Mini-Reviews: Mechanic: Resurrection, Pete’s Dragon, & Kubo and the Two Strings

Hey everybody!

So this has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. You know that I do sometimes multiple reviews over the weekend, but I fall behind on my movie watching and I feel like reviewing a week old or sometimes two week old film would be a little late or not worth it since many have already either seen it, or takes away from reviewing the newer films. So instead of doing big reviews, I’ll do these mini-reviews and get right to the nit-and-gritty.

*As always, these will be spoiler free reviews*

 

Mechanic: Resurrection

Director: Dennis Gansel

Writers: Philip Shelby & Tony Mosher

Cast: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Michelle Yeoh, Sam Hazeldine, and Tommy Lee Jones

Synopsis: Arthur Bishop thought he had to put his murderous past behind him when his most formidable foe kidnaps the love of his life. Now he forced to travel the globe to complete three impossible assassinations, and do what he does best, make them look like accidents.

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A sequel to the 2011 remake The Mechanic, Jason Statham returns as Arthur Bishop who is living a new life by himself, until an old friend, and now enemy, Crain (Hazeldine) finds him and wants him to do what Bishop does best: make his assassinations look like accidents. However, Bishop has extra incentive as Crain has Gina (Alba), a woman that has her own story for getting involved between these two, and threatens to kill Gina if Bishop doesn’t complete three different and difficult assassinations.

I don’t think anyone was really up for a sequel to The Mechanic, although it was one of the better string of Statham films for a while. When it comes to Mechanic: Resurrection, I think it was better left off without a sequel. Resurrection wasn’t a bad film, but it certainly wasn’t a worthy sequel that it should have been. In fact, Resurrection doesn’t even feel like a sequel at times, there is only one, maybe two, references to the first film.

Jason Statham does his thing, and is still great at it, but it’s the rest of the cast that falls a little short. Jessica Alba never stands out as much as she probably should have while Michelle Yeoh is wasted here and seemed like they just wanted a big name. Sam Hazeldine does okay as the villain, but we don’t get a ton of screen time with him and his arch with Bishop is really underdeveloped, and I think a flashback or two could have helped to really push the rivalry between Crain and Bishop. Finally, Tommy Lee Jones has maybe ten minutes of screen time, but it looked like he was enjoying his time playing an arms dealer.

All in all, Mechanic: Resurrection has some descent action in the film, but it did feel like a forced sequel. If you enjoy Jason Statham beating the crap out of people than this is the movie for you.

Mechanic: Resurrection

3 out of 5

 

 

Pete’s Dragon

Director: David Lowery

Writers: David Lowery & Toby Halbrooks

Cast: Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Oona Laurence, Karl Urban, Wes Bentley, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and Robert Redford

Synopsis: The adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend, who just so happens to be a dragon.

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I don’t remember watching the original Pete’s Dragon, but I knew about it. So walking into this remake, I went in with fresh eyes and it was completely worth it. The film follows Pete (Fegley), who has lived in the forest since a small boy after an accident. However, Pete isn’t alone as he has lived with Elliot, a mythical dragon in the small town away from the woods. One day, Pete is discovered by Natalie (Laurence), her father Jack (Bentley), and her soon-to-be stepmother Grace (Howard), who is a park ranger for those woods. When they find him, however, it’s Jack’s brother Gavin (Urban) who thinks something is out in the woods, and soon discovers that he’s right: the problem? It’s Elliot.

Pete’s Dragon surprisingly adds more dramatic and personal stories than you would think from a Disney film and a summer movie season film, but it all completely works so I applaud director David Lowery and his co-writer Toby Halbrooks for doing so. But it is those themes that make the film so great. Pete’s Dragon is all about family and loss but it doesn’t beat you over the head with it, instead it lets its cast do it organically.

The cast is also great, Oakes Fegley is extremely likable as Pete, Bryce Dallas Howard brings the sense of wonderment to the film that it needed and Oona Laurence has her moments in the film and continues to show that she has a great career ahead of her. Karl Urban is the “villain” of the film, but Lowery and Urban do the right thing and don’t make Gavin too extreme of one. Robert Redford as Grace’s father Meacham, plays the only person in town that still believe Elliot is actually real and the dragon of the woods is out there. Finally, Elliot the dragon is so awesome to see. I’m sure if more people watched this, we’d be seeing little kids with Elliot’s plush dolls all around us.

All in all, Pete’s Dragon is a fantastic film that should be seen by everyone. It has a great message and flows beautifully.

Pete’s Dragon

5 out of 5

 

 

Kubo and the Two Strings

Director: Travis Knight

Writers: Marc Halmes & Chris Butler

Voice Cast: Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara, Brenda Vaccaro, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, George Takei, and Ralph Fiennes

Synopsis: A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.

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It’s hard to believe that Kubo and the Two Strings is only Laika Entertainment fourth film, but considering their films are so complex and intricate it makes sense. That is what makes their films so different and fun to watch because you know the years of hard work that goes into them.

The film follows Kubo (Parkinson), a one-eyed boy who lives with his sickly mother in a small town. Along with his magical guitar that allows him to control his origami creations tells stories about his legendary father Hanzo to the townspeople before the sun goes down due to his mother’s rules. However, Kubo doesn’t make it back in time one day and is attacked by The Sisters (Mara), who have been sent by The Moon King (Fiennes) for Kubo’s other eye. When his mother realizes what is happening she uses the last bit of her power to send Kubo away and bring a totem of his to life in Monkey (Theron) to protect him on his journey to find his father’s armor to defeat The Moon King. Along the way, they meet Beetle (McConaughey), a cursed soldier who used to work with Kubo’s father. He takes it upon himself to help Monkey and Kubo on their journey.

I absolutely loved this film in every way possible. There’s a lot more to the story I’m telling you because I want you to experience the story yourself first. I will say the production design is perfect and the score fits perfectly with the film that makes the experience so much better to watch. Kubo also continues Laika’s tradition of handling some darker themes of storytelling – The Sisters are a bit terrifying – but in a way that younger audiences can still enjoy and not feel too scared. However, the film also has a ton of humor to offset it if you’re worried about that.

All in all, I will say that you should go watch Kubo and the Two Strings. It has everything you can ask for and it’s a beautiful film to look at and experience. There is a character moment, and even story moment, late in the film that misses the mark just a bit but I enjoyed everything else about the film so much I could forgive the film for it. Lastly, there is an awesome and beautiful cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by Regina Spektor that plays during the end credits that I highly recommend you check out.

Kubo and the Two Strings

5 out of 5

August Movie Releases

Can you believe it’s already August? Seriously, where has the all the time gone, geez. Anyway, August is filled some films that could have tremendous potential. It’s also the last month of the Summer Movie Season, also known to some as studios’ “dump month,” although this year it could be very different.

Would also like to say I’m sorry for not posting this earlier. Slipped past me.

 

5th

Nine Lives (Comedy – EuropaCorp USA/Fundamental Films)

A stuffy businessman (Kevin Spacey) finds himself trapped inside the body of his family’s cat to learn what he’s been missing. The film also stars Jennifer Garner, Cheryl Hines, Talitha Bateman, Teddy Sears, Robbie Amell, and Christopher Walken. The film really isn’t targeted toward me, and overall it doesn’t look that funny to me either.

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Suicide Squad (Action – Warner Bros./DC Entertainment/Atlas Entertainment/Dune Entertainment)

David Ayer brings one of the most ambitious comic book adaptations to life with Suicide Squad. The film follows a group of imprisoned supervillains hired by a secret government agency named A.R.G.U.S, lead by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), to do a dangerous mission to get their freedom. This one is definitely a make-it-or-break-it film and while many people are excited for the film – I can see why – I wasn’t sold on it for a while, but the film has won me over, at least for the time being.  Suicide Squad stars Will Smith (Deadshot), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Jared Leto (The Joker), Cara Delevingne (Enchantress), Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flagg), Jay Hernandez (El Diablo), Karen Fukuhara (Katana), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Killer Croc), Adam Beach (Slipknot), Common (Tattooed Man), Jim Parrack (Jonny Frost), Scott Eastwood, Ike Barinholtz, David Harbour, and Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman.

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12th

Limited Release: Hell or High Water (Crime Drama)

A divorced dad and his ex-con brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family’s farm in West Texas. The film stars Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges, Katy Mixon, Melanie Papalia, and Kevin Ranklin.

 

Limited Release: Edge of Winter (Drama Thriller)

When two brothers are stranded by a brutal winter storm with an unpredictable father they barely know, the boys begin to suspect their supposed protector may be their biggest threat. The film stars Tom Holland, Joel Kinnaman, Shiloh Fernandez, Rachelle Lefevre, and Rossif Sutherland.

 

Florence Foster Jenkins (Biography Dramedy – Paramount Pictures/BBC Films/Pathe/Qwerty Films)

The story of Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep), a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice. The movie kind of came out of nowhere for me, and others probably too, but it’s got Streep in it so the film already has a built-in audience. The film also stars Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson and John Kavanagh.

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Sausage Party (Animation – Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Annapurna Pictures/Point Grey Pictures)

The film follows a sausage (Seth Rogen) – yes, a sausage – and his quest to discover the truth about his existence, and discovers what really happens when food goes home with humans. The film is written by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, and that should give you a good indication on what to anticipate. The voice cast includes Salma Hayek, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Edward Norton, Bill Hader, David Krumholtz, Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd, James Franco, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride.

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Pete’s Dragon (Family Fantasy Adventure – Walt Disney Productions)

Based on the original film, Pete’s Dragon follows the adventures of Pete (Oakes Fegley), an orphan boy who lives in the forest with his best friend Elliot, who happens to be a dragon. The film looks pretty good to be honest, and the team involved really leaves me hopeful. Pete’s Dragon also stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban, Wes Bentley, Oona Laurence, Craig Hall, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Robert Redford.

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19th

Kubo and the Two Strings (Animation – Laika Entertainment/Focus Features)

Travis Knight, the lead animator for films like ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls finally directs a film with Kubo and the Two Strings that follows Kubo, who lives quiet normal life in a small shoreside village until a spirit from the past turns his life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo who, in order to survive, must locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior. The animation looks pretty interesting and the voice cast is really up there with Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew McConaughey, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and George Takei. Laika has been hit-or-miss for me, but Kubo and the Two Strings looks like a hit to me.

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War Dogs (Comedy Drama – Warner Bros./The Mark Gordon Company/Green Hat Films)

Directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover movies),War Dogs, tells a true story of two young men, David Packouz (Miles Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), who won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan. I wasn’t convinced about the film before I saw the trailers, and the film looks decently funny. The film also stars Ana de Armas, Shaun Toub, and Bradley Cooper.

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Ben-Hur (Historical Epic Adventure Drama – Paramount Pictures/MGM/Sean Daniel Company)

A remake of the classic film, Ben-Hur, directed by Timur Bekmambetov, follows a falsely accused nobleman, Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend, Messala (Toby Kebbell) who betrayed him. I actually haven’t seen the original, so I don’t know what to base it on too much. However, the film itself looks just okay. Ben-Hur also stars Nazanin Boniadi, Ayelet Zurer, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Moises Arias, Haluk Bilginer, Marwan Kenzari, Pilou Asbeek, Alessandro Giuggiolo, Rodrigo Santoro and Morgan Freeman.

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26th

Limited Release: Southside with You (Biography Romance Drama)

The film that tells the story of future President of the United States, Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers), and the date in the summer of 1989 with his future wife and First Lady Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter).

 

Limited Release: Blood Father (Action Thriller)

An ex-con (Mel Gibson) reunites with his estranged wayward 16-year old daughter (Erin Moriarty) to protect her from drug dealers who are trying to kill her. Basically, this is Mel Gibson’s Taken, and it looks okay based on the trailer. The film also stars William H. Macy, Elisabeth Rohm, Diego Luna, Thomas Mann, Raoul Trujillo and Michael Parks.

 

Limited Release: The Hollars (Comedy Drama)

Directed by John Krasinski – and he also stars – a man returns to his small hometown after learning that his mother has fallen ill and is about to undergo surgery. The film has an A-list cast of Anna Kendrick, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day, Randall Park, Josh Groban, Mary Kay Place, Richard Jenkins and Margo Martindale.

 

Mechanic: Resurrection (Action Thriller – Summit Entertainment/Millennium Films)

A surprising sequel to the 2011 films that sees Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) who thought he had put his murderous past behind him when an old foe kidnaps the love of his life. Now he’s forced to travel the globe to complete three impossible assassinations, and make them look like accidents, which is what he does best. I didn’t mind the first movie, but I’m kind of surprised that they are going to make a sequel, but I’m more surprised with the cast that they got with Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Sam Hazeldine, and Michelle Yeoh.

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Hands of Stone (Biography Drama – The Weinstein Company/Fuego Fims/Epicetral Studios)

Follows the legendary boxer Roberto Duran, played by Edgar Ramirez,  and his equally legendary trainer Ray Arcel, played by Robert De Niro, change each other’s lives. I’ve been strangely looking forward to this for a while now, and I hope it turns out great. Of course it helps that the film has a great cast in John Turturro, Ana de Armas, Ellen Barkin, Reg E. Cathey, Usher Raymond, Oscar Jaenada, and Ruben Blades

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Don’t Breathe (Thriller – Sony Pictures/TriStar Pictures/Ghost House Pictures/Good Universe)

A group of teens break into a blind man’s home thinking they’ll get away with the perfect crime. However, they soon find out they were very wrong. The film is directed by Fede Alvarez, who directed the Evil Dead remake, which I really liked – and he’s reuniting with Jane Levy – so I can’t wait to see what he brings to the table. Early reviews have been almost nothing but positive, and trailer shows why. Don’t Breathe also stars Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, and Stephen Lang also star.

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So, what are you looking forward to?