Monday, 12 February 2018

Shane Review (Updated)


Release Date: 2nd October 1953 - Australia

Production Companies 
Paramount Pictures

Genre: Western

Rating: G

Runtime: 118 minutes

Budget: $3,100,000

Box Office Gross: $20,000,000 

Plot Summary
Enigmatic gunslinger Shane rides into a small Wyoming town with hopes of quietly settling down as a farmhand. Taking a job on homesteader Joe Starrett's farm, Shane is drawn into a battle between the townsfolk and ruthless cattle baron Rufus Ryker. Shane's growing attraction to Starrett's wife, Marian, and his fondness for their son Joey, who idolizes Shane, force Shane to realize that he must thwart Ryker's plan.

Alan Ladd - Shane
Jean Arthur - Marian Starrett
Van Heflin - Joe Starrett
Brandon deWilde - Joey Starrett
Emile Meyer - Rufus Ryker 
Jack Palance - Jack Wilson
Ben Johnson - Chris Calloway
Edgar Buchanan - Fred Lewis
Elisha Cook Jr. - Stonewall Torrey 
Douglas Spencer - Axel 'Swede' Shipstead
John Dierkes - Morgan Ryker 
Ellen Corby - Mrs. Liz Torrey 
Paul McVey - Sam Grafton
John Miller - Will Atkey - Bartender
Edith Evanson - Mrs. Shipstead
Leonard Strong - Ernie Wright
Ray Spiker - Axel Johnson - Homesteader
Janice Carroll - Susan Lewis
Martin Mason - Ed Howells
Helen Brown - Martha Lewis
Nancy Kulp - Mrs. Howells

Producer/Director - George Stevens
Based on the Novel - Jack Schaefer 
Screenplay - A.B. Guthrie Jr.
Additional Dialogue - Jack Sher
Art Directors - Hal Pereria and Walter H. Tyler
Costumes - Edith Head
Director of Photography - Loyal Griggs
Film Editors - William Hornbeck and Tom McAdoo
Music Score - Victor Young


1953 Academy Awards
Best Cinematography, Color - Loyal Griggs (Won)
Best Picture - George Stevens (Nominated)
Best Supporting Actor - Brandon deWilde (Nominated)
Best Supporting Actor - Jack Palance (Nominated)
Best Director - George Stevens (Nominated)
Best Screenplay - A.B. Guthrie Jr. (Nominated)

One of the great classic film westerns of the 20th century, SHANE was the byproduct of old-fashioned Hollywood in the time of its old regime. Most importantly, it was certainly influential to some movies in later years such as the non-western flick LOGAN (click here) as well as being referenced in numerous times on pop culture. The ending however is considered to be a moment of ambiguity where it could possibly rival each scene from other classic westerns, the likes of which don’t come off in the same note of closing as SHANE did. This was a commendable effort from all of the cast and crew including its director, the late George Stevens who worked around the clock to produce a film that definitely showcased the landscapes of the American frontier. 

Alan Ladd gave a well-deserved performance as being the strong type of a lead protagonist that has shared the title of the movie. Jean Arthur in her last role as an actress was absolutely lovely to play the gorgeous Marian whom the lead character is immediately attracted to her. Jack Palance displays a sheer amount of menace and arrogance in his role as the notorious hitman Jack Wilson. Brandon DeWilde was a child star when he gave his distinctive performance of the hero-worshipping young son who wishes to be the heroic gunslinger like Shane when he was older. Although DeWilde had a dozen of minor film roles after SHANE and his career was cut short by his untimely death in a fatal car crash at the age of 30.

I have nothing more to say about the other qualities that made SHANE great. I consider this film to be a great classic and one to be enjoyed by all ages. Even the modern viewers who were unfamiliar with this feature will definitely appreciate it, as their parents and grandparents have once seen the film and fondly remember it in their younger years.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

500th Review! Pitch Perfect 3

Pitch Perfect 3

Release Date: 1st January 2018 - Australia

Production Companies
Universal Pictures
Perfect World Pictures (in association with)
Gold Circle Films

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Comedy

Rating: M

Runtime: 93 minutes

Budget: $45,000,000

Box Office Gross: $182,640,310 (Worldwide) (This figure may change as new editions earn more money and increase the overall value of the box office gross)

Plot Summary
After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren't job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this awesome group of nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.

Anna Kendrick - Beca
Rebel Wilson - Fat Amy
Hailee Steinfeld - Emily
Brittany Snow - Chloe
Anna Camp - Aubrey
Hana Mae Lee - Lily
Ester Dean - Cynthia Rose
Alexis Knapp - Stacie
Chrissie Fit - Flo
Kelley Jakle - Jessica
Shelley Regner - Ashley
Ruby Rose - Calamity
Andy Allo - Serenity
Venzella Joy - Charity
Hannah Fairlight - Veracity
John Lithgow - Fergus
Matt Lanter - Chicago
John Michael Higgins - John
Guy Burnet - Theo
Elizabeth Banks - Gail
DJ Khaled - Himself
Troy Ian Hall - Zeke
Jessica Chaffin - Evan
Moises Arias - Pimp-Lo
Derek Mehn - Sunburst
Kismet Collaco - Little Fat Amy
Michael Rose - Aubrey's Father
Trinidad James - Young Sparrow
D.J. Looney - DJ Dragon Nutz
Niko Nedyalkov - Mikhael

Director - Trish Sie
Based on Book - Mickey Rapkin
Story/Screenplay/Co-Producer - Kay Cannon
Screenplay - Mike White
Executive Producers - Jason Moore,
David Nicksay and Scott Niemeyer
Producers - Elizabeth Banks, Paul Brooks
and Max Handelman
Production Designer - Tony Corbett
Costume Designer - Salvador Perez Jr.
Director of Photography - Matthew Clark
Film Editors - Craig Alpert and Colin Patton
Score - Christopher Lennertz

This is it, everyone! This is the 500th review for my blog and be sure to write any comments when you’re done looking at this milestone review. I didn’t really care much for the PITCH PERFECT series so have not seen the first two instalments that were about an all-female group of singers competing in musical conventions. It reminded me of a chorus group where my mum was one of the members and they all participate in acapella singing. There’s a comparison in an Australian equivalent of the fictional Barden Bellas convention that they compete in America called Sweet Adelines International. Though not quite revolutionary, PITCH PERFECT 3 did however convince me there are some surprises added to this sequel as rare bonuses. The humour is productive and funny and there is some action involved that I didn’t expect it would be on the near end of the storyline.

The actors and actresses are doing great in keeping the line of the sequel intact, especially that the old cast from the previous PITCH PERFECT movies are back to appear in the spotlight. There is also terrific singing by the actresses for the cover songs and I considered one of them to be the best and was instantly better than the original when it was in the climax.

Good but not great, PITCH PERFECT 3 is at least an entertaining film that was meant for the huge crowd. I could at least expect some more of the sequels when I re-watch it on home video.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Friday, 26 January 2018

The Dish Review (Australia Day 2018)

The Dish

Release Date: 19th October 2000 - Australia

Production Companies
Working Dog Productions (presents)
Distant Horizon
Dish Film Ltd.
The Dish Film Productions

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Comedy

Rating: M

Runtime: 101 minutes 

Box Office Gross: $17,999,473 (Australia)

Plot Summary
It is a date that will be remembered for all time. July 20th, 1969 - the day man first set foot upon the moon. That one shining moment was witnessed by a television audience of six hundred million people across the globe. Remarkably, those immortal images came via a “dish” in outback Australia. It may have been one small step for man, but for a handful of Aussie scientists, it was a giant leap. And one that almost didn’t happen...

Sam Neill - Cliff Buxton
Kevin Harrington - Ross ‘Mitch’ Mitchell
Tom Long - Glenn Latham
Patrick Warburton - Al Burnett
Genevieve Mooy - May McIntyre
Tayler Kane - Rudi Kellerman
Bille Brown - Prime Minister
Roy Billing - Mayor Robert ‘Bob’ McIntyre
Andrew S. Gilbert - Len Purvis
Lenka Kripac - Marie McIntyre
Matthew Moore - Keith Morrison
Eliza Szonert - Janine Kellerman
John McMartin - U.S. Ambassador Howard
Carl Snell - Billy McIntyre
Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell - Reverend Lotus

Director - Rob Sitch
Writers/Producers/Conceivers - Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner and Jane Kennedy
Producer - Michael Hirsh
Production Designer - Carrie Kennedy
Costume Designer - Kitty Stuckey
Director of Photography - Graeme Wood
Film Editor - Jill Bilcock
Music - Edmund Choi

On New Year’s Eve of 2017, I visited the landmark Parkes Radio Telescope. It was one of the few stations that received the live, transmitted images of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. On my recent trip I had purchased the movie THE DISH from the visitors centre, intending to review it for this year’s Australia Day. THE DISH was presented as a historically dramatic comedy with a conventional approach of humour similar to the company’s previous film THE CASTLE (click here). While the movie maintains some historical accuracy about the telescope, it contains some noticeable differences that are somewhat necessary to keep the plot front and straight. Also, the humour is broad and simple as nothing else can upset the film of its noteworthy balance.

While each actor had a substantial part in the film, none had been so notable than Sam Neill and Patrick Warburton. The latter portrays a scientific advisor of NASA and is the only American performer to have been prominently featured in this Australian-esque picture. Though Warburton hasn’t drifted into much dramatic territory and this picture was an exception of his career as being both a serious and comical actor. Sam Neill was a seasoned veteran actor who has been seen in big-budgeted movies like DEAD CALM and JURASSIC PARK (click here) now shines as a recently widowed chief supervisor. 

THE DISH is a grand Aussie film with its gentle comedy and local scenery that goes to extraordinary lengths to capture the spirit of Parkes (where it was shot in some scenes) as well as the secrets behind the lunar landing. I recommend this movie for all the audiences who are interested in the history of space exploration, who have lived in the same town or visited it and have been to see the telescope.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie

Thursday, 25 January 2018

90th Academy Awards

90th Academy Awards

Broadcast Date: 5th March 2018 - Australia

Hello everyone and let’s make this quick. There is some breaking news that the nominations for this year’s Oscar ceremony have officially been announced. It will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel who was the previous host of the last Oscar presentation. One particular film I’m hoping that will be qualified to win most of the awards including the Best Picture is the historical war drama Dunkirk. I prefer this picture over Guillermo del Toro’s ‘The Shape of Water’ which has the most Oscar nominations in the ceremony.

Here is the list of the contenders that are nominees for each category as they are selected to win each an award.

Best Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049 - John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner and Dan Sudick
Kong: Skull Island - Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould
War for the Planet of the Apes - Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist

Best Film Editing

Baby Driver - Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos
Dunkirk - Lee Smith
I, Tonya - Tatiana S. Riegel
The Shape of Water - Sidney Wolinsky
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - Jon Gregory

Best Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast - Jacqueline Durran
Darkest Hour - Jacqueline Durran
Phantom Thread - Mark Bridges
The Shape of Water - Luis Sequeira 
Victoria & Abdul - Consolata Boyle

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Darkest Hour - Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick
Victoria & Abdul - Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
Wonder - Arjen Tuiten

Best Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049 - Roger Deakins
Darkest Hour - Bruno Delbonnel
Dunkirk - Hoyte van Hoytema
Mudbound - Rachel Morrison
The Shape of Water - Dan Laustsen

Best Production Design

Beauty and the Beast - Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
Blade Runner 2049 - Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Alessandra Querzola
Darkest Hour - Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
Dunkirk - Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
The Shape of Water - Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau 
and Jeff Melvin

Best Sound Mixing

Baby Driver - Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin and Mary H. Ellis
Blade Runner 2049 - Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth
Dunkirk - Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary A. Rizzo
The Shape of Water - Christian Cooke, Brad Zoem and Glen Gauthier
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Stuart Wilson

Best Sound Editing

Baby Driver - Julian Slater
Blade Runner 2049 - Mark Mangini and Theo Green
Dunkirk - Richard King and Alex Gibson
The Shape of Water - Nathan Robitallie and Nelson Ferreira 
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce

Best Original Song

"Mighty River” from Mudbound - Music and Lyrics by Mary J. Bilge, Raphael Saadiq & Taura Stinson
"Mystery of Love" from Call Me by Your Name - Music and Lyrics by Sufjan Stevens
"Remember Me" from Coco - Music and Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from Marshall - Music by Diane Warren; Lyrics by Lonnie Lynn and Diane Warren
"This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman - Music and Lyrics by Benj Oasek & Justin Paul

Best Original Score

Dunkirk - Hans Zimmer
Phantom Thread - Johnny Greenwood 
The Shape of Water - Alexandre Desplat
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - John Williams
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - Carter Burwell

Best Animated Short Film

Dear Basketball - Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant
Garden Party - Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon
Lou - Dave Mullins and Dana Murray
Negative Space - Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata
Revolting Rhymes - Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer

Best Live Action Short Film

DeKab Elementary - Reed Van Dyk
The Eleven O’Clock - Derin Seale and Josh Lawson
My Nephew Emmett - Kevin Wilson, Jr.
The Silent Child - Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton
Watu Wole/All of Us - Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen

Best Documentary - Short Subject

Edith+Eddie - Laura Chekoway and Thomas Lee Wright
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 - Frank Stiefel
Heroin(e) - Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon
Knife Skills - Thomas Lennon
Traffic Stop - Kate Davis and David Heilbroner 

Best Documentary - Feature

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail - Steve James, Mark Mitten and Julie Goldman
Faces Places - Agnès Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda
Icarus - Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan
Last Men in Aleppo - Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed and Søren Steen Jespersen 
Strong Island - Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes

Best Foreign Language Film

A Fantastic Woman (Chile) in Spanish - Directed by Sebastián Lelio
The Insult (Lebanon) in Arabic - Directed by Ziad Doueiri
Loveless (Russia) in Russian - Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev 
On Body and Soul (Hungary) in Hungarian - Directed by Ildikó Enyedi
The Square (Sweden) in Swedish - Directed by Ruben Östlund

Best Animated Feature Film

The Boss Baby - Tom McGrath and Ramsey Ann Naito
The Breadwinner - Nora Twomey and Anthony Leo
Coco - Lee Unkrich and Darin K. Anderson
Ferdinand - Carlos Saldanha
Loving Vincent - Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman and Ivan Mactaggart

Best Writing - Adapted Screenplay

Call Me by Your Name - James Ivory based on the novel by André Aciman
The Disaster Artist - Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber based on the book by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell
Logan - Screenplay by Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green; Story by James Mangold based on 
characters from the X-Men comic books and theatrical motion pictures  
Molly’s Game - Aaron Sorkin based on a memoir by Molly Bloom
Mudbound - Virgil Williams and Dee Rees based on the novel by Hilary Jordan

Best Writing - Original Screenplay

The Big Sick - Written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani 
Get Out - Written by Jordan Peele
Lady Bird - Written by Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water - Written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor; Story by Guillermo del Toro
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - Written by Martin McDonagh

Best Supporting Actress

Mary J. Bilge - Mudbound as Florence Jackson
Allison Janney - I, Tonya as LaVona Golden
Lesley Manville - Phantom Thread as Cyril Woodcock
Laurie Metcalf - Lady Bird as Marion McPherson
Octavia Spencer - The Shape of Water as Zelda Fuller

Best Supporting Actor

Willem Dafoe - The Florida Project as Bobby Hicks
Woody Harrelson - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as Chief Bill Willoughby 
Richard Jenkins - The Shape of Water as Giles
Christopher Plummer - All the Money in the World as J. Paul Getty
Sam Rockwell - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as Officer Jason Dixon

Best Actress

Sally Hawkins - The Shape of Water as Elisa Eoposito
Frances McDormand - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as Mildred Hayes
Margot Robbie - I, Tonya as Tonya Harding 
Saoirse Ronan - Lady Bird as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson
Meryl Streep - The Post as Katharine Graham

Best Actor

Timotheé Chalamet - Call Me by Your Name as Elio Perlman 
Daniel Day-Lewis - Phantom Thread as Reynolds Woodcock
Daniel Kaluuya - Get Out as Chris Washington
Gary Oldman - Darkest Hour as Winston Churchill
Denzel Washington - Roman J. Israel, Esq. as Roman J. Israel

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson - Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro - The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig - Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan - Dunkirk
Jordan Peele - Get Out

Best Picture

Call Me by Your Name - Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emile Georges and Marco Morabito 
Darkest Hour - Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten and Douglas Urbanski
Dunkirk - Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan
Get Out - Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr. and Jordan Peele
Lady Bird - Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and Evelyn O’Neill
Phantom Thread - JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison and Daniel Lupin
The Post - Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger 
The Shape of Water - Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin McDonagh

Academy Honorary Awards

Agnès Varda
Charles Burnett
Donald Sutherland 
Owen Roizman

Special Achievement Academy Award

Alejandro González Iñárritu for his virtual reality project Carne y Arena

Make sure you cast your vote on the polls as each film is destined to win an Academy Award. Good luck!

Monday, 22 January 2018

Caddyshack Review


Release Date: 21st August 1980 - Australia

Production Companies
Orion Pictures 

Genre: Comedy

Rating: M (Not Suitable for Young Children)

Runtime: 94 minutes

Budget: $6,000,000

Box Office Gross: $39,846,344 (USA)

Plot Summary
Danny Noonan, a teen down on
his luck, works as a caddy at
the snob-infested Bushwood
Country Club to raise money for
his college education. In an
attempt to gain votes for a
college scholarship reserved for
caddies, Noonan volunteers to
caddy for a prominent and
influential club member. 
Meanwhile, Danny struggles to 
prepare for the high pressure 
Caddy Day golf tournament 
while absorbing New Age 
advice from wealthy golf guru 
Ty Webb.

Michael O'Keefe - Danny Noonan
Ted Knight - Judge Elihu Smails
Rodney Dangerfield - Al Czervik
Chevy Chase - Ty Webb
Bill Murray - Carl Sparkler
Sarah Holcomb - Maggie O'Hooligan
Scott Colomby - Tony D'Annunzio
Cindy Morgan - Lacey Underall
Dan Resin - Dr. Beeper
Henry Wilcoxon - The Bishop
Elaine Aiken - Mrs. Noonan
Albert Salmi - Mr. Noonan
Ann Ryerson - Grace
Brian Doyle-Murray - Lou Loomis
Hamilton Mitchell - Motormouth
Peter Berkrot - Angie D'Annunzio
John F. Barmon Jr. - Spaulding Smails
Lois Kibbee - Mrs. Smails
Brian McConnachie - Drew Scott
Jackie Davis - Smoke Porterhouse

Writer/Director - Harold Ramis
Writer/Producer - Douglas Kenney
Writer - Brian Doyle-Murray
Executive Producer - Jon Peters
Production Designer - Stan Jolley
Director of Photography - Stevan Larner
Supervisor of Special Effects - John Dykstra
Supervising Editor - David Bretherton
Film Editor - William C. Carruth
Original Songs/Music Coordinator - Kenny Loggins
Music - Johnny Mandel

During my youth, I did not get to see CADDYSHACK but have only seen bits of the sequel on pay-tv when it was nearly over. It is said to have been the best golf comedy of all-time prior to HAPPY GILMORE (click here) when some people thought Adam Sandler's lowbrow comedy could not top the raunchiness and charm from the original 1980 movie. It was outrageously funny to many viewers that grew up with its star-studded cast and so much hilarity has ensued. The late Harold Ramis brought together a movie with comedic actors that instantly steal the spotlight and an outstanding display of versatile humour that outweighs the plot with no sense of direction whatsoever, it just works better without it.

Chevy Chase was the rising star of this film and brings his role of Ty Webb to life as the rich golf-pro who is somewhat a spiritual leader who teaches his caddy to get into his ways of golfing through his profound wisdom. Rodney Dangerfield was the other comedian that was new to this big picture and has never been so funny when he portrays an obnoxious new member who proves more than just being an uninvited guest. Bill Murray who is not one of my favourite actors was not yet a big star as he plays an eccentric assistant groundskeeper who obsesses over killing a certain gopher that ruins his golf course.

I would probably enjoy watching it again, it's so much fun seeing the actors together as they pull out a barrel of laughs in CADDYSHACK. So remember viewers to see this film and be the ball. There is a sequel so don't do it, it's terrible and most of the star-power from the original were gone except for Chevy Chase.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The Greatest Showman Review

The Greatest Showman

Release Date: 26th December 2017 - Australia 

Production Companies
20th Century Fox
TSG Entertainment
Chernin Entertainment

20th Century Fox Australia 

Genre: Musical

Rating: PG

Runtime: 105 minutes

Budget: $84,000,000

Box Office Gross: $198,955,153 (Worldwide) (This figure may change as new editions earn more money and increase the overall value of the box office gross)

Plot Summary
When P.T. Barnum loses his office job, he has an idea. He gathers unique and talented people in order to create a show like nothing that’s ever been seen before. He creates the traveling Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, a.k.a. “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The dazzling spectacle and celebration of his vivid imagination intrigues audiences around the world. 

Throughout his travels, Barnum was infatuated with singer Jenny Lind, known as the so-called Swedish Nightingale. 

