Jason Bourne (2016) – 5/10 action thriller movie review

Jason Bourne (2016)

Bourne has been living off-the-grid but Nicky Parsons learns of another ethically dubious black op training program and contacts Bourne. What she doesn’t know is that Bourne has been replaced with an indestructible cyborg replica.

5/10

Morose and completely unconvincing action thriller that sees an indestructible Jason Bourne do impossible things for next to no reason while Tommy Lee Jones scowls from behind a Tommy Lee Jones scrotum mask that has been left out in the sun for a hundred years. If they had revealed that his head had been a walnut all along, it would have been more believable than the drek the filmmakers want us to go along with here. Now, a lot of the action is alright, undoubtedly ambitious (a bike chase through a riot is incredibly impressive logistically) and some of it is genuinely thrilling but it’s not enough to distract from the uninvolving characters and story. I think this franchise would have been better off leaving the trilogy and Treadstone arc alone and continued as an A-Team, Knight Rider or Incredible Hulk thing where Bourne swans into a town or someone’s life with a problem and helps eliminate it before moving on. Instead, this is the Crystal Skulls of the Bourne franchise that we’ll probably try and just overlook.

Content Summary

This movie contains extreme violence, gory and unpleasant scenes

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

Cast / crew

Director, Producer and Writer: Paul Greengrass
Editor, Executive Producer and Writer: Christopher Rouse
Characters Creator: Robert Ludlum
Jason Bourne / David Webb: Matt Damon
Actor and Producer: Matt Damon
Tommy Lee Jones: CIA Director Robert Dewey
Alicia Vikander: Heather Lee
Vincent Cassel: Asset
Julia Stiles: Nicky Parsons
Riz Ahmed: Aaron Kalloor
Producer: Frank Marshall
Producer: Gregory Goodman
Producer: Ben Smith
Producer: Jeffrey M. Weiner

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) – 7/10 science fiction fantasy action adventure movie review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Luke Skywalker has disappeared. No-one knows why. In his and all Jedi’s absence, the evil First Order has risen to be within a hair’s breadth of taking control of the galaxy. No-one knows why. At this critical stage, both the Resistance and First Order are after one thing: a map containing the location of Luke Skywalker. No-one knows why.

7/10

J.J. Abrams treads accurately in the sandy footprints of George Lucas with this fan service-packed remake of Star Wars. While it’s action is immediately forgettable due to Abrams choosing not to give it a shape or story of it’s own and suffers badly in comparison with the Death Star attack from the original (which remains one of the greatest action sequences of all time; it’s always clear what they’re trying to do and why this piece of action on screen now is helping to accomplish that while naturally building and focusing on the one critical path), Abrams has come up trumps with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega and gone the extra mile with the three lead characters (the aforementioned and Harrison Ford) and villain Kylo Ren. He also oversaw a perfect trailer campaign with no story spoilers or even hints. While he doesn’t keep temporal or spatial control of his story (people can do anything in any amount of time and appear wherever they need to) and fumbles the codas, Abrams has otherwise made an efficient, furiously-paced, fun adventure. (As a side note, I don’t know why it’s 12A, PG would have been fine)

Content Summary

This movie contains violence, violent interrogation scenes

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

Cast / crew

Director, Producer and Writer: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Lawrence Kasdan
Writer: Michael Arndt
Characters Creator: George Lucas
Producer: Kathleen Kennedy
Producer: Bryan Burk
Music: John Williams
Han Solo: Harrison Ford
Luke Skywalker: Mark Hamill
Princess Leia Organa: Carrie Fisher
Kylo Ren: Adam Driver
Rey: Daisy Ridley
Finn (Star Wars): John Boyega
Poe Dameron: Oscar Isaac
Lupita Nyong’o: Maz Kanata
Supreme Leader Snoke: Andy Serkis
Domhnall Gleeson: General Hux
C-3PO: Anthony Daniels
Max von Sydow: Lor San Tekka

Ex Machina (2015) – 6/10 science fiction movie review

Ex Machina (2015)

Hot-shot programmer Caleb is taken to super genius Nathan’s subterranean glacier hideaway to see if Nathan has managed to produce an artificial intelligence-driven robot that can be considered indistinguishable from a human.

6/10

I can see why this received an enthusiastic critical reception as it is a slow burn science fiction movie that takes a big idea (can an AI perform in a manner indistinguishable from a human) and packages it for a mass audience. The problem, for me, is that it overlooks making any character whom you want to watch. Domhnall Gleeson speaks in movie sound bites, Oscar Isaac is an uncharismatic and repulsive genius with a silly beard and Alicia Vikander is, impressively, unreadable and manipulative as the plot demands. (It also forgets it’s own plot point at the end whereby all the doors unlock when the power goes out.) However, the Oscar-winning visual effects work is flawless and I suspect it is going to be quietly memorable.

Content Summary

This movie contains sexual swear words, strong adult dialogue, full female nudity, graphic violence

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

Cast / crew

Domhnall Gleeson: Caleb
Alicia Vikander: Ava
Sonoya Mizuno: Kyoko
Oscar Isaac: Nathan
Director and Writer: Alex Garland
Producer: Andrew MacDonald
Producer: Allon Reich

The Jungle Book (2016) – 7/10 adventure movie review

The Jungle Book (2016)

When Shere Khan learns of the prescence of mancub Mowgli – who has been brought up by wolves after being discovered in the jungle – he vows to kill him as soon as the current drought-enforced peace treaty ends. When the waters return, so does Khan with a terrible fury.

7/10

Slightly subdued but otherwise very nicely executed adaptation of both Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 book and Walt Disney’s 1967 film The Jungle Book. Neel Sethi is great as Mowgli while the animal cast is uncharismatic (especially when compared to the 1967 film) but fine. The two songs are integrated well but performed without much life or energy. The main talking point is how wonderful the visual effects achievement is; while not perfect (Kaa is not up to the standard of the furry animals, every animal’s but especially Shere Khan’s face looks too big and his entrance has some slightly wrong animation of him dropping down ledges), it instantly suspends disbelief, the flora and fauna are completely convincing and the furry animals (especially the wolf Raksha) look stunning most of the time. I also very much liked the opening multi-plane-esque hand-drawn animated Walt Disney logo. A highly worthwhile remake which may become a touchstone for a new audience.

Content Summary

This movie contains violence

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Cast / crew

Director and Producer: Jon Favreau
Screenplay Writer: Justin Marks
Book Writer: Rudyard Kipling
Mowgli: Neel Sethi
Baloo: Bill Murray
Bagheera: Ben Kingsley
Shere Khan: Idris Elba
King Louie: Christopher Walken

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – 5/10 superhero action movie review

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

When the Superman / Zod battle causes his Metropolis tower to collapse, Bruce Wayne knows that, even though Superman is clearly benevolent, Batman needs to kill him because Superman might go bad one day. Meanwhile, the US Government give Lex Luthor the keys to the crashed Kryptonian spaceship in return for him crafting a silver bullet to keep Superman in check but then they don’t let him import the kryptonite to make the bullet but continue to let him play on the spaceship even though that was payment for something they won’t let him do.

5/10

We should seriously consider the possibility that Zack Snyder is incapable of telling a story via the medium of film which, for a film director, might be expected to be a problem. Instead of conversations, he has people speaking words in close proximity to other people and occasionally changes the background if you squint and look over people’s shoulders. Ben Affleck’s Batman is striking, if dumb. Henry Cavill is fine as Superman and gets a couple of useful super-moments when the Batmobile bounces off him and when he catches a giant bullet. This movie had potential and Snyder does allocate enough time to story and character and motivation but doesn’t make any of it stick. Why does Batman want to kill Superman? Why does Lex Luthor want Superman dead? I suspect Snyder has shot enough footage to make a really good movie but he hasn’t guided it successfully through the editing process. And, to be honest, I don’t think he can. The Ultimate Edition is just similarly dumb for an imperceptible extra half-hour.

Content Summary

This movie contains bad language, extreme violence, non-sexual nudity

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

Cast / crew


Director: Zack Snyder
Superman / Clark Kent / Kal-El: Henry Cavill
Batman / Bruce Wayne: Ben Affleck
Wonder Woman / Diane Prince: Gal Gadot

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) – 2/10 action movie review

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

A Texas inventor buys a fully busted truck that was inside a derelict cinema and pulls a missile out of it that allows it to turn back into Optimus Prime but an inter-galactic bounty hunter, Lockdown, is working with the CIA to capture Optimus Prime and so the glistening, muscular inventor / robotics engineer / elite hacker and his good-looking daughter / really, really good-looking daughter / rally co-driver go on the run with Prime and end up saving the world. And there will be robot dinosaurs. The end.

2/10

This is an atrocious film on almost every level except visual effects and Mark Wahlberg. It would be a challenge to find more than a few subsequent lines that are coherent let alone compelling characters, involving storylines or comprehensible action sequences. Somehow, Wahlberg rises above all that and remains a quality, likable presence despite what the movie bafflingly puts him through. I don’t know what kind of secret sauce ILM keep back for Michael Bay but however Bay photographs his plates and however ILM’s artists up their game for him results in some utterly remarkable visuals: convincing, photo-realistic and extremely good-looking. Between them they produce the best visual effects explosions in the business; you cannot tell which explosions are real and which are not. Now, it would be accurate to state that the movie didn’t need to be good in order to fulfil it’s purpose – make money – but there was also no need for it to be this derisory.

Content Summary

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, bad language, strong violence, sensuality

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

Cast / crew

Director and Executive Producer: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Producer: Tom DeSanto
Producer: Don Murphy
Producer: Ian Bryce
Mark Wahlberg: Cade Yeager
Stanley Tucci: Joshua Joyce
Kelsey Grammer: Harold Attinger
Nicola Peltz: Tessa Yeager
Jack Reynor: Shane Dyson
Sophia Myles: Darcy Tirrel
Li Bing Bing: Su Yueming
Titus Welliver: James Savoy
T.J. Miller: Lucas Flannery
Peter Cullen: Optimus Prime
Frank Welker: Galvatron
John Goodman: Hound
Ken Watanabe: Drift
Robert Foxworth: Ratchet
John DiMaggio: Crosshairs
Mark Ryan: Lockdown
Reno Wilson: Brains

Godzilla (2015) – 2/10 monster movie review

Godzilla (2014)

15 years after an incident at his nuclear power plant in Japan, not-at-all Japanese engineer Joe Brody insists that this was caused by something other than the official earthquake. Nobody ever noticed the bright lights or hundreds of workers at the accident site, so Joe is stunned when he breaks in to the danger area to retrieve some floppy disks and is taken to the top secret installation that has been built instead of the police station like he was the day before yesterday. Fortunately, everybody working at the super-secret base is as stupid as he is and they join forces to ride a tsunami of stupidity all the way back to San Francisco.

2/10

Relentlessly stupid monster movie which, for some baffling reason, thinks we didn’t really want to see a Godzilla fight (perhaps because they were misled by the success of Cloverfield, whose monster turns up here as the antagonists). Instead of a story we get to watch charisma vacuum Aaron Taylor-Johnson keep falling over and looking at things, usually while welling up. Ken Watanabe also looks terribly upset to be in this movie so he’s probably here as some kind of ransom demand. Godzilla’s closing move is good (I’ll give you a star for that) but there’s no shape or story to the non-battle preceding it and the visual effects have no impact; nobody cares when your 50th skyscraper gets smashed to pieces. What’s surprising is how closely this echoes Roland Emmerich’s widely, easily and deservedly criticised 1998 film. It has the same title sequence, same Godzilla underwater city approach and similarly-themed monster babies climax but it doesn’t have the fun, entertaining, spectacular Godzilla action sequences nor the expert build-up.

Content Summary

This movie contains mild unpleasant scenes

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

Cast / crew

Director: Gareth Edwards
Aaron Taylor-Johnson: Ford Brody
Ken Watanabe: Dr. Ishiro Serizawa
Elizabeth Olsen: Elle Brody
Juliette Binoche: Sandra Brody
Sally Hawkins: Vivienne Graham
David Strathairn: Admiral William Stenz
Bryan Cranston: Joe Brody
Producer: Thomas Tull
Producer: Jon Jashni
Producer: Mary Parent
Producer: Brian Rogers
Story Writer: David Callaham
Screenplay Writer: Max Borenstein

Bang Bang! (2014) – 7/10 action musical romance movie review

AmazonBuy Bang Bang! at Amazon

Cast / crew
Writer (Original Film) Knight and Day: Patrick O’Neill
Hrithik Roshan: Rajveer Nanda
Katrina Kaif: Harleen Sahani
Pavan Raj Malhotra: Zorawar Kalwa
Danny Denzongpa: Omar Zafar
Javed Jaffrey: Hamid Gul
Screenplay Writer: Sujoy Ghosh
Screenplay Writer: Suresh Nair
Writer (Dialogue): Abbas Tyrewala
Director: Siddarth Anand

Bang Bang! (2014)

A bank receptionist winds up on the most thrilling blind date ever with an international thief who is wanted dead by both sides of the law.

