Men in Black 3 (2012) – 4/10 science fiction action comedy movie review

AmazonBuy Men in Black 3 at Amazon

Cast / crew
Actor and Director Husband Watching Launch: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer Based on the Malibu Comic by Lowell Cunningham: Etan Cohen
Writer (Original Comic): Lowell Cunningham
Producer: Walter F. Parkes
Producer: Laurie MacDonald
Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg
Will Smith: Agent J
Tommy Lee Jones: Agent K
Josh Brolin: Young Agent K
Jemaine Clement: Boris The Animal
Michael Stuhlbarg: Griffin
Alice Eve: Young Agent O
Bill Hader: Andy Warhol
David Rasche: Agent X
Emma Thompson: Agent O

Men in Black 3 (2012)

MIB Agent J is flummoxed when he goes to pick up K from his home only to find a mother and child. No K but they did have some delicious chocolate milk, so that was handy. When he gets to work, K is not just nowhere to be seen… he’s been dead for forty years.

4/10

While it is reasonably entertaining, avoids the bloat common to many belated sequels and boasts a nearly film-rescuing performance from Josh Brolin entertainingly capturing the mannerisms of Tommy Lee Jones, this is still a poor movie. The peril, villain and story are impactless (and don’t fit with the first movie) but the elements that could make up some of that shortfall, inventiveness and fun, are consistently weak; not bad exactly, just underwhelming. While there’s no compelling invention, there is some fun, but it is only occasionally effective. Notably, Will Smith is not on top form here; he doesn’t have much to work with but doesn’t seem to be able to project as much energy onscreen as he has in the past and his natural charisma is slightly muted as a result. Tommy Lee Jones is fine but has almost nothing to do while Josh Brolin nearly makes up the shortfall of the two franchise stars. For some inexplicable reason, seeing him say stuff  like Tommy Lee Jones is endlessly joyful.

This movie contains bad language, extreme fantasy violence, extremely unpleasant scenes

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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.

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

AmazonBuy Red 2 at Amazon

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

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.

Colombiana (2011) – 4/10 female revenge action movie review

Cast / crew
Zoë Saldana: Cataleya
Jordi Mollà: Marco
Lennie James: Ross
Amandla Stenberg: Cat – 10
Callum Blue: Richard
Michael Vartan: Danny Delanay
Cliff Curtis: Emilio Restrepo
Producer: Luc Besson
Producer: Ariel Zeitoun
Writer: Luc Besson
Writer: Robert Mark Kamen
Director: Olivier Megaton

Colombiana (2011)

Escaping with her life to America, orphaned child Cataleya has only one objective: become a professional killer and avenge her family.

4/10

Olivier Megaton’s inability to give his action any shape, location or story undermines this as it did Transporter 3. His film looks nice but is directed without style, pace, emotion or wit. On top of that, this is a remarkably unconvincing film from the plot (assassin kills people and draws a flower on them to reveal the location of a Colombian crime boss) through details of Zoe Saldana’s assassinations and escapes through to the operation and technology of the law enforcement personnel. Saldana never seems purpose- or venge-ful, therefore her emotional scenes aren’t earned and so her character simply does not work. The Japanese know how to make this kind of story. Olivier Megaton does not. In fact, I don’t think he knows how to tell any story.

This movie contains sexual swear words, adult dialogue and strong, graphic, gory violence and sexuality.

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

12 Rounds (2008) – 4/10 action movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Renny Harlin
John Cena: Danny Fisher
Aidan Gillen: Miles Jackson
Ashley Scott: Molly Porter
Steve Harris: George Aiken
Brian White: Hank Carver
Gonzalo Menendez: Ray Santiago
Taylor Cole: Erica Kessen
Producer: Mark Gordon
Producer: Josh McLaughlin
Producer: Michael Lake
Writer: Daniel Kunka

12 Rounds (2008)

Patrol officer Danny Fisher makes the arrest of his life when he takes down international terrorist Miles Jackson but Jackson’s girlfriend is killed trying to make her escape. One year and a promotion to detective later, Fisher gets a phone call from Jackson informing him that he has escaped from prison, kidnapped Fisher’s girlfriend and wants Fisher to complete twelve tasks to ensure her safe return.

4/10

Sadly, this is Renny Harlin aping contemporary, awful, action film techniques instead of employing his own fluid style that produced the spectacular action of Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger and Deep Blue Sea. There’s plenty of action here but it’s all completely unintelligible. It’s a shame as the performances and script and action sequence ideas were largely adequate for a decent, if minor, Die Hard With A Vengeance-style actioner. The rating would have been a star higher but the action climax and bad guy exit is distractingly weak.

This movie contains two sexual swear words and violence, unpleasant scenes.

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

Coraline (2008, Stop-Motion Fantasy Adventure) – 4/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Dakota Fanning: Coraline Jones
Teri Hatcher: Mel Jones / Other Mother / Beldam
Jennifer Saunders: Miss April Spink / Other Spink
Dawn French: Miss Miriam Forcible / Other Forcible
Ian McShane: Mr. Sergei Alexander Bobinsky / Other Bobinsky
Lead Animator: Travis Knight
Lead Animator: Trey Thomas
Lead Animator: Eric Leighton
Lead Animator: Phil Dale
Supervising Animator: Anthony Scott
Producer: Henry Selick
Producer: Mary Sandell
Writer (Original Novel): Neil Gaiman
Writer (Screenplay): Henry Selick
Director: Henry Selick
Production Designer: Henry Selick

Coraline (2008)

Coraline Jones moves with her distracted-by-work parents to a new home out of the city and discovers a mysterious, magical tunnel to another, better, world with another, more attentive, father and another, more loving, mother.

4/10

I don’t know what it is about Henry Selick’s films, Tim Burton / Danny Elfman masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas aside. This has the same charmless, unpleasant, uninteresting feeling as James and the Giant Peach and his MTV idents. It never connects emotionally but it is very good technically (despite appearing to have quite a low frame-rate). The facial animation, especially, is uncommonly expressive for stop-motion, the cloth and hair animation is astonishing and the character animation is endlessly superb. It should be noted that, despite being animated, I can’t see children liking or even getting through this at all. I certainly did not like it.

This movie contains unpleasant and scary scenes and unpleasant near nudity.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

T4XI aka Taxi 4 (2007, French Action Comedy) – 4/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Samy Naceri: Daniel
Frédéric Diefenthal: Emilien
Bernard Farcy: Gibert
Emma Sjöberg-Wiklund: Petra
Edouard Montoute: Alain
Jean-Christophe Bouvet: Général Bertineau
Jean-Luc Couchard: Albert Vandenbosh / Fénimore Eugene Triboulet
François Damiens:
Mourade Zeguendi:
Director of Photography: Pierre Morel
Producer: Luc Besson
Director: Gérard Krawczyk

T4XI aka Taxi 4 (2007)

Emilien’s career is going great and he will soon be promoted to Chief Inspector. While wife Petra is off on a special assignment, Gibert, Emilien and the remaining Marseilles gendarmerie have to babysit an international super criminal for less than a day. Without drowning him. Or letting him escape. Or letting him rob a bank in Monaco.

4/10

This is an action comedy which almost completely omits the action, especially the series’ trademark (to this point) over-the-top vehicular stunt work and chase sequences. The remaining manic and farcical comedy is not to all tastes but it is energetically performed and directed and often comes across as funnier than it might otherwise have done in less capable, or frenetic, hands (no one gets hit in the head with a football like Bernard Farcy). I don’t know if there was something wrong with Sami Naceri but he spends almost the entire movie sitting down. Perhaps he was handcuffed to the taxi to stop him hitting anyone.

This movie contains susbtance abuse, comic extreme substance abuse and comic violence.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009, Superhero Action) – 4/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Hugh Jackman: Logan / Wolverine
Liev Schreiber: Victor Creed
Danny Huston: Stryker
Will.I.Am: John Wraith
Lynn Collins: Kayla Silverfox
Kevin Durand: Fred Dukes
Dominic Monaghan: Bradley
Taylor Kitsch: Remy LeBeau
Daniel Henney: Agent Zero
Ryan Reynolds: Wade Wilson
Producer: Lauren Shuler-Donner
Producer: Ralph Winter
Producer: Hugh Jackman
Producer: John Palermo
Writer: David Benioff
Writer: Skip Woods
Director: Gavin Hood

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

James Logan and his brother Victor Creed both have bony mutations and a remarkable capacity for self-healing making them virtually indestructible and un-aging. While they fight side-by-side throughout history’s wars (no mention of what they did in-between), as the 20th-century comes to a close, Victor’s bloodlust starts to drive a wedge between them.

4/10

Despite being quite ridiculously violent, this is an impactless action movie whose greatest achievement is in resisting the temptation to put everything in the trailer. Hugh Jackman, as always, gives his all but it’s to no avail. Stories of revenge are incredibly hard to make watchable for an audience and this fails completely by making the objects of his revenge (his brother, a couldn’t-be-less intimidating Liev Schreiber, and his former boss, Danny Huston – absolutely no substitute for Brian Cox) so uninteresting, irritating and unconvincing that you would rather he just ignore them and the impetus for his revenge also falls flat; we don’t feel his pain. Story-wise, the credit sequence is the only interesting part as we see our indestructible brothers go through every major American war. Technically, the movie is all over the place. Some of the blade effects are bottom-shelf bad and a really impressive effect first seen in X-Men: The Last Stand is not successfully pulled off here and just looks cheap and creepy.

This movie contains graphic and extreme, but bloodless, violence (largely between near indestructible mutant humans), extremely unpleasant scenes and non-sexual male nudity, interrupted attempted rape.

 

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

DOA: Dead or Alive (2006, Fantasy Martial Arts Action Movie) – 4/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Corey Yuen
Writer (Screenplay) Based on the video game by Tecmo: J.F. Lawton
Writer (Screenplay) Based on the video game by Tecmo: Adam Gross
Writer (Screenplay) Based on the video game by Tecmo: Seth Gross
Writer (Story) Based on the video game by Tecmo: J.F. Lawton
Producer: Jeremy Bolt
Producer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Producer: Robert Kulzer
Producer: Bernd Eichinger
Producer: Mark A. Altman
Jaime Pressly: Tina Armstrong
Holly Valance: Christie Allen
Sarah Carter: Helena Douglas
Eric Roberts: Donovan
Natassia Malthe: Ayane
Matthew Marsden: Max
Steve Howey: Weatherby
Kosugi Kane Takeshi: Ryu Hayabusa
Colin Chou: Hayate
Devon Aoki: Kasumi

DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)

A group of the world’s best fighters are invited to participate in DOA, a fight tournament. Kasumi has greater reason to go than most as her brother took part previously and lost his life but she knows he was far too good for that to have happened.

4/10

Corey Yuen was a canny choice for this female-oriented action movie as he has directed a number of inventively choreographed and surprisingly emotionally successful action movies starring women in the past. However, this movie has no such investment in character development or story and becomes a series of reasonably nice-looking fight sequences (Holly Valance ended up with the best ones) strung together with a plot that is impressively unsuccessful.

This movie contains mild swear words and strong but stylised and clearly unrealistic violence and sensuality, brief mild nudity.

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

Flushed Away (2006, Computer-Animated Adventure Movie) – 4/10 review

Hugh Jackman: Roddy
Kate Winslet: Rita
Jean Reno: Le Frog
Bill Nighy: Whitey
Andy Serkis: Spike
Shane Richie: Sid
Ian McKellen: The Toad
Director: David Bowers
Director: Sam Fell
Producer: Cecil Kramer
Producer: Peter Lord
Producer: David Sproxton
Writer (Story): Sam Fell
Writer (Story): Peter Lord
Writer (Story): Dick Clement
Writer (Story): Ian La Frenais
Writer (Screenplay): Dick Clement
Writer (Screenplay): Ian La Frenais
Writer (Screenplay): Chris Lloyd
Writer (Screenplay): Joe Keenan
Writer (Screenplay): Will Davies
Head Of Character Animation: Jeff Newitt
Sam Fell: Liam, Prohpet, Ladykiller, Fanseller
David Bowers: Goldfish, Fly, Shocky, Henchfrog #1, Tadpole

Flushed Away (2006)

Roddy St. James, a pampered rodent, finds himself in the London sewer and desperate to get back to his posh Kensington residence.

