Monday, 31 October 2016

World War Z Review

World War Z

Release Date: 20th June 2013 - Australia 

Production Companies
Paramount Pictures (presents)
Skydance Productions (presents)
Hemisphere Media Capital (in association with)
GK Films (in association with)
Plan B Entertainment

Paramount Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 116 minutes
                123 minutes 
                (unrated edition)

Budget: $190,000,000

Box Office Gross: $540,007,876

Plot Summary
Former United Nations investigator Gerry Lane is in a race against time to save both his family and world from a pandemic that is toppling governments and threatening to destroy humanity itself.

Brad Pitt - Gerry Lane
Mirellie Enos - Karin Lane
Daniella Kertesz - Segen
James Badge Dale - Captain Speke
Ludi Boeken - Jurgen Warmbrunn
Matthew Fox - Parajumper
Fana Mokoena - Thierry Umutoni
David Morse - Ex-CIA Agent
Peter Capaldi - W.H.O. Doctor #1
Pierfrancesco Favino - W.H.O. Doctor #2
Ruth Negga - W.H.O. Doctor #3
Moritz Bleibtreu - W.H.O. Doctor #4
Elyes Gabel - Andrew Fassbach
Sterling Jerins - Constance Lane
Abigail Hargrove - Rachel Lane
Fabrizio Zacharee Guido - Tomas 

Executive Producer/Director -
Marc Forster
Based on Novel - Max Brooks
Story/Screenplay - Matthew Michael Carnahan
Story - J. Michael Straczynski
Screenplay - Drew Goddard and Damon Lindelof
Executive Producers - Brad Simpson, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Paul Schwake, Graham King and Tim Headington
Producers - Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Ian Bryce
Production Designer - Nigel Phelps
Costume Designer - Mayes C. Rubeo
Director of Photography - Ben Seresin
Second Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator (Uncredited) -
Simon Crane
Stunt Coordinators - Rob Inch and
Wade Eastwood (Uncredited)
Special Effects Supervisors - Neil Corbould
and David Watkins
Film Editors - Roger Barton and Matt Cheese
Music - Marco Beltrami

Hollywood may have faced some dark turns in the cinematic history like 2013 for instance as each film that was highly-anticipated by audiences suffered by a few and some poor choices in the storyline, take IRON MAN 3 (click here) for example. It hasn't completely recovered yet with some hit movies that weren't appealing enough to attract movie-goers such as WORLD WAR Z which was a slickly thrilling, entertaining and suspenseful movie that re-invents the realistic approach of a zombie movie. WORLD WAR Z may have had a huge turmoil during its production which rendered the film incoherent and messy.

Brad Pitt was a good choice and done the character justice, it was good to have an actor with such a high-profile and it was an extraordinary performance for him anyway. I would expect nothing less as Pitt is one of those consistent actors who always creates interesting and impacting characters. Many viewers of the movie were surprised that the British actor Peter Capaldi was in WORLD WAR Z as well, before moving on to play a different kind of doctor in the science fiction series DOCTOR WHO.

This movie will appeal to people in the mood for a zombie-themed action feature, but for die-hard critical zombie fans, I think they will see a lot in flaws in WORLD WAR Z especially in comparison to other zombie-movies who have managed to do what this movie has done but much better such as 28 WEEKS LATER and DAWN OF THE DEAD.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Monday, 24 October 2016

The Magnificent Seven (2016) Review

The Magnificent Seven

Release Date: 29th September 2016 - Australia 

Production Companies
Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Village Roadshow Pictures 
Columbia Pictures
LStar Capital
Pin High Productions
Escape Artists

Sony Pictures Australia 

Genre: Western

Rating: M

Runtime: 133 minutes 

Budget: $90,000,000

Box Office Gross: $162,360,636

Plot Summary
With the sleepy town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue, the desperate townspeople employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns - Sam Chisolm, Josh Farraday, Goodnight Robicheaux, Jack Horne, Billy Rocks, Vasquez and Red Harvest. As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.

Chris Pratt - Josh Farraday
Denzel Washington - Sam Chisolm
Ethan Hawke - Goodnight Robicheaux
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo - Vasquez
Martin Sensmeier - Red Harvest
Vincent D'Onofrio - Jack Horne
Byung-Hun Lee - Billy Rocks
Peter Sarsgaard - Bartholomew Bogue
Haley Bennett - Emma Cullen
Matt Bomer - Matthew Cullen
Luke Grimes - Teddy
Jonathan Joss - Denali
Cam Gigandet - McCann
Sean Bridgers - Fanning
Billy Slaughter - Josiah
Executive Producer/Director - Antoine Fuqua
Based on a Screenplay - Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni
Screenplay - Richard Wenk and Nic Pizzolatto
Executive Producers - Bruce Berman, Walter Mirisch and Ben Waisbren
Producers - Roger Birnbaum and Todd Black
Production Designer - Derek R. Hill
Costume Designer - Sharen Davis
Cinematography - Mauro Fiore
Special Effects Supervisor - Yves De Bono
Film Editor - John Refoua
Composer: Theme Music - Elmer Bernstein
Music - James Horner and Simon Franglen

The original 1960 movie of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (click here) was one of the classics I reviewed when I first started this blog. Though the western picture was remade first from Akira Kurosawa's foreign masterpiece the SEVEN SAMURAI and some of the elements were parodied and referenced in later movies. However, the re-imagination of the old 1960s picture isn't going to top the slickness that is John Sturges' original, bold and unforgettable shootout. It seems that the director Antoine Fuqua is new to the western genre and is trying to take a different approach with THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN than to change it as one of these soulless movie remakes from Hollywood nobody wants. It is by no means as solid, but is a bit of a convoluted modern western which might seem to be fun and sometimes a cheesy film.

The 2016 version of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN was successful in pulling a diverse cast of notable stars like Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, etc. They are different to the ones portrayed on the original film by Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and a few more.

It's not an unforgettable film, but it generally pleases the audience with some of its chemistry and action. This film is highly recommended for those who haven't seen the original movie.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Monday, 17 October 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3 Review

Kung Fu Panda 3

Release Date: 24th March 2016 - Australia

Production Companies
DreamWorks Animation
China Film Co., Ltd
Zhong Ming You Ying Film
Oriental Dreamworks

20th Century Fox Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 95 minutes

Budget: $145,000,000

Box Office Gross: $519,881,355

Plot Summary
Continuing his "legendary 
adventures of awesomeness" 
Po must face two hugely 
epic, but different threats: 
one supernatural and the 
other a little closer to home.

Voice Cast
Jack Panda - Po
J.K. Simmons - Kai
Bryan Cranston - Li
Dustin Hoffman - Master Shifu
Angelina Jolie - Tigress
Seth Rogen - Mantis
Lucy Liu - Viper
David Cross - Crane
Jackie Chan - Monkey
James Hong - Mr. Ping
Jean-Claude Van Damme -
Master Croc
Randall Duk Kim - Master Oogway
Kate Hudson - Mei Mei
Steele Gagnon - Bao
Liam Knight - Lei Lei
Wayne Knight - Big Fun/Hom-Lee
Barbara Dirickson - Grandma
Al Roker - Sum
Willie Geist - Dim
Fred Tatasciore - Master Bear
Pax Jolie-Pitt - Yoo
Stephen Kearin - Master Chicken

Directors - Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni
Writers/Co-Producers - Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger
Additional Screenplay Material - Harry Cripps
Executive Producers -
Guillermo del Toro, Li Ruigang,
Mike Mitchell and La Peikang
Producer - Melissa Cobb
Co-Producer - Jeff Hermann
Kung Fu Choreographer - Rodolphe Guenoden
Production Designer - Raymond Zibach
Character Designer - Nico Marlet
Head of Story - Philip Craven
Head of Character Animation - Dan Wagner
Head of Layout - Damon O'Beirne
Visual Effects Supervisor - Mark Edwards
Film Editor - Clare De Chenu
Kung Fu Panda Themes/Music - Hans Zimmer
Kung Fu Panda Themes - John Powell

The pandemonium returns in KUNG FU PANDA 3. This third and recent installment has been one of the few hit sequels from DreamWorks, after the company's fortunes were in decline and poisoned the animation studio's reputation. Despite living up to the expectations from those who have seen the previous features, it faced stiff competition from Disney's ZOOTOPIA (click here). KUNG FU PANDA 3 continues the story where it left off from the previous instalment and returns to a lighter tone that started the first movie. 

However, Po's characterisation is starting repeat itself after the first two movies showcased his growth. A potentially interesting villain couldn't live up to Tai Lung or even Lord Shen because of his low motivations which I find it to be a bit disappointing. Jack Black returns as the lovable and fun-loving hero and is joined by the on-screen vocal presences of J.K. Simmons, Kate Hudson and Bryan Cranston who voices Po's long-lost dad and is having a blast with the comical role equal to Jack Black's lead in the film.

It isn't enough for KUNG FU PANDA 3 to be as rotund and fat as its predecessors. It's an exceptional fun-filled action-animated romp for kids and adults alike who will be deeply amazed by the straightforward ingenious animation planted through this non-stop hit sequel. 

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Monday, 10 October 2016

Doom Runners Review

Doom Runners

Broadcast Date: 20th December 1997 - USA

Production Companies
Millennium Pictures Pty. Limited
Showtime Networks, Inc (presents)
Nickelodeon Productions (presents)
Hallmark Entertainment (in association with)

Genre: Sci-Fi/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 95 minutes

Plot Summary
In this futuristic story,
14-year-old Jada Wesley and
her 12-year-old brother, Adam,
share a cramped living space
with their grandfather, William,
in a dark, dank warehouse
named Sector 7, where
hundreds of other people live
under the same dreadful conditions.

They struggle to survive in a
desolate world known as
AfterTime in which all of the
enviromental resources; food,
water, oil are controlled by The
Corporation and enforced by the
Doom Troopers.

Dean O'Gorman - Deek
Lea Moreno - Jada
Bradley Pierce - Adam
Nathan Jones - Vike
Tim Curry - Dr. Kao
Rebecca Smart - Lizzie
Peter Carroll - William
David Whitney - Thorne
Putu Winchester - Danny
Paul Livingston - Cesar Lopez
Jon Pollard - Rule

Director - Brendan Maher
Writer - Barney Cohen
Writer/Executive Producer - Ken Lipman
Executive Producers - Paula Hart, Albie Hecht and Kathryn Wallack
Co-Executive Producer - Doug Greiff
Script/Story Editor/Producer - Posie Graeme-Evans
Production Designer - David McKay
Costume Designer - Angus Straithe
Cinematography - Steve Arnold
Visual Effects Designer - Dale Duguid
Visual Effects Producer - Daniel Harvey
Visual Effects Director - Trevor Hawkins
Film Editor - Henry Dangar
Music Supervisor - Karen Telfer
Music - Braedy Neal

This low-budgeted post-apocalyptic family movie was co-produced and shot in Australia and was televised as a joint effort for Nickelodeon and Showtime Networks in USA. Unlike the big budget fare seen on the telly and cinemas with features like MAD MAX and to a lesser extent WATERWORLD (click here). It not only was unknown to many movie audiences, it is a subpar and cheesy film that any intelligent person would notice the low production values. The filmmakers have tried to do a lot with its smaller budget, but the narrative is very inconsistent. Even some illogical decisions hurt the film more. The fact that it is supposed to be a much safer kid-friendly alternative to the adult-oriented MAD MAX film series, but children aren't ready for a sort of an adventure that is to be set in a world after the apocalypse.

The cast is less than perfect when most of the actors didn't perform so well in the picture of DOOM RUNNERS. Young New Zealander actor Dean O'Gorman did an okay performance, but to have his character being the narrator of the story in his point of view isn't this necessary. Tim Curry being his usual self when he overacts as the comical, yet darkly twisted villain Dr. Kao who is the de facto of the Corporation and delights himself of gaining information through people's minds while wiping them out. At one point, he also referenced a line from his previous role in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.

This picture would be left as forgotten and no one would see DOOM RUNNERS as it had a lower impact on the audience. It would be best for younger kids to see it as it is geared towards children.

Star rating: (4/10) Below Average

Monday, 3 October 2016

Cats & Dogs Review

Cats & Dogs

Release Date:
20th September 2001 - Australia

Production Companies
NPV Entertainment (in association with)
Warner Bros. Pictures (presents)
Mad Chance
Zide/Perry Productions
Village Roadshow Pictures (in association with)

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 87 minutes

Budget: $60,000,000

Box Office Gross: $200,687,492 

Plot Summary
A look at the top-secret, 
high-tech espionage war 
going on between cats 
and dogs, which their 
human owners are 
blissfully unaware of.

Jeff Goldblum - Professor Brody
Elizabeth Perkins - Mrs. Brody
Alexander Pollock - Scott Brody
Miriam Margoyles - Sophie the Castle Maid
Myron Natwick - Mr. Mason

Voice Cast
Tobey Maguire - Lou the Beagle
Sean Hayes - Mr. Tinkles 
Alec Baldwin - Butch
Susan Sarandon - Ivy
Charlton Heston - The Mastiff  
Jon Lovitz - Calico
Joe Pantolino - Peek
Michael Clarke Duncan - Sam
Glenn Ficarra - Russian Blue

Director - Lawrence Guterman
Writers/Co-Producers - John Requa and Glenn Ficarra
Executive Producers - Chris Bender. Bruce Berman and J.C. Spink
Producers - Christopher DeFaria, Andrew Lazar, Craig Perry and Warren Zide
Production Designer - James D. Bissell
Costume Designer - Tish Monaghan 
Director of Photography - Julio Macat
Animatronic Effects Supervisor - David Alan Barclay 
Animatronic Effects - John Criswell
Creature Mechanical Designer - Enrique Bilsland 
Beast Creature Effects - Patrick M. Gerrety
Visual Effects Supervisors - Ed Jones and Scott Scouter
Animation Supervisors - Richard Baneham 
and Glenn Ramos
Film Editors - Rick Finney and 
Michael A. Stevenson
Music - John Debney 

CATS & DOGS had a great concept of making fun at the arch-rivalry of the two sides of mammals, the live-action format just simply did not work in anyway. Especially with the real-life background doesn't suit the movie at all. It came from the same man who would later go on to direct the laughably puerile SON OF THE MASK and it falls flat when the feature should have been properly directed or animated in full CGI and hand-drawnIt's bad enough, a sequel was made in over nine years after the original and to their disappointment, the less said the better.

The feature's got pawprints all over it and even the live-acting needed some better directing, no offence to actor Jeff Goldblum. Elizabeth Perkins felt that she misacted in a wrong kind of a picture and the young child who played Scott needed some coached acting skills. The voices are no different to the real-life actors as Tobey Maguire, Alec Baldwin, Sean Hayes and Susan Sarandon all turn in remarkable vocal performances of the animals. This achieved for one of the actors in creating the film's only memorable character who is purr-fectly funny to be the main arch-feline Mr. Tinkles who is enjoyable to watch in an average family feature like CATS & DOGS.

CATS & DOGS is a surprisingly average kiddie flick that may feel cartoonish or childish, but it did have some comical laughs that adults might find them funny at their amusement. There's little of this movie to recommend to adults and it's mainly aimed at youngsters.

Star rating: (5/10) Average