Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Alien vs. Predator: Requiem Review

Alien vs. Predator: Requiem 

Release Date: 26th December 2007 - Australia

Production Companies
20th Century Fox
Davis Entertainment
Brandywine Productions

Dune Entertainment (made in association with)

20th Century Fox Australia 

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: MA15+ (Not Suitable 
for Young Children)

Runtime: 96 minutes 

Budget: $40,000,000

Box Office Gross: $128,884,494

Plot Summary
After a horrifying PredAlien 
crash-lands near a small 
Colorado town, killing 
everyone it encounters 
and producing countless 
Alien offspring, a lone 
Predator arrives to "clean 
up" the infestation. Soon 
it's an all-out battle to the 
death with no rules, no 
mercy and hundreds of 
innocent people caught 
in the crossfire. As the 
creature carnage 
continues, a handful of 
human survivors attempt 
a daring escape, but the 
U.S. government may 
be hatching a deadly 
plan of its own...

Steven Pasquale - Dallas
Reiko Aylesworth - Kelly
John Ortiz - Morales
Johnny Lewis - Ricky
Ariel Gade - Molly
Kristen Hager - Jesse
Sam Trammell - Tim
Robert Joy - Col. Stevens
David Paetkau - Dale
Tom Woodruff Jr. - Aliens
Ian Whyte - Predator
Chelah Horsdal - Darcy
Meshach Peters - Curtis
Matt Ward - Mark
Michal Suchanek - Nick
David Hornsby - Drew
Chris William Martin - Deputy Ray
James Chutter - Deputy Joe
Gina Holden - Carrie
Kurt Max Runte - Buddy
Liam James - Sam
Tim Henry - Dr. Lennon
Tom McBeath - Karl
Ty Olsson - Nathan
Rainbow Sun Francks - Earl
Francoise Yip - Ms. Yutani

Directors/Visual Effects
Supervisors - Colin & Greg
Based on "Alien" Characters -
Dan O'Bannon and Donald
Based on "Predator"
Characters - Jim & John Thomas
Writer - Shane Salerno
Executive Producers - Robbie
Brenner and Paul Deason
Producers - John Davis, 
David Giler and Walter Hill
Production Designer - Andrew Neskoromy
Director of Photography - Daniel C. Pearl
Creature Effects Designers and 
Creators - Alec Gillis and Tom 
Woodruff, Jr.
Film Editor - Dan Zinnerman
Music - Brian Tyler

Much like its predecessor, ALIEN vs. PREDATOR (AVP): REQUIEM comes off as a disappointment in trying to regenerate two of the monster franchises as to regain the love of the die-hard fans. It is probably still not a good idea to make these two spin-offs with poor characterisations, fast pace and hackneyed plot-writing. The sequel is kept strong through use of the excessive gore and violence, it accomplishes the tension seen in earlier ALIEN and PREDATOR movies like in this case, the ones that started it all are the original interpretations by directors Ridley Scott, James Cameron and John McTiernan. I have no love for REQUIEM, nor does it for the direction of the Strause brothers who in three years later would later make the near-appendix of all alien invasion features SKYLINE (click here). Besides the characters, pacing and mediocre story that I've already talked about, there is some scenes involving the Predator are getting too difficult to see when they are lit at dark. 

Again at mentioning we have a list of unknown actors who were oddly chosen to be in this ensemble, only if these human characters that they are playing should be on a different movie instead of being on an AVP instalment.

Suffice to say REQUIEM doesn't have a compelling story, a complexion and is far from been more worse as an another cash-grabbing experiment from the studio. I'd rather much enjoy the first two ALIEN instalments and relive the moments seen in the classic PREDATOR movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger than to see these degenerate abominations on TV.

Star rating: (3/10) Disappointing

Monday, 28 September 2015

Alien vs. Predator Review

Alien vs. Predator 

Release Date: 30th September 2004 - Australia

Production Companies
20th Century Fox
Davis Entertainment
Brandywine Productions
Lonlink Productions (in co-production with)
Stillking Films (in co-production with)
Kut Productions (in co-production with)
Studio Babelsburg (in co-production with)
Inside Track Films (in association with)

20th Century Fox Australia

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: M

Runtime: 101 minutes
               109 minutes
               (unrated cut)

Plot Summary
The iconic monsters from
two of the scariest film
franchises ever battle each
other on Earth for the first
time. The discovery of an
Ancient pyramid buried in
Antarctica sends a team of
scientists and adventurers
to the frozen continent.
There, they make an even
more terrifying discovery,
two alien races engaged in
a ultimate battle.

Sanaa Lathan - Alexa Woods
Lance Henriksen - Charles
Bishop Weyland
Raoul Bova - Sebastian De Rosa
Ewen Bremmer - Graeme Miller
Colin Salmon - Maxwell Stafford
Tommy Flanagan - Mark Verheiden
Joseph Rye - Joe Connors
Agathe de La Boulaye - Adele
Carsten Noorgard - Rusten Quinn
Sam Troughton - Thomas Parks
Petr Jakl - Stone
Pavel Bezdek - Bass
Kieran Bew - Klaus
Carsten Voigt - Mikkel
Jan Pavel Filipensky - Boris
Adrian Bouchet - Sven
Andy Lucas - Juan Ramirez
Tom Woodruff Jr. - Grid
Ian Whyte - Scar

Story/Screenplay/Director - 
Paul W. S. Anderson
Based on "Alien" Characters/
Story - Dan O'Bannon and
Donald Shusett
Based on "Predator"
Characters - Jim & John Thomas
Producers - John Davis, 
Gordon Carroll, David Giler 
and Walter Hill
Co-Producer - Chris Symes
Production Designer - Richard Bridgland
Costume Designer - Magali Guidasci
Creature Effects Designers
and Creators - Alec Gillis and
Tom Woodruff, Jr.
Director of Photography - David Johnson
Visual Effects Supervisor - John Bruno
Film Editor - Alexander Berner
Music - Harald Kloser

It has been not that long since I last critiqued a movie that is either from the ALIEN franchise or just the original PREDATOR that featured Arnold Schwarzenegger (click here) in the main lead, sadly I wasn't even an actual fan of both of these action horror series. I could have re-watched and liked the first PREDATOR movie if it wasn't for Arnie and his one-liners in the film which had me in the first time of watching it. Many of you die-hard fans of both of these franchises are familiar with the two crossover spin-offs of ALIEN vs. PREDATOR (AVP) which are both released in four years before director Ridley Scott would restore order in building a better continuity of the ALIEN universe in the divisive prequel of PROMETHEUS (click here). The previous additions of these crossovers were more of an attempt to rejuvenate the two famous horror series and are underwhelming to the fanatics alike as if it was an fan-fiction story that has come true in form. 

The first instalment when under the shoddy craftsmanship of director Paul W. S. Anderson is not improved by thinly-scaled plotting, stale characterisations and the immediate lack of intensity. It wouldn't be helped of the briskly-fast pace used in all of the fight scenes. The only factors that redeem this entire feature is the production design and special effects which are a valiant effort in providing a visual look of the film. 

While the film may not turn out to be as critical than the next instalment ALIEN vs. PREDATOR: REQUIEM, it brings less faith into us and such potential is all wasted behind on this lacklustre spin-off. This could have been well solved if Paul W. S. Anderson should have less tried to succeed in his vision, not ruin both of these monsters.

Star rating: (3/10) Disappointing

Monday, 21 September 2015

Seventh Son Review

Seventh Son

Release Date: 5th March 2015 - Australia

Production Companies
Universal Pictures
Legendary Pictures 
China Film Co. (in association with)
Outlaw Sinema (produced with the participation with)
Pendle Mountain Productions
Thunder Road Pictures

Universal Pictures Australia 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: M

Runtime: 102 minutes

Budget: $95,000,000

Box Office Gross: $114,178,613

Plot Summary
A 18th century adventure
story centered on young
Thomas, who is apprenticed
to the local Spook to learn
to fight evil spirits. His
first great challenge comes
when the powerful Mother
Malkin escapes her confinement
while the Spook is away.

Jeff Bridges - Master Gregory
Ben Barnes - Tom Ward
Juilanne Moore - Mother Malkin
Alicia Vilkander - Alice
Kit Harington - Billy Bradley
Djimon Hounsou - Radu
Olivia Williams - Mam
Antje Traue - Bony Lizzie
Jason Scott Lee - Urag

Director - Sergey Bodrov
Based on Novel and Inspiration
"The Spook's Apprentice" -
Joseph Delaney
Screen Story - Matt Greenberg
Screenplay - Charles Leavitt and
Steven Knight
Executive Producers - Alysia Cotter,
Jon Jashni and Brent O'Connor
Co-Producer - Jillian Share
Producers - Basil Iwanyk,
Thomas Tull and Lionel Wigram
Production Designer - Dante Ferretti
Costume Designer - Jacqueline West
Creature Designer - Ben Mauro
Cinematography - Newton Thomas
Second Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator - Paul Jennings
Stunt Coordinator - Danny Virtue
Special Effects Supervisor - Alex Burdett
Visual Effects Designer - John Dykstra
Film Editors - Jim Page and Paul Rubell
Music - Marco Beltrami

Loosely based on a fantasy book, SEVENTH SON has little to justify its existence in the genre and is completely watered down and generic. On its release, the movie went unnoticed at the box office and there could have been new things to best raise its ambitions. This takes the toll on SEVENTH SON as it was another attempt to be a proper fantasy adventure flick to carry on the legacy of the original LORD OF THE RINGS films. For starters, the feature tries to brandish digital imagery and some fantasy elements and merge those into an interesting blockbuster but fails. The story revolves around an order of wizards whose magical means is derived of being a seventh son which gives them the power to hunt witches and warlocks.

I have issues with the actors chosen for the lead roles in this banal adaptation as they are miscast or possibly mis-directed. Jeff Bridges has never done a role similar to this mentor figure as he tries to add a fierce side to him and act different than Jeremy Irons did in ERAGON (click here). But he comes across as a bad drunken impersonation of Gandalf here. I felt Ben Barnes was too old and miscast and brings no defiance to his character, and Kit Harington's brief appearance is as typecast as it gets. Juilanne Moore tries to sink a tooth in her role, but her antagonist bares no teeth and no bite as her performance is held back from the mundane direction.

I say SEVENTH SON lacks whatever it does with originality, tension and excitement. Everything in it feels neutered and sanitised as it falls apart the way that other failed fantasy movies have.

Star rating: (2/10) Bad Movie

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Cannonball Run Review

The Cannonball Run

Release Date: 20th August 1981 - Australia

Production Companies 
Golden Harvest (presents)
Eurasia Investments

Media Asia Distribution

Genre: Comedy

Rating: PG

Runtime: 92 minutes

Budget: $18,000,000

Box Office Gross: $89,819,149

Plot Summary
A wild, illegal, and popular 
cross-country car race is 
organized, and the eccentric 
entrants will do anything 
to win, including low-down, 
dirty tricks. 

Burt Reynolds - J.J. McClure
Dom DeLuise - Victor Prinzim
Farrah Fawcett - Pamela
Roger Moore - Seymour
Dean Martin - Jamie Blake
Sammy Davis Jr. - Fenderbaum
Jack Elam - Dr. Nikolas Van Helsing
Adrienne Barbeau - Marcie
Tara Buckman - Jill
Terry Bradshaw - Terry
Mel Tills - Mel
Jackie Chan - Jackie
Michael Hui - Subaru Driver #2
Bert Convy - Mr. Compton
Warren Berlinger - Shakey Finch
Jamie Farr - Sheik
George Furth - A. F. Foyt
Rick Aviles - Mad Dog
Alfie Wise - Batman
Peter Fonda - Chief Biker (Cameo)
Valerie Perrine - Policewoman (Cameo)

Director - Hal Needham
Writer - Brock Yates
Executive Producer - Raymond Chow
Producer - Albert S. Ruddy
Executive Producer
(Uncredited)/Production Supervisor - Andre Morgan
Director of Photography - Michael C. Butler
Stunt Coordinator - Bobby Bass
Editors - Donn Cambern and
William D. Gordean
Music Supervision - Snuff Garrett
Music - Al Capps

When THE CANNONBALL RUN was first released in 1981, it became the sixth highest grossing film to march into theatres on the U.S. behind other domesticated movies like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (click here). At first, I couldn't recognise this racing cult comedy classic when I discovered it in a DVD package, I didn't know if it has any hilarity in it that until I began laughing at Dom DeLuise's character as he becomes a superhero..... dum dum daaaahhh! Interestingly enough, the film may bring a lot of surprises with its humour and extraordinary blend of talented actors but overly rely on scenes of street car racing action. 

The movie features some well-known names in this colourfully made picture including Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Roger Moore and Sammy Davis Jr., the best in this star-studded cast is DeLuise. Also featured in this hysterical comedy is future martial-arts superstar Jackie Chan who is at the supporting league as it was one of his early international roles.

The film may not always be exciting to all viewers alike as it depends in how will you go getting past the silly plot and stunts. THE CANNONBALL RUN hasn't lost its juvenile sense of hilarity and if this is the kind of comedy you like than you'll enjoy it. I'm not looking forward to the sequels as the consensus seems for both instalments to be terrible.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Monday, 14 September 2015

Hook Review


Release Date: 26th March 1992 - Australia

Production Companies
TriStar Pictures
Amblin Entertainment 

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Fantasy/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 136 minutes

Budget: $70,000,000

Box Office Gross: $300,854,823

Plot Summary
When Captain Hook kidnaps
the children of a grown-up
Peter Pan in order to renew
his feud and exact his
revenge on Peter Pan for
the loss of his hand, Peter
must travel back to Never
Land with Tinkerbell. With
the help of the lost Boys,
he must remember what it
was to be Peter Pan again
in hopes of saving his
children from the clutches
of Hook.

Dustin Hoffman - Captain Hook
Robin Williams - Peter Banning
Julia Roberts - Tinker Bell
Bob Hoskins - Mr. Smee
Maggie Smith - Granny Wendy
Caroline Goodall - Moira Banning
Charlie Korsmo - Jack Banning
Amber Scott - Maggie Banning
Laurel Cronin - Liza
Phil Collins - Inspector Good
Arthur Malet - Toodles
Isaiah Robinson - Pockets
Jasen Fisher - Ace
Dante Basco - Rufio
Rasuhan Hammond - Thud Butt
James Madio - Don't Ask
Thomas Tulak - Too Small
Alex Zuckerman - Latchboy
Max Hoffman - 5 Year Old Peter Pan
Ryan Francis - Young Peter Pan
Lisa Wilhoit - Young Tinker Bell
Gwyneth Paltrow - Young Wendy

Director - Steven Spielberg
Based on the Stageplay and 
Book Series "Peter Pan" - 
J.M. Barrie
Producer - Jim V. Hart
Story - Nick Castle 
Associate Producer/
Screenplay - Malia Stotch Marmo
Producers - Kathleen Kennedy
and Frank Marshall
Unit Production Manager/
Producer - Gerald R. Molen 
Production Designer - Norman Garwood
Choreographer - Vince Paterson
Costume Designer - Anthony Powell
Special Makeup Creator - Greg Cannon
Director of Photography - Dean Cundey
Action Choreographer/Stunt 
Coordinator - Gary Hymes
Special Effects Supervisor - Michael Lantieri
Visual Consultant - John Napier 
Visual Effects Supervisor - Eric Brevig
Film Editor - Michael Kahn
Music - John Williams


1992 Academy Awards
Best Art Direction - Norman Garwood and
Garrett Lewis (Nominated)
Best Costume Design - Anthony Powell (Nominated)
Best Visual Effects - Eric Brevig, Harley Jessup,
Mark Sullivan and Michael Lantieri (Nominated)
Best Makeup - Christina Smith, Monty Westmore
and Greg Cannom (Nominated)
Best Music, Original Song "When You're Alone" -
John Williams and Leslie Bricusse (Nominated)

Many of you will probably remember J.M. Barrie's classic story of Peter Pan and its screen adaptations like the one by Disney. PP tells a heart warming story about children not growing up, and having to defeat swash buckling pirates like Captain Hook. HOOK used to be on the Disney Channel years ago when I first saw it. I was introduced to the screen presence of Robin Williams for the first time and the name of Steven Spielberg. I never knew that it wasn't on par with the director's highly acclaimed works until I got older. Since Robin Williams suddenly passed away, I wanted to re-watch some of his golden classics in remembrance to his energetic charisma like for instance, his character of the Genie in ALADDIN (click here). 

This once nostalgic fantasy adventure has almost become a lowest common denominating take to Spielberg and the actor/comedian himself. The director was not working to his usual potential with HOOK, this was considered one of the lower points in his career. The legend of Peter Pan has been told time and time again and I think Spielberg had too much creative control of this film. This became problematic with certain scenes that were illogical and no explanation given as to how certain events unfolded. 

There is still the art direction which is great to the movie and Williams' portrayal as a grown-up Peter Pan and Dustin Hoffman's fun and enjoyable interpretation of the main character. The background music by John Williams was even fitting by my standards.

I really did want to enjoy this film, but I must be honest about my views and admit that it did lack certain crucial elements.

Star rating: (4/10) Below Average

Monday, 7 September 2015

Space Cowboys Review

Space Cowboys 

Release Date: 5th October 2000 - Australia

Production Companies
Warner Bros Pictures 
Village Roadshow Pictures
Clipsal Films
Mad Chance
Malpaso Productions

Roadshow Distribution 

Genre: Action/Comedy

Rating: PG

Runtime: 125 minutes

Budget: $60,000,000

Box Office Gross: $128,884,132

Plot Summary
In 1958, Team Daedalus,
the elite U.S Air Force
test pilot team was in
training to become the
first Americans in space.
But at the eleventh hour,
NASA grounded the
mission, sending a
chimpanzee into space
instead. Team Daedalus
was forgotten to history.
Until now...

NASA has received a 
distress call from the 
Russian space control - 
a giant Soviet era satellite 
is threatening to crash 
to earth resulting in a 
global communication 

Only one team of astronauts 
is familiar with the outmoded 
technology of the 'Sputnik' 
and competent enough 
to carry out the dangerous 

Team Daedalus Commander 
Frank Corvin and his crack 
crew of Hawkins, O'Neil 
and Sullivan are finally 
about to get their mission 
to space - even if it is over 
40 years too late.

Clint Eastwood - Frank Corvin
Tommy Lee Jones - Hawk Hawkins
Donald Sutherland - Jerry O'Neill
James Garner - Tank Sullivan
James Cromwell - Bob Gerson
Marcia Gay Harden - Sara Holland
William Devane - Eugene Davis
Loren Dean - Ethan Glance
Courtney B. Vance - Roger Hines
Barbara Babcock - Barbara Corvin
Rade Serbedzija - General Vostov
Blair Brown - Dr. Anne Caruthers
Jay Leno - Himself
Toby Stephens - Young Frank Corvin
Eli Craig - Young Hawk Hawkins
John Mallory Asher - Young Jerry O'Neill
Matt McColm - Young Tank Sullivan
Billie Worley - Young Bob Gerson

Producer/Director - Clint Eastwood
Writers - Ken Kaufman and 
Howard Klausner
Producer - Andrew Lazar
Production Designer - Henry Bumstead
Director of Photography - Jack M. Green
Special Effects Supervisor - Joe Fraizer
Visual Effects Supervisor - Michael Owens
Additional Visual Effects Supervisor - Scott Farrar
Film Editor - Joel Cox
Music - Lennie Niehaus


2001 Academy Awards
Best Sound Editing - Alan Robert Murray and
Bub Asman (Nominated)

In 2002, I first saw the movie SPACE COWBOYS on pay-TV when it was on at midday and then I forgot its existence as I recently became a film critic. In 2014, I have been interested in its director and one of its leading actors Clint Eastwood since I watched few of his classic westerns so I revisited this movie. It's fair to say that the old put the old school into this space-age action-comedy, SPACE COWBOYS is daring to believe the second chances that people don't have an expiry date and that its important to stay young in heart and mind. 

The movie can be unoriginal at times and the story sometimes feels like I have seen it before. This is more than made up for in return for some of its good points like the humour and the acting pair of Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones who at best being the cantankerous old men and bounce each other really well. Other veteran leads that could pull off to this acting style is James Garner and Donald Sutherland. The visuals were a hard-copied blend of practical and CGI effects that can actually create a sequence to be in space as other movies can as in today's modern films such as GRAVITY.

