Men in Black 3 (2012) – 4/10 science fiction action comedy movie review

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Cast / crew
Actor and Director Husband Watching Launch: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer Based on the Malibu Comic by Lowell Cunningham: Etan Cohen
Writer (Original Comic): Lowell Cunningham
Producer: Walter F. Parkes
Producer: Laurie MacDonald
Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg
Will Smith: Agent J
Tommy Lee Jones: Agent K
Josh Brolin: Young Agent K
Jemaine Clement: Boris The Animal
Michael Stuhlbarg: Griffin
Alice Eve: Young Agent O
Bill Hader: Andy Warhol
David Rasche: Agent X
Emma Thompson: Agent O

Men in Black 3 (2012)

MIB Agent J is flummoxed when he goes to pick up K from his home only to find a mother and child. No K but they did have some delicious chocolate milk, so that was handy. When he gets to work, K is not just nowhere to be seen… he’s been dead for forty years.

4/10

While it is reasonably entertaining, avoids the bloat common to many belated sequels and boasts a nearly film-rescuing performance from Josh Brolin entertainingly capturing the mannerisms of Tommy Lee Jones, this is still a poor movie. The peril, villain and story are impactless (and don’t fit with the first movie) but the elements that could make up some of that shortfall, inventiveness and fun, are consistently weak; not bad exactly, just underwhelming. While there’s no compelling invention, there is some fun, but it is only occasionally effective. Notably, Will Smith is not on top form here; he doesn’t have much to work with but doesn’t seem to be able to project as much energy onscreen as he has in the past and his natural charisma is slightly muted as a result. Tommy Lee Jones is fine but has almost nothing to do while Josh Brolin nearly makes up the shortfall of the two franchise stars. For some inexplicable reason, seeing him say stuff  like Tommy Lee Jones is endlessly joyful.

This movie contains bad language, extreme fantasy violence, extremely unpleasant scenes

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Always (1989) – 8/10 fantasy action romance Steven Spielberg movie review

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Cast / crew
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenplay Writer: Jerry Belson
Writer (Original Screenplay) “A Guy Named Joe”: Dalton Trumbo
Writer (Original Screenplay Adaptation) “A Guy Named Joe”: Frederick Hazlitt Brennan
Writer (Original Screen Story) “A Guy Named Joe”: Chandler Sprague
Writer (Original Screen Story) “A Guy Named Joe”: David Boehm
Richard Dreyfuss: Pete Sandich
Holly Hunter: Dorinda Durston
John Goodman: Al Yackey
Brad Johnson: Ted Baker
Audrey Hepburn: Hap
Producer: Steven Spielberg
Producer: Frank Marshall
Producer: Kathleen Kennedy
Music: John Williams

Always (1989)

Fire fighting pilot Pete saves best friend Al’s life by sacrificing his own. He is sent back by an angel to help influence the life of another trainee fire-fighting pilot, Ted Baker. However, a chance meeting by this trainee reintroduces Pete to his former love, Dorinda. Will he concentrate on his duty or will he make a futile attempt to rekindle his long-lost romance?

8/10

This is a forgotten Spielberg; a gem awaiting your discovery. This is an emotionally engaging fantasy romance with some good humour and outstanding action. It’s certainly not above criticism as it’s not consistently convincing and the Dreyfuss-Hunter romance for the first part of the movie feels lifted from an animated movie. However, all of the action sequences are extremely thrilling and spectacular, there are a number of lovely scenes and the climax works emotionally. Also, Always contains a mighty Hitler moustache gag that you probably won’t ever see again in a Spielberg movie.

This movie contains mild adult dialogue, mild bad language, mild unpleasant scenes and Holly Hunter in adorably chunky white socks

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Columbo s01e01 Murder by the Book (1971) – 6/10 crime detective TV review

Cast / crew
Lieutenant Columbo: Peter Falk
Jack Cassidy: Ken Franklin
Rosemary Forsyth: Jill Ferris
Martin Milner: James “Jim” Ferris
Director: Steven Spielberg
Story Editor and Writer: Steven Bochco
Producer and Series Creator: Richard Levinson
Producer and Series Creator: William Link

Columbo s01e01 Murder by the Book (1971)

When a successful book-writing partnership decides to part company, the ‘silent’ partner murders the other in order to collect the insurance payout but even their famed literary creation, Miss Melville, would have to go some to match wits with our Lt. Columbo.

6/10

A good perfect alibi plot and Peter Falk’s perfect performance as the eponymous shambling detective lift this murder mystery but an unconvincing conclusion drag things back down. Turns out the perfect alibi was just that. This episode was directed by Steven Spielberg and his sense of location creates some peculiarly indelible impressions. This was the first of the regular Columbo series (as opposed to the pilot episode) which would run for nearly thirty years and would be Spielberg’s immediately previous work to his breakthrough TV movie Duel (made the same year).

This Columbo episode contains

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011) – 7/10 Steven Spielberg action adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Steven Spielberg
Jamie Bell: Tintin
Andy Serkis: Haddock
Daniel Craig: Sakharine, Red Rackham
Writer: Steven Moffat
Writer: Joe Cornish
Writer: Edgar Wright
Writer: Hergé

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of The Unicorn (2011)

Gun-wielding baby-faced bequiffed ginger reporter (!) Tintin innocently buys a model ship of The Unicorn but finds himself violently targeted by treasure-hunters eager to unravel the Unicorn’s secrets.

