Monday, 28 November 2016

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Review

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Release Date: 3rd June 2004 - Australia (limited)

Production Companies
Warner Bros. Pictures 
1492 Pictures 
Heyday Films
P of A Productions

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: PG

Runtime: 135 minutes

Budget: $130,000,000

Box Office Gross: $796,688,549

Plot Summary
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry, Ron and Hermione, now teenagers, return for their third year at Hogwarts, where they are forced to face escaped prisoner, Sirius Black, who seems to pose a great threat to Harry. Harry and his friends spend their third year learning how to handle a half-horse, half eagle Hippogriff, repel shape-shifting Boggarts and master the art of Divination. They also visit the wizarding village of Hogsmeade and the Shrieking Shack, which is considered the most haunted dwelling in Britian. In addition to these new experiences, Harry must overcome the threats of the soul-sucking Dementors, outsmart a dangerous werewolf and finally deal with the truth about Sirius Black and his relationship to Harry and his parents. With his best friends, Harry masters advanced magic, crosses the barriers of time and changes the course of more than one life.

Daniel Radcliffe - Harry Potter
Emma Watson - Hermione Granger
Rupert Grint - Ron Weasley
Robbie Coltrane - Ruebus Hagrid
Gary Oldman - Sirius Black 
Michael Gambon - Albus Dumbledore
Maggie Smith - Minerva McGonnagall
Alan Rickman - Severus Snape
David Thewlis - Professor Lupin
Tom Felton - Draco Malfoy
Jason Isaacs - Lucius Malfoy
Richard Griffiths - Vernon Dursley
Fiona Shaw - Petunia Dursley 
Harry Melling - Dudley Dursley
Pam Ferris - Aunt Marge
Warwick Davis - Wizard
David Bradley - Argus Filch
Emma Thompson - Professor Sybil Trelawney
Devon Murray - Seamus Finnigan 
Hugh Mitchell - Colin Creevey
Jamie Waylett - Vincent Crabbe
Joshua Herdman - Gregory Goyle
Mark Williams - Arthur Weasley
Julie Walters - Molly Weasley
Bonnie Wright - Ginny Weasley
James & Oliver Phelps - Fred and George Weasley
Chris Rankin - Percy Weasley
Lenny Henry - Shrunken Head
Jimmy Gardner - Ernie the Bus Driver
Lee Ingleby - Stan Shunpike
Jim Tavare - Tom the Innkeeper
Robert Hardy - Cornelius Fudge
Timothy Spall - Peter Pettigrew  
Julie Christie - Madame Rosmerta
Dawn French - The Fat Lady
Adrian Rawlins - James Potter (uncredited)
Geraldine Somerville - Lily Potter (uncredited)

Director - Alfonso Cuaron
Based on Book "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" - J.K. Rowling
Screenplay - Steve Kloves
Executive Producers - Michael Barnathan, Callum McDougall
and Tanya Seghatchian
Producers - Chris Columbus, David Heyman, Mark Radcliffe and Lorne Orleans (IMAX Version)
Production Designer - Stuart Craig
Costume Designer - Jany Temime
Creature/Special Make-Up 
Effects Designer - Nick 
Director of Photography - Michael Seresin
Special Effects Supervisors - John Richardson and Steve Hamilton
Visual Effects Supervisors - Tim Burke, Huseyin Caner
and Roger Guyett
Visual Effects Supervisor: ILM - Bill George
Additional Visual Effects Supervisor - Mark Casey
Animation Supervisor: ILM - David Andrews
Film Editor - Steven Weisberg
Additional Editor - Joseph C. Bond IV
Music - John Williams


2005 Academy Awards
Best Original Score - John Williams (Nominated)
Best Visual Effects - Tim Burke, Roger Guyett, 
Bill George and John Richardson (Nominated)

While I originally have only reviewed the first and last two of the series, I figured it was time to review the films I missed starting with THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN and ending with THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. That is until I go see the new FANTASTIC BEASTS movie in theatres. The third instalment of the series is where it began to take a darker turn and develop its magic as it happened before in THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS when it showed signs of maturity. Alfonso Cuaron was a newcomer in the movie franchise and was a brilliant director taking over the reins from Chris Columbus as he sought to accomplish what was missing in the previous two films.

THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN has set a standard for all HARRY POTTER films in its world-building, visuals and a firm grip of emotional and profound storytelling and to this date, remains as the second best instalment behind DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART II (click here) that were magical and instantly timeless.

Two of the pieces of the puzzle that stood out in this movie was the improvement in Daniel Radcliffe's acting of the main character and the introduction of Michael Gambon in his first time as Dumbledore to fulfill the continuation of the role where the late Richard Harris had passed on. It evidently featured some actors like Gary Oldman, Emma Thompson and David Thewlis whose characters like Sirius, Trelawney and Remus would go on and return in the following movies. It was John Williams' swan song for the series that he provided the background music as he would stop composing more of the later installments after AZKABAN.

It's so fortunate to see the feature again after a long wait and still, it is recommended for viewers who have read the books (including the latest chapter THE CURSED CHILD) or even watched the whole film series. EXPECTO PATRONUM!

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Important Site Update (Updated)

Hi, folks! This is RadDingo here! Just bringing to you an announcement that I made a recent update to my blog. I have now included an index page of my current and earlier reviews which can be found near the movie trivia answers page. As you can see from the image displayed below.

Also, my review of 'Reign of Fire' has now been tinkered and re-published and my another blog about my trip in New Zealand is back online with two new posts. I'll expect to finish it sometime and possibly the end of this year or next year.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Diamonds Are Forever Review

Diamonds Are Forever

Release Date: 23rd December 1971 - Australia

Production Companies
EON Productions
Danjaq (Uncredited)

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 120 minutes 

Budget: $7,200,000

Box Office Gross: $116,000,000 

Plot Summary
Large quantities of South African diamonds are being stolen but haven't found their way into the world market. It is James Bond's mission to discover who is stockpiling these diamonds and why. He discovers that Ernest Blofeld has constructed a giant laser generator, suspended in orbit around earth, that uses diamonds to intensify its energy causing nuclear warheads, rockets and submarines to spontaneously self-detonate. Blofeld intends to hold an international auction with nuclear supremacy going to the highest bidder.

Bond pursues his arch enemy to his oil rig base off the Californian coast to prove that diamonds aren't just a girl's best friend.

Sean Connery - James Bond
Jill St John - Tiffany Case
Charles Gray - Ernest Stavro Blofeld
Jimmy Dean - Willard Whyte
Putter Smith - Mr. Kidd
Bruce Glover - Mr. Wint
Joseph Furst - Dr. Metz
Bruce Cabot - Bert Saxby
Norman Burton - Felix Leiter
Bernard Lee - M
Lois Maxwell - Miss Moneypenny
Desmond Llewelyn - Q
Lana Wood - Plenty O'Toole
Trina Parks - Thumper
Lola Larson - Bambi
Joe Robinson - Peter Franks

Director - Guy Hamilton
Based on Novel "Diamonds Are Forever" and Characters "James Bond" - Ian Fleming (Uncredited)
Screenplay - Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz
Producers - Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman
Production Designer - Ken Adam 
Director of Photography - Ted Moore
Stunt Arrangers - Bob Simmons and Paul Baxley
Visual Effects - Albert Whitlock and Wally Veevers
Film Editors - Bert Bates and John W. Holmes
Title Designer - Maurce Binder
Composer: James Bond
Theme - Monty Norman
Music - John Barry
Lyricist: Song "Diamonds Are Forever" - Don Black
Performer: Song "Diamonds Are Forever" - Shirley Bassey 

After a year since watching a James Bond action thriller, I decided on reviewing DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER since this is the final curtain call for Sean Connery's tenure of the main title character after six films. Unfortunately DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER is a first weak point in the Bond franchise. It re-invents the film franchise in a comical approach which I think is distasteful and not true to Bond's usual persona. It unfortunately was not the perfect conclusion for Connery that was hoped for. The story was rushed and elementary. While there were some enjoyable elements such as some good driving scenes and good action. The driving choreography was orchestrated very well for its time and doesn't have the same shock value today as when it came out.

I think what draws me to the Bond character so much is his sense of class and style in the face of grave danger. What I also liked about him more is that he always gets the girl and girl often ends up getting him into trouble. I like Bond's optimism in end of world situations where he is always resourced and skillful enough to save the day. What surprises me the most is that in the film, two of the henchwomen that Bond is facing were named after the characters from the Disney animated movie (click here).

Now, I don't find DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER to be a bad film but it does come across as cheap, nasty and virtually lacking a good plot. Some people fittingly declared that this wasn't the end for Sean Connery's role of 007 as in the next twelve years, he would return to portray the character one last time in the unofficial Bond movie NEVER SAY, NEVER AGAIN. Definitely not the best Bond movie around but is nowhere near worse than A VIEW TO A KILL.

Star rating: (5/10) Average

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks Review

Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks

Release Date: 12th November 2016 - Australia 
(screening for limited time at select cinemas)

Production Companies 
Sharmill Films

BBC Worldwide 

Genre: Animation
Rating: PG

Runtime: 150 minutes

Plot Summary
The Power of the Daleks is one of the most celebrated Doctor Who adventures, and yet no complete film recordings are known to have survived. The master negatives were destroyed in an archive purge in 1974. This brand new animation, being released 50 years after its only UK broadcast, is based on the programme's original audio recordings, surviving photographs, and film clips. The six-part adventure features the regeneration - or as it was then called "renewal" - of First Doctor, William Hartnell, into Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, and follows the Time Lord and his companions Polly and Ben as they do battle with the Daleks on the planet Vulcan.

Voice Cast (all archived recordings)
Patrick Throughton - Second Doctor 
Anneke Willis - Polly
Michael Craze - Ben
Bernard Archard - Bragen
Peter Bathurst - Hensell
Robert James - Lesterson
Nicholas Hawtrey - Quinn
Pamela Ann Davy - Janley
Martin King - The Examiner
Edward Kelsey - Resno
Richard Kane - Valmar
Steven Scott - Kebble
Peter Hawkins - Dalek Voices

Director - Christopher Barry
Creator - Sydney Newman (uncredited)
Daleks Creator - Terry Nation
Writer - David Whitaker 
Story Editor - Gerry Davis
Script Editor - Dennis Spooner
Producer/Showrunner (uncredited) - Innes Lloyd
Production Designer - Derek Dodd
Animation Director - Charles Norton
Character Designers - Martin Geraghty and
Adrian Salmon
Incidental Music - Tristam Cary
Composer: Title Music - Ron Grainer

For years I have been a longtime DOCTOR WHO fan, since as far back as I can remember. I'm more of a fan of Tom Baker's and David Tennant's incarnations of the character than any of the other actors like Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi. The recent release of THE POWER OF THE DALEKS - like it's never been seen before, in its full reconstructed animated form. It's the long-lost episode that fully introduced Patrick Throughton as the second incarnation of the Doctor, that went missing and only fragments remained for the reconstruction.

The animation is subtle and has a quality similar to the style used in the animated TV series of ARCHER. Some parts of it were inconsistent and slow which resulted from its tight budget. The soundtrack that was saved from the recordings of the lost original six part serial was a bit off-sync to the animation which also stood out as a minor misstep.

Overall, this serial hasn't been entirely forgotten to the fans who grown up watching the classic DOCTOR WHO and the lost televised episodes. A must see for all of you Dr Who fans.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Monday, 14 November 2016

Doctor Strange Review

Doctor Strange

Release Date: 27th October 2016 - Australia

Production Companies
Marvel Studios
Marvel Entertainment

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: M

Runtime: 115 minutes

Budget: $165,000,000

Box Office Gross: $677,718,395

Plot Summary
A brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon is taken under the wing of a sorcerer, who teaches him the mystical arts in order to defend the world against evil.

Benedict Cumberbatch - Dr. Stephen Strange
Rachel McAdams - Christine Palmer
Tilda Swinton - The Ancient One
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Mordo
Mads Mikkelsen - Kaecilius
Benjamin Bratt - Jonathan Pangborn
Benedict Wong - Wong
Michael Stuhlbarg - Dr. Nicodemus West
Chris Hemsworth - Thor (Cameo)

Writer/Director - Scott Derrickson
Based on Marvel Comic
Book/Executive Producer -
Stan Lee
Based on Marvel Comic Book -
Steve Ditko (Uncredited)
Writers - Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Dargill
Executive Producers - Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard and Louis D'Esposito
Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager - Charles Newirith
Producer - Kevin Feige
Co-Producer - David J. Grant
Production Designer - Stephen Wood
Costume Designer - Alexander Byrne
Director of Photography - Ben Davis
Special Effects Supervisor - Paul Corbould
Visual Effects Supervisors - Huseyin Caner and Stephane Ceretti
Visual Effects Supervisor: ILM - Richard Bluff and Mark Bo
Additional Visual Effects Supervisor - Sheena Duggal
Animation Supervisor - Daryl Sawchuk
Animation Supervisor: ILM - Matthew Cowie
Film Editors - Sabrina Pilsco and Wyatt Smith
Music - Michael Giacchino

It's been a very strong year for the Marvel cinematic universe as the series has progressed more with their recent blockbusters like CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (click here) and DOCTOR STRANGE. These are the two most anticipated films of the year and they continue to win over comic-book fans and audiences who have not yet grown bored of them. The latter DOCTOR STRANGE is currently showing in the cinemas and I'm very pleased to have seen it on the big screen as the visual effects were unlike anything I have ever seen. This is a very complex film which demands a high level of attention to understand what is happening. I haven't had this trippier visual impact since 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (click here) and INCEPTION (click here) which two films have blown me away a couple of times. In regards to the luscious CGI produced for the feature, this aspect was greatly necessary to benefit the intricacy of the storyline. 

Benedict Cumberbatch was amazingly talented in playing the title character in the role of the protagonist since SHERLOCK and has joined in an assembly of co-stars with Tilda Swinton and Mads Mikkelsen. I can't believe that he isn't going to play another villain who has done much evil like the dragon Smaug from THE HOBBIT and worst of all, Khan from STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (click here). It really amazes me how lucky Benedict Cumberbatch has been with his film opportunities, he has really struck gold with this movie as Marvel movies always make astronomical amounts of money at the box office. Benedict has been consistent with his movies and over the past five years has been making hit after hit.  

The scoring is ingeniously perfect, thanks to the noted contributions of Michael Giacchino, he does have the potential to be the next John Williams after composing films like STAR TREK and JURASSIC WORLD.

DOCTOR STRANGE is overall a must-see film which is very complex, well acted and a visual delight of an origin story. This movie is quite simply perfect and never fails to entertain.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Monday, 7 November 2016

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Review

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Release Date: 20th October 2016 - Australia

Production Companies
Paramount Pictures (presents)
Skydance Productions (presents)
Huahua Media (in association with)
Shanghai Film Group (in assocaition with)
TC Productions

Paramount Pictures Australia

Genre: Action
Rating: M

Runtime: 118 minutes

Budget: $60,000,000

Box Office Gross: $162,146,076

Plot Summary
Set four years since the events of the first film, when Jack Reacher returns to the headquarters of his old military unit, he finds out he's accused of a homicide that took place 16 years earlier. 

He also finds out that his former Army Major, Susan Turner was arrested for treason. Knowing she is innocent, Jack must break her out of prison and uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy. On the run as fugitives, Jack finds out that it is only a part of something bigger than he thought, as he uncovers a secret from his past that could change his life forever.

Tom Cruise - Jack Reacher
Cobie Smulders - Sophie Turner
Robert Knepper - Gen. Harkness 
Danika Yarosh - Samantha
Patrick Heusinger - The Hunter
Aldis Hodge - Espin
Holt McCallany - Col. Morgan
Madalyn Horcher - Sgt. Leach
Robert Catrini - Col. Moorcroft
Sean Boyd - Decoudreau

Screenplay/Director - Edward Zwick
Based on Novel "Never Go Back" - Lee Child
Screenplay - Richard Wenk and Marshall Herskovitz
Executive Producers - David Ellison, Herb Gains, Dana Goldberg and Paula Wagner 
Producers - Tom Cruise, Don Granger and Christopher McQuarrie
Production Designer - Clay A. Smith
Costume Designer - Lisa Lovaas
Director of Photography - Oliver Wood
Second Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator - Wade Eastwood
Special Effects Supervisor - Garry Elmendorf
Directors of Visual Effects - Ilya Astrakhan and Sean Hooper
Film Editor - Billy Weber
Music - Henry Jackman

Following the four year success of the first JACK REACHER film, Tom Cruise is back in the newest sequel NEVER GO BACK with his old collaborator Edward Zwick succeeding Christopher McQuarrie in the director's chair. Needless to say, it isn't exactly best sequel material and chances of improvement are slim in this dry, action-oriented, commonplace thriller of 2016. On a personal note, I would have seen the original JACK REACHER movie on its showcase, but didn't have the time to do so. Naturally, the sequel is a step back and is taking into bold and unnecessary risks such as a formulaic plot and wooden characterisation.

Tom Cruise is still in good physical condition when even at his middle age, he remains consistent with the role of Jack Reacher being the former major turned vigilante is out to uncover a conspiracy of his past. It doesn't help that he is surrounded by B-grade celebrities that were his fellow cast members (with the exception of Cobie Smulders) who have done nothing to parlay the film of its weaknesses. 

Overall, NEVER GO BACK is a fairly average sequel with amazing action sequences, but is the lesser child of the two movies. Audiences who have seen the first movie will most likely be mildly disappointed by the results of the sequel and it's a worth a try.

Star rating: (5/10) Average

Sunday, 6 November 2016

My Thirteenth Important Message

Hi there, movie fanatics! It's been a long time since I last sent an important message in my blog, but due to having some huge mistakes on one of my reviews. 'Reign of Fire' will be sent back to draft mode and will not be re-uploaded again, until it is updated from having any trace of errors. I can assure you viewers that this will only be temporary for those who have previously read my critique and will get in touch with it soon, when it is back online.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

What Made Independence Day So Special?

Many years from now after INDEPENDENCE DAY (ID4) (click here) opened in theatres on July 4th 1996 in America. Moviegoers were optimistic in seeing a movie about an alien invasion which threatens mankind with extinction and it cannot be denied that this great movie pays tribute to the classic B grade sci-fi alien invasion films. Though cheesy, fun, patriotic and lacking story-wise, ID4 was the definitive blockbuster that changed the benchmark of what makes a summer blockbuster film highly enjoyable. It also relaunched the disaster movie trend which had been dormant since the early 80s, even though TWISTER (click here) did it first in the same year as ID4.

Upon its release, it received much acclaim for its special effects and it made Will Smith a bonafide star, but however, it was criticised for its absurd plot, thin character development, brandished with stereotypes for being generally dense. It also established Roland Emmerich's credibility as a director as he became synonymous with the big-budget disaster movies that gave much influence to films that share the sub-genre like DANTE'S PEAK (click here), VOLCANO, DEEP IMPACT (click here), ARMAGEDDON (click here), SAN ANDREAS (click here), etc.

I have conveniently timed this movie analysis to coincide with the DVD and Blu-ray release of the disappointing sequel INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE (click here). Allow me to talk about what made ID4 so beloved and unforgettable with four of its ceremonious aspects/moments.

#4. Presidential Speech

The movie can be a little absurd,
the presidential speech is
motivational and uplifting;
President Whitmore publicly
addresses the nation and explains
they are now facing a common
enemy from annihilation and will
band together in a final desperate
effort to fight for freedom of
mankind. He inspires hope and
faith in his fellow citizens and
says that "we will not go quietly
into the night!" and "we will not
will vanish without a fight!".
Along with the patriotic music in the background and Bill Pullman's performance, this scene of the speech makes you feel that there is hope left in humanity and that as long as people work together, it can make a difference.

#3. Music

I never been an avid listener to
David Arnold's music of the
entire film catalogue except for
this movie in particular. It
definitely matches the patriotic
theme of the movie and it really
intensifies the mood of the scenes.
Music can really compliment a
movie and the way you feel when
watching a scene. I am happy to
say the music in this movie was
perfectly chosen. All scenes feel
right and create feelings and
impact on your mood in ways
which are in line with what is happening with the story and to the characters. #2. Special Effects

As you know about the special effects of the film were an opportunity to breathe life in its spectacle. ID4 did it with scenes that includes the dogfight sequences and the huge mothership destroying the White House. These were the very techniques that were praised for how realistic they looked and amplified the film's impact. Especially the destruction of the White House being the major focus in the film's advertising campaigns on posters and still images and is one of the iconic money-shots that were visually produced. It was one of the few movies to pour a large amount of physical effects with a small dose of CGI.

#1. Will Smith

At last but not least, the top highlight of ID4 was Will Smith's acting. Sure, the film had a top-notch ensemble cast where Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Randy Quaid and Judd Hirsch are the stars of the major league. It is the actor Will Smith who takes a standout role in the movie and without him there would be no MEN IN BLACK, I. ROBOT, ALI, I AM LEGEND or SUICIDE SQUAD bankrolled in his honour. His performance of the character was quite remarkable and sassy for an African-American actor, not to mention he gave us infectious laughs with his snappy one-liners like "Welcome to Earth" after punching the alien in the face and "And what the hell is that smell?!!" which he ad-libbed while suffering from the revolting stench of brine shrimp when this scene was shot in the Lake Salt flats.


ID4 may not have been perfect for a science-fiction blockbuster, some imitators like BATTLEFIELD EARTH and so forth could not compete with the over-the-top style of science-fiction that made the film a guilty pleasure. Either see it in its original theatrical form or the special edition if you want the full or best experience with the film, Like it or not, it proves that ID4 is in some ways better than the less than memorable sequel and this concludes my analysis of the movie that I personally consider one of the favourites.