Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Incredibles 2

14 years is a long time to give someone to make a sequel. Look at all that has happened during that time period; America elected its first Black president and then followed that up by electing a game show host, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat came on the scene, Prince, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, and even The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s daddy died, Kim Kardashian actually saw a white penis for the first time (Kris Humphries) and then of course immediately went back to black, and the Avengers all came to life and recently died in dramatic fashion. Even people who are waiting for the Second Coming were like "Man, it took you guys long enough!"

But now everyone can finally rejoice because The Incredibles 2 is here. Now sadly Samuel L. Jackson still wasn’t able to sneak in a "motherfucker’ or two in this film, killing his streak of 182 consecutive films in which he’s done so by the way, but in every other way this sequel certainly does live up to the hype.

Even after their latest heroics in Incredibles 1, the world is still not in a place where they are ready to fully trust and let superheroes back into their lives. If you remember anything about the first film, it left off with The Mole wreaking havoc on the city and the Incredibles family all suiting up to stop him. Well part 2 picks up at that same moment, and in typical Incredibles style, they jump through hoops (not actual hoops although that would be a fresh superpower) to stop him but they destroy half of the city in the process. And it is at this point that everyone has had enough, so much so that even the covert operation that once protected the secret identities of the superheroes has lost its funding. So the only option that’s left for them is to give up their once glorious and exciting lives and to go back to the normal and mundane 9 to 5 daily funeral that the rest of us normal humans live.

That is until this rich media mogul, Winston Deavor and his sister Evelyn, decide to reach out to Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Mr. Freeze with an enticing proposition. He loves superheroes like his father once did; and he believes that if superheroes were never barred from using their abilities, that they would have been around to save his father’s life. So he comes up with a marketing campaign that he believes will turn the public’s view around on these recently fallen heroes. Now due to the liability concerns around Mr. Incredible and his occasional carelessness, Deavor decides to start with Elastigirl and her incredible (no pun intended) efficiency in taking down bad guys. Which of course puts a cramp in Mr. Incredible’s lifestyle as he now becomes the modern day version of Mr. Mom while his wife is off getting into exciting but dangerous adventures.

You get to see Elastigirl’s powers on full display while at the same time witnessing just how much of a chore being a stay at home parent is for Mr. Incredible. He’s struggling with teaching Dash new math and completely bungling up his daughter Violet’s boyfriend situation while his wife is off saving lives in dramatic fashion and once again becoming a hero in the public’s eye. But what stands out the most is his family finally discovering their baby Jack-Jack’s superpowers; the clear highlight, and to be honest, the overall focus of the film.

Sure Elastigirl has to face off against this new villain who cleverly uses visual and audio waves to hypnotize whomever he comes into contact with in an attempt to try and stop her and the Deavors’ new campaign but that’s just filler until the next time Jack-Jack turns into a devil baby or pops off into another dimension. And these are just two of his many tricks. The scene where he takes on the raccoon that’s trying to raid their trash is probably the best action piece of the entire franchise.

And in addition to this, writer/director Brad Bird also introduces some new superheroes who, due to the success of the marketing campaign, now feel safe to come out in society and finally display their talents. Which in a sense makes this film the cartoon version of X-Men 2 (my personal favorite of that franchise) because there are so many cool and funny action scenes that involve their powers. Although Reflux Man’s powers were still pretty gross.

Oh, and of course Edna steals the show yet again. When the credits started rolling, I found that I wasn’t initially blown away by this film but the more it sat with me, the more I liked it, and it’s because of that I’m pretty sure you will too. I give it a rating of very FRESH!
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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Hereditary

I was recently at a Sunflower Bean and Broncho show this past Saturday night, which is inherently hipster within itself, but while there, I ran into a group of scrubs whose eye roll inducing conversation was so ridiculous that it made me wish that they could immediately be burned at the stake as I sat there and watched while joyously munching on my avocado toast. Why do they deserve such an awful fate, you ask? Well as one girl was knocking back her PBR and talking to some barista who just moved here from Portland, she casually adjusted the 1940’s bandana that she was wearing on her head and said "You know what, I should totally go to Voodoo Fest this year. I mean, I kind of have to since my great aunt is Anne Rice."

Anne Rice? Freaking Anne Rice?!?!? You’re not only bragging about being related to one of the worst horror/goth writers of the past century but you’re using it as justification to go to spend hundreds of dollars you supposedly don’t have because you choose to not sell out and work a 9 to 5? That’s like me saying "You know, I should totally celebrate Juneteenth this year! I mean, I am kind of down with that new Jaden Smith poem." No, me liking the worst Smith of the Smith family is not grounds for or gives me any rights to being a superior Black man. If anything, it should excommunicate me from the race.

But this is where horror is these days; someone like Anne Rice has somehow garnered legendary status. And films like It Follows (I always hear Bush’s Swallowed in my head when I talk about that movie), Cabin in the Woods, and The Witch are all hailed as being the next big thing in the genre when in reality they’re just films that were written by some coed who just recently went on a John Carpenter bender. Which on the surface sounds kind of tight, that is until you realize that there will only be one John Carpenter.

So naturally when I saw and heard all of the buzz around Hereditary, I was skeptical. I was just waiting for all of these lame references to the 80’s that no one remembers and possibly even a guest appearance by Jack Burton (Big Trouble in Little China). Which again, the more I write about this, the fresher it sounds. But thankfully none of this happened. Hereditary was actually a fairly fresh take on the genre even if it did run a little too long.

Everyone knows that horror films should not exceed 95-100 minutes even if they do include gratuitous nude scenes, which this one does not by the way. But this film clocks in right around 127 minutes which is something you normally expect to see when watching a Kevin Costner film about baseball or puking at the sight of a pudgy Russell Crowe wearing a super snug sailor costume while stumbling around drunk on a boat. Why don’t you lose some weight, fatty! You’re a movie star! Now I get that he was taking his time in letting both the story and the characters develop but you can only use so many camera angles to keep one interested as a mother cries for the fortieth time over her dead relatives.

And speaking of director Ari Aster’s filming style, his clever use of the camera did add another dimension to this film. In the place of relying on the lazy and distracting "shaky cam" to add suspense to some rather intense scenes, he instead chose the route of almost making the camera its own character in certain spots. It felt as though you were watching the story unfold through the eyes of an independent party who was at times freaking out over what was happening and at other times grieving alongside the seemingly cursed family. This was never more apparent than in the film’s most memorable scene; the night of the car accident which involved the two teenage children of Annie (Toni Collette) and Steve (Gabriel Byrne).

After the tragic and horrific accident, the camera just sits there and focuses on Peter for quite some time while you visibly see him internalize what just happened and how his life will never be the same again. He can either accept it and deal with it or he can just choose to move on, pretend that nothing really happened and hope for the best. He unfortunately chose the worst of the two. This is one of the realest and most honest moments I have seen in any genre of film in a long time and it is still messing with me today.

Sure there are some creepy scenes that involve séances, apparitions, witchcraft, and even temporary possession but that’s stuff you’ve already seen before. And trust me when I say that the film gets over the top with all of this in the story’s third act but what will stick with you the most is the acting and the storytelling that I was just spent so much time complaining about. While he could have cut out at least 20 minutes of it, Collette and Alex Wolff’s (Peter) ability to make you connect with and empathize with the characters in this sometimes ridiculous story is what makes this film so special. You hate, love, cheer for, and root against them all in the same two hour span and that’s why you feel as though you’ve been on such an exhausting journey by the film’s end. And I cannot tell you the last horror film that made me feel that way.

Hereditary is definitely flawed but boy was it good. I give it a rating of FRESH but I am on my way to Bible Study right now because I need some Jesus in my life after seeing this film!
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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Ocean's 8

The last time Hollywood came out with an all-female cast to remake a classic film, it was in the way of Ghostbusters. And the end result was an awful one as that was one of the worst movies to come out in the past decade. Now if I were a smart man, I would’ve just lied in my review of it and said that it hit on all cylinders but there’s a reason why I’m 86 years old and single, I’ve never learned to pick my battles. I instead chose to hold on to my "artistic integrity" and told the truth. Well as you can imagine, the backlash was brutal and I didn’t get laid for 4 months afterwards. Things got so bad at one point that I would see female friends of mine in the streets and they would look at me and simply shake their heads in disgust. You would’ve thought that I had become Cosby Jr. and was passing out roofies like they were Starbursts!

Well when I saw that Oceans 8 was coming out, I was praying that it would at least be decent just so I could maintain some semblance of a social life this summer. I can walk out of the convenient store with only a bag of potato chips and lotion only so many times before the clerk finally realizes what’s up. "Wait a sec, he isn’t THAT ashy!" But thankfully I learned from last summer’s fiasco and had a Flesh Light on order through Amazon Prime just in case this movie did suck and I had to hole up in a bunker somewhere. Hey, don’t judge, I’m getting in touch with my inner self and helping the economy at the same time!

Now if you have never seen Ocean’s 11, I suggest popping in really quickly mainly because it’s good but also because they make so many references to it in 8 that you’ll miss half of the jokes and cool guest appearances if you don’t. But what’s sad about that is Ocean’s 8 is almost a shot for shot remake of 11. They steal the opening scene, the overall plot, and even the filming style of Steven Sodomy (I know that’s not his name but I hate him and refuse to call him by his real name), which is a shame because the women that are in this film are legends and they at the very least deserve their own original story.

What made 11 so cool was the fact that Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Mac, Garcia, and Roberts were all at the top of their games and you could tell that they were having time of their lives. Now it helps that they were all in Vegas because it’s kind of hard not to have fun there but still, seeing Damon, fresh off of Jason Bourne, playing something completely out of character for him was both funny and engaging. And that, combined with the fact that Pitt was eating in every scene and casually dropping the film’s funniest lines, made you feel as though you were a part of the crew.

Well that’s what was missing in this film. Don’t get me wrong, I liked 8 but it took a while to get over the fact that Hollywood didn’t feel as though Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and freaking Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) couldn’t carry a film on their own. All of whom were amazing in this film by the way. It felt as though you could visibly see Bullock feeling the pressure of becoming the new Danny Ocean but Blanchett and Hathaway were clearly having fun.

In 8, Bullock has just been released from prison and she is looking to get the old gang back together to pull off the ultimate heist. She wants to steal Cartier’s version of the Crown’s Jewels when they are on display around the neck of Hathaway at the annual Met Gala. So Bullock and Blanchett go on a recruiting tour to find a team that can pull this off. This is where they find Awkwafina (the pickpocket), Mindy Kaling (the master jeweler), Sarah Paulson (still not sure what her special skill was), Rihanna (the hacker) and Helena Bonham Carter (the fashion designer).

Blanchett showed that she still has it as she just oozed coolness on the screen and thankfully Rihanna wasn’t distractingly bad with her acting but the highlights were clearly Bonham Carter and Awkwafina. Bonham was her normal quirky self but in this film she displayed a vulnerability that you don’t normally see in her characters, similar to Damon in 11. And everything Awkawafina said and did had me in tears. I will admit that there was a plot twist at the end that I didn’t really see coming but looking back it did fall in line with their original goal which was to copy everything that happened in 11.

Overall, I liked this film and it is definitely better than Ocean’s 12 or 13; I guess I was just hoping that Hollywood would come out of the Dark Ages and allow it to have its own identity. Oh well, at least they are getting closer. I give it a rating of FRESH. Now can I please be removed from the Blacklist on Bumble?
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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War

Let me first start off by saying that I completely understand; the older you get and the more money you make, it’s hard for anyone to stay motivated. I don’t care if you’re Kanye West waking up to Kim Kardashian every morning or if simply you’re Fred Durst waking up to the stripper versions of Carmen Elektra after playing yet another theme park in rural Kansas; at some point you relax and you stop consistently tapping into those creative juices that once made you so special. This is why you see once cutting edge acts like Nine Inch Nails and Yelawolf playing old man rock festivals in the parking lot of an arena in San Antonio. And yes, you read that correctly, they aren’t even big enough to actually play in the arena anymore, they just roll out the stage the cheerleaders usually practice on and make these scrubby entertainers dance for the corndog eating bikers of yesteryear.

But you know what? I’m ok with this, these bands aren’t hurting anyone, they’re just trying to support their estranged hookers and illegitimate children; or in the case of Yelawolf, his drug habit and his need for the latest Yeezes. And speaking of Sir Kanye, he chose to go the opposite route; instead of gracefully drifting off into the land of obscurity, he decided that it would be a great idea to troll Black America. Yes, the same Black America that supported him after he went on national television and sounded like a lost child in the mall who somehow stumbled his way onto a telethon. He thinks that he’s being a marketing genius but in his attempt to become the next Andy Kaufman, he has regressed as an artist and now has become the wack version of MC Hammer. And I say the wack version because at least Black people still respect Hammer and what he did with those amazing pants.

What’s the point of all of this? Marvel didn’t let the girl with the fat ass lull them into complacency. After 10 years and 18 films, they could’ve easily mailed it in and given the people yet another mindless crowd pleasing conclusion. They instead chose the route of doing something they’ve never done to this point which is to give us a thought provoking film that doesn’t provide any closure. Now, of course I’m aware of the fact that there is a part two of Infinity War coming out next year and that Thanos (Josh Brolin) does possess the time stone that could in theory reverse everything he’s done to this point (a likely copout) but that doesn’t take away from what they accomplished with this film. For the first time that I’m aware of, people walked out of a Marvel film crying and shaking their fists in anger. "What do you mean the good guys didn’t win? There’s no way everyone died; that’s not fair!" And yes, props to Marvel for pulling off the ultimate Episode 11 of a Game of Thrones season. Hell, at one point I thought they were even going to film the actual, real life death of Stan Lee; talk about the perfect Fourth Dimension moment!

At this point, you already know the plot, supreme badass Thanos has finally kick started his evil plan of collecting all six Infinity Stones (the particles that formed the universe) to control and "save" the universe from itself. His plan is to help us hold on to our resources by killing off half the universe’s population. The way he sees it, there’s no way the universe can sustain itself at the rate we grow and abuse our surrounding environments. And I have to say that I agree with him, anytime I roll up on a party in Texas and they run out of Bud Light, you know there’s too damn many of us living here! Well of course The Avengers being The Avengers can’t let that ride, so they try and do everything they can in their power to stop him. And when I say The Avengers, I mean those officially in the troop and those who have never even met Ironman or Captain America.

And this is part of why I liked the film so much; I thought that with this many characters, there’s no way they could give them enough quality screen time without coming up with a convoluted storyline. But as is never the case, I was wrong (kidding of course). Everyone with the exception of Black Panther, Hulk and Vision had their own badass moment in the film. There was Captain America and his Indiana Jones esque intro in the film when he casually dodged a flying axe like he was Leroy Jenkins catching bullets in his teeth in The Last Dragon. And yes, that was a reference to a Blaxploitation karate film from the 80’s; check it out. Ironman was on point with his shit talking as always, Thor got another awesome weapon, Spiderman and Groot both redeemed themselves from their previous films and the women all proved that if given the chance, they could easily carry a solo film of their own. And while Thanos was clearly insane, he presented his points of view with such level headedness that it made his character that much scarier. It was like watching this new version of Kim Jong Un, there’s no way he’s this nice. I keep waiting for him to throw the leader of South Korea into a fiery pit just so he can collect the Nuclear Infinity Stone and blow the rest of the world to bits.

