Thursday, 29 September 2016

Disney Destroying My Childhood!

Breaking news!

Disney is interested in making a remake of its 1994 animated film 'The Lion King' and director Jon Favreau is to join forces with the house of mouse and direct the live-action re-imaging of this film after their success with 'The Jungle Book'. What a tragedy!

It hasn't been confirmed that there is a release date of the movie, but what I do know is that Disney has been busy with the another live-action remake of 'Beauty and the Beast' which is due to come out in the following year of 2017.

There's a slight chance that some of the original voice actors like Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, etc. are going to reprise their roles as the memorable characters that made the movie great.

If you are anticipating this movie, it's your funeral. I predict the remake of 'The Lion King' will flop with audiences especially those who grew up watching the animated film.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Now You See Me 2 Review

Now You See Me 2

Release Date: 2nd June 2016 - Australia

Production Companies
Summit Entertainment
K/O Paper Products
TIK Films


Genre: Thriller

Rating: M

Runtime: 124 minutes

Budget: $90,000,000

Box Office Gross: $334,901,337

Plot Summary
The Four Horsemen return for a second mind-bending adventure, elevating the limits of stage illusion to new heights in an adventure that takes them around the globe. One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public adulation with their Robin Hood-style Magic spectacles, the illusionists resurface for a comeback performance in hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate. The man behind their vanishing act is none other than Walter Mabry, a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all.

Jesse Eisenberg - J. Daniel 
Daniel Radcliffe - Walter Mabry
Mark Ruffalo - Dylan Rhodes
Woody Harrelson - Merritt/Chase
Lizzy Caplan - Lula
Dave Franco - Jack Wilder
Morgan Freeman - Thaddeus 
Michael Caine - Arthur Tressler
Jay Chou - Li
Tsai Chin - Bu Bu
Sanaa Lathan - Deputy Dir. Natalie Austin
David Warshofsky - Agent Cowan
Henry Lloyd-Hughes - Allen 
Brick Patrick - Chase McKinney
Zach Gerard - Hannes Pike
Ben Lamb - Owen Case

Director - Jon M. Chu
Based on Characters - Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt
Story/Screenplay/Executive Producer - Ed Soloman
Story - Peter Chiarelli
Executive Producers - Kevin De Landy and Louis Leterrier
Producers - Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Bobby Cohen
Production Designer - Sharon Seymour
Costume Designer - Anna B. Shepard 
Director of Photography - Peter Deming
Special Effects Supervisor - Stephen Hutchinson
Visual Effects Supervisor - Matt Johnson
Film Editor - Stan Salfas
Music Supervisor - Randall Poster
Music - Brian Tyler

Magical, thrilling and deceptive are ways to describe NOW YOU SEE ME 2 and the original movie (click here). However, the sequel is a bit more confusing and suffers from trying to surpass the surprises of the first film. It was at this moment that NOW YOU SEE ME 2 was taking too many risks in adding more complexity and implausibility to the plot with the use of stage magic. Director Jon M. Chu is certainly not taking this too seriously in adding the drums to the sequel of this OCEAN'S ELEVEN styled heist adventure thriller that is compared to Louis Leterrier's flashy and theatrical interpretation of its predecessor.

Many actors from the original have returned to be in the top-notch ensemble cast with the exception of Isla Fisher who was absent and never came back for the female lead role. Lizzy Caplan fills in the part left by Fisher to be the female member of the four horsemen only that she brings a lot of sass and energy into her role. If you recall what I said on my critique of the first movie when I stated that Cillian Murphy or Jim Sturgess would have been suited to be one of the four illusionists than Eisenberg. I have now changed my opinion about him being the uninteresting choice. It is because he is extremely witty in both movies when performing this natural born role as the lead magician. Woody Harrelson not only returns to portray one of the four horseman, but plays the character's twin brother in a dual role made especially for him.

In the addition to co-star with the leading actors aside from Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe is no longer the titular hero that we know him as Harry Potter and instead plays a crucial key role as one of the baddies who were out to expose the Horsemen and their activities. His performance is just a maniacal sheer pack of menace and nothing can prevent the actor's future after his success with the HARRY POTTER series.

I always thought that NOW YOU SEE ME 2 was in this case, better than the original in more ways that you could imagine. The plot and execution could have used some work, if it did not involve a certain area of confusion. Overall, NOW YOU SEE ME 2 is nowhere near as good as the original and people should see it, if they liked the original.

Star rating: (6/10) Fair Movie

Monday, 19 September 2016

Hellboy Review


Release Date: 19th August 2004 - Australia

Production Companies 
Revolution Studios (presents)
Lawrence Gordon Productions
Starlite Films
Dark Horse Entertainment (in association with)

Sony Pictures Australia 

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 117 minutes

Budget: $66,000,000

Box Office Gross: $99,318,987 

Plot Summary 
Born in the flames of Hell
and brought to Earth as an
infant to perpetrate evil,
Hellboy was rescued from
sinister forces by the
benevolent Dr. Broom, who
raised him to be a hero. In
Dr. Bloom's secret Bureau
of Paranormal Research
and Defence, Hellboy
creates an unlikely family
consisting of the telepathic
"Mer-Man" Abe Sapien and
Liz Sherman, the woman he
loves who can control fire.
Hidden from the very society
that they protect, they stand
as the key line of defence
against an evil madman who
seeks to reclaim Hellboy to
the dark side and use his
powers to destroy mankind.

Ron Perlman - Hellboy
John Hurt - Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm
Selma Blair - Liz Sherman
Rupert Evans - John Myers
Karen Roden - Grigori
Jeffrey Tambor - Tom Manning
Doug Jones - Abe Sapien
David Hyde Pierce - Abe Sapien (Voice) (Uncredited)
Brian Steele - Sammael
Ladislav Beran - Kroenen
Bridget Hodson - Ilsa
Corey Johnson - Agent Clay
Kevin Trainor - Young "Broom"
Brian Casper - Agent Lime
James Babson - Agent Moss
Stephen Fisher - Agent Quarry
Garth Cooper - Agent Stone
Angus MacInnes - Sgt. Whitman
Jim Howick - Cpl. Matlon
Millie Wilkie - Young Liz

Story/Screenplay/Director - 
Guillermo Del Toro
Story - Peter Briggs
Based on Dark Horse Comic
Producer/Visual Consultant -
Mike Mignola
Executive Producer - Patrick J. Palmer
Producers - Lawrence Gordon, Mike Richardson and Lloyd Levin
Production Designer - Stephen Scott
Makeup Consultant: Hellboy - Rick Baker
Costume Designer - Wendy Partridge
Director of Photography - Guillermo Navaro
Special Effects Supervisors - Nick Allder and David Beavis 
Visual Effects Supervisor - Edward Irastorza
Film Editor - Peter Amundson
Music Supervisors - Peter Afterman and Margaret Yen
Music - Marco Beltrami

The character HELLBOY was first created by Mike Mignola and entered its publication at Dark Horse Comics in 1993. Every avid comic book reader would have an issue or maybe one of the series. In the mid and late 2000s, two movies were adapted from the same source material and they were produced by director Guillermo Del Toro. Prior to his success of later films he directed such as PAN'S LABYRINTH and PACIFIC RIM (click here). He was known early in 2002 for the last horror themed superhero action movie BLADE II. A movie that may have influenced him to direct the two features of HELLBOY and so far introduced him to Hollywood fame. The first installment may have went abroad after the release of SPIDER-MAN 2 (click here) in the same year, it has action and good wit to keep the fandom and audiences amazed and overjoyed. Even the dark tone of the comics from the creator's vision is enough to excite them all for one film.

Non A-lister Ron Perlman was very fascinating for the performance of the title character that has the gruff persona and a soft spot. John Hurt is well-suited as he plays the fatherly figure to the protagonist. 

HELLBOY is much to be behold, but it doesn't captivate audiences like the way other films do. I however considered a great movie and highly recommend it.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Suicide Squad Review

Suicide Squad

Release Date: 4th August 2016 - Australia

Production Companies
Warner Bros. Pictures 
DC Comics
RatPac/Dune Entertainment 
Atlas Entertainment 

Roadshow Distribution 

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 123 minutes

Budget: $175,000,000

Box Office Gross: $745,600,054

Plot Summary
When the White House becomes concerned about the safety of the President of U.S., Intelligence Officer Amanda Waller has a plan. She wants to get a team of super-villains together and have them fight against possible threats to the country. 

In exchange, the villains are promised reduced prison sentences. The group includes master assassin Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, Katana, El Diablo and Slipknot.

Rick Flagg is put in charge, and he soon finds out that the villains are a handful.

Will Smith - Deadshot
Margot Robbie - Harley Quinn
Jared Leto - The Joker
Cara Delevingne - The Enchantress
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agjabe - Killer Croc 
Jai Courtney - Capt. Boomerang 
Karen Fukuhara - Katana
Jay Hernandez - El Diablo
Joel Kinnaman - Rick Flagg
Alain Chanoine - Incubus 
Adam Beach - Slipknot
Ike Barinholtz - Griggs
Scott Eastwood - GQ Edwards
Jim Parrack - Johnny Frost
Common - Monster T
Ben Affleck - Bruce Wayne/Batman (Cameo)
Ezra Miller - The Flash (Cameo)

Writer/Director - David Ayer
Executive Producers - Zack & Deborah Snyder, Geoff Johns and Steven Mnuchin
Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager - Colin Wilson
Producers - Charles Roven and Richard Suckle
Co-Producers - Alex Ott and Andy Horwitz
Production Designer - Oliver Scholl
Makeup and Hair Designer - Alessandro Bertolazzi
Costume Designer - Kate Hawley
Director of Photography - Roman Vasyanov
Film Editor - John Gilroy 
Special Effects Supervisor - Michael Innanen
Visual Effects Supervisor - Jerome Chen
Visual Effects Supervisor: SPI - Mark Breakspear
Visual Effects Supervisors: MPC - Robert Winter
and Seth Maury
Animation Supervisor - Steve Nichols
Music - Steven Price

In the pre-release of SUICIDE SQUAD, I was skeptical that this movie might be as lacklustre as BATMAN V SUPERMAN (click here) due to the backlash from many critics who trashed the film for its meaningless style and approach to try take away Marvel's spotlight in the comic book movie biz. Now after watching the latest entry from the much rather maligned DC expanded universe, I found out that it wasn't a bad movie at all, but close to reaching the standards that are yet to be explicitly shown in this cinematic franchise. The movie was a creative vision for its absolute sheer focus on the villainous protagonists and its colourful style different than in other DC movies that each share a darkened tone in the story. I did like the change of tone with this film, however I do feel the story was a little disappointing and disjointed.

Will Smith is a much unexpected casting decision for the part of the assassin Deadshot, but he succeeds to compliment the character with much strength and swagger which is very typical of Will's usual approach to his characters. Margot Robbie wields mischief and mayhem in her spellbinding performance as the insane Harley Quinn. Jared Leto was good but not nearly convincing as the late Heath Ledger for the role of the clown prince of crime, The Joker. I always thought Heath was the best actor to get the part right in THE DARK KNIGHT (click here), but Leto was a tough act to follow in his footsteps on SUICIDE SQUAD.

If SUICIDE SQUAD had not been labeled as a quasi-knockoff to some of the movies from the Marvel cinematic universe, then the film may have been better received and would be considered the turning point for DC's own cinematic universe. This was the most anticipated film in the year 2016 and is highly recommended for the avid comic-book readers of DC and fans alike. 

