May 23, 2015

Movie Review – A Most Violent Year

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

A-Most-Violent-Year-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :   JC Chandor
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :  Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola, Albert Brooks, Catalina Sandino Morino, Ashley Williams, Elyes Gabel, Jerry Adler.
Approx Running Time :   125 Minutes
Synopsis:   In New York City 1981, an ambitious immigrant fights to protect his business and family during the most dangerous year in the city’s history.
What we think :  Terrific lead performances and an unambiguous screenplay provide viewers with a powerful, if slow-moving story of standing tall amidst city-wide corruption. A Most Violent Year is compelling human drama, a journey worth taking, and a film you’ll remember.

****

Always about the oil.

As a former employee of a major oil company, I’m so glad I wasn’t around back in the 80’s. The war for control of oil in New York City’s cold, cold winters through the early 80’s is brought into sharp relief in A Most Violent Year, a sl0wburn dramatic crime thriller from director JC Chandor, who previously helmed All Is Lost with Robert Redford. Featuring a star turn from Oscar Isaac (last seen in Inside Llewyn Davis), and a wonderful performance by Zero Dark Thirty star Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year harkens back to the grim, gritty crime thrillers of the 70’s (to me, anyway) with its relaxed style allowing the dramatic heft to remain front and center.

(more…)

May 22, 2015

Movie Review – Extraterrestrial

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Extraterrestrial-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :  The Vicious Brothers
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :  Brittany Allen, Freddie Stroma, Jesse Moss, Melanie Papalia, Anja Savcic, Gill Bellows, Michael Ironside, Emily Perkins, Sean Rogerson.
Approx Running Time :   100 Minutes
Synopsis:   A group of teens venture into a deserted cabin in the woods to party, only to encounter an otherworldly presence.
What we think :  Slick sci-fi thriller delivers some nice scares, a few good ideas, and plenty of noise to distract you from the plot holes; Extraterrestrial is a better film than the kitschy poster might have you thinking, even though it contains almost no household names outside of Michael Ironside, and has a soundtrack bordering on migraine-inducing. Worth a look for stupid alien fun.

**********************

You might not have seen this film promoted at all, but you really should see it.

If you’ve ever watched a movie, whenever some creepy shit starts to happen, you should always follow the advice of the first person to say “hey you guys, we should pack up our stuff and get out of here”, and pack up your stuff and get out of here. Extraterrestrial, a film I expected nothing from and actually really enjoyed, has a moment like that, but like a sack full of dicks, the characters here are useless in the dark. Alien invasion? Not quite, but there is an alien in this movie. And it’s not a hilarious Michael Ironside, who does the crazy conspiracy nutjob character with aplomb. Spooky, filled with nice moments of both humor and tension, Extraterrestrial is a better film than I gave the poster credit for.

(more…)

May 21, 2015

Movie Review – Backcountry (2014)

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Backcountry-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director : Adam MacDonald
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :  Jeff Roop, Missy Peregrym, Eric Balfour, Nicholas Campbell, Melanie Mullen.
Approx Running Time :   91 Minutes
Synopsis:   An urban couple go camping in the woods and find themselves lost in the territory of a predatory black bear.
What we think : Effective B-movie about survival against the odds, makes the most of its tiny cast and access to a real bear, so camping fans and animal lovers should probably avoid this one. It’s got some good moments, plenty of illogical thought processes, and a slew of crunching bones and rending flesh: Backcountry makes my trip to the local playground all that much more appealing as an alternative.

**********************

When you go into the woods today, prepare for a big surprise.

So, the rules of camping in the woods include not inviting some random Irish tour guide to come eat with you? I didn’t read that in my Baden Powell guidebook. Backcountry, an isolationist survival movie, has mountains of charm, forests of creepy, eerie, “don’t turn around” stuff, and a central villain who ain’t even a human being. If this kind of thing that makes me really trepidatious about saddling up with a backpack and getting “back to nature” anytime soon. Although, I will add, it does make for a nice little B-movie thrill ride similar to equally tension-fueled projects in recent times, such as A Lonely Place To Die, only without the guns. Films such as this, where the lead actor or actors, are put into isolated, lonely locations to fend for themselves, usually go one of two ways. The first, they know what they’re doing in these situation and so can normally escape whatever pitfalls await them, or, as is half the case with this, they don’t know what they’re doing and thus have to rely on their wits, or what they learned watching Bear Grylls.

(more…)

May 20, 2015

Movie Review – Spring (2014)

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Spring-2014-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :   Justin Benson + Aaron Moorehead
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :  Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker, Vanessa Bednar, Shane Brady, Vinny Curran, Francesco Carnelutti, Holly Hawkins.
Approx Running Time :  109 Minutes
Synopsis:  An American fleeing recent family tragedy finds love of the most bizarre kind in a small Italian coastal town.
What we think :  Hypnotic, romantic, impossibly opaque movie borders on frustrating, but ultimately rewards a patient and accepting viewer. Spring isn’t for everyone – hell, about 30 minutes in I was seriously considering switching it off! – but patience and allowing yourself to be drawn into its supernatural themes will reward those who seek a film that’s more like a moving painting than a film. Spring is just lovely.

*************************

Something about stem-cells?

I went into Spring completely blind. I saw the poster, thought it could be one of those “romantic” types I was prepared to eviscerate here on this website, but something caught my eye. The tag line for the film, which spoils it somewhat, is “Love is a monster”. Literally, they’ve put the twist on the poster. Oh well. While I’m still not sure why a film like this was called “Spring” for anything other than just hipster meta-referencing or whatnot, director’s Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead have crafted a film so poetic, so magnificently lyrical, so breathtaking in heartache and passionate repulsion, I’m inclined to recommend it purely as a novelty film if nothing else. But I can’t call Spring a novelty film, because it’s so tenderly conceived and directed, so effortlessly wonderful, I just outright loved it.

(more…)

May 19, 2015

Movie Review – Jeepers Creepers 2

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Jeepers-Creepers-2-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :  Victor Salva
Year Of Release :  2003
Principal Cast :   Ray Wise, Jonathan Breck, Nicki Aycox, Garikayi Mutambirwa, Eric Nenninger, Merieh Delfino, Diane Delano, Thom Gosson Jr, Billy Aaron Brown, Lena Cardwell, Al Santos, Josh Hammond, Drew Tyler Bell, Luke Edwards, Shaun Fleming, David Zepeda.
Approx Running Time :  104 Minutes
Synopsis:  A bus load of teenagers and a vengeful farmer take on the powerful and deadly Creeper, as the last of his 23 days is coming to a close.
What we think :  Boasting zero major stars, plentiful cool death sequences and a monster that Will Not Die, this by the numbers sequel actually improves and expands the story from the first film, even though it does get bogged down in genre cliche more often than not. Still, Salva’s strong direction and atmospheric framing of this simple survivalist film stands the test of time even now, giving Jeepers Creepers 2 a cult flavor that cannot be denied. Horror fans will lap this up. Everyone else will most likely skip it on title alone.

**********************

Welcome to day 23.

The trouble with sequels is that typically, when you kill the majority of your cast in the first film, it’s hard to make a follow-up link in without some tenacious plot twisting. The great thing about Jeepers Creepers 2 is that it deftly uses the “every 23 years, for 23 days, it gets to feed” motif. Although made only a few years after the original film, Victor Salva’s sophomore salvo (heh) takes place within the same 23 days as the earlier films’ setting. In fact, Justin Long’s Darry makes a small cameo, linking the previous film with this one, although the sheer fact the Creeper is in it should prove the only link required.

(more…)

May 18, 2015

Movie Review – Jeepers Creepers

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Jeepers-Creepers-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :  Victor Salva
Year Of Release :  2001
Principal Cast :  Justin Long, Gina Philips, Jonathan Brek, Patricia Belcher, Brandon Smith, Eileen Brennan, Jon Beshara, Avis-Marie Barnes.
Approx Running Time :   91 Minutes
Synopsis: A brother and sister travelling across the country run into a powerful monster which terrorizes them.
What we think :  A defining entry into the post 2000 horror genre, a straight-up thrill ride that punches in early and doesn’t let go, ever. Commanding direction from Victor Salva and believable performances from the young leads give this movie a lingering, dangerous allure that can never be driven away.

**********************

Where did you get those peepers?

2001 was a seminal cinema year for me. It marked the highpoint of my regular cinematic attendance; once a week, every week, for around four or five years, and 2001 landed smack in the middle of it. My friends and I would go see all kinds of movies each week, from the big budget turkeys like The Phantom Menace, to the Lord Of The Rings trilogy (which came out well after Jeepers Creepers, I might add), but 2001 heralded a special time in my life of film appreciation. Not only did we witness the birth of Peter Jackson’s iconic Middle Earth franchise, but also the Harry Potter saga, Shrek and Monsters Inc battled it out for animated bragging rights, and Clooney and Pitt swaggered into the first Ocean’s 11 remake. It was also the year my beloved Moulin Rouge came out, Christopher Nolan gave us Memento (his first genuine blockbuster, and a film I still regard as his most accomplished), I tasted French cinema for the first time in Amelie (and followed that quickly with most of Juenet’s previous films!), and felt the utter deflation of watching mildly amusing comedies such as Stallone’s Driven, Bay’s Pearl Harbor, and Hugh Jackman’s Swordfish in nearly consecutive weeks. But, and I’m gonna be bold here, nothing represents 2001 more succinctly to me than Jeepers Creepers, a film starring no known names outside Eileen Brennan (who nobody would know anyway except for her role in the “comedy” film Clue) and directed by a convicted sex offender. To be fair, he wasn’t at the time, but rewatching this film now just makes me cringe just a liiiiitle bit.

(more…)

May 15, 2015

Movie Review – Tinker Bell And The Legend Of The Neverbeast

Filed under: Disney's Tinker Bell,Movie Review,Walt Disney Collection — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Tinker-Bell-&-The-Legend-Of-The-Neverbeast-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :  Steve Loter
Year Of Release :  2014
Principal Cast :  Mae Whitman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Rosario Dawson, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symone, Megan Hilty, Pamela Adlon, Angelica Huston, Danai Gurira, Chloe Bennett, Thomas Lennon.
Approx Running Time :  90 Minutes
Synopsis:  A strange giant beast arrives in Pixie Hollow, along with a portent of doom from the fairies long history; Fawn, the animal lover, takes the giant beast under her wings, but will this unlikely friendship spell doom for Pixie Hollow?
What we think :  Lite-weight Disney fare is commendably solid thanks to on-point animation and an irony-free story and tone. Although the actual plot might lose most younger kids, the bright colors, wonderful effects and soaring songs will win over all but the hardest hearts. Legend Of The Neverbeast is another gem from the Tinker Bell franchise.

**********************

This beast moved me.

Watching this film, I experienced a first in my life. My young son, 3, cried during the end of The Legend of The Neverbeast, because the titular beast was… er… going away, and he was sad. Bottom lip trembling, he came to me seeking consoling, sobbing his little eyes out. This sent me into a blubbering mess; so thanks, Disney, you officially made me cry during a Tinker Bell movie. As a critic, however, is Neverbeast really a movie to move grown adults bored with endless child-oriented films thrown at them by multi-media conglomerates into a puddle of tears? No, not really. It’s a good movie, sure, but it’s really just a kiddie-friendly morality fable about approaching giant ugly monsters with caution.

(more…)

May 13, 2015

Movie Review – +1

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 11:57 am

+1-Movie-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :   Denis Iliadis
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :   Rhys Wakefield, Ashley Hinshaw, Natalie Hall, Rhoda Griffis, Logan Miller, Marla Malcolm, Megan Hayes, Chrissy Chambers, Colleen Dengel, Suzanne Dengel, Chrissy Chambers, Max Calder.
Approx Running Time :   96 Minutes
Synopsis: At a party, a freak meteor crash sets off a series of time events that cause the participants to confront their doppelgangers.
What we think :  Vividly obnoxious in its visual style, +1 is all Big Ideas and often Poor Execution. It’s a shame, because I felt this is a film that could have taken the Party Movie genre, or the Sci-Fi genre and tipped it on its head. When all’s said and done, there’s nobody to like in this movie, and nothing enjoyable about watching them.

Time travel is a bitch.

+1 isn’t a typical film about time travel. Hell, it’s not a typical film, leastways not by my standards. As a kinda frat-party-mixed-with-Donnie-Darko, +1 (or Plus One in some markets) has a unique and truly frightening hook, but often squanders it with inept direction and a predisposition not to explain what’s going on. Oblique to a fault, +1 runs afoul of genre conventions and trying to stretch itself too far, if that’s possible. Did I enjoy it? Yes, but with caveats.

(more…)

May 11, 2015

Movie Review – Tracers

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Tracers-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :   Daniel Benmayor
Year Of Release :  2015
Principal Cast : Taylor Lautner, Marie Avgeropolous, Adam Rayner, Rafi Gavron, Luciano Acuna Jr, Josh Yadon, Johnny M Wu, Sam Medina.
Approx Running Time :   94 Minutes
Synopsis: Wanted by the Chinese mafia, a New York City bike messenger escapes into the world of parkour after meeting a beautiful stranger.
What we think : It could be worse. It could be Abduction 2.

**********************

It’s a little worrying when you see a film’s filming schedule as taking place during 2013, and it’s release coming in 2015. Unless this is a Justice League-level blockbuster relying on visual effects in every frame, Tracers’ lack of enthusiasm from the studio makes watching it a nervous experience. Yeah, it’s probably going to be crap, but since it stars one of the only legitimately nice actors to come out of the Twilight series, I figured what they hey, I’d give Taylor Lautner the benefit of the doubt. Marketed as a kind of blend between Premium Rush and Brick Mansions (the latter starring the late Paul Walker, which was a remake of a French film named District 13), Tracers apparent lack of quality shines through with every frame of its try-hard, wannabe cool exterior, as Lautner pouts and panders his way through a conventional script and extreme-games action film-making.

(more…)

May 8, 2015

Movie Review – Supergirl

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Supergirl-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :  Jeannot Szwarc
Year Of Release :   1984
Principal Cast :  Helen Slater, Faye Dunaway, Peter O’Toole, Hart Bochner, Mia Farrow, Simon Ward, Marc McClure, Brenda Vaccaro, Peter Cook, Maureen Teefy, David Healy.
Approx Running Time :  138 Minutes (Director’s Cut)
Synopsis: Kara Zor-el travels to Earth to reclaim the lost power source of her people, but in doing so becomes Supergirl, battling Faye Dunaway in the stupidest comic book hero movie of the 80’s.
What we think :  While it promises much, Supergirl delivers very, very little. Redeeming features include Helen Slater’s wide-eyed portrayal of Superman’s cousin Kara, Jerry Goldsmith’s brilliant score, and a sequence involving an invisible demon monster demonstrate the potential the film had, but convoluted focus on Faye Dunaway’s ridiculous cackling screen villain, and a daffy subplot involving Hart Bochner as Kara’s romantic interest, ruin this debacle from every angle. Bummer.

**********************

Up, up and awaaaaayyyyy with ye!

If you asked anyone on the street to tell you Superman’s history, his backstory, you’d have a 100% strike rate with three things: escaped Krypton’s explosion, came to Earth and assumed a secret identity, and has X-ray vision that he doesn’t use to spy on women in the shower. Now, ask that same question of those same people about Supergirl, and you’ll probably be met with a blank, uncomfortable stare. Truth is, nobody outside comic book nerds actually know the origin of Supergirl, or as she’s better known, Kara Zor-el, the cousin of Kal El. A convoluted, confusing and at times insipid attempt by various comic writers over the years have attempted to give Kara as iconic a history as her better known cousin, and by and large they’ve failed. You see, the allure of Superman was that he was the last of his kind – an orphan, sent away from a doomed planet to save us all. Supergirl typically arrived from some fragment of Krypton that survived the explosion (although, in many versions, Krypton was obliterated by its sun going supernova, so exactly how a “fragment of Krypton” survived, mush less had established gravity and atmosphere of its own…. oh well) and stumbled to Earth with powers similar, or somewhat diluted powers, to that of the Man Of Steel. Now, on the surface, Supergirl has always felt like an easy steal: I mean, she wears the same costume, but for some reason her popularity among comic book readers has always been led by how curvaceous, or buxom, the Girl of Steel was drawn. Nobody could ever really make her as iconic as her cousin, no matter how they tried. Even Peter David, one of the better comic writers around, left me baffled with his “fallen angel” take on the character after the character was introduced in the post-crisis comics as a playdoh version with limited “super” powers and the addition of telekinesis (or something). Look, the point is, there’s no “real” story to Supergirl other than whatever convoluted idea a comic writer had to get her from Krypton to Earth and wear the same outfit as Superman.

(more…)

May 6, 2015

Movie Review – Paddington

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Paddington-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :  Paul King
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :   Voice of Ben Wishaw. Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeline Harris, Samuel Joslin, Julie Walters, Nicole Kidman, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, voice of Imelda Staunton, voice of Michael Gambon, Tim Downie.
Approx Running Time :   95 Minutes
Synopsis:  A bear from darkest Peru voyages to London to find a home, and avoid being captured by an obsessed taxidermist.
What we think :  Delightful, whimsical, enchanting family film delivers love in buckets. God, what a glorious time.

**********************

There’s a bear in there.

If I had to rank my favorite films of 2014 (not the best, mind you, just my favorites to watch), Paddington would rocket into the top 10 with a bullet. Sweet, likeable and eminently fun, Paddington’s journey from darkest Peru and into London isn’t without its dramatic impetus, but it avoids dreaded melancholy for a warmth and marmalade-infused drenching of lighthearted fun. Family friendly film’s don’t come much better than this.

(more…)

May 5, 2015

Vale – Ellen Albertini Dow

Filed under: Obituary — Rodney Twelftree @ 11:07 pm
Ellen Albertini Dow (In The Wedding Singer, 1998) - 1913-2015

Ellen Albertini Dow (In The Wedding Singer, 1998) – 1913-2015

American actress Ellen Albertini Dow, best known for her role in Adam Sandler’s The Wedding Singer as “the rapping granny”, has passed away.

(more…)

May 4, 2015

Movie Review – Immortal Beloved

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Immortal-Beloved-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :  Bernard Rose
Year Of Release :  1994
Principal Cast :  Gary Oldman, Isabella Rossellini, Jeroen Krabbe, Johanna ter Steege, Christopher Fulford, Marco Hofschneider, Miriam Margolyes, Barry Humphries, Valeria Golino, Alexandra Pigg.
Approx Running Time :  121 Minutes
Synopsis:   The life of Ludwig Van Beethoven, from his life as a child to the final years, before a letter written to his “immortal beloved” set in motion a search of the mysterious woman the composer adored.
What we think :  Gary Oldman’s iconic portrayal of the famous composer will never be equaled. The film’s fantasy romance elements make for compelling impetus as we traverse Beethoven’s life, accompanied by his most bravura musical works; this is a film I adore in spite of its cavalier approach to reality, and the assemblage of production values and terrific key performances make Immortal Beloved a genuine classic.

**********************

Ode to Misery. Ode to Love.

The musical biography film – of which Immortal Beloved is a fine example, if not among the finest – is a bit of a hit-n-miss genre to tackle. Particularly if the subject is several centuries in the ground, as is the case with Beethoven and his musical contemporaries. While films such as Amadeus captured the zeitgeist for their large scale humanity, lesser-known works such as The Music Lovers, Lisztomania and Mahler (all directed by Ken Russell) were left aside by audiences favoring sweeping Bavarian landscapes and opulent Viennese panoramas. Even recent films to tackle classical composers, such as The Devil’s Violinist (which admittedly lacked the screenplay wherewithal to try something different) haven’t found favor outside the cultural elite to whom this music resounds. Immortal Beloved transcends them all; led by a magnetic Gary Oldman in fierce firebrand form, and accompanied by a staggeringly brave supporting cast, Bernard Rose’s love-letter (ha!) to Beethoven not only hits all the cultural and musical marks to make it a gem, but its sheer ferocity sear it into the memory long after it’s been viewed.

(more…)

May 1, 2015

Movie Review – Last Starfighter, The

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

The-Last-Starfighter-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :   Nick Castle
Year Of Release :   1984
Principal Cast :  Lance Guest, Dan O’Herlihy, Catherine Mary Stewart, Robert Preston, Norman Snow, Kay E Kuter, Barbara Bosson, Chris Herbert, Dan Mason, Peggy Pope, Charlene Nelson, Vernon Washington, Al Berry, Meg Wyllie, Bunny Summers, Owen Bush, Britt Leach, Wil Wheaton, Heather Locklear (uncredited).
Approx Running Time :   101 Minutes
Synopsis:   A young video-game player is whisked into space to battle an alien armada intent on destroying a collection of civilizations.
What we think :   A childhood favorite, The Last Starfighter remains an enduring classic. Because it loves what it does, and we love it for that. You’ll enjoy every charming, kitschy 80’s moment of Starfighter’s unabashed enjoyment of sci-fi fantasy escapism.

**********************

Before Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park revolutionized computer graphics in cinema, there was a little film released in the mid 80’s that took CGI to the absolute extreme. The Last Starfighter. With it’s star-studded production team (including folks who’d worked on Star Wars, as well as custom vehicle designer Gene Winfield, as well as Alien tech designer Ron Cobb) behind the camera, a riff of Star Wars‘ space aesthetic capturing the mood of audiences at the time, and blockbusting use of computer graphics for the majority of its space-set sequences, The Last Starfighter remains not only a cult classic of the era, a childhood favorite for anyone who grew up as a child of the 80’s, but also a marvelous time-capsule of Hollywood’s early work on computer technology to tell a story.

(more…)

April 29, 2015

Movie Review – Pitch Black

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Pitch-Black-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :  David Twohy
Year Of Release :  2000
Principal Cast : Radha Mitchell, Vin Diesel, Cole Hauser, Keith David, Lewis Fitz-gerald, Claudia Black, Rhiana Griffith, John Moore, Firass Dirani.
Approx Running Time :   112 Minutes
Synopsis:   A group of desperate refugees are stranded on a planet where night lasts for a month, and the monsters come out when the suns set.
What we think :  Although it’s showing its seams a bit now, Pitch Black remains a solid blast of sci-fi hokum. Elegantly filmed and with a nice ensemble, this low-grade B-movie is aided by some for-the-time decent production value that might not stack up today, but still is worth a look.

**********************

Hope you’re not afraid of the dark!

Did you know Vin Diesel had a small, uncredited role in Steven Spielberg’s Awakenings? No? Neither did I until I was researching this review. Although a segue between Awakenings and Pitch Black is rather lacking, I just thought it was interesting to note. Anyway, back to Pitch Black. Made in the late 90’s, and released in 2000, this Aussie-shot sci-fi film quickly became a cult classic for not much beyond Vin Diesel’s muscular anti-hero, Riddick. Diesel would go on to reprise the role in (to-date) two further films in this franchise, Chronicles Of Riddick and Riddick, yet neither of those films, in my opinion, stacked up against this film, the original. Having seen Pitch Black during its theatrical run, and basking in what was then one of the finest “spaceship crashing through the atmosphere and into a planet” action sequences ever filmed, I returned to this early Diesel-led film with a huge degree of anticipation.

(more…)

April 28, 2015

Vale – Andrew Lesnie

Filed under: Obituary — Rodney Twelftree @ 3:59 pm
Andrew Lesnie - 1956-2015

Andrew Lesnie – 1956-2015

Absolutely gutted today. Andrew Lesnie, the Oscar winning Australian cinematographer best known for his work on Peter Jackson’s Middle-Earth saga, and local success Babe, has passed away.

(more…)

April 27, 2015

Movie Review – Top Five

Filed under: Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Top-Five-Review-Logo

– Summary –

Director :  Chris Rock
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast : Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Sherri Shephard, JB Smoove, Romany Malco, Hayley Marie Norman, Karlie Redd, Cedric The Entertainer.
Approx Running Time :  102 Minutes
Synopsis:   Former stand-up comedian, now movie-star and reality television accessory, Andre Allen, meets New York Times reporter Chelsea Brown, and the two conduct an interview that leads to more than a few surprising revelations for them both.
What we think : Although it plays a tad like a who’s who of Rock’s comedic and thespian Little Black Book listing, Top Five is actually a smart, funny, well directed film from the stand-up comic.

**********************

You’re a funny guy? Just make it…. more funny.

Although his career has been somewhat muddied (at least, here in Australia) by his continual association with Adam Sandler’s repertoire of players (which also includes Rob Schneider, Kevin “Unfunniest Man Alive” James, and that thing named after a garden implement), Chris Rock is really a funny, funny guy. Top Five finally gives us a Chris Rock movie in which the man seems comfortable playing himself, among other things, although just how much of his character here – former stand-up comedian Andre Allen – is based on his real life is a matter of conjecture; the point is, Top Five isn’t just another “Hollywood star pandering to their fandom” flick, it’s actually a legitimately funny, insightful, precise film from a man I’d normally align with bodily fluid gags and inverted racist jokes.

(more…)

April 25, 2015

Blogathon – White Swan/Black Swan

Filed under: Blog-a-thon,Film - General — Rodney Twelftree @ 11:35 am

White-Swan-Black-Swan-Blogathon-Logo

As part of my daily read across the blogosphere, I came across Sati’s latest Blogathon effort, White Swan/Black Swan, in which a character with opposing personality traits is examined. Based on the duality of the film Black Swan, by Darren Aaronofsky, Sati’s Blogathon highlights many great characters who are different in one part of their lives than they are in another. It’s a great idea for a Blogathon, so I figured, hell, why not participate. Therefore, here is my entry.

(more…)

ANZAC – The 100th Anniversary

Filed under: From the Editor — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

anzac-cove-gallipoli-photo_1343753-770tall

2015 marks the 100th year since that fateful day in 1915 when Australian troops first entered World War I, at the behest of the British, when we landed on the shores of Gallipoli, in Turkey, and forged our national identity.

Being a relatively young country, World War I, and to a larger extent the Gallipoli campaign, became the signature theater of war for which our national consciousness resides – it was our country’s first participation in war, and it remains the war in which we lost the most soldiers.

On April 25th, Australia lost its innocence, as our young men went into battle against an enemy on their own soil. We were the aggressor force, we were not defending. AS we battled the Turkish forces against the steep cliffs of the small peninsula within the Dardanelles, our resolve as a nation – together with that of our brothers from New Zealand, and our cousins from Britain – laid siege to an area of land no larger than a small town.

Since then, Australia has participated in a number of conflicts, including Vietnam, North Korea, and more recently (but not limited to) Afghanistan and Iraq.

Our history in war has been portrayed in films such as Mel Gibson’s Gallipoli, The Lighhorsemen, Breaker Morant, Beneath Hill 60, and Kokoda, the latter telling of Australia’s POW’s trekking what became known as the Kokoda Track, a treacherous death zone in Papua New Guinea.

Today, we tip our hats to the memory of those valiant men and women of our armed forces, who have given their service, their time, their lives, to serving our country in times of war, and even in times of peace. In this, the 100th Anniversary of Gallipoli, we salute you today.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

April 24, 2015

Movie Review – Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Filed under: Marvel Cinematic Universe,Movie Review,Phase 2 — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-Review-Logo-v3.1

– Summary –

Director :   Joss Whedon
Year Of Release :  2015
Principal Cast :  Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L Jackson, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, James Spader, Haley Atwell, Andy Serkis, Thomas Kretschmann, Claudia Kim.
Approx Running Time : 141 Minutes
Synopsis:  When a dangerous artificial intelligence threatens the existence of everyone on Earth, the Avengers band together again to stop global annihilation.
What we think :  Blockbusting entertainment doesn’t come much more blockbusteringer than Age Of Ultron, the sequel to The Avengers and the eleventh film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Teeming with heroes and villains, paying off some minor subplots and ignoring many others, as well as delivering a more humorous film than the MCU has yet enjoyed, Age Of Ultron delivers explosions, laughs, thrills and adventure in spades. It might not make much sense (or, if the resolution is much to go by, much impact on the franchise overall), but when you’re having this much fun, it’s a jaded cynic who can’t see the bright side about the fun to be had.

****

 

**This review of Age Of Ultron contains spoilers for the point of this discussion.**

There are a few strings on this.

As an exercise in blockbuster filmmaking, Joss Whedon’s second Marvel film, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, has a lot stacked against it. In order to succeed, it had to overcome almost impossible odds of storytelling, expectations from both the studio and the willing audience, address the pacing and uneven tone of the previous (box-office slaughtering) original, and deliver even more new characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe than any previous film before it. Whedon pulled off a minor miracle in making The Avengers the success it became, not the least due to his ability to give each character in an ensemble – at worst – a decent story arc. Age Of Ultron upped the stakes considerably for Whedon by wholly adding to the vast array of super-humans, mutants and average Joes, almost negating the ability of anyone to give the film an emotional weight to support such world-challenging heroics.

(more…)

Next Page »

© 2007-2015 Fernby Films All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright