Thursday, 29 March 2012

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Review

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal 

Release Date: 22nd May 2008 - Australia

Production Companies
Paramount Pictures
Lucasfilm Ltd

Paramount Pictures Australia

Genre: Action/Adventure

Rating: M

Runtime: 122 minutes

Budget: $185,000,000

Box Office Gross: $786,636,033

Plot Summary
Famed archaeologist/adventurer
Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones is
called back into action when he
becomes entangled in a Soviet
plot to uncover the secret
behind mysterious artifacts known
as the Crystal Skulls.

Harrison Ford - Indiana Jones
Shia LaBeouf - Mutt Williams
Cate Blanchett - Irina Spalko
Karen Allen - Marion Ravenwood
Ray Winstone - George "Mac" McHale
John Hurt - Harold "Ox" Oxley
Jim Broadbent - Dean Charles Stanforth

Director - Steven Spielberg
Based on Characters/Story/Executive
Producer - George Lucas
Based on Characters - Philip
Story - Jeff Nathanson
Screenplay - David Koepp
Producer - Frank Marshall
Production Designer - Guy Hendrix
Costume Designer - Mary Zophres
Director of Photography - Janusz
Whip Trainer - Anthony De Longis
Stunt Coordinator - Gary Powell
Film Editor - Michael Kahn
Visual Effects Supervisor/Aerial Unit Director -
Pablo Helman
Supervising Sound Editor/Designer - Ben
Music - John Williams

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL may have brought back the archaeologist hero to the big screen, but unfortunately, it feels like sci-fi and so does the ending which takes away the mystical concept that the three previous Indiana Jones movies had. I find the scene where Indiana hides in a fridge to escape from a nuclear blast to be quite impossible but funny and I loved the funniest scene where he refuses to grab the rat-snake while he's sinking in dry-sand. The acting was great, especially Harrison Ford who still did a splendid job for playing the title character that he has returned to do since THE LAST CRUSADE (click here) and even newcomers such as Shia LaBeouf and Cate Blanchett.

For those who have seen the INDIANA JONES films will find the latest to be the weakest link of the series, at least, it still has terrific action and a little bit of the trilogy's flavor.

Star rating: (3/5) Average

Official Website

Monday, 26 March 2012

Click Review (Updated)


Release Date: 22nd June 2006 - Australia

Production Companies
Columbia Pictures Corporation
Revolution Studios (presents)
Happy Madison Productions
Original Film

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Comedy

Rating: M

Runtime: 97 minutes
                100 minutes (extended version)

Budget: $82,500,000

Box Office Gross: $237,681,299

Plot Summary
The architect Michael Newman
has a typical middle-class
family with his lovely and
gorgeous wife Donna and
their son Ben and daughter
Samantha, and a constant
visit of his parents. However,
Michael is workaholic and
under stress, trying to satisfy
his boss with overwork and
get a partnership in his
company, giving priority to
his work and neglecting the
family issues.

When the tired Michael goes
to a department store to buy
an universal remote control,
he rests on a bed and he
meets the weird salesman
Morty that offers him a
remote control capable of
controlling his own universe.
Michael uses too much and
loses the control of the device,
having his own life controlled
by the remote control. Then
Michael sees the worthwhile
parts of his personal life he
missed while working, and
in the end of his life he lately
concludes that the family
comes first.

Adam Sandler - Michael Newman
Kate Beckinsale - Donna Newman
Christopher Walken - Morty
David Hasselhoff - John Ammer
Henry Winkler - Ted Newman
Julie Kavner - Trudy Newman
Sean Astin - Bill
Joseph Castanon - Ben Newman
Tatum McCann - Samantha Newman
Jonah Hill - Teenage Ben
Lorraine Nicholson - Teenage Samantha
Jake Hoffman - Adult Ben
Katie Cassidy - Adult Samantha
Cameron Monaghan - Kevin O'Doyle
Rob Schieder - Prince
Habeeeboo (Cameo)
James Earl Jones - Narrator/Himself
(Cameo) (Uncredited)

Director - Frank Coraci
Writers/Producers - Steve Koren &
Mark O'Keefe
Producers - Adam Sandler, Jack
Giarraputo & Neal H. Moritz
Co-Producer - Tania Landau
Production Designer - Perry
Andelin Blake
Special Make-Up Effects - Rick Baker
Director of Photography - Dean Semler
Film Editor - Jeff Gourson
Music - Rupert Gregson-Williams


2007 Academy Awards
Best Make-up - Kazuhiro Tsuji and Bill Corso (Nominated)

CLICK can be quite a funny movie from Adam Sandler, but it contains scenes which can bring a tear in your eye. Nothing I saw couldn't be in the actor's previous comedies and that's the only time some emotion is found in Sandler's lowbrow comedy. The humorous parts of the film I liked includes Sandler's character mistakenly congratulates the wrong kid instead of his own son. I kinda liked the imagining concept of what life would be like if you had the power of a universal remote to rewind, fast forward, pause, mute and slow-mo time. I also loved the narration cameo by James Earl Jones and in one scene, he upstages Adam Sandler in his ever-seen presence.

Oh my, what fun you could have! CLICK is such a enjoyable movie, one filled with constant laughs and positive energy from all the actors.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Starchaser: The Legend of Orin Review

Starchaser: The Legend of Orin

Release Date: 21st August 1986 - Australia

Production Companies
Young Sung Production Co.

Genre: Animation

Rating: M

Runtime: 107 minutes

Budget: $15,000,000

Box Office Gross: $3,360,800 (USA)

Plot Summary
Set on the subterranean
Mine-World, a band of
human workers are
treated like slaves under
the power of the evil
overlord Zygon until one,
Orin, unearths the hilt
of a mythical sword that
only he can master.
Escaping the planet, he
runs into the rogue
smuggler Dagg and a
pair of helpful droids
and the princess, who all
team up to return to the
Mine-World with a plan
to defeat Zygon and free
Orin's enslaved people.

Voice Cast
Joe Colligan - Orin
Carmen Argenziano - Dagg Dibrimi
Anthony De Longis - Zygon/Nexus
Noelle North - Elan/Aviana
Les Tremayne - Arthur
Daryl Bartley - Kallie
Tyke Caravelli - Silica
Tina Romanus - Aunt Bella

Producer/Director - Steven Hahn
Writer - Jeffrey Scott
Computer Animation Graphics -
Patricia Capozzi & Edith
Film Editor/Sound Designer -
Donald W. Ernst
Electronic/Synthesized Sound
Effects - Stan Levine
Music - Andrew Belling

STARCHASER: THE LEGEND OF ORIN is surprisingly yet one of the earliest animated features to use computer animation and the first to be shown in 3D. The first half of the film and the female android character were decent, but I'm pretty disappointed that it rip-offed the Star Wars movies and has most of its elements such as a dark lord, a smuggler and even a princess.

For those who haven't seen the movie will be better off watching Star Wars or other animated sci-fi-efforts such as TITAN A.E (click here), TREASURE PLANET (click here) and WALL.E (click here).

Star rating: (3/5) Average

Monday, 19 March 2012

Waterworld Review (Updated)


Release Date: 14th September 1995 - Australia

Production Companies
Universal Pictures (presents)
Gordon Company
Davis Entertainment
Licht/Mueller Film Corporation

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: M

Runtime: 135 minutes
                176 minutes
                (extended cut)

Budget: $175,000,000

Box Office Gross: $264,218,220

Plot Summary
In a future where Earth is
covered with water, the
human race struggles to
survive on dilapidated boats
and makeshift floating cities
called atolls. But some still
cling to legends of a
mythical place called "Dry-
land."Seeking clues to
its whereabouts, the evil
Deacon attacks the atoll
which houses young Enola
and her adoptive mother
Helen. When a mysterious
drifter/adventurer known as
the Mariner is caught up in
their struggle, he finds himself
catapulted into an explosive
war of good vs. evil with the
open sea as his battlefield.
Only later will he discover
Enola's wondrous secret
- a revelation that may
change the destiny of all

Kevin Costner - The Mariner
Dennis Hopper - Deacon
Tina Majorino - Enola
Jeanne Tripplehorn - Helen
Michael Jeter - Old Gregor
Gerard Murphy - The Nord

Director - Kevin Reynolds
Writers - Peter Rader & Davod Twohy
Producers - Charles & Lawrence
Gordon, John Davis & Kevin Costner
Production Designer - Dennis Gassner
Costume Designer - John Bloomfield
Director of Photography - Dean Semler
Film Editor - Peter Boyle
Visual Effects Supervisor - Michael J.
Digital Effects Supervisor: Boss Film
Studios - Sean Phillips
Music - James Newton Howard


1996 Academy Awards
Best Sound - Steve Maslow, Gregg Landaker
& Keith A. Wester (Nominated)

WATER-WORLD or as you might call it MAD MAX on water has a really good concept of Earth getting covered in water, but there's one problem on the movie is that the story-line has several unexplained answers and even loose ends including the ending. The sets, action scenes and music score by James Newton Howard are all tremendous but Kevin Costner's performance as The Mariner was a fine job. I find the part where Costner's character turns his wee into drinking water to be very disconcerting and I should have known that Jack Black had a small role in the film.

WATER-WORLD is not a bad movie, just horribly-edited which is why it wasn't as successful as it could have been, but it is enjoyable. The fans of WATER-WORLD will have to wait for the questions to be answered in the extended cut of the film. The uncompressed version is available on DVD and Blu-ray but unfortunately not for fans outside of North America.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Thursday, 15 March 2012

John Carter Review

John Carter

Release Date: 8th March 2012 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures (presents)

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: M

Runtime: 132 minutes

Budget: $263,700,000

Box Office Gross: $284,139,100

Plot Summary
John Carter is transported from
19th century America to Mars
"Barsoom" to its residents
where he becomes embroiled
in a brutal civil war.

Taylor Kitsch - John Carter
Lynn Collins - Dejah Thoris
Samantha Morton - Sola
Willem Dafoe - Tars Tarkas
Thomas Haden Church - Tal Hajus
Mark Strong - Matai Shang
Ciaran Hinds - Tardos Mars
Dominic West - Sab Than
James Purefoy - Kantos Kan
Bryan Cranston - Colonel Powell
Polly Walker - Sarkoja
Daryl Sabara - Edgar Rice Burroughs

Screenplay/Director - Andrew Stanton
Based on Novel "A Princess of
Mars" - Edgar Rice Burroughs
Screenplay/Second Unit
Director - Mark Andrews
Screenplay - Michael Chabon
Producers - Lindsey Collins,
Jim Morris & Colin Wilson
Alien Language Developer -
Paul R. Frommer
Production Designer - Nathan Crowley
Makeup Designer - Bill Corso
Costume Designer - Mayes C. Rubeo
Director of Photography - Daniel Mindel
Stunt Coordinator - Tom Struthers
Swordmaster - Kevin McCurdy
Visual Effects Supervisor - Peter Chiang
Special Visual Effects
Consultant - Eric Brevig
Character Design Supervisor -
John Rosengrant
Film Editor - Eric Zumbrunnen
Music - Michael Giacchino

I never knew that JOHN CARTER could be quite a visual spectacle, now I realise it's a good sci-fi movie with plenty of visual effects. I certainly give thanks to its director Andrew Stanton who finally brought Edgar Rice Burroughs' first novel of the series to the big screen to what others failed to do in 81 years. The JOHN CARTER books influenced such filmmakers as George Lucas and James Cameron into making sci-fi features as the STAR WARS trilogy and AVATAR (click here). The film's 3D aspect is really something, but I would say that the acting performances including Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Mark Strong and others are terrific.

It's pretty bad that JOHN CARTER bombed at the box office and it is such a fine film, it really deserves a cult following right now from those who have read the books of CARTER and get a chance to see the movie.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Monday, 12 March 2012

Mission Impossible Review (Updated)

Mission Impossible

Release Date: 26th June 1996 - Australia

Production Companies
Paramount Pictures (presents)
Cruise/Wagner Productions

Paramount Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 110 minutes

Budget: $80,000,000

Box Office Gross: $457,696,359

Plot Summary
Based on the hit T.V. series.
Jim Phelps was sent to
Prague for a mission to
prevent the theft of classified
material. His wife Claire and
trusted partner Ethan Hunt
were members of Phelps'
team. Unfortunately,
something went horribly
wrong and the mission failed,
leaving Ethan Hunt the lone
survivor. After he reported
the failed mission, Kettridge
the head if the agency
suspects Ethan of being the
culprit for the failed mission.
Now, Ethan uses unorthodox
methods (Which includes the
aid of an arms dealer going
by the name "Max") to try to
find who set him up and to
clear his name.

Tom Cruise - Ethan Hunt
Jon Voight - Jim Phelps
Emmanuelle Beart - Claire Phelps
Henry Czerny - Eugene Kittridge
Jean Reno - Franz Krieger
Ving Rhames - Luther Stickell
Kristin Scott Thomas - Sarah Davies
Vanessa Redgrave - Max
Ingeborga Dapkunaite - Hannah Williams
Karel Dobry - Matthias
Dale Dye - Frank Barnes
Emilo Estevez - Jack Harnon

Director - Brian de Palma
Based on Television Series - Bruce Geller
Story/Screenplay - David Koepp
Story - Steven Zallian
Screenplay - Robert Towne
Producers - Tom Cruise & Paula Wagner
Production Designer - Norman Reynolds
Director of Photography - Stephen H. Burum
Film Editor - Paul Hirsch
Visual Effects Supervisors - John Knoll
& Richard Yuricich
Writer: Theme from Mission Impossible -
Lalo Schifrin
Performers/Producers: Theme from
Mission Impossible - Larry Mullen Jr. &
Adam Clayton
Music - Danny Elfman

While being the first of the four movies, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE (M:I) is a unforgettable spy movie that has a really clever if not deceptive story-line. It is a blend of spy stylised espionage action mixed with humour and romance and is brilliantly directed by Brian de Palma. I can say that the things of the movie I praise is the acting of Tom Cruise and Jon Voight who both delivered their roles with such conviction and enthusiasm and the final but fantastic action sequence which involves a chopper and a train.

M:I1 was a great movie, but not as good as the recent M:I movie GHOST PROTOCOL (click here). The filmmakers are in talks of making a fifth IMPOSSIBLE movie which would star Cruise and Simon Pegg and Brad Bird might not be directing it.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Monday, 5 March 2012

Grown-Ups Review (Updated)


Release Date: 24th June 2010 - Australia

Production Companies
Happy Madison Productions
Relativity Media

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Comedy

Rating: M

Runtime: 102 minutes

Budget: $70-80,000,000

Box Office Gross: $271,430,189

Plot Summary
In 1978, five 12-year-olds win a
CYO basketball championship.
Thirty years later, they gather
with their families for their
coach's funeral and a weekend
at a house on a lake where
they used to party. By now,
each is a grownup with
problems and challenges:
Marcus is alone and drinks
too much. Rob, with three
daughters he rarely sees, is
always deeply in love until 
he turns on his next ex-wife.
Eric is overweight and out of
work. Kurt is a househusband,
henpecked by wife and mother
-in-law. Lenny is a successful
Hollywood agent married to a
fashion designer; their kids
take privilege for granted.
Can the outdoors help these
grownups rediscover
connections or is this chaos
in the making?

Adam Sandler - Lenny "Hollywood" Feder
Salma Hayek - Roxanne Chase-Feder
Jake Goldberg - Greg Feder
Cameron Boyce - Keithie Feder
Alexys Nycole Sanchez - Becky Feder
Kevin James - Eric Lamonsoff
Maria Bello - Sally Lamonsoff
Ada-Nicole Sanger - Donna Lamonsoff
Frank & Morgan Gingerich - Bean
Chris Rock - Kurt McKenzie
Maya Rudolph - Deanne McKenzie
Nadji Jeter - Andre McKenzie
China Anne McClain - Charlotte Mc
Ebony Jo-Ann - Mama Ronzoni
Rob Schneider - Rob Hillard
Joyce Van Patten - Gloria Hillard
Madison Riley - Jasmine Hillard
Jamie Chung - Amber Hillard
Ashley Loren - Bridget Hillard
David Spade - Marcus "Higgy" Higgins
Blake Clark - Coach
Colin Quinn - Dickie Bailey
Steve Buscemi - Wiley

Director - Dennis Dugan
Writer/Producer - Adam Sandler
Writer - Fred Wolf
Producer - Jack Giarraputo
Cinematography - Theo van de Sande
Film Editor - Tom Costain
Music - Rupert-Gregson Williams

GROWN-UPS is such an absolute fantastic movie that is packed with laughter scene after scene. No wonder it pulled in lot of comedic stars such as Kevin James, Rob Scheider, Chris Rock, David Spade and most importantly Adam Sandler. The famous crew are well renown for their work with their films of Happy Madison and I heard that GROWN-UPS is basically the comedy version of THE EXPENDABLES which somewhat amazes me. I loved the two amusing parts that were included in GROWN-UPS which is the little girl that wants to get chocolate wasted and the muscle man at the water-park who has a really funny voice. Ironic to a delight, Steve Buscemi is featured to an extended cameo appearance and he is Sandler's another collaborator when appearing in some of his work.

It may not be like the other Adam Sandler movies or compared to HAPPY GILMORE (click here), but this has been his finest work for quite some time and it is my favourite.

Star rating: (5/5) Best Movie Ever

In Memory of Ralph McQuarrie (1929-2012) (Updated)

Ralph McQuarrie (1929-2012)

Hey, this is Film Guru Lad
here! I've got some sad news
for Star Wars fans they
might want to hear, Ralph
McQuarrie, the man responsible
for doing the concept illustrations
of the original trilogy of 'Star Wars' as well as designing the characters of Darth Vader, C3PO, R2-D2, Boba Fett and Chewbacca has passed away at the age of 82.

He was born on Gary, Indiana, US and then moved to California during the 60s. He once worked as a technical illustrator for Boeing as well designing film posters and others. In 1975, he was commissioned by Director George Lucas to illustrate the scenes as well as doing the characters for the first 'Star Wars' movie 'A New Hope' which leads right up to two sequels 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return of the Jedi'. McQuarrie also did the concept art for other movies such as 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind', 'E.T. the Extra Terrestrial', 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', 'Cocoon' (Which won him an Oscar for Best Visual Effects) and others. He also did the illustration on the original TV series of 'Battlestar Galactica'. He retired doing his concept design and his artwork can been seen through art exhibitions or even his official website (click here).

Vuk: The Little Fox Review (Updated)

Vuk: The Little Fox

Release Date: 10th December 1981 - Hungary

Production Companies
Pannonia Filmstudio
Robert Halmi, Inc. (English Dub)

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 76 minutes

Plot Summary
Vuk (Vic in the English
Version), the little fox
lives happily among his
many siblings in their
parents' home. As he
is livelier and snappier
than the others, one day
he wanders into the forest
alone. As soon as he arrives
home, he discovers that his
whole family has
disappeared. Only later,
he comes to know that
the responsible are the
feared humans, the
hunters (called among
animals the bare-skins').

But luckily for Vuk, his
old uncle Karak starts
to patronize him, and the
seasoned elder brings
Vuk up to be the most
cunning and successful fox
in the forest.

Voice Cast: English Version
Nancy Cartwright - Young Vuk
Steven R. Weber - Adult Vuk
John Bellucci - Kug/Narrator
Anne Costello - Iny/Additional
William Kiehl - Karak
Lucy Martin - Foxy
George Gonneau - Hunter

Screenplay/Character Designer/
Director - Attila Dargay
English Adaptation - Denise
Writer: English Adaptation -
George Gonneau
Based on Novel - Istvan Fekete
Screenplay/Production Leader -
Istvan Imre
Screenplay - Ede Tarbay
Cinematography - Iren Henrik
Film Editors - Janos Czipauer &
Magda Hap
Music - Peter Wolf

The animation of VUK: THE LITTLE FOX was a bit like anime, but the only thing that lives up to this Hungarian movie is the story. The film does have a lot of sad and funny moments such as where what happens with Vuk's family and the two drunk geese. I'm very surprised that VUK came out in the same year as the another fox cartoon made by Disney THE FOX AND THE HOUND which fortunately doesn't include any similarities to it.

Unfortunately, this is a very hard movie to track down due to it being a foreign film, but for those keen to watch it, you can find it on YouTube.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Hugo Review (Updated)


Release Date: 12th January 2012 - Australia

Production Companies
Paramount Pictures (present)
GK Films (present)
Infinitum Nihil

Paramount Pictures Australia

Genre: Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 126 minutes

Budget: $150,000,000

Box Office Gross: $185,770,160

Plot Summary
1930s Paris, an orphan boy
who lives in the walls of a
train station is wrapped up
in a mystery involving his
late father.

Asa Butterfield - Hugo Cabret
Ben Kingsley - Papa Georges
Chloe Grace Moretz - Isabelle
Sacha Baron Cohen - Inspector Gustave
Ray Winstone - Uncle Claude
Jude Law - Hugo's Father
Christopher Lee - Monsieur Labisse
Helen McCrory - Mama Jeanne
Michael Stuhlbarg - Rene Tabard
Emily Mortimer - Lisette
Frances de la Tour - Madame Emile
Richard Griffiths - Monsieur Frick

Producer/Director - Martin Scorsese
Based on Book "The Invention
of Hugo Cabret" - Brian Selznick
Screenplay - John Logan
Producers - Johnny Depp, Tim
Headington & Graham King
Production Design - Dante Ferretti
Costume Design - Sandy Powell
Cinematography - Robert Richardson
Film Editor - Thelma Schoonmaker
Visual Effects Supervisor: ILM - John Knoll
Second Unit Director/Director of Photography:
Second Unit/Visual Effects Supervisor -
Robert Legato
Visual Effects Supervisor - Ben Frossman
Digital Effects Supervisor - Alex Henning
Music - Howard Shore


2012 Academy Awards
Best Art Direction - Dante Ferretti &
Francesca Lo Schiavo (Won)
Best Cinematography - Robert Richardson (Won)
Best Sound Editing - Phillip Stockton &
Eugene Gearty (Won)
Best Sound Mixing - Tom Fleischman & John
Midgley (Won)
Best Visual Effects - Rob Legato, Joss Williams,
Ben Grossman & Alex Henning (Won)
Best Costume Design - Sandy Powell (Nominated)
Best Director - Martin Scorsese (Nominated)
Best Film Editing - Thelma Schoonmaker (Nominated)
Best Picture (Nominated)
Best Adapted Screenplay - John Logan (Nominated)

Terrific and impressive picture for all ages, HUGO is definitely a must-see in 3D. The director Martin Scorsese made the film HUGO a mechanical masterpiece and there's not a single dull moment of it. I didn't know that the movie was an ode to the silent classics and I find it very enthralling in this moving family flick. The acting in the film was truly great, but I applaud the performance of Ben Kingsley who does an excellent job for portraying a character who invented the term of film-making and probably we won't guess who that name was. I must admit on the young, up and coming actor Asa Butterfield has innocent looks on playing the title character and I wouldn't forget Sacha Baron Cohen having a lovely time with doing that supporting role.

Many of you like myself would be disappointed that HUGO did not win an Oscar for Best Picture at the Academy Awards which goes to the silent movie THE ARTIST. I'm adding HUGO to my favourite movie list, don't miss out on seeing it.

Star rating: (5/5) Best Movie Ever