March 31, 2015

Movie Review – My Little Eye

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

My-Little-Eye-Review-Logo

- Summary -

Director :  Marc Evans
Year Of Release :   2002
Principal Cast :  Sean Cw Johnson, Kris Lemche, Stephen O’Reilly, Laura Regan, Jennifer Sky, Nick Mennell, Bradley Cooper.
Approx Running Time :   95 Minutes
Synopsis:  A group of strangers are locked inside an isolated house to be filmed, Big Brother style, for people watching on the Internet. However, as they are gradually killed off, the survivors must find a way to escape or communicate with the outside world, in order to live.
What we think :  Creepy, chilling little indie film delivers plenty of moments that make the hackles rise, and – although somewhat antiquated with its use of internet technology – make you reappraise installing that webcam. Featuring a before-he-was-famous role to Bradley Cooper, My Little Eye is effective for its budget and premise, and certainly ain’t a film you should watch with the lights out.


Turn off your computer.

Back at the turn of the millennium, before Facebook and Twitter and social media, and the utter explosion of the internet as we know it today, the Web was a mysterious thing filled with predators, evil and depravity. According to my grandmother. Nowadays, it’s still filled with plenty of that, but perhaps due to marginal desensitization on our part, we’ve pushed the acceptance of it into the background. My Little Eye has a premise entirely sold on the ability of people to watch things on the internet – a Big Brother styled element mixed with outright horror. A group of young hot people enter a house for six months, in order to win a million dollars, and filmed 24 hours a day across the web, only to find that as the finish line begins to approach, sinister events begin to take place. Strange parcels are delivered, instead of their usual food packages. They cannot find any mention of their “competition” anywhere online, except for a “deep web” site that gives rise to more sinister suspicions. Eventually, it becomes a race for survival, not just for money.

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March 30, 2015

Movie Review – Showgirls

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

Showgirls-Review-Logo

- Summary -

Director :  Paul Verhoeven
Year Of Release :   1995
Principal Cast :  Elizabeth Berkley, Kyle MacLachlan, Gina Gershon, Glenn Plummer, Robert Davi, Gina Ravera, Alan Rachins, Lin Tucci, Greg Travis, Al Ruscio, Patrick Barstow, William Shockley, Michelle Johnston.
Approx Running Time :  131 Minutes
Synopsis:  A young wannabe singer goes to Vegas to become a showgirl.
What we think :  Some say it’s “so bad it’s good”, but I struggled to find that anywhere. Showgirls has oodles of problems, has virtually zero genuine charm, and makes a mockery of political correctness; if you’re into boobs, bums and bush, give this one a shot, otherwise you’re best avoiding it.

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Yeah, it’s as bad as they say.

Showgirls came out in 1995, back when I had just discovered a serious love of cinema. It’s a pity, then, that Showgirls isn’t great cinema. It truly isn’t – Showgirls is a terrible film, and yet since its release has gone on to become something of a cult hit, a minor classic of “so bad it’s good” trash that you watch knowing it’s bad, expecting worse, and getting so much less. It’s interesting to note the talent behind the screen on this film; Paul Verhoeven (together with screenwriter Joe Eszterhaus) had become a minor celebrity director in his own right following the success of 1992’s Basic Instinct, a film which wowed audiences with its audacious sexuality (conversely, it also caused plenty of controversy, heh heh). Verhoeven, a Dutch national who emigrated to Hollywood and directed such pulp fare as RoboCop and Total Recall, gave his films a salacious, soft-porn feel, as his European style clashed remarkably with Hollywood’s often restrained style. Not so much with his depictions of violence, rather with the tone of the sexual activity often portrayed in his films. To see a director of Verhoeven’s trashy, often misogynistic view of the world take up a film about strippers and Vegas showgirls, retrospectively you probably shoulda known what kind of film you were gonna get: Showgirls is exploitation of a kind not seen in Hollywood since the mid-80’s, when everything was boobs and bums.

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March 27, 2015

Movie Review – Wild Card

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

Wild-Card-2015-Review-Logo

- Summary -

Director :  Simon West
Year Of Release :   2015
Principal Cast :  Jason Statham, Michael Angarano, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Milo Ventimiglia, Hope Davis, Max Casella, Stanley Tucci, Sophia Vergara, Jason Alexander, Anne Heche, Chris Browning, Cedric The Entertainer.
Approx Running Time :   92 Minutes
Synopsis:   When a Las Vegas bodyguard with lethal skills and a gambling problem gets in trouble with the mob, he has one last play…and it’s all or nothing.
What we think :  Leisurely pacing shouldn’t deter you from checking this one out. It’s a Jason Statham film, so expect a few brutal fight sequences, delivered with compact flair by Simon West, mixed amongst some B-movie dialogue and methodically restrained performances. Yeah, it’s not a classic, but it ain’t no crapfest either.

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It’s over when he says it’s over.

The first film I saw of 2015, and man, if it isn’t my ol’ mate Jason Statham. Or, as I call him, The Stath™. The man just keeps on keeping on, churning out action flick after action flick, a modern day Jean Claude Van Damme, only with actual screen presence and more than one facial expression. And even though most of his films follow a similar template (he’s always a man with “special skills”, irrespective of his current career choice) and end with The Stath™ busting plenty of heads, laying the smack on all manner of henchmen, thugs and mobsters. Usually, Statham’s a wise enough performer to surround himself with quality talent, ensuring that even when he’s not able to carry the film with his considerable screen personality, others are able to share the load. It’s a formula which has served him well, through dreck like Parker, mediocre material like Safe, and tentpole projects like The Expendables. And Wild Card serves up that formula once more – The Stath™ plays a grumbly tough guy who deals in darkness but desperately wants the light.

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March 25, 2015

Movie Review – Ouija (2014)

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

Ouija-2014-Review-Logo

- Summary -

Director :   Stiles White
Year Of Release :  2014
Principal Cast :  Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasof, Bianca A Santos, Matthew Settle, Lin Shaye, Shelley Hellig, Robyn Lively, Claudia Katz.
Approx Running Time :   89 Minutes
Synopsis:  A group of friends must confront their most terrifying fears when they awaken the dark powers of an ancient spirit board.
What we think : Jump scares are the order of the day in this muddled, slow, mediocre thriller. An angry spirit from beyond the grave is the obligatory entity here, as a group of Abercrombie models run around a perpetually dingy town shrieking and looking stupid at each other. Ouija is not a decent scary film. In fact, aside from Olivia Cooke’s presence, there’s very little to recommend about it.

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

Answers you don’t want to see.

Plagued by reshooting and studio discontent with Stiles White’s initial version of Ouija (for those unfamiliar with French, it’s pronounced wee-ja, or wee-jee if you’re  in Australia), the end result is a largely unpleasant horror flick masquerading as a horror flick. Ouija’s hook is that most of us have either played with a ouija board, or know folks who have, and so we know that it’s a way of supposedly tapping into the spirit world (if you believe in that kind of thing), and for as long as humans have been alive, we’ve always wanted to know what lies beyond the cold grip of death itself. Ouija doesn’t surprise so much as frustrate. Borderline competent direction and a cast of no-name performers, basic Hollywood cannon-fodder, make Ouija feels like a small-time independent film, but it’s not. Actually, it’s a film funded by toy company Hasbro – the same people behind the Transformers franchise, and 2012’s Battleship – although exactly why they’d want to make a film about a board that can communicate with the dea-….. oh, yeah, now I see it.

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March 23, 2015

Movie Review – Everly

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

Everly-Review-Logo

- Summary -

Director :  Joe Lynch
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :  Salma Hayek, Akie Kotabe, Laura Cepeda, Togo Igawa, Gabriella Wright, Caroline Chikeze, Hiroyuke Watanabe, Jelena Gavrilovic.
Approx Running Time :   92 Minutes
Synopsis:   An action/thriller centered on a woman who faces down assassins sent by her ex, a mob boss, while holed up in her apartment.
What we think :  A glorious explosion of violence and depravity on celluloid, with Salma Hayek delivering a career making step into action heroine territory. Everly is magnificently brutal, a twisted, dark, hugely entertaining piece of poppycock that will elicit more than a few thrills and plenty of laughs amidst the explosions.

*********

When hookers go bad.

Salma Hayek never ascended to the superstar status I think she was intended. Ever since her breakout performance opposite Antonio Banderas, in Desperado, Hayek has largely been the go-to actress for roles involving “Sultry, sexy Mexican goddesses”; her sex appeal is cemented within the industry, yet her acting performances are often relegated to less important discussion. Aside from Frida, which courted Oscar glory years ago, there’s few Hayek films I can recall instantly that involve anything other than either comedic, or action oriented performances. Hayek should have been a major, major star. Instead, she’s never quite remained in the public eye, always being on the fringes of Hollywood royalty instead of front and center. Everly finds Hayek shouldering a leading role for the first time in a while,  although (sigh) it’s another “action” film and as such, expectations for quality storytelling should be kept low. The trailers marketed this as a gun-smoking violent epic in the manner of a Tarantino or Rodriguez, as Hayek’s character finds herself trapped inside a luxurious apartment being assailed by all manner of increasingly bizarre assassins. It certainly sounds awesome; how often, though, has an awesome concept been given a slipshod production in recent years? Is Everly the bullet ridden action classic the trailers would have us think it is?

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March 20, 2015

Movie Review – Tak3n

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

Tak3n-Review-Logo

- Summary -

Director :  Olivier Megaton
Year Of Release :  2014
Principal Cast :  Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Forest Whitaker, Dougray Scott, Sam Spruell, Leland Orser, John Gries, David Warshovsky, Johnny Weston, Don Harvey, Dylan Bruno, Al Spienza.
Approx Running Time :  109 Minutes
Synopsis:  After his wife is murdered by the same Euro scumbags he’s been offing for the last two films, Liam Neeson takes it up to them in a last stand fight to the death that’ll tear Los Angeles a new one.
What we think :   Anemic direction obliterates Neeson’s Taken franchise with surety and swift vengeance. Tak3n is a plain, uneven, pointless action flick, lacking any sense of genuine threat or convincing motivation other than “stuff needs to happen to sell tickets”. Neeson looks bored, Megaton’s direction is both clumsy and wasteful, and everyone else recedes into the background of a story as generic as most of these kinds of movies seem to be. Yawn.

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

Why do they call it “taken” if nobody.. you know, gets taken?

So I guess this is the one where they just blow everything up, right? The rules of a trilogy usually indicate a big, bigger, biggest mantra, at least by Hollywood standards. After the relatively low-key approach to Liam Neeson’s career spike flick, Taken, and the rapid-fire yet utterly mindless sequel, Taken 2, I approached the third installment with a great deal of trepidation – Taken’s mandate to rip through Paris with as much realistic violence as possible was a shot of adrenaline to this action-junkie’s veins, whilst the sequel staggered and spurted itself across the screen in a hodgepodge of shitty writing and even shittier direction. So I didn’t have much hope that Neeson’s Taken franchise was headed for a great send-off considering the dude behind the camera for Taken 2 was once again helming this one. Neeson, as dependably sincere as ever, seems to have taken a Harrison Ford or Bruce Willis approach to his action-movie roles, in that he merely sleepwalks through them now, where once he summoned at least some glimmer of interest in the end result. So what of Tak3n, a curiously labelled title that sets our hero with that particular set of skills up against the Big Boss Level fight of his life, to finally free his family from the focus of so much Eastern European hatred?

