Monday, 28 March 2016

Space Jam Review

Space Jam

Release Date: 12th December 1996 - Australia

Production Companies
Warner Bros. Family Entertainment
Northern Lights Entertainment
Courtside Seats Productions

Genre: Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 88 minutes

Budget: $80,000,000

Box Office Gross: $230,418,342

Plot Summary
Michael Jordan must help
the Looney Tunes gang 
win a basketball game 
against a group of outer 
space creatures.

Michael Jordan - Himself
Wayne Knight - Stan Podolak
Theresa Randle - Juanita Jordan
Manner Washington - Jeffery Jordan
Eric Gordon - Marcus Jordan
Penny Bae Bridges - Jasmine Jordan
Brandon Hammon - Michael Jordan (10 Years Old)
Thom Barry - James Jordan
Charles Barkley - Himself
Mugsy Bogues - Himself
Shawn Bradley - Himself
Patrick Ewing - Himself
Larry Johnson - Himself
Larry Bird - Himself
Bill Murray - Himself

Voice Cast
Billy West - Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd
Dee Bradley Baker - Daffy Duck/Various
Bob Bergen - Marvin the Martian/Various
Bill Farmer - Foghorn Leghorn/
Maurice LaMarche - Pepe LePew
June Foray - Granny
Kath Soucie - Lola Bunny
Danny DeVito - Mr. Swackhammer
Jocelyn Blue - Nerdluck Pound
Charity James - Nerdluck Blanko
June Melby - Nerdluck Bang
Catherine Reitman - Nerdluck Bupkus
Colleen Wainwright - Nerdluck Nawt/Sniffles
Dorian Harewood - Monstar Bupkus
Joey Camen - Monstar Bang
TK Carter - Monstar Nawt
M. Darnell Suttles - Monstar Pound
Steve Kehela - Monstar Blanko/Announcer
Frank Welker - Charles the Dog

Director - Joe Pytka
Directors of Animation - Bruce W. Smith and Tony Cervone
Writers - Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick, Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod
Executive Producers - David Falk and Ken Ross
Producers - Ivan Reitman, Joe Medjuck and Daniel Goldberg
Co-Producers - Gordon Webb and Curtis Polk
Co-Producer/Editor - Sheldon Kahn
Animation Producers - Ron Tippe,
Jerry Rees and Steven Paul Leiva
Animation Producer/Associate Producer - 
Dennis Edwards
Animation Producer/Line Producer - 
Richard Sullivan
Animation Co-Producer - Allison Abbate 
Production Designer - Geoffrey Kirkland
Production Designer: Animation/Visual Development/
Character Designer - Fred Cline
Original Character Designer - Jenny Lerew
Background Director - William Dely
Costume Designer - Marlene Stewart
Director of Photography - Michael Chapman
Basketball Technical Advisor - Nigel Miguel
Live Action/Animation Visual Effects - Ed Jones
Visual Effects Supervisors - Erik Dehkhoda and
James Lima
Music - James Newton Howard

Inspired by the techniques that were resulted of hand-drawn animation and shot to daily basis live-action combined into a separate format on WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT. Here's what you get when Warner Bros unleashes their cartoon brand Looney Tunes and basketball legend Michael Jordan in a movie that some deem it to be overhyped. That type of movie is SPACE JAM and for years, I've constantly anticipated reviewing this nostalgic flick. I hope that in my newly-resumed schedule of the feature wouldn't be delayed as I've missed a year of re-watching it simultaneously. As you all may have guessed, SPACE JAM is obviously based on the commercials that Jordan had previously promoted his Air Jordan sneakers with Bugs Bunny. I just can't stand how the studio is willing to exploit that source of product advertisements and adapt into a full-length feature. I've always considered the possibility that SPACE JAM was in its regal splendour of blending live-action and animation. Though not in the same degree as to what Robert Zemeckis had envisioned for ROGER RABBIT. 

I felt that Michael Jordan wasn't so much of an actor when his performance is so uncharismatic and dull. Probably lacking in depth and sincerity when he should have stuck to basketball instead. I hated the idea that Bill Murray's cameo was greatly expanded in the final round that the role should have been filed for the Road Runner. On a personal note, I liked the gorgeous design of Bugs' love interest Lola Bunny, but her personality is just too shallow and unfunny to be the foil and main centre for the cartoon hare. These factors should have slowed the film down in mainstream obscurity when only the soundtrack placement redeems its average quality. R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" is probably one of the most iconic songs that I want to hear it again from the soundtrack.

SPACE JAM was not good and nor bad and it probably should have been the movie that killed the Looney Tunes. Instead, it was regarded as enjoyable to younger fans of the cartoon characters and to fans of Michael Jordan. Th-th-that's all folks!

Star rating: (5/10) Average

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Olympus Has Fallen Review (Updated)

Olympus Has Fallen

Release Date: 4th April 2013 - Australia

Production Companies
Millenium Films (presents)
Nu Image
Gerald Butler/Alan Siegel Entertainment
West Coast Film Partners

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Action

Rating: MA15+ (Not Suitable 
for Young Children)

Runtime: 119 minutes 

Budget: $70,000,000

Box Office Gross: $161,025,640 

Plot Summary 
When the White House 
(Secret Service Code: 
"Olympus") is captured 
by a terrorist mastermind 
and the President is 
kidnapped, disgraced 
former Presidential 
Secret Service Agent 
Mike Banning finds 
himself trapped within 
the building. As our 
national security team 
scrambles to respond, 
they are forced to rely on 
Banning's inside knowledge 
to help retake the White 
House, save the President 
and avert an even bigger 

Gerard Butler - Mike Banning
Aaron Eckhart - President Benjamin Asher
Finley Jacobsen - Connor
Dylan McDormett - Forbes
Rick Yune - Kang
Morgan Freeman - Speaker Trumbull
Angela Bassett - Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs
Melissa Leo - Secertary of Defense Ruth McMillian
Radha Mitchell - Leah
Cole Hauser - Roma
Phil Austin - Vice President Charles Rodriguez
James Ingersoll - Admiral Nathan Hoening
Freddy Bosche - Diaz
Lance Broadway - O'Neil
Sean O'Bryan - Ray Monroe
Ashley Judd - First Lady Margaret Asher
Keong Sim - Lee Tae-Woo
Robert Forster - General Edward Clegg

Producer/Director - Antoine Fuqua
Writers - Creighton Rothenberger and Kathrin Benedikt
Executive Producers - Boaz 
Davidson, Danny Dimbort, 
Avi Lerner, Heidi Jo Markel, 
Trevor Short and John Thompson 
Co-Executive Producer/Co-Producer - Zygi Kamasa
Co-Executive Producers - 
Guy Avshalom, Christine Cow and Christine Otal
Co-Executive Producer/
Executives in Charge of 
Financing - Will French and Stephen Roberts
Co-Executive Producer/
Production Business & Legal Affairs - Lonnie Ramati
Producers - Gerald Butler, Mark Gill, Danny Lerner and Alan Siegel
Producer/Unit Production Manager - Ed Cathell III
Production Designer - Derek R. Hill
Cinematography - Conrad W. Hall
Stunt Coordinators - Lin Oeding and Keith Woulard
Visual Effects Supervisor - Wes C. Caefer
Senior Visual Effects Supervisor - Evan Jacobs
Film Editor - John Refoua
Music - Trevor Morris

Due to be seeing LONDON HAS FALLEN, I've re-watched its predecessor OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN which is a hardcore, bloodthirsty and political action shooter of 2013. It was released in such a turbulent year where Hollywood took a slight downturn in movies that were not so great such as IRON MAN 3 (click here) STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (click here) and MAN OF STEEL (click here). Luckily that past year had some very exceptional movies that you may remember and one of them was OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN. This is a much more successful feature than its light-hearted competitor WHITE HOUSE DOWN (click here) in terms of sharing the premise about the White House being invaded as both films are definite throwbacks of DIE HARD (click here). Seems to be that this is an extraordinary movie that might be both tempestuous and patriotic in displaying well-coordinated action and a massive amount of bloodshed. OLYMPUS is a labor of love for director Antoine Fuqua whose hybrid and newfound style have nearly outmatched Michael Bay's as he never attempted to deliver something that has plenty of thrills and action without any logic.

Featured in this knockoff is the relatively strong acting of Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman. Though Butler was no Bruce Willis, he was a league on his own and this role could have been portrayed by someone else if it wasn't for him. Eckhart and Freeman's performances along with Butler's makes a lethal combination of fine casting choices to be in this ensemble.

OLYMPUS stands above DIE HARD and almost all of the other movies that have plainly borrowed its concept. It has cemented its place as one of the best movies made in 2013. Viewer discretion is advised that this feature is not recommended for those who were under the age of 15.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Monday, 21 March 2016

Riddick Review


Release Date: 12th September 2013 - Australia

Production Companies 
One Race Films
Universal Pictures 
Radar Pictures
Riddick Canada Productions

Roadshow Distribution 

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: MA15+ (Not Suitable 
for Young Children)

Runtime: 114 minutes
               127 minutes 
               (director's cut)

Budget: $40,000,000

Box Office Gross: $98,337,295 

Plot Summary 
Wanted by every bounty 
hunter in the known galaxy, 
the infamous convict 
Riddick has been left for 
dead on a sun-scorched 
planet that appears to be 
lifeless. Abandoned and 
alone, Riddick soon 
becomes the prey of a 
swarm of alien predators 
more lethal than anything 
he has encountered before. 
Forced to make a life or 
death decision, Riddick 
activates an emergency 
beacon and alerts 
mercenaries to his 
whereabouts- there is 
safety in numbers! 

The first ship to arrive 
carries a new breed of 
sadistic mercy who won't 
leave without Riddick's 
head as their trophy, while 
the second is captained by 
a man whose pursuit of 
Riddick is more personal. 
What none of them 
anticipated is that when 
you corner a creature that 
is as much animal as he is 
man, you are the one who 
should be on the run.

Vin Diesel - Riddick
Jordi Molla - Santana
Matt Nable - Boss Johns
Kate Sackhoff - Dahl
Dave Bautista - Diaz
Bokeem Woodbine - Moss
Conrad Pla - Vargas
Dance Blanco Hall - Falco
Noah Danby - Nunez
Neil Napier - Rubio
Nolan Gerard Funk - Luna
Karl Urban - Vaako
Andreas Apergis - Krone

Writer/Director - David Twohy
Based on Characters - Jim and Ken Wheat
Producer/Executive Producer - Samantha Vincent
Executive Producers - Mike Drake and George Zakk
Producers - Vin Diesel and Ted Field
Co-Producers - Mike Weber and Jim Finkl
Production Designer - Joseph Nemec III
Costume Designer - Simonetta Mariano
Director of Photography - David Eggby
Stunt Coordinators - Troy Robinson and Michael Scherer
Fight Coordinator - Guillermo Grispo
Visual Effects Supervisor - Gunnar Hansen
Creature Effects Designer - Christien Tinsley
Editor - Tracy Adams
Music - Graeme Revell

Over the years, I've discovered that THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK (click here) is not entirely a good nor a bad film, I had high hopes that the third instalment RIDDICK would be a definite improvement to the already passable predecessor. I haven't seen this picture for a while and I still haven't seen PITCH BLACK which is probably the origination of the two movies that have soon followed and started Vin Diesel's stardom. I get the sense that David Twohy is trying to follow the inspirational patterns of notable franchises such as MAD MAX and STAR WARS. Because both of these franchises featured roguish types of anti-heroes that he wanted the actor Diesel to continue playing which can be very close compared with the eponymous title character just like Mel Gibson when he solemnly returned to star in two MAD MAX features as the hero he plays as Max. 

RIDDICK seems to have recycled the plot from out of the first movie and while it's good to see the story taken back to its roots, it just seems effortless and almost like film makers were just making a quick grab for cash instead of really applying their creative skills to mould a new and innovative story. 

My final thoughts with this review are that it is not completely unbearable, its just that I had higher hopes for this film and feel that it had some deficits which let down the overall quality. That's not to say others would not enjoy it.

