Monday, 31 January 2011

Michael Jackson's This Is It Review (Updated)

Michael Jackson's This is It

Release Date: 29th October 2009 – Australia

Production Companies
Columbia Pictures (presents)
The Michael Jackson Company
(in association with)
AEG Live (in association with)

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Documentary/Music

Rating: G

Runtime: 111 minutes

Budget: $60,000,000

Box Office Gross: $261,183,588

Plot Summary
Michael Jackson "THIS 
IS IT" offers Jackson fans 
and music lovers a rare, 
behind-the-scenes look 
at the performer as he 
developed, created and 
rehearsed for his sold-out 
concerts that would have 
taken place beginning 
summer 2009 in London's 
O2 Arena.

Chronicling the months 
from April through June, 
2009, the film is drawn 
from more than one 
hundred hours of behind
-the-scenes footage, 
featuring Jackson rehearsing 
a number of his songs for 
the show. Audiences will 
be given a privileged and 
private look at the singer, 
dancer, filmmaker,
 architect, and genius 
as he creates and 
perfects his final show.

Michael Jackson - Himself

Producer: Live Show -
Kenny Ortega
Producers: Live Show -
John Meglen & Randy
Co-Producers - Frank DiLeo
& Chantal Feghali
Cameraman - Sandrine Orabona
Cameraman/Editor - Tim Patterson
Music - Michael Bearden
Songs - Michael Jackson
Editors - Don Brochu, Brandon Key & Kevin

Michael Jackson's “THIS IS IT” showed the making of what could have been his ultimate comeback to the stage. This movie has outstanding videos and will be a tribute to his exceptional dancing and musical skills. Trust me, it will be a special treat for us fans of the late King of Pop.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Astro Boy Review (Updated)

Astro Boy

Release Date: 15th October 2009 – Australia

Production Companies
Imagi Animation Studios
Imagi Crystal
Tezuka Production Company Ltd

Hoyts Distribution
Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 94 minutes

Budget: $65,000,000

Box Office Gross: $44,093,014

Plot Summary
Astro Boy is based around
the story of scientist Dr.
Tenma who creates a young
robot called Astro Boy to
replace his lost son Toby,
Astro discovers his incredible
powers which includes rocket
boosters, armed laser
cannons and machine guns.
Astro embarks on his journey
when his father rejects him
because he is unlike his real
son. Astro flees the floating
Metro City to the surface
where he meets several
companions including Cora
and a dog named Trashcan.

There is a conflict between
Astro and the Peacekeeper
who is trying to steal the
energy wielding Blue Core
from Astro, they try to destroy
each other in Metro City
causing much destruction
and mayhem. Astro with the
assistance of his companions
realises the Blue Core and
Red Core need to be
combined to destroy the
Peacekeeper, this will cost
Astro his life but fortunately
he is revived by fellow robot
companion Zog.

Voice Cast
Freddie Highmore – Astro
Boy/Toby Tenma
Nicholas Cage – Dr. Bill Tenma
Kristen Bell – Cora
Bill Nighy – Professor Simon
Donald Sutherland – President Stone
Samuel L. Jackson – Zog
Nathan Lane – Hamegg
Matt Lucas – Sparx
David Bowers – Mike the Fridge
Charlize Theron – "Our Friends" Narrator
Eugene Levy – Orrin
Dee Bradley Baker – Trashcan

Story/Writer/Director – David Bowers
Based on Manga – Osamu Tezuka
Writer – Timothy Harris
Head of Story – Kevin Johnson
Story Consultant – Michael Lachence
Producer – Maryann Garger
Creative Consultants – Yoshihiro Shimizu &
Macoto Tezuka
Production Designer – Sam Michlap
Character Designer – Luis Grane
Head of Animation – Tim Cheung
Animation Director/Supervising Animator –
Jakob Hjort Jensen
Animation Director – Kim Ooi
Cinematography – Pepe Valencia
Costume Designer – Jane Poole
Film Editor – Robert Anich
Music – John Ottman

While it has the heart of the manga and anime TV series, ASTRO BOY could have been better in lifelike form rather than animation and had it been 3D. This could have made for more appealing visual display. The voice cast of Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Bill Nighy and others were chosen well for the character roles they were portraying. 

