Monday, April 29, 2019

[Review] Missing Link

Following the excellent Kubo and the Two Strings, the stop-motion animation sensation Laika returns with another low-key gem called Missing Link. It deserves to be searched for. 

The journey begins as Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman), an investigator of mythical beasts, happens upon an elusive Bigfoot creature (Zach Galifianakis) that would make him famous. But there’s one catch — the gentle giant asks Frost to help him track down his Yeti relatives who dwell across the world, deep in the Himalayas. The furry guy isn’t mean or anti-social — he’s just lonely.

Just like Laika films of the past, the animation here is beyond impressive. Every scene is so wonderfully detailed and exquisitely rendered, from the crafty textures of fur and flannel to the ethereal backdrops of mountains and skies. There’s just something about stop-motion animation that is so charming to look at. The script charms as well with its delightfully deadpan humor and genuinely heartwarming story. 

Missing Link is a refreshingly straightforward but very meaningful adventure. A short but sweet expedition. The film’s messages are agreeable and important. Sometimes you find friendship and family in the most unexpected places, and sometimes the biggest discovery is that the things you initially thought you were missing aren’t what you were really missing. Does that make sense? Good. 

( 8/10 )

Monday, April 22, 2019

[Review] Pet Sematary (2019)

Some things just never die, especially if you meddle with them.

Amid the graveyard plot of Hollywood remakes and reboots, 2019’s Pet Sematary (based on the famous Stephen King novel) manages to rise up through the muck, thanks to a brooding atmosphere and methodical scares. 

Much like its 1989 predecessor, the story begins with Louis and Rachel Creed (played by Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz) and their two children as they move to the small town of Ludlow, Maine. And yes, they’ve brought the cat! Soon after they settle in - scratch that - they never really settle in, a bearded old man (John Lithgow) show them the Pet Sematary in the woods, and well, all hell breaks loose.

Quicker than you can reach for a shovel, this thing delves into some demented frights and disturbing scenes that stick with you like dirt under your fingernails. There’s an escalating sense of dread that just never rests. The slow-gliding camerawork and eerie music works wonders here, giving us plenty of nerve-wracking views of dark rooms and foggy forests. 

Director duo Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer handle the bizarre events very well and maintain the essence of the source material while throwing in a couple of new twists that give the film a darker edge. John Lithgow is perfectly cast as the wary old local who has seen some shit, and Jeté Laurence gives a remarkably creepy performance. But the standout might just be Church the cat, who manages to be cute even when devouring the insides of a dead crow. It’s a fitting symbol for this horror remake - messing with dead or resurrecting the beyond isn’t always the best idea, but it sure is scary and fun to witness.