Phenomenally it was enjoyable for all of us, we would never have been ready to see this film if it weren't for the combined talents of Clint, Tommy, James and Donald. It's no space western but I'm sure this title will mislead you from falling through that. 

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Film Guru Lad's Top 6 Movie Dads (Updated)

Hello, this is your favourite blogger RadDingo here and those who were born and lived in Australia would know that today is Father's Day which is on Sunday 6th. In our celebration to our fathers, here's a list of the top movie dads that helped establish the dynamic relationship between father/son and father/daughter in some films like 'Star Wars' and 'The Lion King'. It depends if they are worthy of being a role model, non-biological father figures or whether that they have flaws like being estranged, absent, comically inept and serious.

#6. Jor-El (Superman)

Our first candidate is within
our spot is Jor-El, no not that
one in 'Man of Steel', The
original interpretation of this
character serves as a sort of
a spiritual guide to his own
son Kal-El now known as
Superman, or even his human
alter ego Clark Kent after he
sacrificed himself to save
him as an infant from the
destruction of Planet Krypton.
It helps that even within death,
Jor-El can be seen teaching
his son through holograms of
his wisdom and that the character was portrayed by Marlon Brando who also plays another famous dad of Don Vito Corlene in 'The Godfather'.

#5. Darryl Kerrigan (The Castle)

It's no surprise that when you 
meet average people in
Australia like Darryl Kerrigan. 
He is not only a loving 
husband and a tow truck 
driver, but is a kind-hearted 
patriarch to his childrenThis 
good-natured, optimistic 
father may not be as comical 
as Clark Griswold in the 
National Lampoon series but 
is able to get along well with his children and prevent them, his wife, neighbours and himself from being forced of their homes by the Aussie government. 

#4. Cooper (Interstellar)

While not the best of the
cinematic dads, Cooper does
what is best for his own
children even drifting in
outer space to save the world's
population from extinction.
Before this distant relationship
had happened to Cooper, in 
the movie's first half he was 
able to maintain a decent 
fatherly bond to his children, 
yes even his own daughter whom he calls her Murph is affectionate towards her. It would take years after his time in space that he would then reunite with his daughter when after a communication through the black hole that they would see each other again.

#3. Henry Jones (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

Judging from where Indy
gets his obsession of artefacts
from, Henry Jones is a work-
detached father who is never
around with his son because
of his time spending his
research with the Holy Grail
and the two would then
reunite as the former sets out
to rescue him from the Nazis.
Besides all the differences
that the both of them had in
their previous lives, they
wonderfully provide their impeccable father/son chemistry and this is because director Steven Spielberg has casted old James Bond actor Sean Connery to get on good terms with the supporting role.

#2. Mufasa (The Lion King) 

This list of the top six
characters couldn't be
completed without Mufasa
who is Simba's kingly
powerful father and is teaching
him the ways in the circle of
life. Though normally Simba
does very little to follow in
his father's paws until his evil
treacherous uncle Scar kills
him in the middle of the
stampede and places the guilt into Simba's head to forget this responsibility of ruling the pride lands and leave. However this couldn't have happened when after Simba was being raised by two companions and then got older, as his ghost suddenly appears and tells him that he must take his place as king and defeat Scar in battle. The true fact within this character is that he is voiced by James Earl Jones who also does a voice of the galaxy's notorious father Darth Vader.

#1. Darth Vader (Star Wars)

And finally, our last dad to be
on this category is Darth Vader.
Though not the greatest dad in
the universe, especially when
how he chops off his son's
hand to have him disarmed
in a lightsaber duel or he is
unaware that he tortured his 
daughter when he intends to
find the location of the Rebel
Alliance. Furthermore he is 
a compelling character that 
is downright responsible for 
the main plot twist in 'The 
Empire Strikes Back' when he reveals himself to Luke as his own father. To his shocking discovery, Luke was then able to get away from Vader's clutches to have him at his side if not for the horrifying truth. Fortunately Vader redeems himself in Return of the Jedi when he gives his own life to save his son from being killed by the Emperor.

Honourable Mentions

Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (The Incredibles)

Mr. Miyago (The Karate Kid)

Homer Simpson (The Simpsons Movie)