Week In Review: Hunt For the Wilderpeople + Loving + The Little Prince

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How’s your weekend everyone? It’s been a while since I did a roundup post, but I figure it’s a good way for me to ease my way into blogging again. It’s been a particularly gratifying week as I saw two of my highly-anticipated films, Loving and Hunt For the Wilderpeople. As Winter has officially arrived, we pretty much hibernated this weekend so my hubby and I saw The Little Prince on Netflix Saturday night.

Below is my mini reviews of two of the films I saw this past week, plus quick thoughts on the New Zealander adventure comedy…

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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I became a huge fan of Taika Waititi‘s work since the hilarious vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows. Well, he’s come up with yet another riotously-funny movie that could practically double as a travel video for New Zealand!

I will do a full review of this later in December, but right now all I can say is… RUN, don’t walk to rent this movie!! I’m gutted that I missed this on the big screen, not sure that it even had a theatrical release here in MN. In any case, I enjoyed the heck out of this one. LOVE the unlikely duo of veteran actor Sam Neill with newcomer Julian Dennison, a riotous 14-year-old NZ child actor with an amazing comic timing and screen presence. He’s inspired me to do a top 10 list of great 2016 performances by kid actors, so stay tuned for that!


Loving

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Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, are sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married.

This film couldn’t have come at a better time, as America is surely in tumultuous times right now. It seems appalling that interracial marriage was still illegal in some states fifty some years ago, but have we really come that far since? The latest film from Jeff Nichols is beautifully-told, graceful and affecting as the filmmaker focused on the couple themselves instead of making a political statement. Yes of course the film has a major political and social implication, as the Supreme Court decision on Loving v. Virginia put an end to all miscegenation laws in 1967. But at the end of the day, the story is about two human beings who loved each other and wanted to raise a family together.

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Both Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton portrayed Mildred and Richard with such quiet grace and sincerity. It’s an understated performance that speaks volumes and conveys the tension as well as poignancy of what they went through. For someone withe the name Loving, Richard surely lives up to that and it’s truly a beautiful marriage built on not just love, but mutual respect. Michael Shannon has a small–but–memorable cameo as a LIFE magazine photographer who took the iconic shots of the couple as they simply hang out in their home, watching tv, playing with their kids, etc. There’s also Marton Csokas as the ‘villain’ of the story, the Virginia sheriff who arrested them.

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The script, direction and performance all work beautifully to bring the Lovings’ story to life. The cinematography and music are beautiful and evocative, it works in transporting us to a certain period of Americana. But it’s the journey of the Lovings that I shall never forget. By making the film about the couple, forgoing court drama theatrics, Nichols made a deeply moving film that connected with me in a refreshingly real way.

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The Little Prince (2015)

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A little girl lives in a very grown-up world with her mother, who tries to prepare her for it. Her neighbor, the Aviator, introduces the girl to an extraordinary world where anything is possible, the world of the Little Prince.

Truth be told, I’m not that familiar with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, despite it being the fourth most translated book in the world. This is the first animated feature film adaptation of the book, directed by Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda), boasting a terrific cast that includes Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Ricky Gervais, etc.

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I have a penchant for these kinds of imaginative stories, one that blends in reality and fantasy set in striking visuals. The little girl’s relationship with her overly-ambitious mother is an interesting commentary about the overly-structured life of an adult vs the wide-eyed openness of a child exploring the world. I have to admit it took me a while to get into this one at first, even after the girl (Mackenzie Foy, who was in Interstellar) meets the narrator, an elderly man (Jeff Bridges) who told her the tale about the aviator and the little prince. I’m often lost in the beauty of the visuals, especially the stop-motion scenes in the desert created using paper. It’s absolutely gorgeous with a dreamy quality, but yet for some reason I couldn’t connect to the story nor the characters as much as I wanted to. I wonder if at times there’s a case of ‘lost in translation’ here from the original story.

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There are philosophical quotes that resonated with me however, such as “One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eye.” I also enjoyed the music by Hans Zimmer and Richard Harvey, which nicely complements the ethereal, watercolor look of the film. It certainly is worth a watch, for sure it’s a technical/visual marvel, even if the film overall isn’t as breathtaking as I had hoped.

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More reviews coming your way…

I’ve written up my full review of Doctor Strange coming later this week. My hubby and I saw Arrival last weekend, right after we’re back from our Zion/Vegas trip, which was truly one of the best, most affecting sci-fi film I’ve seen in a good while.  I plan on writing my review of Arrival and Moonlight (one of the two October Movies of the Month!) later this week. I’ll be seeing the new Brad Pitt/Marion Cotillard spy drama Allied tonight, and if the snow storm doesn’t wreck havoc on traffic, hopefully I’ll be seeing Hidden Figures tomorrow night! Oh and my new blog contributor Laura S. also gave me a review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, so stay tuned for a slew of new reviews in the next few weeks!

#SlowlyGettingMyBloggingMojoBack 😉


So did you see anything good this weekend? If you’ve seen any of these movies, I’m curious to hear what YOU think. 

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28 thoughts on “Week In Review: Hunt For the Wilderpeople + Loving + The Little Prince

  1. I hope to see Wilderpeople this week…and I can’t wait to see Loving. I liked The Little Prince more than you, and yet it’s faded somewhat from my memory.

    I look forward to your thoughts on Arrival. What a movie, and what a lot of take in. I just posted my review. I’d love your thoughts on it.

    1. Hi Drew! I think you’ll have a blast w/ ‘Wilderpeople.’ Can’t imagine anyone not liking that. LOVING is absolutely beautiful, story-wise and in terms of visuals. The Little Prince was great to look at though.

      I’m hoping to do some review writing this weekend, one of them will be Arrival. LOVE your review!

  2. I didn’t see anything new at the theater over the weekend, I was thinking of checking out Dr. Strange but somehow I just don’t have the urge to see it. It’s one of the few super hero flicks that I don’t need to see right now, I’ll just rent it. I did watch two new movies at home, London Has Fallen and The Green Room. All I can say about London is that it’s a little better than the first film but that’s not saying much since I hated it, so I didn’t hate the sequel I guess, lol. The Green Room on other hand was super intense and very good.

    I’ll definitely going to watch Hunt for the Wilderpeople, saw the trailer a while back and it looks like a fun time. I’ll rent Loving when it hits streaming or Bluray.

    1. Hi Ted! I will post my review of Doctor Strange later today. It was just ok, mildly entertaining but forgettable. Iron Man, Captain America and even Thor were more memorable to me.

      I heard about Green Room but looks so brutal! Ahah, I thought London Has Fallen was even worse than the first movie, it’s just horrid all around. I hated Gerry now for making such terrible movies, can’t believe I used to like him!

      Hunt for the Wilderpeople is soooo good! Really excited for the upcoming THOR now, as Taika is an excellent filmmaker/writer. LOVING is a great drama, I hope you give it a chance even though it’s not your cup of tea normally.

      1. I think after reading the filmmaker’s excuse why they cast a very caucasian looking lady to play an Asian character, I just shook my head and didn’t really want to see Doctor Strange. I tend to be calm about whitewashing in Hollywood, but their reasoning was beyond ridiculous, even for comic book based film. I’ll see it eventually but won’t have any high hopes for it.

        I wouldn’t recommend Green Room to you, it’s quite bloody and intense. I think Butler’s character in those two Fallen films is one of the most unlikeable hero in an action picture, to me anyway. They tried to make him be like John McClane but Willis knew how to play the role and there’s charm in McClane, not so much in Butler’s character. He’s more like pissed off middle man who enjoys killing people.

        I didn’t even know that Thor 3 is being directed by Taika! I usually tends to see films about social issues, even if it’s “romance” theme to it.

        1. Do you have the link to that filmmaker interview? Yeah I normally don’t mind it so much either but that character is kinda weird anyway in the movie and I don’t think Tilda was all that memorable either.

          Yeah I think Green Room is way too intense for me.

          Yep, Mike Banning or whatever GB’s character’s name was is just awful. He’s not funny or interesting in the least bit, I mean like you said, John McClane or James Bond all have charm, but this guy is Xenophobic and just plain brutal!

          Yep, Marvel is so good about hiring indie filmmakers. I mean look at Captain America films (the last 2) were so good thanks to the Russo brothers, and they used to do TV work and small indies.

          LOVING is actually more about the couple’s relationship, not really a social justice film, though of course it has that implication. I prefer it that way so it’s not ‘preachy.’

          1. Here’s one interview from the writer of the film who explained they decided to cast a white lady instead of an Asian actor: http://www.darkhorizons.com/doctor-strange-scribe-on-ancient-one-casting/

            Essentially he’s saying they didn’t want to offend the Chinese people since some of them don’t like Tibetans. He also implied that since they cast a woman instead of a man, people should be happy about it. I just shook my head after I read that, I understand that China is becoming the biggest market for box office receipts these days but I don’t buy their excuses.

  3. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Arrival. That movie blew me away, I’ve seen in three times now. I just posted about its soundtrack.

    I mentioned in another comment that Loving has me intrigued, and cos it won’t be playing here I’m gonna be naughty and download it. You got me into Brooklyn, now let’s see what I think of Loving ;D

    Aaaand I’m so happy you liked Wilderpeople!! Full marks? I just had to, it was perfect IMO. The soundtrack, the photography, the comedy, everything was so goddamned funny. And so, so very relevant considering how young people are treated both here and in NZ. Dunno what the case is in other countries but young people get SCREWED when they’re put ‘in the system’, whether they are put up for adoption or whatever. There are endless horror stories of what foster kids have gone through, a good friend of mine was treated so bad she became de-sensitised to it all. So for that reason, on top of every else, made it one of the best movies of the year for me. Arrival though is challenging it for best movie of the year for me.

    Oh, and I like that you touched on the comic timing of the young New Zealander. He was brilliant wasn’t he! I loved that scene where he accidentally implied that Hector was abusing him to those hunter folk. Haha, great stuff!! That cracked me up good

    1. Hello Jordan! Yes ARRIVAL was excellent indeed, it was not a typical alien sci-fi at all, very emotionally-engaging!

      That’s too bad LOVING isn’t playing in Australia, esp w/ Edgerton in it, a great Aussie actor! Loving is even more of a romantic story than Brooklyn, but both are so excellently-crafted.

      Yes I think Wilderpeople is a 5/5 kind of movie, and I rarely give full top marks 😉 It’s soooo funny but also full of heart! My goodness, I love that kid Julian Dennison, soooo adorable!! Yep, it’s sad to see kids like him get put into the Juvenile prison, I mean why is it their fault that they’re in foster care??! I think Arrival is more of a 4.5/5 for me, it’s not perfect though it is indeed very good. Well I’ve written parts of the review of Wilderpeople, but I want to add a bit more so I’ll post it on its own. Love Taika!!

  4. Glad you caught up with Wilderpeople. It is hysterical in the same vein as Shadows but it surprised me with how much heart it had. Huge fan of that movie. I hope to see Loving and Allied in the next few days. I’m a bit concerned about Allied. It looks beautiful but something just seems a bit off in the trailers. We shall see.

    1. Hi Keith! I remember reading your review of Wilderpeople and was jealous you had seen it LOL. I’m so impressed w/ it, like you said it’s got big laughs and a big heart. LOVING is excellent, lives up to the hype for sure. As for ALLIED, well it’s kinda ‘style over substance’ as I mentioned in my email to you and Cindy. Marion is great though, but it’s rather meh overall. Y’know what, it made me think of how good Casablanca was and it made me want to see it again 😉

        1. Exactly! I convinced my hubby to see it w/ me, he’s not really fond of bw films but I told him he MUST see it. Allied is a Casablanca wannabe I’d say, but doesn’t pass muster!

  5. Loving and Hunt for the Wilderpeople have me especially curious! Great to read that you enjoyed them, I imagine I may as well once I get around to them. 🙂

  6. Hunt for the Wilderpeople was such a breath of fresh air! That boy had me cracking up the entire movie!!

    Loving looks good, but that director always leaves me a little empty; wanting more or something greater. I hope Loving surpasses this reservation…

    1. Glad you love ‘Wilderpeople’ too! Yes Julian Dennison is awesome, I hope he keeps on acting, he’s such a natural.

      I actually like Midnight Special and find it quite emotional. I like the subtlety and nuances of LOVING, so it works for me. I hope you like it as much as I do when you see it.

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    1. Hi Dell, hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I can’t recommend Wilderpeople and Loving enough, they’re both sooo good! The Little Prince is beautiful visually but I wasn’t wowed by the story.

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