December 19, 2014

Movie Review – Babadook, The

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

The Babadook Review Logo Movie Review   Babadook, The

- Summary -

Director :  Jennifer Kent
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :  Essie Davis, Noah Wieseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, Benjamin Winspear, Cathy Adamek, Craig Behenna, Adam Morgan.
Approx Running Time :   94 Minutes
Synopsis:  A mother and her young son are haunted by an evil, malevolent entity known as “the Babadook”.
What we think :  Ahhh, parenting. It’s not for the faint of heart – anyone who’s ever accidentally read their kid a scary book, or let them watch a scary movie, and had to deal with the trauma of getting said child to sleep again, will attest to The Babadook’s eerie notion of unhinged regret. Set against a gloomy backdrop of depression and sorrow, and filled with as much shadow, lurking and creaking floorboards as possible, The Babadook’s terrifying simplicity and charming innocence (drawn from Noah Wieseman’s sweet performance) draw more chills and thrills than many films of similar disposition.

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Don’t be scared – be terrified – of the Babadook.

Good quality horror films are as rare as rocking horse poo these days. Nobody makes good ones, although there’s no lack of trying on behalf of Hollywood’s constant pee-stream of output in this genre. Perhaps the last really good scare-fest (that I saw at least) was The Conjuring, which bucked post-millennial tradition and avoided gore and carnage in favor of genuine characters, suspense, and some really creepy menace. Points could also go to Mama, which also did well in build-up (even if the end result fell horribly flat in the denouement) and also the more cerebral Stoker, which had zero gore and went entirely the Hitchcock route instead. And if you thought any of those films were scary, allow me to introduce you to the new reigning ruler of scare-flicks, The Babadook, an Aussie-made production that, like those I’ve mentioned previously, flat-out terrifies without the use of torture-porn or gratuity – rather, it instills associative chills through character development and audience empathy for the scenario. I’m giving the game away early: The Babadook is superb.

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December 17, 2014

Movie Review – Automata

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

Automata Review logo Movie Review   Automata

- Summary -

Director :  Gabe Ibanez
Year Of Release :  2014
Principal Cast :  Antonio Banderas, Birgitte Hjort Soernsen, Melanie Griffiths, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster, Tim McInnerny, Andy Nyman, David Ryall.
Approx Running Time :   110 Minutes
Synopsis: Jacq Vaucan is an insurance agent of ROC robotics corporation who investigates cases of robots violating their primary protocols against harming humans. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.
What we think : A good idea ruined by an overabundance of imitatory visuals, story points and standardized sci-fi elements, Automata starts well, stumbles midway through, and shudders to a climax that’s as overwrought as the effects are good. Antonio Banderas looks lost, the robots are surgically devised yet compromised by decades of previous concept design, and the overall story just reeks of a cobbled corn-kernel of ideas from other, better films. If you like your sci-fi to stimulate your intellect, Automata might do it for you for a while, but in the end it’s just another also-ran.

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Robots In Disguise

My favorite recent “robots living in a human world” movie of recent times would be Alex Proyas’ version of I Robot – a divisive film for fans, sure – because it represented a realistic, perhaps achievable attempt to capture what our world might look like in 20 or 40 years. Robot servants doing our menial chores, leaving us free to soak up all that spare time in debauchery and wanton disgrace. Well, that’s my plan, what’s yours? Automata, which appeared to be marketed along a similar tone to I Robot, looks rather melancholy, almost understated, even though Antonio Banderas isn’t Will Smith and the robots once more look like something Steve Jobs designed before he shuffled off this mortal coil. WTF is a “mortal coil” anyway? Some kind of cooking device? Ahem. Anytime filmmakers attempt to give audiences a thinking man’s sci-fi piece, it’s often fraught with danger; often, the thinking isn’t as well developed as the explosions, and this sub-genre of film has considerably more failures than successes. Bravo for people trying, though. So is Automata’s intelligent design worth the admission price? Or is this I Robot-like film something of a kitchen-sink venture of generic proportions?

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December 15, 2014

Movie Review – Into The Storm (2014)

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

Into The Storm Review Logo Movie Review   Into The Storm (2014)

- Summary -

Director : Steven Quale
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :  Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Arlen Escarpeta, Jeremy Sumpter, Nathan Kress, Max Deacon, Kyle Davis, Scott Lawrence, Jon Reep.
Approx Running Time :   89 Minutes
Synopsis: On the day of school’s graduation, a massive superstorm hits the small town of Silverton. Cameras are there to record it.
What we think :  A semi-found footage film that’s big on effects, low on quality storytelling? Kick my nuts and call me unconscious, that’s a surprise! Wow! Into The Storm is requisite build up, generic characters, flawed logic, and a thunderous surround audio mix, but it’s a storm in a teacup (heh) when it comes to dramatic material. Frankly, I’d rather be getting a vasectomy than endure this again.

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There’s no flying cows here.

I was gonna spend the opening paragraph of this review writing about how awesome Twister was when it first came out, how it cemented by love of cinema and forever hooked me into the medium of film (and, later, film review), but I’m tired of comparative reviews. Trying to compare Twister with this equally stormy movie, about giant tornadoes hitting a high school graduation (or whatever) is like comparing John Carpenter’s Halloween, and Rob Zombie’s Halloween, expecting there to be similarities. Into The Storm is a film about tornadoes, sure, but it’s a far cry from the fun and adventure of Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt (in that awesome white singlet) chasing down the most mysteriously misunderstood of weather patterns. Into The Storm relies less on science and more on sheer spectacle and terror, and I’ll be honest, it doesn’t always succeed in either case. It’s a film of the “found footage” variety (in parts, plenty of it is made the traditional way), so if you made it past that statement without rolling your eyes and clicking off to another website, stick around and I’ll tell you what you’re missing.

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December 12, 2014

Road To The Oscars: The 72nd Golden Globe Award Nominations

Filed under: Awards Season,Golden Globes — Rodney Twelftree @ 9:45 am

GG Nominations Logo v2 Road To The Oscars: The 72nd Golden Globe Award Nominations

Morning folks!

Well, 2014’s Awards Season has kicked off, with last night’s announcement of the nominations for this year’s Golden Globe Wards, to be held on January 11, 2015, in Los Angeles. There’s a few surprises here, and a few expected films too. To be clear: we have not included the television nominations in the list below.

List courtesy Wikipedia.

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Movie Review – Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

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

Dawn Of The Planet of The Apes Review Logo Movie Review   Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

- Summary -

Director :  Matt Reeves
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :  Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, Nick Thurston, Kirk Acevedo, John Eyez, Enrique Murciano, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Doc Shaw, Jocko Sims, Judy Greer, Lee Ross.
Approx Running Time :  131 Minutes
Synopsis:  Ten years after a pandemic disease, apes who have survived it are drawn into battle with a group of human survivors.
What we think :  Beautiful, captivating, horrifying and truly remarkable, Dawn Of The Planet of the Apes thrills as much as it tickles the brain. A blockbuster with smarts, Dawn delivers escapist entertainment at the same time as it’s dissecting a fairly complex theme of man’s relationship with one another, and the planet, resulting in a story that goes to some places most people won’t expect in a Big Budget Adventure Movie. Better than Rise Of The Planet of The Apes (by a wide margin, actually), I thoroughly recommend Dawn to anyone looking for intellectual stimulation as well as testosterone and explosions.

 

A new dawn.

One of the major surprises of 2011’s film season was the success, commercially and critically, of Rupert Wyatt’s Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, a reboot of Fox’s Planet of The Apes franchise (after Tim Burton’s unsuccessfully plodding attempt a few years earlier) and a film that once more projected Andy Serkis’ work in performance capture into this “he should get an Oscar” spotlight. With the increasingly substantive improvement in visual effects, the idea of the apes being a “man in suit” creation was scrapped in favor of entirely digital constructs, which worked a treat back in 2011. Skip forward a few years to now, with Dawn of The Planet Of The Apes, a sequel continuing where Rise left off: mankind is wiped out by the ALZ-113 virus, leaving only scattered scraps of humanity to remain, while the apes, now existing in the forest, survive and adopt more humanoid characteristics. A rudimentary civilization is born, as the apes intelligence is enhanced as a result of the genetic tampering told in Rise. With Wyatt not returning, incoming director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Cabin In The Woods) has the chance to tell the “after” side of the ruin of humanity, as we take to the forest to reclaim our planet from the apes that have claimed it.

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December 10, 2014

Movie Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 Review logo Movie Review   Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

- Summary -

Director :  Jonathan Liebesman
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :  Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Johnny Knoxville, Jeremy Howard, Tony Shalhoub, William Fichtner, Tohoru Mashamune, Whoopi Goldberg, Minae Noji, K Todd Freeman, Pete Ploszek, Danny Woodburn.
Approx Running Time :  100 Minutes
Synopsis:  Four mutated turtles team up with a human reporter to stop a poison gas from killing millions in New York, unleashed by the Foot Clan, led by The Shredder.
What we think : A dynamite lack of concern for logic bedazzles, shreds and blasts its way through the screen, as the most famous teenage mutant ninja turtles in the world do their thing for the umpteenth time in twenty or so years. Honestly, as much as I hated this franchise before, I thoroughly enjoyed myself here. Thoroughly.

 Cowabunga.

I never liked the Turtles. There, I said it. So now you know, I’m going into this film with a fair bias against the franchise; as a teenager during the late 80’s and early 90’s, the popular toy of the era was, naturally, the humanoid turtles with ninja weapons and a very small rogues gallery. Because Transformers were so, like, 1986. Pizza-chugging Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo, together with Splinter (a talking… rat), Shredder (a walking cheese grater), a mutated rhino and some kind of George Lucas-esque pig thing, all battling for a variety of New York’s crime control, the cartoon version of the Peter Laird comic book series managed to prove to be a commercial juggernaut for about half a decade – three live-action films were made in 1990, 91 and 93, before the franchise petered out as audiences grew up and moved on. A rebooted cartoon series lasted between 2003 and 2009. Another rebooted series came along in 2012, after a film reboot in 2007 with TMNT. Now, in 2014, we’re subjected to another New York-centric Turtle film, this time live action with CG blended turtles, and a return to the big screen for Megan Fox. People have grown up with the Turtles in one form or another, perhaps their children as well. Yet I still never “got” the franchise – really, giant mutated, ninja-fighting turtles? This film represents the first exposure to the Turtles I’ve had since 1990’s feature film, a film I endured at the hands of my brother and at the behest of my parents. I don’t hold much hope in enjoying it, but I’ll try and let you know if it’s a worthwhile film, bias aside.

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December 8, 2014

Movie Review – Horns

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

Horne Review Logo Movie Review   Horns

- Summary -

Director :  Alexandre Aja
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :  Daniel Radcliffe, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Juno Temple, Kelli Garner, James Remar, Kathleen Quinlan, Heather Graham, David Morse, Sabrina Carpenter.
Approx Running Time :   120 Minutes
Synopsis:   After being accused of raping and killing his girlfriend, a man uses his supernatural powers to trace the real killer.
What we think : Moody, atmospheric, occasionally gory, and altogether enthralling, Horns is a clever, melancholy descent into madness. Give it a whirl, I think it’s a good one.

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Harry’s Horny Problem.

Daniel Radcliffe appears to be one of the most successful graduates from the school of Harry Potter’s younger brigade; aside from Emma “I’m gonna study” Watson, who has had a foray into independent films amidst her decision to go to university, Radcliffe appears to be more comfortable parlaying his blockbuster success into smaller, less “popular” films. December Boys in 2007, then The Woman in Black in 2013, followed by Kill Your Darlings in 2013, have not only drawn Radcliffe some favorable reviews, but also considerable appreciation for choosing films that have tried to avoid his Potter persona as much as possible. Guess it’s better than doing drugs to escape your fame, right Drew Barrymore? Horns, directed by Alexandre Aja (who gave us Piranha 3D…. yeah) is based on a successful novel by Joe Hill, about a young man accused of a horrendous crime who suddenly sprouts devil horns to solve the mystery behind his girlfriend’s murder. One part Stand By Me, one part horror festival, and entirely entertaining, Horns is a one-of-a-kind film that is just cray-cray enough to be really, really fun.

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December 5, 2014

Movie Review – Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Filed under: Movie Review,Resident Evil Franchise — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Resident Evil Apocalypse Review Logo Movie Review   Resident Evil: Apocalypse

- Summary -

Director : Alexander Witt
Year Of Release :  2004
Principal Cast :  Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sophie Vavasseur, Jared Harris, Mike Epps, Iain Glen, Matthew G Taylor, Eric Mabius, Raz Adoti, Sandrine Holt, Zack Ward, Stefen Hayes.
Approx Running Time : 94 minutes
Synopsis:   The T-virus has escaped The Hive and spread to Raccoon City. With the Umbrella Corporation about to nuke the city, it’s up to Alice and a team of survivors to get out before the blast.
What we think : If the idea of spending an hour or so watching Milla Jovovich getting about in skimpy clothing, gunning down a variety of undead zombies, all to a thunderous heavy rock soundtrack and headache-inducing direction from Alexander Witt, then by all means, this is the film for you. If this sounds like some kind of torture, then perhaps you’re reading the wrong review. Apocalypse isn’t a great film, even by the standards of the Resident Evil franchise (which is saying a bit, I wager), but I guess at some guttural, visceral level there’s a mild entertainment to be gleaned from it.

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The only apocalypse is this film’s existence.

If Resident Evil is like an expensive, fine wine, then Apocalypse is like flat cola. The law of diminishing returns strikes hard in Apocalypse, a film so bereft of the original’s satisfactory aesthetic that it’s borderline insulting. Original director Paul WS Anderson, who oversaw this film as a producer, was off making Alien vs Predator, so industry 2nd unit director Alexander Witt was given the chance to helm his debut feature. Anderson write the script, which I can only imagine he had grand plans for, but the end result of Witt’s sonic assault on the eyes and ears is one of cinematic travesty. Gone is the subtle horror of the original, replaced by a more traditional, violent, audience friendly “event” film that trashes much of what made the first film great. Gone is Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson’s thunderously evocative score, replaced by Jeff Danna’s approximation of the same (to varied effect), and on board are a slew of new faces and characters, some of whom work, and many of whom do not. Apocalypse is a cacophony of sound and fury with little purpose, a disaster sequel that widens the scope of the franchise at the expense of character or plot.

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December 3, 2014

Movie Review – Resident Evil

Filed under: Movie Review,Resident Evil Franchise — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

Resident Evil Review Logo Movie Review   Resident Evil

- Summary -

Director :  Paul WS Anderson
Year Of Release :  2002
Principal Cast :   Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, James Purefoy, Colin Salmon, Eric Mabius, Martin Crewes, Ryan McClusky, Oscar Pearce, Indra Ove, Anna Bolt, Joseph May, Robert Tannion, Jason Isaacs, Michaela Dicker, Heike Makatsch.
Approx Running Time :  100 Minutes
Synopsis:  Deep beneath Raccoon City, an enormous scientific research installation has become exposed to the deadly T-Virus, which reanimates the corpses of living flesh. A group of paramilitary operatives, together with two civillian survivors, must infiltrate the central computer at the heart of the installation and reboot it, in order to understand exactly what happened.
What we think : Hugely effective zombie thriller has all the hallmarks of a movie derived from a video game, yet stands tall on its own merits, thanks to spot-on direction from Paul WS Anderson, and terrific sound design and music scoring. Resident Evil isn’t intelligent, nor is it what you’d term “high art”, but what it does it does well, and with a gut-punch sense of fear and horror that many PG films can’t muster. If you’re into this kind of game, or kind of movie, Resident Evil is a must-see.

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If you had to choose a movie based on a video game made in the last 20 years that was actually any good, you’d probably have to go all the way back to the original Resident Evil. Inasmuch as it’s a video game movie, and therefore has to bow to many of the tropes and cliches inherent in such an enterprise, as a film on its own (disregarding for the moment the increasingly vapid and annoying sequels it spawned) it delivers all that fans of the original game series could have asked for. Resident Evil’s premise might now be the ingredients for any number of zombie/action/sci-fi/thriller film these days, but back in 2002, the market hadn’t yet become saturated by the genre to the point of Doom or Silent Hill; as an effective, pulsating, legitimately evocative and stylish opener to the franchise, this film stands tall as one of the genuinely entertaining entries into video-game-movie film-making.

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December 1, 2014

Movie Review – Hercules (2014)

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

Hercules 2014 Review Logo Movie Review   Hercules (2014)

- Summary -

Director :  Brett Ratner
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :  Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Ian McShane, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Aksel Hennie, Reece Ritchie, Rebecca Ferguson, Joseph Fiennes, Steve Peacocke, Peter Mullan, Irina Shayk, Joe Anderson, Barbara Plavin, Tobias Santelmann.
Approx Running Time :  98 Minutes
Synopsis: Hercules and a band of mercenaries roam the lands making their living fighting for whichever cause pays the most. They encounter Lord Cotys and his people, who are at war with the evil warlord Rehesus; Hercules and his friends must take the battle to Rhesus and hope to defeat him with an army of farmers.
What we think :  Gangbusting adventure film knows its limitations, winks at the audience, and delivers some rousing action spectacle. Yeah, it’s all a bit silly, but The Rock plays it straight (for a change) leaving the rest of his castmates to shoulder the humor and wit; Hercules is crowd-pleasing entertainment that is a cut, thrust and evisceration above the rest.

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Finally, an adventure worth taking.

Hollywood’s enduring cycle of similarly themed films continued in 2014 with the release of two Hercules films – the first, an abortion of a “movie” entitled The Legend of Hercules starring Kellan Lutz, and directed by Renny Harlin, was derided critically as an example of destitute, soulless, committee filmmaking. The second, Hercules, was to be directed by Brett Ratner (a factor which led many to automatically exclude this project as an actual film) and star Dwayne Johnson, fresh from his successful venture into Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain, and the Fast & Furious franchise, among others. A contributing factor to my interest in this film, as opposed to Harlin’s effort, was the inclusion of the former wrestling superstar, whose career I’d watched with interest since he debuted in The Mummy Returns, kicked ass in The Rundown, and headlined the vastly underrated Walking Tall. Johnson’s screen persona seemed to tower over even the most ordinary of projects he engaged in – he managed to make Race To Witch Mountain actually bearable, and freshened a badly stagnant Furious franchise just when it was needed – and, apparently, he’s actually a really nice guy. Consider me a fan of The Man Formerly Known As The Rock. So, to Hercules, a big-budget sword-n-sandal film that gives our man the role he was probably born to play. Consider his turn as The Scorpion King (non-CG version) in The Mummy Returns, a part which remains as close to Herculean as he’s done until now, and a part I think worked well for the burgeoning superstar. Hercules the man probably isn’t that much of a different role for him, given Johnson’s beefy physique and towering stature, so it would remain to be seen if the story and surrounding characters could provide the necessary platform to give this second-run Hercules story attempt the impact it needed to succeed.

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November 28, 2014

Movie Review – Tammy

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

Tammy Review Logo Movie Review   Tammy

- Summary -

Director :  Ben Falcone
Year Of Release :  2014
Principal Cast :  Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Allison Janney, Kathy Bates, Dan Ackroyd, Sandra Oh, Gary Cole, Mark Duplass, Toni Collette, Nat Faxon, Ben Falcone.
Approx Running Time :    96 Minutes
Synopsis:   Deadbeat daughter Tammy and her drunken, near-death grandmother abscond on a cross-country journey of self-discovery.
What we think :  Loud, abrasive, unfunny – and that’s just McCarthy – Tammy proves once more that her one-note character, a tub-o-lard rough diamond, has run its course. After portraying the same character in her entire theatrical career, it’s time for audiences to turn their backs on this unfunny, obnoxiously inward-looking comedienne. Tammy’s only saving grace is a nice performance by Susan Sarandon (who must have figured this would be an easy paycheck); the rest of the film is an awkward, largely unfunny roller-coaster of McCarthy’s vulgar schtick swerving from one situation to another in a vain attempt to make us laugh.

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If I’m honest, I went into this film with exceptionally low expectations. If I was lucky, I’d be nicely surprised. If, however, things panned out as I expected, Tammy would be yet another skin-crawlingly obnoxious performance by Melissa McCarthy, a woman whose only act is to behave with such uneven focus and relatively vulgar manner, her roles in each of her films to-date could be summarized exactly the same. No doubt Americans find overweight people funny in that inward-looking self-deprecating way, a little like the late Chris Farley (whom I would categorize as a male McCarthy if he wasn’t around a lot earlier, doing practically the same thing), but today’s audiences obviously have a lower appreciation for fat jokes and a grimy, unkempt overweight woman trying for giggles on the big screen. I don’t mean to be mean, but a part of me watches McCarthy’s act and wonders if she’s ever considered shedding some bulk so she can keep making films for longer (Oh, did I just admit that?), or whether she’s so attuned to her “I’m fat, so laugh at me” routine it’s just a fate accompli. Either way, Tammy represents another over-accomplishment for the increasingly widescreen performer, as it hurls itself at the screen with a vapid, irritating sonic howl that refuses to die for the duration of its running time. Yeah, Tammy’s terrible.

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November 26, 2014

Movie Review – Planes: Fire & Rescue

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

Planes Fire and Rescue Review Logo Movie Review   Planes: Fire & Rescue

- Summary -

Director :  Bobs Gannaway
Year Of Release :  2014
Principal Cast :  Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Danny Mann, Teri Hatcher, Julie Bowen, Ed Harris, Wed Studi, Dale Dye, Curtis Armstrong, Regina King, Fred Willard, Jerry Stiller, Erik Estrada, Hal Holbrook, Kevin Michael Richardson, Patrick Warburton, Corri English, Bryan Callen, Danny Pardo.
Approx Running Time :   83 Minutes
Synopsis:   Dusty, the racing cropduster, finds himself having to adjust to being a firefighting plane, after his engine starts to fail, discontinuing his career as a racer.
What we think :   Well animated, and featuring a dream cast of voices (including Pixar almum John Ratzenberger in a minor cameo), Fire & Rescue has similar problems to its progenitor. The film’s characters feel hackneyed, almost stolen from Pixar’s Cars, while the disconnect of having cars and planes anthropomorphized to such an extreme finally loses its impact. Fire & Rescue looks great, sounds great, and delivers some nice little beats and deftly hee-haw humor, but like Planes, it can’t escape the shadows of other, better films.

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Nobody was really asking for a film about airplanes, set in the world of Pixar’s Cars franchise, a franchise roundly criticized as one of the studio’s lesser efforts (not to mention Cars 2). Certainly, nobody was asking for a sequel to the flat-footed Planes, a derivative, cliched kiddie-uber-friendly film that delivered some minor diversion around a generic, has-been story. And yet, here we are, a film which, in its opening card, is dedicated to the men and women who fight fires and rescue people around the world every day, and whose demographic is solely young children with no capacity to understand it. Fire & Rescue, a film nobody asked for, thrust itself into cinemas in 2014, and flamed out as quickly as it arrived. Yep, a fire pun. No doubt I’ll be avoiding more of those. So is Fire & Rescue worth the struggle of revisiting the original Planes to catch up on the story and characters? Or is this a film which should be left to wither and die, lost in the wilderness, outrunning the flames of critical derision?

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November 24, 2014

Movie Review – Stretch

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

Stretch Review Logo Movie Review   Stretch

- Summary -

Director :  Joe Carnahan
Year Of Release :   2014
Principal Cast :  Patrick Wilson, Chris Pine, Brooklyn Decker, Ed Helms, Jessica Alba, James Badge Dale, Ben Bray, Matthew Willig, Ray Liotta, David Hasselhoff, Norman Reedus.
Approx Running Time :   94 Minutes
Synopsis: A hard-luck limo driver struggling to go straight and pay off a debt to his bookie takes on a job with a crazed passenger whose sought-after ledger implicates some seriously dangerous criminals.
What we think :  Finally, the movie I’ve waited Joe Carnahan to direct for ages (well, since The A Team) – amped up, violent, crass, obscene and utterly hilarious, Stretch is a rocket ride of laughs and fun from start to finish. Patrick Wilson’s “everyman” persona (one he perfected in films like Lakeview Terrace and, to an extent, in Watchmen) suits his character to perfection, and alongside a hilarious Ed Helms, an insane Chris Pine, and a gorgeous Jessica Alba, tilts from one moments of lively insanity to the next with a sense of reckless abandon. Fast and funny, Stretch delivers.

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One limousine ride you won’t forget.

I’ve been a fan of Joe Carnahan since he made Smokin’ Aces. I’ve waited for him to direct a film like Smokin’ Aces again for ages, and although The A Team came close to the same gut-punch ferocity, it was tempered with a pleasant sheen of commercialized integrity that neutered a lot of potential “hard” violence. Thankfully, Stretch sees Carnahan really return to that adult-focused action comedy mode, and unlike The Grey, or even The A Team, thunders it’s way through a diverting, if entirely implausible, routine of hard-partying, drugs, guns, brawls, money and cars. It’s top-flight junk cinema, the kind of film left behind by focus groups and committees, destined for cult status as a beer-n-pizza favorite, and as such, strays from traditional pathways and heads off into some pretty wild tangents. Not all of it works, but as a whole, it’s entirely entertaining.

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November 22, 2014

Is Hollywood’s Awards Season Too Long?

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

Is Hollywoods Awards Season Too Long Logo Is Hollywoods Awards Season Too Long?

Every year, bloggers and media companies around the world spend months talking about, examining and dissecting every nuance of what has become Hollywood’s “Awards Season”, a time of the year which usually kicks off around November and lasts through until the Oscars, in Late February or early March. For an industry that’s awfully self-involved most of the time anyway, one could argue that a five month season of back-slapping and handshakes is probably not long enough, but since the Academy’s Governor’s Ball took place only the other week and the Oscars themselves not until February 22nd, it’s time to ask: is Hollywood’s Awards Season too long?

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November 21, 2014

Vale – Mike Nichols

Filed under: Obituary — Rodney Twelftree @ 11:52 am
mikenichols  120530205508 720x479 Vale   Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols – 1931-2014

Legendary American film director Mike Nichols, who helmed such classics as The Graduate, Silkwood and Working Girl, has passed away.

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