Friday, 28 February 2014

In Memory of Harold Ramis (1944-2014) (Updated)









Harold Ramis (1944-2014)


To fans who watched several or most 
of his movies he wrote, starred and 
directed including two of the films 
from the Ghostbusters series like 
notably the first (click here), Animal 
HouseGroundhog DayNational 
Lampoon's Vacation and Caddyshack
Comedy director/writer/actor Harold 
Ramis passes away unexpectedly 
at the age of 69 in February 24th 2014. Ramis starts his life enrolled in Washington University in St. Louis Missouri where he wrote some spoof materials in a list of plays. Years later that he had his work finished on St. Louis, he returned to his hometown of Chicago where in 1968 worked as a substitute teacher at various schools in one of the city's inner states. As for then he went on to join the improvisational comedy troupe of Second City to study and perform. 

After leaving the comedy troupe in one time of absence and essentially returned in 1972, he made his way as a foil to the deadpan comedy of John Belushi who at one time replaced him in the main cast. This got Harold and his fellow performers including Bill Murray to join with Belushi and work together in a radio show of The National Lampoon Radio Hour. Concluding this time, Ramis, Murray, Belushi and the other comedians star in a revue of The National Lampoon Show at stage and then on become a performer/writer of the TV series SCTV where he spend the rest of years in 1976 to 1979, acting and writing on this skits. After SCTV, he underwent to the film career and scripted with National Lampoon's Douglas Kenney and then later joined by Chris Miller for a story they wrote with raunchy humour set in the struggle in a fraternity house and a corrupt dean. That story became a movie and is now entitled as Animal House, it went on to earn $141 dollars and by doing so breaking the box office records. The next movie that starred Bill Murray, Meatballs became a commercial success in 1979 and so does Caddyshack in the next year where he made his directing debut. Again working with Bill Murray, the edgy comedy flick featured many other comedy leads like Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight and again Bill Murray. 

Ramis would collaborate with Dan Akyroyd for the screenplay and also co-star with aforementioned comedian and in a project directed by Ivan Reitman called Ghostbusters. Starring as Dr. Egon Spengler the brains of the group and this time, the 1984 movie became one of the top grossing hits in this year's summer and earned him to reprise again as the character in the second instalment. Naturally before Ghostbusters, he directed the first National Lampoon's Vacation and was another big success for Ramis. His later ground-breaking feature in 1993, Groundhog Day ran moderately at the box office and then was considered by critics as his "masterpiece". Analyse This followed by its sequel Analyse That, Bedazzled and Year One were all some of his last movies he finished to script-write and direct.
  

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Wizard of Oz Review (Updated)










The Wizard of Oz


Release Date: 18th April 1940 - Australia


Production Companies
Metro Goldwyn-Mayer


Genre: Fantasy/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 101 minutes


Budget: $2,777,000

Box Office Gross: $247,088,371
(Worldwide)


Plot Summary
Dorothy Gale is swept 
away to a magical land 
in a tornado and embarks 
on a quest to see the 
Wizard who can help 
her return home.


Cast
Judy Garland - Dorothy Gale
Terry - Toto
Ray Bolger - Hunk/The Scarecrow
Jack Haley - Hickory/The Tin
Man
Bert Lahr - Zeke/The Cowardly
Lion
Margaret Hamilton - Miss Elmira
Gulch/The Wicked Witch of
the West
Frank Morgan - The Wizard/
Professor Marvel/Doorman/
Cabbie/Guard
Billie Burke - Glinda the Good
Witch of the North
Clara Blandick - Aunt Em
Charley Grapewin - Uncle Henry
The Singer Midgets - Munchkins

Crew
Director - Victor Fleming
Based on Book" The
Wonderful Wizard of Oz" -
L. Frank Baum
Adaptation/Screenplay -
Noel Langley
Screenplay - Florence Ryerson
and Edgar Allan Woolf
Director: Kansas Scenes -
King Vidor (Uncredited)
Producer - Mervyn LeRoy
Art Director - Cedric Gibbons
Costume Designer - Adrian
Creator: Character Make-ups - 
Jack Dawn
Photographed: in Technicolor - Harold Rosson
Special Effects - A. Arnold Gillespie 
Songs & Lyrics - Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
Film Editor - Blanche Sewell
Musical Adaptation/Composer: Original Music -
Herbert Stothart


Awards

1940 Academy Awards
Best Original Song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" -
Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg (Won)
Best Original Score - Herbert Stothart (Won)
----------------------------
Best Picture (Nominated)
Best Cinematography, Color - Harold Rosson (Nominated)
Best Art Direction - Cedric Gibbons and
William A. Horning (Nominated)
Best Special Effects - A. Arnold Gillespie
and Douglas Shearer (Nominated)


Review
It isn't as grand as it used to be and because it’s such an old family movie. It’s been years since seeing THE WIZARD OF OZ, for it is essentially a popular classic and reaches to its historical value. Very incidental how the film was a bit overrated that some viewers weren't as expecting to see it. The most embedded example would be the dialogue and acting, I wouldn't mind of Margaret Hamilton doing her wickedness of the part as the Wicked Witch. It makes me nervous to watch her with that over-the-top accent. Not to mention, the make-up that will only scare off young kids and tiny tots. Although I never was a big fan of Judy Garland, she looks a bit grown to play Dorothy Gale and the character I must have reckoned could be a slim teenage farm-girl.

Somebody’s going to pull a remake from starters with full CGI or motion capture and I can't say that THE WIZARD OF OZ is a bad musical. It may have straight-ups and let-downs, it's at least refreshing to re-experience the Yellow Brick Road.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie



Monday, 24 February 2014

Stormbreaker Re-Review









Stormbreaker


Release Date: 21st September 2006 - Australia


Production Companies
Samuelson Productions
Isle of Man Film
The Weinstein Company
VIP 4 Medienfonds
Moving Picture Company (MPC)
Rising Star Entertainment

Distribution
Roadshow Distribution


Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 90 minutes


Budget: £40,000,000

Box Office Gross: $23,937,870
(Worldwide)


Plot Summary
Alex Rider is a regular
teenager who lives a
somewhat mundane life with
his guardian and uncle, Ian
Rider. Uncle Ian is a boring
bank manager type - or so
it seems - until he dies
under mysterious
circumstances.

Alex soon learns that his
uncle was actually a super
-cool spy for Britain's secret
intelligence service, MI6 and
now they want him as his
replacement! Unbeknownst
to Alex, all those hobbies
that Uncle Ian encouraged
him to develop, have actually
prepared him for a career in
espionage. His skills in
languages, scuba diving,
mountaineering and martial
arts, mean that he has all the
attributes of the perfect spy!

Armed with special gadgets
from MI6, Alex is excused
from school and sent out to
battle some seriously bad
dudes who are about to
discover that he's no child:
he's a lethal weapon!


Cast
Alex Pettyfer - Alex Rider
Mickey Rourke - Darrius Sayle
Alicia Silverstone - Jack Starbright
Bill Nighy - Alan Blunt
Sophie Okonedo - Mrs. Jones
Damian Lewis - Yassen Gregorvich
Missi Pyle - Nadia Vole
Stephen Fry - Smithers
Sarah Bolger - Sabina Pleasure
Andy Serkis - Mr. Grin
Ashley Walters - Wolf
Ewan McGregor - Ian Rider
Robbie Coltrane - The Prime Minister
Jimmy Carr - John Crawford

Crew
Director - Geoffrey Sax
Based on Novel/Screenplay - Anthony Horowitz
Producers - Steve Christian, Andreas Grosch &
Marc and Peter Samuelson
Production Designer - Ricky Eyres
Cinematography - Chris Seager
Visual Effects Supervisors - Tom Debenham &
Rudi Holzapfel
Film Editor - Andrew MacRitchie
Music - Alan Parker


Review
It pains me that within my memories, I just previously reviewed this movie which has been posted for the last two years and having no idea that it was actually not re-watchable. Yes, the movie STORMBREAKER I used to believe was a mild fun product to watch. It doesn't concern of not having read the material of Alex Rider when they are only for children and teens. Self-content and bitter about the script not having any good stuff, the gadgets are still interesting like this modified Nintendo DS. Handled are some of the action-coordinated fight scenes and included in this film are a few homages and cliches of James Bond. Setting me in a good fruition are the acting, for example Bill Nighy is a good candidate to play MI6's no-nonsense chief superior. Ewan McGregor still comes in handy as the character who later gets killed off and still thinking they could have had more of the relationship with the uncle he plays.

There's also one thing it didn't change me in fruition, Mickey Rourke while doing a good job maniacally as the main antagonist. His character's tragic backstory was not even tragic and it feels his origins were changed in the screenplay. Ironic for STORMBREAKER that it was bent to be superior than the series of AGENT CODY BANKS for the teenage demographic. It still flopped and was okay for a one time only viewing.

Star rating: (5/10) Average


Monday, 17 February 2014

RoboCop (2014) Review









RoboCop


Release Date: 6th February 2014 - Australia


Production Companies
Columbia Pictures
Metro Goldwyn-Mayer

Distribution
Sony Pictures Australia


Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 118 minutes


Budget: $130,000,000

Box Office Gross: $242,688,965
(Worldwide)



Plot Summary
In RoboCop, the year is 
2028 and multinational 
conglomerate OmniCorp 
is at the centre of robot 
technology. Overseas, 
their drones have been 
used by the military for 
years - and it's meant 
billions for OmniCorp's 
bottom line. Now Omni-
Corp wants to bring their 
controversial technology 
to the home front, and 
they see a golden opportunity 
to do it. When Alex 
Murphy – a loving husband, 
father and good cop doing 
his best to stem the tide 
of crime and corruption 
in Detroit - is critically 
injured in the line of duty, 
OmniCorp sees their 
chance for a part-man, 
part-robot police officer. 
OmniCorp envisions a 
RoboCop in every city 
and even more billions 
for their shareholders, but 
they never counted on 
one thing: there is still a 
man inside the machine 
pursuing justice.


Cast
Joel Kinnaman - Alex Murphy
Gary Oldman - Dr. Dennett Norton
Michael Keaton - Raymond Sellars
Samuel L. Jackson - Pat Novak
Abbie Cornish - Carla Murphy
Jackie Earle Harley - Rick Mattox
Michael K. Williams - Jack Lewis
Jennifer Ehle - Liz Kline
Jay Baruchel - Tom Pope
Aimee Garcia - Jae Kim
John Paul Rattan - David Murphy
Patrick Garrow - Antoine Vallon

Crew
Director - José Padilha 
Based on Characters - Edward 
Neuheimer and Michael 
Miner
Screenplay - Joshua Zetumer
Producers - Marc Abraham,
Brad Fischer and Eric Newman 
Production Designer - Martin Whist
Costume Designer - April Ferry 
Director of Photography - Lula Carvalho 
Visual Effects Supervisor - Berj Bannayan 
Film Editors - Peter McNulty and Daniel Rezende 
Theme: Robocop - Basil Pouledoris
Music - Pedro Bromfan


Review
Years ago, I first saw the original ROBOCOP flick when I was a teen and nothing felt sublime about it except for its now outdated effects. In the classic, the film is graphically violent and it contains many themes that I consider it very adult and mature. The reboot on the other hand, shifts into less gore imagery and lightheartedness. The plot now dictates on subjects of social media, corruption, politics and business greed. In comparison, the action is complimented to be perfectly restrained and not getting as heavy. The better visual effects are beautifully rendered without needing the proper stop-motion tool. The film gets more ultilised with the better costume of the title character re-coloured in black and I do not care if the fans wanted the outfit to be silver or blue. Joel Kinnaman takes the cake as the man in the machine and good to win the role as Peter Weller did in many years back.

The few actors in the supporting leads like Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman were not taking advantage of the roles seriously and instead seemed misplaced and unwelcome in the film. I can't stop to laugh at Samuel L. Jackson playing a television host; it's too imperfect that he's so fun to watch when he's acting cheesy.

It never shows the slightest amount of gore as seen in the original version which was far too gruesome. But here, there is plenty left to be seen in the hugely modified ROBOCOP for mature audiences. I would feel the movie is still retaining this quality and might I suggest you watch the film if sci-fi your fave genre.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie


Friday, 14 February 2014

Casablanca Review (Valentine's Day 2014) (Updated)











Casablanca


Release Date: June 15th 1944 - Australia


Production Companies
Warner Bros. Pictures 


Genre: Drama

Rating: PG

Runtime: 102 minutes


Budget: $878,000

Box Office Gross: $252,575,000
(Worldwide)


Plot Summary
Casablanca: easy to enter,
but much harder to leave,
especially if you re-wanted
by the Nazis. Such a man
is Resistance leader Victor
Laszlo, whose only hope
is Rick Blaine, a cynical
American who sticks his
neck out for no one -
especially Victor's wife
Ilsa, the ex-lover who
broke his heart. Ilsa offers
herself in exchange for
Laszlo's transport out of
the country and the bitter
Rick must decide what
counts more - personal
happiness or countless lives
hanging in the balance.


Cast
Humphrey Bogart - Richard 
"Rick" Blaine
Ingrid Bergman - Ilsa Lund
Conrad Veidt - Major Heinrich
Strasser
Paul Henreid - Ernst Laszlo 
Dooley Wilson - Sam
Claude Rains - Captain Louis
Renault
Sydney Greenstreet - Signor
Ferrari
Peter O'Toole - Guillermo Ugarte
Madeleine LeBeau - Yvonne
Leonard Kinskey - Sascha

Crew
Director - Michael Curtiz
Based on Play "Everybody Comes to Rick's" - Murray Bennett and Joan Alison
Screenplay - Phillip G. & Julius
J. Epstein, Howard Koch and
Casey Robinson (Uncredited)
Producer - Hal B. Wallis
Art Director - Carl Jules Weyl
Gowns - Orry-Kelly
Cinematography - Arthur Edeson
Film Editor - Owen Marks
Music - Max Steiner 


Awards

1944 Academy Awards
Best Picture - Hal B. Wallis (Won)
Best Director - Michael Curtiz
Best Cinematography: Black or
White - Arthur Edeson (Won)
Best Writing, Screenplay -
Julius J. & Phillip G. Epstein
and Howard Koch (Won)
----------------------
Best Actor - Humphrey Bogart
(Nominated)
Best Supporting Actor - Claude
Rains (Nominated)
Best Film Editing - Owen Marks (Nominated)
Best Score - Max Steiner (Nominated)


Review
Happy Valentine's Day, blog viewers, in this late evening, I decided to celebrate this special day by writing a post as a gift to you film buffs. For some of you young film-goers not familiar with the moments of CASABLANCA, it was in the early 40s when movies became a war-time propaganda of World War II where the world was in a state of turmoil and unrest. CASABLANCA never needs any amount of dogfight and warfare, it also doesn't have to be labelled in the war genre. Sometime, the most simple movies turn out to be the everlasting classics. The classic is known for its popularity with every audience in generations, courtesy with a love triangle to tangle with mystery in a simple plot. Backed with the credible acting like Humphrey Bogart, this is the first time he plays a romantic lead and it maintains the stint of an anti-hero which is less staggering than to portray a gangster or a detective.

It helps for Bogie to create the formula of a character trait and then later be used by other actors in future movies. Paired together as a fictional couple with lead actress Ingrid Bergman as they are immediately responsible for the duo's chemistry of melodrama.

CASABLANCA is truly inspirational for its dialogue and ending, but a few directors have tried to imitate its dramatic concept for the thirst of the audience. Never reaching out of date and it's still in its famed recognition that you must see it if you want to know its true potential.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever


Monday, 10 February 2014

Mission Impossible III Review (Updated)








Mission Impossible III


Release Date: 4th May 2006 - Australia


Production Companies
Paramount Pictures (presents)
Cruise/Wagner Productions 
MI 3 Film (produced in association 
with)
China Film Co-Production Corporation (with the assistance of)
The Fourth Production Company Film Group (with the assistance of)
China Film Group Corporation (CFGC) (with the assistance of)
Studio Babelsberg

Distribution
Paramount Pictures Australia


Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 125 minutes


Budget: $150,000,000

Box Office Gross: $397,850.012
(Worldwide)


Plot Summary
Lured back into action by his 
agency superiors, Ethan 
faces his deadliest adversary 
yet - a sadistic weapons 
dealer named Owen Davian. 
With the support of his 
IMF team, Ethan leaps 
into spectacular adventure 
from Rome to Shanghai 
as he races to rescue a 
captured agent and stop 
Davian from eliminating his 
next target: Ethan's wife, 
Julia.


Cast
Tom Cruise - Ethan Hunt
Philip Seymour Hoffman -
Owen Davian
Ving Rhames - Luther Stickell
Billy Crudup - John Musgrave 
Michelle Monaghan - Julia Meade
Jonathan Rhys Meyers -
Declan Gormey 
Keri Russell - Lindsey Farris
Maggie Q - Zhen Lei
Laurence Fishburne - Theodore 
Brassel
Simon Pegg - Benji Dunn
Eddie Marsan - Brownway
Bellamy Young - Rachael
Sasha Alexander - Melissa
Aaron Paul - Rick

Crew
Writer/Director - J.J. Abrams
Based on Television Series:
Mission Impossible - Bruce Geller
Writers - Alex Kurtzman and 
Roberto Orci
Producers - Tom Cruise and 
Paula Wagner
Production Designer - Scott Chambliss 
Costume Designer - Colleen Atwood
Director of Photography - Dan Mindel
Stunt Coordinator/Second Unit
Director - Vic Armstrong 
Visual Effects Supervisor - Roger Guyett
Editors - Mary Jo Markey and 
Maryann Brandon
Writer: Theme from Mission Impossible -
Lalo Schifrin
Music - Michael Giacchino


Review
Good, nothing of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III (MI:III) is out of steam or repetitive. It's simply made from the competent direction of J.J. Abrams who has not yet made his name famous in the guild of directors. He took the throttling on the spy-flick for a supply of action and brought Tom Cruise to be in the series again. Unlike its precursor movie MI:II (click here) in comparison, the plot is an improvement to the second and owes it in favour of Abrams' hybrid of his screenwriting and visual style. The movie's best factor is the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman who portrays a menacing and convincingly fearless villain, the character's evil score are best left unsaid from spoiling. 

Ironically MI:III was released after the last year when his strange and personal behaviour is been caught and exposed. The film was plain and ordinary and not fully as realised to be bright and embraceable as it happened on the future and next instalment (click here). It only has its moments and still has entertainment left to make audiences thrilled. This review is dedicated to the now-late Philip for his hard work of performing. 

This msg (message) will self-destruct and in five... four... three... two... ONE... BOOM!

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

In Memory of Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014) (Updated)








Phillip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)


I have never seen any of Philip's 
movies, I announce with sorrow
that Oscar-winning Philip Seymour
Hoffman was reported to be found
dead of an overdose of drugs in his
office apartment in West Village.
He was 46 years old in February 
2nd 2014. Philip began acting when as a student at Fairport High School and at the age 17 he was selected to be in an attendance in the 84 Theater School at the New York State Summer School of the Arts. In the same place he meets the two people he would later work with in the later years like director Bennett Miller and screenwriter Dan Futterman.

When after Hoffman graduated from Fairport High, he attended the summer program in the Circle in the Square Theatre where he would continue to craft his skills as an actor. He went to join the Tisch School of the Arts in the New York University, earning himself a BFA award for drama in 1989. In the year of 1991 he made his acting debut in a episode of Law and Order as a case defendant. Philip would not appear in film until 92. He made his breakthrough in 4 different movies, one of which was Scent of the Woman. Throughout many years Hoffman would make his youthful career as a supporting actor playing roles and working with so many notable directors in his lifetime. One of the directors was Paul Thomas Anderson who casted him in five of his six motion pictures to date. He then does both the narration and interviews himself in a documentary for 2000 named The Party's Over. Philip breaks up the supporting role cliché and moves in for his first leading role in a tragic comedy called Love Liza. Followed in 2003 he also does another main role playing as a gambling addicted bank employee in Owning Mahowny. Hoffman's career has been defined by both supporting and lead parts over the years with notable flicks as Cold Mountain, Along Came Polly and the third instalment of Mission Impossible. Philip went for the gold acclaim in the title role of Capote where he would receive many of its awards including an Academy Award for Best Actor.

After the commendable success of his performance of Capote, the newly A-listed Philip went on for more diverse roles such as the title character in Charlie Wilson's War. That next year he would receive an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Before his untimely death he was working on the two parts of The Hunger Games feature Mockingjay to a role he once played in the recent instalment Catching Fire.


Monday, 3 February 2014

2001: A Space Odyssey Review (Updated)









2001: A Space Odyssey


Release Date: 1st May 1968 - Australia 
(premiere)


Production Companies
Metro Goldwyn Mayer


Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: G

Runtime: 148 minutes


Budget: $10,120,000

Box Office Gross: $190,000,000 
(Worldwide)


Plot Summary
The monoliths have been 
watching us. They gave 
us the "evolutionary kick 
in the pants" we needed 
to survive at the Dawn 
of Time. In 1999, we 
discovered a second 
monolith on the moon.. 

Now, in the year 2001, 
the S.S. Discovery and 
its crew, Captains Dave 
Bowman and Frank Poole, 
and their onboard computer, 
HAL-9000, must discover 
what alien force is watching 
us...


Cast
Keir Dullea - Dr. Dave Bowman
Dave Lockwood - Dr. Frank Poole
William Sylvester - Dr. 
Heywood R. Floyd
Douglas Rain - HAL 9000 (Voice)
Leonard Roositer - Dr. Andrei 
Smyslow
Margaret Tyzack - Elena
Daniel Ritcher - Chief Man-ape

Crew
Screenplay/Producer/Director/
Special Photographic Effects 
Director/Designer - Stanley 
Kubrick 
Screenplay/Based on Novel: 
The Sentinel (Uncredited) - 
Arthur C. Clarke
Production Designers - 
Anthony Masters, Harry 
Lange and Ernest Archer 
Director of Photography - 
Geoffrey Unsworth
Choreographer - Daniel Ritcher (Uncredited)
Special Photographic Effects Supervisors - 
Tom Howard, Wally Veevers, Douglas Trumbull
and Con Pederson 
Film Editor - Ray Lovejoy


Awards

1969 Academy Awards
Best Effects, Special Visual Effects -
Stanley Kubrick (Won)
----------------
Best Director - Stanley Kubrick (Nominated)
Best Writing, Story and Screenplay -
Written Directly for the Screen - Stanley
Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke (Nominated)
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration -
Anthony Masters, Harry Lange and
Ernest Archer (Nominated)


Review
The year 1968 saw a whole new age for the sci-fi genre of film and two movies where incidentally released before the year when Neil Armstrong explored the moon. These old science-fiction films would be PLANET OF THE APES and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. This masterpiece from Stanley Kubrick is an out-of-earth experience of cosmic brilliance. The vision came from the minds of director Kubrick and fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke who had the movie true to the realism of space after astrophysicists had discovered its realities. What makes 2001 even more special is the visuals, minimal dialogue, which establish the film's depth and accomplish an appreciation from the viewers of its stunning film artistry. The other profound aspect of the movie is the concept of mysticism and evolution, to me, it keeps the story in a deep mystery in a profound way. I would imagine another film to explore these same special qualities to be MOON with Sam Rockwell which I have not yet seen.

To make it more masterful, the cinematography is the other ground-breaking feature of 2001 and successfully raises its status. The shots and photography were used as a technique by the director to implicate the underlying themes of space travel, artificial intelligence and evolution. My impression of this film is that it really engages with the viewers to understand what is happening and I feel each person who watches this film will construct a different improbable theory. 

This is one of those trippiest movies that you need to revisit to fully understand the story in its four acts and what makes this film so significant from the rest is that each time you watch it, you take away a new understanding or idea that you originally did not consider. 2001 is a must-see novelty and if you haven't seen it, I would recommend you watch it.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever