Saturday, 31 October 2015

Ghostbusters II Review

Ghostbusters II 

Release Date: 16th November 1989 - Australia

Production Companies
Columbia Pictures

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Comedy

Rating: PG

Runtime: 108 minutes

Budget: $37,000,000

Box Office Gross: $215,394,738

Plot Summary
After waging a war on
slime that cost New
York City millions, the
Ghostbusters find
themselves out of
business--until an ancient
tyrant, preparing a return
to the Earthly domain
through his portrait at the
Manhattan Museum of
Art, sets his sights on
Dana Barrett's baby as
the new home for his
wicked soul!

With the help of the
Museum's possessed
curator, he plans to turn
New York into a really
scary place to live! Now
only the Ghostbusters
can save New York City,
by turning paranormal
pest control into an art

Bill Murray - Dr. Peter Venkman
Dan Aykroyd - Dr. Raymond Stantz
Harold Ramis - Dr. Egon Spengler
Ernie Hudson - Winston Zeddemore
Sigourney Weaver - Diana 
Rick Moranis - Louis Tully
Annie Potts - Janine Melintz
Peter MacNicol - Dr. Janosz Poha
Kurt Fuller - Hardemeyer
Harris Yulin - The Judge
Wilhelm von Homburg - Vigo
David Marguiles - The Mayor of NY
Janet Margolin - The Prosecutor

Producer/Director - Ivan Reitman
Based on Characters/Writers - Harold Ramis
and Dan Aykroyd 
Associate Producer/Film Editor -
Sheldon Kahn
Production Designer - Bo Welch
Costume Designer - Gloria Gresham
Director of Photography - Michael Chapman
Visual Effects Supervisor - Dennis Muren
Film Editor - Donn Cambern
Music - Randy Edelman

After delivering the biggest box office draw of 1984, the studio was buoyed by the success of the original GHOSTBUSTERS film (click here) and animated series that they began pressuring some of the cast and crew like director Ivan Reitman and actors/writers Harold Ramis and Dan Akyroyd into working on a sequel. This sequel turned out to be nearly as profitable as the first blockbuster but I am sorry to say with regards to the quality of the films by comparison, the sequel is not worthy. GHOSTBUSTERS II only provided the odd stack of laughs as the plot of the movie is a repeat of its predecessor but brought nothing new to the table. Perhaps this second film may have been rushed and with some tender loving care, it could have had some potential. 

It was good however to see all the original actors back together again, in terms of their performances I would commend each actor for doing the best they could with what they had to work with.

GHOSTBUSTERS II isn't always completely unwatchable and it's good to see it again at least once after two times in a row but you don't feel the need to watch it again as you did with the first. I would say this movie deserves to be on a $2 shelf. But I would not pay big money for it.

Star rating: (5/10) Average

Monday, 26 October 2015

Gremlins Review


Release Date: 13th December 1984 - Australia

Production Companies

Warner Bros.
Amblin Entertainment

Genre: Comedy

Rating: PG

Runtime: 102 minutes

Budget: $11,000,000

Box Office Gross: $170,210,383

Plot Summary
Don't ever get it wet.
Keep it away from bright
light. And no matter how
much it cries, no matter
how much it begs... never,
ever feed it after midnight.
With these instructions,
young Billy Peltzer takes
possession of his cuddly
new pet. Billy will get a
whole lot more than he
bargained for.

Zach Galligan - Billy Peltzer
Phoebe Cates - Kate Beringer
Hoyt Axton - Randal Peltzer
Polly Holliday - Ruby Deagle
Frances Lee McCain - Lynn Peltzer
Corey Feldman - Pete
Howie Mandel - Gizmo (Voice)
Judge Reinhold - Gerald Hopkins
Edward Andrews - Mr. Roland Corben
Glynn Turman - Mr. Roy Hanson
Harry Carey, Jr. - Mr. Anderson
Keye Luke - Mr. Wing
Dick Miller - Mr. Futterman
Jackie Joseph - Mrs. Futterman
Frank Welker - Stripe/Various Gremlins

Director - Joe Dante
Writer - Chris Columbus
Executive Producers - Steven
Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy
and Frank Marshall
Producer - Michael Finnell
Production Designer - James H. Spencer
Creator: Gremlins - Chris Walas
Director of Photography - John Hora
Film Editor - Tina Hirsch
Music - Jerry Goldsmith

This is probably one of these movies in after seeing it first in a very long time that I had yet to review. GREMLINS was brilliantly conceived by writer Chris Columbus among the combined talents of Steven Spielberg and director Joe Dante after GHOSTBUSTERS (click here) made a huge impact and response to the cinemas with terror and hilarity on that very same year. I can remember GREMLINS from first watching it on cable television as a child and it brought me an impression of how was it that these impish creatures could come to exist if they are not created through unique effects and puppetry. I would define GREMLINS as having a darkly, twisted comical vibe and fright all over the place which shakes the balance itself to startle and amuse audiences. Apart from having Spielberg, Dante and Columbus into the directional team, there were the ensemble team of actors that I don't know of apart from young Corey Feldman and Judge Reinhold in the supporting leads, each gave a good distinction of their performance to the film in my opinion. 

There are no other movies in nowadays that can compare whatsoever to GREMLINS such as the director's other notable hits which includes THE BURBS (click here) and SMALL SOLDIERS. This film has a rewatch value and is one of those stories that always stay with you even, if you believe that there may be gremlins out there rampaging through household appliances or causing household mayhem.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie

Thursday, 22 October 2015

New Star Wars Trailer and New Categories!

In today's post, word has it that the new and possibly final trailer for the upcoming instalment of the much-beloved 'Star Wars' series, 'The Force Awakens' has been released virally yesterday. Those who have loved the original and much-beloved science fiction classics will get an exclusive peek at the video preview from which I've uploaded below. Oh yes, it gives you the showcase of the human splendour and depth of adventure that is surely lacking in the much-maligned prequels and it makes the original three to look like it will give them a run for their money.

In addition to this current update, you can see at the right side in my blog that I've set up some new categories and listed all of the movies from my reviews which have been categorised by decade for example movies from the 1930s or 2010s. Take a look at the reviews, feel free to leave feedback and happy movie watching folks.

Monday, 19 October 2015

The Sorcerer's Apprentice Review

The Sorcerer's Apprentice 

Release Date: 9th September 2010 - Australia

Production Companies 
Walt Disney Pictures (present)
Jerry Bruckheimer Films (present)
Saturn Films
Broken Road

Walt Disney Studios Motion 
Pictures Australia 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: PG

Runtime: 106 minutes 

Budget: $150,000,000

Box Office Gross: $215,283,742 

Plot Summary 
Balthazar Blake is a modern-
day sorcerer with his hands 
full defending Manhattan 
against dark forces. When a 
seemingly average kid shows 
hidden potential, Balthazar 
takes his reluctant recruit 
on a crash course in the art 
and science of magic to 
become the ultimate 
sorcerer's apprentice.

Jay Baruchel - Dave
Nicolas Cage - Balthazar Blake
Alfred Molina - Horvath
Teresa Palmer - Becky
Toby Kebbell - Drake Stone
Omar Benson Miller - Bennet
Monica Bellucci - Veronica
Nicole Ehinger - Abigail Williams
Alice Krige - Morganna Le Fey
James A. Stephens - Merlin
Jake Cherry - Young Dave
Gregory Woo - Sun-Lok

Director - Jon Turteltaub 
Screen Story/Screenplay - Matt Lopez
Screen Story - Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal
Screenplay - Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard
Executive Producers - Todd 
Garner, Nicolas Cage, Mike
Stenson, Chad Oman, Norman
Golightly and Barry H. Waldman
Producer - Jerry Bruckheimer
Production Designer - Naomi Shohan
Costume Designer - Michael Kaplan
Director of Photography - Bojan Bazelli
Special Effects Supervisor - John Frazier
Visual Effects Supervisor - John Nelson
Film Editor - William Goldenberg
Music - Trevor Rabin

I originally watched THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE on the big screen in 2010, I discovered from research on the web that it in fact was loosely adapted from the animated segment of the original FANTASIA (click here). But I wouldn't know until now that it was a misunderstood movie that was financially pounded in its impending release. It must've worn out its welcome for audiences and convinced them into seeing HARRY POTTER instead among the year's other feature fantasies. I'll start with the fact that THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE is not such a fantastically magical picture as it was perhaps marketed to be and this could be partly a result of its predictable storyline and only appealing to an younger audience.

The cast selection was I thought decent with Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel at the reigns. Both performers are at least well-committed, especially Baruchel as the apprentice who conveys a protagonist in training to become a mage and has a humorous and sarcastic approach to the character. Nicolas is possibly the best candidate to be chosen as a mage, he manages to create a fatherly figure to the young apprentice but also with adding comedy as well. Thankfully, the English actor Alfred Molina was there to give some form of acting with a range of decent villainy for his character to be brandished in a classy type. Not unlike Cage and Baruchel who were there to provide the movie's perchance for comedy.

THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE is one of these movies that showcased a cliffhanger ending and in my opinion, would be an ideal sequel material. Due to being considered as a flop unfortunately, it most likely won't get a look in for a second instalment. As previously stated, this movie is an overlooked gem and it's definitely worth giving a chance. 

Star rating: (6/10) Fair Movie

Monday, 12 October 2015

The Martian Review

The Martian

Release Date: 1st October 2015 - Australia

Production Companies 
20th Century Fox
Scott Free Productions
TSG Entertainment (in association with)
Genre Films

20th Century Fox Australia 

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: M

Runtime: 141 minutes

Budget: $108,000,000

Box Office Gross: $630,161,890

Plot Summary
During a fierce dust storm 
on Mars, NASA astronaut 
Mark Watney is impaled by 
an antenna, which destroys 
his suit's bio-monitor 
computer. His crewmates 
presume he's dead and 
flee the planet, leaving him 

Mark's injuries turn out to 
be relatively minor, but he 
must now try to survive, 
with few supplies, on his 
own. He uses his skills as 
a botanist in order to grow 
food and make water, 
while trying to figure out 
how to get a signal to Earth 
in order to let someone - 
anyone - know he's still 

Matt Damon - Mark Watney
Jessica Chastain - Melissa Lewis
Kristen Wiig - Annie Montrose
Jeff Daniels - Teddy Sanders
Michael Peña - Rick Martinez
Kate Mara - Beth Johanssen 
Sean Bean - Mitch Henderson
Sebastian Stan - Chris Beck
Aksel Hennie - Alex Vogel
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Vincent Kapoor
Donald Glover - Rich Purnell
Benedict Wong - Bruce Ng
Mackenzie Davis - Mindy Park
Naomi Scott - Ryoko
Nick Mohammed - Tim Grimes
Eddy Ko - Guo Ming
Chen Shu - Zhu Tao

Producer/Director - Ridley Scott
Based on Novel "The
Martian" - Andy Weir
Producer - Drew Goddard
Producers - Mark Huffam, 
Simon Kinberg, Michael 
Schaefer and Aditya Sood
Production Designer - Arthur Max
Costume Designer - Janty Yates
Cinematography - Dariusz Wolski
Stunt Coordinator - Rob Inch
Visual Effects Supervisor - Richard Stammers
Film Editor - Pietro Scalia
Music - Harry Gregson-Williams

I was confident that joining the talents of director Ridley Scott and Matt Damon would result in a great motion picture. This film takes audiences on an intriguing journey through the reddish dry landscapes of the planet Mars which has been rarely attempted in other movies. Be that as it may, features that have been set on the red planet have been unsuccessful, these cinematic misfires include: JOHN CARTER (click here), RED PLANET and MARS NEEDS MOMS which have all tanked and done poorly at the box office. I would be feeling disappointed if I had missed out on seeing THE MARTIAN on the big screen and though isn't completely without its faults, it manages to tell a compelling story about facing survival and isolation. It could be described as similar to CAST AWAY but in a space setting, it successfully manages to immerse the viewers into a very realistic scenario of a life on Mars where materials are scarce and the terrain is harsh and unforgiving. The film isn't always dark and depressing, there are some light-hearted moments that provide joy and laughter which makes the characters more human and real. 

Matt Damon was great for the role, he is very convincing in this character and manages to create a real connection with the audience so that you are hoping for his survival and really care about what happens to the character and are glued to the screen to discover the conclusion. The rest of the ensemble cast of Jeff Daniels, Jessica Chastain and Sean Bean aren't quite near up to the standards as Damon is, but they are themselves proven worthy of their place within this film.

I would say that THE MARTIAN is almost as good as Ridley's other hit movies and in fact, it could be argued that this could be his finest work after ALIEN (click here) and BLADE RUNNER (click here). This movie has a long running time of two hours and 20 minutes and due to high quality editing, I find at no point during the film do you get bored and finally, I feel that this movie will have a lasting value and is good to watch for a second time.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie

Monday, 5 October 2015

Pixels Review (Updated)


Release Date: 10th September 2015 - Australia 

Production Companies 
Columbia Pictures (presents)
Happy Madison
1492 Pictures
China Film Co. (in association
L Star Capital (in association with)
Film Croppers Entertainment (in
association with)

Sony Pictures Australia 

Genre: Action/Comedy

Rating: PG

Runtime: 106 minutes 

Budget: $129,000,000

Box Office Gross: $244,874,809

Plot Summary 
As kids in the 80s, Sam 
Brenner, Will Cooper, 
Ludlow Lamonsoff and 
Eddie "The Fire Blaster" 
Plant saved the world 
thousands of times - at 25 
cents a game in the video 

Now they're going to have 
to do it for real. In Pixels, 
when intergalactic aliens 
discover video feeds of 
classic arcade games and 
misinterpret them as a 
declaration of war, they 
attack the Earth, using the 
video games as the models 
for their assaults -- and now 
-U.S. President Cooper must 
call on his old school arcade 
friends to save the world 
from being destroyed by 
PAC-MAN, Donkey Kong, 
Galaga, Centipede and 
Space Invaders. Joining 
them is Lt. Col. Violet Van 
Patten, a specialist supplying 
the arcaders with unique 
weapons to fight the aliens.

Adam Sandler - Sam Brenner
Kevin James - Will Cooper
Michelle Monaghan - Violet Van Patten
Josh Gad - Ludlow Lamonsoff
Peter Dinklage - Eddie Plant
Brian Cox - Admiral Porter
Matt Lintz - Matty
Denis Akiyama - Toru Iwatani 
Sean Bean - Corporal Hill
Affion Crockett - Sgt. Dylan Cohen
Ashley Benson - Lady Lisa
Jane Krakowski - First Lady Jane Cooper
Dan Aykroyd - 1982 Championship M.C.
Thomas McCarthy - Michael the Robot
Serena Williams - Herself (Cameo)
Martha Stewart - Herself (Cameo)
Anthony Ippolito - 13-Year Old 
Jared Riley - 13-Year Old 
Andrew Bambridge - 13-Year 
Old Eddie
Jacob Shinder - 8-Year Old 
Daryl Hall - Himself 
John Oates - Himself
Matt Frewer - Max Headroom (Voice)
Fiona Shaw - Prime Minister (Uncredited)

Producer/Director - Chris Columbus
Based on Short Film "Pixels"/
Executive Producer - Patrick Jean
Screen Story/Screenplay/
Executive Producer - Tim Herihly
Screenplay - Timothy Dowling
Executive Producers - Johnny Alves, 
Barry Bernardi, Martis Bouchard, 
Benjamin Darris, Jack Giarraputo, 
Seth Gordon, Yuka Kato, Steve Koren, 
Heather Parry and Ben Waisbren
Producers - Adam Sandler, Mark Radcliffe, 
Allen Covert and Michael Barnathan
Co-Producer/Music Supervisor - Kevin Grady
Production Designer - Peter Wenham
Director of Photography - Amir Mokri 
Editors - Hughes Winborne and 
Peck Prior
Visual Effects Supervisor - Matthew Butler
Music - Henry Jackman

I wasn't exactly sure of this video game-oriented action comedy of PIXELS when I heard about the negative reception shortly before its release. I was astounded to discover that it was based on an animated short and the film's storyline is about video games attacking the planet which is a plot that is borrowed from the episode of FUTURAMA. Lastly but not least, the notable writer and director Chris Columbus is at helms with this overlooked motion picture. There are no films that can easily contrast with PIXELS, excluding WRECK-IT RALPH (click here) which was animated in three years before. Not exactly the game changer that the arcade game enthusiasts had in store, PIXELS is a misunderstood movie mainly criticised by those who disliked its main actor Adam Sandler after his latest movies bombed callously to audiences everywhere. I probably would wonder why Chris of all fillmmakers was determined to direct the middle aged comedian in a feature with an actor he had not ever worked with before.

I think a strong market point for a movie of this calibre is to create a sense of nostalgia for video game fans to recreate the old video game characters that gamers once treasured. Columbus did an incredible job in bringing the visual expertise on PIXELS to recreate the 8-bit video game characters and elements of PAC-MAN and DONKEY KONG in pixelation. Many of the jokes and references aimed at adults were a hit and miss and I don't intend to criticise the scene of the Smurf being vaporised by one of the main characters, mostly because I'm not a huge fan of the Smurfs. I enjoyed seeing Peter Dinklage as being in a supporting role as opposed to the main lead roles that were heavily handpicked for Sandler, Josh Gad and Kevin James. 

I then lastly liked the song placement of "We Will Rock You" from Queen. One last issue about the other leading actors is that James is probably unsuited for the role as the President and Gad's character has incessant screaming but is poorly written and unfunny.

Not every critic should judge PIXELS as a flop unworthy of a replay mode as it is fair to say that this film does have some themes appealing to those who have played these kinds of game classics at home or at the video arcades. Thanks for reading my review, sorry to say, this is game over. 

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie