The Nut Job (2014)

nutDirector: Peter Lepeniotis

Writer: Peter Lepeniotis, Lorne Cameron, (Screenplay) Daniel Woo (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl, Stephen Lang, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Dunham, Gabrial Iglesias, Sarah Gadon

 

Plot: An incorrigibly self-serving exiled squirrel finds himself helping his former park brethren raid a nut store to survive, that is also the front for a human gang’s bank robbery.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bland Animated Film

 

Story: The Nut Job starts as we meet selfish squirrel Surly who lives in the park only ever looking after himself against the rest of the park run by Racoon. When the park animals work on trying to get food together for winter clash with Surly he finds himself exiled from the park while the rest of the animals have to find food for the winter. This is basically going to be A Bug’s Life I am guessing.

When Surly locates a nut shop he is ready for the winter but plucky squirrel Andie is assigned to help feed the park having to team up with ‘heroic’ squirrel Grayson. When the two different side meet they arrange to work together to save the park and see Surly redeem himself and move back into the park.

The Nut Job is a heist movie mixed together to feel like a poor attempt of copying A Bug’s Life where one disgraced member of a group that gets a chance to prove his worth to the rest by helping them get enough food for winter. This is really just lazy story telling that doesn’t have anything original and just has poor slapstick attempts at humour throughout. The voice talents are wasted and in the end this is something I don’t think even children should watch.

 

Overall: Just plain bad reaching the levels of awful.

Rating10

 

 

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World Cinema Weekend – Summer Wars (2009)

Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Writer: Satoko Okudera (Screenplay) Mamoru Hosoda (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ryunosuke Kamiki, Nanami Sakuraba, Mitsuki Tanimura, Takahiro Yokokawa, Meiko Nobusawa

 

Plot: A student tries to fix a problem he accidentally caused in OZ, a digital world, while pretending to be the fiancé of his friend at her grandmother’s 90th birthday.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fantasy Social Commentary

 

Story: Summer Wars starts in a world with an operating system known as OZ, a place where you can be anybody, talk to anybody, work, play and arrange your life, Kenji is one of the many small time engineers keeping it all operational, he gets asked to join Natsuki on a trip to her Grandmother’s 90th birthday only to be a fake fiancé.

When somebody or something takes over the OZ system Kenji is the prime suspect but the bigger problem is that everybody’s accounts to everything runs through OZ causing endless amounts of false accidents reports disrupting Grandmother’s birthday. Kenji must work with the family to get into the system to bring down the problem and save the world from a war they would be prepared for, a cyber war.

 

Thoughts on Summer Wars

 

Characters Kenji is a student that must go through visiting a family he has no knowledge off, this gives us a good sense of his isolation while meeting them a family so big while he has a family so small. He is also a genius working on the computer system the whole world relies on. Natsuki is one of the family members, the one that brings Kenji back to meet her family, she is loyal to her family and a mean card player. The rest of the family are all big characters to what is happening as they show the unity they have as well as the dysfunction a normal family would have to.

StoryThe story is very interesting because it focuses on the world where an internet community has become something taken for granted but if it was infected by a virus parts of the world could start to fall apart. It also shows how different generations have dealt with the change but the core idea of family and togetherness is very important. Overall thee storyline shows how family can come together to defeat the biggest threat to the world as long as they work together. It also shows us how the world controlled by an internet community could take away social interaction.

Action/Comedy/Family/Sci-FiThe action inside OZ is great anime action sequences with the comedy coming from how the family is always panicking. The family side of the story comes seeing how the family all come together for a celebration. The sci-fi side comes from the world needing the technology heavy world to do everything on the internet.

SettingsThe settings are good because we get to see the family home where we see everyone together, this helps put our characters together for the story to unfolding.

AnimationAll the animation is done brilliantly as you would expect from any anime film.

Final ThoughtsThe social commentary going on through this film is great, the story also is fantastic to show how being together with family is still important and this is one I do think everyone could enjoy.

 

Overall: Strong addition to the anime genre.

Rating

 

 

Storks (2016)

storksDirector: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland

Writer: Nicholas Stoller (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Anton Starkman, Keegan-Michael Key

 

Plot: Storks have moved on from delivering babies to packages. But when an order for a baby appears, the best delivery stork must scramble to fix the error by delivering the baby.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Childish Animation

 

Story: Storks starts as we learn storks used to deliver babies before they moved into the main stream delivery business. Junior is the known as the best delivery stork and is about to get a promotion of Hunter as we learn why the storks stopped delivery babies is because they lost an address for a human and adopted her Tulip. She is turning 18 and the Hunter wants her out of the business and to enter her back in the human world. With the stork problem looking to be solved we move onto meet our human family which is young boy Nate who feels lonely because of his constantly busy real estate agent parents are always working leading him to ask for a baby brother or sister.

Tulip continues to cause trouble by accidentally restarting the baby making machine and she must team up with Junior to clean up the mess. The story turns into an adventure between Junior and Tulip to deliver the baby while also seeing how parents need to look after their children over work.

Storks is an animated film that goes for the low attempts of comedy to give the laughs to the youngest of its audience not making any of the laughs come off for an adult audience. Against the low level of comedy, we do have a film with heart based story as the parents don’t give the time to the child they have and learn they only get one chance to raise their children. The adventure between Tulip and Junior does feel like it got ripped out of the original Ice Age but otherwise this isn’t the most inspiring comedy film.

The characters are very generic with most just wanting to find a way to fit in the world be it from being the popular one of being the one completely out of place. The boss character is always the loudest of the group while the family all works well but doesn’t get enough time for what could be a more important story.

 

Overall: Dull animated comedy that doesn’t give enough time to the heart in the film.

Rating

 card

 

Monster House (2006)

Director: Gil Kenan

Writer: Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab, Pamela Pettler (Screenplay) Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talens) Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee, Spencer Locke, Mitchel Musso, Catherine O’Hara

 

Plot: Three teens discover that their neighbor’s house is really a living, breathing, scary monster.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great but Dark Family Film

 

Story: Monster House starts as we meet DJ a boy who lives opposite the neighbourhood crazy old man Nebbercracker who terrorizes anyone who comes into his yard. When his parents go away for the weekend, DJ and his best friend Chowder find themselves trying to retrieve a lost ball only for Nebbercracker to have a heart attack.

With Nebbercracker away from the house DJ, Chowder and local girl Jenny start seeing the house coming to life but with no adult believing them, the three start to investigate. The three find themselves inside the house learning the truth about the house and the monster that is inside it.

 

Thoughts on Monster House

 

Characters DJ and Chowder are you typical best friends that are reaching the age where they need to look to grow up, DJ is ready to take that step while Chowder isn’t, the two work well as a team. Jenny plays into the idea that a girl can come between best friends and is the brains of the trio. Nebbercracker represents the neighbourhood crazy that once you get to know has a good reason for being like they are. The adults are always looking down on the children which is fine as for the story the children need to learn to grow up. The characters here, while not special all help tell the story well.

StoryThe story that plays into children’s imaginations to a new level, we all know children can create stories of the crazy person in their town and this takes that story and runs with it. It shows that the stories could be real but also have a reason for the stories that you should learn about a person’s past. There is also a story about children reaching the age to grow up which is greatly told for the kids.

Comedy/Family/FantasyWe have plenty of laughs from how the children see the adults, the family side works because we can see the whole family can enjoy with the fantasy side of the story coming from the idea that a house can come to life.

SettingsThe film is set all within a small town with it coming off as all in one day within one street as kids can come and play. This works for the house’s reputation within the neighbourhood.

Animation The animation is very impressive having it’s own style compared to other animated films around the same time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good family film that can be enjoyed by all, it does have moments of darkness but comes off original which is very important.

 

Overall: Good film to be enjoyed by all.

Rating

 

 

Strange Magic (2015)

Director: Gary Rydstrom

Writer: David Berenbaum, Irene Mecchi, Gary Rydstrom (Screenplay) George Lucas (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Elijah Kelley, Meredith Anne Bull, Sam Palladio, Kristin Chenoweth

 

Plot: Goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Kids Will Enjoy

 

Story: Strange Magic starts as we see the difference between the Fairy Kingdom and the Dark Forest, the two kingdoms are side by side but both live different lives. When one of the fairies, Marianne accidently steps into the dark forest, angering the Bog King.

Marianne is about to marry the handsome fairy Roland but learns of his true nature, finding herself crushed. Swearing off love, Marianne sets out to protect her sister Dawn and friend Sunny from danger and the dark forest.

When Roland wants to become king, he must find a way to make Marianne take him back which leads him to trick Sunny into going into the dark forest to find a love potion so they can both get the one they want by finding the Sugar Plum Fairy.

This brings the Bog King into the Fairy Kingdom to retrieve the love potion giving the fairies one day to retrieve the potion or he will keep Dawn prisoner forever, with Marianne going out to rescue her.

 

Thoughts on Strange Magic

 

Characters Marianne is the typical strong female character who doesn’t want to follow the traditional trends and be extra independent, she fights for family while hating love. Bog King rules the darkness, hating the world because of his failures in love, he is a strict ruler but also sums up what it is like to have loved and lost becoming bitter to the world. Sunny the comic relief and we see him give us the most laughs as he tries to find a way to show his love for Dawn. Dawn is the annoying princess who is very shallow. Roland is the arrogant wanna be king who is completely annoying throughout.

StoryThe story is the old forbidden love story about two different sides of the fence falling in love against the wishes of everyone. We touch on the elements of trying to force someone to fall in love with you and the consequences it will have on them. It focuses a lot of the people’s individual mistakes when it comes to love.

Adventure/Comedy/Family/FantasyWe have a big adventure into the world forbidden, with elements of comedy going on throughout. We also have the fantasy elements of the film which is one the whole family could enjoy with catchy songs throughout.

SettingsThe creation of the worlds looks fantastic seeing how both sides live giving us a beautiful selection of settings.

AnimationThe animation does work well bring it into a different style to the normal, that all looks great.

Final ThoughtsThis does have a very big judgmental statement being made about treating people equally but this doesn’t over shadow the fun music side of the film.

 

Overall: This has a poor rating overall but this is enjoyable.

Rating