Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Dark Crystal Review

The Dark Crystal

Release Date: 22nd April 1983 - Australia

Production Companies
ITC Entertainment (presents)
Jim Henson Productions
Henson Associates (HA)

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: G

Runtime: 93 minutes

Budget: $25,000,000

Box Office Gross: $43,286,001

Plot Summary
In another time, The Dark 
Crystal - a source of Balance 
and Truth in the Universe - 
was shattered, dividing the 
world into two factions: the 
wicked Skeksis and the 
peaceful Mystics.

Now, as the convergence of 

the three suns approaches, 
the Crystal must be healed, 
or darkness will reign for 
evermore! It's up to Jen - 
the last of his race - to fulfill 
the prophecy that a Gelfling 
will return the missing shard 
to the Crystal and destroy 
the Skeksis evil Empire. But 
will young Jen's courage be 
any match for the unknown 
dangers that await him?

Jim Henson - Jen/Various
Kathryn Mullen - Jen/Kira
Frank Oz - Aughra/SkekSil
the Chamberlain/The Podlings
Kiran Shah - The Body of Jen,
Kira and Aughra
Dave Goelz - SkekUng the
Garthim Master/Fizzgig
Steve Whitmire - SkekTek
the Scientist
Brian Muehl - UrSu the Master/
Bob Payne - SkekOk the Scroll Keeper
Louise Gold - SkekAyuk the Gourmand
Mike Quinn - SkekNa the Slave Master
Tim Rose - SkekShod the Treasurer
David Greenway - Urlm/Healer 

Voice Cast
Stephen Garlick - Jen
Lisa Maxwell - Kira
Billie Whitelaw - Aughra
Percy Edwards - Fizzgig
Barry Dennen - SkekSkil the
Michael Kilgariff - SkekUng
the Garthim Master
Sean Barrett - UrZah the
Ritual Guardian
Jerry Nelson - SkekSo the Emperor/
SkekZok the Ritual Master
John Baddeley - SkekOk the Scroll Keeper
Thick Wilson - SkekAyuk the Gourmand
David Buck - SkekNa the Slave Master
Charles Collingword - SkekShod the Treasurer
Joseph O'Conor - Narrator/Unglm

Story/Producer/Director - Jim Henson
Director - Frank Oz
Screenplay - David Odell
Executive Producer - David Lazer
Second Unit Director/Producer - Gary Kurtz
Conceptual Artist/Creature/Costume Designer -
Brian Froud
Production Designer - Harry Lange
Cinematography - Oswald Morris
Special Visual Effects/Director: Miniature Unit -
Brian Smithies
Special Visual Effects - Roy Field
Special Sound Effects Creator - Ben Burtt
Film Editor - Ralph Kemplen
Music - Trevor Jones

Made with amazing puppetry and a very simple plot, THE DARK CRYSTAL takes on a mystical realm of a fantasy world that doesn't include human characters which makes it as the most imaginative picture that Muppet-maker Jim Henson has ever done so perfectly. Packed with everything including scenery of landscapes that are absolutely beautiful, interesting characters like The Mystics and the evil Skeksis and a powerful music score by Trevor Jones.

For an unforgettable classic like THE DARK CRYSTAL that is enjoyable for fans of Henson's work. I loved it, because it was a pure mystical fantasy film that has a lot of spirit.

Star rating: (5/5) Best Movie Ever

Friday, 28 September 2012

Hotel Transylvania Review

Hotel Transylvania

Release Date: 20th September 2012 - Australia

Production Companies
Columbia Pictures (presents)
Sony Pictures Animation

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 105 minutes

Budget: $85,000,000

Box Office Gross: $358,375,603

Plot Summary
Dracula, who operates a
high-end resort away from
the human world, goes into
overprotective mode when
a boy discovers the resort
and falls for the count's
teen-aged daughter.

Voice Cast
Adam Sandler - Dracula
Selena Gomez - Mavis
Andy Samberg - Jonathan
Kevin James - Frank/Frankenstein
CeeLo Green - Murray
Steve Buscemi - Wayne
Molly Shannon - Wanda
David Spade - Griffin the Invisible Man
Fran Drescher - Eunice
Jon Lovitz - Quasimodo
Sadie Sandler - Young Mavis/Winnie
Jackie Sandler - Martha
Chris Parnell - Mr. Fly
Rob Riggle - Skeleton Husband

Director - Genndy Tartakovsky
Story - Todd Durham, Dan
& Kevin Hageman
Screenplay - Peter Baynham
Screenplay/Executive Producer -
Robert Smigel
Executive Producers - Adam Sandler
& Allen Covert
Producer - Michelle Murdocca
Character Designers - Carter Goodrich,
Carlos Grangel & Craig Kellman
Head of Story - Kaan Kalyon
Production Designer - Marcelo Vignali
Senior Animation Supervisor - James Crossley
Visual Effects Supervisor - Daniel Kramer
Film Editor - Catherine Apple
Music - Mark Mothersbaugh

I've seen a lot of Genndy Tartakovsky's animated Cartoon Network series like SAMURAI JACK, DEXTER'S LABORATORY, the first CLONE WARS series and two episodes of SYM BIONIC TITAN, after all these years, I always knew that he would someday direct a movie. HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA has most of the laughter, but I didn't get some of the jokes. One thing that I want to check on is the voice acting, I'll start off with Selena Gomez who's not as bad as Miley Cyrus, but I'm glad that she replaced her for the role of Mavis and I knew Adam Sandler would act so over-the-top as Dracula, but he does go dramatic in a few scenes. There's also one thing that I find interesting on TRANSYLVANIA is the use of the word 'racist' which has never been heard in an animated kids movie.

Sure it was Tartakovsky's first film that he had done, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA is a little-bit haunting, but a very entertaining feature and make sure you monster fans go see it on to the big screen.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Monday, 24 September 2012

Iron Man 2 Review (Updated)

Iron Man 2 

Release Date: 29th April 2010 - Australia

Production Companies
Paramount Pictures (presents)
Marvel Entertainment (presents)
Marvel Studios
Fairview Entertainment (in
association with)

Paramount Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 125 minutes

Budget: $200,000,000

Box Office Gross: $623,933,331

Plot Summary
With the world now aware 
of his dual life as the armored 
superhero Iron Man, billionaire 
inventor Tony Stark faces 
pressure from the government, 
the press, and the public to 
share his technology with the 
military. Unwilling to let go of 
his invention, Stark, along 
with Pepper Potts, and James 
"Rhodey" Rhodes at his side, 
must forge new alliances -- 
and confront powerful enemies. 

Robert Downey Jr. - Tony Stark/
Iron Man
Gwyneth Paltrow - Virginia
"Pepper" Potts
Don Cheadle - Lt. Colonel James
"Rhodey" Rhodes
Scarlett Johansson - Natalie
Rushman/Natasha Romanoff
Sam Rockwell - Justin Hammer
Mickey Rourke - Ivan Vanko
Samuel L. Jackson - Nick Fury
Garry Shandling - Senator Stern
Jon Favreau - Happy Hogan
Paul Bettany - JARVIS (Voice)
Clark Gregg - Agent Phil Coulson

Executive Producer/Director -
Jon Favreau
Based on Characters/Executive
Producer - Stan Lee
Based on Characters - Don
Heck, Larry Lieber &
Jack Kirby
Screenplay - Justin Theroux
Producer - Kevin Fiege
Production Designer - J. Michael Riva
Costume Designer - Mary Zophres
Director of Photography -
Matthew Libatique
Stunt Coordinator - Thomas Robinson Harper
Visual Effects Supervisors -
Andrew Hellen & Janek Sirrs
Visual Effects Supervisor:
ILM - Ben Snow
Physical Suit Effects Supervisor - Shane Mahan
Film Editors - Dan Lebental &
Richard Pearson
Music Supervisor - Dave Jordan
Music - John Debney


2011 Academy Awards
Best Visual Effects - Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright
& Daniel Sudick (Nominated)

It wasn't quite as good as the first IRON MAN movie (click here), but IRON MAN 2 did have a lot of fun and contained more popcorn action and impressive visuals that'll blow the audience. It's a shame that Terence Howard got replaced by Don Cheadle for the role of Lt. Colonel James Rhodes, but the things that I might want to talk about is the main villain played by Mickey Rourke. Might I say that Mickey done an outstanding job of playing the villain, and it would be without uncertainty to say his character Ivan Vanko is in fact a very interesting foe who uses those electric whips. At the after-credits scene on the first hit, Samuel Jackson was already cast by actor/director Jon Favreau to portray as Nick Fury. It's the start of his nine-year contract and the character he plays got into a supporting lead instead of a featured cameo presence.

This film is also complimented with two songs of the Aussie rock band AC/DC and I would confess I'm not a huge fan of AC/DC but for this film I have to say was very fitting.

While not compared to the first instalment, IRON MAN 2 was a very worthy sequel and I think it does offer the Marvel fans some valuable entertainment.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Review (Updated)

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Release Date: 6th September 2012 - Australia

Production Companies
DreamWorks Animation

Paramount Pictures Australia 

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 93 minutes

Budget: $145,000,000

Box Office Gross: $746,921,274

Plot Summary
Alex, Marty, Gloria and
Melman are still fighting
to get home to their
beloved Big Apple.
Their journey takes
them through Europe
where they find the
perfect cover: a
traveling circus

Voice Cast
Ben Stiller - Alex
Chris Rock - Marty
David Schwimmer - Melman
Jada-Pinkett Smith - Gloria
Sacha Baron Cohen - King Julien
Tom McGrath - Skipper/First Policeman
Chris Miller - Kowalski
Christopher Knights - Private
John DiMaggio - Rico
Bryan Cranston - Vitaly
Martin Short - Stefano
Jessica Chastain - Gia
Cedric the Entertainer - Maurice
Andy Ritcher - Mort
Frances McDormand - Captain
Chantel DuBois
Frank Welker - Sonya the Bear

Based on Characters/Writer/
Director - Eric Darnell
Based on Characters/Director -
Tom McGrath
Director - Conrad Vernon
Screenplay - Noah Baumbach
Producers - Mireille Sora &
Mark Swift
Production Designer - Kendal
Character Designer - Craig Kellman
Art Director - Shannon Jeffries
Film Editor - Nick Fletcher
Music - Hans Zimmer

Greetings, this is Film Guru Lad here, I'm sorry that I didn't review MADAGASCAR 2: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA, but it's still in the works, well here's EUROPE'S MOST WANTED. I am..... well-amazed that this third sequel has turned out to be dazzling. It still has the good characters and voice acting by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and Sacha Baron Cohen, I found it very humorous with lots of laughs and great computerised animation. I really enjoyed the circus act scene that has the glow in the dark features, plus usage of a song by Katy Perry.

One question, is EUROPE'S MOST WANTED better than the last sequel? I thought so and it's a must-see for viewers including families and children.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Official Website

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Stormbreaker Review


Release Date: 21st September 2006 - Australia

Production Companies
Samuelson Productions
Isle of Man Film
The Weinstein Company
VIP 4 Medienfonds
Moving Picture Company (MPC)
Rising Star Entertainment

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 90 minutes

Budget: £40,000,000

Box Office Gross: $23,937,870 

Plot Summary
Alex Rider is a regular
teenager who lives
a somewhat mundane
life with his guardian
and uncle, Ian Rider.
Uncle Ian is a boring
bank manager type -
or so it seems - until
he dies under mysterious

Alex soon learns that his
uncle was actually a super
-cool spy for Britain's secret
intelligence service, MI6 and
now they want him as his
replacement! Unbeknownst
to Alex, all those hobbies
that Uncle Ian encouraged
him to develop, have actually
prepared him for a career in
espionage. His skills in
languages, scuba diving,
mountaineering and martial
arts, mean that he has all the
attributes of the perfect spy!

Armed with special gadgets
from MI6, Alex is excused
from school and sent out to
battle some seriously bad
dudes who are about to
discover that he's no child:
he's a lethal weapon!

Alex Pettyfer - Alex Rider
Mickey Rourke - Darrius Sayle
Alicia Silverstone - Jack Starbright
Bill Nighy - Alan Blunt
Sophie Okonedo - Mrs. Jones
Damian Lewis - Yassen Gregorvich
Missi Pyle - Nadia Vole
Stephen Fry - Smithers
Sarah Bolger - Sabina Pleasure
Andy Serkis - Mr. Grin
Ashley Walters - Wolf
Ewan McGregor - Ian Rider
Robbie Coltrane - The Prime Minister
Jimmy Carr - John Crawford

Director - Geoffrey Sax
Based on Novel/Screenplay - Anthony Horowitz
Producers - Steve Christian, Andreas Grosch &
Marc and Peter Samuelson
Production Designer - Ricky Eyres
Cinematography - Chris Seager
Visual Effects Supervisors - Tom Debenham &
Rudi Holzapfel
Film Editor - Andrew MacRitchie
Music - Alan Parker

STORMBREAKER is a bit like Harry Potter and James Bond, but really an attempt to get teenagers into the spy-fiction genre. The movie's gadgets are interesting such as the Nintendo DS and the actors did a good job of playing their roles especially Mickey Rourke and newcomer Alex Pettyfer. Its such a shame that Ewan McGregor's character got killed off too early and we didn't get to see more of him.

STORMBREAKER has plenty of amazing action which I think some of it and is a really good spy movie, I'm so sorry that it got flopped that cancelled all the sequels to the film.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Monday, 17 September 2012

Madagascar Review (Updated)


Release Date: 16th June 2005 - Australia

Production Companies
DreamWorks SKG
Pacific Data Images (PDI)
DreamWorks Animation

Paramount Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 86 minutes

Budget: $78,000,000

Box Office Gross: $532,680,671

Plot Summary
Pampered and provided for 
at New York’s Central Park 
Zoo, life couldn't be better 
for Alex the Lion, Marty the 
Zebra, Melman the Giraffe 
and Gloria the Hippo. 
They've lived all their lives 
in captivity, been served 
good meals every day and 
visited by an adoring public.
Things are about to change.
Marty is curious about the 

world beyond their idyllic 
surroundings and escapes 
with the help of a group 
of penguins. Alex, Melman 
and Gloria go after him, 
but their life on the outside 
comes to an abrupt end 
when they are rounded up 
and shipped off to Africa 
where they will be set free.

Voice Cast
Ben Stiller - Alex the Lion
Chris Rock - Marty the Zebra
David Schwimmer - Melman
the Giraffe
Jada Pinkett-Smith - Gloria
the Hippo
Sacha Baron Cohen - King
Cedric the Entertainer - Maurice
Andy Ritcher - Mort
Tom McGrath - Skipper
Chris Miller - Kowalski
John DiMaggio - Rico (Uncredited)
Christopher Knights - Private
Conrad Vernon - Mason

Writers/Directors - Eric Darnell
& Tom McGrath
Writers - Mark Burton & Billy Frolick
Producer - Mireille Soria
Production Designer - Kendal Cronkhite
Lead Character Designer - Craig Kellman
Art Director - Shannon Jeffries
Head of Effects - Scott Singer
Visual Effects Supervisor - Philippe Gluckman
Film Editors - Clare De Chenu,
Mark A. Hester & H. Lee Peterson
Music - Hans Zimmer

MADAGASCAR has a lot of good characters like those penguins as well as the story, but some of the humour including the jokes is either a hit or miss. It compliments with a good quality of computer animation and brilliant voice talents from Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith and Sacha Baron Cohen.

I'm no fan of the series, but I can say with confidence that the first MADAGASCAR film is definitely way better than the other CGI movie THE WILD (click here) and it has a really good sign to it. I can't wait to review the third sequel EUROPE'S MOST WANTED and I just hope it meets the expectations of the fans.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The King and I (1999) Review

The King and I

Release Date: 17th June 1999 - Australia

Production Companies
Morgan Creek Productions
Rankin/Bass Productions (in association with)
Nest Family Entertainment (in association with)
Rich Animation Studios

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 87 minutes

Budget: $25,000,000

Box Office Gross: $130,098,664

Plot Summary
The story follows a young
Englishwoman who travels
to the Siam to become
the King's royal schoolteacher
in 1862. A clash of cultures
occurs when the strong-
minded Anna Leonowens
brings a different way of
thinking to the King of
Siam and the many children
in the royal academy.

Voice Cast
Miranda Richardson - Anna
Christiane Noll - Anna
Leonowens (singing voice)
Martin Vidnovic - King of Siam
Ian Richardson - Kralahome
Darrell Hammond - Master Little
Allen D. Hon - Prince Chulalongkorn
David Burnham - Prince
Chulalongkorn (singing voice)
Armi Arabe - Tuptim
Tracy Venner Warren - Tuptim
(singing voice)
Adam Wylie - Louis Leonowens
Sean Smith - Sir Edward Ramsay

Director - Richard Rich
Based on Book "Anna and the
King of Siam" - Margaret
Landon (Uncredited)
Based on Musical "The King
and I"/Lyrics - Oscar
Hammerstein II
Based on Musical "The
King and I"/Songs - Richard Rodgers
Concieved and Adapted for
Animation/Producer - Arthur Rankin Jr.
Screenplay/Producer - Peter Bakalian
Screenplay - Jacqueline Feather & David Seidler
Additional Dialogue - Brian Nissen
Producer - James G. Robinson
Film Editors - Joe Campana & Paul Murphy
Conductor/Music Arranger/
Orchestrator - William Kidd

Quite an abomination that the animated version of THE KING AND I is, to me an absolute dishonour to the original Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and the 1956 film that the producers of this adaptation had turned it into a non-Disney animated movie like adding three animal sidekicks, changing the minor character of Kralahome into an evil villain, a happy ending and all that. The film's 2D animation is not-so great and some of the voice acting is decent, but the CGI parts are ultimately badly rendered.

The makers of this wretched picture should have picked THE SOUND OF MUSIC instead of THE KING AND I as this is the version that treats it like a big fat joke. My advice is for many people who have watched the old classic of Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr should stay away from this animated interpretation.

Star rating: (2/5) Bad Movie

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Finding Nemo 3D Review (Updated)

Finding Nemo 3D

Release Date: 30th August 2012 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures (presents)
Pixar Animation Studios

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 100 minutes

Box Office Gross: $411,843,261

Plot Summary
Nemo, an adventurous young
clown-fish, is unexpectedly
taken to a dentist's office
aquarium. It's up to Marlin
his worrisome father, and
Dory, a friendly but forgetful
regal blue tang fish, to make
the epic journey to bring
Nemo home. Their adventure
brings them face-to-face with
vegetarian sharks, surfer dude
turtles, hypnotic jellyfish,
hungry seagulls and more.

Marlin discovers a bravery he
never knew, but will he be able
to find his son?.

Voice Cast
Albert Brooks - Marlin
Ellen DeGeneres - Dory
Alexander Gould - Nemo
Willem Dafoe - Gill
Brad Garrett - Bloat
Allison Janney - Peach
Austin Pendleton - Gurgle
Stephen Root - Bubbles
Vicki Lewis - Deb/Flo
Joe Ranft - Jacques
Geoffrey Rush - Nigel
John Ratzenberger - School of Moonfish
Andrew Stanton - Crush
Elizabeth Perkins - Coral
Nicholas Bird - Squirt
Barry Humphries - Bruce
Eric Bana - Anchor
Bruce Spence - Chum
Bill Hunter - Dentist
LuLu Ebeling - Darla

Story/Screenplay/Director -
Andrew Stanton
Supervising Editor/Co-Director -
Lee Unkrich
Screenplay - Bob Peterson &
David Reynolds
Story Supervisor - Ronnie Del Carmen
Executive Producer - John Lasseter
Producer - Graham Walters
Production Designer - Ralph Eggleston
Directors of Photography - Sharon
Calahan & Jeremy Lasky
Directing Animators - Alan Barillaro &
Mark A. Walsh
Film Editor - David Ian Salter
Music - Thomas Newman

While FINDING NEMO was not one of my all-time favourite animated movies, but for the 3D version, it is beautiful and it's still as great as ever. In most part, the story and humour still lives up to itself and nothing has changed in the entire movie.

For those who already watched the 2D version of this classic (click here) and others that haven't will look forward to seeing it and let me know that your comments about the film.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Fast and the Furious Review

The Fast and the Furious 

Release Date: 20th September 2001 - Australia

Production Companies
Universal Pictures (presents)
Original Film
Mediastream Film GmbH & Co.
Productions KG

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 102 minutes

Budget: $38,000,000

Box Office Gross: $207,283,925

Plot Summary
An undercover cop infiltrates
an underworld subculture of
Los Angeles street racers
looking to bust a hijacking
ring, and soon begins to
question his loyalties when
his new street racing friends
become the prime suspects.

Vin Diesel - Dominic Toretto
Paul Walker - Brian O'Conner
Michelle Rodriguez - Leticia
"Letty" Ortiz
Jordana Brewster - Mia Toretto
Rick Yune - Johnny Tran
Chad Lindberg - Jesse
Johnny Strong - Leon
Matt Schulze - Vince

Director - Rob Cohen
Based on Magazine Article
"Racer X" - Ken Li
Screen Story/Screenplay -
Gary Scott Thompson
Screenplay - Erik Berqoust &
David Ayer
Producer - Neal H. Moritz
Production Designer -
Waldemar Kalinowski
Costume Designer - Sanja
Milkovic Hays
Director of Photography -
Ericson Core
Stunt Coordinator - Mic Rodgers
Visual Effects Supervisor -
Mike Wassel
Film Editor - Peter Honess
Music Supervisors - Gary Jones
& Happy Walters
Music - BT

A really excellent start of the action movie series, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS manages to give a gritty and slick look that its director Rob Cohen pulled off with the hybrid of interesting camera angles and style, but I think that FAST & FURIOUS 5 (click here) is the best and the fastest of all films. This film delivers a bonanza of mean cars, cool music, stunt driving and let's not forget the A-list cast of Paul Walker, Vinny Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez.

Need I say more? Well, it has all the qualities needed to take care of your speed-racing action movie crave. For those who enjoy this film, you will be happy to know that a sixth instalment is currently in the works.

Star rating: (5/5) Best Movie Ever