Thursday, 28 August 2014

Old Dogs Review

Old Dogs

Release Date: 26th December 2009 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures (presents)
Tapestry Films

Walt Disney Studios Motion 
Pictures Australia

Genre: Comedy

Rating: PG

Runtime: 85 minutes

Budget: $35,000,000 

Box Office Gross: $96,753,696 

Plot Summary
Two best friends have their 
lives turned upside down 
when they're unexpectedly 
charged with the care of 
seven-year-old twins while 
on the verge of a business 
deal of their lives. The 
clueless bachelors stumble 
in their efforts to take care 
of the children, leading one 
debacle after another, with a 
gorilla and some pecking 
penguins - and perhaps to a 
newfound understanding of 
what's really important in 

Robin Williams - Chuck Reed
John Travolta - Dan Rayburn 
Ella Bleu Travolta - Emily Greer
Conner Rayburn - Zach Greer
Kelly Preston - Vicki Greer
Seth Green - Craig White
Bernie Mac - Jimmy Lunchbox 
Matt Dillon - Troop Leader 

Director - Walt Becker
Writers - David Diamond and 
David Weeson
Producers - Peter Abrams, 
Robert L. Levy and Andrew 
Cinematography - Jeffrey L. 
Film Editors - Ryan Folsey 
and Tom Lewis
Music Supervisor - Dave Jordan
Music - John Debney

Several days back, I was conflicted with the choice of which Robin Williams feature to watch, either one of his recent films or golden oldies. I decided upon OLD DOGS because I had seen it but not seen it in a long time and this is the one where he co-starred with John Travolta aka Johnny T. I felt that the comedy consisted of fewer bad jokes of toilet and frightening humour. Feeling good is the movie that has some fun, especially at each scene I get a good laugh at Seth Green of what happens to him. Green has never been in a family-oriented comedy with these two legends. Williams and Travolta were great for being the comical duo, but somehow what the movie lacks is of a perfect wit and balance to the script. 

Firstly I made things straight with watching the entirety of OLD DOGS, it's not as bad as the one Travolta had produced and starred in you say the unholy sci-fi grandeur of BATTLEFIELD EARTH (click here). This movie is somewhat average to fans of the two lead actors who expect a better standard of film for their dollar.

Star rating: (5/10) Average

Monday, 25 August 2014

Man of the Year Review

Man of the Year

Release Date: 1st March 2007 - Australia

Production Companies
Universal Pictures
Morgan Creek Productions

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Drama

Rating: M

Runtime: 115 minutes

Budget: $20,000,000

Box Office Gross: $41,237,658

Plot Summary
A comedian who hosts a 
news satire program 
decides to run for president, 
and a computerized voting 
machine malfunction gets 
him elected.

Robin Williams - Tom Dobbs
Laura Linney - Eleanor Green
Christopher Walken - Jack
Lewis Black - Eddie Langston
Jeff Goldblum - Stewart
Doug Murray - Mathias
Rick Roberts - Hemmings

Writer/Director - Barry Levinson
Producer - James G. Robinson
Production Designer - Stefania Calla
Costume Designer - Delphine White
Director of Photography - Dick Pope
Film Editors - Blair Daily and
Steven Weisberg
Music - Graeme Revell

Prior to glimpsing the new Marvel movie GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (click here), the shocking news of Robin Williams' death inspired me to review some of the movie masterpieces. I have not had the privilege of viewing many of Robin's films, so I decided to start by watching MAN OF THE YEAR. It is with regret to mention that this film does not pay a tribute to Robin's versatile acting. Not one of Robin's very best nor sentimental or the very funniest, it is boring to the point where you just want the movie to end so that you can escape the exhaustive two hours of slow moving and dry political drama comedy. Barry Levinson had not done anything for a long time with Williams since 1992's TOYS which failed at the box office. Even the plot of MAN OF THE YEAR evolves into stupidity and pointlessness while trying to be a political dramatic comedy.

On the other hand, we have actors who were not trying their hardest such as Christopher Walken who did not demonstrate his usual sleek, witty and classy style. I didn't see Jeff Goldblum until I found out he was one of the supporting actors, mostly his performance just felt underused.

Movies that I find like MAN OF THE YEAR are deserved to be thrashed. It feels so politically correct, not politically funny or endearing. It did not dare to push the boundaries or relive the Levinson's golden ages he pulled off with Williams in GOOD MORNING VIETNAM. I will be reviewing OLD DOGS next and please feel free to leave feedback on the comment tab below.

Star rating: (2/10) Bad Movie

Monday, 18 August 2014

300th Review!! Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

Release Date: 31st July 2014 - Australia

Production Companies
Marvel Studios
Marvel Entertainment 

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: M

Runtime: 121 minutes

Budget: $232,300,000

Box Office Gross: $773,312,399

Plot Summary
Space adventurer Peter
Quill finds himself an object
of a bounty hunt after
stealing an orb coveted by
a treacherous villain, but
when Quill discovers the
power it holds, he must
find a way to rally a
quartet of ragtag rivals
hot on his trail to save the

Chris Pratt - Peter Quill/
Zoe Saldana - Gamora
Bradley Cooper - Rocket (Voice)
Dave Bautista - Drax the
Vin Diesel - Groot (Voice)
Lee Pace - Ronan the Accuser
Michael Rooker - Yondu
Karen Gillan - Nebula
Djimon Hounsou - Korath
John C. Reilly - Corpsman
Rhomann Dey
Glenn Close - Nova Prime Irani Rael
Benicio Del Toro - The Collector
Josh Brolin - Thanos (Uncredited)
Alexis Denisof - The Other
Sean Gunn - Kraglin/On Set Rocket
Christopher Fairbank - The Broker
Krystian Godlewski - On Set Groot
Peter Serafinowicz - Denarian Saal
Wyatt Oleff - Young Quill
Laura Haddock - Meredith Quill
Gregg Henry - Grandpa
Seth Green - Howard the Duck (Voice) (Cameo) (Uncredited)

Writer/Director - James Gunn
Based on Comic Book
"Guardians of the Galaxy" -
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Star-Lord Creators - Steve Englehart and Steve Gan
Gamora, Thanos and Drax the Destroyer Creator - Jim Starlin
Characters: Groot, Ronan the Accuser and Taneleer Tivan/
The Collector (Uncredted)/
Executive Producer - Stan Lee
Characters: Groot, Ronan the Accuser and the Celestials - Jack Kirby (Uncredited)
Character: Groot - Larry Lieber (Uncredited)
Rocket Raccoon Creators - Bill
Mantlo and Keith Giffen
Howard the Duck Creators -  Steve Gerber
and Val Mayerik
Writer - Nicole Perlman
Executive Producers - Victoria Alonso,
Louis D'Esposito, Alan Fine and Jeremy Latcham
Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager -
Nikolas Korda
Producer - Kevin Feige
Co-Producers - Jonathan Schwartz and David J. Grant
Production Designer - Charles Wood
Special Makeup Effects Designer - David White
Costume Designer - Alexandra Byrne
Cinematography - Ben Davis
Visual Effects Supervisor: MPC - Nicolas Aithadi
Visual Effects Supervisor: Framestore - Jonathan Fawkner
Visual Effects Supervisors - Stephane Ceretti
and James D. Fleming
Visual Effects Producer - Susan Pickett
Film Editors - Fred Raskin, Hughes Winborne
and Craig Wood
Music Supervisor - Dave Jordan
Music - Tyler Bates

Greetings, I am Film Guru Lad and you're all been waiting for the 300th review I've mentioned on my last post. Part sci-fi and part comedy in this brand new space oddity needed by the audiences to demonstrate that Marvel can create a new and completely original style that is unlike any Marvel movie we have seen before. There's nothing more exciting than to be entertained of the movie GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. It crushes the boulders of Marvel's main expertise of filming super heroism and try something else that's never been translated. Humorous and spectacular that it can be compared to the likes of the STAR WARS flicks we've watched over the years.

I can't get enough of the actors that showcased in the ensemble. Featured are Zoe Saldana who plays another alien since AVATAR (click here), only painted without motion capture technology. Chris Pratt is fast tracking his path to super stardom and efficiently plays the charismatic rogue of Star Lord. Actress Karen Gillan was originally Amy Pond from DOCTOR WHO has now shaved her hair in need of transforming herself as an deadly henchwoman to the antagonist.

A word or two about the visual effects is that they are getting more complex than some of the earlier work. Especially the characters, the raccoon and tree-person voiced by Vin Diesel who is worth mentioning for its detailed rich design. I can't get enough of how lifelike were these two characters are exceptionally vivid in CGI since Gollum stole the spotlight in the last two films of LORD OF THE RINGS.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is something to be surprised of its wit and visual spectacle. It is a movie which brings old school fashion and mixes it with a light-hearted sci-fi comedic structure and style. Guess what fans, the sequel is due to come out in 2017 and it could crossover with THE AVENGERS universe.

Star rating: (9/10) Excellent Movie

Thursday, 14 August 2014

In Memory of Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Robin Williams (1951-2014)

I never expected that the laughter
would die down for in all my years
that I had never been a fan of
Robin Williams or his huge range
of acting in many of his big-
screen movies that are made with
comical hilarity or heartwarming
drama. He was good of doing 
impersonations and stand-up 
comedy shtick. Until the point that
I realise I grew up seeing some of 
his movies in memories of my childhood. 

Recently, he was found dead at the age of 63 in August 11th. I have previously reviewed only three of his hit movies (minus 'Happy Feet Two'). To see the passing of one of the great comedians, a man with such talent who was able to make us cry with laughter, cry with sadness and cry with joy with his multitude of diverse selection of roles in his movie smash hits. All I have to tell you is that he became an comedian in the early 70s, he immediately moved to television and his first movie role was when he appeared as himself in 1977's 'Can Do It 'Till I Need Glasses'. In 1978, Williams was casted by writer/producer Garry Marshall as the alien Mork in a episode of the hit TV series 'Happy Days' after seeing him in NBC's short-run of 'The Richard Pyror Show'. This alien character Mork that he had improvised with much of his comedy antics such as dialogue or even physical slapstick which lead his Mork to be popular with the viewership. Robin would later play his character again on his new show of 'Mork & Mindy' and would run its airtime on the waves until 1982. That same period from 1978 to the 80s, Williams began doing his professional stand-up comedy and then had his three compilations of his comedic performances aired on the HBO cable network. 

In 1987, he forgoes his acting career in a new level when being cast in a movie directed by Barry Levinson called 'Good Morning Vietnam'. The movie was a worldwide hit and Williams went on to receive an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor. It gained him confidence to go higher up into stardom and would land many of his more complex acting personas like in 'Dead Poets Society', 'Awakenings', 'The Fisher King' and 'Hook'. The first and third also gained him Oscar nominations. In 1992, Robin began doing three voice-overs in two animated movies made from Disney and 20th Century Fox. Namely one of the two results was 'Aladdin', this is one of his roles that he enjoyed the most and was showcased for his talent in doing the voice of the Genie. This cemented the known establishment of celebrities being cast in voice overs. The famed comedic persona of Robin continues heavily in 1993 where he landed a role in a comedy by Chris Columbus of 'Mrs. Doubtfire'. This time for him, he plays as the father who disguises himself into an old nanny, it was also his second major hit after 'Aladdin'. 

Continuing in 1996 where Robin starred in two movies 'Jack' and 'The Birdcage' before the next year he received a part of a drama called 'Good Will Hunting'. Co-starring and getting along together in the feature is a fresh new actor Matt Damon whom both built friendly chemistry during the entire film. After his movie became a triumph, it is time for Williams to win an Oscar of the film as Best Supporting Actor. An award for which he had waited patiently and being dreaming of since 1988. Robin eventually made a few dramatic changes like 'Patch Adams' and 'Bicentennial Man' which were different to his usual eccentric characters. Throughout the 2000s, Robin was still doing steady work when still being cast in movies such as 'One Hour Photo' and 'Insomnia'. He continued to do more comedic and family-friendly work with 'Robots', 'RV', 'Happy Feet' and 'Night at the Museum'. Throughout his career, Robin had the close support and encouragement of his family including his daughter Zelda whom he named after the princess from the video games of 'The Legend of Zelda' for which Rob had been an enthusiast of interactive gaming. It is with great sadness to see such a charismatic and cheerful man pass away. I think this talented man will be remembered from the great legacy of work that he left behind. Take a look at these two career defining highlights of well-known films Williams appeared in the early 90s.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Film Guru Lad's Top 6 Movies of 2012 (Updated)

Sorry, I've kept all of you viewers disappointed, I was supposed to finish and then publish the top five greatest movies for 2012. For some of whom might know, 2012 was not as an extraordinary as the year of 2011. It however, showed us some exquisite movies whether or not they are big hits or to a lesser extent, minor hits in my opinion. Now I look forward to hearing your comments about your favourite movies for 2012.

(UPDATED 27/11/14) Hi, there, ladies and gents! I would like to announce an update to this post you are reading whereby previously I only had a list of five top films but I have amended this to six top films. The reason for this is because I had forgotten of one movie to rank on the list is 'The Muppets'. It's one of those two movies that brought back the characters I knew from my childhood and you must forgive me with the delay that I hadn't had time to re-watch it until now.

#6. The Three Stooges

Not exactly the strongest comedy
in its new version did so well in 
paying homage to the classic 
shorts of the 1930's and 40's. This 
could have been accomplished
better in black and white and 
despite it's few deficits. It 
appealed to me, a fan of the 
amusing trio liked only its non-stop
hilarity of the physical and
slapstick comedy. Now when
did these three ever learn to be
idiots. Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!

It's time to play the music, it's time
to light the lights, it's time to 
see the Muppets back on the big 
screen after 1999 was a flop for 
them. It's still got the same old 
magic and laughter as in the 
record, it is re-discovered to appeal 
the new generation of those who 
haven't grown up with Jim Henson's 
characters which includes Kermit, 
The Swedish Chef, Fozzie and
my favourite, The Great Gonzo. 
It also featured the new and old 
celebrity guest stars of Jack Black, 
Jim Parsons and Whoppi Goldberg.

#4. The Dark Knight Rises

the last of Christopher Nolan's 
rebooted series but not for the 
character who is soon to be in 
the new Superman movie, with 
Affleck stepping up to the mantle 
as Batman. As you know with 
Ledger unfortunately passed on, 
the Bat-saga is reduced to only 
just three. It was equally as 
entertaining as its predecessor 
and was equipped with an 
extravaganza of complexion and 
action. it hasn't gone downhill 
and it's still a superb addition to 
the director and the Bat-fandom.

#3. Hugo

It's not only a family drama
movie about a young orphan 
wanting to discover a family 
secret. This film depicts a 
lovely story about the spirit 
of rediscovering of the past 
of a legendary pioneer of the 
cinema. Director Martin 
Scorsese delights viewers with 
his unique interpretation of the 
family feature genre that is unlike 
some of his usual work that are 
not accessible for people too 
young to watch, due to the mature 
parental ratings. It's a movie that 
has a name, it's HUGO!

#2. Skyfall

I am divided on which Bond film is 
better, either it's 'Goldfinger' or 
'GoldenEye'. This one SKYFALL
compels viewers into seeing a more 
gritty and rough take of once 
gentlemanly and elegant portrayal 
of Bond. Daniel Craig continuing the 
saga of his character for the third 
time, after the disappointing fiasco 
happened in the 'Quantum of 
Solace'. I think the director tried 
to go back to the basics of the 
origins of the film like adding Q and 
creating much of the charm it owed 
to the originals. This is why it 
is the second best Bond film of all 

#1. The Avengers

It may seem impossible to create
a superhero movie that is based on
a comic book with many heroes but
to THE AVENGERS. They broken
that, thanks to the direction by Joss
Whedon, witty comedy, imploding
action and a big ensemble cast of
Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans,
Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth
and others. This top-dollar gigantic
film earns itself as the best movie
of 2012. Enough for Warner Bros
to began pre-production on the
'Justice League' film. Let's hope the
second instalment matches the
expectations and standards of
the first superhero epic.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Crimson Tide Review

Crimson Tide

Release Date: 8th June 1995 - Australia

Production Companies
Hollywood Pictures
Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 111 minutes

Budget: $53,000,000

Box Office Gross: $157,387,195

Plot Summary
No-nonsense combat veteran
Captain Frank Ramsey and
his newly instated first officer
Ron Hunter are caught in
the middle of a global crisis.
Onboard a nuclear submarine,
they're heading for Russia
where radical nationalists
are threatening to start
World War III. But when
they receive an unverified
message to launch their
missiles, Ramsey and Hunter
clash over the validity of
the orders. With nuclear
holocaust close at hand,
mutiny erupts on the sub-
pitting the entire crew against
each other in a showdown
that will decide the fate of
the world.

Gene Hackman - Captain Frank
Denzel Washington - Lt.
Commander Ron Hunter
George Dzundza - Chief of the
Boat Walters
Viggo Mortensen - Lt. Peter
"Weps" Ince
James Gandolfini - Lt. Bobby
Matt Craven - Lt. Roy Zimmer
Rocky Carroll - Lt. Darrik
Danny Nucci - Petty Officer
Danny Rivetti
Steve Zahn - Seaman William Barnes
Rick Schroder - Lt. Paul Hellerman
Ryan Phillippe - Seaman Grattam
Lilo Brancato, Jr. - Petty Officer
Third Class Russell Vossler
Daniel von Bargen - Vladimir Radchenko

Director - Tony Scott
Story/Screenplay - Michael Schiffer
Story - Richard P. Henrick
Additional Dialogue - Quentin Taratino (Uncredited)
Production Designer - Michael White
Director of Photography - Dariusz Wolski
Visual Effects Supervisor - Hoyt Yeatman
Film Editor - Chris Lebonzon
Music - Hans Zimmer


1996 Academy Awards
Best Sound - Kevin O'Connell, Rick Kline,
Gregory H. Watkins and William B. Kaplan (Nominated)
Best Film Editing - Chris Lebonzon (Nominated)
Best Sound Editing - George Watters II (Nominated)

This is a movie of a naval-drama thriller, CRIMSON TIDE packs a punch as a result of the lively writing and compels viewers with moments of tension and perfectly choreographed underwater action giving the audience an unforgettable experience. Backing this film is a bucket-load of Hollywood talent. Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington are both demonstrated top-notch acting and really convey the tension of the characters conflict of beliefs and the power struggle that occurs between these two characters on the submarine that leads to a mutiny. Joining the cast is future LOTR star to be Viggo Mortensen who was noticeable as one of the supporting leads and land-marked composer Hans Zimmer is doing the handiwork of the music that sounds like a fanfare anthem for the Navy.

I never always agree on CRIMSON TIDE since its labelled beneath on the action genre, very entertaining and dramatic, it obtains the adoration of the critics and the audience. The late Tony Scott seemed to like this movie as his magnum opus or so I thought when it was one of his successful hits. I will publish my 300th flick review, which I plan to post by next Monday.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie

Monday, 4 August 2014

The NeverEnding Story Review

The NeverEnding Story

Release Date: 26th December 1984 - Australia

Production Companies
Neue Constantin Film Produktion 
Producers Sales Organisation 

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: G

Runtime: 107 minutes (original)
               90 minutes

Budget: $27,000,000

Box Office Gross: $100,000,000

Plot Summary
It's about a lonely young 
boy who escapes the 
ugliness of his everyday 
life by retreating into a 
mysterious book that 
carries him into a 
shimmering world of 
creatures, giant forests 
and massive oceans. 
An awesome world but 
a world in decay and 
whose existence is 
threatened by... The 

Barrett Oliver - Bastian Bux
Noah Hathaway - Atreyu
Tami Stronach - The 
Childlike Empress
Alan Opponheimer - Gmork/
Falkor/The Rock Biter/Narrator 
Moses Gunn - Cairon 
Thomas Hill - Carl Conrad 
Deep Roy - Teeny Weeny
Tilo Pr├╝ckner - Nighthob 
Sydney Bromley - Engywook
Patricia Hayes - Urgl

Screenplay/Director - Wolfgang 
Based on Novel "The Never-
Ending Story - Michael Ende
Screenplay - Herman Weigel
Additional Dialogue - Robert 
Co-Producer - Gunter Rohrbach
Producers - Bernd Eichnger
and Dieter Geissler
Production Designer/Set 
Decorator - Rolf Zehetbauer 
Conceptual Artist/Creature/
Scenery/Costume Designer - 
Ul De Rico
Special Effects Makeup 
Supervisor - Colin Arthur
Costume Designer - Diemut 
Director of Photography - Jost Vacano
Director of Visual Effects - 
Brian Johnson
Film Editor - Jane Seitz
Music - Giorgio Moroder and
Klaus Doldinger
Lyrics: The NeverEnding
Story - Keith Forsey
Singer: The NeverEnding
Story - Limahl 

Probably one of the well-known fantasy movies that made me feel so joyful, everything I have watched in my childhood memories, STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES and now this one can be in my opinion, regarded as absolutely equal in its spirituality of showing adventure and fantasy. Since I've watched THE NEVERENDING STORY a long time ago, it drew me to think about these lifelike images that I can't get rid of. Now it's been years apart after the film's premiere, this dark fantasy tale THE NEVERENDING STORY is still making the young audience look cherished, haunted and traumatised. Now remember this mates, it's from the 80s pop culture and it may look dated to some, but it certainly never loses any host of appeal for the newly-obsessed fans. 

The film's main factors that made it wholesome aged very well to this present time and day. The performances from the child actors were so full of live energy and talent, the two main stars Barrett Oliver and Noah Hathaway were once so young as Bastian and Atreyu that their characters barely interact in each of its scenes. I could think of nothing more scary and real than the fantasy creatures which were created by the pre-digital puppetry and such other techniques, they started to freak me out as a child when I had not seen the movie yet and did not know to expect.

It's too bad, the sequels could not sustain the standards or the ambiguity of the original. Which is why the predecessor holds greater esteem from the people who have saw it even kids and teens. I invite fans to leave their comments and feedback to this review, I would love to hear the public opinions out there for this fantasy epic.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever