Full Review: JOJO RABBIT (USA 2019) ***1/2

Jojo Rabbit Poster
Trailer

A young boy in Hitler’s army finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.

Director:

Taika Waititi

Writers:

Christine Leunens (novel), Taika Waititi (screenplay)

As wild as its title, JOJO RABBIT follows the protagonist, a German boy, a Nazi fanatic given the nickname of JoJo Rabbit (Roman Griffin Davis) during a Nazi training camp for failure to kill a rabbit in order to prove his loyalty to the Führer.

It is not an easy task to make a tasteful film with Nazi Germany in the setting and a fanatic Führer young boy as the lead.  But it has been done successfully – ie. Germany Nazi comedy in TV series like HOGAN’S HEROES and ALLO ALLO.

The boy also has an imaginary friend giving him advice throughout the story, as Humphrey Bogart advised the meek Wood Allen character in PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM.  It is Adolf Hitler himself (played with gust by director Waititi) who gives the boy advice right to the very last frame of the film.

JOJO RABBIT, while being a satire of the german machinery during WWII is a coming-of-age story of JoJo, a boy who aims at serving the Führer the best he can while discovering love  in the form of a Jewish girl his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding in the family house from the Germans.

Jojo Betzler is a precocious kid in World War II Germany with an egregious blind spot. Socially awkward, but a proud member of the Hitler Youth, Jojo passes much of his time with his imaginary friend Adolf, a cuddly, energetic, pep-talking version of the Führer.  Having completely bought into Nazi hate, Jojo is incensed when he discovers that his mother has been working for the resistance, helping to keep safe the Jewish people he’s been taught to hate. With Germany on the brink of collapse, he is faced with the choice of clinging to his hateful beliefs or embracing his humanity.

  The film contains many laugh-out loud moments demonstrating director Waititi’s keen sense of humour.  His comedy timing is immaculate.

Roman Griffin Davis is a real find as the 10-year old boy.  Oscar Winner Sam Rockwell relishes his role as the sympathetic Nazi with a fondness for same-sex flirtations while Australian comedienne Rebel Wilson keeps popping up multiple points in the film as different characters ranging from Nazi trainer to Nazi secretary to Nazi masseuse providing additional laughs.  All the actors appear to speak english with the perfect German accent.

JOJO RABBIT turns out to be a harmless really funny comedy with a message to boot.

Spoiler alert:  I have to include this priceless moment in the review as it made the movie, but it concludes a spoiler of a key plot point.  Skip this paragraph (in italics) if it needs be.  In a key moment near the film’s end after the Germans have lost the war, Jojo’s nemesis , his imaginary Hitler appears to still give him nasty advice.  Jojo screams; “Fuck off!” and kicks him out the window of his room.  The scene elicited loud laughs and the guy next to me the screening happened to turn to me, where he, clearly a Jew, who had suffered anti-Semitism shared the laughs with me.

The film went on to win the Toronto International Film Festival Audience (Popular) Film Award.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tL4McUzXfFI

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2019 TIFF Movie Review: JOJO RABBIT (USA 2019) ***1/2

Jojo Rabbit Poster
Trailer

A young boy in Hitler’s army finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.

Director:

Taika Waititi

Writers:

Christine Leunens (novel), Taika Waititi (screenplay)

JOJO RABBIT follows the protagonist, a German boy, a Nazi fanatic given the nickname of JoJo Rabbit (Roman Griffin Davis) during a Nazi training camp for failure to kill a rabbit in order to prove his loyalty to the Führer. 

 It is not an easy task to make a tasteful film with Nazi Germany in the setting and a fanatic Führer young boy as the lead.  But director Waititi’s film succeeds due to is clever brand of humour.  The film contains many laugh-out loud moments demonstrating director Waititi’s keen sense of humour.  

Roman Griffin Davis is a real find as the 10-year old boy while Australian comedienne Rebel Wilson keeps popping up multiple points in the film as different characters ranging from Nazi trainer to Nazi secretary to Nazi masseuse providing additional laughs.  All the actors appear to speak english with the perfect German accent. 

 JOJO RABBIT turns out to be a harmless really funny comedy with a message to boot.

Trailer: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2584384/videoplayer/vi2663366425?ref_=tt_ov_vi

Film Review: THOR: RAGNAROK (USA 2017) ***

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Thor: Ragnarok Poster
Trailer

Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.

Director:

Taika Waititi

The third THOR film, the sequel to THOR:THE DARK WORLD and the seventeenth (not that anyone can really keep count) film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the massive $180 million production arrives with all the extravaganza expected.  With a host of top Hollywood and British stars, lots of characters and action super heroes and tons of special and visual effects, THOR: RAGNAROK should please fans of the MCU but for the more serious cineaste, it is quite the chore to watch.

To recap who this Thor (Chris Hemsworth) person is…  Thor is the crown prince of Asgard based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name, who has become a “lone gunslinger” while solving universe-ending perils in his search to learn more about the Infinity Stones.

The filmmakers have decided to make a few changes to the THOR universe.  Immediately recognizable is Thor’s new look which includes his shorter hair and new outfit.  He is more vulnerable in the third film with him plunged to the ground many times including the loss of his hammer.  His enemy and half-brother Loki is now his aide and friend as also seen in the last scene when they ponder on how Earth will accept both of them when they arrive.

When the film opens, it is two years after the Battle of Sokovia,  Thor’s quest for information about the Infinity Stones leads him to the fire demon Surtur, from whom he learns that his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been impersonating their father Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) since the Dark Elf conflict.  Surtur taunts Thor with knowledge of the coming Ragnarok, the foretold end of Asgard that Surtur will bring about when he unites his crown with the Eternal Flame that burns beneath the city, but Thor defeats Surtur and claims his crown, seemingly forestalling the prophecy.  And this is just 5 minutes into the film.  Thor then returns to Asgard and exposes Loki’s treachery, before travelling with him to Earth to recover Odin.  The story goes on and on with Thor’s eventually battle with his sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) and his saving of his people.  What is good about the script by Eric Pearson and the writing team of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost is that it can be complicated that one can have a fine time dissecting the story, or one can totally ignore it and still enjoy the grandiose battles in the film.  Pearson ties into the picture a multiple of other action heroes that include the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Skurge (Karl Urban), Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Heimdall (Idris Elba) among others. 

A fair share of the budget must have gone into the CGI and special effects.  It shows!  The film looks amazing and is visually stunning.  The music is by Mark Mothersbaugh and the soundtrack is not too loud to give anyone a headache.

The film is predicted to  take in $100 million plus the opening weekend and to eventually gross domestically a goal of $250 million bringing Disney and Marvel a hefty profit.  So that it is a big win against the serious cineaste who basically can be told to take a hike.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?>

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