Monday, 26 November 2012

Skyfall Review (With Guest Reviewer)


Release Date: 16th November 2012 - Australia

Production Companies
EON Productions

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 143 minutes

Budget: $200,000,000

Box Office Gross: $1,108,561,013

Plot Summary
James Bond's loyalty to M is 
tested when her past comes 
back to haunt her and top-
secret MI6 files are leaked
—meaning the identities of 
each and every undercover 
agent placed in terrorist rings 
around the world may be 
compromised. When the 
agency itself comes under 
attack, Bond finds himself on 
a mission that takes him from 
Istanbul to the South China 
Sea to track down and 
destroy the threat, no matter 
the personal cost. But as 
secrets about M's past are 
revealed along the way, the 
agent finds himself questioning 
his loyalty to her.

Daniel Craig - James Bond
Judi Dench - M
Javier Bardem - Raoul Silva
Ralph Fiennes - Gareth Mallory
Naomie Harris - Eve
Berenice Lim Marlohe - Severine
Albert Finney - Kincade
Ben Whishaw - Q
Rory Kinnear - Bill Tanner
Ola Rapace - Patrice

Director - Sam Mendes
Based on Characters - Ian Fleming (Uncredited)
Screenplay - Neal Purvis,
Robert Wade & John Logan
Producers - Michael G. Wilson
& Barbara Broccoli
Production Designer - Dennis Gassner
Cinematography - Roger Deakins
Second Unit Director: Underwater Unit/
Stunt Coordinator - Gary Powell
Fight Coordinator - Nicola Berwick
Second Unit Director: Splinter Unit/
Special & Miniature Effects Supervisor -
Chris Corbould
Miniature/Visual Effects Supervisor -
Steve Begg
Main Titles Designer - Daniel Kleinman
Film Editors - Stuart & Kate Baird
Composer: James Bond Theme - 
Monty Norman
Music - Thomas Newman
Lyrics/Singer: Song "Skyfall" - Adele
Lyrics: Song "Skyfall" - Paul Epworth

Review (FilmGuruLad)
A complex and easier Bond picture, SKYFALL downplays the mediocrity of QUANTUM (click here) and focuses on the superior level of the smooth story, brilliant car chases, imploding action and the fun parts. I'm glad that Q is being brought back after being in absence on two recent Bond films with Ben Whishaw playing the quartermaster as well as packed with a few gadgets. I am surprised that this movie was inspired by THE DARK KNIGHT (click here) except that SKYFALL has James Bond and a villain who is similar to the Joker, but has a different agenda.

This might be the best Bond film that has Daniel Craig and is far better than the last one which fails to bring something that the audience need, I consider that on my opinion.

Review (Guest Reviewer)
Hi! I am doing a guest review for Film Guru Lad for SKYFALL. In viewing this film, I was very impressed, as a Bond fan I went into the cinema with high expectations and I left the movie feeling these expectations had been satisfied. The action and stunt choreography was original and entertaining. The cast selected were really suitable for the roles they played, I particularly enjoyed the actor who played Q as I enjoyed the humour and comical nature that he brought to the film. Javier Bardem was the perfect villain as he clearly portrayed the characteristics crucial to his menacing character.

This movie was engaging from start to finish with the interesting story-line, outstanding acting performances and intense action sequences. Definitely a must see for Bond fans.

Star rating: (5/5) Best Movie Ever

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Quantum of Solace Review

Quantum of Solace

Release Date: 19th November 2008 - Australia

Production Companies
Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Columbia Pictures
EON Productions

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 100 minutes

Budget: $200,000,000

Box Office Gross: $586,090,727

Plot Summary
On a nonstop quest for
justice that crisscrosses
the globe, Bond meets
the beautiful but feisty
Camille, who leads him
to Dominic Greene, a
ruthless businessman and
major force within the
mysterious Quantum
organisation. When Bond
uncovers a conspiracy to
take control of one of the
world's most important
natural resources, he must
navigate a minefield of
treachery, deception and
murder to neutralize
Quantum before it's too

Daniel Craig - James Bond
Olga Kurylenko - Camille
Mathieu Amalric - Dominic Greene
Giancarlo Giannini - Rene Mathis
Jeffrey Wright - Felix Leiter
Judi Dench - M
Gemma Arterton - Strawberry Fields
Joaquin Cosio - General Medrano

Director - Marc Forster
Based on Characters - Ian Fleming (Uncredited)
Writers - Paul Haggis, Neal
Purvis & Robert Wade
Producers - Michael G. Wilson
& Barbara Broccoli
Production Designer - Dennis Gassner
Costume Designer - Louise Frogley
Director of Photography - Roberto
Stunt Coordinator - Gary Powell
Film Editors - Matt Chesse &
Richard Pearson
Title Designer - Mk12
Composer: James Bond Theme - Monty Norman
Music - David Arnold
Writer/Performer: Song "Another Way to Die" -
Jack White
Performer: Song "Another Way to Die" -
Alicia Keys

The recent Bond picture QUANTUM OF SOLACE has a lot of the top action, but the film is too complicated and different to the series. What really bothers me is that it's still missing Q and having a Bond villain of an environmentalist is really a bad choice. I still highly praise Daniel Craig for his performance as James Bond.

Not quite the type of a Bond film that was expected, but could have been more. To me, QUANTUM is an unwarranted addition to the Bond family and it is probably for the best.

Star rating: (3/5) Average

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Pocahontas Review


Release Date: 24th August 1995 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Feature Animation

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 81 minutes

Budget: $55,000,000

Box Office Gross: $346,079,773

Plot Summary
Along the edge-waters of 
Virginia, Pocahontas, the 
free-spirited daughter of 
Chief Powhatan, watches 
as a mysterious shipload 
of English settlers arrives, 
led by the greedy Governor 
Ratcliffe and the courageous 
Captain John Smith. Along 
with her playful pals, Meeko, 
a mischievous raccoon, and 
feisty hummingbird, Flit, 
Pocahontas develops a 
strong friendship with 
Captain Smith. But when 
tensions mount between 
their two very different 
cultures, Pocahontas seeks 
the lively wisdom of 
Grandmother Willow to 
help her find a way for 
everyone to live together 
in peace.

Voice Cast
Irene Bedard - Pocahontas
Judy Kuhn - Pocahontas 
(singing voice)
Mel Gibson - John Smith
David Ogden Steirs - Governor 
John Kassir - Meeko
Russell Means - Chief Powhatan
Christian Bale - Thomas
Linda Hunt - Grandmother Willow
Danny Mann - Percy
Billy Connolly - Ben
Joe Baker - Lon
Frank Welker - Flit
Michelle St. John - Nakoma
James Apaumut Fall - Kocoum
Gordon Tootoosis - Kekata
Jim Cummings - Chief
Powhatan/Kekata (singing voices)

Based on an Idea/Visual
Designer/Director - Mike Gabriel
Director - Eric Goldberg
Story/Character Designer/
Visual Development/
Supervising Animator:
Pocahontas - Glen Keane
Story/Character Designer/
Visual Development - Joe Grant
Story/Character Designer/
Visual Development/Video
Reference Cast/Supervising
Animator: Ratcliffe - Duncan
Story/Character Designer/
Visual Development/
Supervising Animator: Percy,
Grandmother Willow &
Wiggins - Chris Buck
Story - Ralph Zondag, Burny Mattinson,
Ed Gombert, Kaan Kaylon, Francis Glebas,
Rob Gibbs, Bruce Morris & Todd Kurosawa
Additional Story Development - Andrew Chapman,
Randy Cartwright, Vincent DeFrances,
Tom Mazzocco, Don Dougherty and
Jorgen Klubien
Additional Story Development/Visual Development -
Will Finn
Additional Story Development/Animator: Percy -
Broose Johnson
Additional Story Development/Supervising Animator:
Ben & Lon - T. Daniel Hofstedt
Additional Story Development/Supervising Animator:
Flit & Forest Animals - David Pruiksma
Additional Story Development/Supervising Animator:
Meeko - Nik Ranieri
Writers - Carl Binder, Susannah Grant &
Phillip LaZebnik
Producer - James Pentecost
Art Director/Visual Development/Character Designer -
Michael Giaimo
Songs/Music - Alan Menken
Lyrics - Stephen Schwartz
Film Editor - H. Lee Peterson


1996 Academy Awards
Best Music, Original Song "Colors of the Wind" -
Alan Menken & Stephen Schwartz (Won)
Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score -
Alan Menken & Stephen Schwartz (Won)

POCAHONTAS is Disney's best looking movie that is ever done with good animation and vivid art direction, but there are the problems which includes historical inaccuracies, animal characters that don't talk and the bittersweet ending. The things around the film are worthwhile is the voice acting of Mel Gibson and Christian Bale and three songs by Alan Menken "Steady as the Beating Drum", the Oscar-winning "Colors of the Wind" and "Savages".

Its funny how most Disney animators thought that POCAHONTAS was going be the ultimate hit for the studio instead of THE LION KING (click here). It turns out that it was actually the opposite and its one of those animated movies that tried so hard to be good, but it ends up low.

Star rating: (3/5) Average

Monday, 12 November 2012

Casino Royale Review (Updated)

Casino Royale

Release Date: 7th December 2006 - Australia

Production Companies
Columbia Pictures
EON Productions
Casino Royale Productions
Stillking Films
Babelsberg Film

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 144 minutes

Budget: $150,000,000

Box Office Gross: $594,239,066

Plot Summary
Bond's first 007 mission 
takes him to Madagascar, 
where he is to spy on a 
terrorist, Mollaka. Not 
everything goes to plan 
and Bond decides to 
investigate, independently 
of MI6, in order to track 
down the rest of the terrorist 
cell. Following a lead to 
the Bahamas, he encounters 
Dimitrios and his girlfriend, 
Solange. He learns that 
Dimitrios is involved with 
Le Chiffre, banker to the 
world's terrorist organisations.

Secret Service Intelligence 

reveals that Le Chiffre is 
planning to raise money in 
a high stakes poker game 
in Montenegro at Le Casino 
Royale. MI6 assigns 007 
to play against him, knowing 
that if Le Chiffre loses it 
will destroy his organisation.

Daniel Craig - James Bond
Judi Dench - M
Mads Mikkelsen - Le Chiffre
Jeffrey Wright - Felix Leiter
Giancarlo Giannini - Rene Mathis
Simon Abkarian - Alex Dimitrios
Caterina Marino - Solange Dimitrios
Jesper Christensen - Mr.

Director - Martin Campbell
Based on Novel "Casino
Royale" - Ian Fleming
Screenplay - Neal Purvis,
Robert Wade & Paul Haggis
Producers - Michael G. Wilson
& Barbara Broccoli
Production Designer - Peter Lamont
Costume Designer - Lindy Hemming
Director of Photography - Phil
Stunt Coordinator - Gary Powell
Special & Miniature Effects Supervisor -
Chris Corbould
Film Editor - Stuart Baird
Titles Designer - Daniel Kleinman
Composer: James Bond Theme - Monty Norman
Music - David Arnold
Writer/Performer: Song "You Know My Name" -
Chris Cornell

Not quite the reboot what I was expecting, CASINO ROYALE is a great Bond movie and it took four years after the last Bond film DIE ANOTHER DAY to make this adaptation of the character's first story by Ian Fleming. Despite lacking the character of Q who is part of the Bond formula, the film showcases some action and actor Daniel Craig for his performance as the title character who was much more aggressive, rough and gritty than the previous actors like Sean or Pierce that have portrayed the secret agent.

While it managed to re-invent the Bond franchise, CASINO ROYALE is enjoyable and even disturbing in some ways, but it does have a lot of style. I can't wait for the new Bond film SKYFALL to come out and yes, it does have Q.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Film Guru Lad's Top 3 Star Wars Movies (Updated)

In the wake of Lucasfilm and Star Wars being acquired by The Walt Disney Company and Disney planning to make episode VII, here are the top three films of the aforementioned science-fiction franchise that features unforgettable moments like “I am your father” and main or supporting characters such as Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C3PO, R2D2, Yoda, Obi-Wan, Boba Fett and Darth Vader, not awful ones that include the clumsy comic relief Jar Jar Binks or "I hate sand" scene.

#3. Star Wars: Episode III - 
Revenge of the Sith (2005)

While the other prequels
didn't quite live up to the
original films, REVENGE OF 
THE SITH is dark and tragic
but brings back the good ol'
story-telling that made the
series so grand and it still
has the right tools like the
visuals, some astounding
action scenes and an ending
that really helps to link the
both trilogies together. Not
only it was the strongest of
the two but it was also the final conclusion of Star Wars.

The one that started the whole
sci-fi franchise, A NEW HOPE
is the first of the classic trilogy
and it introduced the elements
that brought the series together
as well as the characters,
visuals and the music by John
Williams. Definitely the most
exciting and excellent way to
start a film saga like Star Wars
and I suggest for everyone
including the fans to watch
the unaltered version instead.
Yes, it does include the scene which is the crowning moment of awesome where Han shots first.

Mature but the fan-favourite 
of all the Star Wars movies, 
has provided such stints like 
a romantic sub-plot of Han 
and Leia, new characters 
like Yoda and Boba Fett, 
iconic moments, impressive 
action scenes, a shocking plot
twist that ever happened in
film history and the way it ends
on a cliffhanger. I always thought 
that 'Return of the Jedi' was 
the best of the series but now I agree with EMPIRE and I consider it as my ultimate top favourite movie.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Mission Impossible II Review (Updated)

Mission Impossible II

Release Date: 1st June 2000 - Australia

Production Companies
Paramount Pictures (presents)
Cruise/Wagner Productions
Munich Film Partners
& Company (MIFP)
MI2 Productions

Paramount Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 123 minutes

Budget: $125,000,000

Box Office Gross: $546,388,105

Plot Summary
Top action director John
Woo brings his own brand
of excitement to the mission
that finds Ethan Hunt
partnering up with the
beautiful Nyah Hall to stop
the renegade agent Sean
Ambrose from releasing
a new kind of terror on
an unsuspecting world.

But before the mission is
complete, they'll traverse
the globe and have to
choose between everything
they love and everything
they believe in.

Tom Cruise - Ethan Hunt
Dougray Scott - Sean Ambrose
Thandie Newton - Nyah Nordoff-Hall
Ving Rhames - Luther Stickell
Richard Roxburgh - Hugh Stamp
John Polson - Billy Baird
Brendan Gleeson - John C. McCloy
Anthony Hopkins - Mission
Commander Swanbeck (Uncredited)
Rade Serbedzija - Dr. Nekhorvich

Director - John Woo
Based on TV Series: Mission
Impossible - Bruce Geller
Story - Ronald D. Moore &
Brannon Braga
Screenplay - Robert Towne
Producers - Tom Cruise &
Paula Wagner
Production Designer - Thomas
E. Saunders
Director of Photography -
Jeffrey L. Kimball
Stunt Coordinator - Brian Smrz
Visual Effects Supervisor -
Richard Yuricich
Film Editors - Steven Kemper
& Christian Wagner
Music - Hans Zimmer

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II does package its action scenes and gadgets, but it's not as incredible as GHOST PROTOCOL (click here), neither deceptive as its predecessor (click here). This picture is very typical of John Woo's style of directing. Its full of action, action and more action to the point where by the end of the film, you feel it was a great movie but perhaps lacking comedy and romance to balance some of the ongoing action. It's funny that I didn't even know that Anthony Hopkins was on the movie. One asset for this film is that leading actor Tom Cruise actually performed some of his own stunts which is not always the case.

This film is nowhere as good as the fourth film or even the first, but it's still enjoyable for those who watched the M:I film series. Cruise was definitely in his prime when he made this film.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Frankenweenie Review


Release Date: 25th October 2012 - Australia

Production Companies

Walt Disney Pictures
Tim Burton Animation Co.
Tim Burton Productions

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 87 minutes

Budget: $39,000,000

Box Office Gross: $81,491,068

Plot Summary
After unexpectedly losing
his beloved dog Sparky,
young Victor uses science
to bring his best friend back
to life - with just a few minor
adjustments. He tries to
hide his home-sewn creation,
but when Sparky gets out,
Victor's fellow students,
teachers and the entire town
all learn that getting a new
"leash on life" can be

Voice Cast
Charlie Tahan - Victor
Catherine O'Hara - Susan
Frankenstein/Weird Girl
Martin Short - Edward
Martin Landau - Mr. Rzykruski
Winona Ryder - Elsa van Helsing
Atticus Shaffer - Edgar "E" Gore
Robert Capron - Bob
Christopher Lee - Movie Dracula
(Archive Footage Only)
Conchata Ferrell - Bob's Mother
James Hiroyuki Liao - Toshiaki

Based on Short Film
Director - Tim Burton
Based on Screenplay - Leonard Ripps
Screenplay - John August
Producer - Allison Abbate
Production Designer - Rick Heinrichs
Cinematography - Peter Sorg
Animation Director - Trey Thomas
Film Editors - Chris Lebenzon
& Mark Soloman
Music - Danny Elfman

I never watched the live-action short version of the film, I always knew that director Tim Burton would make FRANKENWEENIE into an animated feature and extended the story. There a couple of few parts that were scary, but I quite liked the film being in black or white which makes it as a tribute to the old horror and sci-fi movies. Martin Landau's voice work as the science teacher is quite superb and the stop-motion animation was good indeed.

FRANKENWEENIE is in other ways, cute or dark, it has really followed Tim Burton's vision of what would this film supposed to be like and it had all the good themes like love, loss and science. Trust me, this labour of love from the director is really worth-seeing.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie