Isle of Dogs (2018)

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Set in Japan, Isle of Dogs follows a boy’s odyssey in search of his lost dog. (IMDb)
Awe-inspiring animation, as expected, with an amazing attention to detail (petals on noses, fur blowing in the wind), breathtaking landscapes (see the journey montages), a variety of unique shots (see the shadowy discussion in the bottle cave), creative storytelling devices (see the split-screens), and fun flourishes (see the sushi-making). A welcome surprise is the engaging hard-boiled political drama added to Anderson’s typically quirky comedy (the gossiping goofy alpha dog pack is great).
8.5/10 (Amazing)

 

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Drive (2011)

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A mysterious Hollywood stuntman and mechanic moonlights as a getaway driver and finds himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbor. (IMDb)
Smoothly moves without leaving a character behind or strings untied from a subtly spun protagonist set-up (the quiet Driver is ever intriguing) with budding romance to a bloody crime/revenge drama spiked with shocking violence. Add to that an equally cohesive aesthetic of a moody city setting slickly portrayed (see the crossfade transitions, scrumptious slow motion shots under a gorgeous synth soundtrack) and unique scene edits (see the final confrontation) and the film packs quite the punch.
9/10 (Amazing)

Godzilla (2014)

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The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity. (IMDb)

Cranston’s passionate Joe Brody is a solid protagonist in the first act here but as the focus shifts to his son the film loses most of its emotional edge; Taylor-Johnson is wooden and Olson isn’t given much to work with. The monster/disaster plot is engaging, and it looks great (Godzilla’s dissonant piano-backed reveal is awesome) but without any interesting characters amongst the pure plot-movers (the military, the scientists), the film struggles to be more than just your typical monster movie.

6.7/10