Tag Archives: Nick Frost

Tomb Raider

Lara Croft is the tough and independent daughter of a wealthy adventurer who disappeared 7 years ago and is presumed dead. So when she learns his secret obsession with an ancient Japanese myth, she pursues him to the unknown island that seems to have swallowed him whole. It seems like a really bad decision to follow in the footsteps of a dead man, but Lara (Alicia Vikander) doesn’t just put her life on the line, she involves an innocent stranger too (Daniel Wu), just as her father did. So if you’re wondering who the Croft family is, they appear to be in it solely for themselves, and fuck every body else.

So Lara makes her way to this evil island where she meets up with a bad man named Mathias (Walter Goggins) and things go from merely murdery to a whole shit tonne MV5BMTBjZDBiNGEtYjhlMC00YmM1LThmZWEtOWE1ZjhhMDg5MDEzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODAyMDA1MDk@._V1_of worse.  And even though she’s been violently shipwrecked and then hunted, actually hunted on an island that seems intent on killing her, she somehow maintains a perfectly shaped brow and stubble-free armpits, which are constantly on display thanks to a skimpy outfit that seems particularly ill-advised when visiting malaria-infested countries. So while Lara may be about to out-box me, I’ll still take the victory because I packed the DEET. Though I suppose I should concede that the Vikander version of Lara is slightly more grounded and slightly less lustily rendered on the screen than was Angelina Jolie.

Tomb Raider is fine, I guess, except for some painful green screen moments that are ENTIRELY unconvincing. And the fact that it’s boring as shit to watch someone solve a puzzle when the puzzle is never shown or known to us. It’s just a lot of knob twisting. Vikander is tough as balls but the story is uninspired and makes no arguments for its own existence. This franchise didn’t need a reboot and it got a rather lacklustre one, despite Vikander’s charm.

 

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Paul

There’s just something right to me about a Nick Frost – Simon Pegg pairing. And this movie celebrates their inherent dweebitude. Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) are just a couple of nerds visiting the U.S. for comic con and then an alien-themed road trip, you know, Area 51, Roswell, New Mexico, all those popular conspiracy theorist tourist traps. Only this road trip just happens to bring them a real alien, and his name is Paul (voiced\motion captured by Seth Rogen).

MV5BMTQxODA4NDc2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjQzMDQ2NA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_.jpgPaul crash-landed here decades ago and has put up amiably with interrogation and testing, but he’s making his escape now that the only thing left is to slice and dice him. Is the government simply going to let him get away? Of course not. Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, and Joe Lo Truglio are all hot on his tail (he doesn’t have a tail). Graeme and Clive have an RV and a religious one-eyed woman named Ruth (Kristen Wiig) and that’s about it: not ideal fleeing-the-government provisions, but it’ll have to do.

Paul is a love letter to science fiction fans. Pegg and Frost made the film’s pilgrimage in real life, and based the script on some of their odd encounters. The idea first came to them on a rainy night on the set of Shaun of the Dead, where they quickly sketched the character. Cameos and references to pop (science) fiction abound – how many can you spot? Paul is a real tribute to the genre but also just genuinely funny, even for those of us without an intrinsic love of extraterrestrials. This isn’t an excellent movie, but it’s a good enough movie, and frankly, it’s funnier than anything presently in theatres.

The Boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls really seizes the opportunity to create a universe unlike any we’ve either seen. It’s a bit more macabre than we’re used to in a children’s movie, dark and gritty, but immersive and satisfying in its stop-motion animation.boxtrolls

In the town of Cheesebridge, an evil exterminator vows to kill off every boxtroll, spreading lies and ugly myths about them to win public approval (“Hide your delicious babies!”). The boxtrolls live underground, basically in hiding, clothed (or disguised?) in cardboard boxes, where they use pilfered materials to build all sorts of magical things. They only come out at night to snatch unused, unwanted things, but to do so is to put themselves in peril of being caught. Their number dwindles steadily until a young boxtroll named Eggs discovers you can go out into the light, and he must try to rally the timid boxtrolls into standing up for themselves.

The boxtrolls don’t speak, but that doesn’t stop them from each having a unique character (not unlike the Minions, come to think of it), or from communicating what they feel. The humans in the story are a sorry lot – sure Mr. Snatcher, the dastardly exterminator, is evil, but the others aren’t much better.  The troll “monsters” are eminently easier to root for in their sweetness and earnestness. There is also real sorrow here, and stabs at profundity. One human wonders if the boxtrolls “understand the duality of good and evil” while murking up the concept himself.

We have come to expect big things from the animators at Laika (think Coraline) and this film looks just as cool, and even more textured. And I love seeing an animated film where the little girl is not sexed up, and isn’t even crazy skinny. She has little girl proportions! Disney, you’re totally busted: turns out it IS possible to make a girl who looks like a girl. And if you stick around after the credits, you’re in for a treat: there’s a bit of existential animation that’s enlightening and entertaining.

A little slow to start, it’s still a solid movie that will capture children, especially those inclined to gross-out jokes (so, pretty much all). But this was a competitive year in terms of animation, which is great. Everyone’s bringing their A game. It’s just that movies like Big Hero 6 and The Lego Movie earned an A+.