The A-Team 1.03 Children of Jamestown (1983, TV) – 5/10 review

George Peppard: John "Hannibal" Smith
Dirk Benedict: Templeton "Face" Peck
Melinda Culea: Amy Amanda Allen
Dwight Schultz: "Howling Mad" Murdock
Mr. T: B.A. Baracus
Co-Executive Producer: Frank Lupo
Writer (Series’ Creator): Frank Lupo
Writer (Series’ Creator): Stephen J. Cannell
Gerrit Graham:
Ron Hayes:
John Saxon: Martin James
John Carter:
Writer: Stephen J. Cannell
Director: Christian I. Nyby II
Second Unit Director: Craig R. Baxley

A-Team, The 1.03 Children of Jamestown (1983)

The A-Team is hired to rescue Sheila Rogers, a young girl who has been brainwashed into a religious cult. Brilliantly, they manage to get themselves captured in the escape.

5/10

The A-Team starts here with the opening narration, the van and Dirk Benedict in the cast. Annoyingly, it’s rather decent fun. Annoying, as it’s weakly scripted and writer Stephen J. Cannell has already run out of ideas and resorted to insanity instead of character. John Saxon has the unfortunate responsibility of carrying off the loopy reverend but his stunt double does deliver an hilarious comeuppance by being propelled out of a jeep. The team themselves are fine with a really nice moment where they join hands in support to lift Amy’s spirits and another nice detail when Hannibal cleans a Bible before leaving for the end credits.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941, Romantic Fantasy Movie) – 5/10 review

Robert Montgomery: Joe Pendleton
Claude Rains: Mr. Jordan
Evelyn Keyes: Bette Logan
Writer (Screenplay): Sidney Buchman
Writer (Screenplay): Seton I. Miller
Writer (Original Play) "Heaven Can Wait": Harry Segall
Producer: Everett Riskin
Director: Alexander Hall

Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)

Up-and-coming boxer Joe Pendleton is killed in an air crash just before his shot at the world title and insistently remonstrates with the officials in pre-Heaven that it wasn’t his time. When they check, it turns out he was right – he would have survived except for the over-eager messenger taking him too soon – and try to return him to his body only to find it has been cremated.

5/10

While the fantasy element and jumping off point for the plot are interesting, almost nothing else in the movie works. The romantic element is awfully, horribly unconvincing and the police procedural element is toe-curlingly embarrassing. There is, however, agreeable fun friction between Robert Montgomery’s wrongfully plucked-from-his-not-so-certain-death boxer and Edward Everett Horton’s pluckee and Claude Rains amiably strolls around as the eponymous Mr. Jordan.

This movie contains mild adult dialogue and boxing violence.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Agatha Christie: Marple 4.01 A Pocket Full of Rye (2009, Mystery TV) – 5/10 review

Julia McKenzie: Miss Marple
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Helen Baxendale: Mary Dove
Joseph Beattie: Vivian Dubois
Ken Campbell: Crump
Lucy Cohu: Pat Fortescue
Kenneth Cranham: Rex Fortescue
Rupert Graves: Lance Fortescue
Ralf Little: Sergeant Pickford
Matthew Macfadyen: Inspector Neele
Anna Madeley: Adele Fortescue
Ben Miles: Percival Fortescue
Hattie Morahan: Elaine Fortescue
Wendy Richard: Mrs Crump
Edward Tudor Pole: Professor Bernsdorrf
Liz White: Jennifer Fortescue
Prunella Scales: Mrs Mackenzie
Writer (Screenplay): Kevin Elyot
Producer: Karen Thrussell
Director: Charles Palmer
In Memory Of 1941 to 2008: Ken Campbell
In Memory Of 1943 to 2009: Wendy Richard

Agatha Christie: Marple 4.01 Pocket Full of Rye, A (2009)

Unloved patriarch and odious businessman-losing-his-touch Rex Fortescue dies drinking his morning tea while alone in his office. He’s been poisoned but, even more unusually, his pocket is full of rye.

5/10

This whodunit has a brilliant intrigue (why does a dead man have a pocketful of the eponymous rye?) and a mystery where, as is ideal, all the clues can be clearly presented visually without giving the game away. Sadly, new Marple Julia Mckenzie doesn’t sound like an old lady and doesn’t have much of a reason to be where she is most of the time but she does look the part. The critical problem, though, is the same as all the ITV Christie stuff for years: no atmosphere, no fun and no humanity. In place of genuine atmosphere, it’s photographed in a permanent haze. The clumsy director also clearly isn’t interested in character and performance and spends his time impressing himself with flashbacks and different but boring composition. It’s quite well paced but when you’re expecting it to wrap things up, there’s still another ad-break to go.

This Agatha Christie: Marple episode contains unpleasant scenes, violence and mild sexuality.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008, Animated Comedy Action Movie) – 5/10 review

Ben Stiller: Alex
Chris Rock: Marty
David Schwimmer: Melman
Jada Pinkett Smith: Gloria
Sacha Baron Cohen: Julien
Cedric "The Entertainer": Maurice
Andy Richter: Mort
Bernie Mac: Zuba
Alec Baldwin: Makunga
Sherri Shepherd: Mom
Will.I.Am: Moto Moto
Director: Eric Darnell
Director: Tom McGrath
Writer: Etan Cohen
Writer: Eric Darnell
Writer: Tom McGrath
Head Of Character Animation: Rex Grignon
Tom McGrath: Skipper
Eric Darnell: Joe the Witch Doctor, Poacher #2
Tom McGrath: Lemur
Chris Rock: Additional Zebras

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)

Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria leave Madagascar and crash land in Africa, right where Alex originally came from.

5/10

Depends how funny you find ritual sacrifice, inferred inter-species love / sex (something DreamWorks’ Shrek and Bee Movie also did; kid’s movies that promote bestiality?) and extreme violence against and from terrifyingly designed grannies. As a tiny kid movie, it does work but for anyone in double-digits, it only just staves off boredom and features what feels like a cut-and-paste screenplay from other, equally unimaginative, franchise stimulators. Terrific animal character visual designs are the selling point here but the principle artistic merit of the movie is to help you appreciate contemporary Pixar, Aardman and classic Disney even more.

This movie contains mild bad language, mild adult dialogue and extreme comic violence.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Get Smart (2008, Comedy Action Movie) – 5/10 review

Director: Peter Segal
Steve Carell: Maxwell Smart
Anne Hathaway: Agent 99
Dwayne Johnson: Agent 23
Alan Arkin: The Chief
Terence Stamp: Siegfried
Terry Crews: Agent 91
David Koechner: Larabee
James Caan: The President
Executive Producer: Peter Segal
Executive Producer: Steve Carell
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Mel Brooks
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Buck Henry
Writer: Tom J. Astle
Writer: Matt Ember
Consultant: Mel Brooks
Consultant: Buck Henry

Get Smart (2008)

After all their agents are compromised, CONTROL is left only with Agent 99 (fresh from facial reconstruction) and newly promoted star analyst Maxwell Smart to combat the conniving evil of KAOS.

5/10

It feels mean to say that there’s two-and-a-half minutes of fun with the minimum required imagination in-between to fulfil the running time but, even though it’s just entertaining enough, the vacuum of intelligence, a disdain for the audience and an uncertain tone (is he a doofus or not?) really use up goodwill generated by the stars Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway and Dwayne Johnson. And will somebody please give Dwayne Johnson something amazing to be brilliant in. Remarkably, his fun feature film debut The Scorpion King remains his best starring role.

This movie contains mild swear words, mild adult dialogue and violence, some extreme violence and a homosexual sex joke.

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

The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998, Disney DVD Movie) – 5/10 review

Director: Darrell Rooney
Co-Director: Rob LaDuca

Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, The (1998)

Now king of Pride Rock, Simba has to deal with the exiled Scar supporters who still threaten Simba’s personal circle of life.

5/10

If the original Lion King was Hamlet, this direct-to-video sequel is Romeo and Juliet. In a break from musical sequel tradition the new original songs are generally rather good with the best being the brilliant He Lives In You (the only one from the original film composer Hans Zimmer). Sadly these are wasted because the rest of the movie is often as average as expected and more often completely mistaken in concept. The main single problem is the script which replays lines and scenes from the original with no interpretation, imagination, wit or style and only succeeds in weakening this movie.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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Transformers: The Game (2007, Game, 360) – 5/10 review

Director: Jon Burton
Producer: Andrew Burrows
Lead Designer: Jon Burton
Lead Programmer: Stephen Harding
Lead Artist: Leon Warren
Lead Animator: Jeremy Pardon
Head of Production: Paul Flanagan
Head Of Technology: Dave Dootson
Peter Cullen: Optimus Prime
Shia LaBeouf: Sam Witwicky
Megan Fox: Mikaela Banes

Transformers Transformers: Game, The (2007)

Battle as the Autobots to protect the world from the Decepticons or battle as the Decepticons to smash the Autobots and claim Earth for yourself. Or do both.

5/10

This is a game that is definitely quite close to being enjoyable but it isn’t fun enough, often enough. Instead, Traveller’s Tales keep throwing needless niggles into the mix. The clearest example of the dichotomy of the game are the graphics. They look sorta ugly (360 version reviewed) and feel like you’re running through mud yet feature a spectacular amount of action and destructibility and the Transformers themselves look, especially on a really big screen, rather impressive. Another example is the appearance of it being an open-world game. However, most of the sequences will see you fail because you get hurled out of a tiny arbitrary "action area". Apparently, you can only pummel robots on certain streets at certain times. So while this ends up being another weak movie game, it nearly wasn’t, and in the movie game genre, that’s praise, indeed.

This Transformers game contains extended graphic and extreme mecha violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.