When a film franchise comes out with a third installment, one gets a sense that that franchise knows what they’re doing and that they are definitely in the business of making money, not high art. Since 2008, the Kung Fu Panda films have repackaged Shrek in a tasty Chinese coating and passed it off as original animated entertainment and DreamWorks Animation actually did get it right. Jack Black serves as voice actor superstar, accompanied by a who’s who of modern day supportive acting talent. Kung Fu Panda 3 continues to follow the adventures of spiritually-misguided Po, a panda who, through the power of kung fu, teamwork, and friendship sees deeper and realizes his true potential. This is the third film, so expect strong similarities between this installment and the previous two however that’s not saying this is a mediocre film because it really is rather fun and lively, not to mention funny and brimming with strong technical achievements.
Every December, movie theaters across the globe experience a strong influx of critically and commercially successful films, all vying for the same thing: awards. It is a time in which stars and filmmakers offer their very best in the desperate hopes that they will eventually end up with some statues. This year, Angelina Jolie has directed Unbroken, a true story of epic proportions. It is her second time directing (the first being 2011’s In the Land of Blood and Honey) and while the film is a bit cliché and overly optimistic, it works on a few levels. It is also beautifully shot and features a relatively strong performance from young star on the rise Jack O’Connell (Starred Up, Skins, This is England).