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Monday, 12 September 2016

The Secret Life of Pets Review

The Secret Life of Pets

Release Date: 9th August 2016 - Australia 

Production Companies
Universal Pictures 
Illumination Entertainment 

Universal Pictures Australia 

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: G

Runtime: 91 minutes 

Budget: $75,000,000

Box Office Gross: $875,457,937

Plot Summary 
In Manhattan, Max is enjoying his life as his owner's favourite pet in a comfortable apartment building where they live together. One day, his life is turned upside down when his human brings a sloppy mongrel named Duke. 

However, when they learn that an adorable white bunny named Snowball is putting together an army of abandoned pets determined to take revenge on all happy-owned pets and their owners, Max and Duke have to team up to put a stop to the rabbit's plan.

Voice Cast
Louis C.K. - Max
Eric Stonestreet - Duke
Kevin Hart - Snowball
Ellie Kemper - Katie
Jenny Slate - Gidget
Lake Bell - Chloe
Hannibal Buress - Buddy
Bobby Moynihan - Mel
Albert Brooks - Tiberius
Dana Carvey - Pops
Tara Strong - Sweetpea
Chris Renaud - Norman
Michael Beattie - Tattoo
Steve Coogan - Oozone/Reginald

Director - Chris Renaud  
Co-Director - Yarrow Cheney
Writers - Cinco Paul, Ken Duario and Brian Lynch
Additional Characters Creator - Simon Rich
Producers - Janet Healy and Christopher Meledandri
Production Designer/Character Designer - Eric Guillon
Character Designer - Robin Joseph
Animation Directors - Dominique Monfery, Jonathan DelVal and Julien Soret
Film Editor - Ken Schretzmen
Music - Alexandre Desplat

The animation company Illunimation hasn't really stepped up its game since the success of their beloved DESPICABLE ME franchise. Their latest showcase THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS may seem to be qualified as a harmless, fluffy and colourful CG movie that panders to the young animal-loving moviegoers. The only downside of the film is that it lacks heart and soul which is due to the plot tracing elements that reflects TOY STORY (click here). Though the similarities between the two movies are probably just a mere coincidence, the graphics are quite astonishing. The well-scripted humour is a creative match for the whimsical energy of the animation style.

The movie is boosted by the talents of the star-studded team players like Louis C.K., Jenny Slate, Lake Bell and Kevin Hart. Hart is the most energetic and surprising actor of the ensemble and he voices the rabbit who may seem cute and cuddly but is an antagonist with an inside grudge against humanity and the domesticated.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS may amuse young and old audiences with a clever balanced comedic material as well as the vivid animation. It's been a semi-decent movie that could have been a worthy act to follow the DESPICABLE ME films for its trademark laughter and characters.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie 

Monday, 5 September 2016

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb Review

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb

Release Date: 26th January 1964 - USA

Production Companies 
Columbia Pictures
Hawk Films

Sony Pictures Australia

Genre: Comedy

Rating: PG

Runtime: 90 minutes

Budget: $1,800,000

Box Office Gross: $196,135,617

Plot Summary
Convinced the Commies 
are polluting America's 
"precious bodily fluids", a 
crazed General orders a 
surprise nuclear air strike 
on the USSR. His aide, 
Captain Mandrake, 
furiously attempts to 
figure out a recall code 
to stop the bombing. 

Meanwhile the U.S. 
President gets on the 
hot line to convince the 
drunken Soviet Premier 
that the impending attack 
is a silly mistake, while 
the President's advisor 
Dr. Strangelove confirms 
the existence of the 
dreaded Doomsday 
Machine - a secret Soviet 
retaliatory device 
guaranteed to end the 
human race once and for 

Peter Sellers - Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake/Various
George C. Scott - Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson
Sterling Hayden - Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper
Keenan Wynn - Colonel 'Bat' Guano
Slim Pickens - Maj. 'King' Kong
Peter Bull - Russian Ambassador Alexi de Sadesky
Tracy Reed - Miss Scott
James Earl Jones - Lt. Lothar Zogg
Jack Creley - Mr. Staines
Frank Berry - Lt. Dietrich
Robert O'Neil - Adm. Randolph
Glenn Beck - Lt. Kivel
Roy Stephens - Frank
Shane Rimmer - Capt. 'Ace' Owens

Screenplay/Producer/Director - Stanley Kubrick
Based on the Book "Red Alert"/Screenplay - Peter George
Screenplay - Terry Southern
Executive Producer - Leon Minoff (uncredited)
Production Designer - Ken Adam
Director of Photography - Gilbert Taylor
Special Effects - Wally Weevers
Film Editor - Anthony Harvey
Music - Laurie Johnson


1965 Academy Awards
Best Picture - Stanley Kubrick (Nominated) 
Best Director - Stanley Kubrick (Nominated)
Best Actor - Peter Sellers (Nominated)
Best Adapted Screenplay - Stanley Kubrick, Peter George and Terry Southern (Nominated)

The director Stanley Kubrick was an accomplished master of the medium when his movie DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB was released in 1964. This movie was hailed by many film-buffs as his greatest triumph next to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (click here) and satirises the Cold War which it was set in its time and turmoil. For me, it turns out that DR. STRANGELOVE isn't the perfectly ingenious comical masterpiece I was hoping. Though it's good to see another picture from Kubrick and it's a showcase of laughter that handles the serious topics very well. The set design was perfect and Kubrick's direction shows that he is a man of broad talent and a natural when it comes to comedy. 

This is a film which addresses the political issues of nuclear war between the Russians and the Americans. It is a plot that is not to be taken seriously and it does touch on some controversial war themes but in a very exaggerated and unbelievable manner.

Peter Sellers was convincingly hilarious in his three characters in this movie, one of which was the titular character who speaks in an over-the-top German accent. Some of the very best scenes for me in this movie were result of the fine improvisation and talents of Sellers. Even George C. Scott is having a fun time playing a crazed general and really compliments the absurdity and lunacy to this film. This is a debut for James Earl Jones who was yet to play his most infamous character from STAR WARS as the voice of Darth Vader.

Young audiences from the next generation have yet to experience the absurdity and the anti-war message of DR. STRANGELOVE. Still, the movie was a bit least exceptional even to me as I prefer modern comedies which I can better relate to.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie

Thursday, 1 September 2016

In Memory of Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

Gene Wilder (1933-2016) 

My friends and fellow moviebuffs, it is a sad announcement that the legendary comic actor Gene Wilder who is best known for younger audiences as the titular character in 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' and is also known for his collaborations with director Mel Brooks in 'The Producers', 'Blazing Saddles' and 'Young Frankenstein' has passed away from complications of Alzheimers at the age of 83 on August 29th 2016.

Before becoming a well-known actor and changing his name to Gene Wilder, he ventured into the stage in his late 20s and debuted to television in 1962. Wilder's first film appearance was that of a minor role when he played a hostage in 'Bonnie & Clyde'. Wilder would soon get to be a professional leading actor when cast in a pairing with Zero Mostel in Mel Brooks' directorial debut of 'The Producers' which he had been nominated for the Best Supporting Actor for this film. After he filmed 'The Producers', Wilder had a dry period with a continuous line of flops and one of which was 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' a movie that in later years, grew a cult following. Wilder by this stage of his career was now a highly recognised star in Hollywood and his career began to recover with two successful comedies that were directed by his old colleague from 'The Producers' Mel Brooks such as 'Blazing Saddles' and 'Young Frankenstein'. The comedian also collaborated with fellow actor and comedian Richard Pryor in pictures like 'Silver Streak', 'Stir Crazy', 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil' and 'Another You'. Gene was married three times, once to comedienne Gilda Radner, whom she met Wilder while filming a movie together called 'Hanky Panky' and their marriage lasted for seven years at which point Gilda tragically died from ovarian cancer in 1989, leaving Gene a widow.

Gene's last appearances was in three television movies 'Murder in a Small Town', 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'The Lady in Question' and two episodes of the television drama 'Will and Grace'.

Gene Wilder has had an amazing career in film and has achieved outstanding results with the characters he has portrayed. Gene will forever be remembered for years to come by the wonderful work that he done. May he rest in peace.