Thursday, 30 January 2014

Important Message to Blog Viewers

Dear blog viewers,

This is Film Guru Lad, I'm writing to inform you that I'll be making a structural change to the star rating component of my reviews. No longer will I be using a 1 and a 5 scale, but rather I will now be using a 1 out of 10 scale. The reason for my decision to change this scale is that I feel I will be better able to more accurately place each movie on a larger scale that will have more room for variation hence giving blog viewers a more accurate picture of the quality of the film being reviewed.

Everything else on my blog-site will remain the same; I apologise for any inconvenience this change may cause. All reviews that I have completed and posted on my site will not be changed in that the 1 - 5 scale will remain the same. I will just be using the new 1 - 10 scale with new movie reviews from this moment forth.

Please feel free to compliment on this new scale in by posting comments to me. Any feedback you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you. : )

Monday, 27 January 2014

Reign of Fire Review (Updated)

Reign of Fire

Release Date: 31st October 2002 - Australia

Production Companies
Spyglass Entertainment
Touchstone Pictures
Tripod Entertainment
World 2000 Entertainment
The Zanuck Company

Walt Disney Studio Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: M

Runtime: 101 minutes

Budget: $60,000,000

Box Office Gross: $82,150,183

Plot Summary
In present-day London, 
twelve-year-old Quinn 
watches as his mother, a 
construction engineer, 
inadvertently wakes an 
enormous fire-breathing 
beast from its centuries-
long slumber. Twenty years 
later, much of the world 
has been scarred by the 
beast and its offspring. 

As a fire chief, Quinn is 
responsible for warding off 
the beasts and keeping a 
small community alive as 
they eke out a meager 
existence. Into their midst 
comes a hotshot American, 
Van Zan who says he has 
a way to kill the beasts and 
save mankind - a way 
Quinn's never seen done.

Christian Bale - Quinn Abercromby
Matthew McConaughey - Denton
Van San
Izabella Scorupco - Alex Jensen
Gerard Butler - Creedy
David Kennedy - Eddie Stax
Scott Mouter - Jared Wilke
Alexander Siddig - Ajay
Ned Dennehy - Barlow
Rory Keenan - Devon
Terence Mayward - Gideon
Doug Cockle - Goosh
Randall Carlton - Burke
Chris Kelly - Mead
Ben Thornton - Young Ben
Alice Krige - Karen Abercromby

Director - Rob Bowman
Story/Screenplay - Gregg
Chabot & Kevin Perteka
Screenplay - Matt Greenberg
Producers - Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum
and Lili Fini & Richard D. Zanuck
Co-Producers - Chris Chrisafis, Derek Evans, James Flynn, Morgan O'Sullivan, Rebekah Rudd and Dean Zanuck
Production Designer - Wolf Kroeger
Costume Designer - Joan Bergin
Director of Photography - Adrian Biddle
Visual Effects Supervisor - Richard R. Hoover
Co-Visual Effects Supervisor - Dan DeLeeuw
Creature Supervisor - Rob Dressel
Film Editors - Declan McGrath and Thom Noble
Music - Ed & Brad Wagner

Incomparable to anything I have seen before and could be described as a bit weird, this film belongs to the genre of a post apocalyptic/fantasy film by the director Rob Bowman. REIGN OF FIRE delivers a story that mashes up two genres, but it is with disappointment to say, its story ends up so underdeveloped. It somehow just ended up a letdown of sorts, sadly more of a less than a fiery grandiose epic than viewers were promised. It's more like a B-grade picture that falls short from reaching its true potential. I just found it a little underwhelming and packed with too much typical glamorised action and not enough intellect used into story development.

Featuring actors like Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey, also complimenting the great cast are co-stars like Gerard Butler and Izabella Scorupco. The effects for the dragons were really spectacular and horrifying. This is a real testament to CGI magic that created the menacing beasts and also created a very believable world in ruins during a post apocalyptic event. There is some room for improvement with the script and story. If this had of been given more attention, this movie would be much better. 

I must say even though I have awarded this movie a disappointing three stars, that these are three very well earned stars. What this movie does do right it does very right. Incredible action sequences, explosions and edge of your seat moments. Good quality acting and realistic effects with appropriate use of soundtrack during most of the scenes.

For this case, I label REIGN OF FIRE personally as a film with great potential which unfortunately did not reach its high standard due to the weaknesses I have mentioned. In the end, it was an average movie which I would not care to watch again.

Star rating: (3/5) Average

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Australia Review (Australia Day 2014) (Updated)


Release Date: 18th November 2008 - Australia 

Production Companies
20th Century Fox (presents)
Ingenious Film Partners
ScreenWest (produced with the 
assistance of)
Bazmark Films
Dune Entertainment III

20th Century Fox Australia

Genre: Drama

Rating: M

Runtime: 165 minutes

Budget: $78,000,000

Box Office Gross: $36,780,000

Plot Summary
Set in northern Australia 
before World War II, an 
English aristocrat who 
inherits a sprawling ranch 
reluctantly pacts with a 
stock-man in order to 
protect her new property 
from a takeover plot. As 
the pair drive 2,000 head 
of cattle over unforgiving 
landscape, they experience 
the bombing of Darwin by 
Japanese forces firsthand.

Nicole Kidman - Lady Sarah 
Hugh Jackman - The Drover
David Wenham - Neil Fletcher
Bryan Brown - Lesley 'King' 
Jack Thompson - Kipling Flynn
Brandon Walters - Nullah
David Gulpilli - King George
David Ngoombujara - Magarri
Ben Mendelsohn - Captain 
Emmett Dutton

Director - Baz Luhrmann 
Screenplay - Stuart Beattie,
Ronald Harwood and Richard
Producers - G. Mac Brown
and Catherine Knapman
Costume Designer - Catherine
Director of Photography - Mandy Walker
Visual Effects Supervisor: Animal Logic - Andy Brown
Visual Effects Supervisor: The LaB Sydney - Tony Cole
Film Editors - Dody Dorn and Michael McCusker
Music - David Hirschfelder

I was very keen to review the 2008 film AUSTRALIA for Australia Day. Though I have not seen any movies directed by Baz Luhrmann; Baz has certainly made his presence well known with his cinematic hits over the years. One of his recent movies AUSTRALIA was supposed to be a fictional tale about what life once was in Darwin before the bombing in 1942. In its obvious veins, the plot-line shares similarities to the epic classic GONE WITH THE WIND and pays tribute to its old cinematic qualities. The director developed a film that actually makes sense to some aspects of the Aussie culture and it is an inspiring romantic breath of fresh air. Addressing the issues of war, racial prejudice and land-property rights, without giving away spoilers, it can be said that AUSTRALIA is an emotional rollercoaster that arrives at a happy ending which leaves viewers in a satisfied mood. This movie was not without weaknesses, some of the writing and parts of the film were elementary and unnecessary.

Some of the actors include Hugh Jackman who gives a natural performance as The Drover, which the character is bluntly described as a sort of a suave and old-fashioned romantic hero. Nicole Kidman was at first over-the-top at the beginning as the leading female, but she improves throughout out the film and creates love chemistry with Jackman. Other actors that performed well were Brandon Walters being a promising young fresh actor and David Wenham who takes on a character with a black-hearted nature.

AUSTRALIA wasn't as a master medium of mediocrity as other critics had called it, because of its over-length and tedious melodrama. It's an opportunity for Aussies to watch and overcome the misfires that hindered the movie's spirit and find it to be enthralling.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

86th Academy Awards

Broadcast Date: March 2014 - Australia

G'day, blog viewers and posters,
the news had announced for the
Oscars of 2014. The recent
ceremony to the official Academy
Awards will be hosted by
television actress and hostess
Ellen DeGeneres and still changed
are the two categories of Best
Make-up and Hair-styling and
Best Production Design.

More surprises that the place that hosted the awards presentation in Los Angeles of California in 6801 Hollywood Boulevard was now renamed from Kodak Theatre to the Dolby Theatre. Click on the link "" and who you want to be to win these 24 categories.

Don't miss out the show for two months after, Film Guru Lad out.

Best Visual Effects

Gravity - Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence,
Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Joe Letteri,
Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
Iron Man 3 - Christopher Townsend, Guy
Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
The Long Ranger - Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich,
Edison Williams and John Fraizer
Star Trek Into Darkness - Roger Guyett, Patrick
Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

Best Film Editing

12 Years a Slave - Joe Walker
American Hustle - Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
and Alan Baumgarten
Captain Phillips - Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club - John Mac McMurphy and
Martin Pensa
Gravity - Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger

Best Costume Design

12 Years a Slave - Patricia Norris
American Hustle - Michael Wilkinson 
The Grandmaster - William Chang Suk Ping
The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin
The Invisible Woman - Michael O'Connor 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Dallas Buyers Club - Adruitha Lee and 
Robin Matthews
Bad Grandpa - Stephen Prouty
The Lone Ranger - Joel Harlow and 
Gloria Pasqua-Carny

Best Cinematography

The Grandmaster - Phillipe LeSourd
Gravity - Emmanuel Lubezki 
Inside Llewyn Davis - Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska - Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners - Roger Deakins

Best Production Design

12 Years a Slave - Adam Stockhausen 
(Production Design); Alice Baker (Set 
American Hustle - Judy Becker 
(Production Design); Heather Loeffer 
(Set Decoration)
Gravity - Andy Nicholson (Production 
Design); Rosie Goodwin and Joanne 
Wollard (Set Decoration)
The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin 
(Production Design); Beverely Dunn 
(Set Decoration)
Her - K. K. Barrett (Production 
Design); Gene Serdena (Set 

Best Sound Mixing

Captain Phillips - Chris Burdon, Mark 
Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and 
Chris Munro
Gravity - Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, 
Christopher Benstead and Chris 
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 
Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, 
Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson 
Inside Llewyn Davis - Skip Lievsay, 
Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland 
Lone Survivor - Andy Koyama, Beau 
Borders and David Brownlow

Best Sound Editing

All is Lost - Steve Boeddeker and 
Richard Hymns
Captain Phillips - Oliver Tarney
Gravity - Glenn Fremantle
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 
Brent Burge
Lone Survivor - Wylie Stateman

Best Original Song

"Alone, Yet Not Alone" from Alone Yet 
Not Alone - Bruce Broughton and 
Dennis Spiegel
"Happy" from Despicable Me 2
Pharrell Williams 
"Let It Go" from Frozen - Kristen 
Anderson & Robert Lopez
"The Moon Song" from Her - Karen 
Orzolek and Spike Jonze
"Ordinary Love" from Mandela: 
Long Walk to Freedom - U2

Best Original Score

The Book Thief - John Williams
Gravity - Steven Price
Her - William Butler and Oliver Pallett 
Philomena - Alexandre Desplat
Saving Mr. Banks - Thomas Newman 

Best Animated Short Film

Feral - Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
Get a Horse! - Lauren MacMullan and 
Dorothy McKim
Mr. Hublot - Laurent Witz and Alexandre 
Possessions - Shuhei Morita 
Room on the Broom - Max Lang and 
Jan Lachauer 

Best Live Action Short Film

Aquel no era yo (That Wasn't Me)
Esteban Crespo 
Avant que de tout perdre (Just 
Before Losing Everything)
Xavier Lengrand 
Helium - Andres Walter and Kim 
Pitääko mun kaikki hoitaa? (Do o
I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari 
The Voorman Problem - Mark Gill 
and Baldwin Li

Best Documentary - Short Subject

CaveDigger - Jeffrey Karoff
Facing Fear - Jason Cohen
Karama Has No Walls - Sara Ishaq 
The Lady in Number 6: Music 
Saved My Life - Malcolm Clarke 
and Nicholas Reed 
Prison Terminal: The Last Days 
of Private Dan Hall - Edgar Barens 

Best Documentary - Feature

20 Feet from Stardom - Morgan 
The Act of Killing - Joshua 
Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge 
Cutie and the Boxer - Zachary 
Heinzerling and Lydia Dean 
Dirty Wars - Richard Rowley and 
Jeremy Scahill 
The Square - Jehane Noujaim and 
Karin Amer

Best Foreign Language Film

The Broken Circle Breakdown 
(Belgium) in Dutch - Felix Van 
The Great Beauty (Italy) in 
Italian - Paolo Sorrentino 
The Hunt (Denmark) in Danish - 
Thomas Vinterberg
The Missing Picture (Cambodia) 
in French - Rithy Panh
Omar (Palenstine) in Arabic - 
Hany Abu-Assad 

Best Animated Feature

The Croods - Kirk DeMecco, Chris Sanders 
and Kristine Belson
Despicable Me 2 - Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
and Chris Meledandri
Ernest & Celestine - Benjamin Renner and
Didier Brunner
Frozen - Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter
Del Vicho
The Wind Rises - Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio

Best Writing - Adapted Screenplay

12 Years a Slave - John Ridley
Before Midnight - Richard Linklater, Julie 
Delpy and Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips - Billy Ray
Philomena - Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
The Wolf of Wall Street - Terence Winter

Best Writing - Original Screenplay

American Hustle - Eric Warren Russell and
David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine - Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club - Craig Borten and
Melisa Wallack
Her - Spike Jonze
Nebraska - Bob Nelson

Best Supporting Actress

Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine as Ginger
Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle - Rosalyn
Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave as Patsey
Julia Roberts - August: Osage Country - Barbara
June Squibb - Nebraska - Kate Grant

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi - Captain Phillips as Abduwali Muse
Bradley Cooper - American Hustle as Agent
Richard "Richie" DiMaso
Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave as
Edwin Epps
Jonah Hill - The Wolf of Wall Street as Donnie Azoff
Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club as Rayon

Best Actress

Amy Adams - American Hustle as Sydney Prosser
Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine as Jeannette
"Jasmine" Francis
Sandra Bullock - Gravity as Dr. Ryan Stone
Judi Dench - Philomena as Philomena Lee
Meryl Streep - August: Osage Country - Violet

Best Actor

Christian Bale - American Hustle as Irving Rosenfield
Bruce Dern - Nebraska as Woody Grant
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street as 
Jordan Belfort
Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave as Solomon 
Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club 
as Ron Woodroof 

Best Director

Alfonso Caurón - Gravity
Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne - Nebraska
David O. Russell - American Hustle 
Martin Scorese - The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Picture

12 Years a Slave - Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, 
Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony 
American Hustle - Charles Roven, Richard 
Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon
Captain Phillips - Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti 
and Michael De Luca
Dallas Buyers Club - Robbie Brenner and 
Rachel Winter
Gravity - Alfonso Caurón and David Heyman 
Her - Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and 
Vincent Landay
Nebraska - Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa 
Philomena - Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan 
and Tracey Seaward
The Wolf of Wall Street - Martin Scorese, 
Leonardo DiCaprio, Joey McFarland and 
Emma Tillinger Koskoff

Academy Honorary Awards

Angela Lansbury
Steve Martin
Piero Tosi

Jean Hersholt Humanitarin Award

Angelina Jolie

The Land Before Time Review

The Land Before Time

Release Date: 16th September 1989 - Australia

Production Companies
Universal Pictures
Amblin Entertainment
Lucasfilm Ltd (Uncredited)
Sullivan Bluth Studios

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 69 minutes

Budget: $12.5,000,000

Box Office Gross: $84,460,846 

Plot Summary
An orphaned brontosaurus 
named Littlefoot sets off 
in search of the legendary 
Great Valley. A land of lush 
vegetation where the 
dinosaurs can thrive and 
live in peace. Along the 
way he meets four other 
young dinosaurs, each 
one a different species, 
and they encounter several 
obstacles as they learn 
to work together in order 
to survive.

Voice Cast
Gabriel Damon - Littlefoot
Pat Hingle - Narrator/Rooter
Cadance Hudson - Cera
Judith Barsi - Ducky
Will Ryan - Petrie
Helen Shaver - Littlefoot's 
Bill Erwin - Grandfather
Burke Byrnes - Daddy Topps

Production Designer/
Storyboard Artist/Producer/
Director - Don Bluth
Story - Judy Freudberg 
and Tony Geiss
Story Consultants - Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson
Screenplay - Stu Krieger
Co-Executive Producers - 
Kathleen Kennedy and 
Frank Marshall
Executive Producers - Steven Spielberg and 
George Lucas
Producer - Gary Goldman
Producer/Character Animator: "Cera", "Rooter" 
and "Spike"/Directing Animator: "Littlefoot" - 
John Pomeroy
Special Effects Directing Animator - 
Dorse A. Lanpher
Film Editor/Supervising Sound Editor - 
Dan Molina
Film Editor - John K. Carr
Music - James Horner

Years ago, legend filmmaker Steven Spielberg teams up again with Star Wars entrepreneur and his co-making partner of Indiana Jones, George Lucas and animator Don Bluth to create a special animated movie about dinosaurs. No I'm not talking about JURASSIC PARK (click here) where it hasn't been made till 1993, were gotta take a nostalgia trip one of the old favourites from my childhood. I know THE LAND BEFORE TIME means a lot to me when it happened to be Don Bluth's style not Disney's. If you're looking for a Dino movie from the studio, I suggest it to be the similar and forgettable CGI movie DINOSAUR (click here). Been too proud to admit it, the characterisations and voice acting were all aged timelessly and unforgettable joined up with Bluth's spectacular animation. It has brought down by the weak standards of pacing and editing horrendously contributed by either Spielberg or Lucas.

James Horner's score of the movie I praise was vividly gorgeous to hear. It has many ways to enhance the music, make it as light-hearted, dark or emotional in depth. I have almost forgot one of the supporting leads Spike was actually a baby stegosaurus and he looked like a dinosaur from a different kind. Confused, don't I?  Not one of his best and I agree with the creator's opinion for not intending the movie to be in 69 minutes.

The majesty still remains behind in the old prehistoric classic THE LAND BEFORE TIME for it is bound to be needed to be watched for future and younger generations. Find it someday and save up your money for the first, don't get me started on the other instalments that most are particularly bland and demeaning.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Monday, 20 January 2014

An American in Paris Review (Updated)

An American in Paris

Release Date: 2nd April 1952 - Australia

Production Companies
Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Loew's Inc (produced by)

Genre: Musical

Rating: G

Runtime: 114 minutes

Budget: $2,724,000

Box Office Gross: $6,981,000 

Plot Summary
Jerry Mulligan, a struggling 
American painter in Paris, 
is "discovered" by an 
influential heiress with an 
interest in more than 
Jerry's art. Jerry in turn 
falls for Lise, a young 
French girl already 
engaged to a cabaret 
singer. Jerry jokes, sings 
and dances with his best 
friend, an acerbic would-be 
concert pianist, while 
romantic complications 

Gene Kelly - Jerry Mulligan
Leslie Caron - Lise Bouvier
Oscar Levant - Adam Cook
George Guétary - Henri Bauel 
Nina Foch - Milo Roberts
The American in Paris Ballet - 

Director - Vincente Minnelli 
Story and Screenplay - 
Alan Jay Lerner
Producer - Arthur Freed 
Art Directors - E. Preston 
Ames and Cedric Gibbons
Costume Designer - Orry Kelly
Director of Photography - Alfred Gilks
Ballet Photographer - John Alton
Cheoreographer - Gene Kelly 
Musical Directors - Saul Chaplin 
and Johnny Green
Lyrics - Ira Gershwin 
Music - George Gershwin
Film Editor - Adrienne Fazan 


1952 Academy Awards
Best Picture - Arthur Freed (Won)
Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Alan 
Jay Lerner (Won)
Best Cinematography, Color - Alfred Gilks 
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color - 
Cedric Gibbons, E. Preston Ames, Edwin 
B. Willis and F. Keogh Gleason (Won)
Best Costume Design, Color - Orry-Kelly,
Walter Plunkett and Irene Sharaff (Won)
Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture -
Johnny Green and Saul Chaplin
Best Director - Vincente Minnelli (Nominated)
Best Film Editing - Adrienne Fazan (Nominated)

Spectacular and quite a phenomenal decision to pick a movie that came out of the classics. I originally decided to release my critique of REIGN OF FIRE before settling down on an old one I had barely watched when I saw only clips of a documentary. Now incidentally, this movie is a fair musical that provides the non-stop dancing sequences that combines with classical jazzy instrumentals and singable tunes by late music legend George Gershwin. Many of whom were too young to remember is AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, a favourite starring Gene Kelly who is probably one of the great dancers before Michael Jackson. It comes down to the big and over-long dancing climax, all in a mixture of terrific set-pieces and quietly in silence. Gene's bright vision helps the spectacle made to look more prolonged as Walt Disney did for his animation on FANTASIA (click here).

This Oscar-winning musical is probably not as well-fondly remembered than SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, its only and true successor. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS is at least a refreshment to its ongoing reputation of a minor classic provided to those at home.

Star rating: (4/5) Good Movie

Monday, 13 January 2014

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review (Updated)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Release Date: 26th December 2013 - Australia

Production Companies
Metro Goldwyn Mayer
New Line Cinema
WingNut Films

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: M

Runtime: 161 minutes

Budget: $225,000,000

Box Office Gross: $958,366,855

Plot Summary
Continuing on their epic quest
of adventure to bring back
the lost Dwarf Kingdom of
Erebor. Bilbo Baggins
accompanied by the wizard
Gandalf and his thirteen
Dwarf allies, led by Thorin
Oakenshield are journeying
through track of peril and
must go to the dragon
Smaug, who still conquers
their rightful home. In order
to reclaim it, they must defeat
and slay Smaug and avoid
many obstacles as they pass.

Martin Freeman - Bilbo Baggins
Ian McKellen - Gandalf the Grey
Benedict Cumberbatch -
Smaug/The Necromancer (Voice)
Orlando Bloom - Legolas
Evangeline Lilly - Tauriel
Luke Evans - Bard the Bowman
Stephen Fry - Master of Laketown
Cate Blanchett - Galadriel
Mikael Persbrandt - Beorn
Sylvester McCoy - Radagast
the Brown
Manu Bennett - Azog
Lee Pace - Thranduil

The Company of Dwarves
Richard Armitage - Thorin
Graham McTavish - Dwalin
Ken Stott - Balin
Aidan Turner - Kili
Dean O'Gorman - Fili
Mark Hadlow - Dori
Jed Brophy - Nori
Adam Brown - Ori
John Callen - Oin
Peter Hambleton - Gloin
William Kircher - Bifur
James Nesbitt - Bofur
Stephen Hunter - Bombur

Screenplay/Producer/Director -
Peter Jackson
Based on Novel "The Hobbit" -
J. R. R. Tolkien
Screenplay/Producer - Fran Walsh
Screenplay/Co-Producer - Phillippa Boyens
Screenplay/Project Consultant -
Guillermo del Toro
Producer - Carolynne Cunningham
Producer/Unit Production Manager - Zane Weiner
Co-Producer - Eileen Moran
Production Designer - Dan Hennah
Conceptual Designers - John Howe & Alan Lee 
Costume Designers - Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey
and Richard Taylor
Director of Photography - Andrew Lesnie
Stunt Coordinator - Glenn Boswell
Visual Effects Supervisors - Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon,
R. Christopher White and Jeff Capogreco
Visual Effects Supervisor: Weta Digital - Matt Aitken
Film Editor - Jabez Olssen
Music - Howard Shore

Continuing on this trilogy of the LOTR prequels, THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG pops in with another breath for visual eye-candy and spectacular new layer of translation. Director Peter Jackson has got cultivation to tinker yet again in nearly completing a heavy forgoing saga with one final chapter left to go. I have not yet seen THE RETURN OF THE KING. Owing the return of Orlando Bloom's character of Legolas is enough to contemplate the movie's good parts; he's my favourite LOTR character. The last and neatest detail would be British actor Benedict Cumberbatch lending the terrifying performance of the dragon Smaug to the audiences with not just his mo-cap (motion capture) technique. His deep and intense vocabulary also makes him in the top spot highlight; particularly this Smaug succeeds to be the greatest visual counterpart of a dragon shown on cinemas.

THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG is a hypnotic volume which proves far or less like the other LOTR instalments. This is a finest hour that takes fans through a fantasy world again and it is with relief that I can say this film is better than the first prequel.

Star rating: (5/5) Best Movie Ever

Monday, 6 January 2014

Toy Story 2 Review

Toy Story 2

Release Date: 16th December 1999 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures (presents)
Pixar Animation Studios

Walt Disney Studios Motion 
Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 89 minutes

Budget: $90,000,000

Box Office Gross: $485,015,179 

Plot Summary
While Andy is away at 
summer camp, Woody 
is toynapped by Al, a 
greedy collector who 
needs Andy's favourite 
toy to complete his 
Roundup Gang collection. 

Together with Jessie, 
Bullseye and the 
Prospector, Woody is on 
his way to a museum 
where he'll spend the 
rest of his life behind 
glass. It's up to Buzz, 
Mr. Potato Head, Hamm, 
Rex and Slinky Dog to 
rescue their friend and 
remind him what being 
a toy is all about.

Voice Cast
Tom Hanks - Woody
Tim Allen - Buzz Lightyear
Joan Cusack - Jessie
Kesley Grammer - Stinky Pete
Wayne Knight - Al
Don Rickles - Mr. Potato Head
John Ratzenberger - Hamm
Wallace Shawn - Rex
Jim Varney - Slinky the Dog
Joe Ranft - Wheezy
Estelle Harris - Mrs. Potato 
Annie Potts - Little Bo Peep
Andrew Stanton - Emperor Zurg
R. Lee Ermey - Sarge
Jodi Benson - Barbie
John Morris - Andy
Lauren Metcalf - Andy's Mom
Jeff Pidgeon - Squeeze Toy 

Original Story/Director - John 
Original Story/Co-Director - 
Ash Brannon
Co-Director/Editor - Lee Unkrich 
Story/Screenplay - Andrew 
Story Supervisor/Additional 
Story Material - Joe Ranft
Original Story - Pete Docter 
Screenplay - Rita Hsiao, 
Doug Chamberlin and 
Chris Webb
Producers - Karen Robert 
Jackson and Helene
Production Designer - William Cone 
Production Designer/Character 
Designer: New Characters - 
Jim Pearson
Director of Photography - 
Sharon Calahan
Supervising Animator - Glenn 
Film Editors - Edie Bleiman 
and David Ian Salter 
Songs/Music - Randy Newman


2000 Academy Awards
Best Music, Original Song "When She Loved Me" -
Randy Newman (Nominated)

It's me, Film Guru Lad, I'm still here to round up the nostalgia with my review of TOY STORY 2. Looking back now in watching number two again, after a long period of time. It's proven to be a flexible, much better sequel than the first one (click here) resulting the much-improved CGI artistry, the studio PIXAR undertaken to get it going in three more years. Nowadays, it tends so much, the sequel's story is getting maturely with showcasing one character's backstory of tragicness and emotionally. Probably the first of the series to went in a transition as more from being a cheerful animated delight to the young audiences. I like how there's still a double-dose of comedy left to amuse all generations and for once, the subplot of Buzz being replaced by the false Buzz is the one crucial plot point being played for laughs. 

In the elements, joining in the cast of voices by Allen and Hanks is comedienne Joan Cusack. She voices the yodeling cowgirl Jessie and it's never sentimental for me in only seeing her in a few movies. That said, her character would really be important to the film's plot. 

Surpassing the original by adding pushovers with better visualised rendering and one of Pixar's better movies. If not quite better than other triumphs like WALL-E (click here) and THE INCREDIBLES (click here). Can't miss out on that one when you hire it out for recommendation. 

Star rating: (5/5) Best Movie Ever