Gerald McBoing-Boing is a 1950 animated short that is adapted from a Dr. Seuss story and received an Oscar. It is a very charming flick.
It is about a boy who instead of speaking real words, speaks only through sound effects. It is an authentic and very odd story, but the one with a great message at the end. The ending is very convenient and a great conclusion for this story. It is also emotional at times and very well crafted with never a dull or rushed moment.
The characters are good. The title character is solid, but I wish they made him more sympathetic. The parents are also well realized and the voice acting is quite good.
The major problem I have with it is definitely its score and sound effects. I get that they had to make them more loud as it is fitting for this kind of story, but it was still overly emphasized and just made the dialogue harder to hear. But the animation on the other hand is very pleasing. I found its style really charming. Some may find it cheap, but it was done on purpose and it really creates this great atmosphere and feel of a comic-strip. The colors and everything about it is so pleasing to the eye and I liked it a lot. And it deserved its Oscar in my opinion as it is a really good film.
Gerald McBoing-Boing may have a weird score, but it has such a charming animation with great style, likable characters and very weird, but authentic and well crafted story with a satisfying conclusion.
My Rating – 4.3
Thunderball Movie Review
Thunderball is a 1965 spy film and a fourth entry in the Bond series starring Sean Connery and directed by Terence Young. It is a lesser entry in the franchise.
The plot is once again too convoluted to be enjoyed properly. This entry has the most characters yet and that really is troublesome as most are never properly explored and are rushed. It has too many characters to remember and it is way too complicated and fast-paced. It is an ordinary story that has a pretty interesting beginning but the resolution and the middle parts are all lacking.
Thunderball‘s major assets are the underwater sequences. They take approximately a fourth of the running time and are the most intriguing aspect in the film. I liked the underwater photography very much and the action below was satisfying. But some parts, especially with sharks, are too naive and hard to believe. And the overall action apart from underwater scenes is not particularly interesting or that well executed.
The characters are okay, but still forgettable. Bond is good again and I liked his humor pretty much. Emilio Largo is quite a solid villain and their cat-and-mice subplot is entertaining. But the other characters are all forgettable and there are too many female characters here with not one of them being particularly memorable or well developed or even useful to the story.
But I liked the humor a lot. It is along with underwater stuff the sole reason to see this film. It has some unbeliavably funny moments with James Bond himself being quite comedic. Its sexy and playful humor was present before and it is once again present here and I hope the future films will have it as well as I find it fitting for this type of a franchise.
The acting is solid. Claudine Auger is okay as Domino and Adolfo Celi is pretty good as Largo. But it is of course Sean Connery who once again shines in the title role and is the standout character and actor. He gives a fine performance and is a great Bond.
Thunderball is weak technically speaking which is a reason why I found it forgettable and inherently flawed. It is so dark too many times and it lacks the kind of cinematography and use of exotic locations that the franchise was famous for before. It just has some pretty intriguing underwater scenes, but everything else is lacking. And the beaches are fine but again no cool cities or famous landmarks. The direction is weak and the pacing is all over the place. The gadgets are overused but I still liked them overall and I found most of them fun. The humor is also excellent as is the acting. But it isn’t as suave or as confident as before both in tone, action and execution. Comparing it to other Bond films, it is one of the weaker ones and it disappointed me even more than ‘Goldfinger’.
Thunderball is a weak film. It has cool underwater sequences, excellent acting and the humor is pretty good, but it is lacking otherwise both in terms of plot which is forgettable and action which is not that well executed or that memorable. It is a disappointing and very flawed entry.
My Rating – 3
Men in Black 3 Review
Men in Black 3 is a 2012 science fiction comedy film starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin. It is the final and in my opinion the finest entry in the trilogy.
J must travel back in time to 1969 to prevent Boris the Animal from killing the younger K. It is undoubtedly the most fun and endlessly entertaining film in this franchise. I liked almost all of its parts and the story was genuinely the most interesting and the most intriguing. And the ending, although too convenient and possibly containing a plot hole, is still incredibly satisfying and emotionally rewarding while also answering questions and fitting into the whole story arc wonderfully. And the whole movie feels like that. It answers questions and fits into the franchise rather than just being a cash bag.
The humor is also pretty good. The highlight for me is the whole ethnicity problem for J when he goes back in time with those moments being the funniest. And Will Smith is genuinely funny in this one and is the film’s soul without a doubt. As for the other performers, Tommy Lee Jones is still good and while Josh Brolin as his younger self isn’t exactly on his level, he still did a perfectly fine job. And the casting director did a great job here as Josh looks so similar to Jones thus being a perfect actor for the role both physically and performance-wise as he impersonated him rather well.
The characters are quite good with J being of course the standout. But K is also superb and you learn a lot from his younger self. Boris the Animal is too campy in my opinion but Griffin is the highlight as this new fascinating character. Nervous, talkative and with great abilities, he really brought a lot to the table in my opinion and was the most fascinating aspect of the movie.
The reason why I think it is better is that it is overall much more imaginative and better filmed than ‘Men in Black II‘ while also being much more entertaining and more humorous than ‘Men in Black‘. It is weird for me to say it, but it is much better than both of those movies and it is such a huge accomplishment for the filmmakers to manage to trump both predecessors after such a long break as ten years passed from the last part. It is a rare and admirable feat of the last entry in the franchise being the finest.
It still has its problems including the campy villain and the typical drawn-out action sequence in the end. Also the editing is too rushed at times and the film is wildly uneven in terms of pacing and quality scenes and humor. The effects are really good, the newly added creatures are great and the movie is imaginative and really well crafted. I also liked its attention to detail as it wonderfully transports you to the time period with excellently used music. It is also emotional in its relationship between the two and it is overall much more satisfying and warm this time around. And I liked its inventiveness in the action sequences. It is a well acted and well crafted movie without a doubt.
Men in Black 3 has the most interesting and emotionally rewarding plot this time around with excellent performances, great effects and really good humor. It is still wildly uneven and the villain is too campy, but this is a rare instance of a third movie being the best entry in the trilogy, trumping its predecessors in both humor and entertaining story. It is such a pleasant surprise.
My Rating – 4
Fraidy Cat is a 1942 animated short which is the fourth in Tom and Jerry filmography. And although somewhat disappointing in the end, it still has its many moments.
It follows Jerry’s scaring of Tom with making ghost-like figures. Now, the beginning is absolutely hilarious and a perfect start for the film, but the ending disappointed me as it was typical with Mammy coming in to punish Tom. Everything before it was genius and new which is why that typical conclusion did not appeal to me.
But it is hilarious. The moment when Jerry laughs at him in the beginning is very funny, but the highlight is when Tom catches him and when he realizes what’s going on. That was the most hilarious and perfectly executed moment. And I also liked the introduction of the cat’s nine lives in a visually appealing scene.
Jerry is fantastic in Fraidy Cat with many funny moments and excellent body gestures. However, Tom is just in for the torture throughout the whole thing and I expected a lot more from him.
Fraidy Cat has many hilarious and well executed moments with the beginning being excellent and Jerry being very memorable, but the ending disappointed me and I wanted more from Tom which is why it had a lot more potential.
My Rating – 4
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a 2015 indie dramedy film directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and starring Thomas Mann and Olivia Cooke. It won the highest honor at the Sundance Film Festival and arguably so as it is an incredible and moving film.
It is about a teenager Greg who is ordered by his mom to start hanging out with Rachel, a girl diagnosed with leukemia. And along with his friend Earl, he starts to care about her and they start a friendship. The story, although very familiar in premise, is still pretty authentic in execution as it has some parts that are so original but also sophisticated. It is riveting throughout the whole running time and I was genuinely interested and cared for most of the characters. Its three-act structure is also pretty well realized and edited with the last parts being simply amazing.
Now, the only problem I’ve had with the story is its first act or so. And let me get that out of the way first as it is the only truly bothersome thing in the movie. It is pretentious in its protagonist and his lines and way too energetic and also too parodying in nature of teen films. It just started with that unfortunate tone to it that made me worry about the whole film, but thankfully that was only the beginning as it later started being much more relatable and likable.
The ending is what made this movie resonate in my opinion. The whole third act is not only incredibly inventive with some stunning detail and imagery, but also beautifully shot and wonderfully silent which greatly contrasted the previous parts of the movie which were all very talkative in nature. But the filmmakers made this whole prolonged sequence stand out because it is silent and is fueled with endless power and beauty, but also sophistication and truth. It is so important because it shows you how even after a person dies, you can still learn about him/her. But it shows that that happens to those special people, those who had many interests and left many details and pieces behind them. And by having the protagonist explore those pieces, you have this fascinating look into a person’s life and hobbies in a truly breathtaking and just beautiful sequence. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is far from a perfect movie, but it has a perfect ending which is among the very best in recent years for sure.
Now, the characters are wonderfully developed due to a phenomenal script and excellent characterization. Greg may be unlikable, but he is realistic in that as he reminds you of so many teenagers you actually knew. His troubles, his personality and everything about him is wonderfully realistic and relevant, greatly realized. Also, his relationship with Rachel is the highlight here. Speaking of her, she is amazing. She is not glorified, but rather an inherently sympathetic and likable person that you genuinely root for. Her smile, her behavior and her care for Greg all made me like her the most here and she is definitely the finest character in the movie. Earl is an interesting one. He started off as this typical black sidekick character that only made sexual jokes and that did not appeal to me at all. However, I changed my mind about him later on as he showed his true nature in the second half with some really dramatic dialogue scenes with him and Greg. He showed he was a good person and again grounded in reality.
As for the supporting characters, Greg’s parents, mostly mother is a nicely written character with some great scenes as well. The teachers are also okay, but overall the adults are lacking when compared to teenagers but that is okay as they are not the center of the attention. But the acting is magnificent. Each and every actor did a marvelous job and that made the movie all the more remarkable. I simply love that they for once chose young actors for the roles and pretty unknown at that. That lent to a lot of realism. But they are all very competent too. Thomas Mann is stupendous and he did such a good job as Greg that he became him. Also, Olivia Cooke is terrific with a powerful performance as well. But all of the others are excellent as well with Ronald Cyler II being surprisingly good in his role.
Now, the humor is weird. And at first I thought it was off-putting, but I did come to like it in the film’s later parts. The goofy humor especially from Greg was new and interesting but it worked and strengthened the characters’ relationships in the process. Also, some of the moments are very awkward and all so funny, just as in real life. The whole movie is so rooted in reality that I appreciated it a lot. It is also charming at times, but also highly memorable and even authentic. It has a sophisticated script and the pacing is great. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is expertly shot with some of the scenes being breathtaking in execution with such stunning photography and camera choices at display. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon directed it with great style, but it is the dialogue that is truly the highlight as well as the deftly handled with tone and clear message. It also has a solid score and it is just beautiful to behold.
This is one powerful film, moving and very sophisticated. It has such a great script, terrific performances from its talented young cast, likable and realistic characters and it is just so realistic but also so emotional as well with goofy humor, excellent direction and some stunning photography at display. Me Earl and the Dying Girl is far from a perfect movie as it has an annoying beginning, but its ending is perfect, incredibly satisfying, moving and just so authentic, inventive and breathtaking to behold with a clear message and powerful emotion. It is one of the best endings in recent memory and the film is one of the most sophisticated teen films out there.
My Rating – 4.5
The Lost Thing is a 2010 Oscar-winning short film that garnered accolades for its touching and important story. And it deserved it as it really is a special little film.
It is about a young man who one day finds a strange creature on the beach. After learning that it does not belong anywhere and is lost, he searches for a place to put it in and eventually finds a place where all lost things live and leaves it there. It is such a unique story. And I like that the ending is so satisfying, touching but never too emotional which is great. And it is a relevant and sophisticated look into people and creatures that do not fit in and are different and it gives us a message that we should help those who are different and not leave them behind. It is a great story that is beautifully explored and so sweet.
I like the characters. Both the protagonist and the creature are so well realized. The creature is so sweet and you root for it throughout the whole flick while the central character is also really sympathetic and also realistic both in his looks and behavior.
The animation is my only problem with this film. It is certainly good, but never rising above that level and it is never particularly memorable which is a shame as the rest of the movie is anything but. However, the character design is simply terrific and so grounded. The main character has a realistic look to him and he looks for once like a regular guy. And the creature is so fascinating with the mix of a machine and animal-like qualities. It is a machine but also a crab and an octopus. And the rest of the lost things are also wonderfully depicted.
It has such a wonderful world-building, but unlike ‘Mr. Hublot‘, it is better explored and overall much more entertaining and memorable. And also hard-hitting. And I like the narration as well which is also a great accomplishment as that is hard to do well in short form. It received an Oscar and while Pixar’s ‘Day & Night‘ deserved the award as it is a much better film, I am still okay with their decision as The Lost Thing is also superb. 2010 was a very strong year for both short and feature animation.
The Lost Thing has not so memorable animation, but it has a wonderful and meaningful story, excellent world-building, amazing characters and terrific character design. It is a touching but also very important and imaginative film that leaves a very strong impression.
My Rating – 4.6
Iron Man 2 Review
Iron Man 2 is a 2010 Marvel superhero film and the second part of the trilogy. It starts Robert Downy Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson and is directed once again by Jon Favreau. It is easily the worst entry in the franchise.
This time, Stark’s rival is Ivan Vanko, a Russian scientist who developed the same suit technology and is after him as a personal vengeance against his family. And you also have the assembling of the Avengers and the introduction of Black Widow. Yes, it is an incredibly convoluted and needlessly complicated plot, but also the one that does not resolve many of its plot points. It is quite probably the worst Marvel movie to date and a textbook example of what is wrong with most of their movies. They just relied on setting up ‘The Avengers’ here without ever giving us a proper story. And although it has its moments, mainly the love relationship at the center of it is once again very sweet, it is still way too complicated, shallow, rushed and with too many plot holes and an overabundance of typical villains and typical action sequences that ruined it for me.
Tony Stark is once again the highlight of the film and Robert Downy Jr. is of course very funny this time around as well. But even he does not get the proper treatment. Pepper Potts is again really cool and such a strong and likable character. Their relationship is incredibly well done and the sole reason to see Iron Man 2 in my honest opinion. Rhodes is boring as he can be and the Shield operatives are shoehorn too much here with Black Widow not really belonging in this movie and Nick Fury never giving enough details to Tony to justify his inclusion. It was a terrible idea to have them in this film as just the post-credits sequence was enough, a scene done right for the first time. As for the villains, Justin Hammer is too typical, but Sam Rockwell did a really good job as always. And Ivan Vanko is an incredibly obvious character, never properly explored and never posing any real threat whatsoever. Once again, Marvel fails at creating real, awesome villains. And memorable as these are so forgettable as is the entire flick.
Yes, it is incredibly forgettable. The action is also boring and the whole third act is so-so. Yes, the first act is pretty good and the relationship is great as are the actors, but the overall story is lacking momentum and it has too many details that somehow do not mash well together into a proper whole. The effects are okay, but nothing too remarkable and the score is once again forgettable. The tone is problematic as there is never much humor here, I wanted more. The dialogue is solid but the pacing is not and Jon Favreau unfortunately failed as a director here. And it is never as important as the rest of their films because it does not tie that well into other films and the use of Black Widow here is not that good, she was much better utilized in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’. Comparing it to other Marvel movies, it is certainly the worst in the franchise and such a big let down from excellent ‘Iron Man‘. It is also overall the worst in the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe along with ‘The Incredible Hulk‘ and it definitely is the most forgettable of the bunch.
Iron Man 2 has a really nice relationship between Pepper Potts and Tony Stark at the center of the movie and the cast did a nice job, it also starts well and has its moments, but it is still lacking in terms of plot and characters with too forgettable and convoluted storyline, not well used characters, too much tying into other Marvel films and the villains and action are mediocre. It is undoubtedly the worst and most forgettable film in the MCU.
My Rating – 3
Shark Tale Movie Review
Shark Tale is a 2004 animated crime comedy film that is usually regarded as one of the worst or the very worst from the company where in reality it is quite an okay film and even a bit underrated.
It is about a fish named Oscar who pretends to have killed a shark of a famous mob boss, a shark who is vegetarian and can’t kill and eat fish much to his father’s displeasure. Now, it is a very obvious and incredibly predictable movie. Way too predictable. And it is filled with many aspects that are mediocre, but more on that later. However, what people don’t get is that it is a perfectly fine film, at least it was for me. It is far from a good movie, but it is certainly not bad either. The story is immensely entertaining and always interesting and at times even intriguing. What I liked about is that it linked the two subplots into a coherent whole and that both of those stories were interesting. And it means well, although the emotion is more forced than anything else and it rarely is really impactful.
The characters are pretty solid, typical, but solid and overall stupendously well developed. Oscar has his moments and is funny at times, but is overall too hip to be enjoyed more. And the whole movie feels like that unfortunately. Lenny is great as this weird shark who likes fish and is definitely my favorite character in this entire film. The relationship between the two is also finely realized. Angie is okay, but the relationship between Oscar and her is way too cliched. Lola is a typical female character that only plays on sexiness appeal and is the worst in my opinion. Sykes is a typical mob boss but is well realized. And the rest of the characters are only used for comic relief and not with any real purpose. And they are rarely funny as well.
This is again a star-studded cast which I honestly really dislike when it comes to DreamWorks Animation. And although most of them did a fine job, it was still bothersome to me. Will Smith is really good as always and Robert de Niro is also the hihglight. However, they do not belong here. The character design is awful but more on that later. And you can see and hear instantly that it is Will Smith, that it is de Niro and that is the problem Shark Tale never overcame. Also, some of the actors really just do not fit which is the case with Jack Black as Lenny. I just never saw his voice suitable for this character and whenever he spoke, it created this weird jarring feel to me. It just didn’t work, although Jack Black and everyone else admittedly did a pretty good job.
The humor is so-so. This is the reason why I said in my review of ‘Shrek‘ how that movie ruined American animation. This is literally a copy of that film in terms of humor. And whereas the previous film used it sparingly, Shark Tale uses is too much greater extent which is super annoying. The whole pop-culture references really got on my nerve, especially the one-liners taken from famous gangster movies. That was just too on-the-nose and never funny. I also disliked its tendency to include product placement with the very first shot of the film featuring Coca Cola. That was just awful. But it is not terribly unfunny as Will Smith’s character really has some funny moments and lines executed solidly and producing some laughs. But those are just rare unfortunately.
The soundtrack is of course horrible. Once again, they use every modern and famous song they can think of and that is just never funny nor amusing but just incredibly frustrating and never suitable. I hate DreamWorks for doing this because their films would be much better if they did not rely so heavily on those references and popular songs. It really bothers me and takes me out of the movie.
Another aspect that really bothered me (and now you can see that the movie is immensely flawed) is definitely its animation. Shark Tale, simply put, has terrible animation. There is no other way to say it. It is God-awful. The backgrounds overall are a step backwards from the previous movies and it just looks like dated CGI. But the biggest offender is most definitely the character design. They took the actors’ faces and put them on the faces of all of these fish characters and… you can see where this is going. It just looks horrible. Even despicable to look at. It never mashes together, it never is appropriate and it never is even a bit pleasant. It also creates caricatures of these actors and that is what it is honestly – caricaturing. It looks awfully unpleasant and disgusting to look at. It was such an unprofessional choice from the filmmakers. I get that they were trying to do something new, but this is no way to do it. It ruined the movie for me and if the characters were better animated, it would have been a much better film. It just might be the worst character design I have ever seen.
It is not well directed nor paced. The first act is too rushed and the whole movie is awfully fast paced. The ending is ridiculous, but the second act is the standout with the best and most enjoyable moments. The score and animation are mediocre, but the tone is solid with the comedy and crime story well mashed together. And it creates a solid parody of the genre. The humor also is solid at times, but mostly too on-the-nose. And although predictable, the whole idea of the film and the script and premise is genuinely interesting and, if better executed, it would have been much more enjoyable. It is not the worst DreamWorks film for sure, but it is on the lower parts of the list definitely.