Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Winners of the 84th Academy Awards (Updated)

Hey, this is Film Guru Lad here, for those
who missed the 84th Academy Awards,
here are the winners.

Best Picture
The Artist

Best Director
The Artist - Michel Hazanavicius

Best Actor
Jean Dujardin - The Artist

Best Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer - Beginners

Best Actress
Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady

Best Supporting Actress
Octavia Spencer - The Help

Best Animated Film

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Descendants - Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon &
Jim Rash

Best Original Screenplay
Midnight in Paris - Woody Allen

Art Direction
Hugo - Production Design: Dante Ferretti, Set Decoration:
Francesca Lo Schiavo

Hugo - Robert Richardson

Costume Design
The Artist - Mark Bridges

Best Documentary Feature

Best Documentary Short
Saving Face

Best Film Editing
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall

Best Foreign Language Film
A Separation - Iran

Best Make-up
The Iron Lady - Mark Coulier & J. Roy Helland

Best Original Score
The Artist - Ludovic Bource

Best Original Song
"Man or Muppet" - The Muppets, Music & Lyric by Bret

Best Animated Short
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore -
William Joyce & Brandon Oldenburg

Best Live Action Short Film
The Shore - Terry George & Oorlagh George

Best Sound Editing
Hugo - Phillip Stockton & Eugene Gearty

Best Sound Mixing
Hugo - Tom Fleischman & John Midgley

Best Visual Effects
Hugo - Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman & Alex

Academy Honorary Award
James Earl Jones
Dick Smith
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Oprah Winfrey

Monday, 27 February 2012

Journey to the Center of the Earth Review (Updated)

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Release Date: 25th September 2008 - Australia

Production Companies
New Line Cinema (presents)
Walden Media (presents)
Journey Films (Uncredited)

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Adventure

Rating: PG

Runtime: 93 minutes

Budget: $60,000,000

Box Office Gross: $241,995,151

Plot Summary
Professor Trevor Anderson
receives his teenager nephew
Sean Anderson. He will
spend ten days with his uncle
while his mother, Elizabeth,
prepares to move to Canada.
She gives a box to Trevor that
belonged to his missing brother,
Max, and Trevor finds a book
with references to the last
journey of his brother. He
decides to follow the steps of
Max with Sean and they travel
to Iceland, where they meet
the guide Hannah Ásgeirsson.
While climbing a mountain,
there is a thunderstorm and
they protect themselves in a
cave. However, a lightining
collapses the entrance and the
trio is trapped in the cave. They
seek an exit and falls in a hole,
discovering a lost world in the
center of the Earth.

Brendan Fraser - Trevor Anderson
Josh Hutcherson - Sean Anderson
Anita Briem - Hannah Asgeirsson
Seth Meyers - Professor Alan Kitzens
Jean Michel Pare - Max Anderson
Jane Wheeler - Elizabeth Anderson
Giancarlo Caltabiano - Leonard
Garth Gilker - Sigurbjorn Asgeirsson

Director - Eric Brevig
Based on Novel - Jules Verne
Screenplay - Michael D. Weiss,
Jennifer Flackett & Mark Levin
Producers - Beau Flynn & Charlotte Higgins
Co-Producers - Cale Boyter, Michael Disco,
Douglas Jones, Alex Schwartz,
Mylan Stepanovich & Evan Turner
Production Designer - David Sandefur
Cinematography - Chuck Shuman
Visual Effects Supervisor - Christopher Townsend
Visual Effects Supervisors: Hybride -
Thierry Delattre & Mathieu Dupuis
Film Editors - Steven Rosenblum, Paul
Martin Smith & Dirk Westervelt
Music - Andrew Lockington

Some people may see JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH as a decent adventure movie, but I think it is really an exciting picture worth-watching. Oddly enough, it really has good special effects and the 3D aspect contributes to the visual display of this film. There are even some moments of the movie where the 3D conversion enhanced scenes of certain peril and fun. This then marks the directorial debut of Eric Brevig who previously worked on the vfx for numerous films, he is more than able to direct a live action film that has the feel of a 4D attraction. The acting of Brendan Fraser is typecast, but it suits him in a different movie that isn't part of the MUMMY trilogy.

