Friday, 28 March 2014

Tracks Review


Release Date: 10th October 2013 - Australia

Production Companies
See-Saw Films

Transmission Films

Genre: Drama

Rating: M

Runtime: 113 minutes

Budget: $12,000,000

Box Office Gross: $4,878,242

Plot Summary
Robyn’s phenomenal solo 
trek from Alice Springs to 
Uluru and on to the Indian 
Ocean saw her traverse 
2700km of spectacular 
yet unforgiving Australian 
desert accompanied only 
by her loyal dog and four 
unpredictable camels. 

Charismatic young New 
Yorker and National 
Geographic photographer 
Rick Smolan travelled from 
the other end of the earth 
to capture, at intervals, 
this epic and remarkable 
journey into one of 
the world’s last great 
wildernesses. Robyn 
reluctantly agreed to a 
visiting photographer in 
return for much needed 
trip funding and could 
only see Rick’s visits as 
intruding on her solitude 
and compromising 
everything the journey 
meant to her. However, 
this uneasy relationship 
between two very different 
people would slowly 
develop into an unlikely 
and enduring friendship.

Set against one of the 
wildest, most dangerous 
and most breathtaking 
backdrops on the planet, 
this unprecedented 
journey pushed Robyn 
to her physical and 
emotional limits and 
taught her that sometimes 
we have to detach from 
the world to feel connected 
to it. In witnessing this 
extraordinary journey we 
realise that the impossible 
is within reach of us all.

Mia Wasikowska - Robyn Davidson
Adam Driver - Rick Smolan
Rolley Mintuma - Mr. Eddie
Brendan Maclean - Peter
Rainer Bock - Kurt
Jessica Tovey - Jenny
Emma Booth - Marg

Director - John Curran
Based on Memoir "Tracks" - Robyn Davidson
Screenplay - Marion Nelson
Producers - Iain Canning and 
Emile Sherman
Production Designer - Melinda Doring
Costume Designer - Mariot Kerr
Cinematography - Mandy Walker 
Film Editor - Alexandre de Franceschi 
Music - Garth Stevenson

Terrible how blockbuster movies end in the afternoon sessions and not start in the mornings. In a heavy burden to choose a film suitable to my schedule, I was forced to choose TRACKS as my new critique. A movie much like THE MONUMENTS MEN except it isn't a real wartime story and it is like an everlasting journey of poignancy and survival. True, I only wanted to see it for its scenery of the Aussie wastelands and not a single trace or error of CGI is used on screen. This documented feature tangles in a grip of isolation with sometimes there are less parts of the dialogue not said by one of the main characters. Containing a few scenes that there are unsettling and can sometimes feel emotionally disturbing. I guess that I'm completely warped to oversee and criticise a fewer flaws to tick on my list. 

Also the leading female role is neatly concentrated by the young actress Mia Wasikowska. I never saw her as Alice in the title movie by Tim Burton and I'm glad I would never want to review it today. 

This movie may never be my thing to favour, I think it has done well in half of its sad drama.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Monday, 24 March 2014

The Monuments Men Review (Updated)

The Monuments Men

Release Date: 13th March 2014 - Australia

Production Companies
Fox 2000 Pictures (present)
Columbia Pictures (present)
Smokehouse Pictures
Studio Babelsberg

20th Century Fox Australia

Genre: War

Rating: M

Runtime: 118 minutes

Budget: $70,000,000

Box Office Gross: $154,984,035

Plot Summary
Based on the true story of 
the greatest treasure hunt 
in history, The Monuments 
Men focuses on an unlikely 
World War II platoon, tasked 
by FDR with going into 
Germany to rescue artistic 
masterpieces from Nazi 
thieves and returning them 
to their rightful owners. It 
would be an impossible 
mission: with the art trapped 
behind enemy lines, and 
with the German army under 
orders to destroy everything 
as the Reich fell, how could 
these guys – seven museum 
directors, curators, and art 
historians, all more familiar 
with Michelangelo than the 
M-1 – possibly hope to 

But as the Monuments Men, 
as they were called, found 
themselves in a race against 
time to avoid the destruction 
of 1000 years of culture, 
they would risk their lives to 
protect and defend mankind’s 
greatest achievements.

George Clooney - Lt. Frank Stokes
Matt Damon - Lt. James Granger
Cate Blanchett - Claire Simone
Bill Murray - Sgt. Richard 
John Goodman - Sgt. Walter 
Jean Dujardin - Lt. Jean Claude Clermont
Bob Balaban - Pvt. Preston Savitz
Hugh Bonneville - Lt. Donald Jeffries
Sam Hazeldine - Colonel Langton
Dimitri Leonidas - Sam Epstein
Justus von Dohnanyi - Viktor Stahl
Holger Handtke - Colonel Wegner
Michael Hofland - Priest (Claude)
Zachary Baharov - Commander Elya
Miles Jupp - Major Fielding
Alexandre Desplat - Emile
Serge Hazanavicius - Rene Armand
Diarmaid Murtagh - Captain Harpen
Udo Kroschwald - Hermann Goering
Michael Dalton - President Roosevelt
Christian Rodska - President Truman
James Payton - Hitler
Nick Clooney - Older Stokes
Joe Reynolds - Stokes' Son
Levi Strasser - Stokes' Grandson

Screenplay/Producer/Director - George Clooney
Based on Book "The Monuments Men" -
Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter
Screenplay/Producer - Grant Heslov
Executive Producer - Barbara A. Hall
Co-Producers - Christoph Fisser,
Henning Molfenter and Charlie Woebcken
Production Designer - James D. Bissell
Costume Designer - Louise Frogley
Director of Photography - Phedon Papamichael
Visual Effects Supervisors - Angus Bickerton
and Huseyin Caner
Film Editor - Stephen Mirrione
Music - Alexander Desplat

Specifically, this is a movie with war as the backdrop and I must've had myself flustered as to whether it was an action comedy or drama. At first, THE MONUMENTS MEN is actually good to see on screen for those who never heard of the true story behind it, thus making it a historical war picture. Then again, it clearly demonstrates that only 80 percent of the accuracy remained faithful to the actual events. I would point out that THE MONUMENTS MEN was in this case, only a fair and decent movie. Everything is in a small scale but it features a spectacular cast of Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bill Murray and John Goodman. I never had lost any of the faith for these actors and they all did well in the movie.

War films are not my speciality. In reflection of this film, it didn't have some of its captivating moments nor it was destined to become the best or the worst movie that's ever been made. This is a rhetorical statement but overall I find that THE MONUMENTS MEN has a very little feeling of being a milestone movie. It's more of a decent one with some value to possibly re-see it.

Star rating: (6/10) Fair Movie

Monday, 17 March 2014

Epic Review (Updated)


Release Date: 13th June 2013 - Australia 

Production Companies
20th Century Fox (presents)
Blue Sky Studios

20th Century Fox Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 102 minutes

Budget: $93,000,000

Box Office Gross: $268,426,634

Plot Summary
Transported to a 
magical world, a 
teenager is recruited by
a nature spirit, Queen 
Tara to help the 
"Leafmen" save their 
forest from evil warriors. 

Voice Cast
Amanda Seyfreid - Mary Katherine 
Josh Hutcherson - Non
Colin Farrell - Ronin
Beyoncé Knowles - Queen Tara 
Christoph Waltz - Mandrake 
Aziz Anzari - Mub
Chris O'Dowd - Grub
Steven Tyler - Nim Galuu
Jason Sudekis - Professor 
Pitbull - Bufo
Blake Anderson - Dagda

Story/Director - Chris Wedge
Leafmen Creator/Story/
Producer/Production Designer - 
William Joyce
Story/Screenplay - James V. Hart 
Screenplay - Dan Shere, Tom 
J. Astle and Matt Ember
Producers - Lori Forte and 
Jerry Davis
Co-Producer - Michael J. Travers
Production Designer - Greg
Lead Character Designer -
Sang Jun Lee
Cinematography - Renato
Film Editor - Andy Keir
Music - Danny Elfman

I do take it that the title is very misleading and this is not what we anticipated for an animated movie. Get this mates, EPIC is shamelessly a mixed package with less and less instincts of becoming the AVATAR for children. With any disrespects to the film, it feels the story is overdone and clichéd and it shows little promise to any of the viewers. The visual animation design is so significantly a rare beauty and with the nature backdrops helps guaranteed that this can be so realistically done through research in time. Much of the voice cast are somehow not used to the characters or not doing as properly like Christopher Waltz trying to be as bad as his lead villain. Colin Farrell and Josh Hutcherson are the only actors to preserve their good skills and frankly Farrell voices better with an Scottish accent as Ronin. 

Finally, I watched a few movies where comic reliefs are actually contributing to the plot rather than to annoy viewers. Two notable examples are of C3PO and R2D2 or Timon and Pumbaa. The duo Mub and Grub that we are presented in EPIC are definitely an inadequate piece of filmmaking since Jar Jar in STAR WARS. Those snails deserve to be stomped than to make laughs for the kiddies parents.

I never want to watch EPIC again and it's deeply in the rank of the below average movies. This is beyond the classic animation realm, a good thing that the movie won't be called epic for sure.

Star rating: (4/10) Below Average

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Review

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Release Date: 27th June 1991 - Australia

Production Companies
Warner Bros.
Morgan Creek Productions 

Genre: Adventure 

Rating: M

Runtime: 143 minutes
               155 minutes
               (extended cut)

Budget: $48,000,000

Box Office Gross: $390,493,908 

Plot Summary
After escaping from a 
Dungeon after being 
captured by the Turks 
during the crusades, Robin, 
son of Lord Locksey and 
a warrior Moor named 
Azeem return to England 
only to find Robin's father 
has been murdered by 
the corrupt Sheriff of 
Nottingham and has taken 
over his Father's lands. 

Unable to be helped by 
Maid Marian Dubois, sister 
of Robin's friend Peter who 
died trying to help Robin 
and Azeem escape. Robin 
vows to avenge his father 
and flees to the Forest of 
Sherwood, home to a band 
of outlaws who have been 
banished from their villages 
by the Sheriff of Notingham. 
Combining the forces of the 
outlaws, Robin and his merry 
men set out on a crusade 
against the Sheriff of 
Nottingham and defeat the 
Sheriff of Nottingham and his 
henchmen who bids to take 
over the throne of England's 
rightful ruler King Richard 
and put a end to the 
corruption that has 
infested the English 

Kevin Costner - Robin Hood
Morgan Freeman - Azeem
Alan Rickman - Sheriff George 
of Nottingham 
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio - 
Marian Dubois 
Christian Slater - Will Scarlett
Brian Blessed - Lord Locksey
Michael Wincott - Guy of 
Nick Brimble - Little John
Mike McShane - Friar Tuck
Geraldine McEwan - Mortianna
Harold Innocent - Bishop of 
Walter Sparrow - Duncan
Sean Connery - King Richard 
(Uncredited) (Cameo)

Director - Kevin Reynolds
Story/Screenplay/Producer - Pen Densham
Screenplay/Producer - John Watson
Executive Producers - Gary Barber, David Nicksay 
and James G. Robinson
Producer - Richard Barton Lewis
Co-Producer - Michael J. Kagan
Project Consultant - Stuart Baird
Production Consultant/Producer (Uncredited) - 
Kevin Costner
Production Designer - John Graysmark
Costume Designer - John Bloomfield
Cinematography - Douglas Milsome
Sword Masters - Terry Walsh and
Andrew A Wilkinson
Stunt Coordinator - Paul Weston
Film Editor - Peter Boyle
Music - Michael Kamen


1992 Academy Awards
Best Music, Original Song "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" - 
Michael Kamen, Bryan Adams and 
Robert John Lange (Nominated)

In the newly written recap of my new critique. The mythological Robin Hood is always adapted in every numerous version that has symbolised the character into so many motion pictures. First of which in 1938 was THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD starring Errol Flynn then in 1973, Disney justified to change the title character into a fox and made their own animated universe with animals. Recently in 2010 came director Ridley Scott who released another version with Russell Crowe in the lead role and there's a fact that I once experienced the Disney version, it was entertaining. PRINCE OF THIEVES though not as endearing as I think, it's very imperfect on a grand scale. For anything I see in the film, Kevin Costner will never be Robin Hood if it weren't for his non-Brit accent and was miscast of his looks to play that character. 

Alan Rickman and Morgan Freeman were the only ones I know off did very well. For Rickman who comes out the deliciously comical and menacing parts for the Sheriff of Nottingham. Freeman on the other hand performs a character shown to be a great ally to Robin Hood, but never shown in the original mythology. One of the underlying factors for this film is not many historical accuracies are found in the plot, some greatly changed and I think Prince John switched by the Sheriff as the main antagonist. The background music went along great with especially the instrumentals done by Michael Kamen and the Bryan Adams song as it evokes this swashbuckling rehash in a resonated splendor.

My chance I give PRINCE OF THIEVES a 7 out of 10 stars for being a good movie. Not quite firing the arrow, it's usually a movie worth-watching with love and adventure by its side.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Monday, 10 March 2014

Spider-Man 2 Review

Spider Man 2

Release Date: 30th June 2004 - Australia

Production Companies
Columbia Pictures (presents)
Marvel Enterprises
Lauren Ziskin Productions

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 127 minutes

Budget: $200,000,000

Box Office Gross: $783,766,341 

Plot Summary
As Peter Parker gives up 
his crime-fighting identity 
of Spider-Man - in a 
desperate attempt to 
return to ordinary life and 
keep the love of M.J. 

A ruthless, terrifying new 
villain, the multi-tentacled 
Doc Ock, forces Peter to 
swing back into action 
to save everything he 
holds dear.

Tobey Maguire - Peter Parker/
Kristen Dunst - Mary Jane Watson
Alfred Molina  - Dr. Otto Octavius/
Dr. Octopus
James Franco - Harry Osborn
Rosemary Harris - Aunt May 
Donna Murphy - Rosalie Octavius 
J. K. Simmons - J. Jonah 
Daniel Gillies - John Jameson
Dylan Baker - Dr. Curt Connors
Elya Baskin - Mr. Ditkovich
Mageina Tovah - Ursula
Daniel Dae Kim - Raymond
Ted Raimi - Hoffman
Elizabeth Banks - Betty Brant
Bill Nunn - Joseph 'Robbie' Robinson
Vanessa Ferlito - Louise
Aasif Mandvi - Mr. Aziz
Willem Dafoe - Norman Osborn/
The Green Goblin (Cameo)
Cliff Robertson - Ben Parker (Cameo)
Bruce Campbell - Snooty Usher (Cameo)
Gregg Edelman - Dr. Davis

Director - Sam Raimi
Based on Marvel Comic Book "The Amazing Spider-Man"/
Executive Producer/Consultant - Stan Lee
Based on Marvel Comic Book "The Amazing Spider-Man" -
Steve Ditko
Screen Story - Alfred Gough, Miles Millar and
Michael Chabon
Screenplay - Alvin Sargent 
Producers - Avid Arad and Laura Ziskin
Production Designer - Neil Spisak
Costume Designers - James Acheson and
Gary Jones
Director of Photography - Bill Pope
Second Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator - Dan Bradley
Stunt Coordinator - Scott Rogers
Fight Choreographer - Dion Lam
Special Effects Supervisor - John Fraizer
Special Visual Effects Designer - John Dykstra
Visual Effects Supervisors - Scott Stokdyk,
Greg Anderson, Tim Hawkins and Eric Durst
Animation Director - Anthony LaMolinara
Film Editor - Bob Murawski 
Music - Danny Elfman


2005 Academy Awards
Best Visual Effects - John Dykstra, Scott Stokdyk,
Anthony LaMolinara and John Fraizer (Won)
Best Sound Mixing - Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell,
Jeffrey J. Haboush and Joseph Geisinger (Nominated)
Best Sound Editing - Paul N.J. Ottosson

Years ago, I had neglected to watch SPIDER-MAN 2 on its home release after it came out, let me tell you I wish I had watched it because boy was I missing out for being insecure. Years later, the second sequel would become a prominent choice in the category and a much loved fan-favourite. In its magnitude scope that presents the well-developed narrative plot arc and the explosive pulse of action. Containing the similarities of SUPERMAN II (click here) in the film's story, it never got too quick to be rich. Tobey Maguire is still far from evocative to be the title character and sadly he still has one year left to portray Spidey in just one more movie. Astounding in the movie was Alfred Molina to play one of Spider-Man's more deadliest foes; the character is added with sympathy as his main development into a worthy foe. It's a shame to see a villain to lose everything that he had and hoped for to follow his dream.

One last main section to note in this post, the visuals like the machine tentacles for Dr. Octopus are rendered graphically more than the first. The CGI is far from aging in the historical obscurity and truly put together in the real time.

Very resourceful of SPIDER-MAN 2 to come off as expectedly and I truly find it to be a very great movie at the top of its game. 

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Winners of the 86th Academy Awards

Greetings, blog viewers and here
are the winners of the 86th Oscar
ceremony. Not to mention that I
felt very happy of 'Gravity'
for awarding itself in 7 popular
categories. Another surprise is of
the animated feature 'Frozen'
which for the very first time, the
studio Disney has one of its films
in the entry for the Best Animated
Feature award. Never it been
several times try to succeed since
2002 to 2013, until now!

Best Visual Effects

Gravity - Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence,
Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould

Best Film Editing

Gravity - Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger

Best Costume Design

The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Dallas Buyers Club - Adruitha Lee and 
Robin Matthews

Best Cinematography

Gravity - Emmanuel Lubezki 

Best Production Design

The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin 
(Production Design); Beverely Dunn 
(Set Decoration)

Best Sound Mixing

Gravity - Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, 
Christopher Benstead and Chris 

Best Sound Editing

Gravity - Glenn Fremantle

Best Original Song

"Let It Go" from Frozen - Kristen 
Anderson & Robert Lopez

Best Original Score

Gravity - Steven Price

Best Animated Short Film

Mr. Hublot - Laurent Witz and Alexandre 

Best Live Action Short Film

Helium - Andres Walter and Kim 

Best Documentary - Short Subject

The Lady in Number 6: Music 
Saved My Life - Malcolm Clarke 
and Nicholas Reed 

Best Documentary - Feature

20 Feet from Stardom - Morgan 
Neville, Caitrin Rogers and Gil 

Best Foreign Language Film

The Great Beauty (Italy) in 
Italian - Paolo Sorrentino 

Best Animated Feature

Frozen - Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter
Del Vicho

Best Writing - Adapted Screenplay

12 Years a Slave - John Ridley

Best Writing - Original Screenplay

Her - Spike Jonze

Best Supporting Actress

Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave as Patsey

Best Supporting Actor

Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club as Rayon

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine as Jeannette
"Jasmine" Francis

Best Actor

Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club 
as Ron Woodroof 

Best Director

Alfonso Caurón - Gravity

Best Picture

12 Years a Slave - Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, 
Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony 

Academy Honorary Awards

Angela Lansbury
Steve Martin
Piero Tosi

Jean Hersholt Humanitarin Award

Angelina Jolie

Monday, 3 March 2014

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Review

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Release Date: 21st June 2001 - Australia

Production Companies
Paramount Pictures (presents)
Mutual Film Company
Lawrence Gordon Productions
Eidos Interactive Ltd

Paramount Pictures Australia

Genre: Action/Adventure

Rating: M

Runtime: 100 minutes

Budget: $115,000,000

Box Office Gross: $274,703,340

Plot Summary
Exploring lost empires, finding
priceless treasures, punishing
villains in mortal combat "it's
all in a day's work for
adventurer Lara Croft. But a
secret from her father's past
is about to lead Lara to her
greatest challenge: The
Triangle of Light, a legendary
artifact with the power to
alter space and time. Lara
must find the Triangle before
it falls into the clutches of the
Illuminati, a secret society
bent on world domination.
To stop the Illuminati, Lara
will have to survive a cross-
continental chase filled with
unimaginable danger. But for
the Tomb Raider, danger is
the name of the game.

Angelina Jolie - Lara Croft
Daniel Craig - Alex West
Iain Glen - Manfred Powell
Jon Voight - Lord Richard Croft
Noah Taylor - Bryce
Chris Barrie - James "Hilly" Hilary
Leslie Phillips - Mr. Wilson
Julian Rhine-Tutt - Mr. Pimms
Robert Phillips - Julius, Assault Team Leader
Rachel Appleton - Young Lara

Adaptation/Director - Simon West
Story - Sam B. Cooper, 
Mike Webb and Michael 
Screenplay - Patrick Massett 
and John Zinman
Executive Producers - Jeremy Heath Smith and Stuart Baird
Producers - Lawrence Gordon, 
Lloyd Levin and Colin Wilson 
Co-Producers - Chris Kenny and Bobby Klein
Production Designer - Kirk M. 
Director of Photography - Peter Menzies Jr.
Second Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator -  
Simon Crane
Visual Effects Supervisors - Steven Begg
and Sean Schur
Film Editors - Dallas Puett, Glen Scantlebury,
Eric Strand and Mark Warner
Music - Graeme Revell

This is one of those films that failed to push the benchmark of its original source. I'm vaguely familiar with the set of games of TOMB RAIDER and have only played the second game, but would like to play more. Unfortunately, I never got to succeed in all of the stages or to get past its difficulties, I wound up watching the movie instead. Now known as a movie guru in later years, I looked back at LARA CROFT and seeing that it lacked the detail of a great game movie adaptation. The film is downplayed by outdated CGI, the writing structure is generally dull with the game's presentation. Remained untouched of its accomplished achievements are the cinematic action scenes. 

The scenes are well-choreographed and saved the movie from failing. This movie also has its other saviour, the extremely good cast including future 007 Daniel Craig for one of his early acting roles. I positively commend Angelina Jolie's superficial performance as Lara Croft. Every once and a while, films casts certain actors for certain roles and as the responder you just know they are the right performers for that role and could not possibly be replaced by another actor. For example, Arnie for THE TERMINATOR. This for me was one of those parts, Angie was born for this role. 

When it comes to the film of LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER, it isn't as deplorable when it should not have been. History has shown game movie adaptions sometimes flop at the box office, e.g. SUPER MARIO BROS and DOOM. It neither surpasses Indiana Jones by its approach, but it's a rather average flick that is good to succeed to spawn one sequel. This is okay to watch it in for one time viewing.

Star rating: (5/10) Average