Monday, 31 July 2017

Despicable Me 3 Review

Despicable Me 3

Release Date: 15th June 2017 - Australia

Production Companies
Universal Pictures
Illumination Entertainment

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family 

Rating: PG

Runtime: 90 minutes

Budget: $80,000,000

Box Office Gross: $1,034,799,409 (Worldwide)

Plot Summary
The mischevious Minions hope that Gru will return to a life of crime after the new boss of the Anti-Villain League fires him. Instead, Gru decides to remain retired and travel to Freedonia to meet his long-lost twin brother for the first time. The reunited siblings soon find themselves in an uneasy alliance to take down the elusive Balthazar Bratt, a former 1980s child star who seeks revenge against the world. 

Voice Cast
Steve Carrell - Gru/Dru
Trey Parker - Balthazar Bratt
Julie Andrews - Gru's Mom
Kristen Wiig - Lucy Wilde
Miranda Cosgrove - Margo
Dana Gaier - Edith 

Nev Scharrel - Agnes
Pierre Coffin
- Minions/
Steve Coogan - Fritz/Silas Ramsbottom
Jenny Slate - Valerie Da Vinci
Andy Nyman - Clyde the Robot
Adrian Ciscato - Niko
Katia Saponenko - Niko's Mother
Chris Renaud - Additional Minions

Directors - Pierre Coffin & Kyle Balda
Co-Director/Character Designer - Eric Guillon
Screenplay - Ken Daurio & Cinco Paul

Executive Producer - Chris Renaud
Producers - Janet Healy & 

Christopher Meledandri
Character Designers - Nicolas Bauduin & Carter Goodrich
Additional Character Designer - Chris Reccardi 
Animation Directors - Bruno Dequier & Julien Soret 
Layout Supervisor - Regis Schuller
Film Editors - Claire Dodgson
Score - Heitor Pereira
Original Songs and Themes - Pharrell Williams

So sorry for taking break in getting the review for the third DESPICABLE ME instalment finished, as I was busy with my long-term animated project to also get it going. The series is still appealing to youngsters and are keeping the high amount of box office receipts with its prequel spin-off MINIONS (click here) as the second top-grossing animated feature next to FROZEN. However, viewers are sceptical that this latest three-quel will be a minor letdown like the aforementioned feature that turned out to be wearisome as expected. The makers from Illumination have not given up hope on the franchise as the first movie was such a success, the question was what needed to be done to begin a film series. That being said, DESPICABLE ME 3 was a slight improvement and reduces the problems that have been mostly addressed from the forgettable spin-off. The minions get less screen-time and were still the primary focus on the film that has its outrageously funnier moments. The animation was brightly sugar-coated and the brand of creativity is still there as much of this was retained from the first two instalments. 

Steve Carell is back to not only voice the main character Gru but also portrays in a dual role as his long-lost twin Dru whom he hasn't seen in ages. Trey Parker of SOUTH PARK fame lends his voice in a children's movie as Balthazar Bratt, a bitter actor turned super-villain who is stuck in the 80s and is bent on recapturing the glory days through wreaking havoc and mayhem.

DESPICABLE ME 3 was not much better or greater than the original. The zaniness appeared to be intact and there is not much it can do to live up to the greater charm of the first two. I considered it as always to be the most highly-entertaining animated film that the families can all enjoy. I recommend that you must see it in theatres or if you miss out wait to catch up with this movie on DVD or video streaming.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming 

Release Date: 6th July 2017 - Australia

Production Companies 
Columbia Pictures
Marvel Studios 
Pascal Pictures 

Sony Pictures Australia 

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 133 minutes 

Budget: $175,000,000

Box Office Gross: $880,166,924 (Worldwide) 

Plot Summary 
Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May. Under the watchful eye of his mentor Tony Stark, Parker starts to embrace his newfound identity as Spider-Man. He also tries to return to his normal daily routine -- distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just a friendly neighbourhood superhero. Peter must soon put his powers to the test when the evil Vulture emerges to threaten everything that he holds dear.

