Laika’s KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Teaser Trailer Showcases Their Best Work Yet in 90 Seconds

Known for such films as Coraline, ParaNorman, and last year’s The Boxtrolls, the stop-motion animation studio, LAIKA, returns in 2016 to bring audiences Kubo and the Two Strings. The first, stunning teaser is wildly different from anything we’ve seen from the Oscar nominated animators before. Taking a more Eastern approach to their art direction, influenced by Japanese culture, this could be LAIKA’s boldest film to date.

Upon watching the first seconds of this teaser I was blown away. According to the official production announcement from 2014, Kubo and the Two Strings “is being brought to life at LAIKA via the company’s innovative 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid technique.” The opening sequence in the ocean is breathtakingly impressive and the environments are stunning. The way the movie positions itself with its art style, action, and visual queues, it almost feels like a video game.

Kubo and the Two Strings hosts a bevy of big name actors to voice its characters. Game of ThronesArt Parkinson, who plays Rickon Stark, voices the titular Kubo. At his side are George Takei as Hosato, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Hashi, Brenda Vaccaro as Kamekichi, Rooney Mara as the evil twin Sisters, Charlize Theron as Monkey, Matthew McConaughey as Beetle, and Ralph Fiennes as the Moon King.

I like Coraline, but ParaNorman didn’t impress me beyond its ending and The Boxtrolls didn’t work for me at all. The mix of Japanese culture and stop-motion animation is something I can’t say I’ve seen before, and it truly interests me. I can safely say Kubo and the Two Strings is high up on my list of most anticipated films of 2016.

Extended Commentary:

  • From the origami birds to the underwater eyeball creatures, I’m amazed by everything.
  • The music perfectly sets up the tone of this film.
  • Making photo realistic water in film and video games is wonderful, but the ocean animation here looks beautiful.
  • Some of the animation reminds me of James and the Giant Peach.
  • Before reading the plot synopsis, I had thought Kubo was a girl. I think it would be more interesting story if Kubo was a girl and not a boy.
  • It would also be awesome if LAIKA intended this film to be voiced over in Japanese first then dubbed in English.

Click on the teaser poster below to enlarge:

Kubo and the Two Strings Teaser Poster

Here’s the official plot synopsis for Kubo and the Two Strings, courtesy of Focus Features:

Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato, Hashi and Kamekichi. But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey and Beetle, and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen – a magical musical instrument – Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King and the evil twin Sisters to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family and fulfill his heroic destiny.

Directed by Travis Knight, Kubo and the Two Strings is set for release on August 19, 2016.

Source: Focus Features

The Stars Align in the HAIL, CAESAR! Teaser Trailer [100 Screenshots]

With the first Hail, Caesar! teaser trailer officially released, the award-winning Coen brothers are officially back. Joel and Ethan Coen have kept audiences entertained as credited screenwriters for both Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, and now the writer-directors are tackling 1950’s Hollywood. All the glitz and the glam is there, with each shot featuring dazzling costumes, bright sets, and the promise of some incredible song and dance numbers.

After Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) has a brief conversation in a confessional, the Hail, Caesar! teaser takes flight. The music is loud, the cinematography is bright, and every scene oozes with one big name star after another. From Frances McDormand (Fargo; Burn After Reading), who is no stranger to working with the Coens, to Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer; Only Lovers Left Alive) and Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), I’m completely geeking over how much talent is in this film. Even the 21 Jump Street duo Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill pop up. The trailer is cheeky, fun, and nostalgic for the uproarious movies of the ’50s.

The short teaser ends with the question, “Wondering what’s going on?” posed by one of the smoking men presumably holding Baird Whitlock (George Clooney). Is this man part of “The Future”? Who or what is “The Future”? Based on what I’ve seen in this tease, Hail, Caesar! is either going to be a true delight or a flop for biting off more than it can chew. How will it carry the plot without getting too swept up in its own fabulousness and wit? Plus, with a cast this lavishly star-studded, will we get true character development or become lost trying to keep up? The Coen Brothers are expert storytellers and have an impressive number of successful films under their belt – see A Serious Man, The Big Lebowski, and No Country for Old Men. Let’s hope this one is no different.

Another note of interest is the release date. If it’s critically successful, and I really think it could be, it would have Oscars written all over it. However, the brothers Coen have elected to surpass the awards season hoopla with a February release, meaning Hail, Caesar! would only be eligible for the Academy Awards in 2017. If the film truly delivers, it could have a year like The Grand Budapest Hotel, whose critical momentum carried it from March all the way to the Oscars – a rare feat. But as far as awards go, the Coen brothers, like the honey badger, don’t care.

(Click on any thumbnail to open the image gallery)

Here’s the official plot synopsis for Hail, Caesar! courtesy of Sony Pictures:

Hail, Caesar! follows a single day in the life of a studio fixer who is presented with plenty of problems to fix.

Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, Hail, Caesar! stars Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Channing Tatum. The movie is set to hit theaters on February 5, 2016.

Source: Sony Pictures

Bond 24 Entitled SPECTRE; Plot Details, Cast, and More Revealed

James Bond 24 SPECTRE Movie Cast Revealed

Today at Pinewood Studios in the UK, details for the the 24th James Bond film have been revealed. Entitled SPECTRE, Bond 24 is set to release on November 6, 2015 and will have the world’s most notorious secret agent facing off against one of his most notorious criminal organizations of the series’ past. Also revealed in today’s announcement was the official car for SPECTRE, which you can see after the break. Continue reading

‘Skyfall’ Theatrical Trailer, Posters, and Screenshots

James Bond 007 Skyfall

The Majesty’s most top secret agent is on a mission to storm the box office this weekend with the release of Skyfall. It’s been four years since we last saw 007 in action with the very unpopular Quantum of Solace. Early reports tell us that Skyfall could be one of the best James Bond films ever. Will this be the redemption James Bond needs? Check out the full theatrical trailer, four character posters, and a slew of screenshots after the break. Continue reading

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Posters Galore!

With less than two weeks to go, the end of an era that is the Harry Potter film franchise will come to a close. With the the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Warner Bros. has released some pretty awesome posters that any potter fan would die to get their hands on.

I’m just a big fan of the marketing. The fact that they don’t even have to use the full title of the movie on any of them other than HP7: Part 2 just goes to show how much of a impact this brand has on consumers. It’s like McDonald’s just using their golden arches or Starbucks removing their name from their cups. I kind of wish they took out the HP7: Part 2 from the poster and just stuck with just the tagline.

The continuous tagline, “It All Ends” sums everything up perfectly. No other words could solidify what the past 10 years have been leading up to.  After the jump you’ll be treated to 11 hi-res character posters along with four other epic poster art.

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It All Ends. Several Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Posters!

About a week or so ago, everyday the folks at Warner Bros. have been releasing a unique Harry Potter character poster of each of the cast with the same ominous wording “IT ALL ENDS”. They don’t even have the title of the movie on the posters, but honestly, do they really need to? It has been a long decade of wizarding and fantasy that will truly and sadly all come to an end. Thus far we have Harry, Hermione, Ron, Snape, Neville, Voldemort, and Draco posters. I would assume there are more to come with each day passing. I foresee possible posters with Luna, Ginny, Hagrid, Bellatrix, Lucious, and maybe even Dumbledore in the future. But for now, check after the jump to see all the current hi-res posters! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 opens in theaters in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D (both post converted) July 15!

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The First Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Poster

With the end of an era finally coming to a close this July, marketing has begun to start the unnecessary promotion of what is sure to be one of the biggest, if not the king, blockbuster of the year. The first official poster debuted today and it pretty much sums up that this will be the bout of the century, if this was a boxing movie. Harry is looking mighty old with that stubble and looks to be wanting to inflict some pain on the nose-less Voldemort. Check out the full poster after the jump and be sure to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in theaters July 15!!!!

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Epic New Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Trailer

We’ve already seen the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows trailer promoting both films, but now Warner Bros. has officially released an amazing new trailer focusing just on Part 1 of the incredible ending to the Harry Potter series. This new trailer is jam packed full of everything from the book and doesn’t seem to leave out any detail. The trailer provides many new clips from the movie that we haven’t seen before, maybe too many. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 will be so full of awesomness that I can’t imagine how far they are going to go with Part 2.

With less than two months to go, this trailer does the book justice from what I can tell, but I am a little concerned whether things in this movie will make sense to viewers who have only seen the films. There has been a decent amount left out of the past six movies that could confuse some people going into this film, but perhaps they will sort it out with a few lines of dialogue. This movie looks intense full of  action, fast paced, and extremely well done; as the book was pretty much like reading a movie. Do you think the trailer could have revealed too much? I do, but as I have already read the book, I know what happens and am still very excited for this film.

Directed by David Yates, who has already helmed Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 will be in theaters and IMAX, this November 19! Check out the full new trailer for Deathly Hallows Part 1 after the break along with over 150 screen captures from the trailer as well! Continue reading