Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Directed By: Taika Waititi

Screenplay By: Taika Waititi

Cinematography By: Lachlan Milne

Starring: Sam Neill & Julian Dennison

Runtime: 101 minutes

Man this is a fun movie. There is a ton of Wes Anderson and Edgar Wright influence all over the screen and it’s exciting. This movie is fun, funny, heartfelt and takes place in the beautiful “Bush” of New Zealand.

I will say the first half is much stronger than the second but that doesn’t diminish the story or how enjoyable this movie is. However here comes the main problem with this film, the antagonist.

The movie is about a foster kid moving in with new foster parents. The antagonist is the social services woman who drops him off. Besides this being a rather standard antagonist for a foster care movie her constant presence is completely unnecessary. She becomes much more of a caricature than a character and it really sucks. It sucks because besides her this movie would almost be flawless (not as in being a perfect movie, but with almost nothing you could truly complain about).

See, Ricky and Hec have to hide in the “Bush” otherwise Ricky will be taken away from Hec and Hec will probably go to jail, but they are essentially running from the national guard of New Zealand. In no way shape or from would a social services lady be running this nationwide “manhunt”. It makes no sense, her character is over the top and isn’t needed. The stakes of Ricky being taken from Hec are high enough, we don’t need this stupid character doing a job she would never ever do.

That being said I still really enjoyed this movie and it’s definitely worth a watch. Some great style mixed with humor and heart with beautiful shots to boot.

God Bless America

Tomorrowland (2015)

Directed By – Brad Bird

Screenplay By – Damon Lindelof & Brad Bird

Cinematography By Claudio Miranda

Starring Britt Robertson, George Clooney & Raffey Cassidy

130 min.

Sometime movies get so into what they want to say that they forget why they are being made in the first place. This movie is called Tomorrowland, take us to freaking Tomorrowland dammit!

The message of Tomorrowland is that the future can be bright but we have to make it that way. The future is not all dark and dreary but wonderful and full of hope as long as we are optimistic and work towards a better tomorrow. But the movie is called Tomorrowland and they show us an awesome futuristic city, so takes us to this city. Don’t just tell us that we control global warming, but inspire us by showing us what it would be like to live in a better tomorrow.

Bird has Tomorrowland be a gimmick in the movie rather than a place that inspires. And while his intentions are good, ultimately he does a disservice to himself by withholding the brilliance of a realized Tomorrowland from his viewers.

Ultimately, Tomorrowland is too focused on trying to be didactic and less about trying to inspire and thus Tomorrowland is a failure.

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