Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Ernest Saves Christmas Review (Updated)

Ernest Saves Christmas

Release Date: 9th November 1989 - Australia

Production Companies
Touchstone Pictures (presents)
Silver Screen Partners III (in association with)
Emshell Producers (producer)

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Comedy

Rating: G

Runtime: 95 minutes

Budget: $6,000,000

Box Office Gross: $28,202,109

Plot Summary
When Santa Claus decides
to retire, he appoints a washed
-up kiddie show host to take
his place. Along the way, the
real Santa ends up in a
slammer on Christmas Eve,
and it's up to goonish, glad-
handling Ernest P. Worrell
to bust him out.

Jim Varney - Ernest P. Worrell/
Douglas Seale - Santa Claus
Oliver Clark - Joe Carruthers
Noelle Parker - Pamela Trenton
Bill Byrge - Bobby
Gailard Sartain - Chuck
Robert Lesser - Marty Brock

Director - John P. Cherry
Producer - Ed Turner
Screenplay - B. Kline
Producers - Doug Claybourne
& Stacy Williams
Co-Producer/Unit Production Manager - Justis Greene
Co-Producer/Second Unit Director - Coke Sams
Production Designer/Art Director - Ian D. Thomas
Costume Designer - Peter Mitchell
Director of Photography - Peter Stein
Film Editor - Sharyn L. Ross
Visual Effects Supervisor - Tim McHugh
Music - Mark Snow

As a kid, I used to watch the Ernest flicks on the Disney Channel a long time ago and the late Jim Varney was the best actor to play that funny character. ERNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS is the first of these movies I had seen and it was a bit cheesy, but it did show a lot of Christmas cheer. Apart from the sensible humour including the ones done by Ernest, the acting is quite good especially by Varney and Douglas Seale who gives an extraordinary performance as the holiday figure Santa except that he's not a wearing a red suit and hat. 

Although seasonable and surprisingly superb, SAVES CHRISTMAS gives a great generosity of laughs for a holiday film that's anything enjoyable for a fan of the series like myself, know what I mean? 

Star rating: (5/5) Best Movie Ever

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Review

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Release Date: 10th December 1992 - Australia

Production Companies
20th Century Fox (presents)
Hughes Entertainment

20th Century Fox Australia

Genre: Family/Comedy

Rating: PG

Runtime: 120 minutes

Budget: $20,000,000

Box Office Gross: $359,994,850

Plot Summary
The McCallister family go on a
holiday to Florida. Kevin gets
separated from his family and
manages to get himself onto
a plane from New York instead.
There, he checks into the best
hotel with his father's credit
card and sets out to enjoy
himself. Unfortunately, the
burglars he foiled before
are in New York after being
released from jail.


McCallister Family
Macaulay Culkin - Kevin McCallister
Catherine O'Hara - Kate McCallister
John Heard - Peter McCallister
Devin Ratray - Buzz McCallister
Hilary Wolf - Megan McCallister
Maureen Elisabeth Shay - Linnie McCallister
Michael C. Maronna - Jeff McCallister
Gerry Bamman - Frank McCallister
Terrie Snell - Leslie McCallister
Jedidiah Cohen - Rod McCallister
Senta Moses - Tracy McCallister
Daiana Campeanu - Sondra
Kieran Culkin - Fuller
Anna Slotky - Brooke McCallister
Kristin Minter - Heather

Joe Pesci - Harry Lyme
Daniel Stern - Marvin "Marv" Munchens
Tim Curry - Mr. Hector
Brenda Fricker - Pigeon Lady
Catherine O'Hara - Kate McCallister
Rob Schneider - Cedric
Dana Ivey - Hester Stone
Donald Trump - Plaza Hotel Owner (Cameo)

Director - Chris Columbus
Based on Characters/Writer/
Producer - John Hughes
Unit Production Manager/Executive Producer - 
Duncan Henderson
Executive Producers - Mark Radcliffe 
& Richard Vane
Production Designer - Sandy Veneziano
Costume Designer - Jay Hurley
Cinematography - Julio Macat
Film Editor - Raja Gosnell
Music - John Williams

More slapstick humour and fun than its predecessor (click here), HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK has better tricks by Kevin as well as more booby traps for the Wet Bandits. Most of the actors have returned for this sequel including Culkin, Pesci and Stern. I know that the plot is recycled from the first film, I quite liked the three things that reside in this second flick they are Tim Curry's performance as the hotel manager, a small role by Rob Schneider and the funniest scene where the two Wet Bandits fall into a trap of getting knocked out by a huge pipe or should I say a pipe fell down on them both.

Unlike many other HOME ALONE movies, this sequel gets the definition of being more watchable and it proves to be a worthy follow-up to the original that the audience might be interested.

Star rating: (5/5) Best Movie Ever

Monday, 17 December 2012

Dungeons and Dragons Review (Updated)

Dungeons and Dragons

Release Date: 18th January 2001 - Australia

Production Companies
Behavior Worldwide
MDP Worldwide
Silver Pictures
Station X Studios
Stillking Films
Sweetpea Entertainment

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: M

Runtime: 107 minutes

Budget: $45,000,000

Box Office Gross: $33,807,409

Plot Summary
Following the death of the
Emperor, his heir, Savina
discovers the greatest
threat to the Empire
comes from within. Profion
has dark plans to secure
the Royal Sceptre. With
the power of the Sceptre,
Profion plunges the nation
into civil war. The empress
send her most trusted scout
to find an ancient artifact,
the Rod of Savrille. It has
the ability to summon and
enslave the will of the Red
Dragons, which will tip the
balance of power and
expose the treasonous
Profion. With the help of
a rogue pair of petty thieves,
the deadly race begins... in
their hands rests the fate
of the Empire.

Justin Whalin - Ridley Freeborn
Marlon Wayans - Snails
Jeremy Irons - Mage Profion
Thora Birch - Savina
Bruce Payne - Damodar
Zoe McLellan - Marina Pretensa
Kristen Wilson - Norda
Lee Arenberg - Elwood
Richard O'Brien - Xilus
Tom Baker - Halvarth

Producer/Director - Courtney Solomon
Based on Board Game
"Dungeons and Dragons" - E. Gary Gygax
Writers - Topper Lilien & Carroll Cartwright
Producers - Thomas M. Hammel & Kia Jam
Co-Producers - Ann Flagella,
Mark Leahy, David Minkowski,
Steve Richards, Conrad Riggs,
Matthew Stillman & Sean T. Stratton
Executive Producers - Nelson Leong,
Joel Silver & Allan Zeman
Co-Executive Producer - Bruce Rockowitz
Production Designer - Bryce Perrin
Concept Artist - Tully Summers
Costume Designer - Barbara Lane
Cinematography - Douglas Milsome
Visual Effects Producer & Supervisor -
Joan Collins Carey
Visual Effects Supervisors - Chuck Comisky,
Mark Glaser, Marc Kolbe, Kevin Kutchaver
& Kevin O'Neill
Visual Effects Supervisor: Digital Firepower -
Charles Darby
Film Editor - Caroline Ross
Music - Justin Caine Bennett

Hi there! This is Film Guru Lad, I'm sorry to say that I was going to do a review on the first LORD OF THE RINGS movie FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING but instead I had to watch the second STAR WARS prequel ATTACK OF THE CLONES (click here) for my two friends at my Christmas party. Here's a review of the film that will make up for it. I have heard of Dungeons and Dragons board game but never played it, the movie is not so good and had just sucked eggs. The bottom line is that most of everything helped make this fantasy film weak include Marlon Wayans's character, the low acting, badly rendered CGI and off-course the evil henchman having a blue-lipstick. There were good parts of the film that make it right like the action, the fourth doctor Tom Baker's small role and Jeremy Irons' over-the-top acting as the evil sorcerer Profion.

Usually, this fantasy picture is a bad move, it would have been more good if the makers would tone down the awful stuff and make it decent. I must say, I am very disappointed with such a poor film that has potential to be the next STAR WARS franchise at least not until LORD OF THE RINGS took the spot by next year.

Star rating: (2/5) Bad Movie

Monday, 10 December 2012

Balto Review


Release Date: 27th June 1996 - Australia

Production Companies
Universal Pictures
Amblin Entertainment

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 74 minutes

Budget: $31,000,000

Box Office Gross: $11,348,324

Plot Summary
Part husky/part wolf, Balto
doesn't know where he belongs.
He's an outcast in Alaska,
except to his true friends: Boris,
the Russian snow goose, polar
bear cubs Muk and Luk and
the beautiful husky, Jenna.

One day, a serious diphtheria
spreads fast among the children
of Nome. When a fierce
blizzard closes off all routes
of transport, there's no way to
obtain life-saving medicine...
unless a team of sled dogs
can race six-hundred miles
through the blinding Arctic
storm and bring back antitoxin.
But the dogs are lost in the
frozen wilderness. Now, only
Balto can rescue the team and
save the children.

Voice Cast
Kevin Bacon - Balto
Bridget Fonda - Jenna
Bob Hoskins - Boris
Phil Collins - Muk & Luk
Jim Cummings - Steele
Juilette Brewer - Young Rosy
Jack Angel - Nikki
Danny Mann - Kaltag
Robbie Rist - Star
Sandra Dickinson - Dixie/
Sylvie/Rosie's Mom

Live Action Cast
Miriam Margoyles - Old Rosy
Lola Bates-Campbell - Rosy's

Director - Simon Wells
Story/Screenplay - Cliff Ruby
& Elana Lesser
Screenplay - David Cohen &
Roger S.H. Schulman
Executive Producers - Kathleen Kennedy, Bonne Radford & Steven Spielberg
Producer - Steve Hickner
Production Designer - Hans Bacher
Costume Designer - Ellen Lutter
Character Designer/Supervising Animator: "Muk and Luk" -
Nicholas Marlet
Character Designer/Supervising Animator: "Sylvie",
"Dixie" and Principal Humans - Patrick Mate
Character Designer - Carlos Grangel 
Storyboard Supervisor - Daan Jippes
Background Supervisor - Ray Rankine
Background Supervisor/Assistant Art Director -
Colin Stimpson
Cinematography: Live Action
Scenes - Jan Ritcher-Friis
Film Editors - Renee Edwards,
Sim Evan-Jones & Nick Fletcher
Lyrics: Song "Reach for the Light" - Barry Mann
Performer: Song "Reach for the Light" - Steve Winwood"
Music - James Horner

Aside from the historical differences, BALTO has its marvellous animation that made the entire film look greatly drawn and ambitious. Unlike the other hand-drawn animated flicks that were made by Disney, it doesn't include the characters singing and therefore is not a musical. There's nothing wrong with this overlooked picture, I found some commendable aspects such as some humour which includes an ET reference and well-known voice-over talents of Kevin Bacon, Jim Cummings, Phil Collins, Bob Hoskins and Bridget Fonda. The film is complimented with the brilliant music score by James Horner who does a tremendous work of composing.

Shame it got beaten out of the box-office competition by Pixar's TOY STORY (click here), BALTO is an extremely underrated movie that the dog-lovers and furries might want to re-discover. It's better than Disney's POCAHONTAS (click here) which is also based on a true-life story and unfortunately fails to bring what BALTO has, a happy ending.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Monday, 3 December 2012

Red Dawn (2012) Review (Updated)

Red Dawn 

Release Date: 29th November 2012 - Australia

Production Companies
Film District (presents)
Metro Goldwyn Mayer (Uncredited)
United Artists
Vincent Newman Entertainment

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: War

Rating: M

Runtime: 93 minutes

Budget: $65,000,000

Box Office Gross: $48,169,726

Plot Summary
When North Korea invades
the United States, a group
of young men and women
from a small town arm
themselves and flee into the
wilderness. When they return
to the town a few weeks later,
they find themselves behind
enemy lines in "Occupied
America." Most of their family
members were dead. They
launch a resistance movement,
calling themselves Wolverines
after their school mascot. But
every time they attack on the
invaders, the North Korean
soldiers execute civilians in
retaliation. With the help of a
downed United States Air
Force F-15 pilot, the
Wolverines organize raids
on the North Koreans, who
begin to consider them a
serious threat.

Chris Hemsworth - Jed Eckert
Josh Peck - Matt Eckert
Josh Hutcherson - Robert Morris
Adrianne Palicki - Toni Walsh
Isabel Lucas - Erica Martin
Connor Cruise - Daryl Jenkins
Edwin Hodge - Danny
Steve Lenz - Pete
Jeffrey Dean Morgan - Sgt.
Major Andrew Tanner
Brett Cullen - Police Sergeant
Tom Eckert
Alyssa Diaz - Julie
Julian Alcaraz - Greg
Will Yun Lee - Captain Cho
Fernando Chen - Lt. Pak
Kenneth Smith - Cpl. Smith
Matt Gerald - Sgt. Hodges
Michael A. Knight - Col. Ivanov
Noah Smith - Joe
Michael Beach - Mayor Jenkins

Director - Dan Bradley
Based on 1984 Screenplay/Story - Kevin Reynolds
Based on 1984 Screenplay - John Milius
Screenplay - Carl Ellsworth & Jeremy Passmore
Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager - 
Kevin Halloran
Executive Producer - Vincent Newman
Producers - Beau Flynn & Tripp Vinson
Co-Producer - John Swallow
Production Designer - Dominic Watkins
Costume Designer - Catherine George
Director of Photography - Mitchell Amundsen
Special Effects Supervisor - Mark R. Byers
Film Editor - Richard Pearson
Music - Ramin Djawadi

I don't care much for war movies except for science fiction war movies like STAR WARS and I haven't seen the old RED DAWN film. The remake of this classic is mildly entertaining which is good enough to maintain itself in spite of its shortcomings. Though there were some people who would say the plot-line of the 2012 reboot is too haphazard instead of being meaningful. I hate to spoil the movie, but it has very neat and clever warfare action as well as bits of comedy and a few top-notch casting choices including Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson and Isabel Lucas. There's one thing I like to point out which is that one of the stars Josh Peck whom you may know him from the DRAKE & JOSH TV series has done a lot more mature acting which I have never seen him actually do. 

For the moviegoers, this flick wasn't too serious, sure it does deal with contemporary issues such as war and conflict. In terms of a target audience, I think this feature has been aimed towards a teenage audience as it has themes which would relate to teenagers such as teamwork, survival and independence. Having said all of this, I would recommend this as being a good easy-going movie to watch.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie