Monday, 30 May 2016

Underdog Review


Release Date: 20th September 2007 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Have No Fear Productions
Maverick Film Company
Classic Media
Spyglass Entertainment

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia

Genre: Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 82 minutes

Budget: $25,000,000

Box Office Gross: $65,270,477

Plot Summary
After an accident in the
mysterious lab of maniacal 
scientist Dr. Simon Bar-
sinister, an ordinary beagle 
unexpectedly finds himself 
with unimaginable powers 
and the ability to speak.

Jason Lee - Underdog (Voice)
Peter Dinklage - Dr. Simon Barsinister
James Belushi - Dan Unger
Patrick Warburton - Cad
Alex Neuberger - Jack
Taylor Momsen - Molly
John Slattery - Mayor
Amy Adams - Polly (Voice)
Brad Garrett - Riff Raff (Voice)
John DiMaggio - Bulldog/Supershep (Voice)
Phil Morris - Supershep (Voice)
Cam Clarke - Supershep/Little Brown Dog (Voice)
Michael Massese - Supershep (Voice)
Jay Leno - Himself (Cameo)

Director - Frederik De Chau
Based on Television Series - W. Watts Biggers
Story/Screenplay - Adam
Rifkin, Joe Piscatella and Craig A. Williams
Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager - Todd Arnow
Executive Producers - Eric
Ellenbogen and Bob Higgins
Producers - Gary Barber, Roger Birbaum, Jonathan Glickman and Jay Polstein
Co-Producers - Rebekah Rudd and Erin Stam
Production Designer - Garreth Stover
Dog Trainers - Tracy Kelly and Shawn Weber
Director of Photography - David Eggby
Visual Effects Supervisors -
Mark Dornfeld and Hoyt Yeatman
Computer Graphics Supervisor - Michael Mulholland
Animation Supervisor - Kevin Spruce
Film Editor - Tom Finan
Music - Randy Edelman

Some of you may be too young to remember the old cartoon series UNDERDOG which hardcore purist fans may have grown up with in the sixties. I have however only experienced the film iteration of UNDERDOG when it was released by Disney in 2007. This was before in 2012 when DreamWorks actually bought the ownership to the original 60s TV show which was originally owned by Classic Media. The show no longer runs but perhaps DreamWorks now that they own the rights to the program, they may reinvent the character in a movie which hopefully is better than this one. It became unnoticeable at the box office, possibly due to competition with a few other film adaptations. Most likely, the feature is criticised for having recycled material and barely resembling the classic cartoon at all. It's no wonder the director Frederik De Chau has stripped all privileges to what made the original very nostalgic. Here's what Disney should do is not turn UNDERDOG into a live-action feature as to not get too involved in competing with ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS or Michael Bay's non-kiddie action hunk of TRANSFORMERS (click here).

The humour is flat and cheesy which could have been handled better with the exception of a few giggles. Jason Lee's voice of Underdog is tolerable, though he is trying to be witty to be that power-pampered pooch we all know and love. I believe Jason is better to be in ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS as this role is beyond his talents. Peter Dinklage is surprisingly casted as the evil mad scientist considering his short stature. Peter always proves himself to be a worthy, talented actor in spite of a poorly written script.

Unfortunately, I would say that as I was watching this movie the whole time, I was waiting for it to finish as it lacked certain qualities like a intriguing and interesting plot which is typical, dull and predictable. This would probably be only something that I would watch once and I suggest you would direct your attention to something more engaging than this.

Star rating: (4/10) Below Average

Monday, 23 May 2016

Battle: Los Angeles Review

Battle: Los Angeles

Release Date: 17th March 2011 - Australia

Production Companies 
Columbia Pictures (presents)
Relativity Media (in association with)
Original Film
Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Sci-Fi/Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 111 minutes

Budget: $70,000,000

Box Office Gross: $211,819,354 

Plot Summary
Witness the end of
civilisation unfold
as hostile alien invaders
attack the planet. As
people everywhere
watch the world's great
cities fall, Los Angeles
becomes the last stand
for mankind in a battle
no one expected. Now
it's up to a Marine staff
sergeant and his platoon
to draw a line in the sand
as they take on an enemy
unlike any they've
encountered, in this epic
sci-fi action film.

