I look forward to every Disney animation release with great excitement. I try to see them in theaters but I have had to rein in my budget a lot recently. I have been a fan of the Rock since 1996 so I had a lot of excitement when I found out that Dwayne Johnson would be in a Disney film. When I found out that the movie covered his native Polynesian culture, I was over the moon. Island culture is so cool and I have learned bits of it from interviews with Johnson and other sources. The movie is directed by the team of Ron Clements and John Musker who directed The Little Mermaid, Alladin, Hercules and other great traditionally animated Disney films. This was their first CGI animated film and they knocked it out of the park. The music was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda (before he became a mainstream sensation) and a musician named Opetaia Foa’i. They worked so well together that every song either made me smile or pulled directly at my heartstrings. Dwayne Johnson was hilarious as the headstrong demigod who lost his way. Newcomer Auli’i Cravalho was almost instantly my new favorite Disney protagonist. She was caught between family, tradition, and doing what is right. I just found myself smiling non-stop except when the movie was making me cry. As a side note, some people have criticized The Rock’s singing and I can only tell them they are crazy. He had more heart and charm in his voice than some of the most technically proficient singers I have heard. I wholeheartedly recommend this.
Manchester by the Sea
I had heard that Casey Affleck got an Academy Award for this one but the premise kind of warned me away. I do not usually watch a lot of sad movies because they pull on me and I have suffered from depression in the past. However, my mom got the DVD and I was not watching alone. The movie has a central linear story with dramatic flashbacks to an earlier time. This is important because refreshingly they do not put in any subtitles explaining what is happening. The movie is unrelenting and devastating and both my mom and I felt like we had been on a roller coaster afterward. The movie is about how we react to life when the bad things happen and our plans are derailed. I can see why people praised Casey Affleck’s performance as he had to basically play two different characters. His character resonated with me as I could see myself in the depths of numb depression in his performance. Nobody is a shining example of humanity in this movie but that is life. The characters struggle to make healthy decisions while their world threatens to completely crumble around them. I cannot begin to describe it but the movie was strangely comforting. I definitely recommend it but brace yourself.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
I have spoken before how weird and offbeat Wes Anderson’s films are. He goes to great lengths to showing people acting weird in extraordinary circumstances. He has a list of actors he almost always uses and expands from there and they all know his style. This one is about a sea exploration documentary crew that knows next to nothing about marine biology or really anything. The movie stars Bill Murray but he is not really the protagonist. Much like A Christmas Carol’s Scrooge, Steve Zissou is actually the antagonist for most of the movie. The real protagonists are Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, and Zissou’s long-suffering crew. Along the way, we meet Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Angelica Huston and Willem Dafoe doing what they do best (which is stealing scenes). Like most of Anderson’s movies, this is a character driven piece full of quirky, flawed, and interesting people. However, unlike his other movies, this one did not have as much of a driving story at least not until the second half. It was entertaining but not as much as movies like Rushmore or The Grand Budapest Hotel which had more of a forward thrust and less aimless wandering. I would recommend it to fans of Wes Anderson and weird, emotional movies.
Music of the Week:
Hot Chip – Ready For The Floor
– This week’s theme is “The Sea”
– I am watching Blue Bloods Season 5
– I am almost done with Iron Fist now
– I have two remaining episodes of Haven
– I watched more Lucha Underground
– I watched a little more Glitter Force
– I watched more Dice, Camera, Action
– This is officially my 500th post!