For me and the people who have read Jules Verne, this is considered to be not bad for a modern film adaptation of the novel. If you watched the first movie, you'll have to check out my review of the sequel JOURNEY 2 (click here) which does not feature either Brendan Fraser and Anita Briem, but it only has Josh Hutcherson and the new actors Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine. Which I might add, the former done a superb job in replacing Brendan, they both brought a continuous humour to the screen which keeps you on the edge of your seat with laughter.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Monday, 20 February 2012

Lawrence of Arabia Review (Updated)

Lawrence of Arabia

Release Date: 1st November 1963 - Australia

Production Companies
Columbia Pictures
Horizon Pictures

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Drama

Rating: M

Runtime: 218 minutes

Budget: $15,000,000

Box Office Gross: $70,000,000

Plot Summary
An inordinately complex
man who has been labeled
everything from hero, to
charlatan, to sadist, Thomas
Edward Lawrence blazed
his way to glory in the
Arabian desert, then sought
anonymity as a common
solider under an assumed
name. The story opens with
the death of Lawrence in a
motorcycle accident in
Dorset at the age of 46,
then flashbacks to recount
his adventures: as a young
intelligence officer in Cairo
in 1916, he is given leave to
investigate the progress of
the Arab revolt against the
Turks in World War I. In
the desert, he organizes a
guerrilla army and for two
years he leads the Arabs in
harassing the Turks with
desert raids, train-wrecking
and camel attacks. Eventually,
he leads his army northward
and helps a British General
destroy the power of the
Ottoman Empire.

Peter O'Toole - T.E. Lawrence
Alec Guinness - Prince Feisal
Anthony Quinn - Auda Abu Tayi
Jack Hawkins - General Allenby
Omar Sharif - Sheriff Ali
Jose Ferrer - Turkish Bey
Anthony Quayle - Colonel Brighton
Claude Rains - Mr. Dryden
Arthur Kennedy - Jackson Bentley
Donald Wolfit - General Murray
I.S. Johar - Gasim
Gamil Ratib - Majid
Michel Ray - Farraj
John Dimech - Daud
Zia Mohyeddin - Tafas

Producer (Uncredited)/Director - David Lean
Based on Writings - T.E. Lawrence
Screenplay - Robert Bolt & Michael Wilson
Producers - Sam Spiegel, Jim Painten
(1989 Restoration) & Robert A. Harris
(1989 Reconstruction & Restoration)
Production Designer - John Box
Property Master - Eddie Fowlie
Costume Designer - Phyllis Dalton
Director of Photography - Freddie Young
Editor/Editorial Consultant (1989 Restoration) -
Anne V. Coates
Music - Maurice Jarre


1963 Academy Awards
Best Picture - Sam Spiegel (Won)
Best Director - David Lean (Won)
Best Cinematography, Color - Freddie Young (Won)
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration - John Box,
John Stoll and Dario Simoni (Won)
Best Sound - John Cox
Best Film Editing - Anne V. Coates (Won)
Best Music, Score - Substantially Original -
Maurice Jarre (Won)
Best Actor in a Leading Role - Peter O'Toole
Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Omar Sharif
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material
from Another Medium - Robert Bolt and
Michael Wilson (Nominated)

Despite being the longest movie to win an Oscar for Best Picture, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is sure to be a historical epic and is all thanks to director David Lean who made a masterpiece out of greatness. I praise the perfectly crafted acting talents of Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif and Alec Guinness, the classy script and even the brilliant music score by Maurice Jarre.

It helped to influence film directors such as George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to imitate it's visual style. LAWRENCE is such an incredible if not a splendid and good movie. This review is a tribute to my grandfather who passed away recently and was a huge fan of this epic masterpiece.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Lady and the Tramp Review (Valentine's Day 2012) (Updated)

Lady and the Tramp

Release Date: 23rd February 1956 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Productions

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 75 minutes

Budget: $4,000,000

Box Office Gross: $94,886,686

Plot Summary
She's a pampered spaniel,
and he's a debonair mutt-
about-town, but Lady and
Tramp discover that they
make a perfect pair. Lady
has always been the special
pet of her household, but
when dog-hating Aunt
Sarah and her scheming
Siamese cats turn against
her, Tramp is there to help.
Lady discovers that the
world of Tramp and his
stray-dog pals, away from
the "leash and collar set"
holds excitement and even
romance. It holds danger
too, from the ever-present
dog catcher. When he
saves the day, the Tramp
discovers that family life
isn't so bad after all, even
for a footloose fellow like

Voice Cast
Barbara Luddy - Lady
Larry Roberts - The Tramp
Bill Thompson - Jock/Various
Bill Baucom - Trusty
George Givot - Tony
Peggy Lee - Darling/Various
Verna Felton - Aunt Sarah
Stan Freberg - The Beaver
Alan Reed - Boris
Thurl Ravenscroft - Al the Alligator
Dallas McKennon - Toughy/Various
Lee Millar - Jim Dear/Dogcatcher

Directors - Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson
& Hamilton Luske
Based on Book "Happy Dan, The
Whistling Dog" - Ward Greene
Story - Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi,
Ralph Wright & Don DaGradi
Writers - Joe Grant, Dick Huemer & Louis Pollock
Producer - Walt Disney (Uncredited)
Directing Animators - Les Clark,
Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Hal King,
Eric Larson, John Lounsbery,
Wolfgang Reitherman & Frank Thomas
Film Editor - Donald Halliday
Composer & Lyrics: Songs - Sonny Burke
& Peggy Lee
Music - Oliver Wallace

Terrific and truly great is LADY AND THE TRAMP that tells a story about two dogs who met up with each other, but also fell in love with each other. I praise its famous romantic moment where the two main characters are slurping the spaghetti and kiss each other with it.

LADY AND THE TRAMP is surely one of Disney's great love stories that is ever being made and is definitely a heart-warming animated classic. Remember all of you, this review is made for Valentine's Day of 2012.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Monday, 13 February 2012

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 3D Review

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 3D

Release Date: 9th February 2012 - Australia

Production Companies
20th Century Fox
Lucasfilm Ltd

20th Century Fox Australia

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: PG

Runtime: 136 minutes

Budget: $115,000,000

Box Office Gross: $474,588,301

Plot Summary
(32 years before Episode IV)
Stranded on the desert planet
of Tatoonie after rescuing
young Queen Amidala from the
impending invasion of Naboo,
Jedi apprentice Obi Wan
Kenobi and his Jedi master
discover nine-year old Anakin
Skywalker, a young slave
unusually strong with the Force.
Anakin wins a thrilling Podrace
and with it his freedom as he
leaves from his home to be
trained as a Jedi. The heroes
return to Naboo where Anakin
and the Queen... face massive
invasion forces while the two
Jedi contend with a deadly foe
named Darth Maul. Only then
do they realize the invasion is
merely the first step in a
sinister scheme by the re-
emergent forces of darkness
known as the Sith.

Liam Neeson - Qui Gon Jinn
Ewan McGregor - Obi Wan
Natalie Portman - Queen
Padme Amidala
Jake Lloyd - Anakin Skywalker
Ian McDiarmid - Senator/
Supreme Chancellor/Palpatine/
Darth Sidious
Ahmed Best - Jar Jar Binks
Pernilla August - Shmi
Ray Park - Darth Maul
Peter Serafinowicz - Darth Maul/Various (Voices)
Anthony Daniels - C3PO
Kenny Baker - R2D2
Silas Carson - Nute Gunray/
Jerome St. John Blake - Rune Haako/Various
Hugh Quarshie - Captain
Andy Secombe - Watto (Voice)
Frank Oz - Yoda (Voice)
Samuel L Jackson - Mace
Terence Stamp - Supreme
Chancellor Finis Valorum
Brian Blessed - Boss Nass
Lewis Macleod - Sebulba (Voice)
Sofia Coppola - Saché
Keira Knightley - Sabé
Oliver Ford Davies - Sio Bibble
Warwick Davis - Wald/Pod Race Spectactor/Mos Espa Citizen
Ralph Brown - Ric Olie
Steve Speirs - Captain Tarpals
James Taylor - Rune Haako (Voice)
Greg Proops - Fode (Voice)
Scott Capurro - Beed (Voice)
Dhruv Chanchani - Kitster

Writer/Director/Executive Producer - George Lucas
Producer - Rick McCallum
Production Designer - Gavin Bocquet
Design Director/Visual Effects Production
Designer: ILM - Doug Chiang
Live Action Creature Effects Supervisor - Nick
Costume Designer - Trisha Biggar
Director of Photography - David Tattersall
Stunt Coordinator/Sword Master/Fight Unit Director -
Nick Gilllard
Visual Effects Supervisors - Dennis Muren, John Knoll
& Scott Squires
Animation Director - Rob Coleman
R2-D2 Designer - Tony Dyson (Uncredited)
Supervising Sound Editor/Designer/Film Editor - Ben
Film Editor - Paul Martin Smith
Music - John Williams

The 3D version of STAR WARS: EPISODE I - THE PHANTOM MENACE looked good in some part, but the film still has its flaws such as that dopey Jar Jar Binks. Fans of Star Wars will find the pod-racing sequence to be very exciting in 3D. I'm fine with the character of Yoda being changed from a puppet to CGI and is the way what Lucas intended.

For those who have seen the 2D version (click here) and did not know about the STAR WARS franchise will get a chance to watch this 3D experience of a movie that they have finally waited. If you prefer the one in 2D, you might have to get it on Blu-ray. Please comment on what you thought of this version.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Review (Updated)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Release Date: 19th July 1984 - Australia

Production Companies
Paramount Pictures
Lucasfilm Ltd

Genre: Action/Adventure

Rating: M

Runtime: 118 minutes

Budget: $28,200,000

Box Office Gross: $333,107,271

Plot Summary
Set in 1935, a professor,
archaeologist, and legendary
hero by the name of Indiana
Jones is back on action in his
newest adventure. But this
time he teams up with a night
club singer named Wilhelmina
"Willie" Scott and a twelve-
year-old boy named Short
Round. They end up in an
Indian small distressed 
village, where the people
believe that evil spirits have
taken all their children away
after a sacred precious stone
was stolen!

They also discovered the great
mysterious terror surrounding
a bobby-trapped temple known
as the Temple of Doom! 
Thuggee is beginning to attempt
to rise once more, believing that
with the power of all five 
Sankara stones they can rule
the world! Now, it's all up to
Indiana to put an end to the
Thuggee campaign, rescue the
lost children, win the girl and
conquer the Temple of Doom.

Harrison Ford - Indiana Jones
Kate Capshaw - Wilhelmina "Willie" Scott
Jonathan Ke Quan - Short Round
Amrish Puri - Mola Ram
Roshan Seth - Chattar Lal
Phillip Stone - Captain Phillip Blumburtt
Raj Singh - Zalim Singh
D. R. Nanayakkara - Shaman
Roy Chiao - Lao Che
David Yip - Wu Han

Director - Steven Spielberg
Story/Executive Producer/Editor (Uncredited) -
George Lucas
Screenplay - Willard Huyck & Gloria Katz
Producer - Robert Watts
Production Designer - Elliot Scott
Costume Designer - Anthony Powell
Director of Photography - Douglas Slocombe
Stunt Arranger: Studio/Stunts - Vic Armstrong
Mechanical Effects Supervisor - George Gibbs
Visual Effects Supervisor - Dennis Muren
Film Editor - Michael Kahn
Sound Designer/Re-Recording Mixer - Ben
Music - John Williams


1985 Academy Awards
Best Visual Effects - Dennis Muren,
George Gibbs, Lorne Peterson &
Michael J. McAlister (Won)
Best Original Score - John Williams (Nominated)

Technically, a prequel of the original series, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM is fun, yet darker than RAIDERS (click here) which includes scenes like the evil priest pulling the heart out of a victim. I still liked Harrison Ford's performance and I find the mine chase sequence quite thrilling. My only complaint of the film would be the love interest Willie Scott who is nothing but a whiner, maybe they should have made the character more serious and would have made the movie 10 out of 10. 

Despite the fact that THE TEMPLE OF DOOM was not as good as the first INDIANA JONES film, it's still enjoyable and a semi-decent one for the fans to watch.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Official Website

Monday, 6 February 2012

Jaws Review (Updated)


Release Date: 27th November 1975 - Australia

Production Companies
Zanuck/Brown Productions
Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Thriller

Rating: M

Runtime: 120 minutes

Budget: $9,000,000 

Box Office Gross: $470,653,000

Plot Summary
During the height of beach 
season, the Massachusetts 
resort town of Amity Island 
is terrorized one summer 
by surprise attacks from a 
great white shark. Three 
unlikely partners team up
to hunt down the rogue 
and destroy it: the new 
chief of police from New 
York, a young university-
educated oceanographer 
and a crusty old-time

Roy Scheider - Chief Martin Brody
Richard Dreyfus - Matt Hooper
Robert Shaw - Sam Quint
Lorraine Gary - Ellen Brody
Murray Hamilton - Mayor Larry Vaughn
Carl Gottlieb - Meadows
Jeffrey Kramer - Hendricks
Susan Backline - Christine 
"Chrissie" Watkins
Jonathan Filley - Cassidy
Chris Rebello - Michael Brody
Jay Mello - Sean Brody
Lee Fierro - Mrs. Kitner
Jeffrey Voorhees - Alex Kitner
Craig Kinsbury - Ben Gardner

Director - Steven Spielberg
Based on Novel/Screenplay - Peter Benchley
Screenplay - Carl Gottlieb
Producers - David Brown & Richard D. Zanuck
Technical Advisor - Fred Zendar
Production Designer - Joe Alves
Director of Photography - Bill Butler
Camera Operators: Live Shark Footage - Ron & Valerie Taylor
Underwater Photography - Rexford L. Metz
Stunt Coordinator - Ted Grossman (Uncredited)
Special Effects - Robert A. Mattey
Special Mechanical Effects - Roy Arbogast (Uncredited)
Film Editor - Verna Fields
Music - John Williams


1976 Academy Awards
Best Sound Effects - Robert L. Hoyt,
Roger Heman Jr, Earl Madery &
John R. Carter (Won)
Best Film Editing - Verna Fields (Won)
Best Original Score - John Williams (Won)
Best Picture - Richard D. Zanuck &
David Brown (Nominated)

Story based around the Amity Island regatta, JAWS. Warning! Not suitable for young children, very scary scenes. JAWS is action-packed but truly frightening and has lots of blood and guts for a movie in this era of the 1970s. With the cast of Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfus and the direction by Steven Spielberg, this film is the first summer blockbuster in history which would lead to summer features such as STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE (click here), RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (click here), THE DARK KNIGHT and others. Oh, did I forgot to mention about the chilling music score by John Williams which is the best part of JAWS that I loved.

This movie is one of my favourite Spielberg movies I really enjoyed and it's for anyone who wants to see an excellent classic thriller like JAWS. It launched three sequels that includes JAWS 2, JAWS 3 and the infamous JAWS: THE REVENGE.

Star rating: (5/5) Best Movie Ever

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Happy Feet Two Review

Happy Feet Two

Release Date: 26th December 2011 - Australia

Production Companies
Warner Bros. Pictures (presents)
Village Roadshow Pictures (in association with)
Kennedy Miller Mitchell
Dr. D Studios

Roadshow Distribution

Budget: $135,000,000

Box Office Gross: $150,406,466

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 105 minutes

Plot Summary
Mumble, the master of tap,
has a problem because his
tiny son, Erik, is choreo-
phobic. Reluctant to dance,
Erik runs away and
encounters The Mighty Sven
-a penguin who can fly!
Mumble has no hope of
competing with this charismatic
new role model. But things get
worse when the world is shaken
by powerful forces. Erik learns
of his father's "guts and grit" as
Mumble brings together the
penguin nations and all manner
of fabulous creatures-from tiny
Krill to giant elephant seals-to
put things right.

Voice Cast
Elijah Wood - Mumble
Robin Williams - Ramon &
Hank Azaria - The Mighty Sven
Ava Acres - Erik
Brad Pitt - Will the Krill
Matt Damon - Bill the Krill
Pink - Gloria
Carlos Alazraqui - Nestor
Lombardo Boyar - Raul
Jeffrey Garcia - Rinaldo
Johnny A. Sanchez - Lombardo
Meibh Campbell - Boadica
Lil P-Nut - Atticus
Sofia Vergara - Carmen
Richard Carter - Bryan the
Beach Master & Trev
Anthony LaPagia - Boss Skua
Hugo Weaving - Noah the Elder
Common - Seymour
Elizabeth Daily - Erik &
Boadica (Singing Voices)

(Uncredited)/Director - George Miller
Writer/Characters (Uncredited) -
Warren Coleman
Characters - John Collee & Judy Morris
Writers - Gary Eck & Paul Livingston
Producers - Bill Mitchell & Doug Mitchell
Cinematography - David Dulac & David
Animation Director - Rob Coleman
Choreographer - Dein Perry
Music - John Powell

HAPPY FEET TWO was okay but a mediocre sequel to the first HAPPY FEET movie (click here) which is because of the secondary plot that focuses on the two Krill characters that were done by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon that has nothing to do with the film's story-line. Most of the the original movie's voice cast such as Elijah Wood and Robin Williams have returned to do their characters. I praise the work of the singer Pink who did a good job for replacing the late Brittany Murphy for voicing Gloria as well as the songs such as "Under Pressure" by Queen for the film's climax.

For anyone who has seen its predecessor, the sequel is not so good to the original but would have been better if HAPPY FEET TWO would focus more on the main story instead of the Krill subplot.

Star rating: (3/5) Average