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

A Monster Calls (2016) Reviews

A Monster Calls is a 2016 British-Spanish fantasy drama film directed by J. A. Bayona, and written by Patrick Ness based on his own eponymous novel. It stars Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall, and Liam Neeson.

Director : J.A. Bayona
Writers : Patrick Ness Patrick Ness
Stars : Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Lewis MacDougall
 Genre : Drama, Fantasy
Release : 9 September 2016 Rusia/Festival Film – 23 February 2017 Russia
The monster does not come walking often. This time it comes to Connor, and it asks for the one thing Connor cannot bring himself to do. Tell the truth. This is a very touching story about a boy who feels very damaged, guilty and mostly angry. He struggles at school with bullies, and pity looks from everyone, and at home with his mother’s sickness. Will Connor overcome his problems? Will everything be okay? Will Connor be able to speak the truth?
A Monster Calls (2016) Trailer

A Monster Calls (2016) Reviews

As a fan of J.A. Bayona’s previous work “The Impossible”, I had fairly high expectations for this and to say that I am astonished would be an understatement. “A Monster Calls” is based on the book that Patrick Ness published in 2011. After this breathtaking adventure I assure you, You will be inclined to read the book. As this is an adventure that builds on your emotions and thrives on your imagination. Conner is a young man that is trying to cope with the fact that his mother who is diagnosed with a terminal illness isn’t long for this world. But as his mind races with fears and his imagination takes hold, he creates a creature that would give adults nightmares, But as he realizes the creature is friendly, He grows close to the “monster”.

This is one of those movies that must be seen in theaters, mainly because it’s two hours of escape from reality, where you can turn the page back, to a time where your imagination used to run wild. A time when, your biggest responsibilities were picking up your socks. In other words, a time when you were really free.

 

Don’t miss to watch this movie. . .!!!

Assassin’s Creed (2016) Reviews

Assassin’s Creed (2016) Reviews.  When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society.
Director: Justin Kurzel
Writers: Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper
Stars: Marion Cotillard, Michael Fassbender, Essie Davis

 

Assassin’s Creed (2016) Trailer

Assassin’s Creed (2016)  Reviews / Metascore:

Parents need to know that Assassin’s Creed is based on the wildly popular video game by the same name (and its sequels). The games are known for their cinematic quality and intense violence, so expect the movie to follow in their footsteps. As in the games, historical fiction meets science fiction when a descendant of a secret medieval society called the Assassins uses revolutionary technology to access genetic memories and live out his ancestors’ adventures. In this case, former criminal Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is recruited to unlock the memories of an Assassin during the Spanish Inquisition so the society can gain the necessary skills to take down their enemies, the Templar Order, in present day. The popularity of the game series will likely attract teens and tweens to the movie, but it could well be too violent for younger viewers.

A Monster Calls (2016) Reviews

A Monster Calls (2016) Reviews. A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mom’s terminal illness.
Director: J.A. Bayona
Writers: Patrick Ness, Patrick Ness
Stars: Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones

A Monster Calls (2016) Trailer

A Monster Calls (2016) Reviews / Metascore: 76

The trailer for this movie was perfect, a real tearjerker focusing on exactly what the synopsis says: a little boy coming to terms with his mother’s terminal illness with the help of his imagination. As someone who just lost his mother to cancer I was sobbing while watching the trailer and put this movie on my “must-see” -list. Unfortunately, the movie left me a bit cold.

First the good parts. The relationship between the boy (Connor) and the monster works very well and the animations that go along with the monster’s stories are absolutely gorgeous. I’m usually quite sceptical about combining different visual elements because it rarely works but here the tone and amount is just perfect. Another aspect of the film that works is the chemistry between the dying mother and her son. Oddly enough, this is the movie’s biggest flaw since the mother has such a small part in the storyline.

The first half of the movie strikes as unfocused, as if the director didn’t know what he wanted to say. Quite often movies based on novels suffer from lack of focus because the director was unable to cut away portions from the source material. That is also the case with A Monster Calls. The heart of the story, the mother, is pushed aside in the very first minutes and we are introduced to a number of characters that add nothing to the story. More screen time is given to school bullies than to the mother which seems very odd. Apparently the director couldn’t help himself and just had to dwell in bullying. A pattern which seems to be a norm in children’s movies. Then we are introduced to the father, a character completely irrelevant to the story. His only purpose is to show that Connor comes from a broken family. I haven’t read the novel the film is based on, so I can not say what his purpose was supposed to be. Perhaps his role was to showcase how important the mother was for the boy, since she’s the only parent he’s got. None of that comes through in the film, though. The father walks in and out, amounting to nothing.

Then there’s the grandmother who is introduced as an uptight caricature with too many minutes wasted on stressing her strictness. This is a real shame since the character also provides the most heartfelt moments in scenes establishing the shared grief she and Connor both feel. Something really amazing could’ve been accomplished with this pairing without the needless “evil grandmother” tropes. A real missed opportunity, I feel.

Once the film has established just how hard a life Connor has, the focus goes back to where it should have always been: the mother and Connor’s acceptance of her state of health. This is clearly the strong point of the story and the ending is executed beautifully. The emotional impact of the last half an hour or so also reminds the viewers of how impactful the entire film could’ve been had the father been reduced to a side mention and the minutes dedicated for school bullies cut in half in order to raise the profile of the mother. By doing so, A Monster Calls could’ve accomplished something groundbreaking by talking about cancer to children, many of whom will unfortunately be affected by it. This message, however, gets lost with the director juggling with too many elements.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016) Movie Review

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016) Movie Review When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers. The title may read “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” but there can be no doubt for anyone buying a ticket: This is really Tim Burton’s Home for Peculiar Children. Not since “Sweeney Todd,” and before that all the way back to “Sleepy Hollow,” have the studios found such a perfect match of material for Hollywood’s most iconic auteur. It’s gotten to the point where the mere addition of Burton’s name to a movie title can justify an otherwise iffy prospect: You don’t want to see a “Planet of the Apes” remake? Well, how about a Tim Burton “Planet of the Apes” remake? Now you’re interested! Here, there’s nothing forced about the coupling of Ransom Riggs’ surprise best-seller with Burton’s playfully nonthreatening goth aesthetic and outsider sensibility, which should put the director back on the blockbuster charts.

One of the kid-lit sphere’s freshest recent surprises, Riggs’ novel was inspired by the author’s personal collection of vintage photographs — including a floating girl, an invisible boy, and other such darkroom dodges (not unlike retouch artist Mark Mothersbaugh’s “Beautiful Mutants” series) — and may as well have been written for Burton to direct. Known as “peculiars,” this eccentric mix of wartime refugees are like a cross between the Addams Family and the X-Men, each one blessed with some outré ability, from spontaneously igniting anything they touch to bringing inanimate objects (i.e. skeletons and dolls) to life.

While collateral damage from a Nazi bombing destroyed their beautiful Victorian orphanage during World War II, these kids have had few direct enemies, tucked away on the tiny Welsh island of Cairnholm, for more than seven decades. But that’s changed, now that a shape-shifting goon named Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) is on the hunt for peculiars, gobbling their eyes with great relish (and no one plays great relish, eye-gobbling or otherwise, like Jackson).

The kids have been safe all this time thanks to Miss Peregrine (embodied by Burton’s new muse, Eva Green), who possesses the gift of creating protective “loops,” or 24-hour safety bubbles wherein her charges can hide in a “Groundhog Day”-like cycle, forever repeating the day before the bomb struck. As guardians go, Miss Peregrine is what one might call an “ymbrine,” a rare breed of peculiar capable of transforming into a bird — in her case, a peregrine falcon, though there are others (including Miss Avocet, played by Judi Dench). Her ebony hair streaked with blue and swept up into a bird’s-nest ’do, Green cleverly suggests her avian alter ego, standing rigidly upright in her peacock-blue satin gown, glowering down through exaggerated eyeliner, and brandishing her long, slender fingers as if they were talons. Riggs may have imagined her, but she has clearly become a Burton creation, just one of many among her brood of adolescent oddities, who might otherwise be mistaken for so many sideshow freaks.

While hardly as elaborate (or inventive) as Hogwarts, Miss Peregrine’s eccentric quasi–orphanage shares the quality of remaining a well-kept secret from polite society. Even the other Cairnholm residents don’t realize who their neighbors are, so none can imagine why a boy named Jacob Portman (Asa Butterfield, who has literally grown up — if not necessarily into those endearingly big ears of his — since starring in Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo”) would travel all the way from Florida to visit what remains of the old house. An aspiring “discoverer,” Jacob is reeling from the murder of his paranoid old grandfather, Abe (Terence Stamp), who died trying to defend himself from a long-limbed, eyeball-snatching creature called a hollowgast. (Of all the film’s design improvements, the hollowgast represents its most inspired, looking like a malicious, tentacle-mouthed twist on “The Nightmare Before Christmas” pumpkin king Jack Skellington.) No one quite believes Jacob’s firsthand account, though he cleverly manipulates his therapist (a hilariously “understanding” Allison Janney) into endorsing the trip to Wales, on the condition that his washed-up dad (Chris O’Dowd) accompanies him.

In the grand tradition of kid heroes who must circumvent their fuddy-duddy parents in order to accomplish great feats, Jacob manages to ditch his dad and locate Miss Peregrine’s loop, stepping back into 1943 to meet the children who had once been Abe’s closest companions. Some traits are undeniably genetic, and Jacob has inherited both his grandfather’s peculiarity and his taste in women. In fact, given the time-travel conceit, Jacob has the unique opportunity to swoon for the very same girl that Abe had loved so many years ago, a borderline-albino blonde bombshell named Emma (Ella Purnell), for whom screenwriter Jane Goldman (“Stardust”) has devised some deliciously romantic interactions, including a splendid reverse-“Titanic” love scene that sets up several key elements of the film’s finale, including a skeleton battle to rival the imagination of Ray Harryhausen.

Goldman’s frequently amusing script is the secret ingredient that makes “Miss Peregrine” such an appropriate fit for Burton’s peculiar sensibility, allowing the director to revisit and expand motifs and themes from his earlier work: With its time-skipping chronology and family-reconciling framing device, the entire tale could be another of Burton’s “Big Fish” stories (from the film of the same name); it offers opportunities for “Frankenweenie”-style stop-motion; there are ostracized freaks (and even a dino-shaped topiary) straight out of “Edward Scissorhands”; and its elaborate, meticulously decorated mansion manages to improve upon the wonky houses seen in “Beetlejuice” and “Dark Shadows.”

Perhaps it’s all a little bit too familiar for those who’ve been following Burton since the beginning. Although the director repeats more than he innovates this time around, for younger audiences, the film makes a terrific introduction to his blue-hued, forever-Halloween aesthetic. It’s clearly also an excuse for him to work with Green again after “Dark Shadows,” and rather than leaving audiences with the icky feeling that he’s twisting his leading lady to fit his admittedly kooky sensibility (as seemed to happen with Helena Bonham Carter and Lisa Marie), he appears to have met his match in Green. The already-outré “Penny Dreadful” star walks that razor-fine line between dignity and camp perhaps better than any other current actress — making for a partnership we can only hope to see continue.