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Kubo and the Two Strings

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Poster for the movie ""

Kubo and the Two Strings

20161 h 41 min
Overview

In the epic fantasy, scruffy, kindhearted Kubo ekes out a humble living while devotedly caring for his mother in their sleepy shoreside village. It is a quiet existence – until a spirit from the past catches up with him to enforce an age-old vendetta. Suddenly on the run from gods and monsters, Kubo’s chance for survival rests on finding the magical suit of armor once worn by his fallen father, the greatest samurai the world has ever known. Summoning courage, Kubo embarks on a thrilling odyssey as he faces his family’s history, navigates the elements, and bravely fights for the earth and the stars.

Metadata
Director Travis Knight
Runtime 1 h 41 min
Release Date 18 August 2016
Details
Movie Media DVD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Masterpiece

Kubo and the Two Strings is one of the few movies that can be described as perfect. Everything about the film comes off as flawless; from characters to story to art to music. Of all those aspects, it is the story that is perhaps the strongest of all. Kubo himself is a storyteller and his film possesses as much magic as the character himself. You will not see overused tropes such as action for the sake of action or the need to explain every little detail like the audience is unintelligent.

The story also features everything you would expect from a fantasy tale. A group of heroes that has to battle monsters and villains on a quest to find legendary, magical items that are their only hope. The world these characters live in is a mystical place full of danger and mystery, but also excitement and adventure. Each and every character grows and changes as the audience learns more about them and as they learn more about themselves throughout their journey. No character remains stoic or is simply brushed to the side; everyone reveals the reasons for their actions and that makes them feel less like characters and so much more like people.

Visually, the film is absolutely stunning. This is the 4th stop motion animation film that Laika has put out. While their style has not changed too much since their debut film (Coraline), it is nonetheless stunning. The music is much the same way; it fits the Japanese setting of the film and is tailored to match each scene. The combination of all these factors will make you want to weep with sadness and joy throughout the film.

Going into too much detail about the film would be too much of a spoiler in any regard, but the film just feels so…rich. Viewers are thrown into a world that has its own rules, culture, history, and magic but you never really feel lost. The characters are at home in this world and it is presented in such a way that you can love what is there without the need for detailed explanations that so many other films feel like they have to include these days. And of course, Kubo and the Two Strings has the benefit of being an original film. Not a remake, not a prequel, not a sequel, not a superhero comic book adaption. It is its own story and the best film of 2016 thus far. It will not be surprising if it is still the best film when the year comes to a close.

November 27, 2016

Free State of Jones

Published Post author

Poster for the movie ""

Free State of Jones

Based on the incredible true story.

20162 h 19 min

Free State of Jones was a little misleading with its trailers, but that by no means indicates that it was not a good film. The trailer portrayed the movie as more of an action film. There are a fair number of gunfights throughout, most of which can be partially glimpsed in the trailer. But the action sequences are not what the film is about. A large portion of the story takes place during the American Civil War so of course there are going to be battles. This is by no means an action movie; nor could the brief action sequences even be intense or focused enough to call Free State of Jones a thriller. It is, at its core, a historical film.

If you are a fan of history, that is fantastic. I sincerely think that you are going to enjoy this movie. Other viewers may feel that the film just drags on and on and on. The movie has a lot of talking; characters just standing around and talking. Sometimes they talk to each other and sometimes they monologue, but talking is talking. While that may not be the best path for a giant blockbuster $$$ film, it was perfect for a historical story. War is a lot of standing around and talking with brief moments of action, just as this film portrays. Free State of Jones is meant to show another side of the Confederacy. Not everyone in the Confederate Army was up in arms ready to fight for the South. Many of them were men who were just told, “We are going to war. Consider yourself conscripted.” But Free State of Jones is not about the war itself.

For viewers who are not very familiar with the American Civil War, it will be harder to follow this film. That being said, the movie deals with a theme that is not entirely uncommon. Soldiers who are poor farmers and other simple men ask themselves, “Why are we fighting and dying for these rich folks? They are not bleeding to keep their wealth, so why should we bleed for them?” This leads to soldiers deserting and they end up being helped by runaway slaves, whom they help in return. These black men fight alongside them for freedom from the Confederacy and become fellow soldiers, brothers-in-arms. Then the war ends.

Anyone who has ever read a history book can tell you that the Emancipation Proclamation was only a baby step forward in ending slavery. When there is a war on, people are willing to let bygones be bygones so that they will not die. But once that is over, things become a racial issue again. Free State of Jones ultimately focuses not on war or even freedom, but segregation. The abolishment of segregation is an increasingly slow process that even today is still a major issue. It certainly did not come close to ending within Newton Knight’s lifetime. Nor did this one man’s action in a single county of Mississippi have a particularly remarkable impact on history. But the film portrays how the seeds were planted for those equal rights and how much of a struggle it is to have those seeds germinate. While the overall rating for Free State of Jones is not exactly 5 stars, as a historical film it is certainly worth your time.

September 25, 2016