Tom Holland - Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Robert Downey, Jr. - Tony Stark/Iron Man
Michael Keaton - Adrian Toomes/Vulture
Zendaya - Michelle
Marisa Tomei - Aunt May
Tony Revolori - Flash
Donald Glover - Aaron Davis
Laura Harrier - Liz Allan
Bokeem Woodbine - Herman 
Schultz/Shocker #2
Kenneth Choi - Principal Monta
Martin Starr - Mr. Harrington
Jacob Batalon - Ned
Hannibal Buress - Coach Wilson
Logan Marshall-Green - Jackson Brice/Shocker #1
Jon Favreau - Happy Hogan
Gwyneth Paltrow - Pepper Potts (Cameo)
Tyne Daly - Anne Marie Hoag
Abraham Attah - Abe 
Selenis Leyva - Ms. Warren
Garcelle Beauvais - Doris Toomes
Michael Cherus - The Tinkerer
Michael Mando - Mac Gargan
Chris Evans - Steve Rogers/Captain America (Cameo)
Jennifer Connelly - Karen/Suit Lady (Voice)
Gary Weeks - Agent Foster
Christopher Berry - Randy
Jorge Lendeborg Jr. - Jason

Screenplay/Director - Jon Watts
Based on Marvel Comic Book
"The Amazing Spider-Man"/
Executive Producer - Stan Lee
Character Creators: Captain
America - Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Screen Story/Screenplay - Jonathan Goldstein
and John Francis Daley
Screenplay - Christopher Ford,
Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers
Executive Producers - Victoria Alonzo,
Avi Arad, Louis D'Esposito, Jeremy Latcham
and Matt Tolmach
Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager -
Patricia Whitcher
Producers - Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige
Co-Producers - Mitchell Bell,
Eric Hauserman Carroll and Rachel O'Connor
Production Designer - Oliver Scholl
Costume Designer - Louise Frogley
Director of Photography - Salvatore Totino 
Stunt Coordinator - George Cottle
Special Effects Supervisor - Daniel Sudick
Visual Effects Supervisors - Janek Sirrs,
Theodore Bialek, Lou Pecora and
Dominik Zimmerle
Additional Visual Effects Supervisor - Edwin Rivera, 
Film Editors - Debbie Berman and Dan Leb
Music - Michael Giacchino

It's been a while since we last saw our friendly neighbourhood web-slinger in his very own movie after THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 disappointed most audiences everywhere. Now that the title character has become an official member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) when being introduced in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (click here). Sony gave back the cinematic rights of the characters to Disney unless permission is granted to borrow the main hero in new standalone features. Embracing the steps of a lighthearted tone and a new modern look to the franchise, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING was a chance to be different from the comics. It was a bit of a coming-of-age story for Peter Parker who was still a high-school student and is trying to balance his life as a superhero and a normal teenager. 

Previous film adaptations showcased the character's past, how he gained his powers and how a tragedy convinced him to become the hero that he is now destined to be. These past directors like Sam Raimi and Webb knew how to tell the origins straight and differently. But paled in comparison to Jon Watts, who was an indie filmmaker noticed by Hollywood, that he is a perfect extraordinaire to helm HOMECOMING. It's the first mega-budgeted blockbuster that Watts has ever done and he will have several features to come in the near-future.

Tom Holland was still the energetic youth-looking actor performing restlessly as the amazing title protagonist than we last saw him in CIVIL WAR. He appears to be quite adjusted for the role and nothing is prepared for former actors like Tobey Maguire to be just like him. Michael Keaton has once been in a superhero film as Batman in Tim Burton's first two interpretations and is now portraying Spider-Man's arch-nemesis, the Vulture with an allusion to his previous role of BIRDMAN. Michael Giacchino's score to HOMECOMIMG was faithful to its colorfully toned look and the instrumental pieces were doused in moments of comedy, action and drama.

I have enjoyed the film sincerely as I liked it more than the originals. HOMECOMING welcomes the character back to its reinvigorated setting and is probably the only Spider-Man movie that will live up to my expectations. I recommend this feature for viewing by audiences including Marvel comic book fans as it is now showing in theatres.
Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Monday, 10 July 2017

Con Air Review

Con Air

Release Date: 17th July 1997 - Australia

Production Companies
Touchstone Pictures
Jerry Bruckheimer Films

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia 

Genre: Action

Rating: MA15+ (Not Suitable 
for Young Children)

Runtime: 115 minutes

Budget: $75,000,000

Box Office Gross: $224,012,234 

Plot Summary
On an aircraft carrying some of the most notorious criminals of all time, the recently paroled Cameron Poe is hitching a ride home to his wife and daughter. But he suddenly finds himself embroiled in a midair skyjacking masterminded by Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom. While Cameron fights to keep these savage convicts from massacring everyone on board as they careen toward the famed Las Vegas Strip, a government agent on the ground battles to keep his overzealous superiors from blowing the plane into oblivion!

Nicolas Cage - Cameron Poe
John Cusack - Vince Larkin
John Malkovich - Cyrus 'The Virus' Grissom
Ving Rhames - Diamond Dog
Steve Buscemi - Garland 'The Mareitta Mangler' Greene
Colm Meaney - Duncan Malloy
Mykelti Williamson - Baby-O
Rachel Ticotin - Guard Sally Bishop
Monica Potter - Tricia Poe
Nick Chinlund - Billy Bedlam
Renoly Santiago - Ramon 'Sally-Can't Dance' Martinez
Dave Chapelle - Pinball
Steve Eastin - Guard Falzon
Danny Trejo - Johnny-23
M.C. Gainey - Swamp Thing
Landry Allbright - Casey Poe
Brendan Kelly - Conrad
Jesse Borrego - Francisco Cindino
John Roselius - Skip Devers

Director - Simon West
Writer - Scott Rosenberg
Executive Producers - Chad Oman, Jonathan Hensleigh, Jim Kouf and Lynn Bigelow
Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager - Peter Bogart
Producer - Jerry Bruckheimer
Associate Producer/Stunt Coordinator - Kenny Bates
Art Directors - Chas. Butcher, Edward T. McAvoy and Seven L. Nielsen (Uncredited)
Visual Consultant - Deborah Evans
Costume Designer - Bobbie Read
Director of Photography - David Tattersall
Stunt Coordinator - Steve Pirceni 
Visual Effects Supervisor - David Goldberg
Film Editors - Chris Lebonzon, Steve Mirkovich and Glen Scantlebury
Music - Mark Mancina and Trevor Rabin 


1998 Academy Awards
Best Sound - Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Art Rochester (Nominated)
Best Original Song "How Do I Live" - Diane Warren (Nominated)

CON AIR was the first movie that was solely produced by Jerry Bruckheimer after the death of his production partner Don Simpson. This matinee action movie takes you airborne and is enough to get ridiculous in its non-stop action, corniness and pure insanity. The plot of the film however is very believable but follows the typical action cliche in every other feature in its sole genre. It is also the directorial debut of Simon West who has an early career of producing music videos and commercials in the U.K before he journeyed to Hollywood. He was fantastic for directing CON AIR and was proud to include its fast-pace in the story-line, action sequences and editing. I liked how Scott Rosenberg's humorous script-writing fits into the movie with each of these moments that were delivered as a punch in the gut and it worked. I can't be too harsh on this movie for being too violent in its excessive gore imagery as parents and moral guardians abide it. Surprisingly, it features the most extensive property damage and a huge body count in some scenes.

Nicolas Cage was in his second time around with the producer as he portrays a newly pardoned, ex-military figure who gets involved in a skyjacking by his fellow convicts. A remarkable actor with a large presence to steer a good performance but not enough to pull a fake accent. John Malkovich was a deliberate standout actor as he gets hammy with Cyrus the Virus, the insane mastermind behind the skyjacking. Joining with Cage and Malkovich are fellow cast members Steve Buscemi who was the Hannibal Lecter type comic relief and John Cusack is the agent who is out to get Cyrus and foil his dastardly scheme.

CON AIR was at its best, a colourful and explosive popcorn feature that has been considered a must-see for a movie-goer who has never seen the film for the first time.

Star rating: (7/10) Good Movie

Monday, 3 July 2017

Batman Begins Re-Review

Batman Begins

Release Date: 16th June 2005 - Australia

Production Companies
Warner Bros. Pictures
DC Comics
Legendary Pictures (Uncredited)
Palatex Productions

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 140 minutes

Budget: $150,000,000

Box Office Gross: $374,218,673

Plot Summary
After his parents' murder,
disillusioned heir Bruce
Wayne travels the world
seeking the means to fight
injustice. With the help of
his trusted butler Alfred,
detective Jim Gordon and
his ally Lucius Fox, Wayne
returns to Gotham and
unleashes his alter-ego:
Batman, a masked crusader
who uses strength, intellect
and high-tech weaponry to
fight evil.

Christian Bale - Bruce Wayne/
Gus Lewis - Young Bruce Wayne
Michael Caine - Alfred Pennyworth
Liam Neeson - Henri Ducard
Katie Holmes - Rachel Dawes
Emma Lockhart - Young Rachel
Gary Oldman - Sgt. James Gordon
Morgan Freeman - Lucius Fox
Cillian Murphy - Dr. Jonathan
Crane/The Scarecrow
Tom Wilkinson - Carmine Falcone
Rutger Hager - William Earle
Ken Watanabe - Ra's Al Ghul
Mark Boone Junior - Det. Arnold Flass
Larry Holden - Carl Finch
Colin McFarlane - Gillian B. Loeb
Gus Lewis - Young Bruce Wayne
Emma Lockhart - Young Rachel
Linus Roache - Thomas Wayne
Sara Stewart - Martha Wayne
Richard Brake - Joe Chill
Tim Booth - Victor Zsasz
Gerard Murphy - Judge Faden
Rade Serbedzjia - Homeless Man
Jack Gleeson - Little Boy

Screenplay/Director -
Christopher Nolan
Based on Characters - Bob Kane
Story/Screenplay - David S. Goyer
Executive Producers - Benjamin Melniker & Michael Uslan
Producers - Larry J. Franco, Charles Roven,
Emma Thomas & Lorne Orleans (IMAX Version)
Production Designer - Nathan Crowley
Costume Designer - Lindy Hemming
Prosthetics/Costume Effects Consultant - Nick Dudman
Director of Photography - Wally Pfister
Stunt Coordinator - Paul Jennings 
Special Effects Coordinator - Chris Corbould
Visual Effects Supervisor: Double Negative -
Paul J. Franklin
Visual Effects Supervisors - Dan Glass & Janek Sirrs
Film Editor - Lee Smith
Music - James Newton Howard & Hans Zimmer


2006 Academy Awards
Best Cinematography - Wally Pfister (Nominated)

It was widely seen as an exceptional reboot of the titular character, BATMAN BEGINS was a breakthrough of Chris Nolan's career which has been in uphill since a few films in the past like MEMENTO and INSOMNIA were released as critical achievements. After viewing BATMAN BEGINS for the first time I thought it was a great movie, I have since re-watched it several times and now revised my opinion that the feature was spectacular. Although its successor THE DARK KNIGHT (click here) was a much more popular film in regards to its hype, this is the first that brought together a whole trilogy. Still dark and tense as the movie re-tells the origins how Bruce Wayne became the dark winged avenger through a painful childhood experience. Many fans of the comics were sceptical of this movie in its pre-release before it opened and it was a huge surprise to win them back for its return of dark atmosphere. It still maintains the tone that Nolan conspicuously uses in his spectacles and though it contains psychological themes that were not seen in a Batman movie for a long time.

Christian Bale was an ideal actor to portray the dark knight and prior to Ben Affleck, he was still the greatest that ever lived. I liked how his performance displays the determination and physical prowess which proved integral to his character. His predecessors like Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and to a lesser extent George Clooney have got nothing against the lead actor who replaced them. He has two movies to go before the saga is to reach its climatic finale with THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (click here) as his last. The other actors like Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman and Cillian Murphy were understated and well-privileged in their performances. One actress I had failed to mention in my older critique of the movie, Katie Holmes was too inexperienced as Bruce's love interest Rachel Dawes and for some reason, she may not be right for the role that suits her. The music score by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard was brilliant in over-perfection and accompanies the movie into its pure setting of seriousness.

BATMAN BEGINS has evolved from the Batman movies of my youth. It's an amazingly uptight start of a trilogy and though it was the best movie second only to THE DARK KNIGHT. I consider it now to be my third personal favourite Batman movie. To those who have seen the film before, will probably enjoy it with its later two entries in order of its continuity.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever