The Wrong Trousers (1993) – 10/10 stop motion classic comedy action movie review

Cast / crew
Animator, Writer, Characters Creator and Director: Nick Park
Animator: Steve Box
Peter Sallis: Voice of Wallace
Writer: Bob Baker
Writer (Additional Contributions): Brian Sibley
Producer: Christopher Moll

The Wrong Trousers (1993)

Wallace buys Gromit a pair of Techno-Trousers to take him for walkies but their lodger sees them and envisages an entirely different, and more nefarious, usage.


While this is lightning-in-a-bottle stuff and one of the most brilliant half-hours of film ever created, writer, animator and director Nick Park has shown with his subsequent movies that this funny, imaginative, snappy, charming and warm-hearted adventure wasn’t a fluke. Climaxing with a classic chase sequence which features a moment as good as Bond’s Lotus diving into the water or anything you can name, this is a pleasure from start to finsh and is absolutely, categorically, undeniably a must-watch for everyone.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.


Charade (1963) – 10/10 romantic comedy mystery thriller movie review

Cast / crew
Cary Grant: Peter Joshua / Alex Dyle / Adam Caulfield / Brian Cruickshank
Audrey Hepburn: Regina “Reggie” Lampert
Walter Matthau: Hamilton Bartholomew
James Coburn: Tex Panthollow
George Kennedy: Herman Scobie
Dominique Minot: Sylvie Gaudel
Jacques Marin: Inspector Edouard Grandpierre
Music Composer: Henry Mancini
Writer (Screenplay): Peter Stone
Writer (Story): Peter Stone
Writer (Story): Marc Behm
Producer: Stanley Donen
Director: Stanley Donen

Charade (1963)

“Reggie” Lampert goes away on holiday to the Alps and returns to find her apartment empty and her husband dead. Not only that but she discovers that her husband was at the centre of a diamond smuggling operation and the other members of the gang are intent on getting their share. Add to this a stranger whom she befriends and the US Government interest in her late husband’s activities. However, as things unfold, it becomes clear that some of these people are not who they say they are. Who can she trust in this elaborate charade?


"You know what’s wrong with you? Nothing."- Audrey Hepburn to Cary Grant in Charade
"You should see your face now… it’s lovely" – Cary Grant to Audrey Hepburn in Charade

One wonders just how many films have ever been made with the perfect cast. This is one of the few and it is truly wonderful. It’s a never-bettered romantic comedy mystery thriller with genuine romance, chuckles, mystery and thrills thanks to a packed plot and great lines from writer Peter Stone and irresistible stars Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. If Alfred Hitchcock himself had made this (he had nothing to do with it), it may have contained some directorial flourishes but the only thing that is genuinely missing is his traditional cameo. To say anything of the story would spoil it but the plot is a series of wonderful intrigues as adorable, adorable, Audrey Hepburn finds herself up to her eyes in dead bodies and missing treasure but still flirts unashamedly with me. Er, I mean, Cary Grant. There’s a marvellous Henry Mancini score and theme song, a Maurice Binder credit sequence and the production is technically first-rate. However, the sheer entertainment (we even get Walter Matthau and his funny turtle-on-two-legs run) and fun of Charade simply cannot be overstated. Fully, fully great.

This movie contains violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.


Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – 10/10 science fiction fantasy action adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Irvin Kershner
Producer: Gary Kurtz
Writer (Screenplay): Leigh Brackett
Writer (Screenplay): Lawrence Kasdan
Writer (Story): George Lucas
Executive Producer: George Lucas
Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford: Han Solo
Carrie Fisher: Princess Leia
Billy Dee Williams: Lando Calrissian
Anthony Daniels: C-3PO
David Prowse: Darth Vader
Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca
Kenny Baker: R2-D2
Frank Oz: Yoda

Star Wars Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back, The (1980)

The Rebels flee after suffer a devastating attack by the Imperial army seeking to eliminate the only source of dissent, and presumably violence, in the galaxy. Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca survive aboard the Millennium Falcon and fight a running battle against Imperial ships while Luke Skywalker seeks out Yoda, the ancient Jedi master, to be trained as a Jedi knight. Meanwhile, Darth Vader is scheming to lure Luke to the Dark Side of the Force, or kill him in their final showdown – a duel in which Luke learns the secret of his destiny.


"I realised that I just had one of the great experiences of my life." – Irwin Kershner

Especially if you’ve got Return of the Jedi to watch immediately afterward, this is the best of the trilogy with outstanding action, unpredictable plot developments and genuine emotion. Again Harrison Ford gets the best of it by being brilliant in a whole series of fun, flirty, flippant yet heartfelt scenes with Carrie Fisher but his is not the best performance in the film. Nope, that would be Frank Oz who (with performing assistant Kathryn Mullen) delivers the greatest puppet performance in cinema history with Jedi Master Yoda (oddly, he wasn’t as good in Return of the Jedi). In fact, the Yoda performance is in a class of all it’s own. He’s convincing from frame one. There’s a stunning scene where he changes from mischievous to Master and you can feel it and believe it. You can even see the life in him. Remarkable.

This Star Wars movie contains violence, unpleasant scenes and mild sensuality.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.


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The Iron Giant (1999) – 10/10 classic animated science fiction adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Brad Bird
Producer: Allison Abbate
Producer: Des McAnuff
Writer (Screenplay): Tim McCanlies
Writer (Screen Story): Brad Bird
Writer (Original Book) The Iron Man: Ted Hughes
Head of Animation: Tony Fucile
Jennifer Aniston: Annie Hughes
Harry Connick, Jr.: Dean McCoppen
Vin Diesel: The Iron Giant
Eli Marienthal: Hogarth Hughes
Supervising Animator: Richard Bazley
Supervising Animator: Bob Davies
Supervising Animator: Stephan A. Franck
Supervising Animator: Tony Fucile
Supervising Animator: Gregory S.E. Manwaring
Supervising Animator: Steven Markowski
Supervising Animator: Mike Nguyen
Supervising Animator: Wendy Perdue
Supervising Animator: Christopher Sauve
Supervising Animator: Dean Wellins
Consultant: Ted Hughes

Iron Giant, The (1999)

1957: a meteor crashes into the ocean off the coast of Maine but the only witness reports are dismissed as drunken ramblings. Nine-year-old Hogarth Hughes tracks down the passenger, however, a giant iron man and even though he is hidden in the junkyard run by beatnik Dean McCoppen, it soon comes to the attention of the authorities.


When director Brad Bird has The Incredibles and Ratatouille to his name and yet this is easily his best film, it reaffirms just how special The Iron Giant is. This is as good as the best Disney, the best Miyazaki and better than the best Pixar. The voice work from Eli Marienthal and, particularly, Christopher McDonald is excellent, it is well animated and Michael Kamen’s music works well inside the movie. But beyond its technical construction, there’s something else; a magic that I think only exists in 2D hand-drawn character animation. I think you emotionally connect more easily to 2D hand-drawn characters than to anything else in cinema and The Iron Giant, like the best of Disney is a wondrous example of this. This is a delightful surprise and a neglected but undoubted masterpiece.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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The Music Box (1932, Comedy Short) – 10/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Producer (Presents credit): Hal Roach
Stan Laurel:
Oliver Hardy:
Director: James Parrott
Writer (Dialogue): H.M. Walker

Music Box, The (1932)

"Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy decided to re-organize and re-supervise their entire financial structure – So they took the $3.80 and went into business." Their transfer company gets the job to deliver a piano… to 1127 Walnut Avenue, a house at the top of an enormous flight of stairs.


At the end of the day, despite other illustrious highlights in their career, this is the one that Laurel and Hardy’ll be remembered for. This is Oscar-winning haplessness from cinema’s finest double act where the slapstick is frequently painfully hilarious but which also contains a couple of beautiful verbal gags (SPOILER particularly "He kicked you?" "Yes, Officer, right in the middle of my daily duties.") and one completely non-signposted gem of a gag (SPOILER Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy have finally, after a whole morning of struggle, got the piano to the top of the stairs when the postman wanders up. "You didn’t need to do that. You see that road there, you just follow it around up to the door." Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy feel extremely stupid – "Why didn’t we think of that?" – and so take the piano back down all the stairs in order to bring it up via the road!).

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Superman (1978, Movie) – 10/10 review

Producer (Presents credit): Alexander Salkind
Marlon Brando: Jor-El
Gene Hackman: Lex Luthor
Director: Richard Donner
Christopher Reeve: Superman / Clark Kent
Ned Beatty: Otis
Jackie Cooper: Perry White
Glenn Ford: Pa Kent
Trevor Howard: 1st Elder
Margot Kidder: Lois Lane
Composer: John Williams
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Writer (Story): Mario Puzo
Writer (Screenplay): Mario Puzo
Writer (Screenplay): David Newman
Writer (Screenplay): Leslie Newman
Writer (Screenplay): Robert Benton
Creative Consultant: Tom Mankiewicz
Associate Producer: Charles F. Greenlaw
Executive Producer: Ilya Salkind
Producer: Pierre Spengler
Writer (Additional Script Material): Norman Enfield

Superman (1978)

Kryptonite baby Kal’el is sent to planet Earth to save his life before the planet Krypton itself is destroyed by a nearby Sun.The baby is discovered by the Kent family and brought up as a ‘normal’ human but here on Earth he has extraordinary talents and strengths. After the death of his adopted father, the now Clark Kent is impelled to go North and learns about his real identity. He decides to use his powers for good and is given the tag Superman by love interest Lois Lane. However, super criminal Lex Luthor has plans to destroy all of California in a landscam deal and has discovered a way to prevent Superman stopping him.


Superlative fantasy action adventure; easily my favourite movie. Even thirty years on, this is the greatest superhero movie ever made and, yes, you will still believe a man can fly. It’s greatest achievement, however, is that the movie has such a clean, good core; Christopher Reeve’s brilliant performance has an innocence with no darkness, no dishonesty, no possibility of corruption. Even Gene Hackman’s villain is effective and fun without being horrible or graphically violent. Thirty years on, filmmakers and writers have simply forgotten how to make superhero movies without extreme violence (see Superman Returns). That said, they also appear to have forgotten how to edit action sequences, how to portray character, how to tell a story, and how to have a point to your movie aside from generating money. The fact that this movie can never be matched for it’s heart due to the deterioration of the world’s morality and ‘movie violence solves everything’ ethos makes Superman even more special.

This movie contains mild adult dialogue and scary scenes (being buried alive).

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Pinocchio (1940, Animated Disney) – 10/10 movie review

Producer (Presents credit): Walt Disney
Writer (Original Story): Collodi
Supervising Director: Ben Sharpsteen
Supervising Director: Hamilton Luske
Composer: Leigh Harline
Composer: Ned Washington
Composer: Paul Smith

Pinocchio (1940)

When toy maker Gepetto ‘wishes upon a star’ for a real boy, he is delighted when the Blue Fairy comes down and grants his wish making his latest creation Pinocchio come alive. Appointed Jiminy Cricket as his conscience, the live puppet is informed that he needs to prove himself brave, true & unselfish in order to become a real boy. Of course, events conspire against him resulting in him being sent to Pleasure Isle to make a jackass out of himself while Gepetto is swallowed by Monstro, a huge whale, in his fruitless search for his lost Pinocchio . Will Pinocchio ever be able to become a real boy?


This is the greatest animated film ever made and one of the all-time classic motion pictures. Pinocchio is an amazingly animated film with every sequence worthy of the endless lauding and studying since. Story telling through animation has never been done better and the plot is interesting, valuable, surprising and even frightening. Memorable music, classic characters, breath-taking animation and crisp direction make this film one of the greatest ever made. Always moving, this film rubber stamps memorable images on your mind. For example, the nose growing when Pinnochio tells a lie (remarkably, it only happens once) or the bad boys turning into jack-asses. Endlessly stunning.

This movie contains some scary scenes and extreme violence.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Sleeping Beauty (1958) – 10/10 Disney animated fantasy review

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Cast / crew
Mary Costa: Princess Aurora
Music Adaptation: George Bruns
Composer (Original Ballet) “Sleeping Beauty Ballet”: Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
Writer (Adaptation): Erdman Penner
Writer (Original Story): Charles Perrault
Writer (Additional Story): Joe Kinaldi
Writer (Additional Story): Winston Hibler
Writer (Additional Story): Bill Peet
Writer (Additional Story): Ted Sears
Writer (Additional Story): Ralph Wright
Writer (Additional Story): Milt Banta
Color Styling: Eyvind Earle
Directing Animator: John Lounsbery
Supervising Director: Clyde Geronimi
Sequence Director: Eric Larson
Sequence Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Sequence Director: Les Clark
Producer: Walt Disney
Writer (Original Story): The Brothers Grimm

Sleeping Beauty (1958)

When evil sorceress Queen Maleficent is not invited to the christening of King Stephan’s daughter, she casts a spell upon the young infant, dooming her to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die before her sixteenth birthday. Three good fairies take the young Princess Aurora and hide her away but their powers are no match for Maleficent.


I’m not saying there’s no point in making a fairy tale romance ever again but this is how you do ’em. It is virtually perfect. Technically and stylistically Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty is one of the greatest animations ever (visually designed almost exclusively by Eyvind Earl, here credited as Color Stylist) and the music, by some guy called Tchaikovsky (though, surprisingly, not Disney’s first choice), isn’t bad either. These are, however, just the headlines and every detail in every point of the production is absolutely wonderful. Cartoon animated characters have never looked so good, before or since, as this was the final ‘unlimited’ budget (six years of production at a cost of $6 million) Disney film before financial problems set in. The animation is so clean and so characterful that it takes the breath away.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Mulan (1998, Disney Movie) – 10/10 review

Director: Barry Cook
Director: Tony Bancroft
Writer (Original Story): Robert D. San Souci
Writer (Screenplay): Rita Hsiao
Writer (Screenplay): Christopher Sanders
Writer (Screenplay): Philip LaZebnik
Writer (Screenplay): Raymond Singer
Writer (Screenplay): Eugenia Bostwick-Singer
Composer (Songs): Matthew Wilder
Composer (Songs): David Zippel
Ming-Na Wen: Voice of Mulan
Lea Salonga: Singing Voice of Mulan
Soon-Teck Oh: Voice of Fa Zhou
B.D. Wong: Voice of Shang
Donny Osmond: Singing Voice of Shang
Freda Foh Shen: Voice of Fa Li
Eddie Murphy: Voice of Mushu

Mulan (1998)

Based on an ancient Chinese folk tale.

A young girl disguises herself as a boy and joins the army so that her frail father won’t have to serve. The ghosts of her all-seeing ancestors call up their mightiest dragon to help her but Mushu, a demoted mini-dragon, ends up going instead…


Spectacular animated masterpiece showing once more that by sticking to the ‘confines’ of the formula set by Walt Disney some 60 years earlier, the medium can achieve what almost no live-action movie can. Whoever thought there would be a Disney film featuring martial arts fighting, cross-dressing and a teenage girl killing people and blowing stuff up? Well, here it is, and jolly good it is too. The displays of selflessness and sense of duty also make for a positive moral message.

This movie contains violence, mild gore.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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