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March 18, 2015

Movie Review – Interstellar

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

Interstellar-Review-Logo

- Summary -

Director :  Christopher Nolan
Year Of Release :  2014
Principal Cast :  Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, McKenzie Foy, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, John Lithgow, David Hyasi, Leah Cairns, Topher Grace, David Oyelowo, William Devane, Ellen Burstyn, Voices of Bill Irwin and Josh Stewart.
Approx Running Time :   169 Minutes
Synopsis:  A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in an attempt to ensure humanity’s survival.
What we think : Brilliantly conceived and executed, Interstellar might have been the next leap-forward for sci-fi cinema, were it not for the broad-canvas scope withering the small-scale character narratives. Although it stumbles through some of its complex philosophical flourishes, and offers few answers to the questions it asks, I think this is a film worthy of viewing by anyone with a passing interest in humanity.

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Boldly going somewhen noone has gone before.

When Interstellar was released into cinemas, there came with it the inordinate expectation of a new Christopher Nolan film; the man gave us Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy and Memento, so any film with his name attached as director automatically (although invariably irretrievably) came with weight of fanboy and critical desire for another mind-trip, another masterful venture into his personal elucidation on whatever narrative her desired. Interstellar, by many accounts, is largely mediocre. Critical appraisal has been, and I say this without sneer, mixed at best. Controversy surrounded a supposedly poor theatrical soundmix that saw much of the dialogue overpowered by Hans Zimmer’s thundering score, which only served to cause people to wonder exactly what the film was on about at key moments. I was initially excited to go see this, but after a number of reviews from people I trusted came out, all giving it a bit of a “meh” rating, I decided to wait for the at-home version and give that a shot. So is Interstellar the “mediocre” film event many scored it as, or is it a hidden masterpiece outweighed by sheer expectation, a level of cinematic brilliance only a few films have ever achieved?

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March 16, 2015

Movie Review – Annabelle

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

Annabelle-Review-Logo

- Summary -

Director :   John R Leonetti
Year Of Release :  2014
Principal Cast :  Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard, Tony Amendola, Kerry O’Malley, Brian Howe, Eric Ladin, Ivar Brogger.
Approx Running Time :  98 Minutes
Synopsis:   A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.
What we think :  All jump and no joke for Annabelle makes for a fairly boring “horror” movie; jump scares aplenty, but little depth or convincing development and a turgid, derogatory story with few genuine thrills – Annabelle is atmospheric albeit little else. For genre fans only.

The real bride of Chucky?

In 2013, James Wan, the director of Saw, reinvented the horror genre with an out-of-the-box success in The Conjuring, a film light on gore and high on chills and thrills. Part of that film had an introductory sequence involving a husband-and-wife team of… well, ghostbusters, who encounter a group of young people terrified of a possessed doll, Annabelle. Naturally, with The Conjuring’s success, a spin-off involving said doll was hastily ordered, and Annabelle is the result. Again, light on gore (thankfully), Annabelle’s success or failure as a film depends greatly on character and plot; The Conjuring had that in spades, yet would a sequel about a dolly inhabited by an evil spirit (apparently!) make just as big a mark?

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March 14, 2015

The Ferncast: Episode 2 – Star Wars, Disney, Liam Neeson and more….

Filed under: Ferncast — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Ferncast-2-Logo

Welcome to the second Ferncast, our regular podcast series in which we talk about all kinds of movie news and stuff. This episode features news on the Toy Story franchise, Star Wars, Liam Neeson, and some interesting tidbits about the Tron universe. Have a listen, and leave us your comments below!

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March 13, 2015

Video Review – Into The Woods

Filed under: Video Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 11:21 am

Into-The-Woods-Video-Review-Logo

Hi friends! If you follow our official Facebook page, you will have seen a while ago that myself, as well as some special guests, recently filmed some footage for video reviews. Well, today I’m proud to present the first of those, on Into The Woods. You’ll note we recently published our written review of the same film, but we decided to go into a little more detail with the video version, just for the heck of it. [More after the jump.]

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Movie Review – Big Eyes

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

Big-Eyes-Review-Logo

- Summary -

Director :  Tim Burton
Year Of Release :  2014
Principal Cast :  Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Jon Polito, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, Terence Stamp, Madeline Arthur, Delaney Raye.
Approx Running Time :  106 Minutes
Synopsis:   A drama about the awakening of the painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband Walter, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.
What we think :  Whimsy, darkness and light; Tim Burton’s modern classic about Margaret Keane’s fight to claim her artwork as her own, in spite of her husband’s protestations to the contrary, is both delightfully wry, magnificently poetic and justifiably exquisite. I loved this film, I truly did. Finally, Tim Burton has returned to us.

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It’s all in the art.

Big Eyes marks a return to form for one-time Hollywood wunderkind Tim Burton. By my estimation, Burton’s last really great film was 2003’s Big Fish, a lyrical fantasy that strayed from his familiar kooky-dark themes and into a more straightforward narrative (by Burton’s standards, anyway). Since then, it’s been the weirdly silly (Alice In Wonderland, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory), musical (Sweeney Todd), television remake (Dark Shadows) and stop motion (Frankenweenie, Corpse Bride), all leaving the once master visualist’s career careening badly into irrelevance. Big Eyes reverses that trend remarkably. Much like Ed Wood, Burton’s Big Eyes is blessedly free of the director’s trademark gothic grab-bag of tricks, instead maintaining a more traditional style I think works for his sense of story here. Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz are delightfully on-point as Margaret and Walter Keane respectively, and their story is one that strikes at the heart of artistic creativity.

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March 11, 2015

Movie Review – Into The Woods

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

Into-The-Woods-Review-Logo-v2

- Summary -

Director :  Rob Marshall
Year Of Release :  2014
Principal Cast :  Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracy Ullman, Christine Baranski, Johnny Depp, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, MacKenzie Mauzy, Billy Magnussen, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Annette Crosbie, Joanna Riding.
Approx Running Time :  124 Minutes
Synopsis:  Musical film appropriating the fairy tales of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood and Jack & The Beanstalk, a childless couple venture into a darkened wood to locate items a witch needs to lift a curse upon their family.
What we think :  Somewhere through translating this stage musical to the screen, something got lost in the woods. While it’s handsomely mounted, Into The Woods feels a little flat. And for a Disney film, it’s definitely dark. The songs are good, the acting is great, but there’s a missing soul here that mitigates all the money up on the screen.

The title says it all.

So I’m not a fan of Stephen Sondheim. Not through some kind of hatred, though: I just haven’t had that much exposure to his work. I know who he is, and I can testify that his career stands as one of the greatest ever in musical theater, but I’ve not had the pleasure of experiencing a lot of his material. Into The Woods is a Sondheim work, albeit co-scribed with writing partner James Lapine (who wrote the screenplay here), and if nothing else, you know the film has his seal of approval because he worked with the actors in their respective roles to sign off on not only the production’s story changes (apparently there’s a few) but also its musical cues. Disney’s all-star cast – including Meryl Streep and the currently white-hot Emily Blunt – are gifted Sondheim’s lyrics in Rob Marhsall’s high-falutin’ film adaption of the original stage musical, but do they make the most of them? Does Marshall conjure a film to match his Oscar-winning Chicago, or does Into The Woods struggle to see the woods for the… er, trees?

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March 10, 2015

Short Film – Super Zero (2014)

Filed under: Film - General,Short Film — Rodney Twelftree @ 8:17 am

Super Zero

Every so often, something comes along that really freaks my geek. By that, I mean I see it, and know I’ve seen something special. Super Zero is just such a something. A short film that is huge fun, I was approached by director Mitch Cohen to support it and give it some blogging love. So here we are. Blog love away! Here at Fernby Films we always try and support the up-and-coming film-makers when we can, and in our own small way, I can honestly say I was blown away by what Cohen and his crew achieved with this little short.

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March 9, 2015

Movie Review – These Amazing Shadows

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

These-Amazing-Shadows-Review-Logo

- Summary -

Director :  Paul Mariano + Kurt Norton
Year Of Release :   2011
Principal Cast :  Various.
Approx Running Time :   90 Minutes
Synopsis:   Tells the history and importance of The National Film Registry, a roll call of American cinema treasures that reflects the diversity of film, and indeed the American experience itself.
What we think :  For lovers of film, you owe it to yourself to watch this. A love letter to the medium of cinema, its power and influence over all our lives, and the lives of those who’ve come before us.

My mate St Pauly over at 1,2,3 WTF? didn’t so much suggest this documentary to me, as extoll the fact that if I didn’t watch it, I didn’t love film. Dude was right on. These Amazing Shadows is a love letter to movies, to cinema and the historical context in which it sits. Easily the 20th century’s great art-form, film has been the constant throughout my life, and countless others around the globe since the medium came along at the end of the 1800’s. I’ve loved it since I was a kid, growing up in rural Australia where our local “town hall” screened movies so irregularly, I can recall each one with perfect clarity. Phar Lap. The Man From Snowy River. The Santa Claus Movie. The Gods Must Be Crazy. Alby Mangel’s World Safari series. The 80’s fantasy films I adored (The Neverending Story, The Last Starfighter, The Goonies, Star Wars et al), the Disney films, the advent of the modern “blockbusters” of the 90’s, when CG became the fashion and Independence Day blew up the world at the same time it blew my mind – cinema has held a special place in my, your, our hearts for generations. These Amazing Shadows looks at the American National Film Registry, it’s mandate to collect films of cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance, and the role it plays in providing a history not only of American cinema, but America itself.

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March 7, 2015

Vale – Harve Bennett

Filed under: Obituary — Rodney Twelftree @ 11:26 am
herve-bennett

Harve Bennett – 1930-2015

Star Trek film producer Harve Bennett has passed away.

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March 6, 2015

Movie Review – John Wick

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

John-Wick-Review-Logo

- Summary -

Director : Chad Stahleski + David Leitch (Uncredited)
Year Of Release :  2014
Principal Cast :  Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe.
Approx Running Time :   101 Minutes
Synopsis:  A retired hitman returns to his former career to seek revenge for the killing of his dog.
What we think : John Wick is fantastic fun. I still can’t quite make up my mind as to what kind of film this hoped to be, but it ended up being one of the silliest amounts of good time I’ve had at the cinema in a while. Bloody, violent, and utterly charming, John Wick has the hallmarks of a franchise starter, and will hopefully do for Keanu what Taken did for Liam Neeson.

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Revenge is sweet.

Following the halcyon days of the early millennial Matrix sequels, Keanu Reeves seemed to disappear off the map. A role in Constantine (a film you’ve likely never heard of, except if you’re enjoying the current television series revamp), and a bizarre turn in A Scanner Darkly, as well as opposite Sandra Bullock in romantic drama The Lake House, left his career free-falling from the top of the A-list he enjoyed immediately in the aftermath of The Matrix. And the less we talk about The Day The Earth Stood Still, the better. Most recently, I witnessed the debacle of 47 Ronin, a “white man in Japan” flick that deserved better, but delivered worse. Yeah, ol’ Neo has certainly had a few bumps in his career as a Hollywood action star. Reeves seemed almost irrelevant in 2014, an actor whose star had faded, and he no longer commanded the kind of film he’d aced back in the 90’s. Anyone under the age of 15 would probably have to Google his name to find out who he was. To my great surprise, John Wick represents Reeve’s return to cinematic glory. Similarly to Liam Neeson’s turn in Taken, the film that launched his late-stage action career, John Wick’s blasting action staging, and cheesy, pulp-movie style are both engaging and subversive – you don’t expect much from this film, but man, does it deliver.

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March 5, 2015

Vale – Daniel von Bargen

Filed under: Obituary — Rodney Twelftree @ 9:54 am
Daniel von Bargen - 1950-2015

Daniel von Bargen – 1950-2015

Character actor Daniel von Bargen, best known for his work in Sienfeld and Malcolm In The Middle, has passed away.

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March 4, 2015

Movie Review – Big Hero 6

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

Big-Hero-6-Review-Logo

- Summary -

Director :  Don Hall + Chris Williams
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :  Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, TJ Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans, Genesis Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, James Cromwell, Daniel Henney, Alan Tudyk, Stan Lee, Katie Lowes.
Approx Running Time :   102 Minutes
Synopsis:  The special bond that develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax, and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.
What we think : A dynamite animated film that delivers heart, soul and pizazz. It may not be the best film of 2014, but damn if it isn’t one of the best animated films of the year.

Cuddly all over.

It must be tough for animation film-makers to come up with new stuff all the time. Pixar’s launch back with Toy Story has given us all manner of plot devices – talking toys, cars, animals, etc – that you’d expect the genre well to have run dry. Dreamworks, BlueSky (a subsidiary of Fox) and Disney all have their fingers in the animation pie to such a degree, the market is flooded by films of quality so variable it’s become hit-and-miss to stumble across a good one amidst the average. 2014’s glut of films saw gems like The Lego Movie, valiant efforts like The Boxtrolls, and utter rubbish like The Nut Job. Disney’s Big Hero 6, a film based on the comic book series of the same name, came out of the studio’s purchase of the Marvel brand, the comic book behemoth having the rights for the concept buried among their better known titles. In a sliding scale of brilliant to rubbish, Big Hero 6 sneaks well into the “brilliant” zone, and stays there; a pleasant mix of heart, soul, action and adventure.

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March 2, 2015

Movie Review – Penguins Of Madagascar

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

Penguins-Of-Madagascar-Review-Logo

- Summary -

Director :  Eric Darnell + Simon J Smith
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast : Voices of Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, Annet Mahendru, Peter Stormare, Werner Herzog, Danny Jacobs, Andy Richter.
Approx Running Time :  90 Minutes
Synopsis:  Four penguins work with a secret organization known as North Wind to defeat the nefarious plans of evil octopus Dave.
What we think :  Okay, I’ll admit, I busted a gut watching this. I laughed my ass off. It’s as silly a film as you can get, with its anthropomorphized animalia doing their usual schtick involving pop-culture references (which will date the film hugely in decades to come) and eye-bleeding animation of a standard so good it’s crazy, but Penguins Of Madagascar made me guffaw and clutch at my sides with glee. It’s a giddy, fun feature for the whole flippin’ family.

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This film in one word? Zany.

Yeah, back when Madagascar came out, I was convinced they’d make a feature on that film’s stand-out supporting characters, the Penguins. Three films later, plus a cartoon series, and finally our favorite animated penguin troupe has been given their own feature film to star in. Aimed squarely at the youngsters, with one eye on keeping adults entertained as well, Penguins Of Madagascar is a flat-out riot of pratfalls, animation and jokes, albeit at the expense of character or story.

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February 28, 2015

Vale – Leonard Nimoy

Filed under: Obituary — Rodney Twelftree @ 8:15 am
Leonard Nimoy - 1931-2015

Leonard Nimoy – 1931-2015

It’s hard to sum up the impact Leonard Nimoy had on popular culture. The man most famous for portraying the “logical” Vulcan, Spock, who joins Captain Kirk on the Enterprise voyaging across the Galaxy, in the Star Trek franchise, has passed away. And frankly, the world will miss him dearly.

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