ellestra: (tiger)
Finally a trailer for Civil War showing new Spiderman. That read is very bright - probably why he needs to squint.

All their movies are great but Kubo And The Two Strings looks better than anything they did so far. I can't wait.

I like this Ghostbusters trailer much better than the last one. Except for that cringe worthy bit at the end.
ellestra: (muppets)
I saw Zootopia yesterday. It is as beautiful, funny and moving as everyone else says. The animation is great. The animals are very anthropomorphised but at the same time all the little movements - like the nose twitches - are so very animal like. And the ideas behind the world design were beautifully realised too. All the climate zones and different sizes of habitats and equipment for different sizes of animals. You can just get lost in the designs.

But the best part is the story.

Everyone talks about how great this film is about showcasing different kinds of prejudice (from bunnies to predators to sloths) and how even if you are discriminate against doesn't mean you don't hold preconceptions and aren't a subject to confirmation bias. It was heartbreaking to see Judy fell into it when she was always saying to everyone it is a wrong thing to do. But this is also the best part.

She tells her parents not all foxes are bad and they shouldn't believe in stereotypes but their warnings and prejudices do get to her. Like a little voice in the back of her head that makes her doubt the very things she says she believes in. So she took that fox repellent, told all about predators not being able to help their DNA, got scared of Nick. Because even if you try to not let the prejudices get to you if something is said often enough you internalise it eventually. Especially if you also fight the stereotypes about yourself.

But just like their words got to her so her words got to them. Her parents tried to follow her see beyond their prejudice and work with Gideon and see not all foxes are bad even if they were bullies as kids. So even if she cannot always stick to her ideals it still matters to say it. Even when you fail at them others can keep them going and that spreads around too.

It matter that she believes those things - both because when she treats others with care and respect it gets back to her (saves her life really) and it lets her s keep trying even when others (even her parents) don't believe in her. It's important that Judy recognises her mistakes and realises the horrible consequences of her prejudice. But for me it was even more important to see the positive ideas she believed in change the people around her. Because nobody can do it alone. And that cooperation how she managed to solve the case.

Oh, and my favourite in joke - was the ad for Moana (one of the not yet released movies Duke Weaselton was selling was Zootopia version).
ellestra: (tiger)
Tomek Bagiński's new film Ambition tells of a young apprentice (Aisling Franciosi) struggling to master nanotechnology on an alien world and prove herself to her enigmatic master (Aidan Gillen). Here's the trailer:

And if you haven't seen his work or just would like to see it again here it is.
ellestra: (sunrise)
I just saw The Lego Movie and it's everything the trailers promised. It's funny, self-aware and entertaining. The trailers spoil a lot but they don't spoil everything and there are still lots of good jokes left (I don't think Superman and Green Lantern were in any of them and their interactions are golden). There is also the main plot that has some eye misting scenes and it was barely touched in any of the trailers.

The movie is incredibly fun for something that's like a big advertisement for both LEGO (it includes sets and part numbers and you still love it) and Warner DC Universe (it's as close as we are going to a Justice League movie for years). It relies on your genre savinnes and plays with it constantly - from feeling of nostalgia about LEGO sets to voice cameos of Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams. I loved the details - like the old 80s NASA astronaut set fig has broken helmet and look its age. It seemed like such a random detail until you get to the big twist and then it makes perfect sense. Still, it's nice they thought about that. I also like visual jokes for the ones paying attention (all the costumes Emmett tries on before putting on his clothes and even his pyjama version show up in Cloud Cuckoo Land - also makes sense later).

I was a little disappointed with lack of female characters and that the ones that show up never talk with each other but then I realised that anything anyone does is talk to the main hero. The only time they talk to each other is to pointedly ignore Emmett. It of course makes perfect sense when you know the big reveal but it annoyed me a little in the first part. On the other hand I liked how with all the talk about how the science/spaceship/cars sets are also for girls it was nice to see that the Cloud Cuckoo Land (which codes traditionally girly) can be also be for boys.

The film treats all it's characters with great sympathy (at the big reveal you understand why and also the ending of that storyline is the most kid thing about this movie). Even Batman, who is mostly self-centred jerk we see in the trailers is also a hero (I almost felt bad about him losing the girl). It's also one of the few films I actually liked Will Ferrell's character (I find most of them an excuse to act like a giant misogynistic, and often also homophobic and racist, jerk and force audience to care about him just because he suffers and learns his lesson). And Liam Neeson is great as Bad Cop/Good Cop - the switch from gruff voice reminiscent of his roles in action movies to the happy tones of Good Cop are hilarious. They also play with how we all perceive Morgan Freeman - the voice of authority - but then he can't even get his wizards straight. Alison Brie kills it as Princess Unikitty. As does Charlie Day and Nick Offerman. Even the main characters are great and that's usually hard as the main couple always ends up the most bland but both Elizabeth Banks and Charlie Pratt do very well here. The film has really great cast and it knows it:

ellestra: (slingers)
The end is nigh and everyone is summing up their year so I decided to look back at all the movies I saw this year. I counted all the reviews I wrote and there is 10 of them which is more then I expected. I saw a lot of films this year (at least that's a lot for me) as these aren't even all the movies I saw. There were a few I didn't write about.

Some because I was too busy at the time and it didn't seem important enough.

I saw Pacific Rim just before it stopped being shown in cinemas. I liked it but I figured out everyone else saw it too and there wasn't much too say. The movie fights between giant robots and pseudo-dinosaur monsters are very cool and it was nice to watch but I didn't really feel strongly about it. The the whole story, the way it is structured feels very much like an anime - the way the characters behave and the logic of their actions - and it felt weird in a live action movie, without any teenagers and very little Japan. The dynamics between the main hero, his partner/girlfriend and the main antagonist pilot rival - I felt like I saw it so many times before. The same with the two arguing scientist who learn how to work together to figure out how to save everyone (and are apparently the only ones studying this in the whole world because apparently everyone else is too busy killing mice when giant monsters stomp on the world) - such a staple of the genre. I understood the love behind the homage but it became a little too much when they killed all the pilots (at least the antagonist pilot could've been sent back in the safety pod) except for the main guy and his love interest. I'm not surprised by the internet being full of fix it - the other pilots lived - stories. Also for the film that spends most of it's time in Hong Kong and is based on Japanese monster/giant robot stories and happens in Pacific it was very full of Brits. There was a Brit playing American, Brit playing Australian and a Brit playing German and the one who was actually allowed to be British to lead them all. All this when UK is not even Pacific nation - safely half a world away from the battle.

I also saw RED 2 which was fun and both me and my friend who I went to see it with were laughing the whole time and there is a lot of great action sequences and beautiful explosions but I left ultimately disappointed. It was just such a direct calque of the first one it was almost ridiculous. In some cases it felt like all they changed was setting and character name. There is much younger agent trying to kill Bruce Willis character/ rest of the crew but then switching sides. There is misdirection of who is the bad guy but then it's one of the old guys and they get him while he gets all Bond-villainy. One of the good guys old pack dies. There is reasonably recognisable guy who shows up for one scene exposition (James Remar/Titus Welliver). You can just go through the points like that. To make it even more like the first Mary Louise Parker's character's still cannot even shoot a gun (but in RED 1 end she went with them on a mission - one would think John Malkovitch's character would show her how to use it). Of course RED has never been about the plot - it has never been anything original but the one original thing badass pensioners is no longer fresh in this one and just repeating the whole plot all over again with some minor detail shuffling is just lazy. But the truth is I will watch it again because I really went to see Helen Mirren kill people while flirting with Brian Cox and it was glorious. They are, for me, the main couple of the franchise and all they do (and Ivan's outrageous berets) is awesome. Marvin was pretty funny too. So because I enjoy just seeing them on the screen I had loads of fun watching this movie. I just try to ignore why they did all that stuff.

Some films I haven't wrote about because I just saw them.

I saw Frozen because everyone was so raving about it and it is pretty and cute and has nothing to do with Hans Christian Andersen. I didn't feel like it's the be all, end all of animated movies but I enjoyed immensely both main female characters and their relationship. I liked that this film had two female protagonist and that the plot is about their relationship to each other. The main protagonist - princess Anna was, for me - unfortunately, the ever optimistic, hot-headed, romantic Disney princess but they did a good job to make even the old cynic like me feel for her. Elsa was, too me, more interesting protagonist and I loved how she rediscovered the good sides of her magic and learned to love it again. It felt a little ridiculous how they made fun of superfast Disney romance only to replace it with slightly less fast another romance but at least it wasn't the point of the story. The bad guy turn was a little surprise (I was suspicious at the beginning - I know what 12 older princes mean - you have to go and marry to another kingdom and that was a fas princess finding - but then he gave blankets to the people and saved Elsa) but it was too obvious he wasn't "true love". After years of the true love kisses on OUaT I'm glad the true love was something different here. And there was a lot of really funny moments. Although the whole gag with the Oaken - did it really need that accent - they are all from the same country and everyone else is speaking like an American so why he would be different? People with foreign accents are just so funny I suppose. But Olaf was funny and cut instead of irritating and so was Sven. I also couldn't stop thinking how everyone was so happy at the end but even few days of such an intense winter would kill all crops - Arindale was going to stave that year. Sorry, I shouldn't use real world logic in Disney movie. It is very entertaining if you just go with the emotions. And very pretty. And full of extremely likeable characters and good music. I'm not surprised there were so many little girls in princess dresses for weeks near the cinema.

I went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty this weekend. It's a weirdly science-fictional tale for something that is not science fiction. Mostly because the main character spends a lot of time going into his dreams those are full of action movie stuff (and probably took more of the film budget more then the whole real world travel part). As film progresses we learn how much, very important, parts of his life he missed because of those zoning out incidents but we also learn he isn't as boring and uninteresting as he seems. And what's important he discovers it too. The film starts showing Walter as the most boring person and basically a loser and the we discover all the little things that make him exceptional. Everyone misses it - just like Cheryl missed all the cool stuff he did on the skateboard - even he doesn't realise what he is capable of until he tries. Only Sean sees it and in the end we do too. It was obvious to me that the negative was in a wallet so I cringed when he threw it away and as soon as his mother admitted Sean O'Connell visited her to talk about Walter I knew the photo was of him but neither of these is really a point of the film so I didn't feel bad about figuring it out. If Walter did it when I did he would never see snow leopard, kicked ball with Sherpas at 5 and half km above see level (apparently football is less taxing then walking and talking on the phone) and got arrested in Los Angeles airport and met Todd in person. Sometimes the best thing is enjoying the moment. I certainly enjoyed this film.

I'm also stuck with this song in my head:
ellestra: (Default)
I decided to see The Pirates! Band of Misfits (also known as The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!) movie before I leave because I'm sure it might be hard to do after I come back. I even saw it in 3D.

The film is exactly what it says on the tin. It's funny, it's moving and it has a message - you know about friendship and saving animals. The blending of stop motion animation and computer background is seamless. And it is completely historically inaccurate which makes it even funnier.

There is plenty of subtle jokes (and many slapstic ones) and it's good to stay during credits to just see all the ads. I tried to make a list of the ones I liked best but it was too long so just go and see it for yourself.

I'm a little disappointed about getting American version - without Russell Tovey and the wrong title. The first is not that noticeable but the second ruins some scenes but apparently was necessary to sell it to American audiences.
ellestra: (telamon)
One of the films I want to see this year is Aardman's The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. If it's even half as good as the trailers make it look I'm going to love it

I just learned that it's only called after the book in UK (through a lot of confusion as I tried to google it and got weird results). In US it's to be called The Pirates! Band of Misfits. I suppose mentioning scientist in the title is a way to make a movie flop in US, especially if it comes out the main one of those scientists is Darwin himself. Worse then Satanist I suppose. Hope they don't find out one of the books in the series is The Pirates! in Adventure with Communists. Maybe, this is why this is happening:

[Not that Poland is much better. It getting bigger between 2000 and 2010 just shows Polish scientist taking advantage higher availability of European grants after joining EU (and EU pumping more money and making it easier to practice science).

And it isn't really that bad in US. It's still has one of the largest science budgets in the world and the labs with access to the best and newest technology. Even after two years I am still shocked at the amounts of money we spent in the lab here but as I as affiliated with a core facility I know most labs don't have that kind of resources. Anyway there is still a lot of money and resources relatively easily available for scientists in the US. It's just other places in the world (sadly not Africa but South America looks better) started to push their science to the front too and they are catching up.]

I could get even more serious about this but I got to run as there is science to be done, experiments to run and all that.
ellestra: (Default)
Because I live in US now and I was busy today I completely missed out on the Google Doodle celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Stanisław Lem's first book publication and it was the best thing ever. Based on the adventures of his Cyberiad characters' constructors Trurl and Klapanciusz and using the same style of drawing the Cyberiad illustrator Daniel Mróz used it is a thing of beauty and made me feel strangely nostalgic. It made me miss home and childhood. I remember when we read Bajki Robotów (Robot Fairytales - another anthology based in the same world but with different characters) and Cyberiad in primary school. If you know the stories you can recognise them in this animation. When it was still today in Europe you could've also played that game but now all you (and I) can do is watch a little bit different iteration of it on youtube. This made me realise the robot is also doing things on "N" in English but as creators admit it makes different things in different runs and languages (there are more easter eggs in the game and it makes me even more sorry I missed it)
ellestra: (tiger)
The spots done by Tomek Bagiński for Polish Ministry of Culture for the 600th anniversary of Grunwald battle:

My favourite part is armor solidifying around the Teuton Knight.

And armies appearing out of nowhere
ellestra: (sunrise)
For the first time I went to the cinema here. I went to see How to Train Your Dragon. It's a really good, funny and moving movie and the dragon flight scenes can almost rival Avatar in beauty. Even from the trailers I've seen before I thought that the dragon Toothless looks a lot like Stich. This feeling only grew stronger during the movie so I checked and the same people who did Lilo and Stich are also behind this.

Spoilers )

Over all I enjoyed the movie a lot.
ellestra: (Default)
How many of you have seen that?

The Cathedral by Tomasz Bagiński

This is what some people do with free time. It was even nominated for an Oscar. Even after all these years I'm still impressed by that. And how he managed to convey the essence of Jacek Dukaj's story in these few minutes of animation.

Here you can watch it and other short animations - among them the other short from Tomek Bagiński - Fallen Art (warning for graphic violence)

May 2016

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