Monday, 29 June 2015

Red Dawn (1984) Review

Red Dawn

Release Date: 13th December 1984 - Australia

Production Companies
United Artists (presents)
Valkyrie Films

Genre: War

Rating: M

Runtime: 110 minutes

Budget: $4,200,000

Box Office Gross: $38,376,497

Plot Summary
RED DAWN opens with
one of the most shocking
scenes ever filmed; on a
peaceful morning, through
the windows of a high
school classroom, students
see paratroopers land on
the varsity football field:
the invasion of the United
States has begun! As their
town is overrun by foreign
nationals, eight teenagers
escape to the mountains.
Taking the name of their
high school football team,
the Wolverines, they wage
unremitting guerrilla
warfare in defence of their
parents, their friends and
their country.

Patrick Swayze - Jed Eckert
C. Thomas Howell - Robert Morris
Lea Thompson - Erica Mason
Charlie Sheen - Matt Eckert
Darren Dalton - Daryl Bates
Jennifer Grey - Toni Mason
Brad Savage - Danny Bates
Doug Toby - Aardvark Mondragon
Ben Johnson - Mr. Mason
Harry Dean Stanton - Mr. Eckert
Ron O'Neal - Colonel Bella
William Smith - Strlenikov
Vladek Sheybal - Bratchenko
Powers Boothe - Lt. Col. Andy Tanner
Frank McRae - Mr. Teasdale
Roy Jenson - Mr. Morris
Pepe Serna - Mr. Mondragón
Lane Smith - Mayor Bates
Sam Slovick - Yuri
Radames Pera - Stepan Gorsky

Screenplay/Director - John Milius
Story/Screenplay - Kevin Reynolds
Executive Producer - Sidney Beckerman
Producers - Buzz Feitshans and
Barry Beckerman
Special Advisor - Fred Rexer
Production Designer - Jackson De Govia
Director of Photography - Ric Maite
Second Unit Director/Stunt
Coordinator - Terry Leonard
Film Editor - Thom Noble
Music - Basil Poledouris

At 20 years of age, I never knew how the unappreciated remake of RED DAWN (click here) was influenced by the original 1984 film as until now I had never actually taken the liberty of seeing it. The original and revamped versions are both defined as conventional war movies at the time and both share the same title and plot premise about a group of teenagers defending their homeland against invaders from foreign countries. I would say that time has done justice for the remake as the visuals are much more compelling and convincing. I think people who watch these movies will compare the two and construct their own comparison, the decision of which movie is superior I think will heavily depend on which actor people prefer, whether it be Patrick Swayze or Chris Hemsworth.

Evidently proven on the remake of the film which is rated by other review sites as lower than the original. The classic interpretation of RED DAWN presents to viewers a less light hearted mood and more of a serious and dramatic perspective of the story. The acting was given to a great chunk of unknown, yet soon to be famed actors like Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen whom this was actually his feature film debut in a lead role. 

This film is a one time watch only, but that is not say you should not watch it. It does succeed in creating a remoteness feel and delves into some themes which later are incorporated into the remade version. As most viewers believe the remake falls flat on the original, I like to disagree to those who have seen it and I thought this is not the case.

Star rating: (6/10) Fair Movie

Friday, 26 June 2015

In Memory of James Horner (1953-2015)

James Horner (1953-2015)

To all fans of James Cameron and
those who grew up with family
movies from Don Bluth and Steven
Spielberg, you will be saddened to
hear that James Horner, the Oscar
winning composer of films such as
'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan',  
'Cocoon', 'An American Tail',
'Aliens', 'Willow', 'Field of Dreams', 
'Braveheart', 'Apollo 13', 'Titanic', The 
'Mask of Zorro', 'A Beautiful Mind' and 
'Avatar' has being killed in a plane
crash while aboard on a Short Tucano turboprop plane on June 22nd 2015 at 61 years of age. To be honest, I do like some of Horner's scores especially in animated films and Willow, I was never much of a fan to his other music in general.

Horner began his composing in pictures about in the late 1970s after finishing with the American Film Institute beginning with 'The Lady in Red' and some B-movies for Roger Corman. In 1982, Horner was approached by director Nicholas Meyer to score the second film instalment of Star Trek, The Wrath of Khan and his career took off resulting in more of his film compositions being in major motion pictures such as 'Star Trek III: The Search for Spock', 'Krull',' Brainstorm', 'Cocoon', 'The Land Before Time', 'Willow', 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids', 'The Rocketeer' and othersHis career highlights include An American Tail. Aliens, Field of Dreams, Braveheart, 'Apollo 13', 'Titanic', 'A Beautiful Mind', 'House Of Sand And Fog' and 'Avatar' which earned Horner eight Academy Award nominations (save for 'Titanic' which finally saw him receive two Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Song which he shared with Celine Dion).

Horner's music has helped to define modern movies along with his contemporaries John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Hans Zimmer, what he brought to the magic for the movie experience will be missed in some ways by anyone who enjoys hearing his scores.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Take Away Review

Take Away

Release Date: 14th August 2003 - Australia

Production Companies
Australian Film Finance Corporation 
Macquarie Film Corporation (in 
association with)
The Movie Network (in association 
Film Victoria (in association with)
Mondayatis Productions
Media World (produced with the 

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Comedy
Rating: M

Runtime: 85 minutes

Box Office Gross: $927,582

Plot Summary
Tony and Trev are chalk and 
cheese, fast food foes and 
bitter enemies until the last 
battered save. Their rival 
take away shops are worlds 
apart but two doors away. 
But then one day, something 
bigger than both of them 
lands in their neighbourhood: 
A brand spanking new Burgies 
Burger chain.

Now it's war on the fish'n'chip 
shop floor as Tony and Trev 
must bury the hatchet to fry 
the big guys.

Vince Colosimo - Tony Stilano
Stephen Curry - Trev Spackneys
Rose Byrne - Sonja Stilano
Nathan Phillips - Dave
Matthew Dyktynski - Burgies Manager
Tom Budge - Tarquin
Brett Swain - Ken
John Howard - Burgies CEO
Dave O'Neil - Mal the Butcher
Alethea McGrath - Mrs. McLeod
Matthew Green - Sean
Peter Rowsthorn - Barry Burgie
Andrew Maj - Freddy Fry
Marita Wilcox - Mrs. Williams

Producer/Director - Marc Gracie
Screenplay/Associate Producers -
Dave O'Neil and Mark O'Toole
Producer - David Redman
Production Designer - Penny Southgate
Costume Designer - Monica O'Brian
Director of Photography - Peter
Music - Yuri Worontschak

I may not know a lot of the film's history but I do know this, after the satirical Aussie comedy THE CASTLE (click here) was a success in Australia, people from the film industry followed suit to this film's formula and thus began the rise of obscure pictures that have attempted to copy its success such as THE NUGGET (click here) and TAKE AWAY. After my second viewing of TAKE AWAY, somehow the movie's brilliant set-up has became a poorly-scripted mess is short on laughs with most of the flat jokes, shallow parody of the McDonalds restaurant and is only redeemed by social commentary and some decent comedy. TAKE AWAY has a truly wonderful bittersweet ending and introduced two of the unknown actors in the supporting roles like Rose Byrne and Nathan Phillips to audiences and they went on to have successful careers by appearing in recent major pictures.

Despite its potential to satisfy the audience as a bite-sized comedy to takeaway at home, it certainly isn't the best movie ever. If you want to skip watching this movie, then you are not missing out on much as it was forgettable.

Star rating: (4/10) Below Average

Friday, 19 June 2015

My Eleventh Important Message

My apologies to you of all blog viewers for my inconvenience, I've been taking five of my reviews off the blog for under maintenance to have the consensuses consistent of its writing. Now I have recently brought four of these online with the exception of the critique of 'Stealth' which I currently set it in draft mode in repair. I have also repaired three of the reviews that weren't put in draft. Here are four movies that were both fixed and re-posted and three that were entirely fixed.

There's not more to talk about in this news update for any refurbishments. That is all for you viewers to know and you all wait instead for the review of the action movie 'Stealth' to have it up again after I finish writing more of the details and check for any typos.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Ernest Goes to School Review

Ernest Goes to School

Release Date: 14th December 1994 - USA
(Direct to Video)

Production Companies
Emshell Producers
Pacific Motion Pictures Corporation
Ernest Partners Ltd

Genre: Comedy

Rating: PG

Runtime: 89 minutes

Plot Summary
School was never this fun!
Ernest goes back to school
in order to obtain a high
school diploma and save
his job. Will he be the
"Class Clown" or the
"Class Brain"? Seems
obvious, but maybe not so.

Jim Varney - Ernest P. Worrell
Linda Kash - Gerta
Bill Byrge - Bobby
Jason Michas - Donald
Sarah Chalk - Maisy
Gaber Khouth - Rodney
Corrine Koslo - Miss Flugal
Russell Porter - Brad
Will Sasso - Russell
Duncan Fraser - Coach Decker
French Tickner - Principal Procter
Kevin McNulty - Axwell
David Keith - Squint Westwood
Ron Robinson - Coach Carson
Judith Maxie - Ms. Nichols
Fran Gebhard - Miss Cosgrove 
Betty Lynde - Miss Boyd
Bruce Arntson - Chick Hansen

Writer/Director - Coke Sams
Writer/Music - Bruce Arntson
Producer - Stacy Williams
Co-Producer - Tom Rove
Production Designer - Chris August
Director of Photography - David Geddes
Film Editor - Christopher Ellis
Music - Kirby Shelstad

Honestly with some of the goody humour and cartoonish gags resided in another but obscure Ernest instalment of ERNEST GOES TO SCHOOL. This is not what I'm experienced of growing up with the goofball Southerner who is portrayed and created by the late actor Jim Varney. From what I've heard, it was the first of the direct-to-video releases when it was made after the fifth and previous movie ERNEST RIDES AGAIN made a big risk for its studio to distribute itself without the assistance of Disney and has ended all hopes for future theatrical releases of Ernest. I feel how truly pitiful this sixth instalment became and I've noticed there were fewer scenes in this film which are poorly done. 

Once again, Jim Varney does another sensational funnier performance as Ernest but it’s not enough that this is the first movie for actor Will Sasso in which he plays as one of the two bullies who briefly torments Ernest. 

don’t think that it’s getting to be any better with a lot of weirdness. For all you hardcore Ernest fans out there, this is truly the weakest of the series and it really isn't the beginning of the series downfall or so it seems. Know what I mean!

Star rating: (4/10) Below Average

Sunday, 14 June 2015

In Memory of Christopher Lee (1922-2015)

Christopher Lee (1922-2015)

Dearest movie lovers, it is come to my attention that I regret to inform you all that English acting thespian Christopher Lee is now dead at the age of 93 on June 7th 2015. The man was known for playing such villainous leads as Count Dracula in the Hammer Horror series, Scaramanga in 'The Man With The Golden Gun', Saruman in both trilogies of 'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' and Count Dooku in the last two prequels of 'Star Wars'. Because of his versatility for portraying menacing types as a vampire, assassin, sorcerer and Sith Lord, Lee displayed these distinctive talents and has a deep baritone to have the villains sound very brooding and antagonistic.

Before working in his full-time acting, Lee made his debut in 1948 in small, supporting and uncredited bit roles such as the spear carrier in Laurence Oliver's version of 'Hamlet'. Then in 1952, he came through his breakthrough role in John Huston's movie adaptation of 'Moulin Rouge'. In 1957, Lee joined the studio of Hammer and began playing as famous monsters such as Frankenstein's creature with Peter Cushing as his co-star in a film which led Lee to portray the legendary vampire Dracula in the next year and went on have more movies of playing the same character until 1972. This ongoing contract that he has with Hammer Films wouldn't last a decade until 19 years when his contract came to its expiration. Aside from several of his roles he done with the production company of Hammer, Chris has other films outside the studio like the 'Fu Manchu' series, 'I, Monster', 'The Creeping Flesh' and 'The Wicker Man' (which he considered the latter to be a personal favourite of his). During the mid 1970s and already had been known in the horror movie fiction, Lee was casted in what it was to be a ninth movie of the James Bond franchise. 

Having once considered for the role of Dr, No in the title movie at years ago and being related to the series author Ian Fleming, Lee finally portrays as one of Bond's nemeses and soon-to-be assassin Francisco Scaramanga in 'The Man With The Golden Gun' which his performance and character were praised in touch of his charisma and the skill he rivals with his arch-foe. Lee would eventually move away from England to America in 1977 with his friend Peter Cushing while still in the film acting business before moving back in later years near the end of his life. Christopher Lee was a frequent collaborating favourite of director Tim Burton who has selected him in the supporting cast and appeared with lead actor Johnny Depp in their films such as 'Sleepy Hollow', 'Corpse Bride', 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Dark Shadows'. In the 2000s saw Lee as he began his career resurgence beginning with his portrayal as the dark wizard Saruman in the film trilogy of 'The Lord of the Rings' and as Darth Maul's replacement and separatist leader Count Dooku in the final two Star Wars prequels, 'Attack of the Clones' and 'Revenge of the Sith' before settling in to voice the same character in the pilot animation 'The Clone Wars'. He also appeared in 'Hugo' as the librarian and reprised his old character of Saruman in the first and final movies of 'The Hobbit' prequel series.

This is why I miss Christopher Lee and his voice, God may rest your soul as those who will pay tribute to your acting virtuosity ;-(

Monday, 8 June 2015

Escape from Planet Earth Review

Escape from Planet Earth

Release Date: 28th March 2013 - Australia

Production Companies
Blue Yonder Films
GRF Productions
Jon Shestack Productions
Protocol Pictures
Kaleidoscope TWC
Rainmaker Entertainment

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 89 minutes

Budget: $40,000,000

Box Office Gross: $74,597,643

Plot Summary
A master of daring rescues, 
Scorch pulls off astonishing 
feats with the quiet aid of his 
nerdy, by-the-rules brother, 
Gary, head of mission control 
at BASA. When BASA's no-
nonsense chief Lena informs 
the brothers of an SOS from 
a notoriously dangerous 
planet, Scorch rejects Gary's 
warnings and bounds off for 
yet another exciting mission. 

But when Scorch finds himself 
caught in a fiendish trap set 
by the evil Shanker, it's up to 
scrawny, risk-adverse Gary to 
do the real rescuing.

Voice Cast
Rob Corddry - Gary Supernova
Brendan Fraser - Scorch Supernova
William Shatner - General Shanker
George Lopez - Thurman
Craig Robinson - Doc
Jane Lynch - Io
Sarah Jessica Parker - Kira 
Jonathan Morgan Heit - Kip 
Jessica Alba - Lena Thacklemann
Steve Zahn - Hawk
Chris Parnell - Hammer
Ricky Gervais - James Bing
Joshua Rush - Young Shanker

Writer/Director - Cal Brunker
Story/Executive Producer - Tony Leech
Story - Cory Edwards
Writer - Bob Barlen
Additional Story Material - Stephen Fry
Producers - Luke Carroll, Brian Inerfield
and Catherine Winder
Creative Consultant - Gerry Swallow
Production Designer - Barry E. Jackson
Character Designer - Sylvain Deboissy
Cinematography - Matthew A. Ward
Animation Director - Adam Wood
Film Editors - Matt Landon and Scott Winlaw
Music - Aaron Zigman

I've seen a lot of animated movies over the years and for ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH, the CGI sci-fi comedy I thought it was more of a reverse of PLANET 51 and it felt really quirky and weird. Aesthetics of the computer animation and well-scripted humour are the two elements that I've enjoyed in this film alongside its sci-fi and celebrity references, this film can be best labelled as a funny space oddity. The feature is ridden with dated clichés such as its whole story and I felt something was missing that needed to stop ESCAPE from falling in to the unbalanced endeavours of animation. The sibling relationship/rivalry of the two main brothers should have been explored more, the story writers would have better developed this aspect of the story. Regardless of my critical blows to this disappointing flick, the reality is that it was a major success at the box office therefore there must be audiences out there that disagree with my opinion. What do you think? 

I however do enjoy the voice performances which features actors such as Rob Corddry, George Lopez, Jane Lynch and Jessica Alba. I don't believe that William Shatner is cast in one of the voice talents in one of the lesser animated films which I considered to be a semi-bad movie. Not the first time before, but it's at his best at hammy performance since his Captain Kirk in the STAR TREK television series.

It is such an average film that has little to offer the older viewers. ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH is definitely not worth-watching for a second time. Please feel free to leave a comment.

Star rating: (5/10) Average

Monday, 1 June 2015

Daddy Day Care Review

Daddy Day Care

Release Date: 26th June 2003 - Australia

Production Companies
Columbia Pictures (presents)
Davis Entertainment
Revolution Studios

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 88 minutes

Budget: $60,000,000

Box Office Gross: $164,433,867

Plot Summary
When workaholic dads 
Charlie and Phil lose their 
jobs, they're left at home 
to wonder how they can 
their kids at the prestigious 
and expensive Chapman 
Academy. When they decide 
to start their own business, 
Daddy Day Care is born. 

But they're going to get a 
LOT more than they 
bargained for - a crash course 
in fatherhood that will have 
you in stitches!

Eddie Murphy - Charlie Hinton
Jeff Garlin - Phil
Steve Zahn - Marvin
Regina King - Kim Hinton
Anjelica Huston - Miss Harridan
Lacey Chabert - Jenny
Kevin Nealon - Bruce
Jonathan Katz - Mr. Kubitz
Lella Arcieri - Kelli
Khamani Griffin - Ben Hinton
Max Burkholder - Max
Shane Baumel - Crispin
Jimmy Bennett - Flash
Arthur Young - Nicky
Elle Fanning - Jamie
Hailey Johnson - Becca
Felix Achille - Dylan
Siobhan Fallon Hogan - Peggy
Lisa Edelstein - Crispin's Mom
Cheap Trick - Themselves (Cameo)

Director - Steve Carr
Writer - Geoff Rookey
Producers - John Davis,
Matt Berenson and Wyck
Co-Producer - Jack Brodsky
Production Designer - Garreth
Costume Designer - Ruth
Director of Photography -
Steven Poster
Editor - Christopher
Music Supervision -
Spring Aspers
Music - David Newman

Throughout the ages, Eddie Murphy wasn't always the greatest film comedian around where other actors of the 80s began to become inconsistent. Over lots of features he is known to be proud of doing and I'm sorry to say to you that most of them are travesties like NORBIT, THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH and A THOUSAND WORDS. He is yet to make a comeback with his career to reclaim the talent that he showed in his glory days where he once had the success in the 80s. DADDY DAY CARE is the kind of film not to be taken too seriously and at the end of the day if you just want a film that is light-hearted and full of practical jokes and toilet humour than this would probably be a good film for you. Since Murphy fits the bill and is paired with co-stars Jeff Garlin and Steve Zahn in the cast also included is actress Anjelica Huston who I thought did a good job for her calm and antagonistic portrayal of the headmistress.

I was surprised that the filmmakers are making fun of the original series of Star Trek, because Steve Zahn's character is a typical fanboy stereotype. I enjoyed one scene when Eddie opens the door and discovers the whole bathroom is now in the grot.

Not one of my favourites but DADDY DAY CARE is a solid guarantee for the families that they should give it a chance and forget the all-atrocious sequel DADDY DAY CAMP.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie