Brother Bear (2003, Commentary) – 9/10 review

Rick Moranis: Rutt
Dave Thomas: Tuke

Brother Bear (2003)

DVD: Rutt and Tuke provide commentary for the Brother Bear movie discussing their roles and techniques and giving insight into the production.

9/10

Besting the movie (6/10) by some considerable distance, this is one of the best home video commentaries available. It’s also highly unusual as it’s performed in character by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas as the comic relief moose Rutt and Tuke. It’s always fun, surprisingly educational regarding filmmaking technique and highlights the key story beats and the nature of their presentation. A bit of a treat.

This movie contains violence, unpleasant scenes and the bears aren’t wearing any clothes.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Fable II (2008, Game, 360) – 9/10 review despite bugs

Creative Director: Peter Molyneux
Executive Producer: Louise Copley
Ron Glass: Garth
Julia Sawalha: Hammer
Oliver Cotton: Lucien
Stephen Fry: Reaver
Gemma Boyle: Rose
Zoë Wanamaker: Theresa
Nolan North: Male Hero
Salli Safiotti: Female Hero
Manager Senior Team: Dene Carter
Manager Senior Team: Simon Carter
Manager Senior Team: Richard Ham
Manager Senior Team: Simon Jacques
Manager Senior Team: Ian Lovett
Manager Senior Team: John McCormack
Manager Senior Team: J.C. Taylor

Fable II (2008)

Albion is once more under the thumb of tyrannical overlords but you’ve got previous with this one: Lord Lucien shot your sister and chucked you out of a rather high window. Your survival can only lead to one thing but how you get there is up to you.

9/10

The most significant thing about Fable II is that it is so buggy (most of them game-killing, kinda miserable for such a long game) that it comes as a shock that it wasn’t released by Atari. Though graphically unimpressive with clunky animation in attractive environments rendered blurrily (a bit like Halo 3) and treacly (a poor frame-rate is inadequately masked with motion blur), sonically unimpressive with annoying action music (because it’s only about ten seconds long) and unnaturally-slow dialogue (typical of video games, oddly, though Julia Sawalha and Stephen Fry are outstanding) and having a fairly awkward feeling opening, Fable II soon settles down into a remarkably involving role-playing adventure which will happily hoover up hours and hours of your time. Critically, you’ll be happy to let it and it features some enchantingly special moments. For me, they included looking after my family (I married a girl named Lisa and had a son, Bruce), gullibly retrieving goods for T.O.B.Y., rescuing Charlie, accidentally getting my wife killed (I took her with me on what I thought would be a safe mission; reload!) and losing weight I had put on. Oh, and, er, drinking a sex change potion to see what animation would play which I then couldn’t undo because the game auto-saved. Aargh! But brilliant. Which sums up the game.

This game contains mild swear words, bad language, adult dialogue, sexual references including immorality and homosexuality and offensive gestures and projectile, fantasy, blade and melee violence, some unexpectedly strong violence and inferred sex scenes.

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

Laura Z. Hobson’s Gentleman’s Agreement (1947, Movie) – 9/10 review

Producer: Darryl F. Zanuck
Gregory Peck: Phil Schuyler Green
Dorothy McGuire: Kathy Lucy
John Garfield: Dave Goldman
Writer (Original Novel): Laura Z. Hobson
Writer (Screenplay): Moss Hart
Director: Elia Kazan

Gentleman’s Agreement, Laura Z. Hobson’s (1947)

Schuyler Green is commissioned to write a series on anti-Semitism but is struggling to find an angle. He hits upon the idea of presenting himself as Jewish and seeing what happens.

9/10

Startlingly interesting and depressingly relevant movie about prejudice that doesn’t allow the audience (represented on-screen by Dorothy McGuire) to get away with unspoken or unmotivating disdain for whatever prejudice they witness. The film presents just about every view you could hope to air on the subject from ignore-it-and-hope-it-goes-away through to punch-’em-on-the-nose. The movie is consistently thought-provoking and is presented well by the cast. Though the Peck / McGuire romance can be criticised as Hollywood fairy-tale stuff, it is precisely this aspect that frames the tensions and viewpoints and makes them even more recognisable in ourselves. That it ends SPOILER as all Hollywood romances should means that the film is still allowed to be entertaining while still effectively delivering it’s food for thought; something filmmakers seem to have forgotten in the 21st-century’s lust for making their movies ‘darker.’

This movie contains anti-Semitic dialogue and mild melee violence and sensuality.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

24 7.15 Day 7: 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM (2009, TV) – 9/10 review

Kiefer Sutherland: Jack Bauer
Cherry Jones: President Allison Taylor
Annie Wersching: FBI Agent Renee Walker
Colm Feore: Henry Taylor
Bob Gunton: Ethan Kanin
Jeffrey Nordling: FBI Special Agent in Charge Larry Moss
Carlos Bernard: Tony Almeida
Jon Voight: Jonas Hodges
Co-Executive Producer: Alex Gansa
Executive Producer: David Fury
Executive Producer: Jon Cassar
Writer (Series’ Creator): Joel Surnow
Writer (Series’ Creator): Robert Cochran
Writer (Screenplay): Alex Gansa
Writer (Story): David Fury
Director: Jon Cassar

24 7.15 Day 7: 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM (2009)

A stunned Kanin learns that Senator Mayer has been shot and killed, presumably by the hand of Jack Bauer. Larry Moss is quickly told by the forensic people that there were three people at Mayer’s house giving him a glimmer of hope that Bauer isn’t a psychopathic murderlising nightmare but he still has to put out a top-priority alert for Bauer’s arrest. Bauer has hooked up with Tony and is making his way to the port where the bio-WMD is suspected to be.

9/10

Taking it’s time over SPOILER Ethan Kanin’s resignation allows for it to have greater emotional impact. You really feel a sense of the ending of an era for both him and the President; a necessary but unwanted sacrifice. It dovetails brilliantly into the sacrifices that Jack is continually making. He also put the country ahead of his own personal reputation. For Kanin, the maximum loss possible is his career. For Bauer, the maximum loss possible is his life. For both, the potential sacrifice is unquestionably and willingly given for their country. Additionally, this episode of 24 contains some of its most spectacular action yet involving ship containers before leaving us with an impressively, unsettlingly quiet segue into next week. Bauer simply sits down by the side of the road allowing the thought to catch up with him that today may be his last day. And that doesn’t include an excellent natural shift in character for Bauer (he promises a security guard he’ll look after him and means it), wonderful malevolence from a putting-some-effort-in Jon Voight (as Jonas Hodges) and sneaky political underhandness from Olivia Taylor. Phew! Great episode in what has been an unexpectedly great series. And, again, applaudably, it’s not even terribly violent.

This 24 episode contains mild swear words and gun violence.

Links

Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988, TV) – 9/10 review

Rowan Atkinson: Blackadders
Tony Robinson: Baldricks
Writer: Richard Curtis
Writer: Ben Elton
Director: Richard Boden
Producer: John Lloyd

Blackadder special.1 Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988)

England’s most generous person, Ebenezer Blackadder is visited by the Spirit of Christmas and gets an insight into how his scheming, selfish ancestors lived.

9/10

Wonderfully inventive and extremely funny version of the Dicken’s classic A Christmas Carol which takes the timeless story and turns it on its head. This is probably the finest Christmas television special of any drama or comedy ever not just because it’s clever and funny but also because it feels appropriate for the season. The wordsmithery is delightful once more and Atkinson as the various Blackadders is sublime. His delivery as each is perfect and they all feel like completely distinct characters.

This Blackadder episode contains bad language, mild swear words and comic violence and baldrick in a jockstrap.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune now 9/10

Just played through Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune again, now with Trophy support, and decided to bump it up from the original 8/10 rating to 9/10.

Though I had wanted to play through the game again on Hard difficulty, I probably would have never got around to it. So, I was playing again thanks to Trophies.

Running through the game on Hard forces one to pay attention to how things work and so I found the game easier than I did on Normal. (The difficulty trophies stack so finishing Hard awarded Normal and Easy complete trophies as well.) It was especially helpful to remember that hero Nathan Drake can run-and-gun by pressing R1. This really helped with the monsters-in-the-dark levels as did remembering that after you’ve turned the power on in the submarine dock you just need to head out of the door otherwise the monsters endlessly spawn.

I also really appreciated the lightness of touch and consistently fun dialogue and tone (there are no F-words in Uncharted, I’m glad to say) and it is consistently a pleasure to be in hero Nathan Drake’s company. The voice performances are all terrific, the music is outstanding, the graphics and production design are gorgeous and the game plays and controls, for the most part, brilliantly.

The niggle about the baddies being somewhat bullet resistant still applies but it should be noted that they always react to bullets, even when you only get close, and that they do have to reload their weapons just like you do.

While Call of Duty 4 was the best PlayStation 3 game of the 2007 holiday season, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is the best exclusive title of that period and a second Uncharted adventure is something to look forward to.

Liar Liar (1997, Movie)

Producer: Brian Grazer
Director: Tom Shadyac
Jim Carrey: Fletcher Reede
Maura Tierney: Audrey Reede
Jennifer Tilly: Smanatha Cole
Swoosie Kurtz: Dana Appleton
Amanda Donohoe: Miranda
Jason Bernard: Judge Marshall Stevens
Mitchell Ryan: Mr. Allan
Anne Haney: Greta
Justin Cooper: Max Reede
Cary Elwes: Jerry
Writer: Paul Guay
Writer: Stephen Mazur
In Memory Of: Jason Bernard

Liar Liar (1997)

Smooth talking Fletcher Reede is a liar, oops, a lawyer who finally goes one step too far when he misses his son’s birthday in order to engage in some sexual career motivation. Max, his son, blowing out the candles on his birthday cake wishes that his dad would tell the truth for just one day…

9/10

Hilarious high-concept comedy (lawyer cannot tell a lie for 24 hours) that features a virtuoso performance from cinema’s current King Clown, Jim Carrey.

This movie contains mild swear words, strong adult dialogue and references and self-inflicted violence and inferred sex scene.

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

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