This week I watched a wide range of movies. I know I tend to watch more violence than anything–I’m not sure why that happens, it just works out that way–I did watch a couple of more friendly-ish movies for those who prefer less violent recommendations. Here are my reviews for I Lost My Body (2019), Klaus (2019), Crawl (2019), Anna and the Apocalypse (2018), and Fury (2014).
I Lost My Body, directed by Jeremy Clapin, is a French animated film, with dialogue in both English and French, done in both black & white and color to show flashbacks, points a view, and emotional nuance. I’m going to be careful here because I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I think figuring it out is part of the structured engagement. It’s two stories which come together but not necessarily the way you think, or hope.
The film opens with a severed hand escaping from a refrigerator with a purpose of finding its body. I mean, the hand doesn’t say this; but , it’s implied as you watch its journey toward a part of the city revealed by the story of Naoufel. Naoufel is a pizza delivery driver who isn’t very good at his job. He meets Gabrielle over a phone intercom when he fails to deliver her pizza and decides to meet her in person. After stalking her at her workplace, he follows her to her uncle’s workshop. He takes a job as an apprentice to get closer to Gabrielle. They strike up a friendship, Naoufel begins to find purpose in life through his new word-working skills, and the hand continues on precarious adventures while on the journey back to its body.
What I loved: I love the detailed animation so much. The bus window with scrapes and dust with the circle smeared a little more clear to see through it. The vast landscape of the city. The severed hand’s perspective. The wisps of the clouds. We’re not talking cgi animation where we see every pore of a person’s skin. This film uses a flatter (sorry for my description) style which still resonates emotion through expression and music to build the tension, anticipation, and hope. The visuals tell so much of the story without dialogue, I felt connected to the story early in. I love the fact I was immersed and connected without the filmmaker telling me what to think or feel via dialogue. I love how Naoufel’s childhood is revealed and the end, while beautiful, left me with questions. *My husband did not like the end. He wanted more. I like that the end wasn’t tidy. Available now on Netflix. Watch the trailer below:
Klaus, directed by Sergio Pablos and Carlos Martinez Lopez, is family friendly “Santa” origin story which I fell in love with from the beginning. The story begins with a very spoiled postmaster general’s son, Jesper, who is “punished” by his father for being so spoiled. Jesper is sent to Smeerensburg, a frozen little town near the North Pole, to revitalize the post office. If he can do it, he can return to his cushy life.
Once Jesper gets to the Smeerensburg, he discovers the long-standing feud between the Ellenboe’s and the Krum’s. This part of the story is a bit creepy with the “ghosty” animation which made me giggle nervously at times. While Jesper tries to get people to send letters, he meets Klaus, the man who lives at the top of the mountain. A letter slips out of Jesper’s mailbag, Klaus picks it up, and the two set out to deliver the first present. Word gets out among the kids that if you write a letter to Klaus, you’ll get a present. Soon all the kids in the town begin writing letters. Jesper is happy seeing himself get closer to his goal, his friendship with Klaus deepens, and the town undergoes a bit of transformation due to new rules set my Jesper about who gets a gift and who gets coal. There are a couple of people who set out to block this transformation to uphold the tradition of fighting which add to the overall story. Klaus and Jesper get help from neighbors wanting to spread the message of “a simple act of kindness always sparks another”.
This is a fun movie to watch and will become a Christmas favorite for sure. The end is touching and sentimental. Available on Netflix. Watch the trailer below:
Okay, we rented Crawl from Redbox to break the crying streak from Fury, I Lost My Body, and Klaus. It worked.
Directed by Alexandre Aja, written by Michael & Shawn Rasmussen, Crawl is about a young woman who has to fight off giant alligators while trying to save her dad during a category 4 hurricane in Florida.
Haley, played by Kaya Scodelario, is a swimmer on her school’s swim team. She’s not on good terms with her dad, Dave, played by Barry Pepper. Her sister Beth, nags Haley to go check on her dad who hasn’t been answering his phone. Haley reluctantly agrees, drives through hurricane weather, slips past the road block, and makes her way to the family house. Haley teams up with the dog, Sugar, who leads her to the crawlspace opening signaling where to find her dad. It’s mucky and dark but she presses on all the while calling for her dad. *This is a gigantic, expansive crawl space. It seems to go forever, twisting and turning. She finally finds her dad unconscious but breathing. As she starts to drag him out, a giant alligator shows up!
She pulls her dad back to safety (where the alligators don’t fit) and her dad comes to. He has some serious injuries. His right arm has a bit marks and his lower left leg is broken. The visual of the broken leg is pretty gruesome 🙂 The rain is falling pretty hard which you can see through the holes in the brick foundation with water flowing in giving you the hint the crawl space is going to fill up with water eventually…hello, that’s why Haley is a swimmer! While they try to figure out how to escape, other townspeople near the house get snatched by alligators creating more tension as the water fills up. After some predictable tangles with alligators, the two manage to escape only to find themselves washed back into the house by a flood of water! *It’s amazing how well Dave (the dad) moves about with a leg broken in half, held together by a tool belt. The point is, don’t get caught up in the messy details.* They fight more alligators, endure more injuries, make their way to safety, and get rescued. **Sorry, I hope I didn’t spoil it. I just assumed you knew the end was going to be happy because it’s the usual formula…*
I loved the jump scares in this movie. It actually caught (ahem) me by surprise a number of times and I was grossed out by some of the injury footage. The snap of bones, you know, that sort of thing. Some super cool film work in the bathroom regarding the shower (sorry, you’ll have to watch to know what I mean), and the overall dreadful feeling of being trapped down there while it fills up with water. The dialogue is the usual but okay because the only reason to watch this is for the suspense and jump scares. Well done. I’d rather watch these type of thrillers than the supernatural ones which have become so popular lately. Available at Redbox and probably Amazon. Watch the trailer below:
I totally forgot about Anna and the Apocalypse until I read a twitter post saying it was on Hulu now. Well, it’s also on Amazon 🙂 which I was pretty excited about since Hulu no longer plays from my BlueRay player. This movie is sooooo much fun! I know it has zombies which need to be killed (aka violence) BUT it also has music! It’s a zombie musical. Like if Glee had a zombie episode. You might be thinking “I like zombies but…” Let me set this up for you.
Anna is a broody teenage girl with typical teenage problems: the boy she likes is kind of a jerk, her best friend is picked on by the boy she likes, her dad is upset about her wanting to travel instead of going straight to college, and she has to work instead of having fun with her friends. As the story unfolds, the town is slowly taken over by a virus-fueled zombie apocalypse, and the teens are forced to band together to fight the zombies and try to save the ones they love. Oh, and this happens during the Christmas holiday season so there are decorations, lights, and a holiday show with a racy song complete with half dressed Santas. Fight scenes are choreographed within the songs which have the teens using things like a giant candy cane decoration to fight off the zombies. It’s super fun and with a run time of 1 hour and 33 minutes, it was over before I was ready. I kept thinking, how do I make this into a stage production? Put this on your annual Christmas movie watch list. Oh yeah, written by Alan McDonald and Ryan McHenry, Directed by John McPhail, and starring Ella Hunt, Malcom Cumming, and Ben Wiggins to name a few… Watch the trailer below:
I’ll be honest. I didn’t see Fury when it came out. I forgot about it. Then, it recently popped up on a film twitter account I follow so I put it on my list to watch. I like war movies and I’m looking forward to the release of 1917. Anyhoo….
Written and directed by David Ayer, this story follows the tank crew Fury during a battle in Germany in WW2. Led by Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt), the Fury crew has seen all war has to offer from the shore of Africa to France and now in Germany. They are dirty, tired, emotionally disconnected from their jobs, and a very tight group of young men. One of their gunners has been killed in the latest mission and is replaced by Norman (Logan Lerman), who’s only training has been typing 60 words a minute. The tank crew is sent on a mission to rescue soldiers and “take” a few towns along the way. Over the course of week, or so, Norman goes from scared “I’m a typist, not a killer” to a scared killing machine thanks to leader Don and the crew. The crew includes Bible (Shia LaBeouf), Gordo (Michael Pena), and Grady (Jon Bernthal).
There are no weak links here. The acting is superb by all, the filming is intimate and yet vast at times. The story illustrates the massive lack of troops, support, communication, and equipment our troops had at the time. They were commanded impossible tasks and gave all they had for their country. I found myself teary multiple times throughout this film. I cried for innocence lost. I cried for the hardening required of these brave soldiers. I cried just seeing the tears below the surface of these actor’s eyes during some of the most defining moments of the film. The final battle is epic to say the least. I was sad on many levels but am so happy to have watched. Available on Amazon. Watch the trailer below:
I hope you like my week in review! Have you watched any of these? Do you plan to? Subscribe to my blog for week in review emails 🙂 Leave a comment below 🙂