Rio (2011) – animated romantic adventure movie review

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Cast / crew
Anne Hathaway: Jewel
Jesse Eisenberg: Blu
Jemaine Clement: Nigel
Leslie Mann: Linda
Tracy Morgan: Luiz
Will.I.Am: Pedro
Rodrigo Santoro: Tulio
George Lopez: Rafael
Jamie Foxx: Nico
Director and Story Writer: Carlos Saldanha
Story Writer: Earl Richey Jones
Story Writer: Todd Jones
Screenplay Writer: Don Rhymer
Screenplay Writer: Joshua Sternin
Screenplay Writer: Jeffrey Ventimilia
Screenplay Writer: Sam Harper
Producer: Bruce Anderson
Producer: John C. Donkin

Rio (2011)

Blu, the last male Blue Macaw in the world, is brought to Rio to mate and save the species from extinction but his value doesn’t go unnoticed by local poachers. With hilarious consequences.

4/10

Blue Sky Studio’s cash-grabbing sequel to PDI’s Madagascar is entirely perfunctory and never engaging for adults; this is one parents will have to sit through patiently. Given that it’s set in Rio de Janeiro during the world famous Rio Carnival, the use of songs is hopeless. Every original song tells you nothing, moves nothing forward, elucidates nothing. That said, there are a couple of strong moments for Lionel Richie. Rio is very bright and very colourful and I remembered the names of the two main characters, indicating that the technical story-telling is entirely adequate; it’s just that nothing interesting, informative, entertaining or exciting happens throughout the entire movie. There’s no dramatic value in the story and that leaves two or three decent quality gags to hold everything up. It doesn’t. Additionally, this is another American movie that thinks that horrendous dog drool is hilarious; it’s not, it’s repulsive. Movie-makers: please stop doing that.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Frozen (2013) – 8/10 fantasy Disney animated movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Story Writer Inspired by “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen: Chris Buck
Director and Screenplay and Story Writer Inspired by “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen: Jennifer Lee
Producer: Peter Del Vecho
Executive Producer: John Lasseter
Writer “The Snow Queen”: Hans Christian Andersen
Story Writer Inspired by “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen: Shane Morris
Songs Composer: Kristen Anderson-Lopez
Songs Composer: Robert Lopez
Head of Story: Paul Briggs
Head of Animation: Lino DiSalvo
Kristen Bell: Anna
Idina Menzel: Elsa
Jonathan Groff: Kristoff
Josh Gad: Olaf
Santino Fontana: Hans
Stephen John Anderson: Kai

Frozen (2013)

After a childhood accident nearly kills her younger sister, Princess Elsa has to hide to fact that she can produce ice by magic and isolates herself while trying to wrestle control over her immense power. As the time for her coronation approaches and a public appearance is unavoidable, the last thing she needs is any more stress. That’ll be when her sister tells her she’s marrying this dude she only met that day. Gaah!

8/10

Frozen has that rarest and most intangible of movie qualities: magic. This is the magic of Disney’s second golden age inspired by Howard Ashman and so it features songs that are integral to the storytelling. Why should it be that animation and songs go together so well and that the form is timeless? Anyway, it has never ceased to astonish me that directors saw songs as something that were bolted on to Disney’s past great animated movies. The songs, if used, are always part, indeed, I would say they were the heart, of the movie. They always tell you something, illuminate someone, touch you somewhere inside. The movie wouldn’t work without the songs (take note The Princess and The Frog). The power of the song is in telling the story, not augmenting it. Frozen realises this and the result is magic.

This movie contains violence, unpleasant scenes

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – 7/10 superhero action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director: Anthony Russo
Director: Joe Russo
Screenplay Writer: Christopher Markus
Screenplay Writer: Stephen McFeely
Concept and Story Writer: Ed Brubaker
Writer (Original Comic Book Series): Joe Simon
Writer (Original Comic Book Series): Jack Kirby
Steve Rogers / Captain America: Chris Evans
Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow: Scarlett Johansson
Sebastian Stan: Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier
Cobie Smulders: Maria Hill
Emily VanCamp: Sharon Carter / Agent 13
Toby Jones: Arnim Zola
Jenny Agutter: World Security Council member
Robert Redford: Alexander Pierce
Nick Fury: Samuel L. Jackson

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Increasingly unhappy with his role as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s "furious janitor", Steve Rogers finds his unease increasing as he is clearly being left in the dark about something by Nick Fury. When Fury confides in him about Project Insight (making Rogers about the last to know after the 100,000 employees that must have been involved), his fears are confirmed and action will need to be taken.

7/10

Even though the title is never explained, this is a vastly more interesting super-hero movie than expected with the character of Captain America being forced to bring his ideals to bear when the organisation he works for demonstrates that it has failed to live up to them: he has to bring the American way of truth, justice and liberty to an America that has become the bad guy. Impressively, the character and drama of the movie is fine; what lets it down is the action. It’s all frenetic cuts just before your visual comprehension is complete and endless, meaningless, impactless super-punching (even when you’re not a superhuman). None of the action is resolved with wit (though the elevator scene shows wit before the action starts and Jenny Agutter gets a good moment), imagination or even any sense of tactics or expertise. Just super-punching. This is normal for Hollywood at this time and the action doesn’t spoil the movie; it’s more that the movie might have been a classic if the action was good instead of largely forgettable.

This movie contains extended extreme violence, extremely unpleasant scenes

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) – 8/10 science-fiction action adventure movie review

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Cast / crew
For: Gene Roddenberry
Director and Screenplay Writer: Nicholas Meyer
Kirk: William Shatner
Spock: Leonard Nimoy
DeForest Kelley: McCoy
James Doohan: Scotty
Walter Koenig: Chekov
Nichelle Nichols: Uhuru
George Takei: Sulu
Mark Lenard: Sarek
David Warner: Chancellor Gorkon
Kim Cattrall: Lt. Valeris
Rosana DeSoto: Azetbur
Christopher Plummer: Chang
Dedicated To and Original Series Creator STAR TREK: Gene Roddenberry
Story Writer: Lawrence Konner
Story Writer: Mark Rosenthal
Actor, Executive Producer and Story Writer: Leonard Nimoy
Screenplay Writer: Denny Martin Flinn
Producer: Ralph Winter
Producer: Steven-Charles Jaffe

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

When a disaster on Praxis, an important energy-producing moon, faces the Klingon race with the choice of military expenditure or survival as a species, they call to the Federation to arrange a peace. Three months from retirement, Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are sent as a figurative olive branch to escort the Klingon Ambassador to Earth. After a less-than-successful diplomatic meal aboard the Enterprise, Kirk is rudely awoken by the sound of Enterprise firing on the Ambassador’s ship and his subsequent assassination. In the absence of the actual killers, Kirk and McCoy are arrested and put on trial.

8/10

"Nice to see you in action, one more time, Captain Kirk." – Captain Sulu

In what must be a unique cinematic event, the original Star Trek cast literally sign off from their motion picture series and must have been deservedly proud that it was done with this spectacular and interesting, generally well paced and smart movie. Boasting social commentary, courtroom drama, murder mystery intrigue, one of the greatest beards in movie history (Kurtwood Smith), a prison escape, a dude who doesn’t have knees where his knees are and a classic space battle resolved with intellect (and a lot of photon torpedoes, admittedly), The Undiscovered Country is a terrific movie with a lot to like. Not included in that list would be Kim Cattrall who threatens to undermine everything with her lack of acting ability. Generally, though, the movie is handled surely by Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer and is headlined by wonderful work from William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. It certainly was nice to see them in action one more time.

This movie contains graphic violence, gory scenes, unpleasant scenes

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Always (1989) – 8/10 fantasy action romance Steven Spielberg movie review

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Cast / crew
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenplay Writer: Jerry Belson
Writer (Original Screenplay) “A Guy Named Joe”: Dalton Trumbo
Writer (Original Screenplay Adaptation) “A Guy Named Joe”: Frederick Hazlitt Brennan
Writer (Original Screen Story) “A Guy Named Joe”: Chandler Sprague
Writer (Original Screen Story) “A Guy Named Joe”: David Boehm
Richard Dreyfuss: Pete Sandich
Holly Hunter: Dorinda Durston
John Goodman: Al Yackey
Brad Johnson: Ted Baker
Audrey Hepburn: Hap
Producer: Steven Spielberg
Producer: Frank Marshall
Producer: Kathleen Kennedy
Music: John Williams

Always (1989)

Fire fighting pilot Pete saves best friend Al’s life by sacrificing his own. He is sent back by an angel to help influence the life of another trainee fire-fighting pilot, Ted Baker. However, a chance meeting by this trainee reintroduces Pete to his former love, Dorinda. Will he concentrate on his duty or will he make a futile attempt to rekindle his long-lost romance?

8/10

This is a forgotten Spielberg; a gem awaiting your discovery. This is an emotionally engaging fantasy romance with some good humour and outstanding action. It’s certainly not above criticism as it’s not consistently convincing and the Dreyfuss-Hunter romance for the first part of the movie feels lifted from an animated movie. However, all of the action sequences are extremely thrilling and spectacular, there are a number of lovely scenes and the climax works emotionally. Also, Always contains a mighty Hitler moustache gag that you probably won’t ever see again in a Spielberg movie.

This movie contains mild adult dialogue, mild bad language, mild unpleasant scenes and Holly Hunter in adorably chunky white socks

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Dans la Maison aka In The House (2012) – 6/10 drama movie review

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Cast / crew
Producer: Eric Altmayer
Producer: Nicolas Altmayer
Fabrice Luchini: Germain
Kristin Scott Thomas: Jeanne
Emmanuelle Seigner: Esther
Denis Ménochet: Rapha pere
Ernst Umhauer: Claude
Bastien Ughetto: Rpha fils
Jean-François Balmer: Le proviseur
Writer (Original Play) El Chico de la Ultimate Fila: Juan Mayorga
Adaptor and Director Adapted from the play “El Chico de la Ultimate Fila” by Juan Mayorga: François Ozon

Dans la Maison aka In The House (2012)

A French teacher sees a spark of talent in one of his students, Claude, when an essay about what Claude did at the weekend hooks his interest. (to be continued…)

6/10

This is an interesting movie in that it gives you something to think about but it rather takes its time and, while never boring, feels longer than it is. As is consistently the case with François Ozon, the performances are sublime. Ernst Umhauer is all kinds of unsettling as the ‘boy in the last row’ (the title of the play which this is adapted from) whose installments of prose regarding a perfect family he has insinuated himself into form the thrust of the narrative. Eventually, it is impossible to tell which parts of the film are meant to be written and which real; there’s probably a very good case to be made that the whole thing is an invention, an exercise, by Claude to give a back story to the homeless dude sitting on the park bench at the end. I suspect that if you had a friend smarter and more observant than me, you could have a most rewarding evening discussing this movie after you’ve watched it. As a final note, the opening cast and title credits are particularly well done.

This movie contains sexual swear words, adult dialogue, violence, nudity, sex scene, unpleasant scene

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Welcome to The Space Show (2010) – 7/10 science fiction fantasy adventure anime movie review

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Cast / crew
Creator and Director: Koji Masunari
Creator and Screenplay Writer: Hideyuki Kurata
Creator: Tomonori Ochikoshi
Tomoyo Kurosawa: Natsuki Koyama
Honoka Ikezuka: Amane Suzuki
Shotaro Uzawa: Kiyoshi Sato
Tamaki Matsumoto: Noriko Nishimura
Takuto Yoshinaga: Koji Harada
Keiji Fujiwara: Pochi Rickman

Welcome to The Space Show (2010)

Summer camp is going to be a bigger adventure than anyone ever dreamed when a group of friends go in search of a rabbit they lost and find an injured dog.

7/10

Fun, happy adventure movie brimming with invention. The finalé is confusing (a bad guy’s personal shield explodes because he’s told there’s good in him?) but it feels like good is battling bad and good wins; what more do you need to know? The film connects enough emotionally that the goodbyes and final bike ride, especially, are touching and boasts enough dazzling diversions that attention is generally distracted from the rather baffling plot.

This movie contains violence

Wreck-It Ralph (2013) – 6/10 video-game fantasy Disney animated movie review

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Cast / crew
Actor, Director and Story Writer Sour Bill and Zangief: Rich Moore
Producer: Clark Spencer
Actor, Screenplay and Story Writer Surge Protector: Phil Johnston
Story Supervisor and Story Writer: Jim Reardon
Screenplay Writer: Jennifer Lee
Supervising Animator: Doug Bennett
Supervising Animator: Mark Alan Mitchell
Supervising Animator: Zach A. Parrish
Supervising Animator: Tony Smeed
Actor and Additional Story Material Ralph: John C. Reilly
Sarah Silverman: Vanellope
Jack McBrayer: Felix
Jane Lynch: Calhoun
Alan Tudyk: King Candy
Mindy Kaling: Taffyta Muttonfudge
Joe Lo Truglio: Markowski
Ed O’Neill: Mr. Litwak
Dennis Haysbert: General Hologram
Additional Story Material: Sam Levine
Additional Story Material: Jared Stern

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Unhappy with his lonely role as the bad guy in arcade game Fix-It Felix, Jr, Wreck-It Ralph decides that he wants a gold medal just like game heroes. Trouble is, he’s going to have to go to another game to get it.

6/10

One thing that can be said for just about all animated films: their lead characters almost always have a clearly defined character arc. Trouble is, it’s almost always undisguisedly the same one. Wreck-It Ralph follows the finding yourself template but doesn’t present a particularly captivating world. It moves along prettily but mechanically. It peaks with an impressively powerful scene where Ralph learns that he must do something short-term bad to ensure long-term good. The emotional impact of that scene contrasts intriguingly with the traditional emotional climax which is entirely unmoving. Wreck-It Ralph is never less than colourful and polished and entertaining – it is a good film – but it’s not a classic.

This movie contains violence, unpleasant scenes, bad language

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Haywire (2011) – 6/10 action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director, Director of Photography and Editor: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Lem Dobbs
1st Assistant Director and Producer: Gregory Jacobs
Gina Carano: Mallory
Michael Fassbender: Paul
Ewan McGregor: Kenneth
Bill Paxton: Mr. Kane
Channing Tatum: Aaron
Mathieu Kassovitz: Studer
Michael Angarano: Scott
Antonio Banderas: Rodrigo
Michael Douglas: Coblenz

Haywire (2011)

Private sector security professional Mallory Kane finds herself double-crossed after a job in Barcelona that goes completely according to plan. While confused and in the dark, she knows that if she keeps following the trail back up the chain of command and hits everything on the way, there should be answers and freedom at the end of it.

6/10

The name Steven Soderbergh gets snobby critics all a-quiver and so they found themselves a little disappointed when he appeared to just deliver a shallow action movie. What he really delivered was a shallow action movie with a completely convincing female action lead; it may turn out to be unique. Though her facial expression never seems to change, Gina Carano’s acting is enough and she certainly has a bit of charisma. Her action scenes, though, are consistently excellent; convincing and engaging. There’s an ebb and flow to them as upper hands are taken and tables are turned by each combatant with the final victory always being hard won through diligent appliance of their skill-set. The main thing that stops it from being a better action movie is a complete lack of triumph or cool but that’s not Carano’s fault, it’s Soderbergh’s.

This movie contains sexual swear words, strong violence, gory and unpleasant scenes

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Mission: Impossible (1996) – 7/10 espionage action movie review

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Cast / crew
Ethan Hunt: Tom Cruise
Jon Voight: Jim Phelps
Emmanuelle Beart: Claire
Henry Czerny: Kittridge
Jean Reno: Krieger
Ving Rhames: Luther
Kristin Scott Thomas: Sarah Davies
Vanessa Redgrave: Max
Story Writer: David Koepp
Story Writer: Steven Zaillian
Screenplay Writer: David Koepp
Screenplay Writer: Robert Towne
Director: Brian De Palma

Mission: Impossible (1996)

Ethan Hunt is a member of an IMF, Impossible Mission Force, under the control of Jim Phelps. One night in Prague an operation goes badly wrong leaving his life in the balance. His mission, which he must accept, is to regain his pride and freedom. This plot will self-destruct in five seconds…

7/10

Action thriller that impresses, bores and excites in equal measure and boasts the impossible. Director Brian De Palma delivers three classic action sequences but the movie flags in between. He has an inate ability to make action sequences seem like ballet; his explosions and stunts look like beautifully choreographed dance sequences. He handles the wildly impossible situations with some panache and lends the film an air of authority despite the ridiculousness of some of the sequences. The opening of the movie through to the beautiful, iconic restaurant escape is essentially perfect. The second action sequence is also instantly iconic; a tense, near-silent break-in at the CIA defeating temperature, sonic and pressure sensors. The third action sequence is an astonishing visual effects masterpiece which holds up as well today nearly twenty years later as it did at the time. It, and an excellent Mission: Impossible theme remix, leaves the movie on a massive high.

This movie contains mild swear words, mild sensuality, unpleasant and gory scenes, violence

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) – 6/10 fantasy action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Screenplay Writer Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling: Steve Kloves
Producer: David Heyman
Producer: Chris Columbus
Producer: Mark A. Radcliffe
Writer (Original Novel): J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter: Daniel Radcliffe
Ron Weasley: Rupert Grint
Hermione Granger: Emma Watson
Julie Christie: Madame Rosmerta
Rubeus Hagrid: Robbie Coltrane
Professor Albus Dumbledore: Michael Gambon
Vernon Dursley: Richard Griffiths
Sirius Black: Gary Oldman
Professor Severus Snape: Alan Rickman
Petunia Dursley: Fiona Shaw
Professor Minverva McConagall: Maggie Smith
Peter Pettigrew: Timothy Spall
Professor Lupin: David Thewlis
Professor Sybil Trelawney: Emma Thompson

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

After finally losing his temper and using his magic outside of the school at his foster family, Harry Potter is somewhat surprised at the lack of punishment. The whole thing is just cleaned up and he is allowed to return to Hogwarts. The only thing he finds out is that Sirius Black, the first ever escapee from the feared Azkaban prison, has got all the wizard’s fearful for Potter’s safety but they are confident that Hogwarts, guarded by the horrific Dementers, is the best place for Harry.

6/10

A step backwards as this film loses the humanity of the previous instalment. The visuals are less impressive and John Williams’ off-the-peg music is conspicuously bland but the biggest problem is director Alfonso Cuarón’s completely flat handling of all the material.

This movie contains strong violence, scary scenes, strong unpleasant scenes

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets (2002) – 8/10 fantasy action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Executive Producer: Chris Columbus
Screenplay Writer Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling: Steve Kloves
Producer: David Heyman
Writer (Original Novel): J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter: Daniel Radcliffe
Ron Weasley: Rupert Grint
Hermione Granger: Emma Watson
Kenneth Branagh: Gilderoy Lockhart
Nearly Headless Nick: John Cleese
Rubeus Hagrid: Robbie Coltrane
Professor Filius Flitwick: Warwick Davis
Vernon Dursley: Richard Griffiths
Professor Albus Dumbledore: Richard Harris
Lucius Malfoy: Jason Isaacs
Professor Severus Snape: Alan Rickman
Petunia Dursley: Fiona Shaw
Professor Minverva McConagall: Maggie Smith
Molly Weasley: Julie Walters

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Unhappily existing at his Muggle family anxious to return to Hogwart’s, Harry Potter is visisted by a house elf who’s mission is to stop him attending this year at all costs. Despite the elf’s best efforts, Harry manages to get to school but he might wish he hadn’t as petrified animals and students and writing in blood on the walls warn of the re-opening of the legendary Chamber of Secrets and the unleashing of the horror within.

8/10

Significantly better than the first episode with vastly improved special effects, more interesting photography and lots of ideas and good moments. Kenneth Branagh steals the show as a superstar wizard, Jason Isaacs is good value as what will hopefully be a recurring character but the two male leads, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, provide the movies’ unshakable heart and soul.

This movie contains intense scary scenes, violence, strong unpleasant scenes

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone (2001) – 6/10 fantasy action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Executive Producer: Chris Columbus
Screenplay Writer Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling: Steve Kloves
Producer: David Heyman
Writer (Original Novel): J.K. Rowling
Executive Producer: Mark A. Radcliffe
Executive Producer: Michael Barnathan
Executive Producer: Duncan Henderson
Harry Potter: Daniel Radcliffe
Ron Weasley: Rupert Grint
Hermione Granger: Emma Watson
John Cleese: Nearly Headless Nick
Rubeus Hagrid: Robbie Coltrane
Vernon Dursley: Richard Griffiths
Professor Albus Dumbledore: Richard Harris
Ian Hart: Professor Quirrell
Lord Voldemort: Ian Hart
Ollivander: John Hurt
Professor Severus Snape: Alan Rickman
Petunia Dursley: Fiona Shaw
Professor Minverva McConagall: Maggie Smith

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

6/10

Solid start to the massively lucrative franchise that sees plenty of ideas clearly and carefully placed on the big screen by director Chris Columbus. He makes the film a little too slow and even, clumsily lumps John Williams music on and doesn’t have access to state-of-the-art visual effects (CG replacements for the actors are particularly noticeable) but doesn’t make the mistake of making a bad film. With this first year of Hogwart’s safely sorted, a foundation is laid for the remainder of the series.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Zero Dark Thirty (2012) – 6/10 espionage drama movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Producer: Kathryn Bigelow
Producer and Writer: Mark Boal
Producer: Megan Ellison
Jessica Chastain: Maya
Jason Clarke: Dan
Joel Edgerton: Patrick-Squadron Team Leader
Jennifer Ehle: Jessica
Mark Strong: George
Kyle Chandler: Joseph Bradley
Edgar Ramirez: Larry from Ground Branch
James Gandolfini: C.I.A. Director

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

The success of the 9/11 attacks in 2011 make Osama bin Laden the most wanted man on Earth but billions of dollars and many years later, he continues to elude the C.I.A. One agent, Maya, believes the key is tracking bin Laden’s courier but he seems to have become just as much of a ghost as bin Laden himself.

6/10

Inexplicably long and only mildly compelling but highly watchable espionage drama with high production quality. It should build to its expertly staged infiltration sequence (it has completely convincing helicopter work and the night-time setting is brilliantly and clearly photographed) but it doesn’t. It feels like it paces up and down for a couple of hours; there’s no tension or convincing detective work and no illumination of the process. It never feels like pieces fall into place or intelligence is followed. It also doesn’t feel like ten years pass from beginning to end. There’s an ostentatious underplaying; wearing seriousness and authenticity at the expense of drama and suspense.

This movie contains sexual swear words, graphic violence, gory and unpleasant scenes, torture and mistreatment scenes, nudity

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Life of Pi (2012) – 7/10 existential disaster movie review

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Cast / crew
Producer: Gil Netter
Director and Producer: Ang Lee
Suraj Sharma: Pi Patel
Irrfan Khan: Adult Pi Patel
Tabu: Gita Patel
Rafe Spall: Writer
Gérard Depardieu: Cook
Visual Effects Supervisor: Bill Westenhofer
Producer: David Womack
Writer: Yann Martel
Screenplay Writer Based upon the novel by Yann Martel: David Magee

Life of Pi (2012)

Pi Patel has an amazing story to tell. It eventually comes to his emigration from India to Canada and a shipwreck and a battle for survival alongside Richard Parker. Richard Parker the tiger, that is.

7/10

You are likely to be disappointed with this film; that’s the nature of it’s message. The film also promises to tell us a story that will make us believe in God which I don’t feel it does. Gérard Depardieu is only in it for a few seconds. But is it still worth seeing? Yes. It’s interesting, thought-provoking, visually impressive and boasts a genuinely magic moment when Pi pauses underwater as the ship goes down. (SPOILERS from here.) Life of Pi gives us a fantastical, eventually clearly fictional, story versus a true story and asks us ‘which one do we prefer?’ The characters in the movie choose the fictional one and the audience likely will too. I took from that the assertion that people, even scientific people, may choose and be happy to believe in God – any God; it doesn’t matter – because it is nicer or comforting or a way of avoiding science’s dispiriting conclusion that we live, we die and there is no more and no meaning.

This movie contains unpleasant scenes

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

X-Men (2000) – 7/10 superhero action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Story Writer: Bryan Singer
Screenplay Writer: David Hayter
Story Writer: Tom DeSanto
Producer: Lauren Shuler-Donner
Producer: Ralph Winter
Executive Producer: Stan Lee
Charles Xavier: Patrick Stewart
Logan / Wolverine: Hugh Jackman
Eric Lensherr: Ian McKellen
Halle Berry: Storm
Famke Janssen: Jean Grey
James Marsden: Cyclops
Bruce Davison: Senator Kelly
Raven Darkholme / Mystique: Rebecca Romijn-Stamos
Ray Park: Toad
Tyler Mane: Sabretooth
Anna Paquin: Rogue

X-Men (2000)

In the not-too-distant future, mankind is on the brink of a new stage of evolution. More and more children are revealing themselves as "mutants", genetically-altered people with superhuman powers. While the US government considers passing the Mutant Registration Act, two powerful mutants consider different ways of dealing with their species’ problem. Professor Charles Xavier believes in training them – including superteam the X-Men – but his old colleague, Magneto, believes that old humankind should be eliminated.

7/10

Bryan Singer’s movie is great when dealing with the characters and slightly under-achieving when it comes to special effects spectacle. The actors and the story are the strong point. The casting of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen was a master stroke and everyone got lucky getting Australian unknown Hugh Jackman in as Wolverine. Every scene with any of these chatting is brilliant; their charisma is engrossing and their story thought-provoking. Singer messes up some critical stuff, principally in the finalé, as he doesn’t seem to have had any idea about how to make superheroes look heroic, let alone superheroic, or to make spectacle spectacular. Everywhere else, though, he does a great job. Of particular note is a superbly intense 1944 prologue and the scene in which absolutely everything comes together: the railway station stand-off. It features Stewart and McKellen in a psychological battle of wit and will, showcases some car-chucking spectacle (non-CG, tellingly) and fits perfectly with everything about the characters and story and universe. It’s an outstanding sequence and one you’ll want to remember instead of the weak finalé.

This movie contains

Argo (2012) – 7/10 epic espionage drama movie review

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Cast / crew
Actor, Director and Producer Tony Mendez: Ben Affleck
Screenplay Writer: Chris Terrio
Producer: Grant Heslov
Producer: George Clooney
Writer The Master of Disguise: Antonio J. Mendez
Writer The Wired Magazine Article “The Great Escape”: Joshuah Bearman
Bryan Cranston: Jack O’Donnell
Alan Arkin: Lester Siegel
John Goodman: John Chambers
Victor Garber: Ken Taylor
Tate Donovan: Bob Anders
Clea DuVall: Cora Lijek
Scoot McNairy: Joe Stafford
Rory Cochrane: Lee Schatz
Christopher Denham: Mark Lijek
Kerry Bishé: Kathy Stafford
Kyle Chandler: Hamilton Jordan
Chris Messina: Malinov

Argo (2012)

During the 1979 American Embassy hostage crisis, six embassy workers escaped and eventually took refuge in the Canadian Embassy. A plan is needed to exfiltrate them but time and circumstance means that the plan formulated is completely ridiculous. So ridiculous, in fact, that it might just work.

7/10

From the opening Eighties Warner Bros. logo through to the reasonably suspenseful directorial juggling of the escape, this is a high quality exclamation point to the reinvention of Ben Affleck as a top quality film director. It showcases a so-unlikely-you-couldn’t-make-it-up plot regarding the exfiltration of six Americans marooned in a Canadian embassy in Iran while their colleagues were being held hostage but so does the trailer. The movie takes two hours but doesn’t really add much atmosphere, flavour, procedure or insight to the fascinating story until, ironically, the fictional Hollywood climax at the bazaar and the airport. It’s paced and performed impeccably throughout, though, and Affleck’s next film as director will be most anticipated.

This movie contains tiresome sexual swear words (“Argo…”), mild nudity, gory and unpleasant scenes

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Red 2 (2013) – 4/10 action movie review

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Cast / crew
Bruce Willis: Frank
John Malkovich: Marvin
Mary-Louise Parker: Sarah
Anthony Hopkins: Bailey
Helen Mirren: Victoria
Catherine Zeta-Jones: Katja
Byung-Hun Lee: Han Cho Bai
David Thewlis: The Frog
Brian Cox: Ivan
Neal McDonough: Jack Horton
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Producer: Mark Vahradian
Characters Creator: Warren Ellis
Characters Creator: Cully Hamner
Writer: Jon Hoeber
Writer: Erich Hoeber
Director: Dean Parisot

Red 2 (2013)

The CIA try to cover up a Cold War mission that could come back to bite them by eliminating Frank and Marvin (operatives involved at the time), a high-ranking US General and, er, dozens of US security professionals because it is a well known fact that slaughtering dozens of people in America is a surefire way to avoid any kind of attention whatsoever. After executing this perfectly conceived cover-up, except for the kill Frank part, the CIA hire the world’s best assassin to kill Frank for them and proceed to torture their way through a couple of other countries to pass the time.

4/10

This is rather more the movie we were expecting with the first Red: a witless waste of time. Scenes occur with no care given to coherence, consistency or even old-fashioned story-telling. You’ll never have any idea why anybody is anywhere, how they got there and why slaughtering dozens of innocent policemen, US security professionals and Russian security guards was required. Bruce is occasionally okay but usually appears disinterested and coasting on his, still considerable, charisma. It’s not all bad. Malkovich is fun and the whole thing is nearly rescued by Anthony Hopkins who does his usual trick of making it sound like he received a much better script than everyone else. He’s fun, charismatic and energises proceedings whenever he strolls by.

This movie contains extreme violence, sensuality, adult dialogue

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Links

The Wolfman (2010) – 6/10 monster horror movie

Cast / crew
Director: Joe Johnston
Screenplay Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker
Screenplay Writer: David Self
Based on the Motion Picture Screenplay by: Curt Siodmak
Producer: Scott Stuber
Producer: Benicio Del Toro
Producer: Rick Yorn
Producer: Sean Daniel
Benicio Del Toro: Lawrence Talbot
Anthony Hopkins: Sir John Talbot
Emily Blunt: Gwen Conliffe
Hugo Weaving: Aberline
Geraldine Chaplin: Maleva
Art Malik: Singh
Antony Sher: Dr. Hornegger
David Schofield: Constable Nye

The Wolfman (2010)

Lawrence Talbot returns home after a long absence when his brother is killed. The body is horribly mutilated with a ferocity that suggests a wild animal and Lawrence, spurred on by the big eyes of his brother’s fiancée, determines to get to the bottom of things. The bottom of his brother’s death, that is.

6/10

Barely adequate though technically accomplished horror. None of the thought that must go into an expensive production like this survived to the screen. While it’s paced well and is certainly not boring, this is impactless, unatmospheric, journeyman filmmaking at it’s blandest without even the crutch of decent horror or action sequences (edited until you can’t visually follow them). Anthony Hopkins is the only reason to watch (Emily Blunt sideboob not withstanding) as he does his usual thing of making it sound like he got the world’s most amazing, intelligent and witty script while everyone got something else entirely. He didn’t, of course. He’s just that good.

This movie contains mild nudity, strong gory violence, very gory and unpleasant scenes

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Young Detective Dee: The Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013) – 7/10 fantasy martial arts action movie review

Cast / crew
Director, Producer and Writer: Tsui Hark
Writer: Chang Chia-Lu
Producer and Writer: Chen Kuo-Fu
Detective Dee Renjie: Mark Chao
Angelababy: Yin
Kun Chen:
Feng Shaofeng: Detective Yuchi
Carina Lau: Empress Wu

Young Detective Dee: The Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013)

Dee arrives in the Imperial City but his attempts to assist justice in the town are disrupted by personal jealousy, a beautiful woman, being repeatedly sentenced to death and / or imprisonment and, er, some kind of super-strong reptile man.

7/10

While the previous Detective Dee movie featured scientific explanations for apparently supernatural events (if I remember correctly), this one, well, doesn’t. It features a monster man (caused by parasites, apparently) and an honest-to-goodness giant sea monster. Yeah. There’s a notable lack of detective work, too, with Dee simply possessing a frequently derided but miraculous insight because that’s what the paper-thin story requires to move forward. Fortunately, as entertainment, it’s still fun, impressive stuff told with some consistently lovely visuals and boasting some gleeful imagination in the action scenes. I particularly enjoyed a horse crash (not sure if I’ve ever seen that before) and a dude slicing a flying bee in half but there are a generous number of sweet action moments. This is really a six-star movie but with enough moments of joy and irresistible insanity to add up to a whole other star.

This movie contains violence, torture scene, unpleasant scenes

Links

Bambi (1942) – 9/10 Walt Disney animated coming-of-age movie review

Cast / crew
Producer: Walt Disney
Story Writer: Felix Salten
Supervising Director: David Hand
Sequence Director: James Algar
Sequence Director: Bill Roberts
Sequence Director: Norman Wright
Sequence Director: Samuel Armstrong
Sequence Director: Paul Satterfield
Sequence Director: Graham Heid
Supervising Animator: Frank Thomas aka Franklin Thomas
Supervising Animator: Milt Kahl aka Milton Kahl
Supervising Animator: Eric Larson
Supervising Animator: Ollie Johnston aka Oliver M. Johnston, Jr.
Thanks Our sincere appreciation for his inspiring collaboration: Sidney Franklin

Bambi (1942)

Bambi is a little fawn born into a world of wonder where his unbridled curiosity will lead to fun, new friends, uplifting experiences and tragedy – all on the way to adulthood.

9/10

Oddly, I find Bambi to be an easy-to-overlook Disney masterpiece – lost among Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia and Dumbo – but masterpiece it most certainly is. I wonder if this is due to what feels like a very simple story. (Bambi gets born, Bambi gets friends, Bambi gets orphaned, Bambi gets antlers, Bambi gets twitterpated, Bambi gets into a fight, Bambi gets fawns.) It may be a simple story but it is told with an assured, delicate, master’s touch. The animation is, it probably goes without saying by now, brilliant. The combination of recognisable human characteristics and animal locomotion is reference quality in the character design (spoiler, deers don’t have a face like Bambi), animation and, importantly, music.

This movie contains some distressing and intense scenes

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Columbo s01e01 Murder by the Book (1971) – 6/10 crime detective TV review

Cast / crew
Lieutenant Columbo: Peter Falk
Jack Cassidy: Ken Franklin
Rosemary Forsyth: Jill Ferris
Martin Milner: James “Jim” Ferris
Director: Steven Spielberg
Story Editor and Writer: Steven Bochco
Producer and Series Creator: Richard Levinson
Producer and Series Creator: William Link

Columbo s01e01 Murder by the Book (1971)

When a successful book-writing partnership decides to part company, the ‘silent’ partner murders the other in order to collect the insurance payout but even their famed literary creation, Miss Melville, would have to go some to match wits with our Lt. Columbo.

6/10

A good perfect alibi plot and Peter Falk’s perfect performance as the eponymous shambling detective lift this murder mystery but an unconvincing conclusion drag things back down. Turns out the perfect alibi was just that. This episode was directed by Steven Spielberg and his sense of location creates some peculiarly indelible impressions. This was the first of the regular Columbo series (as opposed to the pilot episode) which would run for nearly thirty years and would be Spielberg’s immediately previous work to his breakthrough TV movie Duel (made the same year).

This Columbo episode contains

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Split Second (1953) – 5/10 hostage atomic thriller movie review

Cast / crew
Stephen McNally: Sam Hurley
Alexis Smith: Kay Garven
Jan Sterling: Dorothy “Dottie” Vale
Keith Andes: Larry Fleming
Arthur Hunnicutt: Asa Tremaine
Screenplay Writer: William Bowers
Screenplay and Story Writer: Irving Wallace
Story Writer: Chester Erskine
Producer: Edmund Grainger
Director: Dick Powell

Split Second (1953)

An escaped prisoner and his injured friend take a bunch of people hostage and wait for a doctor inside the blast radius of an atomic test scheduled for the following morning.

5/10

Ordinary escaped-prisoner hostage drama in a non-ordinary setting. Stephen McNally impresses as a brutal thug and it’s interesting to see Alexis Smith not hold back as the selfish adulteress who will do anything to save herself. The baddies get a great demise (blasted by a atomic blast wave, spun through the air like a spin dryer then incinerated, just to make sure) but the plot contrivance to make it happen is a bit of a groaner (according to the reporter, setting off atomic explosions an hour earlier than announced is a thing they do; apparently it’s fine as long as they give you fifteen minutes warning).

This movie contains strong violence

White House Down (2013) – 6/10 action movie review

Cast / crew
Director and Producer: Roland Emmerich
Producer and Writer: James Vanderbilt
Producer: Bradley J. Fischer
Producer: Larry Franco
Producer: Laeta Kalogridis
Music Composer and Producer: Harald Kloser
Channing Tatum: Cale
Jamie Foxx: President Sawyer
Maggie Gyllenhaal: Finnerty
Jason Clarke: Stenz
Richard Jenkins: Raphelson
Joey King: Emily
James Woods: Walker
Nicolas Wright: Donnie the Guide

White House Down (2013)

Wannabe Secret Service agent John Cale finds himself the only competent bullet-, gravity-, bomb- and punch-proof law or military officer in all of North America on the day that the White House is attacked.

6/10

White House Down feels like two different movies edited together, both of them half-hearted and neither carrying the professional sheen Roland Emmerich usually applies. One movie is a fun, light-hearted adventure where the President accidentally bonks our hero on the head with a rocket launcher while being chased around the White House lawn; the other movie is a boringly violent action movie where you can’t tell who’s doing what to who (uncharacteristic of a Roland Emmerich movie) and believe it and care even less. Things aren’t helped by the photography which, thanks to baffling halos around everybody, renders every visual effects scene astoundingly unconvincing. If the entire movie had been the fun one, even as half-hearted as it is, this would have been pretty awesome. As it is, there’s probably just enough goofily enjoyable stuff inbetween a lot of ordinary stuff.

This movie contains extreme gun violence, strong boring violence, brief infra-red sex scene and a single sexual swear word

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

The Wolverine (2013) – 8/10 superhero action movie

AmazonBuy The Wolverine at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director: James Mangold
Screenplay Writer: Mark Bomback
Screenplay Writer: Scott Frank
Producer: Lauren Shuler-Donner
Producer: Hutch Parker
Executive Producer: Stan Lee
Logan / Wolverine: Hugh Jackman
Hiroyuki Sanada: Shingen
Tao Okamoto: Mariko
Rila Fukushima: Yukio
Jean Grey / Phoenix Jean Grey: Famke Janssen
Will Yun Lee: Harada
Svetlana Khodchenkova: Viper
Haruhiko Yamanouchi: Yashida
Brian Tee: Noburo

The Wolverine (2013)

Logan saves a compassionate Japanese officer’s life during World War II. Many years later, after the death of Jean Grey, a tortured Logan receives an offer from the now-powerful, now-rich but now-dying Yashida to give him a haircut and shave. Oh, and turn him mortal.

8/10

While this is a giant improvement over X-Men Origins: Wolverine (and probably the best of the big summer movies) it has an odd quality where the plot makes sense but doesn’t feel like it. I feel it needed a tiny bit of discussion earlier about how to extract Logan’s healing ability when he doesn’t want you to. That said, it does mean that you are thinking during the final battle; attempting to grasp, as Logan is, exactly why what is going on is going on. When you consider it like that, I feel it’s a good thing. So, as I say, an odd quality. Outside of that, this is an entertaining, involving superhero movie with terrific visual effects that gives the ever excellent Hugh Jackman’s Logan / Wolverine an actual character arc to go through, doesn’t overload the movie with action and doesn’t obliterate the ability to understand the action through editing. Yet again the trailer spoils the movie significantly.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, bad language, strong violence, gory and extremely unpleasant scenes

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Anonymous (2011) – 4/10 alternative history drama movie review

Cast / crew
Director and Producer: Roland Emmerich
Executive Producer and Writer: John Orloff
Producer: Larry Franco
Producer: Robert Leger
Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford: Rhys Ifans
Queen Elizabeth I: Vanessa Redgrave
Queen Elizabeth I Young: Joely Richardson
William Cecil: David Thewlis
Xavier Samuel: Earl of Southampton
Ben Jonson: Sebastian Armesto
William Shakespeare: Rafe Spall
Robert Cecil: Edward Hogg
Mark Rylance: Condell
Derek Jacobi: Prologue

Anonymous (2011)

As Queen Elizabeth I nears the end of her reign, the question of succession provokes powerful political factions to maneuvre their chosen candidates into place. Sir Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, thinks that the pen is mightier than the politician and, despite needing to remain anonymous due to his standing, seeks to get his pointed but brilliant plays out into the public eye.

4/10

The problem with this is that the Shakespeare-was-a-proxy makes an interesting topic for a scholastic endeavour but it’s not a story, let alone an interesting story. Another problem is that this film isn’t about that anyway; it’s a political drama that feels like it keeps tearing it’s own focus away whenever it remembers it sold itself as being about William Shakespeare. Another problem is Sebastian Armesto in the Salieri role who slowly speaks his lines like somebody who is trying to sound insightful and enlightened. Anonymous is slickly put together and director / producer Roland Emmerich clearly has an interest in the subject but it’s dreadfully unconvincing from the off.

This movie contains bad language, violence, sex scenes, gory scenes

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Irresistible (2006) – 7/10 psychological thriller movie review

Cast / crew
Director and Writer: Ann Turner
Producer: David Parker
Producer: Tatiana Kennedy
Susan Sarandon: Sophie
Sam Neill: Craig
Emily Blunt: Mara

Irresistible (2006)

Frazzled from a lack of sleep and a looming deadline, painter Sophie Hartley starts getting a niggling feeling that someone is entering her home and taking stuff. When she is introduced to her loving husband’s beautiful new coworker, Mara, she starts to become convinced that she has found the guilty party.

7/10

Okay, first up, I have no idea why it’s called Irresistible aside from it being a good punchy title to put underneath Emily Blunt’s cleavage on the poster. Well, on second thought, I guess that is a good enough reason but it doesn’t really reflect on the film which is, for the most part, a good psychological drama with a convincing performance from Susan Sarandon which holds up even when the original plot barges back in at the end. You see, we had already judged that Sarandon was largely paranoid and were more invested in whether or how she would escape this mental prison and how her husband would cope. So it comes as a bit of a surprise when the original thriller aspect of the movie kicks down the door and sets fire to everything.

This movie contains three sexual swear words, adult dialogue, unpleasant scenes, sexuality and Susan Sarandon’s old witch hands

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

The Adjustment Bureau (2011) – 6/10 romantic thriller movie review

Cast / crew
Screenplay Writer, Producer and Director: George Nolfi
Writer (Original Story) Adjustment Team: Philip K. Dick
Producer: Michael Hackett
Producer: Bill Carraro
Producer: Chris Moore
Matt Damon: David Norris
Emily Blunt: Elise Sellas
Anthony Mackie: Harry Mitchell
John Slattery: Richardson
Michael Kelly: Charlie Traynor
Terence Stamp: Thompson

The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

David Norris is a successful young politician but then he meets a beautiful, charming dancer, Elise, and all his drive and energy become diverted into chasing the girl of his dreams.

6/10

Now you can see why they made this movie as it contains a superficially positive message about making best use of our free will. Except the movie doesn’t have that message at all. Firstly, the love story is the result of an earlier, subsequently abandoned plan, so their irresistible romance wasn’t free will in the first place. Secondly, even though our hero is given a good reason to abandon his love for an arguably greater good, he chooses his own feelings over reason. Put another way, he behaves selfishly. His choice, of course, but that highlights the problem with most considerations of free will, in movies especially. It boils down to satisfying yourself, ‘following your heart’, being selfish. That’s why the message is only superficially positive but this deliberate provoking of thought is also why The Adjustment Bureau is an interesting movie. At the end of the day, how well this movie works for you depends on whether you get wrapped up in the love story and, while I wasn’t exactly convinced of their chemistry, I did get involved and so I liked it. Special mention for some of the weakest poster artwork for any major Hollywood movie ever.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, mild adult dialogue, mild unpleasant scenes and a discreet sex scene

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

X-Men: First Class (2011) – 7/10 superhero action movie review

Cast / crew
Screenplay Writer and Director: Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay Writer: Ashley Edward Miller
Screenplay Writer: Zack Stentz
Screenplay Writer: Jane Goldman
Writer (Story): Sheldon Turner
Story Writer and Producer: Bryan Singer
Producer: Lauren Shuler-Donner
Producer: Simon Kinberg
Producer: Gregory Goodman
Executive Producer: Stan Lee
Charles Xavier 24 Years: James McAvoy
Eric Lensherr: Michael Fassbender
Rose Byrne: Moira MacTaggert
Mystique: Jennifer Lawrence
Emma Frost: January Jones
Hank / Beast: Nicholas Hoult
Oliver Platt: Man in Black Suit
Azazel: Jason Flemyng
Alex Summers / Havoc: Lucas Till
Edi Gathegi: Darwin / Armando Munoz
Kevin Bacon: Sebastian Shaw

X-Men: First Class (2011)

Charles Xavier is an expert on genetic mutation, not only academically, but because he has a genetic mutation himself. Xavier is a powerful telepath and uses his ability to detect other mutants to gather them together to fight for good.

7/10

While certainly struggling with a couple of duff points (useless and unconvincing mutant powers including the ability to adapt, flying using sonic waves and ‘oh, I just happen to have a telepath amplifier and a supersonic, amazing-o-jet here’), X-Men: First Class remains a highly worthwhile superhero action movie with a jam-packed, interesting story centred around another charismatic superstar performance from James McAvoy and some fun villainy from Kevin Bacon. Interestingly, I found only McAvoy really sold his superpower and his is the only one that has no special effects. Any scene with McAvoy in is brilliant but while everything else is less interesting, First Class does bring in all the themes and subtext that make the story and world rich and rewarding.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, violence, sensuality

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Pacific Rim (2013) – 6/10 mecha vs monsters action movie review

Cast / crew
Screenplay Writer, Producer and Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Charlie Hunnam: Raleigh Becket
Idris Elba: Stacker Pentecost
Rinko Kikuchi: Mako Mori
Charlie Day: Dr. Newton Geiszler
Rob Kazinsky: Chuck Hansen
Max Martini: Herc Hansen
Ron Perlman: Hannibal Chau
Music: Ramin Djawadi
Writer (Story and Screenplay): Travis Beacham
Producer: Thomas Tull
Producer: Jon Jashni
Producer: Mary Parent

Pacific Rim (2013)

When giant monsters erupt through a dimensional rift in the ocean, mankind builds giant mechanical suits, Jaegers, to combat them. However, after initially stemming the tide, the Jaegers are beginning to suffer losses as the monsters adapt their tactics and abilities. The Jaeger programme is wound down in favour of building a massive Pacific Rim wall but the Jaeger’s don’t want to be decommissioned without making sure they’ve given everything they have.

6/10

Pacific Rim must be the noisiest film ever made; it is a spectacular wall of crashing masonry and thudding wallops which looks and sounds amazing (Ramin Djawadi contributes a great score). If your neighbours and close relatives didn’t have a headache before you watch this movie, they will after. The opening Arctic battle and the central Hong Kong monster mash are good action sequences with clear protagonists deploying a clear set of weapons and tactics against each other and spectacularly so. Unfortunately, the final battle is devoid of imagination and, because the film does not connect emotionally (my test: after the movie I couldn’t tell you the name of any character), lacks the audience investment needed to make it interesting or impactful. Ultimately, we were promised a great-looking robot versus dinosaur action movie and that’s exactly what we got. But absolutely nothing more.

This movie contains bad language, fantasy violence

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.