eve to find a wife or he’ll cease to be Mr. Claus.

While ratings for this movie decreased compared to its predecessor, I still really enjoy it. Allen’s biting tone took a backseat to his new jolly persona. Charlie becomes a wannabe bad boy rather than that lovable young kid everyone adored. Elizabeth Mitchell’s character seemed to change drastically through the movie but she was still an adorable addition to the film.

While this movie is hokier and the love story may be melodramatic, I find it to be much more enjoyable overall. It’s much more of a comedy than the original is. Writing-wise, it may falter but it makes up for that in how fun it is to watch.

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

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Jack Frost makes an appearance at the North Pole at the same time Santa’s in-laws are in town. Chaos ensues.

Jack Frost is a forced addition to the movie. There’s nothing about his storyline that makes me want to watch the film. Bernard, the previous head elf, is no where to be found in this movie. This is quite sad to me as he was a favorite character of mine. There really is nothing fun or enjoyable about this movie. It lost the warmth the other two had and in its place was a typical Hollywood money-grab.

This movie was a huge let down compared to the other two.

Wrapping it all up:

The first two movies are on my yearly must-watch list. The first one is such a unique concept and a solid classic. I don’t see that movie going anywhere anytime soon, even if it might be a bit of a downer. The second is great for a laugh and a good time to turn on for holiday baking and decorating. As for the third, I pretend like it doesn’t exist and continue my merry movie binge.

Let me know what you think of these movies. Do you like the third? Am I too harsh? Did you feel as betrayed as I did when you realized Bernard wasn’t in The Escape Clause? If you have any recommendations, let me know. I’d love to check them out. See you soon!

Love Actually Review

It’s hard to believe that, as a movie fan and a lover-of-all-things-Christmas, I’ve never seen one of the most over-hyped holiday movies of the 2000’s. For years I’ve heard the words of praise from devoted fans, seen all of the cringe-worthy gifs, and watched the adorable film clips that people share every year. Finally, after all of these years of stubborn avoidance, I watched Love Actually.

Following the lives of multiple people through their quest for love, we’re taken on a roller coaster of emotions. Through the whirlwind of romantic cuteness, we discover that these stories all weave and clash together at the climax of the movie. Spoilers to come.

This movie takes just about every cheesy trope, stereotype, and overdone plot point and throws it in the viewer’s face. As tragic as that sounds for audience, it somehow works. From the moment the movie started, I was sucked in by the heartwarming sappiness. Even though it’s highly predictable and hopelessly mushy, this movie really touches the heart.

While a lot of this love overload is acceptable, some of the characters and ideas just seem forced. Makatsch’s character comes to mind first when I think of contrived characters. She plays a pivotal role but she’s so brass that it’s not believable. One of the more annoying stories was Marshall’s which unfortunately ended happily-ever-after. Of course we can’t over look the King of Cringe Lincoln’s sign-holding scene is just as bad, if not worse, than that gif you’ve seen floating around.

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Yes, it’s campy and some characters would be better-off forgotten, there are some solid stories that I got very attached to. I was most invested in Neeson and Brodie-Sangster. Sure, it’s slightly disturbing how nonchalantly both of them act in response to their wife/mother’s death, but that’s one doozy of a cuteness overload. Heck, that story alone could be its own movie. I also, surprisingly, latched on to Grant and McCutcheon’s little love fest. Even though it was put on a back-burner for the middle chunk of the movie, it was one I was constantly wondering about.

Of course this movie wouldn’t have come together if it weren’t for Bill Nighy. Not only was his character vital for the resolution to Sam’s journey, he was a much needed rest from the lovey-dovey nonsense. His character’s self-awareness and blunt honesty made him a joy to watch. Even his big epiphany scene was sweet in a trashy rock star kind of way.

There are two storylines in this movie that I believe deserve some justice. Two of the most compelling women in this rom/com fest of happy endings and Christmas miracles were left out to dry with a resolution no where near satisfying. Laura Linney’s character just seemed to disappear after a plot-twist of romantic interest sprung into her life. Instead of giving one of the hardest-working and self-sacrificing characters a happy ending, they give it to Colin Frissel, the epitome of Nice Guy culture.

Emma Thompson’s story also ended in a genuinely upsetting manner. While she stays true to her character, I wanted to see her shine as an independent mother. She gives her kids the world and in return she has to sacrifice her fiery gut instincts and her chance at finding loyal, true love elsewhere. I’m probably just too passionate about this because I love Emma Thompson but Karen deserves better and I stand by that.