But it was the combination of all of these things; the boldness of Marvel to try something new and dangerous, a villain who wasn’t too over the top, and a slew of awesome action scenes that had you cheering for more. That is, until everyone died! And this is why I loved the film. Come on, you’ve had 18 chances (minus Panther) to walk out of a Marvel film without being challenged in any way, shape, or form; you can handle one film that makes you uncomfortable. And it’s because of this that I give Infinity War a rating of TIGHT!
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Quiet Place

If you’re looking for an actual quiet place to go, the last option on your list should be anywhere where Black people are. "Oh no, that’s so racist!" No that’s not racist, that’s just real talk. I’m Black, so trust me, I know. Everyone knows that you don’t go see a scary movie in a Black theater because all you’ll hear the entire time is Lakeisha yelling "Aww hell naw girl! You better get yo ass up outta there!" Black BBQ’s? We set up the sound system for our music well before we set up anything else. And once it gets going, you can Kendrick and Biggie blaring from the speakers from miles away.

I was at a party this weekend with a Black friend of mine where 95% of the people who were there just so happened to be Caucasian. And as my friend and I started talking and laughing, I felt so sorry for everyone else who was in attendance because there was no way in hell they could even hear themselves think, let alone carry on an actual conversation. Why are we so loud, you ask? Is it because we are so happy that we can freely sing and talk without having to worry about being cracked with a whip? Or is it just a natural reflex to let everyone know our whereabouts just in case a cop decides to get in some target practice before deer hunting season rolls arounds?

Who knows but what I do know is that we wouldn’t last two seconds in a horror film simply because we’d be the first person the killer finds. I used to get angry at the fact that Black people always died in horror flicks; I used to think it was just the filmmakers being racist, but after A Quiet Place came out, I was finally awaken to the truth; we are just too damn loud. If we could just learn to use our inside voices every now and then, we might actually stand a chance. Stay woke son, stay woke!

Well thankfully they spare us the gruesome death scenes of any minorities in this film but that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s short on terror. In A Quiet Place, The Office’s John Krasinski introduces us to a post-apocalyptic world where the only way you can survive is if you don’t make any noticeable sounds. There are apparently creatures nearby who can only detect sound and the second they do, they appear from seemingly nowhere and immediately pounce on and kill their prey. So if you snore or get caught watching the wrong porn flick, it’s a wrap for you.

Now while there does appear to be other survivors in this story, the filmmakers decide to put their attention solely on Krasinski and Emily Blunt’s family. And despite losing a young child to one of these creatures and having to deal with the grief and self-imposed blame that comes along with that, the couple decides to have another baby to go along with the two they currently have in an attempt to try and lead a somewhat normal life. Naturally this decision leads to some rather intense moments in the movie but more on that in a second.

What’s so cool and unique about this film is the fact that the family doesn’t do anything silly like whisper quietly to one another but they instead actually utilize sign language to communicate. Which not only means you’re reading subtitles for the majority of the film but it also means you’re experiencing the creepy silence along with them. So the second you hear any sound or simply suspect that a sound could be created with a footstep or a baby contraction, you’re freaking out because you know it’s just a matter of time before the creatures, or whatever they are, show up.

And that’s yet another thing I loved about this film, not everything was spelled out for you. As the plot develops, you not only learn more about the family and what actually happened to society but you also see more of and learn more about the beings that are wreaking havoc on this farm. To a certain extent it’s a bit predictable but that’s to be expected, it’s a horror film. It was just refreshing to see the story stray from most of the typical clichés that have plagued this genre for decades.

Now while I still do hate on Krasinski for stealing Emily Blunt from me, I do have to give him credit for making a decent film. And he certainly did owe us after that awful football movie he made with George Clooney. Do yourself a favor and go check out A Quiet Place as I give it a rating of very FRESH!
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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Ready Player One

As I celebrated my 86th birthday this week, I had the opportunity to reflect on some of the better birthday celebrations I had when I was still a bright eyed and hopeful youth; the best of which was a fish fry my dad threw for me in his best friend’s epic backyard. I’m from a small town where there wasn’t much to do, so fish fries were a big deal; they gave everyone the chance to unwind from a long week, catch up with old friends, gaze at the stars, listen to some of the best artists RnB and Jazz (at least for my family) had to offer, and of course drink all of the Bud Light, Budweiser, and Crown Royal the local market had to offer. I mean, if I were old enough, I definitely might’ve impregnated someone that night but at that time my game was pretty weak, so sadly I was dateless at my own party. All I could do was enjoy the family and friends who gathered there and temporarily forget the fact that I lived in country Texas.

And this is why I think Ready Player One is even more of a fantasy than the writers intended it to be. Again, I was in a small town and this was 70 years ago, so this was well before the days of virtual reality. In order to escape my daily misery, I had to rely on ghetto VR which consisted of me day dreaming about hitting the game winning shot in the Final Four and then banging every woman from the James Bond movies as a reward afterwards. And trust me, I can feel your judgement as I write this but I think I deserve some credit for not turning into a Children of the Corn psychopath who stored bodies in his closet just before running off to get some late night Taco Cabana. Victoria was that awful of a place.

The point is, if Ready Player One was a nonfiction story, it would’ve been the most boring movie ever made because all teenage boys care about is Pikachu and getting laid. You seriously would’ve had 2400 hours of footage that focused solely on some dude chasing a yellow looking doll around a park while finishing way too quickly once a girl sticks her hands down his pants. I guess there’s the off chance that he’s an early developing Furry and you see Pikachu sticking its hands down his pants but that’s seriously the best you can hope for.

Well thankfully they decided to go the route of fiction and gave us the story of Wade, a kid who lives in a depressing version of our future where the only escape from the poverty and awful living conditions is the virtual reality world called Oasis; a place that was created by the genius programmer, Halliday. Halliday loved 80’s and early 90’s pop culture and most of his VR world featured some of most iconic things from those eras. It was such a great escape that literally everyone played his game, especially after he made the announcement that whoever found his three hidden Easter eggs would not only inherit his fortune but would have control over the Oasis.

Wade and his best friend Aech are two of the remaining few who continue to try and solve Halliday’s tricky puzzles. And in the process, Wade falls for the mysterious Art3mis, another gamer who has a shared hatred for the big corporation that’s trying to not only win the game but also have even more control of this dystopian society. Will they find the eggs before the corporation does? Can Wade even trust Art3mis? And is his friend Aech hiding the fact that he’s really a Furry who’s trying to lure him into his dark underworld? These are all things you must find out on your own.

But in the process you’ll have fun doing so because the VR world Halliday has created is so cool. It’s not all about the game; in his world you can literally make all of your dreams come true. Whatever you can imagine is brought to life in his world, so even if you don’t get all of the 20 and 30 year old references, the visuals in this movie alone will keep you engaged. Not to mention the fact that the challenges Halliday requires you to pass before you find each egg are fun; the first of which was the most exciting of the film. It’s a race that you must win, which sounds easy enough, except for the simple fact that no one has ever been able to actually finish the race. You not only have to fight off your opponent but the tons of obstacles that are thrown in your way, like the T-Rex from Jurassic Park or King Kong who basically destroys the entire race track. And it’s in this race that you see the bulk of the pop culture references Halliday implements, 70% of which are all from Spielberg movies; the same guy who directed Ready Player One. I personally thought that if he were really fresh, Spielberg would have also included a few nods to some of his depressing films like Schindler’s List or The Color Purple. You too can have sex with Whoopi Goldberg or mow down Nazis while trying to free people from a concentration camp. Admit it, you were expecting a more offensive joke than that, weren’t you? Come on, I’m not a monster!

Anyway, even without those additions, this movie was highly entertaining and I strongly suggest that you go see it in the theater. I give Ready Player One a rating of FRESH!
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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Isle of Dogs

There was a time in my life when I used to giggle at the thought of another country and their citizens treating their cattle as equals to human beings. I just couldn’t imagine letting something that my family threw on the BBQ pit with regularity walk around my living room while I was trying to watch The Cosby Show. But after some guy let his dog run up to me the other day and basically eat my headphones while they were still in my ear, and essentially laugh it off as if it was his cute baby taking their first ever poop, I realized that we as Americans are now treating our dogs as equals.

Where else can a dog maul a 4 year old child to death and the parents of said child decide to still keep him around as a pet? In what other country will someone come up to you and threaten to take your life simply because you decide to take target practice with a photo of a dog while they practice shooting at a human target? Ok, so full disclaimer, I actually saw that last example on the show Atlanta but we all know that most fiction is based off of reality so that example still counts in my book. The point is, have we as a society lost our collective minds or am I simply just a bitter old Black man whose ex-girlfriend’s obsession with her stupid dog caused me to reach this point? I’m willing to admit that it’s probably a mixture of both.

Well in Wes Anderson’s latest flick, Isle of Dogs, he introduces us to a world where the Japanese have decided to protect their citizens by shipping all of the country’s dogs off to a deserted island. Now this is an agenda I can actually get behind! In this stop motion animated alternate universe, society has turned its back on dogs in favor of cats and because of this a war breaks out and dogs are brought to the brink of extinction. But thankfully for dog lovers everywhere, this brave young warrior steps in and saves the day. This salvation however is apparently only temporary as the remaining dogs have somehow developed a rare disease that not only threatens their existence but that of humans as well as there’s a chance it can cross species. The leaders in charge decide that it’s in the best interest of our race to isolate them despite the fact that a possible cure is imminent.

Well as the dogs are being sent off to this island full of trash, there is one young boy who refuses to let his beloved pet die on this disgusting island alone. So he sneaks off in a single engine plane to find his dog Spots despite the fact that it was his uncle who put the order into effect. And once he arrives, he soon realizes that he must now rely on this rag tag group of dogs who spend their entire days scrapping and clawing for whatever little food is left on the island while reminiscing about the good ole days of yesteryear where they were show dogs, bird hunters, or simply had owners who put them ahead of anything else. Everyone is onboard with helping the boy except for the packs toughest member, Chief (Bryan Cranston), who goes along with the pack but only because he has to. Will they find the boy’s dog before his uncle finds him? Is his dog even alive? And if he isn’t, how long before the other dogs all join him in death and leave the world to the evil cate to rule?

Wes Anderson’s humor is known for being a bit esoteric but in this particular film it seems to be more so than usual. If you’ve never seen an Anderson flick before or you’re only a casual fan at best, this is not the film for you. All of his movies try and bring humor to some of life’s darkest or most difficult moments and this is certainly no different. In Isle, he takes on abandonment, desperation, government corruption, and yes, even love, the last of which gives this film the lightheartedness the story so desperately needed.

Forty minutes into the film, the running joke that there are dogs who talk and act like 40 year old white men gets a little stale, so Anderson had no choice but to focus on a universal theme that both dog and cat lovers can identify with. Despite all of the awful things that are happening in this world, love somehow conquers all. You see it amongst the group of dogs who were forced to band together to simply survive, you see it in the boy who will do anything to reunite with his pet, and you even see it in the gruff Chief.

This film is entertaining and Anderson is still at the top of his game but just know that Isle is not for everyone. This is like going to see a side project of your favorite band, you may be freaking out over the fact that James Murphy is playing an all acoustic ukulele set at Stubb’s BBQ but that doesn’t mean that everyone who’s heard an LCD Soundsystem song will be down.

I give Isle of Dogs a rating of FRESH and suggest that all Anderson fans pop in. And for the record, I don’t really hate dogs, just my ex, so please don’t call the ASPCA on me and have them throw red paint on me while I’m eating my hot dog (pun intended) at lunch.
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