7/10

Tremendously entertaining, energetic and almost ridiculously good-looking action thriller that suffers from the same problem as Tom Cruise original Knight and Day in that the romance simply doesn’t work when the hero kills scores of dudes in the action scenes (at least they’re all baddies here). While women may like excitement and Hrithik Roshan with his shirt off (blimey), they probably aren’t amazingly thrilled when people are being shot and beaten to death right in their face or with being drugged and kidnapped. Repeatedly. (It’s also rather more violent than you might expect a 12A to be.) However, this is a film that works despite incoherence and ridiculousness. The action is fantastically cool, there’s a flyboarding action sequence which is a first, a GP2 car makes a surprise appearance, the songs are fine and look amazing and the wonderfully supple and charismatic Roshan keeps taking his shirt off and dancing to endlessly astonishing effect.

This movie contains extreme violence, bad language, sensuality

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

Links

Police Story 2013 | Police Story: Lockdown (2013,2015) – 6/10 Jackie Chan hostage crime thriller movie review

AmazonBuy Police Story 2013 | Police Story: Lockdown at Amazon

Cast / crew
Producer: Jerry Ye
Producer: Lu Zheng
Director, Editor and Screenplay Writer: Ding Sheng
Jackie Chan: Zhong Wen
Liu Ye: Wu Jiang
Jing Tian: Miao Miao
Liu Hai Long: Pi Song
Zhou Xiao Ou: Wei Xiao Fu
Yu Rong Guang: Captain Wu
Wu Yue: A Yue
Liu Pei Qi: Chief Zhang

Police Story 2013 | Police Story: Lockdown (2013)

Policeman Zhong Wen is invited by his estranged daughter, Miao Miao, to meet at a nightclub as she wants to tell him something important but a hostage situation unexpectedly explodes and Wen will be required to go above and beyond his professional duty.

6/10

There’s enough of dramatic interest to make some stretches of Police Story 2013 tense, interesting and quite good. Sadly, the area where the film falls down is in the action. Poor compositing replaces what would have been done with stuntmen for real in Chan’s heyday (arguably New Police Story (2004) is the last great Jackie Chan action movie though The Myth (2005) contains the last great Jackie Chan action scene – rat glue factory); watching an old man, Jackie Chan, get beaten up is in no way fun and it’s also almost distressing to see his fight scenes have fully degenerated into Hollywood-style editing blurs to disguise the lack of any actual technique or speed.

This movie contains strong violence, gory and unpleasant scenes

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) – 5/10 adventure romance movie review

AmazonBuy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty at Amazon

Cast / crew
Producer: Samuel Goldwyn, Jr.
Producer: John Goldwyn
Actor and Producer Greenland Air Passenger: Stuart Cornfeld
Kristen Wiig: Cheryl Melhoff
Shirley MacLaine: Edna Mitty
Adam Scott: Ted Hendricks
Kathryn Hahn: Odessa Mitty
Patton Oswalt: Todd Maher
Adrian Martinez: Hernando
Ólafur Darri Ólafsson: Helicopter Pilot
Sean Penn: Sean O’Connell
Actor, Director and Producer: Ben Stiller
Walter Mitty: Ben Stiller
Screen Story and Screenplay Writer: Steven Conrad
Short Story Writer: James Thurber

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Walter Mitty is prone to zoning out and imagining a more exciting life for himself and his romantic crush, coworker Cheryl Melhoff. When he needs to find a lost photo negative for the cover of Life magazine, instead of looking in the most obvious place, he embarks on a crazy real-life adventure.

5/10

It feels mean to give a virtually non-violent, positive, good-natured movie an average score but it never really engages the viewer beyond the most perfunctory level. Mitty’s flights of fantasy are somewhat bewildering and the real adventure has no impact; it looks less impressive than it should given the scenarios and locations and feels flat. Additionally, the plot and most of the events feel very unconvincing; whether this is by design or not (i.e., if the majority of the movie is a flight of fantasy) isn’t really the point as it is still important to suspend the audience’s disbelief. The best flight of fantasy, and probably strongest moment, is one where Kristen Wiig appears and sings a song and Ben Stiller gets on a real helicopter; no special effects, no explosions, no frenetic action editing.

This movie contains bad language, strong violence

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Real Steel (2011) – 2/10 robot boxing movie review

AmazonBuy Real Steel at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director and Producer: Shawn Levy
Hugh Jackman: Charlie Kenton
Dakota Goyo: Max Kenton
Evangeline Lilly: Bailey Tallet
Anthony Mackie: Finn
Kevin Durand: Ricky
Hope Davis: Aunt Debra
Producer: Don Murphy
Producer: Susan Montford
Short Story Writer: Richard Matheson
Actor and Screenplay Writer Kingpin: John Gatins
Story Writer: Dan Gilroy
Story Writer: Jeremy Leven

Real Steel (2011)

Incompetent scumbag robot fighter Charlie Kenton sells custody of his child to replace a smashed robot but is forced to take the boy with him for a couple of months so that the couple that bought him can have a nice holiday. Charlie immediately gets his new robot smashed to pieces and so sets about stealing enough parts to repair him all the while heroically lambasting the boy for even existing then leaving him to get arrested in a scrapyard. Against all the odds, things only become less convincing from here.

2/10

This Rocky with robots overlooked something extremely important: Rocky was an amiable, loving, recognisable human being. Rocky here is split into three characters: Hugh Jackman, a kid and a robot. The robot isn’t anything; he should have become iconic but his design is bland and half-hearted and everyone lazily pronounces his name as Adom instead of Atom. Hugh Jackman and the kid are unpleasant, gigantically unconvincing and incoherently portrayed. It sometimes feels like the kid has the adult’s lines, the tone is all over the place, scenes don’t logically follow each other. This is also the first movie I’ve seen where Hugh Jackman’s performance is bad, partially because his tone, intensity and attitude (like everyone elses) vacillate wildly through what are supposed to be subsequent scenes. The slo-mo teary-eyed climax is audacious in its unearned arrogance. There is, however, a cool scene worth watching in the movie and, fortunately, it’s right at the beginning as Hugh Jackman’s robot fights a bull. Once that’s done, you can go home.

This movie contains extreme robot violence, strong human violence, sensuality

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

Snow White and The Huntsman (2012) – 7/10 fantasy action adventure movie review

AmazonBuy Snow White and The Huntsman at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director: Rupert Sanders
Screen Story and Screenplay Writer: Evan Daugherty
Screenplay Writer: John Lee Hancock
Screenplay Writer: Hossein Amini
Producer: Joe Roth
Producer: Sam Mercer
Snow White: Kristen Stewart
Charlize Theron: Ravenna
Chris Hemsworth: The Huntsman
Sam Claflin: William
Ian McShane: Beith
Bob Hoskins: Muir
Ray Winstone: Gort
Nick Frost: Nion
Sam Spruell: Finn

Snow White and The Huntsman (2012)

A wicked Queen usurps a kingdom’s power and rules it with an iron unfeeling fist. Her only objective is to remain ‘the fairest of them all’ and considering this is Charlize Theron we’re talking about, she does; no-one gets close. The end.

7/10

This is an engrossing, enjoyable, great-looking adventure movie that is thrilling despite badly edited action sequences typical of contemporary Hollywood. You could easily argue about faults and some incoherence but, for me, the movie captured my attention and more than kept it. The technical achievements of the production are also eye-catching with the dwarves unbelievably convincing and impressively unnecessary (dwarves exist and they will appear in your movie for a fee). I suspect one of the most glaring problems is also the film’s best actor: Charlize Theron. She is in a different class of beauty and charisma than Kristen Stewart. Theron goes full hernia-inducing insane but at no point is she not "the fairest of them all" and by some distance, too. She is photographed magnificently throughout (it is a superb-looking film overall) and, well, if you had to be stabbed during sex with anyone, Charlize Theron in full charisma and hotness mode would be at the top of the list.

This movie contains strong violence

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

Mirror Mirror (2012) – 7/10 fantasy action comedy movie review

AmazonBuy Mirror Mirror at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director: Tarsem Singh Dhandwar
Screenplay Writer: Marc Klein
Screenplay Writer: Jason Keller
Screen Story Writer: Melisa Wallack
Producer: Bernie Goldmann
Producer: Ryan Kavanaugh
Producer: Brett Ratner
Julia Roberts: The Queen
Snow White: Lily Collins
Armie Hammer: Prince Alcott
Nathan Lane: Brighton
Mare Winningham: Baker Margaret
Michael Lerner: Baron
Sean Bean: King

Mirror Mirror (2012)

A wicked Queen has usurped the throne in the absence of the King and nothing stands in her way, except a lack of cash. However, when a handsome prince pays a visit to her kingdom, the Queen senses an opportunity but there’s just one slight problem: he’s fallen in love with her stepdaughter, the beautiful Snow White.

7/10

In the end, I really enjoyed this full throttle burst of inverted fairy tale but for a while it looked like it wasn’t, and perhaps doesn’t, fulfil the fun promise of some of the early moments. For me, it finally settled down and became consistently fun once Snow White and the seven dwarves teamed up (with a gleefully unexpected training montage). The dwarves are great; I might not remember their names (Wolf, Grimm, Half Pint?, er) but they were lively and charismatic and engaging in the movie. Lily Collins looks adorable, especially during the costume try-outs in the training montage, but doesn’t always nail her character’s growing confidence. Julia Roberts is okay as the wicked queen but the flash of her famous smile on her way to her wedding is a reminder of how legendary and irresistible she is as an on-screen good girl; therefore, I don’t think the casting worked out. The most unexpected moment is, unquestionably, the closing credits and I loved it. A perfect, energetic, light-hearted, fun climax for a really fun, light-hearted movie.

This movie contains violence

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

The Bourne Legacy (2012) – 6/10 action thriller movie review

AmazonBuy The Bourne Legacy at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director and Writer: Tony Gilroy
Screenplay Writer: Dan Gilroy
Producer: Frank Marshall
Producer: Patrick Crowley
Producer: Jeffrey M. Weiner
Producer: Ben Smith
Creator The Bourne Series: Robert Ludlum
Jeremy Renner: Aaron Cross
Rachel Weisz: Dr. Marta Shearing
Edward Norton: Col. Eric Byer, USAF, Ret.
Stacy Keach: Adm. Mark Turos, USN, Ret.
Dennis Boutsikaris: Terrence Ward
Oscar Isaac: Outcome #3
Joan Allen: Pamela Landy
Albert Finney: Dr. Albert Hirsch
David Strathairn: Noah Vosen
Scott Glenn: Ezra Kramer

The Bourne Legacy (2012)

The ramifications of Jason Bourne’s action are rippling through sister super-soldier programs, the most closely linked of which are being shut down so as to avoid exposure. Shut down meaning killing everyone involved in a way that involves all the police, all the fire service, all the ambulances and all the media in all of the USA. Super-soldier Aaron Cross survives but has run out of his medication and sets about using his skills to procure some more.

6/10

Competent thriller that keeps your attention and provides reasonable, if mechanical, excitement but suffers from Jeremy Renner lacking charisma. He is perfunctory, convincing even, and performs fine but you’re just not invested in his story. Not even when he hilariously appears in a kitchen cupboard (which he must have been hiding in for ages and are apparently man-sized in America). While Rachel Weisz does have charisma, she isn’t the focus of the film and doesn’t have a character or story; she could just as easily be a key. Or a flower; she’s so lovely.

This movie contains graphic violence

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

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) – 7/10 Ray Harryhausen fantasy adventure movie review

AmazonBuy The 7th Voyage of Sinbad at Amazon

Cast / crew
Sinbad: Kerwin Mathews
Kathryn Grant: Princess Parisa
Richard Eyer: The Genie
Torin Thatcher: Sokurah the Magician
Writer: Kenneth Kolb
Special Visual Effects Creator: Ray Harryhausen
Producer: Charles H. Schneer
Director: Nathan Juran

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

A sorcerer hatches a cunning plan to get Sinbad and an armed crew to go back to an island inhabited by cyclops, dragons and two-headed vultures to get his hands on a magic lamp with incredible powers.

7/10

The creatures are great, Kathryn Grant is sweet,  Torin Thatcher is treacherous but everything else is average; which makes this jolly adventure one of best films to feature Harryhausen’s incredible effects work. 7th Voyage fills the bits inbetween Ray Harryhausen’s distinctive and rather splendid FX work with humour and treachery instead of dull wooden acting. It makes a nice change to see Harryhausen’s work in an entertaining film. His special effects, while looking rather dated in the late 1990’s, are still special and are a wonderful testament to a master of the art. Too often, though, his work is the only good thing about otherwise dreadful movies. This movie is a nice exception, the bits inbetween the special effects are still reasonably entertaining and involving.

This movie contains violence, unpleasant scenes

Travelers: Dimension Police | Toraberâzu: Jigen keisatsu (2012) – 6/10 science fiction action movie review

AmazonBuy Travelers: Dimension Police | Toraberâzu: Jigen keisatsu at Amazon

Cast / crew
Nao Nagasawa: Ai Osaka
Ayumi Kinoshita: Yui Momose
Yuko Takayama: Haruka Saegusa
Director: Koichi Sakamoto

Travelers: Dimension Police | Toraberâzu: Jigen keisatsu (2012)

Dimension Police officer Ai Osaka is sent to Retro World to catch a serial killer who preys on young girls but runs into former partner Yui Momose who now works for the criminal organisation Doubt.

6/10

With special effects that are a lot worse than expected and action scenes that, for quite a while, are rather better than expected, this energetic movie proves quite entertaining, especially if you are a boy. The mildly provocatively dressed Nao Nagasawa looks fantastic, does fine in the martial arts action scenes and engages the audience in between. She is the reason I watched this and I wasn’t disappointed. Ayumi Kinoshita looks like she’s had a stroke or something and the cute Yuko Takayama wears a maid outfit for no discernible reason. Given the low budget, this is probably as good as this movie could have turned out. Critically, I liked this movie and, once more, I particularly liked Nao Nagasawa.

This movie contains mild sensuality, extreme and gory violence, gory and unpleasant scenes

Le Havre (2011) – 7/10 refreshingly pleasant movie review

AmazonBuy Le Havre at Amazon

Cast / crew
André Wilms: Marcel Marx
Kati Outinen: Arletty
Jean-Pierre Darroussin: Monet
Blondin Miguel: Idrissa
Elina Salo: Claire
Evelyne Didi: Yvette
Quoc-Dung Nquyen: Chang
Laika:
Director, Producer and Writer: Aki Kaurismäki

Le Havre (2011)

Marcel Marx has a happy existence as a shoe shiner thanks to good relationships with his neighbours, pub mates and beloved wife, Arletty. One day, a young African refugee, Idrissa, comes into his life and Marcel responds with kindness and generosity despite his meagre means.

7/10

Uncommonly warm-hearted drama that sees the usual backbone of the genre, conflict, replaced entirely with generosity. This positivity is something that I’ve only really experienced from master animator Hayao Miyazaki and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie. Now, Le Havre is quite captivating and paced nicely but despite the ending, there’s no magic; the movie never becomes special and it never touched me. Miyazaki and Amelie consistently engender joy, wonder and delight at their best while Le Havre just happens. That said, it is absolutely worth watching and a refreshingly pleasant experience.

This movie contains bad language

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014) – 8/10 science fiction time-travel action war movie

AmazonBuy Edge of Tomorrow at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director: Doug Liman
Tom Cruise: Cage
Emily Blunt: Rita

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Tom Cruise is being all ace as an army media advisor but his world is turned upside-down when he is informed that these services aren’t needed any more and he’s going to the front line of the war. Oh yes, there’s a war on. With aliens.

8/10

This is a terrific science fiction action movie, a lot of fun, with decent brain-tickling action and, surprisingly, some gleefully funny scenes. Tom Cruise nails it throughout (though he always brings his A-game, that’s what makes his movies always worth watching) with his Tom Cruise-ness being spectacularly punctured by a having-none-of-it Brendan Gleeson leaving him to progress from confused terror to confident combatant. The ending: SPOILER I think he inherited the Omega’s time-reset ability and can now redo anything he wants. Therefore he survives the interview with the General in London and convinces him to bomb the pants out of the Louvre and then heads over to the base to strike up a romantic relationship with Emily Blunt. Likely to end up being the best summer blockbuster of the year.

This movie contains gruesome and unpleasant scenes, war violence, bad language and a fat man’s butt

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

The Eagle (2011) – 6/10 Roman period action adventure movie review

AmazonBuy The Eagle at Amazon

Cast / crew
Producer: Duncan Kenworthy
Director: Kevin MacDonald
Screenplay Writer: Jeremy Brock
Novel Writer: Rosemary Sutcliff
Channing Tatum: Marcus
Jamie Bell: Esca
Donald Sutherland: Uncle Aquila
Mark Strong: Guern
Tahar Rahim: Seal Prince
Denis O’Hare: Lutorius
Dakin Matthews: Claudius
Douglas Henshall: Cradoc

The Eagle (2011)

Years after his father – Centurion of the Ninth Legion of the Roman Army – all 5,000 men and the company standard, an eagle, go missing in Northern Britain, Marcus Aquila is rising above the shame of his family name. When he is injured and honourably discharged, he resolves to spend his newfound free time crossing Hadrian’s Wall to retrieve the lost standard and restore his family’s honor.

6/10

This is a shallow movie that starts well but gets weaker as it goes on. The biggest problems are the poor action sequences which are blighted by the typical contemporary inability to photograph and edit them with shape, character, and story. So there’s deliberately bad camera work, incoherent editing, a complete absence of tactics and, in the final fight, I’m sure the number of Roman protagonists suddenly doubled just so the sequence could have a bit of length. Kevin MacDonald directs the remainder competently but there’s not the sense of adventure, peril or camararderie this story needed. Nice to see the sound designer get a principle credit; I have no idea why they normally don’t.

This movie contains graphic violence, adult dialogue

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

Thor: The Dark World (2013) – 5/10 Marvel superhero action movie review

AmazonBuy Thor: The Dark World at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director: Alan Taylor
Screenplay Writer: Christopher L. Yost
Screenplay Writer: Christopher Markus
Screenplay Writer: Stephen McFeely
Story Writer: Don Payne
Story Writer: Robert Rodat
Producer: Kevin Feige
Comic Book Writer, Executive Producer, and Himself: Stan Lee
Thor: Chris Hemsworth
Natalie Portman: Jane Foster
Loki: Tom Hiddleston
Stellan Skarsgård: Eric Selvig
Heimdall: Idris Elba
Christopher Eccleston: Malekith
Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje: Algrim/Kurse
Kat Dennings: Darcy Lewis
Ray Stevenson: Volstagg
Zachary Levi: Fandral
Tadanobu Asano: Hogun
Sif: Jaimie Alexander
Rene Russo:
Odin: Anthony Hopkins
In Memory of: Don Payne
Writer (Original Comic Book): Larry Lieber
Writer (Original Comic Book): Jack Kirby
Character Creator Malekith: Walt Simonson

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor’s been busy restoring peace throughout the universe but his heart still belongs to Dr. Jane Foster. She is currently applying her massive intellect to touching clearly alien artefacts that are clearly really, well, toxic at best. So, of course, she gets possessed by the Aether, this nasty black smoke that will be used by Malekith, a dark elf, to end the universe. Which makes no sense.

5/10

Adequate superhero sequel which is at it’s best when it’s trying to be fun (best moment of the film is SPOILER Thor hanging his hammer on a coat hook) and somewhat ineffective when it’s trying to be romantic, awesome or important. Or tell a coherent story with well-defined characters. Therefore, big sacrifices mean nothing, you’re not invested in shaky alliances and the baddie exists just to get super-punched for the last ten minutes so that the film can be over. There’s no peril, no build-up, no shape to the movie or any individual sequence. However, Chris Hemsworth remains charismatic and awesome as Thor and Tom Hiddleston is terrific.

This movie contains extreme fantasy violence, bad language, sensuality, nudity

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

Links

Mars Needs Moms (2011) – 5/10 unsettlingly animated science-fiction action adventure movie review

AmazonBuy Mars Needs Moms at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director and Screenplay Writer: Simon Wells
Screenplay Writer: Wendy Wells
Writer (Original Book): Berkeley Breathed
Producer: Robert Zemeckis
Producer: Jack Rapke
Producer: Steve Starkey
Producer: Steven Boyd
Seth Green: Milo
Dan Fogler: Gribble
Elisabeth Harnois: Ki
Mindy Sterling: Supervisor
Kevin Cahoon: Wingnut
Joan Cusack: Mom
Seth Dusky: Milo’s Voice

Mars Needs Moms (2011)

Milo’s Mom is kidnapped by Martians. Fortunately, he wound on board their spaceship but when he gets to Mars, help comes from an unexpected source.

5/10

Image Mover Digital’s performance capture technology is again wasted (by themselves) under ugly and unnerving design choices, a cripplingly unconvincing story with the promise of interspecies sex aka bestiality, – what is this, a DreamWorks animation? – an unearned emotional climax, problems solved by violent revolution, an ‘I didn’t learn anything’ sting, and spectacular racism (the idiot men Martians look like every cliché of South American, Native American and African and everyone who doesn’t speak English is a bad guy or treated like an idiot). While there are a number of poor design decisions, the most glaring was making Milo, a child, look and move like Seth Green, an adult. It’s wrong on a subconscious level that coupled with the ugly and off-putting almost but not-at-all photo-realistic human character design puts you right off proceedings from the start. Fortunately, it looks like this movie signaled the death of ImageMovers’ unsettling creative disasters.

This movie contains freaky adult face on a child, violence, distressing scene

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – 5/10 superhero action fantasy movie review

AmazonBuy Guardians of the Galaxy at Amazon

Cast / crew
Actor, Director and Writer Maskless Sakaaran: James Gunn
Peter Quill / Starlord: Chris Pratt
Gamora: Zoë Saldana
Drax The Destroyer: Dave Bautista
Groot: Vin Diesel
Rocket Raccoon: Bradley Cooper
Ronan The Accuser: Lee Pace
Michael Rooker: Yondu Udonta
Karen Gillan: Nebula
Djimon Hounsou: Korath
John C. Reilly: Corpsman Dey
Glenn Close: Nova Prime
The Collector: Benicio Del Toro
Producer: Kevin Feige
Writer: Nicole Perlman
Comic Book Writer: Dan Abnett
Comic Book Writer: Andy Lanning
Character Creator Rocket Raccoon: Bill Mantlo
Character Creator Rocket Raccoon: Keith Giffen
Character Creator Drax the Destroyer, Gamora and Thanos: Jim Starlin
Character Creator Star-Lord: Steve Englehart
Character Creator Star-Lord: Steve Gan

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Peter Quill, better known to himself as Starlord, has stolen an ancient orb but it quickly transpires that he isn’t the only one after it. Anyway, long story short, he ends up in prison but as he warily teams up Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket to escape, each discover that this orb has greater universal importance that they thought and that their begrudging friendship may be the only thing more powerful.

5/10

Guardians of the Galaxy enthusiastic contemporary reception is notably inflated. Thanks to poor action editing and ostentatiously dull villains (Ronan’s a Snoozer), the movie is largely forgettable. The extreme violence should also dampen how much fun you find things; one scene played for a mechanical laugh has the explicit sound effects of several enemies having all their bones broken repeatedly. That said, it is fun at times and there are chuckles to be had. The real surprise is the attempt at character development: each of the Guardians behaves differently at the end than they do at the beginning. For some, the change occurs because they were hiding their true nature at the start; for others, the enforced or enticed team-up leads to camaraderie. It’s sketchy and shallow but it’s unmissably there and highly welcome. I also like the colour, interior and design of Starlord’s spaceship, Chris Pratt is good and Zoe Saldana is clearly working her way up to being allowed to play a white person.

This movie contains bad language, adult dialogue, extended extreme violence, extreme fantasy violence

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

Aces Go Places II (1983) – 7/10 action comedy movie review

AmazonBuy Aces Go Places II aka Mad Mission Part 2 aka Zuijia paidang daxian shentong at Amazon

Cast / crew
Actor and Director Fattie: Eric Tsang
Screenplay Writer: Bak-Ming Wong
Sam Hui: King Kong
Karl Maka: Albert Au
Sylvia Chang: Supt. Nancy Ho
Tsui Hark: FBI

Aces Go Places II aka Mad Mission Part 2 aka Zuijia paidang daxian shentong (1983)

When King Kong gets framed for a bank robbery, the real robbers insist that he go and buy a diamond with counterfeit money from the mafia who have sent Black Glove, an American assassin and brother of White Glove (killed in the first movie), to make sure that the deal goes down and King Kong and Baldy are despatched.

7/10

A gloriously insane mess of action scenes and funny comedy hurled at the screen and quickly wiped off so that more can be thrown. Some of the action is terrific, some of it is just infectiously insane. The comedy works most of the time and some of it is hilarious thanks to largely relying on slapstick. One instance that saw Baldy literally fly across the room during the fun Valentine’s Day rumble would have caused a genuine spit-take if I’d been drinking at the time. The inclusion of Clint Eastwood lookalike (Filthy Harry) is charmingly bizarre. Look out for famed Hong Kong director Tsui Hark as FBI and it was interesting to see the half-a-car chase done here two years before everyone saw it in the Bond movie A View to a Kill. This is a fun, snappy, entertaining movie from start to finish.

This movie contains violence, bad language

Links

Aces Go Places aka Mad Mission (1982) – 6/10 comedy action movie review

Aces Go Places aka Mad Mission (1982) – 6/10 comedy action movie review

AmazonBuy Aces Go Places aka Mad Mission at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director: Eric Tsang
Writer: Bak-Ming Wong
Sam Hui: King Kong
Karl Maka: Albert Au
Sylvia Chang: Supt. Nancy Ho

Aces Go Places aka Mad Mission (1982)

Expert jewel thief King Kong is forced to join forces with an American detective Albert "Baldy" Au to thwart a diamond heist being orchestrated by White Glove.

6/10

Lively action comedy with lots to like including an athletic lead (reminiscent of Jackie Chan thanks to the haircut and tone of the film), some good action moments and an infectious sense of fun. While Chinese comedy frequently doesn’t travel, Aces Go Places is successful more often than not with most jokes not stretched past breaking point. Special mention for a mighty elevator gag: "Doesn’t this lift seem a bit small?" (the three walls of the elevator are three guys holding massive mirrors; brilliantly unexpected).

This movie contains violence

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Godzilla: Final Wars aka Gojira: Fainaru uôzu (2004) – 5/10 monster action movie review

AmazonBuy Godzilla: Final Wars aka Gojira: Fainaru uôzu at Amazon

Cast / crew
Producer: Shogo Tomiyama
Screenplay Writer: Wataru Mimura
Screenplay Writer: Isao Kiriyama
Special Effects: Eiichi Asada
Masahiro Matsuoka: Earth Defense Force Soldier Shin’ichi Ôzaki
Rei Kikukawa: UN Molecular Biologist Miyuki Otonashi
Don Frye: Douglas Gordon
Maki Mizuno: Newscaster Anna Otonashi
Kazuki Kitamura: The Controller of Planet X
Kosugi Kane Takeshi: M-Facility Soldier Katsunori Kazama
Shigeru Izumiya: Samon Taguchi
Masatoh Eve: Xilian General
Akira Takarada: UN Secretary General Naotarô Daigo
Director: Ryuhei Kitamura

Godzilla: Final Wars aka Gojira: Fainaru uôzu (2004)

After sealing Godzilla in the South Pole, the Earth Defence Force presumes that the planet is safe from monsters at last. Suddenly, all across the planet in cities with recognisable landmarks, monsters start appearing and wreaking havoc and salvation will come from a completely unexpected source but may have a heavy price.

5/10

The Godzilla action is actually rather good fun, but there’s a hour of not-a-lot to get there and weak humanoid villain X to bafflingly deal with once we do. Still, if you’re here for the monster mashing, you certainly get your money’s worth as Godzilla breathes his way through a planetful of monsters in an entertaining and spectacular manner. Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla, now just plain Zilla, is repurposed as a villain monster and gets disparagingly dispatched with a real-Godzilla tail flip and a dismissive one-liner. Weirdly, half of the movie is in English. Special mention for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it detail where midget monster Minilla is wearing a seatbelt in the truck which, after recovering from my 28 g-force double-take, I think is enough to stick another star on.

This movie contains graphic, gory violence, fantasy monster violence, extreme humanoid violence

City Under Siege aka Chun sing gai bei (2010) – 6/10 mutant superhero action film review

AmazonBuy City Under Siege aka Chun sing gai bei at Amazon src=

Cast / crew
Producer: Chiu Suet Ying
Aaron Kwok: Sunny
Shu Qi: Angel
Collin Chou: Zhang Dachu
Wu Jing:
Zhang Jingchu: Cheng Xiuhua
Editor: Benny Chan
Screenplay Writer: Benny Chan
Screenplay Writer: Ling Chi Man
Screenplay Writer: Carson Lau
Producer: Benny Chan
Director: Benny Chan

City Under Siege aka Chun sing gai bei (2010)

After being infected with a WWII bio-chemical weapon, some former members of a circus troupe go bad and cause violence and mayhem but, after swallowing his own body weight in sea water and a good bout of diarrhoea, Sunny isn’t affected as badly and retains his humanity along with superhuman speed and strength.

6/10

As I was expecting some sort of crime thriller (I was only watching this as it was a Benny Chan film and I hadn’t seen anything else about it), it came as something of a surprise to find out it was a mutated-human monster movie. As such, it’s watchable and entertaining for the most part though it does go past deliberately goofy, straight through serious, pushes through spoof and bursts out the other side into mildly glorious over-the-top cheese-tastic insanity. Whether that’s good or not, well, I watched it happily until the end and enjoyed a particularly good chuckle at the bad guys demise.

This movie contains mild swear words, extreme violence, gory and unpleasant scenes

Appleseed Alpha (2014) – 6/10 post-apocalyptic mecha action anime movie review

AmazonBuy Appleseed Alpha at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director and Storyboard Artist: Shinji Aramaki
Screenplay Writer: Marianne Krawczyk
Story Writer: Masamune Shirow
Producer: Joseph Chou
CGI Director and Storyboard Artist: Masaru Matsumoto
Deunan: Luci Christian
Briareos: David Matranga
Wendel Calvert: Two Horns
Chris Hutchinson: Matthews
Adam Gibbs: Olson
Actress and Motion Capture Performer Iris: Brina Palencia
Josh Sheltz: Talos
Elizabeth Bunch: Nyx
Actor and Motion Capture Performer Briareos: David Matranga
Motion Capture Performer Deunan: Alissa Simmons

Appleseed Alpha (2014)

Deunan and Briareos are struggling to get by as mercenaries following World War Three and are currently indentured to Two Horns, a gangster who has taken over the remains of New York City. He sends them out on a simple droid-clearing assignment but they run into Olsen and a mysterious girl and find new meaning to their lives.

6/10

Entertaining and good-looking action movie which isn’t as successful at capturing the audience’s emotions as it is trying to be. Fortunately, it isn’t grasping too hard and so you don’t find the emotional beats funny. This is not a negative review but the action likewise doesn’t break out of adequate; a lack of imagination and logic means that there are some reasonably exciting scenes which end when their time is up, not because a character or plot point or logical action caused it to end. None of the action in the Appleseed CG movies has ever been close to the heights of the opening scene of the first one.  With these faults noted, though, I still enjoyed the movie, I liked the characters enough and was never remotely bored. Villain Two Horns is an unexpected highlight but some of the visuals are clearly the talking point; the environments and explosions are photo-realistic and the characters are highly convincing without using the anime-style of previous outings or descending into the distracting uncanny valley.

This movie contains strong violence, adult dialogue

The Croods (2013) – 7/10 CG animated adventure movie

AmazonBuy The Croods at Amazon

Cast / crew
Actor, Director and Writer Belt: Chris Sanders
Director and Writer: Kirk De Micco
Nicolas Cage: Grug
Emma Stone: Eep
Ryan Reynolds: Guy

The Croods (2013)

Grug Crood’s world is about to come crashing down around him. His teenage daughter, Eep, is gaining her independence and questioning some of his rules against new things and curiosity. On top of that, the world is about to come crashing down around him. Literally.

7/10

Chris Sanders, with this and How to Train Your Dragon (he also did Lilo & Stitch for Disney which had promise and style but big tonal problems), has moved himself into the list of directors it is certainly worth paying attention to. There are a good number of very funny moments and a generally nice tone. Nicolas Cage provides another great piece of voice work (after Astro Boy). But the title! The title is just awful. I don’t want to see a crude film on the big screen, especially not one marketed at children. This is absolutely not crude at all. (Surprising, given that it is a Dreamworks Animation project.) That said, it’s certainly not without plot or character problems. It promotes rebelliousness and disrespect for your father and the idea that they are less wise and insightful than their children; a bafflingly common Hollywood theme. You can become an independent adult without arguing and fighting and being impertinent and disrespectful but you never get that message from Hollywood. And the parting message seems to be "Follow the sun" which, I shouldn’t have to say, is remarkably nonsensical advice. Anyway, while The Croods is blighted by typical Hollywood morals and a dreadful title, it’s easy to look past that and see a fun, funny, warm-hearted film.

This movie contains comic violence

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Basil: The Great Mouse Detective (1986) – 5/10 Disney animated crime detective movie review

AmazonBuy Basil: The Great Mouse Detective at Amazon

Cast / crew
Vincent Price: Professor Ratigan
Barrie Ingham: Basil
Val Bettin: Dawson
Susanne Pollatschek: Olivia
Candy Candido: Fidget
Diana Chesney: Mrs. Judson
Eve Brenner: The Mouse Queen
Alan Young: Flaversham
Music: Henry Mancini
Director, Producer and Story Adaptor Based on the “Basil of Baker Street” book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone: Burny Mattinson
Director and Story Adaptor Based on the “Basil of Baker Street” book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone: John Musker
Director and Story Adaptor Based on the “Basil of Baker Street” book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone: David Michener
Director and Story Adaptor Based on the “Basil of Baker Street” book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone: Ron Clements
Story Adaptor Based on the “Basil of Baker Street” book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone: Pete Young
Story Adaptor Based on the “Basil of Baker Street” book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone: Vance Gerry
Story Adaptor Based on the “Basil of Baker Street” book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone: Steve Hulett
Story Adaptor Based on the “Basil of Baker Street” book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone: Bruce M. Morris
Character Animator and Story Adaptor Based on the “Basil of Baker Street” book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone: Matthew O’Callaghan
Story Adaptor Based on the “Basil of Baker Street” book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone: Melvin Shaw
Original Book Series Writer Basil of Baker Street: Eve Titus
Original Book Series Writer Basil of Baker Street: Paul Galdone
Supervising Animator: Mark Henn
Supervising Animator: Glen Keane
Supervising Animator: Rob Minkoff
Supervising Animator: Hendel Butoy
Animation Consultant: Eric Larson

Basil: The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

Basil takes on the case of Olivia Flaversham whose toymaker father has been kidnapped by archenemy Ratigan.

5/10

Minor Disney animation which makes up for some slow moving and uninteresting segments with a decent climax inside Big Ben and a couple of good songs ("Let Me Be Good to You" and "Goodbye, So Soon"). It’s also probably the only animated Disney movie where the hero smokes and a character offers to take off all her clothes for you. The Big Ben sequence also boasts Disney’s first blending of CGI with character animation; Ratigan’s run through the gears of Big Ben’s clock mechanisms remains superb to this day. Apart from this final section, though, the animation is merely adequate. Disney animations are generally famed for their smoothness, fluidity and convincing weight and movement. It certainly looks like corners were cut in the frame rate, especially with the Queen automaton.

This movie contains violence

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Rise of the Guardians (2012) – 6/10 animated fantasy action movie review

AmazonBuy Rise of The Guardians at Amazon

Cast / crew
Actor and Director Burgess Pedestrian #2: Peter Ramsey
Producer: Christina Steinberg
Producer: Nancy Bernstein
Executive Producer, Original Book Series Writer and Original Short Film Director Book series “Guardians of Childhood” and Reel FX short film “The Man in the Moon”: William Joyce
Screenplay Writer Based on “Guardians of Childhood” the Book Series by William Joyce and “The Man in the Moon” A Reel FX short film Directed by William Joyce: David Lindsay-Abaire
Jack Frost: Chris Pine
Alec Baldwin: North
Jude Law: Pitch
Isla Fisher: Tooth
Hugh Jackman: Bunny
Animation Supervisor: Antony Gray
Animation Supervisor: Steven “Shaggy” Hornby
Animation Supervisor: Philippe Le Brun
Animation Supervisor: David Pate
Animation Supervisor: Pierre Perifel

Rise of The Guardians (2012)

North, Tooth, Sandy and Bunny are Guardians of children’s dreams; that’s a job now. Nevertheless, they are surprised when the Man in the Moon (keep up) announces that a new Guardian is to be appointed, Jack Frost, but Jack is less than thrilled at the honour and more interested in having endless fun just as he has been for the last *double-checks* three-hundred years.

6/10

This is an expertly crafted movie with good voice work and animation and it is frequently engrossing through pure movie-making technique. The problem comes from the concept which sounds cool (and a similar idea certainly worked in Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas) but never quite gels. I suspect that if this had foregone the Hollywood tradition of having a bad guy and made the story work with apathy, commercialism and indifference providing the reason for children not believing in Santa – excuse me, North – et al, we would have had a more convincing and interesting movie. Bafflingly, the movie ends with a technically superb scene (the editing, staging and music are all top-notch) with what might be the stupidest piece of advice ever given by one human being to another: "When the moon tells you something, believe it." Huh?

This movie contains scary scenes

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.