Movie Review – Trolls

Director :   Mike Mitchell + Walt Dohrn
Year Of Release :   2016
Principal Cast :  Voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski, Russell Brand, James Cordon, Gwen Stefani, Jeffrey Tambor, Ron Funches, Icona Pop, Kunal Nayyar, Quevenzhane Wallis, John Cleese, GloZell, Walt Dohrn.
Approx Running Time :   93 Minutes
Synopsis:   After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy, the happiest Troll ever born, and the curmudgeonly Branch set off on a journey to rescue her friends.

****

If, unlike me, you made it through the entirety of Trolls without getting a migraine, then all the power to you. Appropriating the beloved 60’s doll craze with an eye-watering colour palette and a blend of cringeworthy pop-song covers, this bizarre mix of fantasy, adventure and hysterically inane character development is like swallowing a spoonful of sugar mixed with a half-cup of popping candy and an entire packet of Fizz Whizz. Aimed squarely at the juvenile brigade of children too young to remember this concept at its zenith, who will no doubt have to Google what the hell it’s all about, Trolls‘ colour-coordinated, auto-tuned narrative and blisteringly obtuse comedic stylings, to say nothing of a wasted top-tier voice cast, will delight those under 10 but aggravate the hell out of any adult within earshot.

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Movie Review – Moana

Director :  Ron Clements + John Musker
Year Of Release :   2016
Principal Cast :  Voices of Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Nichole Scherzinger, Jemaine Clement, Alan Tudyk, Oscar Knightley.
Approx Running Time :  107 Minutes
Synopsis:   In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain’s daughter’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the demigod to set things right.

******

The historic Disney formula returns with a vengeance in its 2016 digital offering, Moana, a Polynesian-based fable of magic, mysticism and a demi-god with the voice of The Rock. Espousing the checklist of Disney ethical and moral compass points, including a feisty daughter at odds with her well-meaning father (“He doesn’t get me!” she cries at one point) and an assorted grab-bag of animal sidekicks (chief among them an insane and stupid chicken), as well as multiple soaring musical numbers thanks to a cohort of Disney alum as well as Broadway’s current “it”-guy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Moana absolutely runs the gamut of typical studio storyboarding and does very little to separate itself from previous films in the canon – only, Moana is a blast of animated fun that deserves your time. Yep, as much as it offer nearly nothing new other than a fresh coat of paint, Moana’s free-spirited antics and dynamite animation style will enthral audiences of any age – adults included.

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Movie Review – Conjuring 2, The

Director :  James Wan
Year Of Release :   2016
Principal Cast :  Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe, Frances O’Connor, Lauren Esposito, Benjamin Haigh, Patrick McAuley, Simon McBurney, Franka Potente, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Simon Delaney, Sterling Jerins.
Approx Running Time :   133 Minutes
Synopsis:  Lorraine and Ed Warren travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by a malicious spirit.

*****

Things that go bang, things that go bump, these are the things that make Rodney jump. 

The Conjuring was one of 2013’s best scare flicks, a chilling little horror film from Saw and Insidious helmer James Wan. Three years later, we have its sequel, an England-set haunted house premise featuring returning stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, playing husband-and-wife team Ed and Lorraine Warren, a duo of paranormal investigators who travel the world examining experiences of the supernatural. As with both this franchise and his Insidious films, Wan’s eye for the creepy, skin-prickling tension of quality scares is on-point once more, as he layers set-piece after set-piece in an almost brutal effort to smother is into submission with ratcheting alacrity.

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Movie Review – Spectral

Director :   Nic Matheiu
Year Of Release :   2016
Principal Cast :  James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Max Martini, Bruce Greenwood, Clayne Crawford, Cory Hardrict, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Jimmy Akingbola, Dylan Smith, Philip Bulcock.
Approx Running Time :   117 Minutes
Synopsis:  A futuristic special-ops team is dispatched to fight supernatural beings.

****

One part RPG-thriller, another part live-action Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Netflix’ 2014-filmed Spectral offers a slick, souped-up computer game aesthetic and gritty urban militarism without the combative emotional heft you might imagine. Ostensibly a war film against ghostly apparitions, Spectral’s sci-fi edginess and overheated tones feel low-budget despite a decent cast and Nic Matheiu’s energetic direction. The premise isn’t bad, and some of the film’s action sequences are genuinely entertaining, but the film owes too much of its genetics to other genre classics – including Aliens, among others – to be original, a pastiche of tropes hammered into shape by a tired, rote screenplay.

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Road To The Oscars – The Academy Award Nominees

This morning the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences released their nominees list for the 89th Academy Awards. You’ll find the complete list after the jump! As usual, this year we’ll be reviewing each of the Best Picture nominees in the week preceding the Oscar ceremony on February 26th, unless we’ve already done so elsewhere on the site.

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Movie Review – Magnificent Seven, The (2016)

Director :  Antoine Fuqua
Year Of Release :  2016
Principal Cast :  Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Peter Sarsgaard, Luke Grimes, Haley Bennett, Matt Bomer, Cam Gigandet, Jonathan Joss.
Approx Running Time :   133 Minutes
Synopsis:   Seven gun-men in the old west come together to help a poor village against a vicious robber-baron intent on stealing their valley’s gold.

********

It’s fair to say the run of 2016 remakes has largely been disappointing. From Point Break to Ben-Hur, studio-mandated plundering of cultural cinematic icons has been the kind of luckless, joyless venture film fans have long decided ain’t worth their time. This antipathy towards remakes left me pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed The Magnificent Seven, an updated version of the 1960 version of the same name (which itself was a remake of a Kurosawa classic, Seven Samurai), and although it suffers from many of the same maladies afflicting modern remakes generally these days, the inclusion of Denzel Washington, who makes anything worth a look, and Chris Pratt sporting a nice Eastwood-ian glower, provides this Antoine Fuqua-helmed adventure film with enough slick laughs and ragged cowboy antics to make this world-weary genre fan sit up and take notice.

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Movie Review – Sully

sully-review-logo

Director :  Clint Eastwood
Year Of Release :   2016
Principal Cast :  Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Anna Gunn, Autum Reezer, Holt McCallany, Mike O’Malley, Jamey Sheridan, Jerry Ferrara, Molly Hagan, Max Adler, Sam Huntington, Michael Rappaport, Wayne Bastrup.
Approx Running Time :  96 Minutes
Synopsis:  Dramatised reenactment of the famous “Miracle On The Hudson”, where Captain Sullenberger landed a jetliner on the famous New York City river, saving everyone on board.

*******

There’s few aviation incidents so widely reported on the news that are met with near universal praise and admiration as the dramatic 2009 “Miracle On The Hudson”. Ask anyone alive at the time, and almost without reservation they’d proclaim US Airways pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger as an out-and-out hero. Not only did he keep his cool following a bird strike on his plane almost immediately following takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, not only did he successfully initiate and execute a water landing on the Hudson River when had limited thrust and manoeuvrability, but he saved the lives of all passengers and crew aboard the craft, returning to the rear of the flooded plane as it sat there in the freezing waters off Manhattan. Clint Eastwood’s Sully isn’t so much a heroic chest-beat to American heroism as it is a solemnised recreation of the events of that day, and the subsequent investigation by the National Transport Safety Bureau.

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Trailer Trash! – Colossal

Okay, I kinda figured this would be some kind of Godzilla or King Kong piss-take but Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway, Dan Stephens and Jason Sudekis, actually looks really funny. Kinda feeling like Cloverfield-meets-Being John Malkovich, Colossal sees Hathaway inhabiting the mind of a giant, city destroying monster. Check out the teaser trailer after the jump!

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Trailer Trash! – Logan (Trailer #2)

Among my most anticipated films for 2017, one that I have the more serious reservations about is Logan. The umpteenth X-Men flick from Fox, Logan is the third solo film for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and The Wolverine being the other two) and given its history I’m disinclined to have my expectations too high. That being said, not a bit of the marketing for Logan has appeared as anything other than awesome: finally, an “Old Man Logan” story we can sink our teeth into. If this truly is Jackman’s swansong in the role, my fingers are crossed he can execute one hell of a great film here. The film’s second trailer drops after the jump!

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