Aaron Eckhart - SSgt. Michael Nantz
Ramon Rodriguez- 2nd Lt. William Martinez
Will Rothhaar - Cpl. Jason Lockett
Jim Parrack - LCpl. Peter Kerns
Gina Anthony Pesi - Cpl. Nick Stavrou
Ne-Yo - Cpl. Kevin Harris
James Hiroyuki Liao - LCpl. Steven Mottola
Bridget Moynahan - Michele
Noel Fisher - Pfc. Shaun Lenihan
Adetokumboh M'Cormack - Corpsman Jibril Adukwu
Bryce Cass - Hector Rincon
Michael Peña - Joe Rincon
Michelle Rodriguez - TSgt. Elena Santos
Neil Brown, Jr. - LCpl. Richard Guerrero
Taylor Handley - LCpl. Corey Simmons
Joey King - Kirsten 
Lucas Till - Cpl. Scott Grayston 
Kenneth Brown, Jr. - Cpl. Richard Oswald
Jadin Gould - Amy
Joe Chrest - 1st Sgt. John Roy
Rus Blackwell - Lt. Col. K.N. Ritchie
Susie Abromeit - Amanda
Brandi Coleman - Cherise
Elizabeth L. Keener - Kathy Martinez
Jessica Heap - Jessy
Lena Clark - Chris

Director - Jonathan Liebesman
Writer - Chris Bertolini
Executive Producers - Jeffrey Chernov and David Greenblatt
Producers - Neal H. Moritz and 
Ori Marmur
Production Designer - Peter Wenham
Costume Designer - Sanja Milković Hays
Director of Photography - Lukas Ettlin
Visual Effects Supervisor - Everett Burrell
Film Editor - Christian Wagner
Music - Brian Tyler

Some interesting trivia is Jonathan Liebesman (director of BATTLE: LOS ANGELES) was originally in line to direct TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (click here). For a time, this successful director was under the guidance of Michael Bay and scored a big hit in 2011 with the action-oriented sci-fi movie called BATTLE: LOS ANGELES. It is much similar to other features before that dealt with humans fighting an extra-terrestrial invasion like WAR OF THE WORLDS and INDEPENDENCE DAY (click here). The camerawork is intentionally shaky as a method to portray a world in chaos through the lens of a solider. While this shaky camerawork makes sense from this perspective, it is distracting and hard to watch. The choice of actors in this film were good but lacking star quality, the actors get the job done but do not portray their characters in such a way which is memorable or creative. I think more skillful experienced actors like Dwayne Johnson or Mark Wahlberg.

The story is predictable but too unoriginal and something we've seen time and time again in other movies. This is one of the film's major weaknesses. In saying that, it is a watchable movie and will appeal to people in the mood for a B-grade slice of action. 

Star rating: (6/10) Fair Movie

Monday, 16 May 2016

Uncle Buck Review

Uncle Buck

Release Date: 21st December 1989 - Australia 

Production Companies
Universal Pictures
Hughes Entertainment

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Comedy

Rating: PG
Runtime: 99 minutes 

Budget: $15,000,000

Box Office Gross: $79,258,538 

Plot Summary 
When Cindy and her
husband leaves for a family
emergency, there is only
one person available to
babysit for their three kids:
Bob's lazy, carefree brother,
Buck. While he immediately
gets along with the two
younger children, Buck
must change his bachelor
lifestyle if he wants to be a
responsible caregiver for
the angst-filled teenager,

John Candy - Buck Russell
Jean Louisa Kelly - Tia Russell
Gaby Hoffman - Maizy Russell
Macaulay Culkin - Miles Russell
Amy Madigan - Chanice Kobolowski
Elaine Bromka - Cindy Russell
Garrett M. Brown - Bob Russell
Laurie Metcalf - Marcie Dahlgren-Frost
Jay Underwood - Bug
Brian Tarantina - E. Roger Coswell
Mike Starr - Pooter the Clown
Suzanne Shepherd - Mrs. Hogarth
William Windom - Mr. Hatfield (Voice)
Dennis Cockrum - Pal
Writer/Producer/Director - 
John Hughes
Producer -  Tony Jacobson
Production Designer - John W. Corso 
Production Designer/Visual 
Consultant - Doug Kraner
Costume Designer - Marliyn Vance
Director of Photography - 
Ralf D. Bode
Film Editors - Lou & Tony 
Lombardo and Peck Prior
Music - Ira Newborn

Most people that grew up in the late 80s and early 90s will not forget the late clown of comedy John Candy and all of the movies he's been featured in before the untimely and tragic death in 1994. There have been a few times Candy had collaborated with the late writer, producer and director John Hughes in three movies (also appearing as a cameo in HOME ALONE). UNCLE BUCK was the third of their collaborations and is a little too perfect to be a simply enjoyable movie in its own right. There wasn't much else that this feature could provide us with, it hit the nail on the head with creating funny characters that people can easily relate to. It is very simplistic, easy to watch and heartwarming. There were a few parts that had me laughing all over the balcony! One of the the standout scenes for me was where Buck has several encounters with his niece's annoying boyfriend where he threatens to murder him with a hatchet and drill. Also, the funniest scene where he binds him in duct tape and puts him in the boot of his car, then releases him and shoots some golf balls at him as he is running away with nothing but his undies on.

John Candy's acting was commendable and funny, he truly is a great comedian actor and really cemented his place as a Hollywood funny guy in this amusing feature. I'm surprised that Macaulay Culkin was at his early role before he yet to make his big break in next year's HOME ALONE (click here).

UNCLE BUCK was a simplistic and heartwarming but solid feature that nobody should deny watching. I would recommend this movie to anyone in the mood for a good laugh and also I would say, this is a very re-watchable movie.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Thursday, 12 May 2016

My Twelth Important Message

Hello movie buffs, this is Rad Dingo here. As you may have noticed, I've incorrectly labeled 'The Adventures of Tintin', 'The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers', 'After Earth' and 'Superman IV: The Quest for Peace' as the 100th, 200th, 300th and 400th reviews when miscounting them that I recently found out. I had to sort these reviews out in numbers and changed the 100th review to 'The Iron Giant', while the 200th goes to 'Oz the Great and Powerful', 300th for 'Guardians of the Galaxy' (and moving a mention of it to 'Crimson Tide') and 400th for 'The Lorax'.


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Meet Me in St. Louis Review

Meet Me in St. Louis

Release Date: 12th July 1945 - Australia

Production Companies
Metro Goldwyn Mayer

Genre: Musical

Rating: G

Runtime: 108 minutes

Budget: $1,885,000

Box Office Gross: $12,800,000 

Plot Summary
St. Louis 1903. The well-
off Smith family has four 
daughters, including 
Esther and little Tootie. 
Seventeen year old Esther has 
fallen in love with the boy 
next door who has just 
moved in - John. He 
however, barely notices 
her at first. The family is 
shocked when Mr. Smith 
reveals he has been 
transferred to a nice 
position in New York, 
which means the family 
has to leave St. Louis 
and not attend the St. Louis Fair.

Judy Garland - Esther Smith
Margaret O'Brien - 'Tootie' Smith
Leon Ames - Alonzo Smith
Mary Astor - Anna Smith
Lucille Bremer - Rose Smith
Tom Drake - John Truett
Marjorie Main - Katie 
Harry Davenport - Grandpa
Henry H. Daniels Jr. - Lon Smith
Joan Carroll - Agnes Smith
June Lockhart - Lucille Ballard
Robert Sully - Warren Sheffield
Hugh Marlowe - Colonel Marly
Chill Wills - Mr. Neely

Director - Vincente Minnelli
Based on the Book - Sally Benson
Screenplay - Irving Brecher,
Fred F. Finklehoffe, Victor 
Heerman (Uncredited), 
William Ludwig (Uncredited),
Sarah Y. Mason (Uncredited) 
and Doris Gilver (Uncredited)
Producer - Arthur Freed
Associate Producer/Music (Uncredited)/Musical Adaptation - Roger Edens
Art Directors - Lemuel Ayers, Cedric Gibbons and Jack Martin Smith
Costume Designer - Irene Scharaff
Makeup Creator - Jack Dawn
Director of Photography - George J. Folsey
Dance Director - Charles Walters
Songs & Lyrics - Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane
Film Editor - Albert Akst
Music (Uncredited)/Orchestrator - Conrad Salinger


1945 Academy Awards
Juvenile Award - Margaret O'Brien (Won)
Best Writing, Screenplay - Irving Brecher and Fred F. Finklehoffe (Nominated)
Best Cinematography, Color - George J. Folsey (Nominated) 
Best Music, Scoring of a
Motion Picture - George Stoll (Nominated)
Best Music, Original Song
"The Trolley Song" - Ralph Martin and Hugh Blaine (Nominated)

A charming and entertaining vintage musical for a film of its age, hasn't lessened a bit since its release in 1944. MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS was produced when war was nearing its end and probably a huge step-up to those old time MGM musicals that were on a successful period around the 40s and early 50s. The movie of this direction was all thanks to producer Arthur Freed and director Vincente Minnelli who both made this as more sincere effort for its main star Judy Garland who used to play a country girl out of Kansas City in THE WIZARD OF OZ (click here). She has matured since then and plays her part as the leading lady well, adding a refined elegance to the film. I'm still not a huge fan of her other talents including her music. The movie does have its magical moments with such songs, as the catchy melody of the "Trolley Song" and the melancholy "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - have remained as timeless and remembered tunes in history.

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS is probably not a favourite movie of mine, but it's a great musical that I must see again. Who knows, maybe in the future you might like to see its cinematic version or if you prefer a live stage production of the film adaptation.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie

Monday, 9 May 2016

Captain America: Civil War Review

Captain America: Civil War

Release Date: 28th April 2016 - Australia

Production Companies 
Marvel Studios
Marvel Entertainment 

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia 

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 170 minutes

Budget: $250,000,000

Box Office Gross: $1,153,304,495

Plot Summary
Tensions rise between
Steve Rogers and the
other Avengers when
global governments
initiate an act to regulate
all superhuman activity. 

Stark, who is known
and hailed as Iron Man,
believes the superheroes
should register, while
Rogers believes in the
principles of freedom
and has a clear mistrust
of the government. The
events put a strain on
the friendship and
eventually, The Avengers.

Meanwhile, Steve meets
up with an old friend,
Bucky Barnes, who's in
trouble. He's accused of
a crime he says he didn't
commit, and his life is
now in danger. Steve
stands behind him, but
the other Avengers believe
his actions are putting
them in danger - they
ask him to disassociate
himself from Bucky.

Chris Evans - Steve Rogers/Captain America 
Robert Downey, Jr. - Tony Stark/Iron Man
Scarlett Johansson - Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow 
Sebastian Stan - Bucky Barnes/Winter Solider
Anthony Mackie - Sam Wilson/The Falcon
Don Cheadle - Lt. James Rhodes/War Machine
Chadwick Boseman - T'Challa/Black Panther
Elizabeth Olsen - Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
Paul Bettany - Vision
Jeremy Renner - Clint Barton/Hawkeye 
Paul Rudd - Scott Lang/Ant-Man
Emily VanCamp - Sharon Carter
Tom Holland - Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Frank Rillo - Brock Rumlow/Crossbones
William Hurt - Secetary of State Thaddeus Ross
Daniel Brühl - Zemo
John Slattery - Howard Stark
Hope Davis - Maria Stark
Kerry Condon - F.R.I.D.A.Y
Martin Freeman - Everett Ross
Marisa Tomei - Aunt May
John Kani - King T'Chaka
Alfre Woodard - Miriam

Directors - Anthony & Joe Russo
Based on Comic "Captain
America" - Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Based on Comic "Civil War" - Mark Millar
Screenplay - Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Executive Producers - Victoria
Alonso, Louis D'Esposito,
Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Nate
Moore and Patricia Whitcher
Producer - Kevin Feige
Co-Producers - Mitchell Bell, Christoph Fisser,
Henning Molfenter and Charlie Woebcken
Production Designer - Owen Paterson
Costume Designer - Judianna Mavkosky
Cinematography - Trent Opaloch
Special Effects Supervisor - Daniel Sudick
Visual Effects Supervisors - Huseyin Caner
and Dan Deleeuw
Additional Photography/Visual Effects Supervisor -
Ray Giarratana
Visual Effects Supervisor: ILM - Russell Earl
Animation Supervisor - Raphael A. Pimentel
Film Editors - Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt
Music - Henry Jackman

After recently watching DC's latest mild disappointment of a movie BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (click here), I decided to write a review for the latest addition of the Marvel cinematic universe, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. Needless to say, the latter is better than anything DC has put out recently, the story is much better developed with heaps of action sequences. It is also a significant improvement on AGE OF ULTRON (click here) which was not as good as the the first AVENGERS feature (click here) or any other standalone features from the Marvel brand. Thankfully, the movie resolves to a huge and thrilling climax which is almost bigger compared to the one in BATMAN V SUPERMAN, but with more grit and emotion.

Almost all of the players from the previous Marvel movies have returned for their roles, even new actors were added especially for this film. The best of these roles would be Tom Holland for his newer interpretation of Spider Man who has only shown up in the mid-half of the feature and it could be a better version of the character than either the role portrayed by Andrew Garfield or Tobey Maguire.

Quite frankly, CIVIL WAR feels more like an AVENGERS movie than a standalone film compared to the last two CAPTAIN AMERICA hits. It is a spontaneous, thrilling superhero epic that everyone will enjoy and watch in a multiple times in either format. Please, don't miss it out before you'll regret it!

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Changes, More Changes

Over the course of the last week of April to the first of May, I have fixed mistakes in most of my posts such as sentences, re-wording, re-hyperlinked and proper capitalisation when needed. I've done a massive update on my review of 'Hot Fuzz' as this is the first critique of a movie that is particularly rated MA15+. I've also changed the star rating of 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' when it did make sense of the rating I originally given it. Since most of the repairs to these original posts were greatly necessary, they will be matching the consistency I've had in my recent reviews that I've posted in every Monday or in Sunday. 

This might be the last time I've checked this blog to get everything fixed, and who knows? Maybe I will keep doing that often in a least a few of my already-critiqued movies, news updates or even top lists. 

Anyway, this is FilmGuruLad out and I hope you've read this newsletter, the sooner, the better.

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Jungle Book (2016) Review

The Jungle Book

Release Date: 14th April 2016 - Australia

Production Companies 
Walt Disney Pictures 
Fairview Entertainment 

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia

Genre: Adventure

Rating: PG

Runtime: 105 minutes

Budget: $175,000,000

Box Office Gross: $966,550,600

Plot Summary
The story of Mowgli, 
an orphan boy is raised
in the jungle with the
help of a pack of wolves,
a bear, and a black

Neel Sethi - Mowgli
Kendrick Reyes - Infant Mowgli
Ritesh Rajan - Mowgli's Father

Voice Cast
Bill Murray - Baloo the Bear
Ben Kingsley - Bagheera
Idris Elba - Shere Khan
Lupita Nyong'o - Raksha
Christopher Walken - King Louie
Scarlett Johansson - Kaa
Giancarlo Esposito - Akela
Garry Shandling - Ikki
Brighton Rose - Gray
Jon Favreau - Pygmy Hog
Sam Raimi - Indian Giant Squirrel
Russell Peters - Rocky the Rhino
Madeline Favreau - Raquel the Rhino

Producer/Director - Jon Favreau
Based on Book "The Jungle Book" - Rudyard Kipling
Screenplay - Justin Marks
Executive Producers - Molly Allen, Karen Gilchirst and Peter M. Tobyansen
Producer - Brigham Taylor
Co-Producer - John Bartnicki
Production Designers - Christopher Glass and Abhjeet Mazumder
Costume Designer - Laura Jean Shannon
Cinematography - Bill Pope
Second Unit Director/Director of
Photography: Second Unit/
Visual Effects Supervisor - Robert Legato
Visual Effects Supervisor - Charley Henley
Visual Effects Supervisor:
MPC - Adam Valdez
Visual Effects Supervisors: Weta Digital - Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon and Keith Miller 
Animation Supervisor - Andrew R. Jones
Film Editor - Mark Livolsi
Music - John Debney
Lyrics: The Bare Necessities - Terry Gilkyson
Lyrics: I Wan'na Be Like You
and Trust In Me (The Python's Song) - Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman

Before the newly-released feature film of THE JUNGLE BOOK, there were many versions recreating this high-spirited, adventurous story, most notably the original 1967 animated version by Walt Disney. This animated classic is colourful and energetic and is more of a musical whereas this one is just a live-action remake, but too dark and scary. I would have waited first to review the earlier interpretations before watching the latest incarnation of THE JUNGLE BOOK, this may not have been a bad thing because often when you watch the originals then watch the remake, you can have a biased opinion and miss some of the qualities in the remake. Director Jon Faverau is so amazing in keeping the film intact with borrowing both of the elements from Rudyard Kipling's original story and the Disney animation. It confirms to audiences that there's still a glimmer of hope for Disney to green-light any more live-action remakes after this one alongside MALEFICENT and 2015's CINDERELLA. The best aspect is probably the CGI rendering which is a highest standard and the really captures the jungle settings which really immerses you in a deep, beautiful and mystical world.

All the voices in the latest version are brilliant, there are three standouts such as Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera and Bill Murray as the carefree Baloo. This isn't the first time Elba has been with Disney with a few successes under his belt such as the THOR series and ZOOTOPIA (click here) and it is at this point that he finally outdone the late George Sanders in terms of performing a real menace inside a vicious tiger. I'm surprised that they haven't removed any of the two songs that were from the 1967 classic "The Bare Necessities" and "I Wan'na Be Like You", this does well to mix musical elements originally used in the animated film and this will have some sentimental value for fans of the original.

Some people who have grown up watching the classic may not like it and I don't blame them. Because the original was lighthearted, less dark and gritty and more tailored to a younger audience. I think this is a very watchable movie which is deserving of the attention of any movie-goer in the mood for a wild ride.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie