The Fate of the Furious is the 8th installment of the action movie franchise starring Vin Diesel and once again it delivers exactly what audiences expect: car chases and action.  F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) directs an ensemble who drive, fight and shoot their way out of seemingly-impossible situations.

In fact, it’s the cast’s deep commitment to the premise that makes it all work.  Whereas other projects include actors who seem to wink at the camera in an “isn’t this ridiculous” sort of way, these actors are all-in.  In addition to Vin Diesel, the movie stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Academy Award winner Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood and Kurt Russell.  They believe, so I believe.

The Fate of the Furious has some uncredited stars as well: the companies featured in moments of product placement.  To learn how product placement works along with behind-the-scenes info about shooting on-location, take a look below:




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KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS succeeds in creating a story that feels Japanese while being written and helmed by Americans.  It’s mystical in a way that feels both possible and magical at the same time.  The choice to do this as a combination of claymation and digital animation fit the style and worked well.

This is a story of a boy who goes on a quest to find three pieces of samurai armor his father owned which will help him defeat the Moon King.  He’s accompanied by Monkey and Beetle.  Kubo himself possesses magic of his own when he plays his enchanted shamisen.  It stars the voice talents of Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei and Art Parkinson as Kubo.

While it was definitely very good, it was missing that final element to make it magical.

As someone who lived in Japan, I am always curious to see how the culture is addressed by American filmmakers.  For more about KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS and the Japanese culture reflected in particular, take a look below:


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