Tuesday, 21 May 2019

From Here to Eternity Review

From Here to Eternity

Release Date: 15th October 1953 - Australia

Production Companies
Columbia Pictures
Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Drama

Rating: PG

Runtime: 118 minutes

Budget: $2,500,000

Box Office Gross: $30,500,000 (US)

Plot Summary
At an Army barracks in Hawaii in the days preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor, lone-wolf soldier and boxing champion "Prew" Prewitt refuses to box, preferring to play the bugle instead. Hard-hearted Capt. Holmes subjects Prew to a grueling series of punishments while, unknown to Holmes, the gruff but fair Sgt. Warden engages in a clandestine affair with the captain's mistreated wife. (www.google.com.au)

Burt Lancaster - Sgt. Milton Warden
Montgomery Clift - Robert E. Lee Prewitt
Deborah Kerr - Karen Holmes
Donna Reed - Alma aka Lorene
Frank Sinatra - Angelo Maggio 
Philip Ober - Capt. Dana Holmes
Mickey Shaughnessy - Sgt. Leva
Harry Bellaver - Mazzioli
Ernest Borgnine - Sgt. 'Fatso' Judson
Jack Warden - Corp. Buckley
John Dennis - Sgt. Ike Galovitch
Merle Travis - Sal Anderson
Tim Ryan - Sgt. Pete Karelsen
Arthur Keegan - Treadwell
Barbara Morrison - Mrs. Kipfer
Claude Akins - Sgt. 'Baldy' Dhom (Uncredited)
Don Dubbins - Pvt. Friday Clark - Bugler (Uncredited)
George Reeves - Sgt. Maylon
Stark (Uncredited)
Jean Wiles - Annette - Club Receptionist (Uncredited)

Director - Fred Zinnemann
Based on a Novel/Writer: Song
"Reenlistment Blues" - James Jones
Screenplay - Daniel Taradash
Producer - Buddy Adler
Art Director - Cary Odell
Gowns - Jean Louis
Director of Photography - Burnett Guffey
Film Editor - William A. Lyon
Music Director - Morris Stoloff
Background Music - George Duning


1954 Academy Awards
Best Picture - Buddy Adler (Won)
Best Supporting Actor - Frank Sinatra (Won)
Best Supporting Actress - Donna Reed (Won)
Best Director - Fred Zinnenman (Won)
Best Screenplay - Daniel Taradash (Won)
Best Cinematography, Black or White - Burnett Guffey (Won)
Best Sound - John P. Livadary (Won)
Best Film Editing - William A. Lyon (Won)
Best Actor - Montgomery Clift (Nominated)
Best Actor - Burt Lancaster (Nominated)
Best Actress - Deborah Kerr (Nominated)
Best Costume Design, Black or White - Jean Louis (Nominated)
Best Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture -
Morris Stoloff and George Duning (Nominated)

For a long time, I wanted to see the whole movie because I had only ever seen different sections of the film at different times. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY is known as a movie classic because of its well-known passionate scene on the beach between the film's stars Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. Part of the appeal of the movie was being released in 1953, the war experience was still fresh in people's minds. Audiences would have related to the film's content. Moviegoers have not been used to such intimate scenes in a film. But there is more to this film than just the romance, it tells the private lives of two men during World War II and prior to the Pearl Harbor attacks. The film portrays the struggles that people endure during wartime especially its effect on love lives. People could relate the frustrations and loneliness experienced by the characters.

Lancaster, Kerr, Montgomery Clift, Donna Reed and Frank Sinatra are all terrific in their performances as this film elevated their status to being high profile actors. I like how the romantic chemistry works between Lancaster and Kerr as well as Clift and Reed in intimate scenes that today may seemed to be old-fashioned. 

As a modern viewer, I can't say that I related to it very much, however, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY would still have its appeal to fans of black and white movies of the post war era. I would best give the movie a 10 out of 10.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Monday, 6 May 2019

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones Re-Review

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Release Date: 16th May 2002 - Australia

Production Companies
20th Century Fox
Lucasfilm Ltd.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia 

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: PG

Runtime: 142 minutes

Budget: $115,000,000

Box Office Gross: $649,398,328

Plot Summary
Ten years after the
Trade Federation
threatened the planet
Naboo, Padmé Amidala
is now a Senator
representing her home-
world. A faction of
political separatists, led
by Count Dooku, 
attempts to assassinate
her. There aren't enough
Jedi to defend the Republic
against the threat, so
Chancellor Palpatine
enlists the aid of Jango Fett,
who promises that his
army of clones will handle
the situation. Meanwhile,
Obi-Wan Kenobi continues
to train the young Jedi 
Anakin Skywalker, who
fears that, the Jedi code
will forbid his growing
romance with Amidala...

Ewan McGregor - Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman - Senator Padme Amidala
Hayden Christensen - Anakin Skywalker
Ian McDiarmid - Supreme
Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious
Christopher Lee - Count Dooku
Samuel L. Jackson - Mace Windu
Temuera Morrison - Jango Fett
Frank Oz - Yoda (Voice)
Anthony Daniels - C3PO/Dannl Faytonni
Kenny Baker - R2D2
Daniel Logan - Boba Fett
Leeanna Walsman - Zam Wessell
Silas Carson - Nute Gunray/Ki-Adi-Mundi
Ahmed Best - Jar Jar Binks/
Achk Med-Beq
Jimmy Smits - Senator Bail Organa
Pernilla August - Shmi Skywalker
Jack Thompson - Cliegg Lars
Joel Edgerton - Owen Lars
Bonnie Piesse - Beru
Jay Laga'aia - Captain Typho
Andy Secombe - Watto (Voice)
Oliver Ford Davies - Sio Bibble
Ayesha Dharker - Queen Jamillia
Anthony Phelan - Lama Su (Voice)
Rena Owen - Taun We (Voice)
Ron Falk - Dexter Jettster (Voice)
Rose Byrne - Dormé
Verónica Segura - Cordé
Alethea McGrath - Madame Jocastu Nu
Matt Doran - Elan Sleazebaggano
Matt Sloan - Plo Koon
Zachariah Jensen - Kit Fisto
Alex Knoll - J.K. Burtola
Phoebe Yiamkiati - Mari Amithest
Matt Rowan - Senator Orn Free Taa
Steven Boyle - Senator Ask Aak/Passel Argente
Matt Sloan - Plo Koon
Marton Csokas - Poggle the Lesser (Voice) (Uncredited)
Amy Allen - Aayla Secura/Various (Uncredited)
Orli Shashan - Shaak Ti (Uncredited)
Nalini Krishna - Barris Offee (Uncredited)
Mary Oyaya - Luminara Unduli (Uncredited)
Lily Nyamwasa - Adi Gallas (Uncredited)

Story/Screenplay/Executive Producer/
Editor (Uncredited)/Director - George Lucas
Screenplay - Jonathan Hales
Producers - Rick McCallum &
Lorne Orleans (IMAX Version)
Production Designer - Gavin Bocquet
Concept Design Supervisors - Doug Chiang,
Ryan Church & Erik Tiemens
Supervising Art Director - Peter Russell
Set Decorator - Peter Walpole
Property Master - Ty Teiger
Costume Designer - Trisha Biggar
Director of Photography - David Tattersall
Stunt Coordinator/Sword Master - Nick Gillard
Special Effects Supervisor: ILM - Geoff Heron
Special Effects Supervisor - David Young
Visual Effects Supervisors - Pablo Helman, 
John Knoll, Dennis Muren & Ben Snow
Visual Effects Art Director: ILM - Alex Jaeger
Model Supervisor: ILM - Brian Gernand 
Animation Director - Rob Coleman
Animation Supervisors: ILM - Chris Armstrong & 
Hal T. Hickel
Computer Graphics Supervisors: ILM - Kevin Barnhill,
Dan B. Goldman, Robert Marinic, David Meny 
& Curt I. Miyashiro
Motion Capture Supervisor: ILM - Jeffrey B. Light
R2-D2 Designer - Tony Dyson (Uncredited)
Film Editor/Supervising Sound Editor/Designer -
Ben Burtt
Music - John Williams


2003 Academy Awards
Best Visual Effects - Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman,
John Knoll & Ben Snow (Nominated)

When I originally reviewed ATTACK OF THE CLONES in 2011, I thought it was a significant improvement on THE PHANTOM MENACE (click here). However, this improvement was difficult because MENACE was the lowest common denominator of the series. ATTACK OF THE CLONES still wasn't the best Star Wars movie ever made, despite being slightly adjusted with better visuals as well as the fact that Jar Jar has been downgraded to a minor character. Looking back at the film, I realised that it is nowhere near as good as the other Star Wars movies because it was below my expectations. This could be due to the fact that George Lucas was focusing on the visual style and action sequences. The visual aspects of the film highlights the terrible dialogue which apparently Lucas and Jonathan Hale collaborated on. Lucas should have known better than to disappoint all of the hardcore Star Wars fans given what occurred previously in MENACE. Lucas should have gotten someone else to co-write the script with him and change some of the dialogue, including the line “I don’t like sand” in order to make it less cringe-worthy.

Even the romantic subplot is awkward because the relationship of Anakin and Padme should have had better execution in the film. To be fair, this could have been a consequence of the acting and writing. Needless to say, there were still a batch of moments that gave the movie plenty of excitement like the speeder chase, the Battle of Geonosis and the lightsaber duel between Yoda and Count Dooku.

I still think Hayden Christensen is not quite terrific in the role of Anakin Skywalker, however I do feel pity for him, given the fact that his performance is wooden and the dialogue leaves him very little to work with. Ewan McGregor continues his performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Christopher Lee was good at portraying Count Dooku, but his character isn’t as menacing as Darth Maul and is underused in this film.

This franchise has not yet improved its reputation and ATTACK OF THE CLONES didn't help the situation. In fact, it's not the movie that Star Wars fans would have wanted. It would take another three years before REVENGE OF THE SITH (click here) was released to a mildly positive reception. Still, I recommend you see ATTACK OF THE CLONES and ignore all the bad parts.

Star rating: (4/10) Below Average

Saturday, 4 May 2019

In Memory of Peter Mayhew (1944-2019)

Peter Mayhew (1944-2019)

Dearest Star Wars fans, we are very saddened to hear that the English actor Peter Mayhew has died of a heart attack on 30th April 2019 at the age of 74. Mayhew's passing was confirmed through his Twitter account by his family. He was best known for playing Chewbacca in our favorite franchise, a character that was beloved and who can imagine Han Solo without his hairy companion?

Prior to George Lucas' science-fiction film series, Peter was working as an orderly in a hospital in London when he was discovered by producer Charles H. Schneer. Schneer then cast him in Ray Harryhausen's 'Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.' The next year, Peter was cast by aspiring filmmaker George Lucas as the 200-year-old Wookie in what would be the start of the best science-fiction franchise ever. Mayhew would continue his role in 'The Empire Strikes Back', 'Return of the Jedi', 'Revenge of the Sith' and 'The Force Awakens', the latter movie would be the last time he played Chewie.

Apparently he starred as Chewie in a number of guest appearances in shows like 'Donny & Marie', 'The Muppet Show' and 'Glee' as well as numerous Star Wars related projects like an appearance in 'The Clone Wars'. Mayhew played Chewbacca in 'The Star Wars Holiday Special' but according to the reviews, it was said to be pretty bad. Outside of portraying his Star Wars character, Mayhew had different roles in films and TV shows including 'Terror' and 'Dark Towers'.

He will be sorely be missed by his family, friends and loyal fans.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Avengers: Endgame Review

Avengers: Endgame

Release Date: 24th April 2019 - Australia

Production Companies
Marvel Studios
Marvel Entertainment

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 181 minutes

Budget: $400,000,000

Box Office Gross: $1,223,641,414 (Worldwide -
figure subject to change)

Plot Summary
Thanos has wiped out 50 percent of all living creatures. With Tony Stark adrift in space, the remaining Avengers, including Black Widow and Captain America are making a plan–with the help of Scott Lang.

Chris Evans - Steve Rogers/Captain America
Robert Downey Jr. - Tony Stark/
Iron Man
Scarlett Johannson - Natasha
Romanoff/Black Widow
Brie Larson - Carol Danvers/
Captain Marvel
Chris Hemsworth - Thor
Mark Ruffalo - Bruce Banner/
The Hulk
Bradley Cooper - Rocket the Raccoon
Paul Rudd - Scott Lang/Ant-Man
Don Cheadle - Lt. James Rhodes/War Machine
Jeremy Renner - Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Josh Brolin - Thanos
Karen Gillian - Nebula
Chris Pratt - Peter Quill/Star-Lord
Zoe Saldana - Gamora
Dave Baustia - Drax the Destroyer
Pom Klementieff - Mantis
Vin Diesel - Groot (Voice)
Terry Notary - On-Set Groot/
Cull Obsidian
Benedict Cumberbatch - Doctor
Tom Holland - Peter Parker/
Chadwick Boseman - T’Challa/
Black Panther
Elizabeth Olsen - Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
Sebastian Stan - Bucky Barnes/Winter Solider
Winston Duke - M’Baku
Danai Gurira - Okoye
Florence Kasumba - Ayo
Tom Hiddleston - Loki
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor - Ebony 
Carrie Coon - Proxima Midnight (Voice) (Uncredited)
Michael James Shaw - Corvus Glaive
Tessa Thompson - Valkyrie 
Taika Waititi - Korg (Voice)
Gwyneth Paltrow - Pepper Potts
Jon Favreau - Happy Hogan
Evangeline Lilly - Hope Pym/
The Wasp
Michael Douglas - Hank Pym
Sean Gunn - On-Set Rocket
Tilda Swinton - The Ancient One
Benedict Wong - Wong
William Hurt - Secretary of State 
Thaddeus Ross
Callan Mulvey - Jack Rollins  
John Slattery - Howard Stark
Robert Redford - Alexander Pierce
Frank Grillo - Brock Rumlow
Maximiliano Hernandez - Agent Sitwell
Linda Cardellini - Laura Barton
Ben Sakamoto - Cooper Barton
Ava Russo - Lila Barton
Cade Woodward - Nathaniel Barton
Alexandra Rachael Rabe - Morgan Stark
Ross Marquand - Red Skull (Stonekeeper)
Emma Fuhrmann - Cassie Lang
Hiroyuki Sanada - Akihido
Kerry Condon - Voice of Friday (Voice)
Samuel L. Jackson - Nick Fury 
Cobie Smulders - Maria Hill 
Hayley Atwell - Peggy Carter 
Ty Simpkins - Harley Keener (Cameo)
Stan Lee - Driver (Cameo)
James D’Arcy - Jarvis (Cameo)
Natalie Portman - Jane Foster (Cameo)
Marisa Tomei - Aunt May (Cameo)
Callan Mulvey - Jack Rollins 
Jacob Batalon - Ned (Cameo)
Angela Bassett - Ramona (Cameo) 
Rene Russo - Frigga (Cameo)
Michelle Pfeiffer - Janet Van Dyne (Cameo)
Jackson A. Dunn - Scott Lang
(12 Y.O.)
Lee Moore - Scott Lang (93 Y.O.)
Bazlo and Loen LeClair - Scott Lang (Baby)

Directors - Anthony & Joe Russo
Based on Comic Book Series "The Avengers"/Groot Creator/
Executive Producer - Stan Lee
Based on Comic Book Series "The Avengers"/
Captain America and Groot Creator - Jack Kirby 
Star-Lord/Mantis Creator - Steve Englehart
Star-Lord Creator - Steve Gan
Gamora, Thanos and Drax Creator - Jim Starlin
Groot Creator - Larry Lieber
Rocket Raccoon Creators - Bill Mantlo and
Keith Giffen
Mantis Creator - Don Heck
Screenplay/Co-Producers - Christopher Markus 

and Stephen McFeely
Executive Producers - Louis D'Esposito, 
Jon Favreau, James Gunn and Trinh Tran
Producer - Kevin Feige
Co-Producer - Mitchell Bell
Production Designer - Charles Wood
Senior Concept Designer - Sean Hargreaves
Set Decorator - Leslie Pope
Costume Designer - Judianna Makovsky
Cinematography - Trent Opaloch
Second Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator - Sam Hargrave
Second Unit Director: Additional Photography/
Visual Effects Supervisor - Dan DeLeeuw
Stunt Coordinators - Monique Ganderton 
and Sam Hargrave 
Fight Coordinator/Stunt Double - James Young  
Special Effects Supervisors - Daniel Sudick and 
Naama Felipe
Visual Effects Supervisor - Kelly Port
Visual Effects Supervisor: ILM - Russell Earl
Visual Effects Supervisor: Weta Digital - Matt Aitken 
Visual Effects Supervisor: Cinesite - Simon Stanley-Clamp
Associate Visual Effects Supervisor - Jay Cooper 
Animation Supervisor: ILM - Kevin Martel
Animation Supervisors: Double Negative - Thomas Ward and 
Ben Wiggs
Animation Supervisor: Cinesite - Eamonn Butler  
Animation Supervisors - Robert Hemmings and 
Michael Lum
Animation Director: Digital Domain - Jan Philip Cramer
CG Supervisor: Cinesite - Chris Petts 
Motion Capture/Movement Choreographer - 
Terry Notary
Senior Virtual Production Supervisor - Matt Madden 
Editors - Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmit
Music - Alan Silvestri 

Because I was looking forward to seeing the new AVENGERS: ENDGAME movie, I knew that the day would come but I was happy when it did. The film is an epic bittersweet conclusion to an ensemble superhero team that was first introduced in 2012. Now the 22 film saga is definitely over, culminating in ENDGAME. It was a haunting goodbye for a few of the main actors like Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Rufalo and Chris Evans who have been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) long enough that it was a logical end for their characters. With Marvel shifting their focus on to their ongoing solo projects, there won't be a new AVENGERS movie, unless it will be rebooted.

ENDGAME certainly has its positive aspects such as the direction, the acting, the entertainment value and its emotional weight. Particularly outstanding were those performances from Downey, Jr., Josh Brolin, Scarlet Johannson, Jeremy Renner, Rufalo, Evans, Paul Rudd and Chris Hemsworth. There isn't any easy way to conclude this chapter but directors Anthony & Joe Russo did this to surprise moviegoers. Now I'm not going to tell you, exactly why this film has such an emotional impact. But let's just say that you might take a hanky or a box of tissues. Otherwise, I might pull a Homer Simpson moment.

In my honest opinion, ENDGAME is the best of both worlds, not only to the MCU but to THE AVENGERS series. I consider this sequel as much better than INFINITY WAR (click here) and the best movie of 2019 to date. Don't miss out on this one.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) Review

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Release Date: 12th September 1996 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Feature Animation

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia 

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 91 minutes

Budget: $100,000,000 

Box Office Gross: $325,338,851 (Worldwide) 

Plot Summary
In 15th century Paris, Clopin
the puppeteer tells the story of
Quasimodo, the misshapen
gentle-soul bell ringer of Notre
Dame, who was nearly killed as
a baby by Claude Frollo, the
Minister of Justice. But Frollo
was forced by the Archdeacon
of Notre Dame to raise
Quasimodo as his own.

Now a young man, Quasimodo
is hidden from the world by
Frollo in the bell tower of the
Cathedral. But during the
Festival of Fools, Quasimodo
is cheered on by his gargoyle
friends Victor, Hugo and
Laverne, decides to take part
on the festivities, where he
meets the lively gypsy girl
Esmeralda and the handsome
solider Phoebus. The three of
them find themselves ranged
against Frollo's cruelty and
his attempts to destroy the
home of the gypsies, the
Court of Miracles. And
Quasimodo must desperately
defend both Esmeralda and
the very cathedral of Notre

Voice Cast
Tom Hulce - Quasimodo
Demi Moore - Esmeralda
Heidi Mollenhauer - Esmeralda (singing voice)
Tony Jay - Judge Claude Frollo
Jason Alexander - Hugo
Charles Kimbrough - Victor
Mary Wickes - Laverne
Paul Kandel - Clopin
Kevin Kline - Captain Phoebus
David Odgen Stiers - Archdeacon
Corey Burton - Brutish Guard/Additional Voices
Bill Fagerbakke - Oafish Guard
Mary Kay Bergman - Quasimodo's Mother/Additional Voices
Frank Welker - Djali/Baby Bird
Jim Cummings - Gypsies/Guards

Directors - Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale
Based on Novel - Victor Hugo
Animation Story/Screenplay - Tab Murphy
Story - Kevin Harkey, Ed
Gombert, Brenda Chapman,
Jeff Snow, Jim Capobianco, Denis Rich,
Burny Mattinson, John Sanford, Kelly Wightman,
James Fujii, Floyd Norman, Francis Glebas,
Kirk Hanson and Christine Blum
Story/Sequence Directors: Paris - Gaetan &
Paul Brizzi
Story/Character Designers/Visual Development -
Geefwee Boedoe and Sue C. Nichols
Animation Screenplay - Irene Mecchi,
Bob Tzudiker, Noni White and Jonathan Roberts
Additional Screenplay Material/Artistic Supervisor: Story/
Supervising Animator: "Laverne" - Will Finn
Producer - Don Hahn
Co-Producer - Roy Conli
Character Designer/Visual Development/
Supervising Animator: "Quasimodo" - James Baxter
Character Designer/Visual Development/
Supervising Animator: "Esmeralda" - Tony Fucile
Character Designer/Visual Development/
Background Supervisor - Lisa Keene
Character Designer/Visual Development - Joe Grant
Character Designer/Visual Developement/
Layout Supervisor - Ed Ghertner
Supervising Animator: "Frollo" - Kathy Zielinski
Supervising Animator: "Phoebus" - Russ Edmonds
Supervising Animator: "Clopin" - Michael Surrey
Supervising Animator: "Victor" and "Hugo" -
David Pruiksma
Supervising Animator: "Djali" - Ron Husband
Art Director - David Goetz
Artistic Coordinator - Randy Fullmer
Visual Effects Supervisor - Christopher Jenkins 
CG Supervisor - Kiran Bhakta Joshi
Songs/Music - Alan Menken
Lyrics - Stephen Schwartz
Film Editor - Ellen Keneshea