While there were other characters and romances that I didn’t mention, I enjoyed watching them all. Even if some were slightly infuriating and others unrealistically sentimental, it was all a joy to watch and discover how they all weave together. I’m sad to sad to say I waited so long to watch this movie. Much to my surprise, I actually love Love Actually.

Let me know what you think of this movie. Are you sucked in by its charm or revolted by its overdone shenanigans? As always if you have any recommendations, let me know. I’d love to check them out. See you soon!

Die Hard Review

It’s time we answer the question that has torn families apart, separated lovers and turned brother against brother. Today we settle this feud over festivity once and for all. Let our quarreling stop as we finally resolve the rivalry. Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

When John McClane flies to LA for his wife’s holiday office party, the New York cop doesn’t quite get the greeting he was hoping for. Rather than eggnog and gingerbread men, he’s met with Alan Rickman-style terrorism with a side of psycho henchmen. In a quest to save 30 hostages and mend his failing marriage, McClane must save the day with cheesy one-liners thrown in.

Die Hard is the quintessential 80’s action movie. You’ve got the tight wife-beater tank, machine guns, explosions, and, of course, massive hair. It has the stereotypical European bad guys and an all-American hero to bring them down. There’s nothing new to the makeup of this story compared to that of others of this era, but it just does everything right.

Bruce Willis is the perfect lead for this movie. He’s a lovable heartthrob that can pull off the outlandish sarcasm of 80’s action stars. He makes it just believable enough that the viewers can just sit back and enjoy it. Had any other actor been cast, I doubt this movie would have done as well as it has. Bruce Willis is really what makes this movie a classic.

Of course you can’t have an 80’s movie without some absurd villains. Yes, the gang of Europeans strike again with the help of a zany computer genius. Rickman leads the pack as the classy yet ruthless criminal. Oddly enough, he isn’t the most hate-able character in the movie. That title is undoubtedly reserved for Hart Bochner (Harry Ellis). He’s the “I can’t wait for you to die” character of Die Hard.

One of my favorite aspects of the movie is the budding friendship between McClane (Willis) and Sgt. Powell (VelJohnson). Keeping the movie grounded, VelJohnson gave some relief to the insanity of the situation and let us see a different side of McClane. He has his moment in the spotlight too when he ends up saving McClane and the crowd from the last surviving terrorist.

Hearing characters use the word “terrorist” to describe Hans and his team was something that really struck me. When this movie aired in 1988, they obviously had no clue as to how the idea of terrorism would change so quickly in America.  We’re at a point in history where tensions are so high over this word with its twisted new meaning that this movie shows just how rapidly its connotation has shifted. It’s an interesting peak into how this time in history will be viewed by future generations based solely on one word.

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Okay, so this isn’t a cookie cutter holiday movie with presents or sugarplum fairies. Its main theme isn’t Christmas. It’s not a festive flick. So why is it a Christmas movie? Because we all need an annual excuse to watch Willis and Rickman battle it out while almost bringing down a building. It’s got a Santa hat, a Christmas tree, and I’m pretty sure there was a holiday song in the background at some point. We can all use a break from the same twelve movies we re-watch every year so why not pop in Die Hard and enjoy?

Let me know what you think of Die Hard. Which side of the holiday feud are you on? Personally, I love this movie and I’ll use any excuse to watch it. Regardless of what side you’re on, let’s all come together and have a moment of silence for John McClane’s feet. See you soon!

Christmas with the Kranks Review

Keeping the theme of “meh” holiday movies going, it’s time we talk about the critically-accosted Christmas with the Kranks.

After their daughter joins the Peace Corps, Luther and Nora Krank realize their Christmas will be hollow with an empty nest. To keep their spirits high, Luther convinces the tradition-loving Nora to skip Christmas and take a 10-day cruise instead. The community takes action against their neighborhood Scrooge to force him into the holiday spirit with no avail.  It isn’t until their little girl calls on Christmas Eve with the surprise that she’s coming home for Christmas with her new fiancé that Nora breaks out the red vest and kicks Christmas into full swing with the help of the once-begrudging neighbors.

Tim Allen strikes again as the sarcastic grump that has to learn the meaning of Christmas. Practicing his usual shtick, Allen plays one of the most unpleasantly-selfish characters ever. In contrast to Jamie Lee Curtis’ sweet housewife with a heart for charity, the two seem like an impossible match. Using more traditional family values, Curtis’ character takes a back seat to Allen’s with decision-making. This makes sense in context for her character but that doesn’t make it any less infuriating to watch.

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Following the couple through their Christmas tug-of-war between vanity and tradition, we get to see a series of ridiculous situations. Out of the tanning bed and into the botox chair, Allen digs himself deeper and deeper into cringe-worthy scenes that force that uncomfortable chuckle out of you. Hiding behind curtains and corners as she watches Luther stomp over the meaning of Christmas, Curtis expresses everything the audience is feeling through her comical reactions to her embarrassing spouse.

One of my favorite aspects of the movie was their neighborhood. Their over-the-top reactions to the Krank’s holiday protest is what gives the movie a much-needed break from the discomfort caused by Allen’s attitude. Dan Aykroyd plays the unofficial leader of the community, Vic Frohmeyer. With his son Spike Frohmeyer, played by Erik Per Sullivan, the duo terrorizes the Kranks.

The ending of the movie was supposed to be a nice way to wrap up the movie and show that Luther can change his ways. I say “supposed to” because compared to the prior hour of selfish behavior, Luther’s one decent act just doesn’t hold up. Giving his nonrefundable cruise tickets to a couple he pities for one moment just doesn’t scream selfless to me. This was probably what sealed the deal on my opinion of this movie.

While this movie meant well and mimicked the main idea of every other Christmas classic, it just doesn’t hit the spot for me. Instead of finding it humorous, I’m too uncomfortable with the awkward scenes and too angry over Allen’s character selfishly overshadowing his wife’s wishes for his own vanity and greed. I wouldn’t say it’s a horrible movie by any means, but I can probably go a few years before pressing play on this flick again.

Let me know what you think of the movie. Do you enjoy this movie and find that it suits your sense of humor? Or are you like me and just feel too uncomfortable by it to really get taken away with it? If you have any recommendations for me, let me know. I’d love to check them out. See you soon!

Krampus (2015) Review

When holiday turns into horror, things are bound to get a little funky. Blending old Christmas folk-lore with modern traditions, Krampus (2015) attempts to satisfy both festive freaks and jump-scare junkies resulting in a movie that for months I could only describe with one word: weird.

When Max Engel’s letter to Santa gets read aloud by his bully cousin, his true wish is revealed. He just wants Christmas to be like it used to be, everyone a part of one big, happy family. When he throws away his wish, an ancient holiday beast turns up to teach this broken family a lesson.

As I mentioned before, this movie is just weird. It has moments of holiday cheer, snips of humor, and some horrifyingly unsettling scenes. Because of this strange juggling act, I wouldn’t say this movie is strictly horror or comedy.

The opening scene is very reminiscent of Jingle All the Way. It has people charging through a department store door only a few days before Christmas. People are going wild to get their hands on that last-minute fuzzy sock sale and frivolous festive trinkets for stockings. This satire on society’s approach to the holidays stays true throughout the majority of the movie. It’s a fun reflection of the audience at home.

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That underlying humor paired with some genuinely goofy scenes makes this movie a comedy throughout the entirety of the film. Even some scary scenes, like the one in the kitchen, were hilarious. Made to be a self-aware, hokey flick, it tones down some of the creepily dramatic scenes that pop up as the journey continues.

As a blizzard blocks them inside, they’re trapped under the control of Krampus and his cronies. Almost parallel to the kitchen scene is every horror movie’s classic attic monster reveal. This is where the nightmarish aspects of the movie kick in. From this point on, the line between horror and humor begins to blend together until you aren’t really sure how you should be feeling. Should you jump? Should you laugh? It gets harder to decide the longer the movie continues.

As conflicted as this movie makes me feel, I find this to be a refreshing break from the regular old Christmas movies we’re used to. When I watch this movie, I get the feeling that Casey, Dougherty, and Shields all had a blast writing this quirky yet polished script. Being a lover of mythology, folklore, and stories in general, this movie strikes a chord with me. While I still have mixed feelings about it, I can see Krampus being added to my seasonal Must Watch list.

Let me know what you think about the movie! Do you find it too weird or cheesy? Are you disappointed that it isn’t just a horror flick? Or are you with me and still feel conflicted but overall enjoy the ride it takes you on? As always, if you have any recommendations, let me know. See you soon!

Coco Review

Never before have I felt the urge to go to the theatres on Thanksgiving day to see the latest blockbuster. This year, Pixar changed that. While I wasn’t initially wowed by the trailer, I got sucked into the hype. After watching the preview a few more times, I decided to skip the traditional post-turkey nap and watch Coco instead.

It’s el Dia de los Muertos when, in a moment of passion, Miguel decides to finally reveal his big secret to his music-hating, shoemaking family. That’s right, Miguel is a musician. Defying the wishes of his abuelita, he runs off to seize his moment. However, he had no idea his moment would include reuniting with his ancestors and having to earn their blessing in order to return home and continue to pursue his musical passion.

I do want to give one warning before diving into the review. Before you buy your ticket and nestle into your seat, prepare emotionally for the longest, most lifeless short placed in front of a Pixar movie to date. I actually thought I was in the wrong theatre multiple times because of how long it dragged on. Yes, Frozen is back on the big screen. I really like the movie and think it gets a bad rap but this short is just brutal to sit through.

As far as Coco is concerned, Pixar out-Pixared themselves with this visual masterpiece. There wasn’t a single moment in the movie where I wasn’t captivated by its beauty. The colors and designs are traditional and gorgeous. The detail is incredible and makes even the cartoon-style animation look real. The amount of creativity and technical magic that went into the making of Coco was enough to make me fall in love with it.

This movie has the best soundtrack of any other full-length film made by Pixar. It’s true to the culture, helps progress the story, and never gets dull. It’s easy to get bored in song-heavy movies but that isn’t the case for Coco. Watching Miguel mature through his passion for music makes you excited to see what the next song will be. There was even one point where I actually wanted to clap in the theatre after a song. I didn’t, but I was only barely able to stop myself.

Alright, let’s talk story. Yes, this movie is extremely predictable. I called almost everything that happened within the movie. However, the execution of its plot is so masterful that it doesn’t matter. I laughed, I cried and I felt inspired by scenes that I knew were coming. The combination of incredible writing and emotional voice acting makes this story so touching.

This movie is also so incredibly touching because it actually focuses on the cultural importance of el Dia de los Muertos. Instead of using it as a minor detail to justify slapping a sugar skull on the poster, Coco explains the holiday while demonstrating its significance. It’s not just a tradition, it’s an important holiday to honor your late family members and keep their memory alive. Having little knowledge of the holiday to begin with, I left this movie knowing more about it and actually understanding it more than I ever expected to.

Walking out of the theatre, my mom made a comment about how Coco’s hands, Miguel’s great grandma, looked like her mom’s hands. Our analysis of the movie quickly turned into how important family is and how our lost relatives live on through us. What I thought was going to be a two-hour chunk out of my Thanksgiving actually turned out to be the most touching part of my day. It made me feel more thankful for my family and the opportunity to reflect on our time together.

Other than its predictability, which really isn’t even a problem for the movie, I have nothing negative to say about Coco. I haven’t left a theatre feeling this inspired or uplifted in a long time. Coco is easily among my favorite movies by Pixar and I already want to go back to see it again. I can’t think of a better movie to watch with your family on Thanksgiving. (Other than Charlie Brown, of course.)

What do you think of the movie? Where does Coco rank among your personal Pixar preferences? As always, if you have any recommendation, let me know. I’d love to check them out. See you soon!

 

Kubo and the Two Strings Review

Never underestimate a cartoon. Even animations aimed at children can be great pieces of art for all ages to enjoy. Beautiful graphics, a dash of comedy, and some heartwarming life lessons thrown in makes Kubo and the Two Strings one of those cartoons that can be enjoyed across the board.

A boy with a knack for storytelling wows his local village with the triumphant tales of his late father. Staying hidden by night, he cares for his mother to avoid the cold grasp of his grandfather, the Moon King. With the looming threat of his aunties hunting him down, he decides to test fate and stays out past sundown in an attempt to learn the ending of his famous, unfinished story. This mistake launches Kubo on a journey to follow in his father’s footsteps and defeat the Moon King.

As I hinted, the story, jokes, and themes are still primarily aimed at children. It sits on par with, or a little less than, Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon for me in terms of quality and maturity. That’s not to say this movie is only for kids. You’ll still laugh, cry, ooh and ahh whether you’re 5 or 25.

The creative concepts and tools used for story telling is where this movie shines. Watching Kubo play his instrument and having his story come to life through origami was an exciting experience for villagers and viewers alike. Combining elements from music, art, and theatre, Kubo’s talent is captivating and interesting.

