REVIEW: Isle of Dogs

Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Chris Luckett

There are three cinematic masters in today’s reigning generation of directors, who each rarely ever fail to produce masterpiece after masterpiece. Along with Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson is one of those elite few who seem to just churn out brilliance without having to even try.

When the idiosyncratic director of Rushmore tackled stop-motion animation with 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, he found his truest calling. In the wake of his Oscar-nominated Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson has now returned to the same arena of animation and it’s a masterpiece even when stacked against his best.

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REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda 3

Artwork: DreamWorks Animation

Artwork: DreamWorks Animation

Chris Luckett

Most movie trilogies follow the best-to-worst pattern of 1-3-2, where the third movie corrects for the overreaches and underestimations of the first sequel but still doesn’t top the original. Of course, while everything from American Pie to X-Men follows this rule, there are less common trilogy patterns, too, like that demonstrated by the Return of the Jedi effect.

First sequels are commonly worse than the original, but when the few that somehow manage to equal their originators are almost always followed by a third entry that just can’t quite match the first two. Iron Man 3, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Mockingjay, Part 1, and Insidious, Chapter 3 have all had this issue in recent years.

The question now is, after the boldly refreshing Kung Fu Panda and the unexpectedly powerful Kung Fu Panda 2, is the third adventure of the prophetic panda Po destined for the same fate? Continue reading

REVIEW: Godzilla (2014)

Photo: Warner Bros.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Chris Luckett

The character of Godzilla has appeared in 42 movies over the last sixty years, and most of them have been terrible. Some point to 1969’s Godzilla’s Revenge as the low-point of the series while younger moviegoers cite the 1998 reboot Godzilla as the character’s worst film, but most tend to agree the “King of the Monsters” was at his best and most fearsome in the 1954 Japanese original, Gojira.

Gareth Edwards, director of the excellent 2010 movie Monsters, here tries his best to satisfy both the fans of the long-running series and audience members unfamiliar with the monster beyond its cultural parody value. He mostly succeeds.

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