4/10

Clearly trying too hard to be wacky and charming from the off but instantly and never succeeding. I cannot fathom movies that insist we watch cowardly, self-obsessed, charmless fools ("useless, whiny, stuck-up, pompous big girl’s blouse" according to the script) just so that they can have a character arc. Nor movies that deliberately include a mime under the (criminally mistaken) belief that they are hilarious. Still, this miserable quality of work fits in perfectly with Dreamworks Animation’s contemporary output and I suppose, on the plus side, it doesn’t promote bestiality. One thing it proves beyond all doubt is that Nick Park’s efforts with Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run were more than just iconic design. Much, much more.

This movie contains mild bad language and mild comic violence.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987, Super-Hero Movie) – 4/10 review

Director: Sidney J. Furie
Christopher Reeve: Superman / Clark Kent
Gene Hackman: Lex Luthor
Movie Series Instigator: Alexander Salkind
Jackie Cooper: Perry White
Marc McClure: Jimmy Olsen
Jon Cryer: Lenny
Sam Wanamaker: David Warfield
Mark Pillow: Nuclear Man
Mariel Hemingway: Lacy Warfield
Margot Kidder: Lois Lane
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Writer (Story): Lawrence Konner
Writer (Story): Mark Rosenthal
Writer (Screenplay): Lawrence Konner
Writer (Screenplay): Mark Rosenthal
Producer: Menahem Golan
Producer: Yoram Globus
Susannah York:

Superman IV: Quest for Peace, The (1987)

Superman volunteers to remove all the nuclear armaments in the world and guarantee world peace. Lex Luthor spots an opportunity to use Superman’s preferred disposal site, the Sun, to create a Nuclear Man.

4/10

If Richard Lester took the series to the point of death and placed it in a coffin, the incredibly untalented Sidney J. Furie (a man who has never made a good film and, yes, I have seen The Ipcress File) hammered the final nail in, placed the coffin six feet under and buried it. On the moon. In slow-motion. While Christopher Reeve as Superman and Clark Kent remains definitive, this movie is rescued by the unfettered awesomely immodest genius of Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor. Whenever he’s on-screen spouting about his staggering amazingness, the film is fun. There is also a kernel of an interesting idea here as Superman exercises his godship and wades into human affairs but what ended up on screen doesn’t make an apeth of sense. Elsewhere, this is so rubbish that you rather feel sorry for it.

This movie contains fantasy violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009, Movie) – 4/10 review

Cast / crew
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Writer: Roberto Orci
Writer: Alex Kurtzman
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Producer: Tom DeSanto
Producer: Don Murphy
Producer: Ian Bryce
Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg
Executive Producer: Michael Bay
Shia LaBeouf: Sam Witwicky
Megan Fox: Mikaela Bane
Josh Duhamel: Major Lennox
Tyrese Gibson: USAF Master Sergeant Epps
Kevin Dunn: Ron Witwicky
Julie White: Judy Witwicky
John Turturro: Simmons
Peter Cullen: Optimus Prime
Hugo Weaving: Megatron
Tony Todd: Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Since the incident in Los Angeles, Optimus Prime and the Autobots have been protecting Earth from the Decepticons while Sam prepares to go to college. A shard of the Allspark, however, is discovered and Sam’s life is about to turn upside-down again.

4/10

If the first was a glorious mess, then this boring, fun-free sequel is just a mess. This is very much an idea-free zone with no clear plot, no clear character arcs and endless, meaningless, interchangeable action with apparently random robots that makes absolutely no sense. I think it takes supremely arrogant writers to write such random garbage because, if it were me, I simply could not stand the inconsistencies (in the franchise and within just this movie) and presence of baffling stereotypes spouting cut-and-paste dialogue from a collection of bad movie scripts. People need to stop employing Orci and Kurtzman and stop now. Michael Bay and his actors all put a lot of effort in but, aside from the fact that it frequently looks fabulous, it’s all wasted.

This movie contains partial sexual swear words, mild swear words, adult dialogue and comic substance abuse and extreme mecha violence, extremely unpleasant scene and sexuality.

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

Links

Meet the Robinsons (2007, Disney Movie) – 4/10 review

Cast / crew
Director: Stephen John Anderson
Producer: Dorothy McKim
Writer (Screenplay): Jonathan Bernstein
Writer (Screenplay): Michelle Spitz
Writer (Screenplay): Don Hall
Writer (Screenplay): Nathan Greno
Writer (Screenplay): Aurian Redson
Writer (Screenplay): Joseph Mateo
Writer (Screenplay): Stephen John Anderson
Writer (Original Book) A Day with Wilbur Robinson: William Joyce
Executive Producer: William Joyce
Angela Bassett: Mildred
Daniel Hansen: Lewis
Jordan Fry: Lewis
Stephen John Anderson: Bowler Hat Guy
Ethan Sandler: Doris / CEO / Spike / Dmitri
Supervising Animator Lewis: Nik Ranieri
Supervising Animator Wilbur: Dale Baer
Supervising Animator Bowler Hat Guy: Dick Zondag
Supervising Animator Doris and Little Doris: Jay N. Davis

Meet the Robinsons (2007)

Orphan Lewis is whisked away by a time-travelling boy called Wilbur Robinson to the future. It’s not as creepy as it sounds. Well, not quite.

4/10

While it’s certainly not devoid of merit, ideas, or, eventually and surprisingly, emotion (director Stephen John Anderson has clearly poured himself into this), it is ostentatiously unfunny which is a big problem for almost the entire movie. It also seems to be lacking detail in design and character animation and feels more like a very crisp-looking television animation or one of those direct-to-video Disney knock-offs. Voice work for the children is consistently excellent and the human baddie (voiced by the director) is the movie’s contribution to the Disney canon. It ends with a quote from Walt Disney himself but, it is sad to note, the company he created is currently at an all-time artistic and entertainment low. Since the turn of the millennium it has had absolutely no idea about how to make a decent animated film just, sadly, how to turn a good profit from past glories.

This movie contains written inferred sexual swear word, adult dialogue.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Links

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008, Movie) – 4/10 review

Producer: Mark Johnson
Director: Andrew Adamson
Writer (Original Book): C.S. Lewis
Georgie Henley: Lucy Pevensie
Skandar Keynes: Edmund Pevensie
William Moseley: Peter Pevensie
Anna Popplewell: Susan Pevensie
Ben Barnes: Prince Caspian
Peter Dinklage: Trumpkin
Pierfrancesco Favino: General Glozelle
Sergio Castellitto: Miraz
Producer: Andrew Adamson
Producer: Philip Steuer
Writer (Screenplay): Andrew Adamson
Writer (Screenplay): Christopher Markus
Writer (Screenplay): Stephen McFeely
Tilda Swinton: The White Witch
Liam Neeson: Aslan
Eddie Izzard: Voice of Reepicheep

Chronicles of Narnia, The: Prince Caspian (2008)

The Pevensie children are called back to Narnia by a magic horn blown by Prince Caspian, on the run from his uncle who wants to rule the world for himself.

4/10

It never ceases to amaze me the number of filmmakers who insist on making their lead characters difficult to like. While the children were quite good in the first film, here they are difficult to stomach. Normally, having a bad guy that is more tolerable than your nominated heroes would be a movie’s most significant mistake but writer / director Andrew Adamson manages to make an even bigger mistake: this $200 million movie (where a mouse slits a guys throat) is bor-or-ring. It should also probably be pointed out that this is a film about children killing countless dudes. Now the final battle is pretty strong (nearly makes the movie worth sitting through) and makes an interesting comparison to an earlier castle raid which had been added by the filmmakers. The castle raid is shapeless, unimaginative, uninvolving and uninteresting and none of the characters play to their strengths. The final battle is imaginative, spectacular and features clear and interesting tactics and balance of power. In summary, read the book; it’s good, this isn’t.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008, Movie) – 4/10 review