Star rating: (6/10) Fair Movie

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Chronicle Review


Release Date: 2nd February 2012 - Australia

Production Companies
20th Century Fox
Davis Entertainment
Dune Entertainment (made in association with)

20th Century Fox Australia

Genre: Sci-Fi/Action
Rating: M

Runtime: 80 minutes

Budget: $12,000,000

Box Office Gross: $126,636,097

Plot Summary
Witness the mind bending
chronicle of great power
gone awry. When three
ordinary high school friends
make an extraordinary
discovery, they acquire
amazing abilities beyond
their understanding. They
can move objects with
their minds, crush cars
at will, and even fly. But
as their strength grows,
so do their darker sides.
When harmless pranks
give way to more
dangerous escapades,
their lives spin recklessly
out of control, leading to
an explosive, high-flying
climax that will leave you

Alex Russell - Matt Garetty
Dane DeHaan - Andrew Detmer
Michael B. Jordan - Steve Montgomery
Michael Kelly - Richard Detmer
Ashley Hinshaw - Casey Letter
Anna Wood - Monica
Bo Petersen - Karen Detmer
Anna Wood - Monica
Rudi Malcolm - Wayne
Luke Tyler - Sean
Crystal-Donna Roberts - Samantha
Adrian Collins - Costly
Grant Powell - Howard
Armand Aucamp - Austin
Nicole Bailey - Cala

Story/Director - Josh Trank
Story/Screenplay - Max Landis
Executive Producer - James Dodson
Producers - John Davis and Adam Schroeder
Production Designer - Stephen Altman
Director of Photography - Matthew Jensen
Editor - Elliot Greenberg
Visual Effects Supervisor - Simon Hansen
Visual Effects Supervisor: Rhythm & Hues - Raymond Chen
Music Supervisor - Andrea von Foerster

Before Josh Trank recently moved to Hollywood and made an infamy with the unsuccessful if not tedious reboot of FANTASTIC FOUR. He made his directorial debut on a found footage movie that he filmed in 2012 entitled CHRONICLE. It remains as an absolute one-hit wonder to his promising and doomed career. The director at the time was new, young and fresh to Hollywood and has not yet delivered his latest and failed dark interpretation of Marvel's beloved superhero team to the big screen. The subject of this movie was not that of a typical superhero action movie but rather is all about three teenagers that gain superpowers and none of them are interested in saving the world. CHRONICLE should have been a game changer to director Josh Trank who is more suited to produce pictures out of small scale rather than doing big budget projects. Much like M. Night Shyamalan whose repetitiveness and change of style has lead to the outcome of having disappointing movies like THE HAPPENING and THE LAST AIRBENDER (click here).

CHRONICLE introduced new stars such as Dane DeHaan and Michael B. Jordan who have both progressed as consistent performers. DeHaan was an extraordinarily talented youth of an actor and he portrays a huge part of character that is soon to be fallen on his dark side and probably a better villain than his own Harry Osborn in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN sequel.

This movie is surprisingly a very watchable and thrilling cinematic experience, in watching CHRONICLE, the use of the video camcorder in a way that it looks like the actors are holding the camera as they are running and it is shaking and moving all over the place. Much as you would see in a documentary or in a horror feature, this camera adds a sense of realism and grittiness. If you had not seen this great picture, you should definitely give it a chance.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie

Monday, 14 March 2016

The Cable Guy Review

The Cable Guy

Release Date: June 20th 1996 - Australia

Production Companies
Columbia Pictures
Light/Mueller Film Corp.

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Comedy

Rating: M

Runtime: 92 minutes

Budget: $47,000,000

Box Office Gross: $102,825,796 

Plot Summary
Recently dumped by his 
girlfriend, Steven Kovacs 
thought he'd have plenty 
of time to watch TV ...but 
that was before he met 
Chip Douglas! 

He's a cable guy with a 
few loose wires in his brain 
and a knack for taking 
over people's lives. Worse 
still, Chip wants a friend... 
and he won't take no for 
an answer.

Jim Carrey - Chip Douglas
Matthew Broderick - Steven Kovacs
Leslie Mann - Robin Harris
Jack Black - Rick
George Segal - Mr. Kovacs
Diane Baker - Mrs. Kovacs
Eric Roberts - Himself
Ben Stiller - Sam/Stan Sweet
Owen Wilson - Robin's Date
Janeane Garofalo - Medieval Waitress
Andy Dick - Medieval Host
David Cross - Sales Manager
Harry O'Reilly - Steven's Boss
Amy Stiller - Steven's Secretary 

Director - Ben Stiller
Story - Lou Holtz Jr.
Executive Producers - Brad Grey, 
Bernie Brillstein and Marc Gurvitz
Producers - Judd Apatow,
Andrew Licht and Jeffrey
A. Mueller
Co-Producer - William Beasley
Production Designer - Sharon Seymour
Director of Photography - Robert Brinkmann
Film Editor - Steven Weisberg
Music - John Ottman 

With the release of Ben Stiller's latest sequel of ZOOLANDER, I decided to take a trip over and refresh my memory with a classic movie that he directed with fellow comedian Jim Carrey. Though the second time that I've watched it again in its original DVD format, I feel that the comedy wasn't quite as dark or spine-tingling or as funny as everyone has said in recent times. This is Ben Stiller's first big-budget movie as director and he did a good job with this production. It's probably the first movie for Carrey where he plays a more serious character than his usual over the top antics. I've only enjoyed some portions of the movie but as I said, I haven't watched it many times. I notice in the film, Jim Carrey was having so much fun acting like a child and he greatly upstaged his co-star Matthew Broderick and even a few that were in supporting roles such as future players like Jack Black. 

This movie has themes which are part comedy and part thriller. I guess that THE CABLE GUY didn't compare and rank up to his earlier hits like ACE VENTURA, THE MASK and DUMB AND DUMBER (click here). Even in later years, he would be burgeoning into more seriousness with some of his other features that would dramatically propel his reputation into super stardom.

THE CABLE GUY tells a good story which is entertaining, scary, funny and sad all in the one basket. It is a movie which if you have not yet seen, I would recommend if you are in the mood for a something that is easy to follow and provides instant thrills with a well-paced engaging plot, then this would be worth a watch. 

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

400th Review! The Lorax

The Lorax

Release Date: 29th March 2012 - Australia

Production Companies
Universal Pictures
Illumination Entertainment

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 86 minutes

Budget: $70,000,000

Box Office Gross: 

Plot Summary
A 12-year old boy searches
for one thing that will enable
him to win the affection of
the girl of his dreams. To
find it he must discover the
story of the Lorax, the
grumpy yet charming
creature who fights to
protect his world.

Voice Cast
Ed Helms - The Once-ler 
Danny DeVito - The Lorax
Zac Efron - Ted Wiggins
Taylor Swift - Audrey
Rob Riggle - Aloysius O'Hare
Betty White - Grammy Norma
Jenny Slate - Ted's Mom
Nasim Pedrad - Once-ler's Mom
Stephen Tobolwsky - Uncle Ubb
Elmarie Wendel - Aunt Grizelda
Danny Cooksey - Bret and Chet

Director - Chris Renaud
Co-Director - Kyle Balda
Based on Book "The Lorax" - Dr. Seuss
Screenplay/Executive Producer/Songs - Cinco Paul
Producer - Ken Daurio
Executive Producer - Audrey Geisel
Producers - Janet Healy and Christopher Meledandri
Production Designer - Yarrow Cheney
Art Director/Character
Designer - Eric Guillon
Character Designer - Jeremie Moreau
Animation Director - Lionel Gallat
CGI Supervisors - Bruno Chauffard
and Simon Thomas
Film Editors - Claire Dodgson,
Steven Liu and Ken Schretzmann
Songs/Music - John Powell

I have already been hurt and betrayed by the adaptation from the beloved children's author Dr. Seuss with HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (click here) which failed to deliver a worthy experience for me personally with the exception of the great Jim Carrey's hilarious and grouchy performance. I've decided not to watch another movie based on a book by Dr. Seuss after having been so disappointed by this movie. THE LORAX has been compared by critics as having similar messages to Disney/Pixar's WALL-E (click here). It was an animated musical adaptation from the same makers known to have created DESPICABLE ME (click here). THE LORAX is Illumination's second animation feature to date and it has that social message to teach children how to save the environment. It unfortunately destroys the complete ambiguity in the original book that carries its meaning.

I'm not exactly thrilled with some of the voice acting of Zac Efron and Taylor Swift. I preferred Danny DeVito who has very expressive and charismatic vocal talents that defined the title character's personality. Unfortunately, he is no Jim Carrey and this lead to some of the movie's shortcomings. The feature adaptation's watch-ability is severely limited by dated pop-cultural references, lightheartedness, rushed plot and few added characters which are nothing more but a seemingly money grab at trying to convince audiences that it would be as great as the original source material. 

THE LORAX is not as bad as THE GRINCH or THE CAT IN THE HAT, the animation is colourfully and is true to the original vision of Dr Seuss's art style. Overall, this big-screen interpretation of the book may very well be average and is somewhat disappointing for readers of the original book. It could be recommended to the little ones who have yet to read more of Dr Seuss.

Star rating: (5/10) Average

Monday, 7 March 2016

Ride Along 2 Review

Ride Along 2

Release Date: 18th February 2016 - Australia

Production Companies
Cube Vision
Universal Pictures
Will Packer Productions

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Action/Comedy

Rating: M

Runtime: 102 minutes

Budget: $40,000,000

Box Office Gross: $124,605,297

Plot Summary
New police academy
graduate Ben tags along
from Atlanta to Miami
with James to track down
a fugitive criminal just
hours before Ben's
wedding to James' sister.

Ice Cube - James Payton
Kevin Hart - Ben Barber
Tika Sumpter - Angela Payton
Benjamin Bratt - Antonio Pope
Olivia Munn - Maya
Ken Jeong - A.J.
Bruce McGill - Lt. Brooks
Michael Rose - The Hitter/Gates
Sherri Shepard - Cori
Arturo del Puerto - Alonso
Eric Goins - Assface
Carlos Gomez - Captain Hernandez
Utkarsh Ambudkar - Amir
Glen Powell - Troy
Nadine Velazquez - Tasha
Bresha Webb - Shayla
Tyrese Gibson - Mayfield
James Martin Kelly - Port Commissioner Griffin
Robert Pralgo - Port Commissioner Nunez

Director - Tim Story
Based on Characters - Greg Coolidge
Writers - Phil Hay and
Matt Manfredi
Executive Producers - Scott
Bernstein, Ronald G.
Muhammad and Nicolas Stern
Producers - Matt Alvarez,
Larry Brezner, Ice Cube,
William Packer and J.C. Spink
Production Designer - Chris Cornwell
Cinematography - Mitchell Amundsen
Second Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator - Jack Gill
Co-Stunt Coordinator - Brian Machleit
Film Editor - Peter S. Elliott
Music - Christopher Lennertz

I'm not necessarily new to the RIDE ALONG movies as these two are typically buddy-cop films that were mostly cut-and-pasted from other films alike in the sub-genre such as LETHAL WEAPON and the parody of all cliches HOT FUZZ (click here). I could have stopped when I noticed this before, but I've only remembered seeing a few bits of the first movie and RIDE ALONG 2 was a fair play of a sequel. There was lots of excitement in this sequel but with too many cliches that are in every buddy cop film. I would have chosen the LETHAL WEAPON series over the two RIDE ALONG movies if I haven't watched the latter.

Leading actor Kevin Hart was so good at being the main hero and the comical relief. His humour carries most of the sequel itself and he is in a odd-pair with fellow African-American performer Ice Cube. He upstages him like he did with the previous first instalment.

In closing, I think RIDE ALONG 2 is probably an above average movie that would entertain everyone for an afternoon or evening. I hope they don't make another sequel of RIDE ALONG as it would tire the format of buddy cop films.

Star rating: (6/10) Fair Movie