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

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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.


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.


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

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.