February 2019 – Review Roundup

Burning
Jong-seo Jun in Beoning (2018)
Directed by: Lee Chang-dong

Starring: Ah-in Yoo, Steven Yeun, Jong-seo Jun

Often a film that offers up more questions than it does answers would prove to be frustrating, but for Burning, that absolutely isn’t the case. A slow-burning thriller, wrapped in an enigma and shrouded in mystery, Burning is a film which gets under your skin and stays there long after the credits have finished. With some truly unforgettable imagery and three fantastic performances, Burning expertly creates a feeling of mystique and intrigue, to the point where you’re not sure what is real or not anymore; and this is kind of the point. A truly unique film that won’t be for everyone, but for me is easily one of my favourites of the year so far. 

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
Elizabeth Banks and Chris Pratt in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)
Directed by: Mike Mitchell
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell, Jadon Sand, Brooklynn Prince

I won’t deny it, the first LEGO Movie is probably one of my favourite non-Disney animated movies so my expectations were pretty high for this one. Whilst the sequel doesn’t quite match the first one for me, it is still incredibly funny with amazing animation and more gags of both the verbal and visual variety than you could shake a brick at! It feels at times that director Mike Mitchell can’t quite keep up with the frenetic pace of Lord and Miller’s writing, but then it throws a perfectly timed 2001: A Space Odyssey reference at you and you can forgive it. These films are a nerd’s dream and it demands a second watch just to make sure you didn’t miss anything! 

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Cate Blanchett, Jay Baruchel, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kit Harington, and Justin Rupple in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)
Directed by: Dean DeBlois
Starring: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mint-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Justin Rupple, Kit Harrington, F. Murray Abraham, Craig Ferguson

A trilogy which can now easily stand beside Toy Story as a “perfect” animated trilogy (and yes, I am still denying the existence of Toy Story 4…), the How to Train Your Dragon franchise reaches its fittingly beautiful conclusion in The Hidden World. Watching these characters, change develop, and in fact age before us, has been a delight to watch, and this third instalment continues to build on all the wonderful themes of friendship, legacy and acceptance that have been so evident throughout. The animation is simply gorgeous (shout-out to visual consultant Roger Deakins!) and the story – whilst it has it’s shortcomings – rounds out things perfectly. Like Toy Story 3, it has that sense of the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another, but unlike the aforementioned Pixar classic, let’s hope that the HTTYD makers decide to leave it here!

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