Isle of Dogs
Four years after the release of his Oscar-winning “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” director Wes Anderson returns with his second stop-motion animated film, “Isle of Dogs.” The story takes place in a fictional Japan where dogs have become the most hated animals in the country, and are ostracized to a trash island to die. Atari, a 12-year-old boy, goes on a mission to search for his kidnapped dog, Spots. Far from a mere cartoon about a rescue mission, the film tackles questions on humanity, loyalty, love, and free speech, all the while maintaining Anderson’s typical quirky sense of humor. Anderson, known for his meticulously crafted frames and color schemes, presents a new masterpiece full of visually stunning images,all made of clay.
With voices dubbed by several Hollywood powerhouses, Bryan Cranston, Scarlett Johansson, Liev Schreiber, and more, “Isle of Dogs,” is a fun yet thought-provoking hidden gem of the blockbuster-dominated summer. Believe me when I, a cat person, say that you do not have to like dogs to love this movie.
The long-awaited sequel to the 2004 Pixar hit has finally arrived, and it does not disappoint. Picking up where “The Incredibles” left off, the titular superhero family has become caught up in the revived struggles between vigilante superheroes and the law. This time, Elastigirl has to fight crime, while Mr. Incredible stays home to take care of the children.
Not unlike the narrative of Captain America: Civil War, the film reveals a society that is divided in its opinions on the agency of superheroes in matters of crime. Moreover, a new villain who scorns the public’s dependence on superheroes and technology elevates the political debate and tests the tenacity of the Incredibles. The nuanced topics on politics and gender equality, coupled with numerous laugh-out-loud scenes, help “The Incredibles” exceed my already high expectations as a family-friendly cartoon.
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
This summer has truly been a season of sequels. On the first movie’s tenth-year anniversary, the cast of the musical returns with “Mama Mia: Here We Go Again.”
The story presents a parallel narrative of a mother’s story in the past and daughter’s in the present. In 1979, a young and free-spirited Donna (Lily James), freshly graduated from Oxford University, decides to embark on a journey around Europe, making acquaintances with three men, Harry, Bill, and Sam, along the way. In the present-day, Donna’s daughter, Sophie, prepares to re-open Donna’s hotel in honor of her death.
Though the relationships and plotline are generally corny, I chose to simply have fun with the film, as one should with a classic musical. This film left me laughing and feeling giddy, as the energy that each musical number exudes is contagious. I could not help but sing and dance along, as subtle as one can in a movie theater. The movie is, in a word, silly. The abundance of bright colors, beautiful costumes, and catchy songs, against the backdrop of the Greek island of Kalokairi, pays a truly dazzling homage to the original musical.