Laika’s done it again

“If you must blink, do it now,” the titular character begins in Kubo and the Two Strings, a warning viewers will be eager to heed, as they won’t want to miss a second of Laika’s latest masterpiece.

The magical story follows a young boy named Kubo (voiced by Game of Thrones’ Art Parkinson), who weaves spellbinding stories in his village with his shamisen (a Japanese guitar) and impressive, origami creatures who come to life through his tunes.

Kubo lives an exciting, fantastical life through his stories, while his reality is a bit more bleak and restricted.

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The Witch: Under its spell

I’ve been dying to see Robert Eggers’ directorial debut The Witch since first hearing murmurs of the “New England Folktale” as it debuted at festivals. And as it drew closer to wide release the nonstop chatter surrounding the film saw my excitement build, as I wondered if it could be this year’s It Follows.

And after finally seeing it on Friday, I can say that it is… and it isn’t. See, it isn’t like normal horror films as it comes to the scares. The Witch is very atmospheric and slowly builds, feeling almost suffocating with its Puritan values, desperate confusion, and the crushing guilt thrown at its characters.

The story follows Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), the teenaged daughter of a family banned from their Puritan community after their father’s “proud” acts, leaving them isolated as they set up a new home in front of unfamiliar woods.

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Thoughts: How To Be Single

So, anyone dating Jake Lacy’s character in a movie/TV show has pretty much got it made. That much seems to be clear. But that 30-year-old hunk of walking rom-com perfection aside, it’s rough out there for a single gal.

And while the struggle of dating is often simply depicted in film as a drop dead gorgeous actress messing up her date by being too clumsy or doing an alarming amount of background checking, How To Be Single seems to actually have a handle on the plight of mid-twenty-something singledom.

The story follows Alice (Dakota Johnson) as she faces the New York City dating scene, after ending things with her college boyfriend Josh (Nicholas Braun), thinking she should be on her own for a bit before settling down for good. Continue reading

Stuck in the dark

Ugh… so as much as it kills me to admit it, Vulture was pretty spot on with their review for Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places.

After just about dying of anticipation, then realizing that I could have watched the movie all along on iTunes… I was already feeling a bit iffy about the quality. (Why did it go right to VOD? Why, when it said it had a release date of August 7, were only two theaters “near” me showing it… and why were they over two hours away?!)

So this past weekend I finally checked it out. And first of all, as expected, Charlize Theron is a badass Libby Day. She’s gritty, fearsome, and does a great job of portraying the darkness simmering below the surface for the character. Continue reading

Not another teen movie

This weekend saw the opening of a highly-anticipated Blockbuster action thriller in Jurassic World, but an indie gem also made its debut, and the star-studded dramedy is certainly not one to be missed.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl tells the tale of self-deprecating loner Greg (Thomas Mann) as his senior year is thrown upside down when he befriends the quietly confident Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who has just been diagnosed with leukemia.

His newfound friendship with the “dying girl” will force him to confront his noncommittal relationship with everyone else in his life, including Earl (RJ Cyler), a “co-worker,” with whom he creates parodies of classic films. Continue reading

Jurassic World Review: “Monster is a relative term”

Okay guys, we’ve been waiting for this one for a while. Now, everyone loved the first film, hated the next two, and has either some pretty high hopes for the reboot, or is sitting soundly in skeptic city.

I feel I should preface this with the fact that Parks and Recreation is one of my favorite shows of all time, and I adore Andy Dwyer – aka Chris Pratt – so whether I mean to or not, this review may be a bit biased. Either way, here we go…

I was pretty pumped heading into Jurassic World – an IMAX 3D screening, something I never do – as despite the stigma surrounding reboots or the drama surrounding the bevy of big budget action flicks getting churned out these days, I thought the trailers looked good.

Jumping right into the story, first we’re introduced to Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) whose parents are shipping them off to visit their Aunt Claire – who happens to be an exec at Jurassic World, played by Bryce Dallas Howard – on Christmas, or so the scene’s corresponding soundtrack leads us to believe. Continue reading

Movie Review: Insidious: Chapter 3

I have to admit, I rolled my eyes a bit when I heard they were making a third Insidious film. I’m sure a lot of people did. But after watching *cue dramatic music that makes you jump out of your theater seat* Insidious: Chapter 3, I feel a little put in my place.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like it’s the best movie ever made, but then again, horror films never are — of course unless you count Silence of the Lambs as a horror, but I think most people file that one under thriller. Either way, it’s fantastic.

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Veep Recap: “B/ill”

There’s another scandal to overcome in this episode, as the lovable, yet incompetent staff let it out that they’re trying to kill Selina’s Families First bill – while the president lays in bed nearly incapacitated, and at times, delirious, with the flu.

It all begins when Gary (with Ben’s permission) arranges a “secret” meeting with Dan and Amy at what appears to be a Color Me Mine to discuss the Families First bill, and how Selina wants it voted down – though he insists she has no idea he’s even having the meeting.

Back at the White House, discussion of the plan is getting around, and no one is doing anything to hide it from Mike – the press secretary – who’s seriously starting to freak out, because what he doesn’t know, he doesn’t have to lie about. But he’s starting to know a lot… Continue reading

Veep Recap: “Mommy Meyer”

Mike is the beleaguered staff member this week, as he vents to his wife while at breakfast about the overwhelming stressors of his job. She dutifully gives him a pep talk, after which he dashes off to work – leaving her with the bill – remembering as he leaves that it’s her birthday. Don’t worry though, he does mention he’ll try to grab something for her after work.

Back in the oval office the gang bursts Selina’s bubble, as after gushing over her recent performance in a debate, she was forced to confront the public’s less than stellar opinions of her Families First bill (aka Mommy Meyer bill).

It’s revealed that the bill is getting crucified on the hill, to which Ben callously jokes: “just like that Jesus guy.” It only gets worse from there, as Bill reads a particularly harsh opinion on the bill: “If Families First is passed, the whole concept of families will come to an end.” Funny man Ben quips: “Well, that’s the goal. I’m not sure we’ll achieve it in this generation.” Continue reading

Veep recap: “Convention”

Okay, so I know I’m totally a day late and a dollar short with this Veep recap, but I worked late last night so I missed out… but I didn’t want to just not write about it, because it was so wild.

Of course a lot happens, what with Doyle stepping down and Dan scrambling to impress his vegetable-obsessed client. But the biggest news is that Amy quits as Selina’s campaign manager.

After everything she’d already been through, Selina’s (seemingly) brainless parrot Karen was just too much – the straw that broke the camel’s back – and the overly worked, overly stressed aide called it quits. Two down. Continue reading