The Boxtrolls (2014)

Directed By – Graham Annable & Anthony Stacchi

Screenplay By – Irena Brignull & Adam Pava

Starring Isaac Hempstead Wright & Elle Fanning

96 min.

I was highly anticipating The Boxtrolls. Coming from LAIKA, the studio that did Coraline and ParaNorman, I was expecting great great things from The Boxtrolls.

As we all know expectations can play a huge part in how you receive a movie but if a movie is truly great than it will speak for itself no matter the expectations. I just think The Boxtrolls isn’t all the great. It’s solid at best, but it is no ParaNorman, and it is definitely no Coraline.

I think where The Boxtrolls misses its mark is that it is too much, good guy versus bad guy structure. Both Coraline and Norman are complex characters. Plain and simple, Eggs doesn’t have much dynamism. And his quest is laid out for him in the prologue. There’s no room for mystery or suspense, two traits Coraline and ParaNorman excel at.

With The Boxtrolls you know exactly how it will end in the first five minutes and thus you ultimately want the movie to get to where you know it will go and don’t enjoy the ride between all that much.

LAIKA you have not lost my faith, I’m still behind you 200%.

God Bless America

Royal Space Force: Wings of Honneamise (1987)

Directed By – Hiroyuki Yamaga

Screenplay By – Hiroyuki Yamaga & Hiroshi Ônogi

Cinematography By – Hiroshi Isagawa

121 min.

Royal Space Force is a mature movie for all ages. While space exploration drives the plot, Wings of Honneamise explores what it means to be an adult, what is love and how to be a responsible role model. It all culminates in a rocket launch countdown that will have you cheering for our hero to get  to the final frontier.

A solid anime if you are willing to have patience and an open mind.

God Bless America

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Directed By – Mamoru Oshii

Screenplay By – Kazunori Itô

Cinematography By – Hisao Shirai

83 min.

As an anime Blade Runner-esque movie Ghost in the Shell starts off fierce with a hot naked cyborg cop kicking ass. However, the pace slows down after the first few sequences and ultimately made me wish I was watching the real Blade Runner. Both films deal with the question of what it means to be human and what it means to have consciousness. I seem to prefer Ridley Scott’s version of handling those questions than Oshii’s animation adaptation.

I do see myself enjoying this movie more with multiple viewings, much like Blade Runner. I think what might have thrown me off is how fast the movie starts and then how slow it finishes up, but I do recognize that Ghost in the Shell is doing some very interesting stuff.

Worth a watch for a specific audience. If you’re a huge fan of Blade Runner, check this out.

God Bless America

The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

Directed By – Hayao Miyazaki

Screenplay By – Hayao Miyazaki & Haruya Yamazaki

Cinematography By – Hirokata Takahashi

102 min.

Just a fun well-made well-told story. The first animated feature from the anime legend Hayao Miyazaki is scattered with glimpses of greatness that will be so prevalent in his later films. The characters, based on a graphic novel series, border the line of stereotypical and unique and their interactions with each other are fully entertaining.

If you’re looking for something light-hearted, early work of a legend, or just want to watch some fun animation, give The Castle of Cagliostro a watch.

God Bless America

Waking Life (2001)

Directed By – Richard Linklater

Screenplay By – Richard Linklater

Cinematography By – Richard Linklater & Tommy Pallotta

Starring Wiley Wiggins

99 min.

I don’t know what to do with Waking Life. On one hand it’s jammed packed with different philosophies of life, inspiring its audience to be alive and aware in the moment. And, on the other hand Waking Life has no plot, yet doesn’t let any one or two or even five philosophies settle or be explained enough for its audience to really get a firm grip on any theory. I assume Linklater’s rationale for this is like instead of feeding us spaghetti, he’s throwing the entire pot of spaghetti at us in expectation that a few noodles will land in our mouths.

Stylistically this movie is perfect for its subject matter, however, I didn’t really love the style of animation. I loved that this movie was animated, a choice that is just as important as its decision to be a movie about life, dreams and their philosophies, but for the most part I thought the styles of animation used weren’t all that interesting.

That being said, I see myself revising Waking Life as I grow older and my life experiences change.

God Bless America