Isle Of Dogs

2018, Uncategorized

Dir. Wes Anderson

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Kunichi Nomura, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Akira Ito, and Scarlett Johansson.

It seems almost trite these days to describe yourself as a Wes Anderson fan. The director moved from cult hero into the mainstream with his last movie The Grand Budapest Hotel. The director is almost a genre unto himself now, his films defined by their unique visual style, dead pan delivery of dialogue, and Anderson’s ever expanding troupe of actors. Isle Of Dogs isn’t the first stop-motion animation Anderson has made either, his last one being Fantastic Mr. Fox. For any other director these films would be experiments, or oddities in their CV, but Anderson’s sensibilities lend themselves to the format.

Isle Of Dogs is set in a futuristic, fictionalised version of Japan. An outbreak of dog flu, which is threatening the human population, forces Mayor Kobayashi to exile all the dogs to Trash Island. The place where all the cities garbage goes. The first dog to head over is Spot, the Mayor’s Nephew’s Dog. His Nephew, Atari then steals a plane to fly to Trash Island to rescue his dog, being helped along the way by a pack of alpha dogs.

This movie is a complete joy. I was slightly sceptical going in, I wasn’t sure how much I would get out of the format, or if Anderson would skew too young to hold my attention. I shouldn’t have worried, I was in a safe pair of hands, and the film is captivating and engaging throughout. It feels odd to say, but I believe that this is a film that deserves to be seen on the big screen. The level of detail gone into creating this world is stunning, and the film looks gorgeous. Wes Anderson directs his live action films as if they exist in a dolls house, and this style with way in which depth is used, and the way the camera moves in his film, is an ideal match for stop-motion. If anything it expands Anderson’s vision, allowing him to make a film more epic in scope.

It’s primarily a kids film, but there is a deeper, darker heart to it. It has an emotional core that you’d expect from a film about a boy looking for his lost dog, and whilst the dead pan delivery of Anderson’s cast doesn’t immediately lend itself to cutting straight to the heart, Anderson has crafted a deeply moving film about love, belonging and loyalty. There is darkness here though, which is far from cookie cutter. There are themes of genocide, conformity, and political manipulation, which when paired with the history of Japan brings out a deeper meaning. The kids might not understand it, but there is more going on under the surface of this film than it first appears. It’s this darkness which robs the film of its charm in the final act of the movie. The jokes and humour give way to something more serious, slowing down the pace, and ultimately causing it to drag.

There has been some debate about the film regarding Orientalism. It didn’t bother me at the time of watching, but the more I think about it, there is something there . There is a lot of affectionate homage, and this is a fictionalised Japan which does mean liberties are taken. If there are controversial moments, they hold no intent. There are two creative decisions which grate the most. The first is the fact that unless someone is there to translate, the Japanese language goes unheard and ignored. If they could put subtitles down for signs, they could have put subtitles for the Japanese, it’s a cute creative decision to have other characters translate the news segments, but it turns the other moments the language is used into meaningless nothing. Making it a secondary language. The other element which grated was Greta Gerwig’s foreign exchange student. In a film full of Japanese figures, having the only white one become the leader of the resistance is a bit of a problem.

Isle Of Dog’s is another great movie from Wes Anderson. It’s lovingly made, and looks fantastic. It manages to be both funny and moving, whilst riffing on some more adult themes. The politics might be a bit off, but I don’t believe there was any intent to offend. It’s just a bit blinkered. If you’d like to know more about this check out this article https://www.buzzfeed.com/alisonwillmore/isle-of-dogs-jared-leto-orientalism?utm_term=.uf19MBb7O#.tvvplm36j

7/10

The Most Anticipated Movies Of 2018 – Part One

2017, Uncategorized

2017 is drawing to an end, and so it’s the perfect time to look ahead at 2018, and see what movies will be filling our theatres next year. This article will be looking ahead at the most anticipated movies of next year. First of all, this blog is based in England, and whilst there are some movies coming out next year which I’m really looking forward to, they have already been released in the US. These films, such as Three Billboarda Outside Ebbing, Missouri, or Lady Bird, have been omitted from this list. They have already been received incredibly well, and this list is more about films where the anticipation is high, but we don’t know how they will turn out. This list might also be slightly heavy on the big blockbusters. Anticipation is a subjective thing, and it’s hard to predict how smaller, independent films will do. Get Out was one of my favourite films of 2017, but if you’d asked me in 2016 what I was looking forward to seeing, it wouldn’t have made my list. There are surprises every year, and I’m not trying to predict them.

Any way, 2018, there’s a lot of good stuff to look forward to. We have Marvel movies, Star Wars Movies, video game adaptations, auteur returns, and some original properties, all vying for the blockbuster crown. Here are our most anticipated movies of 2018…

 

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Black Panther

The first Marvel movie out this year, and the first Marvel movie in our list. Black Panther sees Chadwick Bosman reprise his role as King T’Chala, last seen in Captain America: Civil War. With Creed writer/director Ryan Coogler behind the camera, the trailer for this movie looks fantastic. It also serves as a lead in for Avengers: Infinity War, but more of that later.

Anticipation level: 9/10

 

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World was a huge hit. Whether you liked it it or not, there’s no denying it was a box office phenomenon. Whilst many felt it was the perfect mix of new and old, some felt it cleaved to close to the original, but with the world now reastbalished, Fallen Kingdom can now venture into uncharted territory. Yes, the trailer was awful, but apparently it only contained footage from the first act. So there are still plenty of surprises left in store.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

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Tomb Raider

Lara Croft Tomb Raider looks the perfect video game for a big screen adaptation, but, as we all know, it’s not that simple. Whilst some enjoyed Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of the titular heroine, those films were largely awful. Can Alicia Vikander break the video game to film curse? The trailer looks promising, and focusing on the grittier origin story of the most recent games seems to be a smart move. We’ve got our fingers crossed.

Anticipation Level: 6/10

 

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Isle Of Dogs

The first original property on this list. Isle Of Dogs is the new stop motion animation from indie auteur Wes Anderson. The story is set in Japan, and follows the tale of a boy as he goes in search of his new dog. The trailer showcases all of the style and charm that we are used to from Anderson, along with a fantastic voice cast. It’s also his first stop motion since Fantastic Mr Fox, which was great. So we can expect this to be another instant classic.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

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Solo: A Star Wars Story

Any other Star Wars movie would instantly be a must see, but Solo comes with baggage. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired off the project only to be replaced by veteran film maker Ron Howard. Tracing the origin of charming rogue Han Solo, this could turn out to be great. We just wish we could see the Lord and Miller version, as we love their left field vision. We’re excited for this, but apprehensive too.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

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Aquaman

The next movie up on DC’s slate is Aquaman. It’s the first movie to be released after Justic League, and a reshuffle behind the scenes at Warner Bros. but that shouldn’t effect it much as it’s too late to change much now. It’s still got a lot going for it. James Wan is in the directors chair after showing he can do big budget with Fast and Furious 7, Jason Mamoa’s take on the character has been well received, and it’s stand alone, with the makers even saying that the under water dynamics which didn’t work in Justice League will be different in this one. Here’s hoping for the next Wonder Woman.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

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Mute

Set 40 years from now, and about a mute bartender in Berlin going up against gangsters to find his missing partner. Mute could be the sleeper hit of 2018. It’s Duncan Jones’ return to more personal film making after the disappointment of Warcraft. Starring Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd and Paul Rudd, it’s an idea which Jones has been teasing since Moon came out. We can’t wait.

Anticipation Levels: 8/10

 

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Ready Player One

Who isn’t excited to see a new Steven Spielberg movie. We can’t wait. Adapted from Ernest Cline novel, the film see’s a future where people escape the day to day by entering the Oasis. A virtual reality world. The creator of this world dies, but leaves behind an Easter egg which will grant the finder access to his fortune, and control of the Oasis. Mixing together a whole bunch of pop culture, including Freddy Krueger and a DeLorean, it’ll be great to see Spielberg play around with the pop culture he helped to create.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

 

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The New Mutants

Set within the same universe as X-Men, and directed by The Fault In Our Stars’ Josh Boone, The New Mutants follows the Fox playbook of experimenting with their properties, as seen with Logan and Deadpool. The film follow a group of teenagers struggling to come to terms with their mutant powers. So far, so generic, but The New Mutants is positioned as a straight up horror movie. The trailer teases the scares, but most exciting is how little we do know about it.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

Incredibles 2

Incredibles 2

Following on from where they left us in 2004, 2018 sees the return of our favourite super hero family. Not much is known about the plot, but the teaser trailer shows that Pixar haven’t lost their touch when it comes to physical comedy. Pixar sequels have been hit and miss, but their reluctance to bring out a sequel to Incredibles makes me think they must have had a prettt good story to bring them back.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

 

So that concludes Part One of our Most Anticipated Movies Of 2018, tell us what you think in the comments below and keep your eyes peeled for Part Two.