Overall, it is a satisfactory movie suitable for all ages and fans who have grown up watching Astro Boy.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Green Hornet Review (Updated)

The Green Hornet

Release Date: January 20th 2011 Australia

Production Companies
Columbia Pictures
Original Film

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Action/Comedy

Rating: M

Runtime: 119 minutes

Budget: $120,000,000

Box Office Gross: $227,817,248

Plot Summary
In The Green Hornet, Britt 
Reid is the son of LA's most
prominent and respected
media magnate and perfectly
happy to maintain a direction-
less existence on the party
scene - until his father 
mysteriously dies, leaving 
Britt his vast media empire. 
Striking an unlikely friendship 
with one of his father's more
industrious and inventive 
employees, Kato, they see
their chance to do something 
meaningful for the first time 
in their lives: fight crime. To 
get close to the criminals, 
they come up with the 
perfect cover: they'll pose
as criminals themselves.
Protecting the law by 
breaking it, Britt becomes the
vigilante The Green Hornet
as he and Kato hit the streets. 

Using all his ingenuity and 
skill, Kato builds the
ultimate in advanced retro
weaponry, Black Beauty, an
indestructible car equal parts
firepower and horsepower. 
Rolling in a mobile fortress 
on wheels and striking the 
bad guys with Kato's clever 
gadgets, The Green Hornet 
and Kato quickly start making
a name for themselves, and 
with the help of Britt's new 
secretary, Lenore Case, they 
begin hunting down the man 
who controls LA's gritty 
underworld: Benjamin 
Chudnofsky. But Chudnofsky 
has plans of his own: to swat 
down The Green Hornet once 
and for all.

Seth Rogen – Britt Reid/The 
Green Hornet
Jay Chou – Kato
Christoph Waltz – Benjamin 
Cameron Diaz – Lenore 
''Casey'' Case
Tom Wilkinson – James Reid
Edward James Olmos – Mike Axford
Edward Furlong – Tupper
Analeigh Tipton – Ana Lee
David Harbour – D.A. Frank Scanlon
Jamie Harris – Popeye
Chad Coleman – Chili
Reuben Langdon – Crackhead
James Franco – Danny 
"Crystal" Clear (Cameo) (Uncredited)

Director – Michel Gondry
Based on Radio Series – George W. Trendle & 
Fran Striker
Writers/Executive Producers – Seth Rogen 
& Evan Goldberg
Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager – Michael Grillo
Executive Producers – Ori Marmur & 
George W. Trendle Jr.
Producer – Neal H. Moritz
Production Designer – Owen Paterson
Costume Designer – Kym Barrett
Director of Photography – John Schwartzman
Second Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator – Vic Armstrong
Stunt Coordinator – Andy Armstrong
Fight Stunt Coordinator – Jeff Imada
Special Effects Supervisor – John Frazier
Visual Effects Supervisors – Jamie Dixon
& Justin Jones
Film Editor – Michael Tronick
Music – James Newton Howard

The film adaptation of THE GREEN HORNET was okay, but felt like it was a complete mess and I find it mediocre. The things that have tainted this superhero movie are the weak points which include the story-line being a bit flat, the protagonist Britt Reid is a lazy slacker and Seth Rogen for his performance of that character shows he is not the ideal actor for that role. The movie relied upon Jay Chou's exceptional acting as Kato that was originally portrayed by Bruce Lee in the classic TV series and its gratifying visual style from the director Michel Gondry with action scenes to keep the audiences' interest. Best bonus in this feature comes with some humour and references to entertain the Hornets. 

This could have been better if THE GREEN HORNET had a better story and therefore the main hero would have been likeable, if this is an interesting interpretation. Overall, the feature is close to what we see in IRON MAN with Robert Downey Jr., a watchable movie but unfortunately holds no contest with other rival superhero films.

Star rating: (3/5) Average

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Metro Cinema Re-Opened

Metro 5 Cinema reopens today after the ceiling collapsed in Cinema 3 on Sunday 2nd, January. But unfortunately, only two theatres are operating, as an incentive to movie fans, they are offering discounted tickets to both 2D and 3D movies until January 31st. See website for details

Friday, 14 January 2011

How to Train Your Dragon Review (Updated)

How to Train Your Dragon

Release Date: 25th March 2010 Australia

Production Companies
DreamWorks Animation (presents)
Mad Hatter Entertainment
Vertigo Entertainment

Paramount Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 98 minutes

Budget: $165,000,000

Box Office Gross: $494,878,759

Plot Summary
From the studio that brought 
you "Shrek," "Madagascar" 
and "Kung Fu Panda" comes 
"How To Train Your Dragon" 
-- an adventure comedy set 
in the mythical world of burly 
Vikings and wild dragons. 
The story centres around a 
scrawny teenager, Hiccup, 
who lives on the island of 
Berk, where fighting 
dragons is a way of life. 
Initiation is coming, and 
this is his one chance to 
prove his worthiness to 
his tribe and father. 

But when he encounters, 
and ultimately befriends, 
an injured Night Fury dragon, 
his world is turned upside 
down and what started out 
as Hiccup's one shot to 
prove himself turns into an 
opportunity to set a new 
course for the future of the 
entire tribe.

Voice Cast
Jay Baruchel – Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III
Gerard Butler – Stoick the Vast
Craig Ferguson – Gobber the Belch
America Ferrera – Astrid Hofferson
Christopher Mintz-Plasse – 
Fishlegs Ingerman
Jonah Hill – Snotlout Jorgenson
T. J. Miller Ruffnut Thorston 
Kristen Wiig – Tuffnut Thorston
David Tennant – Spitelout 

Screenplay/Directors – Chris Sanders 
Dean DeBlois
Based on Book "How to Train Your Dragon" – 
Cressida Cowell 
Screenplay – William Davies
Additional Screenplay Material – Adam F. Goldberg
Executive Producers - Kristine Belson &
Tim Johnson
Producer – Bonnie Arnold
Co-Producers – Doug Davison, Roy Lee, 
Michael A. Connolly & Karen Foster
Production Designer – Kathy Alteri
Head of Character Animation – Simon Otto
Character Designers – Andy Bialk, 
Ricardo F. Delgado, Nicolas Marlet, 
Takao Noguchi, Shame Prigmore & 
Tony Siruno
Visual Effects Supervisor – Craig Ring
Visual Consultant – Roger Deakins
Sound Designer/Supervising Sound Editor/
Mixer – Randy Thom 
Film Editors – Maryann Brandon &
Darren T. Holmes
Music – John Powell


2011 Academy Awards
Best Animated Feature - Chris Sanders & 
Dean DeBlois (Nominated)
Best Original Score - John Powell (Nominated)

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is a stylised CGI animated film that was amazing in 3D and has a witty, dramatic and superb story that focuses on the heartfelt relationship of the main hero Hiccup and the dragon Toothless. In looking on to the latter character, I find that his facial appearance reminded me of Stitch since I didn't know that the movie was directed by the two gentlemen who did LILO & STITCH (click here). The voice acting of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson and Jonah Hill were all terrific in this movie. The music soundtrack by John Powell is turning out to be one of the best scores in a animated motion picture. 

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is personally dear to me as it is a feel good uplifting animated feature which I regard as one of the greatest I have ever seen. It occurred to me that it was one of the first movies I saw on the 3D aspect.

It is one of the best of DreamWorks collection of its animation movies and I dare to say that it will hold this superior status for decades to come.

Star rating: (5/5) Best Movie Ever

Friday, 7 January 2011

The Lion King Review (Updated)

The Lion King

Release Date: 25th August 1994 – 

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures (presents)
Walt Disney Feature Animation (Uncredited)

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 89 minutes

Budget: $45,000,000

Box Office Gross: $968,483,777 

Plot Summary
An unforgettable story, 
breathtaking animation, 
beloved characters, and 
Academy Award(R)-winning 
music (Best Original Score, 
1994; Best Song, "Can You 
Feel The Love Tonight") set 
the stage for the adventures 
of Simba, the feisty lion cub 
who "just can't wait to be 
king." But his envious Uncle 
Scar has plans for his own 
ascent to the throne, and he 
forces Simba's exile from 
the kingdom. Alone and 
adrift, Simba soon joins the 
escapades of a hilarious 
meerkat named Timon and 
his warmhearted warthog 
pal, Pumbaa.

Adopting their carefree 
lifestyle of "Hakuna Matata," 
Simba ignores his real 
responsibilities until he 
realizes his destiny 
and returns to the Pride Lands 
to claim his place in the 
"Circle of Life.

Voice Cast
Jonathan Taylor Thomas – 
Young Simba
Jason Weaver – Young Simba 
(singing voice)
Matthew Broderick – Adult 
Joseph Willams – Adult Simba 
(singing voice)
Jeremy Irons – Scar
James Earl Jones – Mufasa
Moira Kelly – Adult Nala
Sally Dworsky – Adult Nala 
(singing voice)
Niketa Calame – Young Nala
Laura Williams – Young Nala 
(singing voice)
Nathan Lane – Timon
Ernie Sabella – Pumbaa
Robert Guillaume – Rafiki
Rowan Atkinson – Zazu
Whoopi Goldberg – Shenzi
Cheech Marin – Banzai
Jim Cummings – Ed/Gopher/
Scar (singing voice) (in last 
part of Be Prepared) (Uncredited)
Madge Sinclair – Sarabi

Directors – Roger Allers & 
Rob Minkoff
Story Supervisor/Story – 
Brenda Chapman
Story – Burny Mattinson, Barry 
Johnson, Thorn Enriquez, 
Gary Trousdale, Jim Capobianco, 
Kevin Harkey, Jorgen Klubien,  
Tom Sito, Larry Leker, Joe 
Ranft, Rick Maki, Ed Gombert, Francis Glebas & Mark Kausler
Story/Art Director – Andy 
Story/Production Designer – 
Chris Sanders
Story/Animator: Adult Simba Lorna Cook
Additional Story Material – 
J.T. Allen, George Scribner, 
Miguel Tejada-Flores, Jenny 
Tripp, Bob Tzudiker, 
Christopher Vogler, Kirk Wise 
& Noni White
Writers – Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts & 
Linda Woolverton
Executive Producer – Thomas Schumacher
Producer – Don Hahn
Film Editor – Ivan Bilancio
Supervising Editors  John Carnochan 
& Tom Finan
Songs – Elton John
Lyrics  Tim Rice 
Choral Arranger/Conductor/Vocal Solos: African 
Improvisations (Uncredited) – Lebo M
Music – Hans Zimmer


1995 Academy Awards
Best Original Score - Hans Zimmer (Won) 
Best Original Song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" - 
Elton John & Tim Rice (Won)
Best Original Song "Circle of Life" - 
Elton John & Tim Rice (Nominated)
Best Original Song "Hakuna Matata" - 
Elton John & Tim Rice (Nominated)

THE LION KING stands above other Disney animated classics, it's a majestic, epic and a funny masterpiece that is unlike any other. It is also very touching and I loved everything in the entire film such as its two best moments like the famous Circle of Life opening and the wildebeest stampede. 

Complimented with the talented voice acting of Jeremy Irons who is deliciously sinister as Scar and Nathan Lane was funny as Timon. The rest of the talented voice performances such as Matthew Broderick, Whoopi Goldberg, James Earl Jones and others also support the film. The superb music score by Hans Zimmer and terrific songs by legendary pop musician Elton John including the same opening number, "Be Prepared", "Hakuna Matata" and my favourite, the Oscar-winning "Can You Feel the Love Tonight".

The movie's plot was loosely based on William Shakespeare's Hamlet, yet THE LION KING was my favourite feature film of Disney and definitely the greatest 2D animated blockbuster and feature of all time that anyone or any family would love to watch. Oh, did I forgot to mention that the film and the 3D version (click here) are available on Blu-ray and DVD.

Star rating: (5/5) Best Movie Ever

The Last Starfighter Review (Updated)

The Last Starfighter

Release Date: 13th December 1984 Australia

Production Companies
Universal Pictures
Lorimar Film Entertainment

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: PG

Runtime: 101 minutes

Budget: $15,000,000

Box Office Gross: $28,733,290 (USA)

Plot Summary
“Greetings, Starfighter! You
have been recruited by the
Star League to defend the
frontier against Xur and the
Kodan Armada.” So begins
an adventure of galactic
proportions in The Last
Starfighter. After Earthling
Alex conquers the Starfighter
video game, he is recruited
by alien Centauri to be part
of an elite legion of fighters.
Leaving behind his trailer
park home for the outer
regions space, Alex becomes
the last hope for the
beleaguered Star League
and hundreds of worlds –
including Earth.

Lance Guest – Alex Rogan/Beta Alex
Dan O'Herlihy – Grig
Catherine Mary Stewart – Maggie Gordon
Norman Snow – Xur
Robert Preston – Centauri
Kay E. Kuter – Enduran
Barbara Bosson – Jane Rogan
Chris Hebert – Louis Rogan
Dan Mason – Lord Kril
Vernon Washington – Otis
John O'Leary – Rylan Bursar
Peter Nelson Jack Blake 
Meg Wylie Granny Gordon
Peggy Pope Elvira
Ellen Blake Clara Potter
Britt Leach Mr. Potter
Bunny Summers Mrs. Boone
Owen Bush Mr. Boone
Cameron Dye Andy
Geoffrey Blake Gary
Will Wheaton Louis' Friend

Director – Nick Castle
Writer – Jonathan R. Betuel
Associate Producer – John Whitney Jr.
Producers – Gary Adelson 
and Edward O. Denault
Production Designer – Ron Cobb
Costume Designer – Robert Fletcher
Mechanical Effects Makeup – Lance Anderson
Design Makeup – Terry Smith
Cinematography – King Baggot
Special Effects Supervisor – Kevin Pike
Visual Effects Supervisor: Digital Productions – 
Claudia Summer
Film Editor – Carroll Timothy O'Meara 
Music – Craig Safan

THE LAST STARFIGHTER was a rare science fiction film that was released in 1984. Its plot was a bit like the STAR WARS franchise, but it was an interesting step of approaching a video game concept. I do enjoy its early computer graphic effects since it was the second movie to use it. The first being TRON (click here) and was only the beginning to try out the new things. The acting by Lance Guest was rather great and I know it is bad that he's never been a well-known actor with a prolific experience. The late Robert Preston shines his star in his final role as Centauri and it could be true that he nodded the comparison to a different character he played in THE MUSIC MAN. The humour is very amusing and never stops been awfully low if it seems to identify it as a teen/sci-fi comedy movie. I also praise the music score by Craig Safan which I thought that it sounded similar to the one out of STAR WARS by John Williams. 

I admit that this has been a cherished good movie, I would have to wait for THE LAST STARFIGHTER to be released on Blu-ray and DVD on Australia. Of course for any Aussie who only has seen it in digital television, it will have to wait until the near-future.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie