Monday, 25 November 2013

After Earth Review

After Earth

Release Date: 13th June 2013 - Australia

Production Companies
Columbia Pictures

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: M

Runtime: 100 minutes

Budget: $130,000,000

Box Office Gross: $243,843,127

Plot Summary
A crash landing leaves Kitai
Raige and his legendary
father Cypher stranded on
Earth, 1,000 years after
cataclysmic events forced
humanity's escape. With
Cypher injured, Kitai must
embark on a treacherous
journey to signal for help.
They must learn to work
together and trust each
other, if they want any
chance of returning home.

Will Smith - Cypher Raige
Jaden Smith - Kitai Raige
Sophie Okonedo - Faia Raige
Zoe Kravitz - Senshi Raige
Glenn Morshower - Commander
Jaden Martin - 9-Year Old Kitai
David Denman - Private McQuarrie

Producer/Director - M. Night Shyamalan
Story - Will Smith
Screenplay - Gary Whitta
Producers - James Lassiter,
Jada Pinkett Smith, Caleeb
Pinkett and Will Smith
Co-Producer/Unit Production Manager/
First Assistant Director - John Rusk
Co-Producer - Ashwin Rajan
Production Designer - Thomas E. Sanders
Costume Designer - Amy Westcott
Cinematography - Peter Suschitzky
Visual Effects Supervisor: Tippett Studio -
Craig Barron
Visual Effects Supervisor - Jonathan Rothbart
Film Editor - Steven Rosenblum
Music - James Newton Howard

What disappointed me the most was this film delivered a promise to be a new great sci-fi film and a depth that is unexplored. AFTER EARTH was a serving of boredom and dullness to the earthbound film-goers. I have would expect for more impact and more scenery from the infamous director M. Night Shyamalan. The man is back on the director's chair after his latest feature THE LAST AIRBENDER (click here) proved to be a fiasco according to all people such as critics and fanatics. This time, the director tries to improve himself and too bad he still fails miserably when he just couldn't do justice for this motion picture.

Signalling its only greatest strength is Will Smith whom he isn't the actor we knew for making up witty sarcasm in his previous acting efforts. He has made a very calm and serious portrayal of one of the main characters and is bound to happen when he's only one to enhance his exceptional talents. His son Jaden did not comprehend his own talents to the whole feature. Let's give him the excuse that he is just isn't worthy enough to live up his father's legacy, sorry Jaden, you did your best.

AFTER EARTH is not as bad as THE LAST AIRBENDER which is known for its disloyalty. It got me in surprise that this is an above average flick with no indication to greatness or to break the boundaries of cinematic originality.

Star rating: (3/5) Average

Monday, 18 November 2013

Race (2007) Review (Updated)



Release Date: 17th July 2007 - USA

Production Companies
Hyper Image Studios, Inc
CenTennial Pictures

Genre: Animation

Rating: M

Runtime: 99 minutes

Plot Summary
The Star car racing 
circuit is raging and 
ruthless. Rookie Trance 
Caldron and Team Earth 
play independently and 
compete in the game to 
oust the other. 

However, things change 
when the competition 
come calling from Team 
Tagmatia. The latter 
plans to break the Alliance 
leadership that is meant to 
hold the peace. 

All stakes are up for 
the upcoming finals 
Star Car 5000, where 
the teams must put their 
best speed and gear to 
fail the plans of Team 
Tagmatia. Trance needs 
to win this race for 
himself, his team and to 
defeat the evil.

Voice Cast
James Hereth - Trance 
Commander Chad
Kevin Lewis - Lord Helter
Wheaton James - Samuel 
Rhonda Smiley - Stash
Terry Diab - Sola/Drayka
William Mendieta - Frikes/
H.L. Cannon - Chancellor 
J.J. Song - Chemti

Story/Producer/Director - Robert Brousseau
Co-Director/Art Director/
Storyboard Supervisor/Artist -
Scott Heming
Story/Writer/Producer - Rhonda Smiley
Story - Kevin O'Donnell
Co-Producer - Andy Boron
Incidental Character Design -
Miriam Goodman and Frank
Animation Lead/Technical
Morph Target/Lip Sync/
Animator - Dean Jackson 
Animation Lead/Technical
Character Rigging/Animator 
Don Waters
Digital Intermediate
Supervisor - Rohan Desai
Film/ADR Editor - James Hereth
Sound Designer - Robert Duran
Guitar - Brad Stanfield
Music - Eric Allaman

The idea behind this film originated from and took influence from the pod-race sequence of STAR WARS. The sci-fi animated feature RACE does not suffer from lack of high intensity or good racing action as this is all there and then some. However, some of its characters were subpar and a few that were very clich├ęd. For example, the eponymous hero Trance is scrappy and unlikeable in his personality. He is not very well-fitted as the film's main protagonist as his characterisation lacked any flair and redeeming qualities. Even more disappointing, the animation is too video game-ish and oddly lacks real polish. On the other hand, the plot is quite appealing, however, it is not enough to testify against the cheap CGI budget.

This indie movie took seven years in production and not much longer than DELGO (click here). This film has clearly revealed that we are in a day and age where film goers expect the very best quality with an animation film. RACE simply did not race the bar high enough in comparison to other animated features. It is also a backdoor for a series which never got up and running, in large part, this could have been, due to the failure of the movie and a lack of following.

It is a real shame with this film as with some better directing and better animation. If this movie had it been formatted in 2D or improved CGI, it could have been a lot more of a success. Find this one on the web if you are still interested, even after my negative review. However, it is only worthy of a one time viewing, but not worth adding to the collection.

Star rating: (3/5) Average

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Film Guru Lad's Top Movie Villains: Part 1

I'm knowing what to say to this, that every movie has a protagonist or a love interest but what the film needs is a classic villain. Here is the primary top list of favourite evil villains you love to hate that performed acts of unspeakable horrors, deceitful or heinous. This is the countdown of cinema's favourite baddies who were hated for infamous and foul acts, but the question is, who's the baddest of the top bad guys.

#15. Colonel Miles Quatrich (Avatar)

This muscle-bound bloke
Quatrich as his full name
Colonel Miles is a fierce and
merciless military man who shows
little respect to the Na'vi by
respecting force and wants to
wipe out the indigenous alien race.
His two evil acts was ordering
his soldiers to bomb down
Hometree resulting numerous
Na'vi including Neytiri's father
to be killed off in the process by
the assault and shooting Dr.
Grace Augustine while she was
trying to escape with Jake, Norm
and Trudy from the RDA facility. Regardless for who Quatrich is, he very formidable and actually quite a ruthless militaristic leader to his men and too bad they follow his orders to do unspeakable horrors and annihilate the Na'vi race.

#14. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
(James Bond)

Secret agent James Bond has
all of villains but none were so
lucky than Ernst Stavro Blofeld,
yes, Blofeld is his greatest
nemesis always holding his
white Persian cat and changing
his appearances and is
the leader of the infamous
organization known as
SPECTRE. He happened to
be a bad boss and has done a lot of unspeakable horrors like sending his own minions such as Helga Brandt into the river of deadly piranhas for failure and letting his hench-woman attempt to gun down Bond but only his wife Tracy was assassinated instead. He is the only Bond villain to survive very elusively and appears in only three films no wait.... it's four pictures he appeared.

#13. Biff Tannen (Back to the 
Future Trilogy)

Dumb but not very smart and
no matter how bullies bully
other people whether there
gay, have a disability and or
so smart, how I actually hated
them and it make me stunted.
The worst example would be
Biff Tannen from the 'Back to
the Future' series and probably
a regular person but unlike
many other people that makes
torment on everybody, he
is cruel-hearted and calls
everyone "butthead". The one
girl that Biff desires the most is Marty's future mom Lorraine and the other person he has to bully and despise, her future husband and his dad George McFly. Unfortunately, not only Biff is unkind and arrogant to the McFlys, it does explain that the family genes runs in his blood.

#12. Khan (Star Trek Into Darkness)

Depending which second Trek
movie you prefer and though
needless I am still not a Trek
fan. They both had the same
villain who was being a worthy
foe to James T. Kirk or to
Spock, but the name of the
villain is "KHAAAAANNN,".
This version of the character
from the recent movie is said
to be described as brilliant
and ruthless but also the same genetic-engineered tyrant we fondly remember in the series. His greatest crime we seeing him is crushing the admiral's head with his own bare hands, awfully to tell a pun-related brutality that gave everyone a sheer shock. I can not help it, I am a sucker to English actors playing enemies with their terrifying accents. This version of Khan is done well by Benedict Cumberbatch who added a chilling tone to this character who might be a ravaged psychopath.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Thor: The Dark World Review (Updated)

Thor: The Dark World

Release Date: 31st October 2013 - Australia

Production Companies
Marvel Entertainment (presents)
Marvel Studios

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: M

Runtime: 117 minutes

Budget: $170,000,000

Box Office Gross: $644,783,140

Plot Summary
Thor fights to restore 
order across the cosmos... 
but an ancient race led 
by the vengeful Malekith 
returns to plunge the 
universe back into 
darkness. Faced with 
an enemy that even 
Odin and Asgard cannot 
withstand, Thor must 
embark on his most 
perilous and personal 
journey yet, one that will 
reunite him with Jane 
Foster and force him to 
sacrifice everything to 
save us all.

Chris Hemsworth - Thor
Natalie Portman - Jane Foster
Tom Hiddleston - Loki
Anthony Hopkins - Odin
Stellan Skarsgard - Dr. Erik
Idris Elba - Heimdall
Christopher Eccleston - Malekith
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje -
Kat Dennings - Darcy Lewis
Ray Stevenson - Volstagg
Zachary Levi - Fandral
Tadanobu Asano - Hogun
Jaimie Alexander - Sif
Rene Russo - Frigga
Chris Evans - Captain America

Director - Alan Taylor
Based on Comic/Executive
Producer - Stan Lee
Based on Comic - Larry Lieber
& Jack Kirby
Story - Don Payne and Robert Rodat
Screenplay - Christopher Yost,
Christopher Marcus and Stephen McFeelt
Producer - Kevin Feige
Production Designer - Charles Wood
Costume Designer - Wendy Partridge
Director of Photography - Kramer Morgenthau
Film Editors - Dan Lebental and Wyatt Smith
Music Supervisor - Dave Jordan
Music - Brian Tyler

Made good with an amount of action and comedy, this nearly makes it as a top favourite. THOR: THE DARK WORLD is not quite as tangible or eligible than the first hit (click here), due to having a science-fiction feel than requiring a blend with more elements of fantasy. To add insult to injury, the plot is generic and there is too much emphasis on the chemistry of Thor and Jane Foster. Still, the movie is at a slight purpose of having some bountiful energy and quick-less development on the characters that saved all the rest in one rate.

The original cast of the previous instalment are back, especially Tom Hiddleston whose villainous character Loki underwent a change and became an anti-hero, but still enacting the scenes very well. Christopher Eccleston of DOCTOR WHO portrays the main villain for THOR 2, Malekith and I could calm you readers that this character is not going to be revealed as either false or anti-climatic. However, his role of the main antagonist is somewhat bland and dull-written and fails to compromise an interesting goal or an motive.

Better than IRON MAN 3 (click here) without the misfires, but generally a good simple movie and a big deal that Marvel has got it right. In three words: GO SEE IT!

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Beauty and the Beast (1991) Review (Updated)

Beauty and the Beast

Release Date: 11th June 1992 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures (presents)
Silver Screen Partners IV
Walt Disney Feature Animation

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 84 minutes
               91 minutes
               (Special Edition)

Budget: $25,000,000

Box Office Gross: $424,967,620

Plot Summary
Belle is a girl who is 
dissatisfied with life in 
a small provincial French 
town, constantly trying
to fend off the misplaced
"affections" of conceited
Gaston. The Beast is 
prince who was placed 
under a spell because he 
could not love. A wrong 
turn taken by Maurice, 
Belle's father, causes the
two to meet.

Paige O'Hara - Belle
Robby Benson - The Beast
Richard White - Gaston
Jerry Orbach - Lumiere
David Ogden Stiers - Cogsworth
Angela Lansbury - Mrs. Potts
Bradley Pierce - Chip
Rex Everhart - Maurice
Jesse Corti - LeFou
Hal Smith - Philippe
Tony Jay - Monsieur D'Arque

Director - Gary Trousdale
& Kirk Wise
Based on Fairy Tale -
Jeanne-Marie Le Prince
de Beaumont
Story Supervisor - Roger Allers
Story - Brenda Chapman,
Burny Mattinson, Brian
Pimental, Joe Ranft, Kevin
Harkey, Bruce Woodside
& Robert Lence
Story/Story Artist - Tom Ellery
Story/Visual Development Artists -
Kelly Asbury & Chris Sanders
Animation Screenplay - Linda Woolverton
Producer - Don Hahn
Executive Producer/Lyrics - Howard Ashman
Executive Producer - John Lasseter (3D Version)
Art Directors - Brian McEntee & 
Ed Ghertner (Special Edition)
Background Supervisor - Lisa Keene
Film Editors - John Carnochan, 
Ellen Kenesha (Special Edition) & 
Bill Wilner (Uncredited)
Songs/Music - Alan Menken


1992 Academy Awards
Best Music, Original Song "Beauty and the Beast" -
Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (posthumously) (Won)
Best Music, Original Score - Alan Menken (Won)
Best Picture - Don Hahn (Nominated)
Best Sound - Terry Porter, Mel Metcalfe, David
J. Hudson and Doc Kane (Nominated)
Best Music, Original Song "Belle" - Alan Menken
and Howard Ashman (posthumously) (Nominated)
Best Music, Original Song "Be Our Guest" -
Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (posthumously)

Hello, cinema-goers, today we take a look back in time at one of Disney’s finest achievements to date. It's not SNOW WHITE or PINOCCHIO, it’s a terrific musical film from the studio’s renaissance of 1989 to 1994 that I didn't fully see, but have seen it on clips until now. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was romantic and magical and was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The first before two of Pixar’s modern classics UP and TOY STORY 3 went on to receive the same recognition that it has and because the story-telling of the plot is so simple and outstandingly great and for a 2D animated feature, this film did more than enough to please the expectations of children who love watching Disney. 

Three of the songs were uniquely wonderful include the title song, "Gaston" and "Be Our Guest". Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman's contribution on the songwriting was passionate and beautiful. The CGI and hand-drawn animation were integrated together into this one film and helped to make two musical moments that are worthy of appraisal. While it may not be my favourite, it’s a great movie and I'm definitely surprised that BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was widely acclaimed by many critics including Siskel and Ebert to be the best that the studio has produced. 

In my opinion, THE LION KING (click here) is far superior and is less of a fairy-tale and it was the picture that should have been the second Best Picture nominee for a classic animated 2D picture.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Dinosaur Review


Release Date: 15th June 2000 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Feature Animation
Walt Disney Pictures

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 82 minutes

Budget: $127,500,000

Box Office Gross: $349.822,765

Plot Summary
Dinosaur follows the 
adventures of an 
Iguanodon named Aladar, 
who is separated from his 
own species as a hatch-ling 
and raised on an island 
paradise by a clan of 
Lemurs. When a devastating 
meteor shower plunges their 
world into chaos, Aladar 
and several members of his 
Lemur family excape to the 
mainland and join a group 
of migrating dinosaurs 
desperately searching for a 
safe new nesting ground. 
With water and food in 
short supply and bloodthirsty 
predators posing an ever-
present danger, the herd 
faces many life-threatening 
obstacles during the course 
of their treacherous trek. 
Aladar's innovative thinking 
and compassion for the 
"misfit" members of the 
herd brings him into conflict 
with Kron, the rigid and 
stone-hearted leader of 
the group, and his loyal 
lieutenant Bruton. Winning 
support from Kron's sister, 
Neera, Aladar reluctantly 
challenges the "traditional 
ways" and shows how 
being adaptable and 
working together is the 
best path for survival.

Voice Cast 

D.B Sweeney - Aladar
Ossie Davis - Yar
Alfre Woodard - Pilo
Max Casella - Zini
Hayden Panettiere - Suri
Samuel E. Wright - Kron
Peter Siragusa - Bruton
Julianna Margulies - Neera
Joan Plowright - Baylene
Della Reese - Eema

Director - Eric Leighton
Story/Director - Ralph Zondag
Based on an Earlier Screenplay - Walon Green
Story/Story Director - Thom Enriquez
Story/Screenplay - Robert
Nelson Jacobs & John Harrison
Creative Development - Gregory Gunter
Additional Story - Tamara Lusher
Additional Story Material - Jonathan Roberts &
Rhett Reese
Additional Written Material - Shirley Pierce
Producer - Pam Marsden
Co-Producer - Baker Bloodworth
Production Designer - Walter P. Martishius
Character Designer/Story Artist - Ricardo F. Delgado
Character Designers - David Krentz, Tina Price
& William Stout
Cinematography - David R. Hardberger & Steven
Douglas Smith
Visual Effects Supervisors - Neil Krepela
& Terry Moews
Digital Compositor/Lighting Artist/
Visual Effects Supervisor - Wally Schaab
Digital Effects Supervisor - Neil Eskuri
Film Editor - H. Lee Peterson
Additional Music Arranger: Vocals/Conductor Choir -
Lebo M
Music - James Newton Howard

DINOSAUR has very impressive CGI animation that matches up to the effects of the Jurassic Park films and beautiful live-action landscapes that were combined together to create this visualised experience, but the biggest problem around the movie is that the plot is too similar to THE LAND BEFORE TIME and the way that the characters act and talk is probably a bit stupid. It's a shame that Disney was trying to walk into the shadow of Pixar, still only two things of this animated film I like is the opening and the music score by James Newton Howard.

If DINOSAUR had a better plot and characterization as well as no dialogue except for narration like it was originally intended, the movie would have been a proper and well-loved Disney classic that everyone will be excited and enjoy it.

Star rating: (3/5) Average