Hugh Jackman - P.T. Barnum
Michelle Williams - Charity Barnum
Zac Efron - Phillip Carlyle
Rebecca Ferguson - Jenny Lind
Zendaya - Anne Wheeler
Austyn Johnson - Caroline Barnum
Cameron Seely - Helen Barnum
Keala Settle - Lettie Lutz
Sam Humphrey - Tom Thumb
Yahya-Abdul-Mateen II - W.D. Wheeler
Eric Anderson - Mr. O'Malley
Ellis Rubin - Young Barnum
Skylar Dunn - Young Charity
Daniel Everidge - Lord of Leeds
Radu Spinghel - O'Clancy
Yusaku Komori - Chang
Danial Son - Eng
Paul Sparks - James Gordon Bennett
Will Swenson - Paul Barnum
Linda Marie Larson - Mrs. Stratton
Byron Jennings - Mr. Carlyle
Betsy Aidem - Mrs. Carlyle
Damian Young - Mr. Winthrop
Tina Benko - Mrs. Winthrop
Fredric Lehne - Mr. Hallett
Kathryn Meisle - Mrs. Hallett
Timothy Hughes - Strong Man
Gayle Rankin - Queen Victoria

Director - Michael Gracey
Story/Screenplay - Jenny Bicks
Screenplay - Bill Condon
Executive Producers - Tonia Davis,
Donald J. Lee Jr. and James Mangold
Producers - Peter Chernin,
Laurence Mark and Jenno Topping
Co-Producer/Unit Production Manager -
Deb Dyer
Co-Producer/First Assistant Director -
Peter Kohn
Production Designer - Nathan Crowley
Costume Designer - Ellen Mirojnick
Director of Photography - Seamus McGarvey
Circus Coordinator/Choreographer -
Mathieu Leopold
Special Effects Supervisor - Garry Elmendorf
Visual Effects Supervisors - Mathieu Raynault
and Sylvain Theroux
Film Editors - Tom Cross, Robert Duffy,
Joe Hutshing, Michael McCusker,
Jon Poll and Spencer Susser
Songs - Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Score - John Debney
Score/Music Producer - Joseph Trapenese

The circus has come to town in THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, an exuberant period film musical that everyone will appreciate the fun and magic. Although there are inaccuracies with the portrayal of historical events. This movie was loosely based on the infamous exploits of the real P.T. Barnum who was an immoral figure in real life, not the flawed human being as portrayed in the film. His legendary circus in America may have been closed down for good but it wouldn’t seem to affect this film at all for it was meant to be a stunningly ambitious big-top musical rather than an accidental tribute. Audiences warmly responded to THE GREATEST SHOWMAN for its sheer delight while critics barred it for the use of artistic license and historical inaccuracy. The musical numbers were poppier and are sung and choreographed in a big-top showcase that took place in the 19th century.

The all-star cast were a huge substantial part in the movie, even Hugh Jackman who is getting well-adjusted to his post-Wolverine career and nails the role as the aforementioned visionary. Not only was he capable with his splendid acting, but he did the singing and is reliving  the experience from his previous stage musical performances. Michelle Williams was lovely as Hugh’s on-screen wife Charity. Zac Efron was the business partner and Zendaya is the trapeze artist and both together share a romantic chemistry. Even more surprising, that interracial romance subplot was added to incorporate into the movie’s themes of diversity and acceptance in spite of the setting of its bigotry.

Circus-goers will be idolised by THE GREATEST SHOWMAN which is probably the biggest movie that audiences have ever seen. It’s a great film and I recommend all of you viewers to give it a try.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie

Monday, 1 January 2018

Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi Review

Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi

Release Date: 14th December 2017 - Australia

Production Companies
Lucasfilm Ltd.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia 

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: M

Runtime: 152 minutes

Budget: $200,000,000

Box Office Gross: $1,040,444,228 (Worldwide) (This figure may change as new editions earn more money and increase the overall value of the box office gross)

Plot Summary
Rey has finally tracked down legendary Jedi Knight - Luke Skywalker on the planet Ahch-To. It is there that she learns there is much more to the force than light and dark. Rey’s parentage will also be addressed. 

Finn has woken up from his coma. It’s up to him and his new friend Rose, a Resistance maintenance worker, to save the day. The two work with General Leia Organa, Resistance pilot Poe Dameron and their trusted droid BB-8 to fight off The First Order.

The First Order’s assault will be led by fallen Jedi and General Organa’s son Kylo Ren. We will also learn more about Supreme Leader Snoke, the mysterious and malicious mastermind behind the First Order.

Daisy Ridley - Rey
Mark Hamill - Luke Skywalker
Adam Driver - Kylo Ren
Gwendoline Christie - Captain Phasma
Domhnall Gleeson - General Hux 
Carrie Fisher - Leia Organa
Andy Serkis - Supreme Leader Snoke
Laura Dern - Vice Admiral Amilyn Hodo
Oscar Isaac - Poe Dameron
Benicio Del Toro - DJ
Kelly Marie Tran - Rose Tico
John Boyega - Finn
Lupita Nyong’o - Maz Kanata
Peter Mathew - Chewbacca
Joonas Suotamo - Chewbacca
Anthony Daniels - C3PO
Frank Oz - Yoda (Voice)
Jimmy Vee - R2D2
Tim Rose - Admiral Ackbar
Mike Quinn - Nien Numb
Billie Lourd - Lieutenant Connix
Brian Herring - BB-8 Performer
Dave Chapman - BB-8 Performer
Warwick Davis - Wodibin
Joseph Gordon-Levitt - Slowen Lo (Voice) (Cameo)
Justin Theroux - Master Codebreaker (Cameo)
Gareth Edwards - Resistance Fighter (Cameo)
Tom Hardy - Stormtrooper (Uncredited) (Cameo)

Writer/Director - Rian Johnson
Based on Characters - George Lucas
Executive Producers - J.J. Abrams and Jason D. McGatlin
Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager - Tom Karnowski
Producers - Ram Bergman and Kathleen Kennedy
Co-Producers - Pippa Anderson, Candice D. Campos and Kiri Hart
Production Designer - Rick Heinrichs
Costume Designer - Michael Kaplan
Director of Photography - Steve Yedlin
Stunt Coordinator - Rob Inch
Special Effects Supervisor - Chris Corbould
Creature Shop Concept Designer/Head - Neal Scanlan
Visual Effects Supervisors - Richard Bain,
Ben Morris and Michael Mulholland
Animation Supervisors: ILM - Stephen Aplin
and Mike Beaulieu
Film Editor - Bob Ducsay
BB-8 Voice Consultants - Bill Hader and
Ben Schwartz
Sound Designers - Ben Burtt and Ren Klyce
Music - John Williams

It’s New Year’s Day, everyone! The force is strong with the STAR WARS franchise and it’s been 40 years since George Lucas created a multi-million dollar film series that endured a cult following and is ahead of its time. It impacted all the viewers who are now part of its devoted fan-base as they even liked the grandeur of this epic space opera with three of its different film trilogies (one of them is currently ongoing) and its spin-offs. The new instalment THE LAST JEDI was more spiritual and original than its predecessor THE FORCE AWAKENS (click here) which re-uses the same plot of A NEW HOPE (click here) and is formulaic. Some fans are very sceptical and feared that this new movie will rehash THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (click here) which many fans including myself still consider the greatest STAR WARS film of all time. However, some critics have recently found this movie to be the best of the series since EMPIRE and it was more than they expected. Though not everyone was happy and excited after viewing the movie as it received some heavy fan backlash.

Fans have not reacted this badly since the prequel trilogy and a few numerous special editions that Lucas himself was responsible for, many of the unnecessary changes and ideas like Greedo shoots first instead of Han and the comic relief character of Jar Jar. Here in THE LAST JEDI, it is where the magic is slowly fading as some plot points turned out to be lacklustre and unresolved like the information of Rey's long-lost family as well as the mystery behind the character of Snoke. It seems that the new director Rian Johnson has no idea how to take a movie franchise very seriously when after stepping in the helm from J.J. Abrams (who is bound to be back in EPISODE IX) and has cared too much for style over substance.

Mark Hamill returns as the now reclusive Jedi Master Luke Skywalker since we last saw him in his brief appearance on THE FORCE AWAKENS. Now that his role is bigger, it's remarkable how Hamill was once a young inexperienced actor when he first starred as Luke in the original trilogy before he got more acting experience. He does better in the interpretation of his character in this recent instalment which is much different than his younger self and is nothing like Obi-Wan and Yoda who were the two previous Jedi Masters before him. Speaking of Yoda, the character makes a surprise appearance and returns into a form of puppetry and is performed once again by Frank Oz. I liked how the film was dedicated to Carrie Fisher who is in the last moments of her acting as General Leia Organa. The fight sequences and the space battles are amazing, but with the integration of both CG and practical effects.

There are fans like myself who like to disagree about the critics’ point of view of THE LAST JEDI that it was the best of the franchise so far and there's still hype going on about the recent instalment. I recommended all Star Wars fans to see this film and I probably rank this as a good movie.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie