The Boxtrolls (2014)

The Academy Awards are just this coming Sunday and while I’ve been planning to get a bunch of nominated movies a watch since a month ago, I haven’t had the chance.  I did get one watched the weekend following the nominations announcement but I never got around to writing about it.  Well, finally with one week left, I’m going to aim to get 6 movies I have available to be watched and reviewed.

The first one I chose on a late Friday night (weeks ago) was The Boxtrolls.  Animated feature categories are always the ones that I know best because I’ve seen more of them.  After this one, I’d have seen 3 of 5 in the animated features category. I doubt I’ll find Princess Kaguya or Song of the Sea though. If you’d like to check out Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon 2, you can find them HERE and HERE respectively. Regardless, lets check out what I thought about this one.

The Boxtrolls


Director: Graham Annable & Anthony Stacchi

Voice cast: Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Isaac Hampstead Wright, Elle Fanning, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg

 A young orphaned baby, Eggs (Isaac Hampstead Wright) is taken in by the underground trash collectors called The Boxtrolls.  Brought up by Fish, the closest thing he had to his father, he’s always assumed he was a boxtroll, even if he was a little different.  However, as he turns into a boy and soon realizes the dangers of being a boxtroll, the main one being hunted down by a man, Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) and his crew.  Right at the most unexpected time, he runs into the mayor’s daughter, Winnie (Elle Fanning) who not only makes him realize that he is actually a boy but tries to help him despite her ignorant father, Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) who only cares about cheese.

the boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls was one of my most anticipated of 2014 but unfortunately, I didn’t end up going to see it in theatres.  The concept of the Boxtrolls and the whole stop motion animation is something I absolutely love.  I’m a huge fan of Coraline and Paranorman and these are the same guys who did it.  The teaser trailer did so much good because it was just these adorable men that transformed into boxes.  Except as the official trailer came out, I started becoming a little bit more lukewarm to this idea.  Now, the question is how does it actually do?

The Boxtrolls has very beautiful visuals in the whole stop animation way with its little details and the world of Cheesebridge and each of the quirky characters are just so fun.  There is definitely a lot of entertainment to be had with this.  I always like the concept of a boy who doesn’t realize he’s actually a boy but something else. The whole learning to be civilized is absolutely hilarious. On top of that, the voice work here is awesome.

the boxtrolls

Right off the bat, Ben Kingsley has one of the best voices and he does the main villain, Archibald Snatcher.  One of the most compelling parts of a story like that is having a convincing and capable villain.   While Archibald Snatcher is nasty and destructive, he’s also pretty funny because he wants to be something that he’s not exactly able to become.  I mean, eating cheese is defined as being upper class but he’s allergic.  Then he’s matched up with these hilarious sidekicks with two of them voiced by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who are one of the best comedic teams ever. With them in here, you know that despite it still being a little dark, its definitely lesser than Paranorman and Coraline and a lot of laughter for adults.

the boxtrolls

For the kids, there are still some decent laughs.  Thats where the whole voice work for Eggs and Winnie come in, plus the boxtrolls themselves.  Its a very innocent group because they live underground and search up trash to sustain themselves. Fish bringing up Eggs have some really heartwarming and chuckling worthy moments. While Eggs being exposed to human interaction and Winnie’s appearance also merits a lot of fun times.  Plus, there’s a good bit of adventure when the chases are happening between the Boxtrolls Exterminators and the group of Boxtrolls themselves. It adds some tension and action while keeping it fun and silly also.

Overall, The Boxtrolls boasts a good balance of quirky and witty story telling along with some very nice visuals.  There are fun characters and the dialogue is suitable for both adult and children.  Its a fun adventure movie with some cute creative creations while the humans still add a fun twist with all the cheese puns, or shall I say, cheesy puns? 😉 I suck at this pun business so forget I even said it.

Personally, I think Big Hero 6 and even How to Train Your Dragon 2 is stronger than The Boxtrolls overall and it has more of an impact.  Still, I can’t ignore that The Boxtrolls are incredibly imaginative from the city of Cheesebridge to the funny and heartwarming characters up to the amazing voice work from everyone breathing life into this animation.  Like I said, I have yet to see Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea but if anything, the visuals of Song of the Sea seem incredibly awesome.  There’s some nice animated nominations here and I really wonder who will win it this year.

Have you seen The Boxtrolls? What are your thoughts on it? Are you a fan of stop motion animation? 

Iron Man 3 (2013)

The month of May summer blockbusters are intense for me.  The first to come was Iron Man 3.  I’ve been generally looking at the scores that other movie review blogs have given but not read the context much.  If you saw that I liked yours, I will be back to check it out right after this is posted 🙂 Honestly, as much as I was extremely excited to see this movie, I was worried it wouldn’t do as well because I really did not enjoy the 2nd one a lot.  Still, we managed to go last night (Wednesday) and the theatre was pretty much packed except for the few rows right in front of the screen and after watching 30 minutes of ads then another 20 minutes of previews (almost all superhero movies previews), Iron Man 3 started with the narration from Tony Stark 🙂

ironman 3 posterDirector: Shane Black

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Jon Favreau, Rebecca Hall, William Sadler

A insomniac and anxious Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) after the events of last year’s The Avengers in New York is bothered constantly by the sudden possibility of danger hitting him and the people he loves, especially his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwneyth Paltrow). When the terrorist The Mandarin starts decreeing that he will take steps to teach the President (William Sadler) some lessons by causing explosions and destruction and it ends up injuring his friend and bodyguard, Happy (Jon Favreau), he issues a threat to The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).  Little to his knowledge does he know that the Mandarin will end up destroying his home and turning it into rubbles causing him to have to scrabble to piece together his life again.  With this fall, he needs to find ways to work with what he has left and try to have his revenge and save the day!

The first Marvel movie to arrive after The Avengers was certainly entertaining! I loved it a lot.  This one was action-packed, fast-paced and still had a lot of Tony Stark’s witty remarks.

ironman 3 tony

Tony Stark is definitely a great hero in this franchise.  This one brings in more of a personal struggle to find himself.  It was not only a struggle against keeping the ones he love safe but also digging deep into who he is amongst all the humor that he lashes out with whoever he is interacting with.  He seeks to find who he is at the base whether he’s really just a hero because of the suit or whether just himself as an individual, he can still be as great an individual.  Packaging that into a lot of action and introducing Don Cheadle’s Rhodey and his version of Iron Man but called Iron Patriot definitely gave this an extra push also.

ironman 3 pepper

I also enjoyed the sub characters.  Although Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts got a lot more screen time in this one which was for the better.  Her character has become one that I love and enjoy.  She’s tough and smart and just perfect for the uncontrollable Tony Stark.  I really love the little screen time at Jon Favreau’s Happy had also.  He’s just a hilarious man.  Don Cheadle’s character starts bringing in the political side of the equation as he tries to protect his country in general.  On the more business and science side, we have the great scientist here, Aldrich Killian played by Guy Pearce.  Ever since Memento, this guy has been on my radar and its nice to see him in this role 🙂

ironman 3 overload

Whats a superhero movie without its villain, right? Super hero movies are straight forward and a lot has to do with finding that perfect villain to make the hero look awesome.  In this one, we have The Mandarin and his deadly explosions and taking over the wavelengths to broadcast his plans to terrorize the president and his country.  I’m a big fan of Ben Kingsley.  If you’ve seen this, then you’ll understand when I say that he was so awesome! Its not a normal role that I’ve seen him in but man, he was so good at doing this!

ironman 3 the mandarin


Iron Man 3 may not be as great as the first one but definitely is superior and worthy as a sequel, especially after a very unsatisfying 2nd.  The runtime was relatively average at a bit more over 2 hours ( I believe) but the time rolled by relatively quickly as the plot moves forward quickly, the action never stops (or at least it felt that way) and there’s always a lot of humour and snarky remarks (a la Stark style) to keep the audience entertained!  I can’t ask for more! I loved it and its definitely a great addition to the Marvel movies 🙂 I look forward to grabbing a copy of this when it gets released on Blu-ray!

Are you pumped up for the other summer blockbusters coming out? I know I am! Two more to go this month (at least)!

Hugo (2011)

The third movie on my plane ride and I’m at a loss of words.  Hugo is a masterpiece in whole.  I had wanted to watch Hugo for a long time but never found the chance.  Now I know that I missed out.

Let’s not get ahead of myself here. Hugo Cabret is about a young boy who runs the clocks in the train station of Paris. He is searching for missing pieces to find the secret message that he believes his father left him.  This search allows him to meet the owner of a toy shop at the train station called Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley) and his goddaughter  Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz). The story is a story full of themes of finding passion, adventure and magic. Hugo has to find his purpose at the same time as he believes that if he found out this message, he would find himself in a way. Instead, in the process he changes the life of the people he meets.

Let me start with saying that I love the cast.  Ben Kingsley, Chloe Grace Moretz was stellar in this.  I have never seen the boy who plays Hugo, his name is Asa Butterfield but man, he is a great young actor.  I was impressed with him.  I have seen Ben Kingsley in a few movies and he never fails to make me love him even more. He was so charming and mysterious in this movie.  I love Jude Law to bits and he had a cameo in here as Hugo’s father.  As always, he was amazing in his little role. It also had Sacha Baron Cohen who played Monsieur Inspecteur, who is the guard of the train station and his little story plays out in a cute little thing with Lisette (Emily Mortimer).  Both did a pretty good job and gave the movie a certain dynamic and charisma.  Another character that played a supporting role was Mama Jeanne, Georges wife, played by Helen McCrory. I never knew her name before, but she is a great actress.  This was solid acting all round.

Other than the characters, this movie was visually stunning.  I loved the directing and how they shot the film.  It was beautiful from the scenes of Paris to the insides of the clock towers with the mechanical gears all around.  The background music was also a plus.  When the music had just started at the beginning, I already felt mesmerized.  This movie was great from beginning to end.

I haven’t seen a movie that I’ve praised this much in a long time.  It was simply amazing! I highly recommend it for sure!