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.

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) – 9/10 stop-motion animated action adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Peter Sallis: Wallis / Hutch
Ralph Fiennes: Victor Quartermaine
Helena Bonham Carter: Lady Campanula Tottington
Peter Kay:
Nicholas Smith:
Liz Smith:
Supervising Animator: Loyd Price
Producer: Claire Jennings
Producer: Carla Shelley
Producer: Peter Lord
Producer: David Sproxton
Producer: Nick Park
Writer (Screenplay): Steve Box
Writer (Screenplay): Nick Park
Writer (Screenplay): Mark Burton
Writer (Screenplay): Bob Baker
Director: Nick Park
Director: Steve Box

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

Wallace and Gromit’s latest job is Anti-Pesto – a service aimed at protecting vegetables from rabbits – and the most important period of the year is coming up: the annual Giant Vegetable Competition at Tottington Hall hosted by the lovely Lady Tottington herself. As the day draws closer, though, a massive wererabbit comes from nowhere and starts wreaking catastrophe among the carrots.

9/10

Idiot Americans flocked to see the average Madagascar in shocking numbers while virtually ignoring this superbly imaginative and distinctive slice of near-genius. The lack of momentum carried around the world and it is likely the film barely made a profit. Ridiculous. This is a warm, witty, charming, endlessly inventive and breathlessly paced movie. It isn’t perfect, though, and definitely loses something in the third act (the music during the action sequence perhaps). Perhaps we were just spoiled with the brilliant climactic chase sequences of The Wrong Trousers (model railway) and A Close Shave (stunt sheep) but the finalé here is definitely less cohesive, brilliant and thought out than what has gone before. However, it does contain the biggest laugh of the show when the plane chase comes to an enforced pause and Quartermaine’s dog Philip gets them going again.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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Star Wars (1977) – 9/10 science fiction fantasy action adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Writer: George Lucas
Director: George Lucas
Producer: Gary Kurtz
Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford: Han Solo
Carrie Fisher: Princess Leia Organa
Peter Cushing: Grand Moff Tarkin
Alec Guinness: Ben (Obi-wan) Kenobi
Executive Producer [1997 re-release]: George Lucas

Star Wars (1977)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

Princess Leia Organa is captured by the evil imperial forces in their efforts to stamp out the last remnants of any resistance. Venturesome and orphaned Luke Skywalker and dashing but rogueish smuggler Han Solo, team together with robots R2-D2 and C-3PO to restore justice to the Universe.

9/10

“This is ridiculous.” – Han Solo

Often brilliant, often naïve, always spectacular, sometimes really stupid. All these things come together to make an undisputably great movie. Though Harrison Ford and Alec Guinness were both pretty sniffy about the movie, the fact is they both sell their characters perfectly and are critical to making the movie work on a dramatic, if not emotional, level. Also vital is John Williams’ Oscar-winning, arguably best ever, score. The most important thing? The visuals. Production design and special visual effects are, respectively, simple and complex, and always, always convincing, impressive and wonderful. What’s really fascinating is that the prequel trilogy would have all the same strengths and weaknesses as this original movie and would be slammed for them.

This movie contains violence, some gore.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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Support Your Local Sheriff (1968) – 9/10 comedy western movie review

Cast / crew
James Garner: Jason
Joan Hackett: Prudy
Walter Brennan: Pa Danby
Harry Morgan: Olly Perkins
Jack Elam: Jake
Writer: William Bowers
Producer: William Bowers
Director: Burt Kennedy

Support Your Local Sheriff (1968)

Jason McCullough is on his way to the final frontier, Australia, but decides to make a detour via Calendar, a new town that has just struck a rich vein of gold. Due to this new found wealth, however, prices in Calendar are extremely steep and he applies for the job of Sheriff to pay his way. However, the last three sheriffs had all been killed or run out of town. Will the same fate befall him or will the town support their local Sheriff?’

9/10

"He stuck his finger in the end of your what?"

Well-paced and unusually funny comedy western featuring the watchably charming James Garner and the hilarious looking Jack Elam in their best ever comedy roles. Writer / producer William Bowers worked in this genre almost exclusively but it never clicked like it does here. The setting works, the story works, the jokes are funny and the hero is even clever. This is a classic western, deserving of being listed alongisde your Magnificent Seven‘s and Unforgiven‘s but, because it’s a comedy, it will always be looked down upon.

This movie contains violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Tremors (1989) – 9/10 classic monster movie

Cast / crew
Kevin Bacon: Valentine McKee
Fred Ward: Earl Bass
Finn Carter: Rhonda LeBeck
Michael Gross: Burt Gummer
Victor Wong: Walter Chang
Bobby Jacoby: Melvin Plug
Ariana Richards: Mindy
Reba McEntire: Heather Gummer
Writer (Story): S.S. Wilson
Writer (Story): Brent Maddock
Writer (Story): Ron Underwood
Writer (Screenplay): S.S. Wilson
Writer (Screenplay): Brent Maddock
Producer: Brent Maddock
Producer: S.S. Wilson
Director: Ron Underwood

Tremors (1989)

When Val and Earl decide to leave the tiny town of Perfection, they do so just one day too late: giant alien worm things have arrived and have started to munch their way through all the neighbours.

9/10

One of the things that really differentiates this fun, thrilling treat of a monster movie is that the lead characters are nice; they’re pleasant, fun, friendly, thoughtful and helpful. Also something filmmakers have forgotten since is that monsters do not have to attack the whole world; in fact I would say a movie has a deeper automatic connection to the audience the smaller the target is. Though Tremors certainly delivers on the genre expectations it is also cleverer than usual. Firstly, nobody really does anything stupid throughout (difficult to overstate how uncommon that is), the two-part monster reveal works a treat, the rules laid down do not get broken (no vibration or rocks equals safe) and the climax is a classic. As is the movie.

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

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

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Senna (2010) – 9/10 Formula 1 documentary movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Asif Kapadia
Producer: James Gay-Rees
Producer: Tim Bevan
Producer: Eric Fellner
Executive Producer and Writer: Manish Pandey
Editor: Gregers Sall
Editor: Chris King

Senna (2010)

Documentary. Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna had a single-minded attitude toward racing fueled by belief in God, belief in himself and belief that he was being persecuted by ‘the establishment’ for being too good.

9/10

A peek behind the curtain of Formula One and it’s most mythical hero, Ayrton Senna, this is a must-watch for any F1 fan. It’s interesting and illuminating and features a whole stack of terrific footage we haven’t seen before including some amazing footage of the movie’s villain FISA president Jean-Marie “my decision is best decision” Balestre, wonderful on-board driving action, a great Jackie Stewart interview and in-car radio (especially from Senna’s Brazilian Grand Prix victory). Just from his racing Senna always came across as destructively single-minded (nothing was ever his fault) and this documentary reinforces that and adds the personal, though not entirely unfounded, paranoia and belief system that fueled that despite him being the most lauded and feted driver in the world. There’s less race footage than you might expect but there is still more than enough to satisfy, especially as so much of it is wonderful onboard of Senna in his office doing what Senna did best: drive every car on the knife-edge of control all lap, every lap.

This movie contains several sexual swear words, undetailed but unpleasant scenes of real death and injury

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

Gladiator (2000) – 9/10 classic Roman epic action drama movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer (Screenplay): David Franzoni
Writer (Screenplay): John Logan
Writer (Screenplay): William Nicholson
Writer (Story): David Franzoni
Producer: Douglas Wick
Producer: David Franzoni
Producer: Branko Lustig
Russell Crowe: Maximus
Joaquin Phoenix: Commodus
Connie Nielsen: Lucilla
Oliver Reed: Proximo
Derek Jacobi: Gracchus
Djimon Hounsou: Juba
Richard Harris: Marcus Aurelius

Gladiator (2000)

Escaping the fate that befalls his wife and son as ordered by newly appointed power-crazed emperor Commodus, noble general Maximus finds himself sold into slavery and, therefore, into the gladiatorial arena. He soon becomes a legendary warrior in the arena and, when the emperor calls his best gladiators to the Coliseum in Rome as a political popularity stunt, a date with destiny is inevitable.

9/10

A great film by a great film-maker. Not deep, not meaningful, just great. As Russell Crowe exclaims: “Are you not entertained? Isn’t this what you want?” Yes. He’s terrific in his breakout superstar role as is Joaquin Phoenix, Ridley puts it together beautifully and it looks amazing, the writing has a feeling of intelligence behind it and Hans Zimmer’s wonderful score changed the way epics sound.

This movie contains graphic and extreme violence and mild sensuality.

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