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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

de Blob 2 (2011, PS3) – 8/10 action platform painting game review

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Cast / crew
Dedicated To and Environment Artist: Russell Hughes
Game Director: Nick Hagger
Art Director: Terry Lane
Lead Artist: Lewis Mitchell
Lead Animator: Shannon Caldwell
Lead Audio: John Guscott
Lead Designer: Mark Morrison
Lead Designer: Christian Canton
Lead Level Designer: Andrew Trevillian
Level Designer 2D: Bryan Duffy
Lead Programmer: Dan Khoan Chau
Audio Programmer: Lindsay Loughlin
Graphics Programmer: Jarrod Smith
Graphics Programmer: Florian Strauss
Technical Director: Graeme Webb
Project Manager: Chris Slater
Music Composer and Producer: John Guscott
Voice Casting and Direction: Douglas Carrigan
Dee Bradley Baker: Blob, Prof, Bif, Inky Scientist, Shepherds, Raydians
Candi Milo: Pinky, Spiky, Graydians

de Blob 2 (2011)

Unsurprisingly, Prisma City’s general election is going very well for Papa Blanc, as he has rigged the voting booths with mechanical arms that always vote for him. Once he has swept to power, he is revealed to be Comrade Black who proceeds to drain the city of colour once more. Only Blob and the Colour Underground can restore things but are they playing into Black’s hands?

8/10

Gentle, tinkly gameplay, beautiful visuals (the reds, greens and blues are particularly gorgeous and there is some excellent non-player animation) and high quality sound make de Blob 2 a good all-ages platformer well worth playing, but awkward jumping from uneven terrain, unintelligent targeting and some infuriating checkpointing mean it is oddly wearisome. John Guscott and Lindsay Loughlin’s dynamic music is wonderful and the large levels feel full of life and happiness when you’ve restored colour to them and how lovely is that?

Classified 7+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 7 or over.
Classified Violence by PEGI. Game contains depictions of violence.

Links

Rio (2011) – animated romantic adventure movie review

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Cast / crew
Anne Hathaway: Jewel
Jesse Eisenberg: Blu
Jemaine Clement: Nigel
Leslie Mann: Linda
Tracy Morgan: Luiz
Will.I.Am: Pedro
Rodrigo Santoro: Tulio
George Lopez: Rafael
Jamie Foxx: Nico
Director and Story Writer: Carlos Saldanha
Story Writer: Earl Richey Jones
Story Writer: Todd Jones
Screenplay Writer: Don Rhymer
Screenplay Writer: Joshua Sternin
Screenplay Writer: Jeffrey Ventimilia
Screenplay Writer: Sam Harper
Producer: Bruce Anderson
Producer: John C. Donkin

Rio (2011)

Blu, the last male Blue Macaw in the world, is brought to Rio to mate and save the species from extinction but his value doesn’t go unnoticed by local poachers. With hilarious consequences.

4/10

Blue Sky Studio’s cash-grabbing sequel to PDI’s Madagascar is entirely perfunctory and never engaging for adults; this is one parents will have to sit through patiently. Given that it’s set in Rio de Janeiro during the world famous Rio Carnival, the use of songs is hopeless. Every original song tells you nothing, moves nothing forward, elucidates nothing. That said, there are a couple of strong moments for Lionel Richie. Rio is very bright and very colourful and I remembered the names of the two main characters, indicating that the technical story-telling is entirely adequate; it’s just that nothing interesting, informative, entertaining or exciting happens throughout the entire movie. There’s no dramatic value in the story and that leaves two or three decent quality gags to hold everything up. It doesn’t. Additionally, this is another American movie that thinks that horrendous dog drool is hilarious; it’s not, it’s repulsive. Movie-makers: please stop doing that.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Haywire (2011) – 6/10 action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director, Director of Photography and Editor: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Lem Dobbs
1st Assistant Director and Producer: Gregory Jacobs
Gina Carano: Mallory
Michael Fassbender: Paul
Ewan McGregor: Kenneth
Bill Paxton: Mr. Kane
Channing Tatum: Aaron
Mathieu Kassovitz: Studer
Michael Angarano: Scott
Antonio Banderas: Rodrigo
Michael Douglas: Coblenz

Haywire (2011)

Private sector security professional Mallory Kane finds herself double-crossed after a job in Barcelona that goes completely according to plan. While confused and in the dark, she knows that if she keeps following the trail back up the chain of command and hits everything on the way, there should be answers and freedom at the end of it.

6/10

The name Steven Soderbergh gets snobby critics all a-quiver and so they found themselves a little disappointed when he appeared to just deliver a shallow action movie. What he really delivered was a shallow action movie with a completely convincing female action lead; it may turn out to be unique. Though her facial expression never seems to change, Gina Carano’s acting is enough and she certainly has a bit of charisma. Her action scenes, though, are consistently excellent; convincing and engaging. There’s an ebb and flow to them as upper hands are taken and tables are turned by each combatant with the final victory always being hard won through diligent appliance of their skill-set. The main thing that stops it from being a better action movie is a complete lack of triumph or cool but that’s not Carano’s fault, it’s Soderbergh’s.

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

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

Beyond Good & Evil (2003, 2011 PS3) – 8/10 action adventure game review

Cast / crew
Director, Game Designer and Story Writer: Michel Ancel
Producer: Yves Guillemot
Dialogue and Story Writer: Jacques Exertier
Game Designer: Sebastien Morin
Technical Manager: Christophe Beaudet

Beyond Good & Evil (2003)

Jade and her uncle Pey’j are looking after orphans in their lighthouse when it is attacked by the DomZ. After dealing with them, the cities’ Alpha Section show up and take all the credit but that’s not all they’re up to. Re-released in 2011 on HD platforms.

8/10

A fun, engrossing and charming adventure whose only shortcoming lies in a malevolently awkward camera. Beyond Good and Evil feels like it was crafted by a master craftsman, someone who knew what they were doing. There’s just enough challenge to get you to pay attention; there are just enough optional areas to make you feel like an explorer and, in gameplay it should be noted, just enough running away from explosions in slow motion to make you feel like a hero. This is a review of the highly welcome HD release.

This game contains violence, unpleasant scenes