Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets (2002) – 8/10 fantasy action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Executive Producer: Chris Columbus
Screenplay Writer Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling: Steve Kloves
Producer: David Heyman
Writer (Original Novel): J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter: Daniel Radcliffe
Ron Weasley: Rupert Grint
Hermione Granger: Emma Watson
Kenneth Branagh: Gilderoy Lockhart
Nearly Headless Nick: John Cleese
Rubeus Hagrid: Robbie Coltrane
Professor Filius Flitwick: Warwick Davis
Vernon Dursley: Richard Griffiths
Professor Albus Dumbledore: Richard Harris
Lucius Malfoy: Jason Isaacs
Professor Severus Snape: Alan Rickman
Petunia Dursley: Fiona Shaw
Professor Minverva McConagall: Maggie Smith
Molly Weasley: Julie Walters

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Unhappily existing at his Muggle family anxious to return to Hogwart’s, Harry Potter is visisted by a house elf who’s mission is to stop him attending this year at all costs. Despite the elf’s best efforts, Harry manages to get to school but he might wish he hadn’t as petrified animals and students and writing in blood on the walls warn of the re-opening of the legendary Chamber of Secrets and the unleashing of the horror within.

8/10

Significantly better than the first episode with vastly improved special effects, more interesting photography and lots of ideas and good moments. Kenneth Branagh steals the show as a superstar wizard, Jason Isaacs is good value as what will hopefully be a recurring character but the two male leads, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, provide the movies’ unshakable heart and soul.

This movie contains intense scary scenes, violence, strong unpleasant scenes

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) – 7/10 science fiction action adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Director: George Lucas
Writer (Screenplay): George Lucas
Writer (Screenplay): Jonathan Hales
Writer (Story): George Lucas
Producer: Rick McCallum
Executive Producer: George Lucas
Ewan McGregor: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman: Padmé
Hayden Christensen: Anakin Skywalker
Frank Oz: Yoda
Ian McDiarmid: Supreme Chancellor Palpatine
Samuel L. Jackson: Mace Windu
Christopher Lee: Count Dooku

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)

With Amidala now a Senator and Anakin a highly-trained and highly-skilled Jedi Padawan, there is violent unrest as the Republic falters. Many thousands of star-systems seek a different leadership and the few Jedi cannot control the fall-out. Then an assassination attempt on Amidala sets in motion events that will have cataclysmic effect.

7/10

"I forgot that there’s… That people take this seriously." – George Lucas

Arrogance aside, sad to say, Lucas’ biggest mistake in the Star Wars saga begins here with the casting of Hayden Christiansen who manages to miss every beat, overlook every emotion, and undermine nearly every scene he is in. He never convinces from frame one and almost never would. Even elsewhere this is curiously flat but still manages to provide plenty of intrigue, plenty of stunning costumes for Natalie Portman, some tidy action and what was 2002’s cinematic highlight: diminutive green Jedi Master Yoda finally letting rip and having a full-on Jedi battle with the evil Count Dooku. Awesome is simply not a big enough word.

This movie contains violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Ice Age (2002) – 6/10 animated prehistoric adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Ray Romano: Manfred
John Leguizamo: Sid
Denis Leary: Diego
Peter Ackerman: Dodo
Chris Wedge: Dodo
Peter Ackerman: Freaky Mammal
Chris Wedge: Scrat
Director: Chris Wedge
Co-Director: Carlos Saldanha
Writer (Story): Michael J. Wilson
Writer (Screenplay): Michael Berg
Writer (Screenplay): Michael J. Wilson
Writer (Screenplay): Peter Ackerman

Ice Age (2002)

6/10

Barely adequate animation presentation of a barely adequate story. John Leguizamo does surprisingly well as an annoying character who is supposed to be endearing and, along with him, incidental character Scrat and his acorn prove to be the only highlights. Remarkably, this spawned a very profitable franchise for 20th Century-Fox and, most unusually, ever-improving sequels.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (2002, Stealth Espionage Action, Windows) – 9/10 game review

Cast / crew
Senior Producer: Mathieu Ferland
Senior Producer: Reid Schneider
Original Creator: François Coulon
Writer: J.T. Petty
Lead Game Designer: Nathan Wolff
Creative Director: François Coulon
Michael Ironside: Sam Fisher

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (2002)

9/10

Occasionally obscure level design never undermines the total super-awesomeness that is Sam Fisher, the player. Splinter Cell consistently makes you feel like an amazing super-covert super-operative while still allowing you to be very vulnerable to bullets (unlike most games). Bullets hurt. On Normal, getting into a firefight is a to-be-avoided, near-death adrenalin bath. When you survive, it is always genuinely amazing and intoxicating. Usually, the action is far more considered and, remarkably, a similar level of satisfaction is obtained by successfully achieving your objectives without exposing yourself to the frequently game-ending danger of a gunfight. This is a complete classic.

This game contains none in game, sexual swear words in closing song (!) and melee and gun violence.

Classified 12+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 12 or over.
Classified Bad Language by PEGI. Game contains bad language.
Classified Violence by PEGI. Game contains depictions of violence.

Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road (2002, Fantasy Comedy) – 6/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Producer (Presents credit): Peter Hoffman
James Marsden: Neal Oliver
Gary Oldman: O.W. Grant
Amy Smart: Lynn Linden
Christopher Lloyd: Ray
Amy Jo Johnson: Laura
Ann-Margret: Mrs. James
Art Evans: Otis
Wayne Robson: Tolbert (Deep Stomach)
Rebecca Jenkins: Susan Ross
Chris Cooper: Bob Cody
Producer: Ira Deutchman
Producer: Peter Newman
Producer: Peter Bray
Producer: Neil Canton
Producer: Bob Gale
Writer: Bob Gale
Director: Bob Gale

Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road (2002)

Neal Oliver is at a junction in his life wondering what career path to take. Wishing for answers, pricks up the ears of O.W. Grant who just so happens to specialise in granting wishes.

6/10

Back to the Future co-writer Bob Gale has written an interesting movie but not directed an interesting movie. A narration was completely unnecessary (as is the dreary subtitle) and it could also probably have done without the extensive bad language (Michael J. Fox and Amy Jo Johnson’s segments) which seems at odds with the happily-ever-after, fantasy nature of the overall tale. Gary Oldman is typically brilliant and the movie is at it’s best when he is on-screen though Christopher Lloyd, Chris Cooper and Kurt Russell are also a lot of fun. I particularly liked the Museum of Art Fraud, ‘will work for food’ and the red Spades but all the segments have imagination and depth. Despite this, Bob Gale the director doesn’t manage to quite keep the attention throughout perhaps because there’s no energy or sense of malevolent fun when Gary Oldman’s not around.

This movie contains frequent sexual swear words in certain segments, strong adult dialogue and fictional substance abuse and unpleasant scene and sexuality.

 

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

The Janson Directive (2002, Conspiracy Thriller) – 7/10 book review

Cast / crew
Writer: Robert Ludlum

Janson Directive, The (2002)

Paul Janson, a former Con-Ops legend and current high-level private security advisor, is requested by his former employers to retrieve munificent billionaire Peter Novak from the clutches of a Middle-Eastern country who plan to publicly execute him. Though reluctant to have anything to do with the American military again, Janson puts his own personal feelings aside to plan and lead the rescue of Peter Novak, a great man who was responsible for saving Janson’s life several years earlier.

7/10

Largely thrilling page-turner with an intriguing central conceit (through his charitable foundation a billionaire accomplishes what the American government can’t due to foreign policy and international etiquette, SPOILER except he is a fictitious character, played by multiple surgically altered agents, created by the American government to do just that). There are a couple of marvellous rug-pulling moments though the first one is undermined by the later revelation it was done on purpose (though it’s not clear why) and it has the unfortunate effect of making the entire story feel a bit of a cheat. Nevertheless, this ticks most of the boxes you want from a thriller novel.

This Robert Ludlum book contains sexual swear words, adult dialogue and graphic violence, unpleasant and sadistic torture scenes and sexuality.

Reign of Fire (2002, Movie) – 8/10 review

Matthew McConaughey: Van Zan
Christian Bale: Quinn
Izabella Scorupco: Alex
Gerard Butler: Creedy
Alice Krige: Karen Abercromby
Producer: Richard D. Zanuck
Producer: Lili Fini Zanuck
Producer: Gary Barber
Producer: Roger Birnbaum
Writer (Story): Gregg Chabot
Writer (Story): Kevin Peterka
Writer (Screenplay): Gregg Chabot
Writer (Screenplay): Kevin Peterka
Writer (Screenplay): Matt Greenberg
Director: Rob Bowman

Reign of Fire (2002)

After dragons return to and devastate the earth, small pockets of survivors try to scratch a meagre existence. One such pocket, led by Quinn, is about to receive a visit, however, from an American and his troops who are on their way to London to kill the bull dragon responsible for fertilizing the planet’s entire population.

8/10

Surprisingly, for an apocalyptical movie, this is a not-depressing but thrilling adventure with some spectacular dragon effects. Also, somewhat amazingly, this is the only dragon movie ever made that is any good at all (Dragonslayer is awful outside of the dragon and people don’t like it when you mention Pete’s Dragon). For that, I think I need to give it an extra star.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, mild swear words and strong melee violence, unpleasant scenes.

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