Like most people, I was appalled by the news of the near-destruction of Notre Dame cathedral. It was engulfed in flames and was caused by a short circuit. I decided to take a look back at THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME by which I mean the Disney animated version in the wake of this devastation. I have been waiting for the opportunity to review a childhood classic which I had not seen for a long time. Even though, I had never read the book, nor watched the other film adaptations that preceded the animated version. I do believe that HUNCHBACK is one of the darker films that was churned out by Disney. This is because it contains adult themes such as religion, lust and genocide. I believe these would be a surprise for anyone watching this Disney film.

HUNCHBACK could have been aimed entirely at adults if it weren’t for the gargoyles, particularly the one voiced by Jason Alexander, whom provided comic relief. Seriously, to implement characters that are second bananas to the main character is not a good idea for Disney in this film. I don't think it's appropriate because it creates a tonal shift. These secondary characters aren't important, what's really important is the main character of Quasimodo who yearns to be accepted by mainstream society and to escape his confinement inside the walls of Notre Dame. One character I wish to compliment in the movie is the main villain Judge Claude Frollo who is responsible for the film’s dark tone. Frollo is a particuarly frightening villain who seeks to destroy the gypsies. It is up to the hero Quasimodo to stop Frollo from carrying out his plans of damnation. Not since Scar's appearance in THE LION KING (click here) have we seen a villain so scary.

The animation is beautiful and the backgrounds depict the scenery of Paris in the 15th century, for instance, the entire Notre Dame cathedral. Most of the songs by Alan Menken including "Hellfire", "God Help the Outcasts" and "Out There" are good and fitted effectively into the score of an animated musical like HUNCHBACK. The voice-overs are an equlivalent to live acting with superlative performances from Tom Hulce, Demi Moore, Kevin Kline and Tony Jay. They all have lent their voices to HUNCHBACK, thus creating a rich and complex set of characters.

Not exactly the best Disney animation, HUNCHBACK still comes close to THE LION KING or BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (click here) in high standards. Trust me, it’s better to watch it with a parent or guardian in case younger viewers have questions about the mature content in the film. So exercise viewer discretion, everyone.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie


Monday, 15 April 2019

Shazam! Review


Release Date: 4th April 2019 - Australia 

Production Companies
Warner Bros. Pictures
New Line Cinema
DC Comics
DC Entertainment 
Seven Bucks Productions
The Safran Company

Roadshow Distribution 

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 132 minutes

Budget: $100,000,000

Box Office Gross: $221,213,013 (Worldwide - figure subject to change)

Plot Summary
We all have a superhero inside of us -- it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In 14-year-old Billy Batson's case, all he needs to do is shout out one word to transform into the adult superhero Shazam. Still a kid at heart, Shazam revels in the new version of himself by doing what any other teen would do -- have fun while testing out his newfound powers. But he'll need to master them quickly before the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana can get his hands on Shazam's 
magical abilities.

Asher Angel - Billy Batson
Zachary Levi - Shazam
Mark Strong - Dr. Thaddeus Sivana
Jack Dylan Grazer - Freddy Freeman
Grace Fulton - Mary Bromfeld
Faithe Herman - Darla Dudley
Ian Chen - Eugene Choi
Jovan Armand - Pedro Pena
Cooper Andrews - Victor Vasquez
Marta Milans - Rosa Vasquez
Djimon Hounsou - Wizard
Adam Brody - Super Hero Freddy
Ross Butler - Super Hero Eugene
Michelle Borth - Super Hero Mary
D.J. Cotrona - Super Hero Pedro
Meagan Good - Super Hero Darla
John Glover - Mr. Sivana
Wayne Ward - Sid Sivana
David Kohlsmith - Young Billy
Ethan Pugiotto - Thaddeus Sivana (1974)
Landon Doak - Sid Sivana (1974)
Caroline Palmer - Billy's Mom
Keisha T. Fraser - Rachel Batson
Andi Osho - Ms. E.B. Glover
Lotta Losten - Dr. Lynn Crosby
Lisa Truong - Ms. Kwan
Carson MacCormac - Brett Breyer
Evan Marsh - Burke Breyer
Steve Blum - Sin (Voice)
Darin De Paul - Sin (Voice)
Fred Tatasciore - Sin (Voice)

Director - David F. Sandberg
Shazam Creators - Bill Parker and C.C. Beck
Superman Creators - Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
Story/Screenplay - Henry Gayden
Story - Darren Lemke
Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager -
Jeffrey Chernov
Executive Producers - Dany & Hiram Garcia,
Geoff Johns and Dwayne Johnson
Producer - Peter Safran
Co-Producer - David Witz
Production Designer - Jessica Spence
Costume Designer - Leah Butler
Director of Photography - Maxime Alexandre
Stunt Coordinators - Kyle Gardiner and
Larry Lam
Special Effects Supervisor - Cameron Waldbauer
Visual Effects Supervisors - Kelvin McIlwain
and Mike Wassel
Additional Visual Effects - John Dykstra
Animation Supervisor - Peter Dydo
Film Editor - Michel Aller
Music Supervisor - Season Kent
Music - Benjamin Wallfisch

The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) hasn’t had a great film since WONDER WOMAN (click here), although the release of AQUAMAN (click here) changed all of the fans’ perception of DCEU for the most part in 2018. However, after years of unsuccessfully copycatting the Marvel Cinematic Universe. SHAZAM! marks a definite shift away from this mimicry and is among the latest movies to come from DCEU along with the forthcoming release of THE JOKER. I remember the title character when I first watched the episode of JUSTICE LEAGUE which was called Captain Marvel. However, this name has nothing to do with Marvel’s titular super heroine. Although the SHAZAM! comic is hardly obscure for DC, it predates the film by about 80 years.

This cheerful, exciting romp reminds me of Richard Donner’s SUPERMAN (click here) where you get this lighthearted feel to the movie and be highly entertained. In SHAZAM!, there’s even a heartwarming subplot about the foster home and the occasional bits of drama where the main character is desperately searching for his long-lost mother from whom he was separated when he was younger. The way the film portrays SHAZAM! it is as if it was more like a comedy rather than any average superhero feature. Not many films from the genre, like IRON MAN (click here) or GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (click here), had the ability to convey this infectious hilarity, nor had the sense of cheesiness which isn't a bad thing.

I must say Zachary Levi was a perfect casting choice for the role of Shazam. This is because he usually does comedies, so he was playing to his strengths. Young Jack Dylan Grazer does well as Billy's foster brother and best friend Freddy Freeman. Even Mark Strong gets his chance to shine in a DC movie as Shazam's arch-nemesis. He seems to be doing better in this role in a DC movie than what he did as Sinestro in GREEN LANTERN (click here).

SHAZAM! is an outstanding film for both DC fans or anyone who has never read the comics. It is a fast-paced, lighthearted popcorn blockbuster that is bound to keep audiences excited and enthralled. Remember, to say the magic word!

Star rating: (9/10) Excellent Movie

Monday, 25 March 2019

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Review

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Release Date: 1st September 2005 - Australia

Production Companies
Warner Bros. Pictures
Village Roadshow Pictures
The Zanuck Company
Plan B Entertainment

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 115 minutes

Budget: $150,000,000

Box Office Gross: $474,968,763 

Plot Summary
When Willy Wonka decides to let five children into his chocolate factory, he decides to release five golden tickets in five separate chocolate bars, causing complete mayhem. The tickets start to be found, with the fifth going to a very special boy, called Charlie Bucket. With his Grandpa, Charlie joins the rest of the children to experience the most amazing factory ever. But not everything goes to plan within the factory.

Freddie Highmore - Charlie Bucket
Johnny Depp - Willy Wonka
David Kelly - Grandpa Joe
Philip Wiegratz - Augustus Gloop
Anna Sophia-Robb - Violet Beauregarde 
Julia Winter - Veruca Salt
Jordan Fry - Mike Teavee
Helena Bohman Carter - Mrs. Bucket
Noah Taylor - Mr. Bucket
Edward Fox - Mr. Salt
Missi Pyle - Mrs. Beauregarde 
Franziska Troegner - Mrs. Gloop
Adam Godley - Mr. Teavee
Deep Roy - Oompa Loompas
Christopher Lee - Dr. Wilbur Wonka
Blair Dunlop - Little Willy Wonka
Liz Smith - Grandma Georgina
Eileen Essell - Grandma Josephine
David Morris - Grandpa George
Nitin Ganatra - Prince Pondicherry
Shelley Conn - Princess Pondicherry
Chris Cresswell - Prodnose
Philip Philmar - Slugworth
Tony Kirwood - Finckelgruber
Todd Boyce - TV Reporter
Hubertus Geller - German Reporter
Francesca Hunt - Mrs. Salt
Oscar James - Shopkeeper
Annette Badland - Jolly Woman
Geoffrey Holder - Narrator

Director - Tim Burton
Based on Book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”/Lyrics - Roald Dahl
Screenplay - John August
Associate Producer - Derek Frey
Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager - Patrick McCormick
Executive Producers - Liccy
Dahl, Michael Siegel, Graham
Burke and Bruce Berman
Producers - Richard D. Zanuck and Brad Grey
Co-Producer - Katterli Frauenfelder
Head Animal Trainer - Michael Alexander 
Production Designer - Alex
Supervising Art Director - Leslie
Senior Art Director - Kevin Phipps
Set Decorator - Peter Young
Costume Designer - Gabriella Pescucci
Animatronics & Prosthetics Creative Supervisor -
Neal Scanlan
Director of Photography - Philippe Rousselot
Special Effects Supervisor - Joss Williams 
Visual Effects Supervisor - Nick Davis
Visual Effects Supervisors: Cinesite - Sue Rowe and
Simon Stanley-Clamp
Visual Effects Supervisor: Framestore CFC - Jon Thum
Visual Effects Supervisor: Digital Domain - Mark O. Forker
Senior Visual Effects Supervisor: Title Sequence:
Asylum - Nathan McGuinness
Visual Effects Producers - Nikki Penny and
Jeff Werner
Model Unit Supervisor: Cinesite - José Granell
Digital Effects Supervisor: Title Sequence: Asylum -
Dottie Starling
CG Supervisor - Serge Sretschinsky
CG Supervisors: MPC - Nicolas Aithadi,
Greg Butler and Matt Hicks
Editor - Chris Lebonzon
Music - Danny Elfman


2006 Academy Awards
Best Costume Design - Gabriella Pescucci (Nominated)

Tim Burton's take of Roald Dahl's CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is in many ways faithful to the original book but not in its portrayal of Willy Wonka. I don't think Mr. Dahl intended for Willy Wonka to come across as a serial killer like Jack the Ripper or unlikable at the very least. Burton is always being known for his outlandish and imaginative productions from BEETLEJUICE and EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (click here) through to more lesser-known pictures like PLANET OF THE APES and ALICE IN WONDERLAND (click here). No one could accuse Burton of being run-of-the-mill, however with CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, I think Burton has ventured into new territory.

I say this because Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka is a pale-faced, top-hatted, emotionally-detached figure who bares no warmth of Gene Wilder's interpretation of the character. Some people might see Depp's Wonka as darkly comical, especially if you're a fan of Wilder's previous take. I felt Depp was miscast for this character, there could have been actors in Hollywood who can do a better job than this aforementioned actor. The young actors in the film did a really neat job with their respective roles, particularly young Freddie Highmore who demonstrated the ability to fulfill the title role. The costuming and the visual design is exaggerating to create an uncomfortable feel of the movie. I also thought that the music by Danny Elfman only increased the intensity of what was once a lighthearted family feature.

What Burton could have done to prove himself as a director, is not to have cast Johnny Depp as the character and to have Danny Elfman remade the old musical numbers in a new composition. This is what Tim Burton needed to have thought about... the original film was superior to this demeaning remake and comparing it with better visual candy from 2005 isn't going to improve this interpretation. This modern film adaptation may appeal to some people out there, but I think that there's no flavour.

Star rating: (5/10) Average