Coco and all the images you see in this review are owned by Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina
I’m far from the only one to have Pixar fatigue, but it has been WAY too long since I’ve gotten excited for another animated film from them. Even the prospect of Incredibles 2 only fills me with a mix of ennui and meh, so what hope does this film have to bring me back around on the studio? Well it’s not a sequel for one which is a good sign and its premise, while not what I would call unique (*cough* Book of Life *cough* Grim Fandango *cough*), at least appears to be fleshed out (nyuk-nyuk-nyuk) as all the trailers show an immense level of detail and craftsmanship in every frame as well as an amazingly diverse cast that looks to bring an underrepresented culture to the big screen. Hey, after the mostly positive reception and commercial success of Moana, it makes sense for Disney to stick with the formula; though hopefully we haven’t reached the point of diminishing returns just yet. Will this be the standout animated film of the year like we’re in the golden age of Pixar, or has ship already sailed for one of the biggest giants of the industry? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins by telling us the history of the Rivera family where Imelda Rivera (Alanna Ubach) was stuck raising little Coco as her husband walked out on them to live out their dream as a world famous musician. She didn’t let that get her down that she pulled herself up by her bootstraps and spent the rest of her life making shoes and teaching her family to make shoes; all the way to the present day where SHE may be dead and gone, but Coco is still around (Ana Ofelia Murguía) as the oldest living relative of the Rivera family and the great grandmother of Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez). Now despite Imelda more or less banning music in the Rivera household which is a tradition that has carried to this day, little Miguel can’t help but want to be a musician like his hero Ernesto de la Cruz who was a famous musician long ago and is still fondly remembered in Mexico to this day. In fact… maybe there’s a connection between the guy who walked out on Imelda to become a famous musician, and this famous musician that Miguel is obsessed with right now!? Maybe he’s the long lost great great grandfather and the only one in his family that would understand his love of music!? Well Miguel is certainly convinced of this after finding some photographic evidence and decides to… rob Ernesto de la Cruz’s grave so he can use his guitar to win a talent competition? Okay… seems a bit extreme, but whatever! THE KID’S GOTTA PLAY!! Too bad that robbing a grave gets you a one way ticket to the afterlife as Miguel finds himself more or less a ghost to those in the living world and eventually finds himself in the city of the dead where all the people who died are now skeletons; including Imelda Rivera and the rest of his extended family! Will Miguel find a way to get back home before his brief vacation among the dead turns into a permanent residency? What will he be able to learn about himself and his family during his treat; including the elusive Ernesto de la Cruz who may be able to help Miguel live out his dreams as a musician? How the heck is a human supposed to survive in a city of the dead anyway!? It’s not like any of the residents have lungs, so do they even have oxygen there!?
“Does he count as contraband, or should we sign him in as a pet?”
Doctor Strange and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Scott Derrickson
So on the one hand, I don’t’ really have any love for Doctor Strange as a character, and I’m still a bit salty that they didn’t cast Hugh Laurie in the role which I have been fan casting since the film first got announced all the way back in what, the beginning of phase two? On the other hand I’ve been a fan of C Robert Cargill as a film critic all the way back in the good ol’ days of Spill, so there is a part of me that wants this to succeed just because I like that ONE GUY. Then again it’s a Marvel movie, so it’s going to succeed anyway. LOOK! It’s complicated, alright!? I don’t put myself is some sort of cryogenic fridge between movies so my “precious objectivity” is working at peak efficiency! Actually, I should probably look into that and see if I can skip most of the next four years… ANYWAY! Does Doctor Strange deliver on all the weird fun that the trailers are promising, or is this another cookie cutter entry in the ever expanding Marvel canon? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is a world renounce Neurosurgeon with an ego the size of Hulk’s biceps and ends up smashing the hell out of his car while texting. Fortunately, the only part of his body that was harmed was his hands, but unfortunately he can’t be neurosurgeon if he can’t even pick up a pencil. Now instead of starting a diagnostics department and act super snarky to his subordinates, he instead blows his fortune trying to get his hands fixed to no avail while also pushing away his only real friend Christine (Rachel McAdams) due to his increasingly bitter outlook on life. His last resort is this temple in Kathmandu Nepal which healed someone else with even worse debilitating injuries and finds someone to take pity on him in the form of Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who takes him to see THE ANCIENT ONE (Tilda Swinton). She blows the puny human’s mind away with what can only be described as a drug trip, but I think the implication is that she just gave him a small taste of what the universe has to offer, and she begrudgingly takes him on as a disciple despite his arrogance and penchant for being whiney. Of course, there might be ANOTHER reason why she wants at least one more meat shield training at their monastery. You see, the LAST prized pupil of The Ancient One was some jerk named Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) who’s now trying to do some bad stuff and will probably be coming for her bald ass soon enough, so the more bodies on hand to absorb energy blasts, the better. Will Stephen Strange find what he is looking for in the teachings of the ancient one? What is Kaecilius after and why is he so pissed about everything? Seriously, what the hell were they smoking when they were making this?
“Far out, bro!” “We REALLY need to keep moving. THEY’RE SHOOTING MAGIC BEAMS AT US!”
The Infiltrator and all the images you see in this review are owned by Broad Green Pictures
Directed by Brad Furman
So… Bryan Cranston is going back to the well, huh? You can hardly blame him though! Breaking Bad is one of the most influential and critically praised shows to ever come out, so if anyone deserves to be in a movie about drugs and violence, then it’s the guy who made that shit work for five seasons! Does Bryan Cranston come out on top once again with a movie tailor made for his particular set of skills, or will this just be an actor trying to relive their glory days before sinking back into obscurity and finding a niche in shitty comedies (*cough* Why Him? *cough*)? Let’s find out!!
The movie which is BASED ON A TRUE STORY (ugh…) follows Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston) who is a Federal Agent working for US Customs and primary does undercover work to bust drug dealers. Apparently petty drug dealers work with a lot of fifty year old dudes who look like Target managers, but I guess that just makes Robert that much more of an unassuming figure. Anyway, his colleague Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) gives him a tip that some big players in the Columbian Cartel (at the time being led by Pablo Escobar as this movie takes place in the eighties) will be in town and are in the market for a money launderer (at least I think that’s what the tip is about) and so he starts posing as an accountant who’s more than willing to handle the Cartel’s money; hoping to bust them for the drugs and the bankers at The Bank of Credit and Commerce International who are willingly doing this for them. Of course with any undercover work, there’s always the danger of getting himself and his fellow agents caught, especially Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger) who is playing his pretend fiancée who’s only part of this mission because Robert fucked up at one of the meetings with the drug lords; not to mention that with any undercover work there’s always a chance of getting in too deep. Can Robert bust these guys before getting a bullet in the back of the head or worse? Will his real life crumble to pieces as he gets more and more engrossed in his work? WILL HE BE THE ONE WHO KNOCKS!?
“I mean really, what’d you expect me to do? Just simply roll over and die!?” “So you lost ONE Oscar! Could you at least have something more original between now and Power Rangers!?”