Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Shadow Review

The Shadow

Release Date: 19th January 1995 - Australia

Production Companies
Universal Pictures (presents)
Bregman/Baer Productions

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: PG

Runtime: 108 minutes

Budget: $40,000,000

Box Office Gross: $48,063,435

Plot Summary
In 30s New York City, the
Shadow battles his nemesis,
Shiwan Khan, who is
building an atomic bomb.

Alec Baldwin - Lamont
Cranston/The Shadow
John Lone - Shiwan Kahn
Penelope Ann Miller - Margo Lane
Peter Boyle - Moses "Moe"
Ian McKellen - Dr. Reinhardt Lane
Tim Curry - Farley Claymore
Jonathan Winters - Wainwright

Director - Russell Mulcahy
Based on Character "The
Shadow" - Walter B. Gibson
Writer - David Koepp
Producers - Martin & Michael
Bregman and Willi Bar
Production Designer - Joseph
C. Nemec III
Costume Designer - Bob
Stunt Coordinator - Dick Ziker
Special Visual Effects
Supervisors - Craig Barron
and Michael Pangrazio
Visual Effects Producer/
Supervisor - Alison Savitch
Visual Effects Supervisors -
Kevin O'Neill and Gene
Warren Jr.
Film Editors - Beth Jochem
Besterveld and Peter Honess
Music - Jerry Goldsmith

To be quite fair at the least, I never actually heard about THE SHADOW but as I recently watched the film interpretation, I find that it was very impressive and that the title character is more elusive than Batman except that he has superpowers like invisibility and doesn't have an appealing costume or even a cool vehicle. As I figured that the plot is very too mushy and undeveloped, the details are not and evaluates the picture such as the glorious special effects, the superficial cast of acting by Alec Baldwin, Tim Curry and Ian McKellen and the excellent production design that defines the look of the old 30s and is a near-imitation of the sets of Tim Burton's BATMAN (click here).

This is a diminished and unrecognized superhero movie that suffers from a poor and no interest story-line and therefore THE SHADOW is far from underrated to just being mediocre. I recommend myself and list this film as okay, respectively.

Star rating: (3/5) Average

Monday, 24 June 2013

Monsters, Inc./Monsters University Review (Updated)

Monsters, Inc./Monsters University

Release Dates: 26th December 2001 - Australia
20th June 2013 - Australia (University)

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 92 minutes (Monsters)
               104 minutes

Budget: $115,000,000 (Monsters)
             $200,000,000 (University)

Box Office Gross: $577,425,734
(Worldwide) (Monsters)
$744,229,437 (Worldwide)

Plot Summaries

Lovable Sulley and his
wisecracking best pal Mike
Wazowski are the top
scare team at Monsters, Inc.,
the largest scream-processing
factory. The main power
source in the monster world
is the collected screams of
human children, and at
Monsters, Inc. an elite team
of scarers is responsible for
gathering those precious
natural resources. Believed
by monsters to be toxic,
children are strictly forbidden
from entering Monstropolis.
But when a little girl named
Boo accidentally follows
Sulley back into his world,
he finds his career in jeopardy
and his life in utter chaos.
Assisted by Mike, the two
pals plot to rectify the mistake
and return Boo to her home.
When the trio encounters
an unexpected series of
complications, they become
embroiled in a cover-up
catapulting them into a mystery
beyond their wildest dreams.

Mike Wazowski and James
P. Sullivan are an inseparable
pair of monsters, but that
wasn't the case when they
first met at Monsters University.

Voice Cast
John Goodman - James P. Sullivan
Billy Crystal - Mike Wazowski
Steve Buscemi - Randall
Bob Peterson - Roz
John Ratzenberger - Yeti the
Abominable Snowman

Monsters, Inc. Only
Mary Gibbs - Mary "Boo"
James Coburn - Henry Waternoose
Jennifer Tilly - Cecila Mae
Frank Oz - Fungus
Dan Gerson - Smitty and

Monsters University Only
Joel Murray - Don Carlton
Sean Hayes - Terri Perry
Dave Foley - Terry Perry
Peter Sohn - Scott "Squishy"
Charlie Day - Art
Helen Mirren - Dean Hardscrabble
Alfred Molina - Professor Knight
Nathan Fillion - Johnny
Julia Sweeney - Sherri Squibbles

Crew (*/**)
Director - Pete Docter (*)
Screenplay/Story/Director -
Dan Scanlon (**)
Co-Directors - David Silverman
& Lee Unkrich (*)
Original Story - Pete Docter,
Jill Culton, Jeff Pidgeon &
Ralph Eggleston (*)
Additional Screenplay Material
(*)/Story/Screenplay - Robert
L. Baird (**) & Daniel Gerson
Producer - Andrew Stanton (*)
Additional Screenplay Material -
Rhett Reese & Jonathan Roberts
Producers - Darla K. Anderson (*)
Associate Producer(*)/Producer
(**) - Kori Rae
Executive Producer - John
Production Designers - Harley
Jessup & Bob Pauley (*)
Additional Storyboarding/Visual
Designer(**) - Ricky Nierva
Film Editors - Robert
Grahamjones, Jim Stewart (*)
& Greg Snyder (**)
Music - Randy Newman


2002 Academy Awards (Monsters, Inc.)
Best Music, Original Song "If I Didn't Have You" -
Randy Newman (Won)
Best Music, Original Score - Randy Newman (Nominated)
Best Sound Editing - Gary Rydstrom & Michael Silvers
Best Animated Feature - Pete Docter & John Lasseter

Hi moviegoers! This is Film Guru Lad here. I have decided to review two feature films within the one movie review. These will include MONSTERS, INC. and its prequel MONSTER UNIVERSITY. I will review these two in a row consecutively. I originally was going to watch FAST & FURIOUS 6 and do a review for this but I had to reschedule due to inconvenient session times, I was rather disappointed as I am excited to see this action packed flick.

The first of these pictures was certainly good as I remembered, it has not lost the greatness or a single bit of nostalgia that makes this movie the great movie that it is. The concept about monsters using portal doors in place of closets just fictionally invokes the myth of how they scare little children seem so imaginative and science-fiction like, it really compliments the imaginative and creative work of the story writers for this film. Continuing to review more of this feature, the voice casting exceeds well with John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn and others. Several plot twists are specifically written with no flaw and succeed in keeping the audience guessing and anxious about what will happen next. Even more exceptionally is the whimsical laughter which are sometimes hilarious and other times not funny enough.

In summary for MONSTERS, INC. an impressive delight from Pixar and nearly matches up the ego of the studio's later milestones, this film was satisfying to watch and definitely is great enough to be re-watched.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Another great prequel that I've watched. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (MU) in its namesake has improved Pixar's standards after the disappointment of the sequel CARS 2. They redeemed themselves with MU and deliver us the first prequel the company has ever done, might I say they did a fine job. Three of the original vocal performers of Goodman, Crystal and Buscemi are back in the game and some of the new actors are very surprising.  Helen Mirren gives her outstanding performance as Dean Hardscrabble, the female headmaster who seems to be evil and menacing as most children would think by her appearance. Many of the character designs of the monsters are creative and well-made and it is encouraging that the animation has so much brightness and more texture to match with the realism.

This film briefly proves that Pixar is at it again to the top. I consider MONSTERS UNIVERSITY to be entertaining with a good amount of laughs, it's aimed at the family audience and that's the end for this double feature review.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Monday, 17 June 2013

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift Review

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Release Date: 15th June 2006 - Australia

Production Companies
Universal Pictures (presents)
Relativity Media (in association with)
Original Film
MP Munich Pape Filmproductions

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 104 minutes

Budget: $85,000,000

Box Office Gross: $158,468,292

Plot Summary
Sean Boswell is an outsider
who attempts to define
himself as a hotheaded
underdog street racer.
Although racing provides
a temporary escape from
an unhappy home and
the superficial world
around him, it has also
made Sean unpopular
with the local authorities.
To avoid jail time, Sean
is sent to live with his
gruff estranged father, a
career military man
stationed in Tokyo.

Now officially a gaijin
(outsider), Sean feels more
shut out in a land of
foreign customs and codes
of honour. But it doesn't
take long for him to find
some action when a fellow
American buddy, Twinkie
introduces him to the
underground world of
drift racing. Sean's simple
drag racing gets replaced
by a rubber-burning
automotive art form -
with an exhilarating
balance of speeding and
gliding through a heart-
stopping course of hairpin
turns and switchbacks.

On the first time out
drifting, Sean unknowningly
takes on DK, the "drift king",
a local champ with ties to
the Japanese crime machine,
Yakuza. Sean's loss comes
at a high price tag when
he's forced to work off the
debt under the thumb of
ex-pat, Han. Han soon
welcomes Sean into this
family of misfits and
introduces him to the
real principles of drifting.
But when Sean falls in
love with DK's girlfriend,
Neela, and explosive series
of events is set into motion,
climaxing with an ultimate
high stakes face-off.

Lucas Black - Sean Boswell
Bow Wow - Twinkie
Brian Tee - Takashi
Natalie Kelly - Neela
Sung Kang - Han Seoul-Oh
Sonny Chiba - Kamata
Brian Goodman - Lieutenant

Director - Justin Lin
Writer - Chris Morgan
Producer - Neal H. Moritz
Production Designer - Ida Random
Costume Designer - Sanja Milkovic Hays
Director of Photography - Stephen F. Windon
Action Coordinator (Uncredited)/Stunt Player -
Thomas Robinson Harper
Stunt Coordinator - Terry Leonard
Precision Driving Coordinator - Scotty Richards
Visual Effects Supervisor - Mike Wassel
Visual Effects Supervisor: ILM - Edward Hirsh
Film Editors - Kelly Matsumoto, Dallas Puett
& Fred Raskin
Music - Brian Tyler

Quite different to the other instalments, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT while attempting to be the new generation of the franchise, fails miserably and fails for the petrol on the story that needed to be remotely interesting and approachable. The vocabulary of the acting is so pitched without a fork and the comedy is less far-fetched and without any fun at all but what the movie made more exciting is the driving that requires more precision and finesse. Rather than just flawing it on a long straight road, this shows us a divergent form of driving where drivers must approach corner after corner at furious speeds while trying to drift and slide the tail of the car around the corner. The another only good part was Vin Diesel's cameo role at the end and I felt surprised about it when watching the film and I wanted that to come up.

Having endurance for TOKYO DRIFT is surprising and ends up being graded into above average has really taken a bad curve. I hear from one person that the film doesn't fit in the actual continuity of the series and just didn't make any sense, it seemed that it actually does. Please focus towards the epic racing and is the best way without seeing or any of these missteps.

Star rating: (3/5) Average

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Forrest Gump Review (Updated)

Forrest Gump

Release Date: 17th November 1994 - Australia

Production Companies
Paramount Pictures (presents)

Paramount Pictures Australia

Genre: Drama

Rating: M

Runtime: 141 minutes

Budget: $55,000,000

Box Office Gross: $677,387,716

Plot Summary
Forrest Gump, while not
intelligent, has accidentally
been present at many
historic moments, but
his true love, Jenny eludes

Tom Hanks - Forrest Gump
Robin Wright - Jenny Curran
Sally Field - Mrs. Gump
Gary Sinise - 2nd Lt. Dan Taylor
Mylketi Williamson - Benjamin
Buford "Bubba" Blue
Haley Joel Osment - Forrest
Gump, Jr

Director - Robert Zemeckis
Based on Novel - Winston
Screenplay - Eric Roth
Producers - Wendy Finerman,
Steve Syarkey & Steve Tisch
Co-Producer - Charles Newirth
Production Designer - Rick
Director of Photography - Don Burgess
Visual Effects Supervisor - Ken Ralston
Film Editor - Arthur Schimdt
Music - Alan Silvestri


1995 Academy Awards
Best Actor - Tom Hanks (Won)
Best Director - Robert Zemeckis (Won)
Best Visual Effects - Ken Ralston,
George Murphy, Stephen Rosenbaum
& Allen Hall (Won)
Best Film Editing - Arthur Schimdt (Won)
Best Picture (Won)
Best Supporting Actor - Gary Sinise (Nominated)
Best Production Design - Rick Carter &
Nancy Hingh (Nominated)
Best Cinematography - Don Burgess (Nominated)
Best Sound Effects Editing - Gloria S. Borders
& Randy Thorn (Nominated)
Best Makeup - Daniel C. Striepeke, Hallie
D,Amore & Judith A. Cory (Nominated)
Best Original Score - Alan Silvestri
Best Sound - Randy Thorn, Tom Johnson,
Dennis S. Sands & William B. Kaplan (Nominated)

Hello, blog-viewers, this is Film Guru Lad and I'm here to show you a review that I like to talk about that most people considered to be the best movie of 1994, and no, we are not talking about THE LION KING (click here). I've already done that one and it's not the overly dramatic SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION or the R-rated violent thriller PULP FICTION....... have you guessed it yet, it's actually the pivotal FORREST GUMP. My interpretation of this film is it was supposed to feature a story with subtlety about an adventurous man going through a journey of self discovery. His adventure takes us through different unique life experiences such as experiencing Vietnam War, meeting JFK and his loving relationship with his love interest "Jenny".

This is just to name a few of the things that this film explores and I think that's why director Robert Zemeckis was trying to make Forrest into a memorable American character for a unforgettable picture and it definitely meets my expectations. This film is compiled together with famous well-written lines like the almost nonsensical and honoured first quote “Life is just a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”, the innovative special effects of CGI for example, the scene where Forrest meets up with JFK is an entirely computer generated scene and Tom Hanks a fabulous actor who gives a generous performance. 

Evidently it appears this film uses ideas from other films which are BEING THERE and BORN ON THE FOURTH JULY and makes it clich├ęd. I don't honour FORREST GUMP as the greatest masterpiece as some movie-goers have labelled it, but it has definitely been a worthy film and I would recommend for everyone to rent it on Blu-ray/DVD or simultaneously watch it by the television channel or perhaps again if you already saw it first.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Monday, 10 June 2013

Days of Thunder Review (Updated)

Days of Thunder

Release Date: 13th September 1990 - Australia

Production Companies
Paramount Pictures
Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer

Paramount Pictures Australia

Genre: Drama

Rating: M

Runtime: 101 minutes

Budget: US$60,000,000

Box Office Gross: $157,920.733

Plot Summary
Discovered by a businessman
Tim Daland, race-car drive
Cole Trickle, whose talent
and ambition are surpassed
only by his burning need
to win, is teamed with
legendary crew-chief and
car-builder Harry Hogge
to race for the Winston Cup
at the Daytona 500. A fiery
crash nearly ends Cole's
career and he must turn to
a beautiful doctor to regain
his nerve and the true courage
needed to race, to win and
to live.

Tom Cruise - Cole Trickle
Robert Duvall - Harry Hogge
Nicole Kidman - Dr. Claire Lewicki
Michael Rooker - Rowdy Burns
Cary Elwes - Russ Wheeler
Randy Quaid - Tim Daland
Fred Dalton Thompson - Big John
John C. Reilly - Buck Bretheren
J.C. Quinn - Waddell
Don Simpson - Aldo Bennedetti (Cameo)
Caroline Williams - Jennie Burns
Donna W. Scott - Darlene
Chris Ellis - Harlem Hoogerhyde
John Griesemer - Len Dortort
Barbara Garrick - Lauren Daland
Leilani Sarelle - Female Highway Patrol Officer
Gerald R. Molen - Dr. Wilhare (Cameo)

Director - Tony Scott
Story - Tom Cruise
Story/Screenplay - Robert Towne
Executive Producer - Gerald R. Molen
Producers - Don Simpson &
Jerry Bruckheimer
Racing Consultant - Dan Greenwood
Costume Designer - Susan Becker 
Cinematography - Ward Russell
Race Car Driver/Advisor - Greg Sacks
Film Editors - Chris Lebonzon,
Billy Weber, Robert C. Jones,
Bert Lovitt, Michael Tronick
& Stuart Waks
Music - Hans Zimmer


1991 Academy Awards
Best Sound - Charles M, Wilborn, Donald O. Mitchell,
Rick Kline & Kevin O'Connell (Nominated)

Remember in 1986 when TOP GUN (click here) was released in cinemas and became the ultimate hit for the two famous people that worked so hard in their glorious movie days proving themselves as movie titans. Two legendary people are director Tony Scott  and superstar actor Tom Cruise, four years after TOP GUN, they both showcased another motion picture that also hit the box office medium called DAYS OF THUNDER. This film has the spirit and story of its predecessor and pulled off successfully what no movie has pulled off before. That is in the film's sub-standards, it undergoes the race driving coordination in the NASCAR setting and it's accurately fitted to the high-production values that the audience pay their money to see. Cruise's performance as usual is first class and in addition to this entertaining thrill ride package, we are also rewarded with fine actor portrayals of Robert Duvall and Tom's future wife/now ex Nicole Kidman and Hans Zimmer's good scoring of the soundtrack.

DAYS OF THUNDER to come by on the lap was definitely a solid film and many race-lovers will be thrilled with passion and might spare a few dollars to grab a DVD or Blu-ray of the movie, kickback on their lounge and enjoy this memorable action-packed race-car classic.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Monday, 3 June 2013

The Black Cauldron Review

The Black Cauldron

Release Date: 8th May 1986 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Silver Screen Partners II (in association with)

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 77 minutes

Budget: $25,000,000

Box Office Gross: $28,701,061

Plot Summary
Whoever releases the
mysterious Black Cauldron's
powers will be invincible!
The fearsome Horned King
will do anything to possess
it, but he is challenged by
the most unlikely adversary:
a young assistant pig keeper
named Taran who dreams
of doing heroic deeds. With
a motley team of the brave
Princess Eilonwy, a minstrel
named Fflewddur Fflam, and
Hen Wen, a remarkable pig
who can predict the future,
Taran embarks on a quest
to stop the Black Cauldron's
evil once and for all. Will he
have the courage to succeed?

Voice Cast
Grant Bardsley - Taran
Susan Sheridan - Princess Eilonwy
Nigel Hawthorne - Fflewddur Fflam
John Byner - Gurgi/Doli
John Hurt - The Horned King
Freddie Jones - Dalben
Arthur Malet - King Eidilleg
Eda Reiss Merin - Orddu
Adele Malis-Morey - Orwen
Billie Hayes - Orgoch
Phil Fondacaro - Creeper
John Huston - Narrator

Story/Directors - Ted Berman
& Richard Rich
Based on "The Chronicles of
Prydain" Novel Series - Lloyd
Story/Producer - Joe Hale
Story/Storyboard Artist
(Uncredited) - Peter Young
Story - David Jonas, Vance
Gerry, Al Wilson, Roy Morita
& Art Stevens
Additional Dialogue - Rosemary
Anne Sisson & Roy Edward
Additional Story Contributions -
Tony Marino, Steve Hulett,
Melvin Shaw, Burny Mattinson,
John Musker, Ron Clements &
Doug Lefler
Conceptual Artist - Tim Burton
Animation Camera Supervisor -
Peter Anderson
Film Editors - Armetta Jackson-
Hamlett, James Koford &
James Melton
Music - Elmer Bernstein

Ambitious, dark and completely scary that THE BLACK CAULDRON is and I find that this animated feature is very imperfect and a bit of a disappointment to the fantasy fans. The problems that lie in the film are the story and the characters including the main protagonist Taran who is a bit of a fool and his voice is changing and the princess sure she's a good one but we don't actually see her kingdom. On the positive side, I do compliment it for the animation, the music score by Elmer Bernstein and I find that the sidekick Gurgi who acts like Gollum from LORD OF THE RINGS which might be the inspiration for Andy Serkis's acting and I do feel bad for him because people find him a nuisance, but he's actually a poor and lonely creature who just have no friends.

There is one more thing that we mustn't forget about is the villain The Horned King who is probably the scariest looking Disney villain. John Hurt did a highly remarkable job for doing that eerie voice-over of the character and no one has ever mentioned Hurt for portraying that menace.

THE BLACK CAULDRON does not quite meet the benchmark of the other Disney classics. I would personally stick to the other cult films that were animated and made by the same studio like ATLANTIS (click here) and TREASURE PLANET (click here).

Star rating: (3/5) Average