Director: Rob Cohen
Writer: Alfred Gough
Writer: Miles Millar
Brendan Fraser: Rick O’Connell
Jet Li: Emperor
Maria Bello: Evelyn O’Connell
John Hannah: Jonathan Carnahan
Luke Ford: Alex O’Connell
Anthony Wong: General Yang
Isabella Leong: Lin
Liam Cunningham: Maguire
David Calder: Roger Wilson
Russell Wong: Ming Guo
Michelle Yeoh: Zi Yuan

Mummy, The: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

4/10

One wonders how filmmakers take such so much money and spectacle and still produce an entirely forgettable action movie. You wonder if the writers, producers or director ever stopped and said "You know, we could do better with all these resources" or whether they just said "Rick-ochet O’Connell. Get it? How amazing is that?" and left the screenplay there. Now I really liked the yeti’s and the undead armies and, as usual, the visual effects for them and all the Emperor monsters (and all the film) are terrific. So why doesn’t it matter? Why doesn’t it add up to thrills or entertainment? The most obvious is the charmless characterisation of all our supposed heroes, especially the ‘looks like his dad’s brother’ Luke Ford as irritating newcomer Alex O’Connell and ‘looks like her husband’s mum’ Maria Bello as a wandering occasional Rachel Weisz impersonator.

This movie contains mild swear words and extended extreme fantasy violence, gun violence, blade violence, extremely unpleasant scenes.

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

Entrapment (1999, Movie) – 4/10 review

Director: Jon Amiel
Writer (Screenplay): Ron Bass
Writer (Screenplay): William Broyles, Jr.
Writer (Story): Ron Bass
Writer (Story): Michael Hertzberg
Sean Connery: Mac
Catherine Zeta-Jones: Gin
Ving Rhames: Thibadeaux
Will Patton: Cruz
Maury Chaykin: Conrad Greene

Entrapment (1999)

In a world where trust is paramount, insurance investigator Gin Baker goes undercover to try to entrap master thief Robert "Mac" MacDougal but the wily old-timer proves to be more than she expects.

4/10

Completely run-of-the-mill and impressively unconvincing heist movie that appears to have little reason to be made other than to allow Connery to work with the gorgeous Catherine Zeta-Jones. Okay, that’s good enough reason for Connery to get the film made, but probably not quite a good enough reason to watch. In fact, it’s distinctly uncomfortable at times as the filmmakers insisted on the two forming a romantic relationship (age difference: 39 years). Director Jon Amiel is an average talent at best but manages to avoid his biggest normal problem, erratic pacing. The movie flies by and, while only slightly thrilling and moderately entertaining, is never boring and never spends too long doing one particular thing.

This movie contains two sexual swear words, mild swear words and maury chaykin in a loin cloth.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

All the King’s Men (2006, Movie) – 4/10 review

Sean Penn: Willie Stark
Jude Law: Jack Burden
Kate Winslet: Anne Stanton
James Gandolfini: Tiny Duffy
Mark Ruffalo: Adam Stanton
Patricia Clarkson: Sadie Burke
Kathy Baker: Mrs. Burden
Jackie Earle Haley: Sugar Boy
Anthony Hopkins: Judge Irwin
Producer: Steven Zaillian
Writer (Original Book): Robert Penn Warren
Writer (Screenplay): Steven Zaillian
Director: Steven Zaillian

All the King’s Men (2006)

Governor Willie Stark finds himself facing impeachment proceedings but his methods of ensuring a favourable outcome by identifying opponents weaknesses give those in his circle choices which they should find harder than they do.

4/10

Unconvincing political drama scuppered by an uninteresting and unlikable not-quite-charismatic Lousiana Governor Willie Stark played with much acting by Sean Penn. Scenes between Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins and Jude Law and Kate Winslet are much more interesting and it’s probably these that were enough to make me stick with the movie. The moral choices their characters make are worthy of thought but adapter / director Steven Zaillian and composer James Horner are so busy making sure the film is important and meaningful that they buried anything important and meaningful under layers of chest-puffing and self-aggrandisement. The thick accents are occasionally impenetrable for non-Louisiana residents but that’s not the film’s fault.

This movie contains mild swear words, adult dialogue and extreme gun violence, gory and unpleasant scenes and sensuality.

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

Dhoom 2 (2006) – 4/10 musical action movie review

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Cast / crew
Hrithik Roshan: Aryan “A”
Abhishek Bachchan: Jai Dixit
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Sunehri
Uday Chopra: Ali
Bipasha Basu: Sonali Bose / Monali Bose
Story Writer: Aditya Chopra
Choreographer: Vaibhavi Merchant
Choreographer: Shiamak Davar
Composer (Lyrics): Sameer
Screenplay Writer: Vijay Krishna Acharya
Writer (Dialogue): Vijay Krishna Acharya
Music: Pritam
Producer: Aditya Chopra
Director: Sanjay Gadhvi

Dhoom 2 (2006)

Dixit investigates his next case alongside old flame Sonali Bose and is on the trail of a master thief known only as A. For abs, presumably.

4/10

Despite lovely photography, the unfathomably hot Bipasha Basu (here playing outrageously gorgeous twin sisters) and an extraordinarily emotional Russian Roulette scene with Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan (applause for his abs, naturally), Dhoom 2 is weaker than it’s predecessor thanks to charmless star Abhishek Bachchan, a lack of understanding in editing action sequences, a couple of weaker songs (My Name is Ali and Dil Laga Na, though all the singing is recorded well this time around) and dance choreography that starts really well with Dhoom Again in the opening credits but declines in quality, like the whole film, after the intermission.

This movie contains mild bad language, graphic gun violence, strong melée violence

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

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10,000 BC (2008) – 4/10 action movie review

Cast / crew
Director, Producer and Writer: Roland Emmerich
Music, Writer and Executive Producer: Harald Kloser
Steven Strait: D’leh
Camilla Belle: Evolet
Cliff Curtis: Tic’Tic
Narrator: Omar Sharif

10,000 BC (2008)

When D’leh’s would-be wife Evolet is taken away from his village to work as a slave, he pouts a bit then chases after her in rescue.

4/10

An instant lack of atmosphere badly hurts this period action adventure and, without that, the tiresome script, always dull drama, largely dull action and dreadfully uncharismatic leads cannot be overlooked. The mammoth hunt is a stand-out sequence but confrontations with big red birds and a speartooth tiger are oddly uneffective. It doesn’t even work as eye candy with every pretty vista undermined by not-quite-perfect blue-screen work (especially early on) and uninspired production design. This is Roland Emmerich’s worst American film and, as writer (with, oddly, composer Harald Kloser), director and producer, he has no-one else to blame. He was clearly going for epic but, instead, just made his 100 minute movie feel really long.

This movie contains graphic spear violence, strong blade violence, strong hammer violence, unpleasant scenes

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

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) – 4/10 fantasy action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director: Gore Verbinski
Characters Creator and Writer: Ted Elliott
Characters Creator and Writer: Terry Rossio
Characters Creator: Stuart Beattie
Characters Creator: Jay Wolpert
Creator Pirates of the Caribbean: Walt Disney
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Jack Sparrow: Johnny Depp
Will Turner: Orlando Bloom
Elizabeth Swan: Keira Knightley
Bootstrap Bill: Stellan Skarsgård
Davy Jones: Bill Nighy
Chow Yun-Fat: Captain Sao Feng
Captain Hector Barbossa: Geoffrey Rush

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

With Jack Sparrow in Davy Jones’ Locker, Elizabeth and Will sail to World’s End under the hand of Captain Barbossa accompanied by Tia Dalma. For no obvious reason. Beckett uses the power of Davy Jones’ heart to clear the world of pirates. Which is bad. Apparently.

4/10

Turns out that scriptwriters Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot didn’t have any idea what was going on either. What we have here is dull and very long. What we don’t have is any fun. With the veneer of fun gone, the story of a bunch of rapists, murderers, liars, traitors and thieves using violence to ensure they can continue to rape, murder, lie, thieve and, er, trait is horribly exposed and difficult to stomach. The moral of the film, amazingly, is "Take what you can. Give nothing back."

This movie contains mild adult dialogue, mild swear words, Extended extreme fantasy violence

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

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