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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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.

Columbo s01e07 Blueprint for Murder (1972) – 6/10 crime detective TV review

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Cast / crew
Lieutenant Columbo: Peter Falk
Patrick O’Neal: Elliiot Markham
Janis Paige: Goldie Williamson
Pamela Austin: Jennifer Williamson
John Fiedler: Doctor Moss
Forrest Tucker: Bo Williamson
Actor and Director: Peter Falk
Screenplay Writer: Steven Bochco
Story Writer: William Kelley
Producer and Series Creator: Richard Levinson
Producer and Series Creator: William Link

Columbo s01e07 Blueprint for Murder (1972)

Columbo investigates a reported death of a Texas tycoon but there’s no body and the last man to see him, architect Elliot Markham, presumes that he has gone off on an international trip. Sure enough, the police find the tycoon’s car at the airport but while the tape player and glovebox is stuffed with country and western music, the radio is tuned to a classical station. That’s enough to make Columbo think that something sinister may be going on.

6/10

Memorable but empty episode. Columbo’s surprise appearance in a woman’s bedroom is probably worth the price of admission and the plan for disposing of the body is clever. The skyscraper construction site is an unusual, interesting and convincing location. The episode is paced surprisingly well given the lack of developments but director Peter Falk doesn’t quite get the end gambit (the digging up of the pile / eventual arrest) quite right.

This Columbo episode contains very mild gory scene

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

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

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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.