The Red Turtle (2016) Reviews

The Red Turtle (2016) is an animated fantasy film directed by Dutch-British animator Michaël Dudok de Wit in his feature film debut. The film is a co-production between Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli, and tells the story of a man who becomes shipwrecked on a deserted island and meets a giant red turtle. The film has no dialogue. It premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

Director: Michael Dudok de Wit
Writers: Michael Dudok de Wit, Pascale Ferran
Genre: Animation, Fantasy
Release: France 18 May 2016 (Cannes Film Festival) – Poland June 2017

The Red Turtle (2016) Storyline
The dialogue-less film follows the major life stages of a castaway on a deserted tropical island populated by turtles, crabs and birds.

The Red Turtle (2016) Review
The way this illuminating and ethereal film captures the senses makes you wish to linger in each frame; approaching rain the only sound, stars and moonlight reflected in the calm sea, the comforting and rhythmic wash of waves at night, the endless shades and patterns of color and sunlight in water and emotions conveyed in just a glance.

A lone man washes up on a remote and uninhabited island shore after a shipwreck. He is resourceful, works his way out of perilous situations and manages to find fresh water, fish and breadfruit to sustain him. He builds a sturdy raft and launches it in the sea, yet a large sea turtle breaks the raft apart. The turtle seems to want him to stay on the island. In a moment of rage, the man attacks the turtle and unwittingly sets in motion something more powerful than he can imagine.

The Red Turtle is wordless, yet not soundless. Nature speaks instead, in all its wonder apart from the noise of civilization. We hear, among other things, the movement of figures in the grass, the preternatural buzz of cicadas in the trees, a storm sweeping over the forest, waves tumbling in rhythm upon the shore, curious crabs turning over objects in their claws and wind rising and falling like emotions or breath.

The tremendous power of the Red Turtle is in its exquisite artistry and the emotions it conveys. The art is surreal and realistic at the same time. Every frame is so detailed, expressive and colorful that I – a nature lover I admit – broke down in awe and wonder. That the filmmakers shared this sentiment for the natural world is clear. The light on island greenery positively glows, there is play between sun and shadows, and clouds move resplendent in the twilight like they are stars in their own show.

Human emotion is conveyed with just as much ability as that of nature. People talk without speaking. They know the feelings of others, by their manner and the look in their eyes, in an instant. Because of the film’s amazing artists, the audience doesn’t need to hear words to know what is going on. The artwork conveys the contents of hearts. It is a much better way to communicate really. We feel the man’s remorse for wanting to harm a turtle that wanted to help him. Someone reaches out their hand and we feel the touch on our cheeks. We move our feet with the dance beneath the sea.

Above all, the Red Turtle clearly renders our deep connection to nature and to each other. It does this so well it brings tears. We witness nature in all its wonder and power. As with Native American art, the film artistry allows the audience to glimpse and understand the lives of animals.

The Red Turtle was made in collaboration with Studio Ghibli. The director maintained after the showing that Studio Ghibli placed enough trust in him that he had space and freedom to operate, yet also could turn to them for advice when needed. The director/studio partnership certainly found the right balance. North American premiere seen at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.

The Red Turtle (2016) Trailer

Monster Trucks (2016) Reviews

Director : Chris Wedge
Writers : Derek Connolly (screenplay), Matthew Robinson
Stars : Jane Levy, Lucas Till, Rob Lowe
Genre : Action, Adventure, Animation
Release : 21 December 2016 France – 28 April 2017 Sweden
Monster Trucks is an upcoming 2016 American 3D live-action/computer-animated action comedy film produced by Paramount Animation, Nickelodeon Movies and Disruption Entertainment. It is directed by Chris Wedge and written by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Derek Connolly and Matthew Robinson.[5] The film stars Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Amy Ryan, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover, Barry Pepper, and Holt McCallany. This was the final film worked on by Jon Polito’s before his death on September 1, 2016.
“Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, Tripp (Lucas Till), a high school senior, builds a Monster Truck from bits and pieces of scrapped cars. After an accident at a nearby oil-drilling site displaces a strange and subterranean creature with a taste and a talent for speed, Tripp may have just found the key to getting out of town and a most unlikely friend.”
Monster Trucks (2016) Trailer

Sing (2016) Reviews

Sing (2016) Reviews.  A koala named Buster Moon has one final chance to restore his theater to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

Directors: Garth Jennings, Christophe Lourdelet
Writer: Garth Jennings
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane

 

Sing (2016) Trailer

Sing (2016) Reviews

 

Do you remember the scene at the very end of animation studio Illumination’s Despicable Me where Gru’s adopted daughters manage to persuade their new dad to come up on stage during their ballet recital and they all boogie together to the Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing” with the minions? And Gru busts out the most amazing moves, and it’s all so perfectly animated, every hip shake and arched eyebrow calibrated down to the tiniest cartoon muscle, it draws tears? Well, Sing pulls off that trick for around 20 minutes straight in its last act, producing pure, sappy joy with a string of air-punching, applause-coaxing performances from nearly every main character as they put on a show right there, in a nearly derelict theater with a soundtrack album’s worth of crowd-pleasing tunes. It’s as corny as the syrup tank at a candy factory, but it works, and it will undoubtedly ensure enthusiastic enough word-of-mouth to keep this in cinemas long into the new year after it opens Dec. 21 in the U.S. and then rolls out worldwide.

That said, and sorry to be a buzzkill, but it’s a bit of a shame that the rest of the film doesn’t achieve that same high standard. Illumination’s latest plays to the company’s strengths, with inventive character and background design, hyper-rendered animation that pushes the technology envelope, especially in the realm of lighting and cute sight gags. But just as with, for example, The Secret Life of Pets or Minions (and let’s not even go there with Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax), storytelling remains the outfit’s weak spot.

It might be conjectured that the powers-that-be are aware of this and that might be one reason why British live-action writer-director Garth Jennings, who made the delightful homage to low-budget filmmaking Son of Rambow, was hired to oversee this. But the fit isn’t quite perfect, and while there’s much to admire about the script, not least the fact that it’s an original concept in a sea of remakes, reimaginings and reboots, it doesn’t entirely gel. Maybe the problem is that at this point in 2016, the whole talent-show format that has so dominated television for the last 10 years or so finally feels exhausted and dreary.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t quite help Sing’s case that, so soon after Disney’s Zootopia, it unfolds in a world of bipedal talking animals living in another sprawling city. Sure, there have been articulate critters ever since Mickey Mouse started whistling and Betty Boop had long ears suggestive of her spaniel heritage, although the trope had fallen out of favor of late. Part of what made Zootopia effective was the way it not only revived the idea but also made the harmony — or lack thereof — in a multispecies society an integral part of the plot.

By way of contrast, in Sing there’s no reason within the story for one of its major characters, Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey), to be a koala except that it means he’s cute. Also, his size serves well for an admittedly very funny car-wash gag halfway through. But he’s not even Australian. Buster is just another American-accented marsupial with a passion for showbiz, whose inciting idea to put on a talent show brings together the disparate characters that make up the roster talent assembled here. Unluckily for Buster, a typing mistake made by his faithful one-eyed lizard secretary and factotum Miss Crawl (voiced by Jennings himself) mistakenly reports the prize will be $100,000, not the $1,000 Buster has in his savings bank.

The money certainly motivates Mike, a mouse on the hustle whose abrasive, jerky quality is only enhanced by the fact he’s voiced by Seth MacFarlane. But money is only part of the lure for most of the other major characters, an assortment of mammalian hopefuls that includes: Rosita, a put-upon porcine mom of 25 (Reese Witherspoon); a teenage British gorilla (Taron Egerton) who doesn’t really want to follow his father (Peter Serafinowicz) into the family’s bank-robbing business; spiky porcupine punk Ash (Scarlett Johansson), whose acceptance onto the show jeopardizes her relationship with her rejected boyfriend (Beck Bennett); and Meena (Tori Kelly), the painfully shy elephant at the back of the room who is too scared to sing in front of others and ends up working as a stagehand for Buster.

One can only speculate at how many billable hours went toward intellectual-property lawyers for clearing the rights to the 65 different songs that are featured here. Some are merely snatches and phrases (hello pan-pipe theme from Once Upon a Time in America) which might have been free under the terms of fair use, but still, the music alone must have represented a big chunk of the budget, along with the above-the-line talent’s fees and the computing costs that went into rendering the film’s many dazzling traveling shots

Movie Storks (2016) Reviews

Parents need to know that Storks takes a common explanation for where babies come from and expands it into a feature-length animated film. But in this universe, storks are getting out of the baby-delivery business and moving into package delivery for an large internet retailer. Junior (voiced by Andy Samberg) is all set to receive a huge promotion from the CEO of Stork Mountain (Kelsey Grammer), when he accidentally turns on the Baby Making Machine to produce a single baby girl. With the help of his human friend, Tulip (Katie Crown), Junior must get rid of baby — maybe by delivering her to the boy who wrote to him about wanting a new brother or sister? — before his job ends up in jeopardy. Given the subject matter, expect some innuendo that could go over younger kids’ head.

Storyline
Storks deliver babies or at least they used to. Now they deliver packages for global internet giant Junior, the company’s top delivery stork, is about to be promoted when he accidentally activates the Baby Making Machine, producing an adorable and wholly unauthorized baby girl. Desperate to deliver this bundle of trouble before the boss gets wise, Junior and his friend Tulip, the only human on Stork Mountain, race to make their first-ever baby drop – in a wild and revealing journey that could make more than one family whole and restore the storks’ true mission in the world.

Title: Storks
Release: 2016-09-22
Runtime: 0 min.
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family
Stars: Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, Keegan-Michael Key, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Katie Crown
Overview : Storks deliver babies…or at least they used to. Now they deliver packages for a global internet retail giant. Junior, the company’s top delivery stork, is about to be promoted when he accidentally activates the Baby Making Machine, producing an adorable and wholly unauthorized baby girl.