The unique paper look that is used so heavily made Kubo’s origami seem even more vital to the movie. As Kubo tells stories with paper, his own story is told with paper. Animation is an incredibly difficult art form that, when used correctly, can make your movie pop. Kubo definitely pops.

This movie is much more emotional than expected. After picking up on the maturity level of this movie, I didn’t expect to be as invested as I was. With some dark themes and sad moments, I actually reached for the tissues a few times. While it can be predictable, there are some shocking twists that catch you off guard. But even if you do guess what happens, you won’t be bored seeing your prediction come to life.

With episodic action mixed into the overarching story, you get plenty of adventure to balance out the heaviness of the story. It reminds me of levels in a video game. You have the dungeon level, the water level, and then the boss fight. It’s a simple formula that keeps action and story in harmony.

If you’re looking for a cute but interesting movie, Kubo and the Two Strings is the one for you. It has a story you don’t have to work too hard to follow but that you still want to give your time and attention to. Mixed with unique animation and mini-adventures, Kubo’s story is one that anybody can enjoy.

Let me know what you thought of Kubo and the Two Strings. Did you tear up in the end or am I just an emotional mess? Do you like animation or don’t really care for it? As always, if you have any recommendations for me to check out, let me know! See you soon!

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) Review

The Queen of Mystery is back yet again. The latest remake of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express debuted this past weekend with some mixed reviews. With a slow but steady decline in ratings until a plateau at a decent yet mediocre score, I had to investigate what could have gone awry with this classic story.

When the Orient Express is brought to a halt by an avalanche blocking its path, a passenger is discovered dead in his cabin. As fate would have it, aboard the Orient Express is the wildly famous detective, Hercule Poirot. Suddenly everyone aboard the train is a murder suspect under interrogation by the world’s greatest crime cracking mind

I’m a huge Agatha Christie fan and recently went to go re-watch the 1934 version of this movie on the big screen. While outdated in special effects, acting, and writing, at its core is an incredible story. There’s a good reason this is one of Christie’s most popular pieces. While I had my speculations for the remake, I was pretty excited to see Kenneth Branagh’s take on it.

This movie was given a star cast with nothing but potential. Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot is a great take on the character. His comedic timing is perfect, his witty delivery of one-liners is spot on, and his serious moments are passionate and touching. While he may not look like the Poirot we’re familiar with, Branagh brings out the quirky side of this kooky detective that makes him such a lovable character. Branagh nails the role and does this classic character justice.

While some performances aren’t quite on par with others, the overall movie is still fun to watch. It was exciting to see Daisy Ridley in a role outside of Star Wars, and I’m always happy to see Josh Gad in a new movie. We also get to see some classic favorites like Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, and Derek Jacobi.

With the built-in challenge of limited settings, this movie delivers some great visuals. Every location was beautiful and exciting without being over-the-top. The placement of the snow-stopped train adds an extra element of intensity to the story. To prevent viewers, and passengers, from getting cabin fever, some scenes are off the train and on the snowy mountain side. This gives refreshing diversity in location to prevent boredom with the restricting train setting.

With some added scenes and a twist ending, this movie took its liberties in making the story its own compared to its original. I didn’t mind the twist ending and while some of the added scene weren’t my favorite moments, I wouldn’t say it was bad. Compared to the 1934 version, this movie focused on the emotional aspect of the story rather than the logical and crime solving process and these alterations were added to reflect that.

With its appeal to emotion, this movie tends to be overdramatic. This is especially prominent during added and altered scenes. While it is overbearing in some spots, it isn’t necessarily bad. It is a dramatic story with a lot of conflict so some theatrical flare isn’t always a negative. However, it does get tiresome and takes away from some of the genius of Poirot’s character. Even the big reveal, which deserves to be a big moment, was a touch too much for me. It isn’t the nice bow-on-top that Christie always delivers, instead it’s a subpar reveal that lacks detail and description.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie. I thought it was fun to watch, had some great comedic moments, and has my new favorite Hercule Poirot performance. However, I wasn’t a big fan of some of the additions and excessive attempts at emotional appeals. I ultimately believe that’s what led to the initial drop in ratings. That being said, this is still a fun movie and I would like to see more of Christie’s work brought to life with this Branagh flare.

Let me know what you guys think of the movie. Do you think their creative additions and adjustments were worth it? Do you think it does the story justice? As always, if you have any recommendations, let me know. I’d love to check them out. See you soon!