7/10

Steven Spielberg’s bash at performance capture movie-making looks great from the get-go but, as with many CG animated movies, it’s not consistently involving and has little emotional connection. Tintin is an oddly blank and anachronistic hero (he looks like a teenager but behaves as an adult and impassively shoots baddies). The movie also races through it’s plot without momentum; it’s going fast but not necessarily because the plot demands it. On the plus side it goes on to offer some funny moments, more stunning visuals, and a couple of top-drawer action sequences (an extended pirate ship attack and a single-shot motorcycle chase, impressive in 3D).

This movie contains violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) – 7/10 period fantasy detective action comedy movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer (Screenplay): Jeffrey Price
Writer (Screenplay): Peter S. Seaman
Producer: Robert Watts
Producer: Frank Marshall
Bob Hoskins: Eddie Valient
Christopher Lloyd: Judge Doom
Writer (Original Book) “Who Censored Roger Rabbit?”: Gary K. Wolf
Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg
Director of Animation: Richard Williams
Charles Fleischer: the voice of Roger Rabbit
Stubby Kaye: Maroon
Joanna Cassidy: Dolores

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Toon town boss R.K. Maroon is found dead after toon star Roger Rabbit discovers that his wife, Jessica, had been playing pat-a-cake with him. Roger turns to alcoholic private detective Eddie Valiant is a bid to clear his name but Valiant’s had enough of toons to last him a lifetime.

7/10

Technically astonishing, yes, but the real surprise is a story and lead characters that work and make you forget the make-believe miracles happening on-screen. An outstanding reference-quality live-action performance from Bob Hoskins that should have earned him at least an Oscar nomination is backed up by unforgettable bad guy work from Christopher Lloyd and great voice acting from Charles Fleischer and Kathleen Turner / Amy Irving (who also get one of the all-time great screen entrances). Tonally, it’s a bit off in places with the climax particularly horrific and not just for a BBFC PG; it’s one of the most graphically and unforgettably horrible villain exits ever filmed and is absolutely not for children.

This movie contains bad language, adult dialogue and extremely graphic and extremely unpleasant scenes and graphic violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) – 6/10 science-fiction action adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Michael Bay
Writer Based on Hasbro’s Transformers Action Figures: Ehren Kruger
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Producer: Tom DeSanto
Producer: Don Murphy
Producer: Ian Bryce
Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg
Executive Producer: Michael Bay
Shia LaBeouf: Sam Witwicky
Josh Duhamel: Lennox
John Turturro: Simmons
Tyrese Gibson: Epps
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: Carly
Patrick Dempsey: Dylan
Kevin Dunn: Ron Witwicky
Julie White: Judy Witwicky
Ken Jeong: Jerry Wang
John Malkovich: Bruce Brazos
Frances McDormand: Mearing
Peter Cullen: Optimus Prime
Hugo Weaving: Megatron
Leonard Nimoy: Sentinel Prime

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Sam is struggling to find a place back in the real world but a secret that has been kept since the late 1960’s is about to erupt into his life and involve him in the fate of the world once more. Though no-one has anyway of knowing for certain, he suspects that some stuff might get blown up.

6/10

Restoring the fun to the franchise before going all serious for the Chicago-levelling third act but never achieving the greatness that the fantastically cool pre-credits sequence, awesome Buzz Aldrin cameo and Leonard Nimoy’s Sentinel Prime promise, Dark of the Moon is a Michael Bay movie that has several good moments. Unfortunately, it does devolve into a series of beautiful visuals featuring too many robots you frequently can’t differentiate around which the bullet-, missile-, concrete-, gravity- and crash-landing-proof Shia LaBeouf is hurled and thrown and dropped. If he ever wanted to destroy the world, there would be no way to stop him.

This movie contains the obligatory sexual swear words to ensure the certificate and graphic and extreme violence by robots on humans, graphic and extreme robot violence and ‘hilarious’ homosexual misunderstandings, sensuality.

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

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Letters from Iwo Jima (2006, WWII Movie) – 7/10 review

Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer (Screenplay): Iris Yamashita
Writer (Story): Iris Yamashita
Writer (Story): Paul Haggis
Producer: Clint Eastwood
Producer: Steven Spielberg
Producer: Robert Lorenz
Writer "Picture Letters from Commander in Chief": Tadamichi Kuribayashi
Editor "Picture Letters from Commander in Chief": Tsuyuko Yoshida
Executive Producer: Paul Haggis
Ken Watanabe: General Kuribayashi
Kazunari Ninomiya: Saigo
Tsuyoshi Ihara: Baron Nishi
Ryo Kase: Shimizu
Shidou Nakamura: Lieutenant Ito

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

Iwo Jima will be critically important to keeping Japan out of American hands but the overwhelming force and lack of reinforcements mean that, for the soldiers charged with its defence, it is a death sentence.

7/10

Eastwood delivers his traditional strengths of delicate pacing, good performances and lack of gratuitousness but has no point to make and fails to make the movie militarily or strategically interesting. He also fails to present the Japanese custom of suicide instead of surrender with any conviction (despite some impressively horrible suicide-by-grenades) and makes it clear that he thinks that is a stupid idea. Maybe in hindsight and the cold light of day it is, but in the middle of war and in a culture where you are directly serving a god (the Emperor), morality and reasoned thinking very much take second place. Instead, Eastwood places our sympathies with a young man who doesn’t want to die and dumps in an wise and understanding commanding officer to lead them all; making this just another American war movie except nobody speaks English.

This movie contains occasional sexual swear words and graphic gun violence, gory and extremely unpleasant scenes of suicide.

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

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