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KuroSawWhat

Interesting inclusion on the top "Family" film list with its multiple uses of the C-word..
3 months 3 weeks ago
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KuroSawWhat

The Biggest Little Farm follows the journey of a hippie-minded Californian couple who are evicted from their apartment because they are bad neighbors who let their dog bark non-stop. Someone gives them a bunch of money to start a hippie farm where all of nature will coexist in perfect harmony, another person tells them how to do everything because they are not farmers and don't know anything, and still more people do the actual farming for them.

You will not learn anything about their farming process, anything about their lives, or even anything about the subjects that the film does focus on. Each thread of attention is dropped before resolution in favor of another rambling motivational speech about how amazing nature is, because it's so pretty!

This is a 90-minute hippie lecture saying, "Corporate farms are bad. Learn to live with mother earth, kumbaya!" The sheer First World privilege of this couple is amazing, creating what is essentially a massive flower garden and calling it a farm.

The cinematography of the plants and animals is very good, but not moreso than what you can see on the Nature Channel at any time of the day or night.

If you want to marvel at nature being pretty, not learn anything, and believe that you are the most wonderful person in the world because you purchase free-range eggs, then this is the film for you.
6 months 4 weeks ago
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KuroSawWhat

I don't think that I have ever before said "Huh?" and "What?!" quite so many times while watching a film.
9 months 3 weeks ago
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KuroSawWhat

This attempted spoof of B-movies aims for the "so bad it's good" crown, but ends up being just plain bad. The film is aware of its stupidity and believes that by being stupid it will be funny. It's not. I laughed/smiled exactly 1 time at a single one-liner that actually worked. The seemingly real helicopter crash at the beginning was worth seeing, and is a fitting metaphor for the remainder of the film. The rest of the runtime is a series of disconnected 1 to 2-minute skits that are funny in the same vein as a toddler yelling "poop" repeatedly for 83-minutes.
11 months 2 weeks ago
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KuroSawWhat

A perfectly solid end-of-the-world blockbuster, where One Man fights against the system. Some of the characters are too stupid for words, leading to laugh-out-loud moments as they end up covered in virus blood. Special mention goes to some very impressive helicopter stunts and flying. Don't expect too much and you will enjoy yourself.
11 months 2 weeks ago
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KuroSawWhat

You can see that there was something of a vision which was trying to be delivered to the screen in Pan, however it seems to get lost in the mix of "must haves." They keep dropping strings of recognizable phrases and names within the Pan universe, but none of them add anything to the story. There are a large number of "tell, don't show" moments which are a mush of CGI particles. Some of the larger set-piece moments are brilliantly realized, but emotionally hollow, as the actors cannot seem to deliver on the material. See: One of the least enthusiastic "Yeah, woo hoo!" moments from Peter as he rides a CGI bird. Pan will harmlessly pass the time, but is a film in which you will be painfully aware at every turn of the production's attempts to cobble together working scenes.
12 months ago
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KuroSawWhat

This is a wondrous film. Hypnotic cinematography, unexpected yet perfect musical selections, all around excellent performances, and an amazing sense of place. The director's ability to ground the viewer into the heart of Zambia and make the few interloping foreigners feel like the ones who do not belong, rather than our lens into the character's world, is masterful. Gripping from the first frame to the last, this film was a wholly unexpected treat, with characters who will live in my mind for many months to come. See it.
1 year ago
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KuroSawWhat

If you want to see what a film without a Director looks like, search no further than Wonder Park, because it does not have one! Within mere moments something seemed out of place, and I did not realize until the credits what that thing was. A bare framework of a film exists here, with stereotypical characters, set piece moments, and on-the-nose metaphors placed where you would expect to find them. What is seriously lacking, however, is any character development, relationship building, or world building which would provide emotional attachment to anything which occurs during the runtime.

The first several minutes of the film are such an ADHD blur of motion and colors that very basic plot elements are lost in the mix, which I did not understand until over halfway through the film. "Oh, the park is falling apart because only the mom whispers the ideas into the ear of the stuffed monkey with the magic marker and the girl needs to learn to whisper the ideas in her place, instead?" Ok.. I must have blinked and missed that part. All of the talking animals which are met are also introduced in a flash, have all character building skipped, and spend the rest of the time dispensing one-liners.

Some very talented animators clearly worked on this project, seemingly having free reign without direction to show off how much stuff they could cram on screen at once. Many times the film enters into sequences in which the camera swings around wildly, characters are flying through the air with an entire toy chest of objects surrounding them, and you cannot tell what in the world is happening.

Wonder Park is, unfortunately, a film created through the mindset of, "Kids are dumb, and this is good enough for them." It was made for children, and absolutely no one else. I chuckled exactly one time, and this took several viewing sessions to complete due to the abject boredom which the film produces. Someone clearly had a nice idea in the beginning, but along the way this project dissolved into nothing more than a sub-90-minute "Coming Soon" preview for the upcoming Nickelodeon TV series. It is not a very good preview.
1 year 1 month ago
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KuroSawWhat

A typical Dreamworks family animation. A non-stop barrage of half-conceived one-liners and sight gags which don't have any relevance to the film beyond the moment in which they are ocurring. A good example is a moment in which the army is firing a missile at an alien, which has "E.T. Go Home" written on the side. As the camera zooms in on it, a few recognizable notes from the soundtrack of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial play and.. that's the entire joke.. the fact that you recognized the music. The entire movie is like that. To say that this is shallow would be an understatement. The central giant girl character has some charm and emotiveness which saves Monsters vs. Aliens from being completely insufferable. If only she had been given a better supporting cast and script, this could have been something nice.
1 year 5 months ago
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KuroSawWhat

To its credit, this film made me decide to purchase The Complete Calvin and Hobbes hardcover box set, because it uses it several times as a prop in the film and I had not known that it existed. Otherwise, this is your typical Kickstarter fan-documentary: Heavy on the praise for the subject matter, and extremely light on its insight into the subject matter. You will learn precious little about "Mr. Watterson," but you will be able to see the film's director visit archives with Calvin and Hobbes material in them and gaze lovingly at the drawings. Take it or leave it, this is harmless background material to clean your house while watching.
1 year 10 months ago
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KuroSawWhat

Detective Pikachu is a film sold entirely upon brand recognition. It can be fun at times, and the Pokémon are cute and well realized; but if not for the brand, it would be forgotten immediately upon viewing. This is the same director who brought us masterpieces such as Jack Black in Gulliver's Travels and.. Shark Tale. Detective Pikachu is directed with approximately the same amount of enthusiasm, innovation, and creativity as those past gems.

Scenes are framed as though you handed a smartphone to your grandparent and asked them to take a picture. Characters are somewhere between being ironically self-aware and unknowingly cliché. And, for better or worse, Ryan Reynolds.. will.. not.. shut.. up. Dramatic scenes are undercut by out-of-place one-liners, Pikachu starts singing the OG Pokémon TV theme song for no apparent reason, and it is very difficult to invest in any of what is happening in the story. If you don't see every plot beat coming at least 30 minutes in advance, props to you on attending your very first movie ever, because you have a lot of good ones to look forward to seeing! Detective Pikachu is not one of those good ones. This is a bland and inoffensive family film, with nothing much to say, and a multi-billion dollar warm and fuzzy childhood memory attached.

If you are a Pokémon fan, you should see this film for the novelty factor. It will definitely get a few giggles and smiles out of you. It did for me! For everyone else, I recommend Pokemon 3: The Movie, which has a very nice and heartfelt story, and is probably the best of the 22 currently released Pokémon films (including Detective Pikachu).
1 year 11 months ago
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KuroSawWhat

I have a bad feeling about this...
2 years ago
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KuroSawWhat

There are many moments in Lego 2 which have a "pause for laugh" moment inserted which were not filled in my showing. There are many gags throughout the film which simply don't pay off like they did in the first film, and it meanders quite a bit without seeming to have an end destination in mind.

Every character spouts their signature bits as you would expect them to do so, and that's kind of the summary of the problem: You expect it all. There was no moment that caught me by surprise or took things in a direction which I had not imagined ahead of time. As an example, the 1960s Astronaut had a clear, simple, and enjoyable arc in the first film: He really wanted to build a spaceship but was continually denied, until finally they let him build a super awesome spaceship and he has the time of his life!! Very enjoyable and a perfect payoff. In Lego 2, he just says "spaceship" whenever it could be logically inserted into the script. .. That's it.

Even the animation seemed to be putting in a minimal effort. Where the first film seemed like it had something to prove, Lego 2 is just getting the job done. It did not look like a major blockbuster. It looked like a Direct-to-DVD release.

I did enjoy the last act and where the film ultimately ended, but.. well I'm glad that my ticket was on a discount.
2 years 1 month ago
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KuroSawWhat

It's not nearly as bad as you might think. This is your typical Dreamworks "written by committee" family film, with jokes crammed into every running second of the it, most of which illicit a reaction of, "Oh, I can see why this would be considered funny." It oscillates between insufferable and mildly amusing, and overall is pretty harmless.

Special praise should be given to the animation, which has some genuinely inventive moments which are fun to watch as it switches between animation styles. This could have really worked well if it was paired with a script which knew how to utilize these moments. But they're mainly just side-shows which catch your interest for a moment and are then gone.

If you have nothing better to watch, The Boss Baby can painlessly kill some time.
2 years 8 months ago
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KuroSawWhat

I cannot decide if this movie is awful, fantastic, or fantastically awful? This overwhelmingly reminds me of the family "gimmick" movies from the 90's. Those films which you can describe with a single sentence, and the entire plot hinges on that statement. In this case: "There's a creature that bad guys are looking for, and it drives around like Herbie." ...except that it's a Dodge RAM pickup truck. .. With a 6.4 Liter HEMI V8 engine. .. Trust me, that's important to the plot. You know exactly how this movie goes, already. Kid finds creature, no one believes him, magical adventure, yadda, yadda.. you've seen this a million times before.

What I found far more entertainment value in was counting the product placements. Some of the highlights include nearly every vehicle, including the old junkers, being a Dodge. Spongebob Squarepants cameos, since this is a Nickelodeon production. Characters carrying Windows cell phones, which was totally a popular thing in 2016! You know it was! At times I found myself pausing the film to decode the relationships of merchandising, such as when they are walking to school between two car dealerships, and the one across the street and out of focus seems to be Hyundai.. I had to search out if there was some relationship there, because why are they in the movie? Also, it's fun to guess just how close to 30 the two lead "high-schoolers" might be.

Yet, all of that aside, I had intended to put this on as background noise while I worked on my laptop, but I simply could not tear my eyes away from it! The stereotyped character actors are character-acting to the nth degree! The creature effects are astoundingly good! Everyone on screen is taking this pure schlock completely seriously! And it's very well produced! At points I found myself in laughing fits, not necessarily because of what was happening, but at the fact that something like this is able to exist! Honestly, I was entertained! I had a good time! And I would watch it again!

Is it so bad that it's good? You better believe it is!
2 years 10 months ago
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KuroSawWhat

Completely forgettable. Even the name: What's a Skiptrace? Everything about the film was below average and the jokes weren't funny, with horrible comedic timing. The director seemed to have no imagination at all, with lots of very amateurish looking shots. There was only one really clever Jackie bit, with a matryoshka doll getting punched repeatedly. All the other stunts were CGI'ed, boring, and could have been done by any actor, for the most part. Really not a very good effort.
4 years ago
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KuroSawWhat

The most interesting aspect of ID42:R, for me, was how heavily it reminded me of cheesy Japanese monster/alien movies. And from the way this develops, it looks like Fox is throwing their hat in for making this a recurring Godzilla-like franchise. This type of thing would be nice to have in the US, but it's definitely not the follow-up that fans of the original Independence Day were hoping to see. This is, very much so, a B-Movie.

Speaking of Godzilla, ID42:R does have a lot in common with some of the more recent Japanese entries in that series. This includes the comically one-note characters that you can't begin to care about, cartoonish neon-glowing future-tech, tiny battle machines speckled across the screen that don't accomplish much, obvious green-screen sheen on all of the characters, and a plot that doesn't go anywhere. But at least there's still some cool practical effects in the Godzilla flicks!

What ID42:R certainly does not have is a sense of occasion or gravity. As one of the founding Summer "event" movies, Independence Day felt BIG. It felt massive and important, even if it was cheesy as can be. When the giant ships arrived, you felt like an ant. When the humans were fighting a losing battle, you felt despondent along with them. In ID42:R, everything is bigger, yet also boring. You have no reason to root for anyone, because there's been no character development. You can't feel the destruction, because it's all shown from afar in extreme long shot. No scene feels any more important than the rest, because they all have the same pacing. This is the Star Wars prequel problem in spades: More stuff on screen does not make it better; it makes it jumbled and messy.

Several times during ID42:R, I recalled watching Space Battleship Yamato, and how much better a genuine cheesy Japanese alien movie, based on a cartoon, and made for a fraction of the cost, can be. Check out <this scene>. The acting, pacing, clear shot composition, sense of stakes and danger, and great character focus--it's all simply better.

Would I watch ID42:R again? Nah..
4 years 10 months ago
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KuroSawWhat

Cival War: Captain America and Friends is a 2.5 hour trailer for upcoming movies and toy lines, which you can spend your money on soon, Thor willing. The fact that everyone clearly remembers the actions of Spider-Man and Ant-Man--2 characters which have zero reason to appear in this film--but are hazy on all else, speaks to how truly lightweight this piece of Hollywood fluff turns out to be.

Other bits of Marvel lore being crammed into this production include angry Black Panther guy who.. made a custom supersuit in a couple days, or had it before, or.. does he have powers, or is it just the suit? I have no idea, but apparently you're just supposed to know these things. Scarlet Witch, whose powers and backstory are still a mystery to me after three film appearances. The god-like Vision who.. wasn't enough, so they needed Spider-Man to help because.. sequels? And the rest.

Oh, and Captain America is in there, too! In this Captain America film! I'm glad that they could find space for him somewhere.

As a huge fan of The Winter Soldier--my favorite Marvel film, by far--I was eagerly anticipating seeing the continuation of the story and characters which were set up there. While that continuation is in this film, for about 10 minutes, it is quickly shoved aside for gripping political drama!! Will Captain America sign the piece of paper that Robert Downey Jr wants him to sign or not?! That's clearly enough drama to sustain this Hulk (MIA) of a film! This paper was the authorization for Robert Downey Jr's paycheck, I think. Ultimately the baddie behind it all is.. well I'm not sure who they were.. a Marvel executive producer, I think? I had to ask my comic-savvy friend, but they weren't sure who they were, either.

And, of course, there's the scene where everybody punches everybody else in the face and they all fall down. I was so bored during this scene, because the stakes were so low and ill-defined, that I nearly left to freshen my drink, but thought that something substantive must happen, right? It didn't. But at least a lot of CGI animators have something to put on their resumes, now. It was good for the economy!

In short, this film may interlock with the entire sprawling MCU (Major Cash Utility), but it is not very enjoyable as a standalone production, unless your definition of enjoyment is watching CGI people get punched in the face and argue about political referendums. It's big and noisy for a while, a lot of people are there, and it just sort of ends without anything being accomplished. Maybe I should have watched Congress on C-SPAN, instead?

Oh, and "Spider-Man Will Return." I am literally shocked with surprise. I didn't see that coming.
4 years 11 months ago
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KuroSawWhat

Preaching to the converted. This film spends a lot of time talking about the amazing and wonderful nature of video games without saying much of anything. It freely uses terminology which is not explained and will sound like gibberish to non-gamers: What's a "RTS"? A "LAN"? An "e-sport"? The film never says. But they're wonderful, apparently! In-between the bouts of self-congratulation, we're treated to montage after montage of video game footage set to pop music which, again, is meaningless to a non-gamer.

If you know much of anything about the games industry, nothing here is new to you. If you don't, you won't be well informed after watching. I'm not sure who this film is meant to reach.
5 years 3 months ago
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KuroSawWhat

If you were ever a fan of M. Night Shyamalan, you should go see The Visit. It is Shyamalan making a Shyamalan-type film like you remember from his early days, without a bus load of Hollywood executives telling him how to make the movie. This carries with it all the pros and cons that you might expect. The shot composition is top-notch, the actors give a wonderful effort (gangsta rapping tween, aside), the tension is slow-burning and not for the Transformers crowd, and yes, eventually it all collapses into a beautiful mess. But at least it was beautiful.

You cannot compare The Visit to some of Shyamalan's true works of genius, such as Unbreakable, but it may very well be the turning point at which he begins to salvage his reputation. I'm glad I was able to see it, and I want to see more like it, which is a lot more than I could say about his last few films.
5 years 6 months ago
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KuroSawWhat

A competent though lesser entry in what has quickly become the chief competitor to Marvel films, with lots of save-the-world/family action, but no superpowers--only super cars! (unless you count The Rock's astounding bulk as a superpower)

Like the previous several Fast/Furious films, this one is a crime-drama/heist, with barely a nod to its punk racer roots. Oh, and Jason Statham is there! Wow! Unfortunately, he only pops his head up a few times for appearances and doesn't really do anything. What a letdown...

While the last couple films built expectations for this to stellar levels, having one of the greatest car action sequences ever in Fast Five, and just a good ol' ensemble time in Furious 6, Furious 7 can't hold the momentum.

All of the action sequences are fantastic, but they are poorly strung together. Early on in a planning scene I found myself feeling like I had missed nearly a minute of exposition, as I couldn't piece together why they were deciding on a certain action, and this happens several times throughout the film. Things happen because they need to happen in order to reach the next action scene, and for little other reason. I know this is a logic-out-the-window type of film, but the last two movies managed to convincingly suspend your disbelief, and this one does not.

Don't get me wrong. Furious 7 is tons of fun, but it's no Fast Five. This new director hasn't found his feet just yet. We had to endure one not-so-great entry (F&F4) from Justin Lin, as well. Better luck next time.
6 years ago
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KuroSawWhat

Constant facial closeups with no sense of visual space? Check!
Constant lens flares and waving lights? Check!
Constant shaky cam? Check!
Oversaturated colors blinding you with blue, orange and green for seemingly no reason? Check!
Lots of running and yelling to no purposeful end? Check!
A nonsensical, overcomplicated plot that makes little sense? Check!

Yep. This was another fine J.J. Abrams production!
Now I'll go have a seizure for 2 hours to relax from the experience.
6 years 4 months ago
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KuroSawWhat

If you are looking for a good, old-fashioned space opera, with heavy attention given to scientific accuracy, you will find it in Interstellar.

Much like George Lucas in the early days, what Christopher Nolan has given us, here, is artistic larceny on a grand scale--that is to say, the sincerest form of flattery. From the obvious visual victims, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, to the more obscure emotional undercurrents of Voices of a Distant Star, Interstellar is a whirlwind tour of excellent sci-fi films, trussed up in fancy new packaging.

This is not a film for the impatient, as it is a slow burner, indeed. However, as a fan of classic science-fiction, I loved it.
6 years 5 months ago
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KuroSawWhat

Half the time I couldn't follow what was driving the plot. They just wandered around doing...stuff. A sizable letdown, after the rollicking adventure in The Three Musketeers.
6 years 5 months ago
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KuroSawWhat

If you enjoy watching Richard Pryor, you will enjoy watching The Toy. The entire film is supported by his comedic likability. Otherwise, this is the same as any other "heartwarming" story about a troubled family coming together thanks to an outsider. A more fitting title would be "Richard Pryor Goofs Around," because that is all you will remember from this movie.
6 years 5 months ago

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