Saturday, 31 December 2011

Film Review: EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990)

Edward Scissorhands - poster Co-Writer/Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Caroline Thompson (Story/Screenplay) & Tim Burton (Story)
Running time: 105 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Fantasy/Drama/Romance
UK Release date: 26th July 1991

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 31st December 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

To me, this is one of Tim Burton’s finest works; I must admit I have been less than impressed with his more recent offerings, but he was bang on form the day he came up with this one! A modern fairytale set in what appears to be 1950’s American suburbia; everything about it is almost perfect. Everything from the music by Danny Elfman to the effects by Stan Winston is brilliantly done and works so well together. But I digress, here’s a brief summary before I heap more praise on this wonderful film.

Edward Scissorhands - 1 When housewife, and Avon lady, Peg Boggs decides to visit the big ruined house on the hill, she comes back with more than she expected. There she finds a young man, Edward, who, for some inexplicable reason, has scissors for hands. We are told, in flashback, how this came to be; the inventor had made him that way but had sadly died before he could complete his work. Edward is soon the talk of the neighbourhood and when it is discovered that he can do brilliant topiary (hedge clipping) and even cut and style hair, he becomes a bit of a celebrity. He soon grows a fondness for Peg’s daughter, Kim, who is going out with local rich kid, Jim. He’s a bit of a bully and things are about to turn a bit nasty for Edward. I will leave my summary here or the Spoiler Police will send me back to that draughty house on the hill (again).

Edward Scissorhands - 7 I love the look and feel of this film; everything seems to fit in the world Burton has created perfectly. With no CGI I think the effects are really great, I’m still trying to figure out how some of it was done! Excellent performances all round and so honourable mentions go to; Johnny Depp as Edward, Winona Ryder as Kim, Dianne Wiest, who I think was really great as Peg, Anthony Michael Hall as Jim, Kathy Baker as Joyce, Alan Arkin as Bill and in one of his last roles, Vincent Price as The Inventor.

Edward Scissorhands - 6 There is a lot about this film to like, and much I have mentioned already. On the downside though, I did find the plot a little predictable in that there had to be a bad guy, a damsel in distress and a sacrifice. This is the only thing that lets it down. I really like this film and would love to give it a higher score, but I guess the studio had its say in the end. But it’s not all that bad; it still comes very highly recommended from me.

My score: 8.9/10

IMDb Score: 8.0/10 (based on 143,869 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0099487/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 91/100 (based on 54 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 63/100 (based on 939,836 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/edward_scissorhands/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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Edward Scissorhands - 2 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Peg Boggs: Why are you hiding back there? You don't have to hide from me - I'm Peg Boggs, your local Avon representative and I'm as harmless as cherry pie...
[sees Edward come toward her]
Peg Boggs: Oh - I can see that I've disturbed you. I'll just be going now...
Edward: Don't go.
Peg Boggs: [sees his scissor hands] Oh, my. What happened to you?
Edward: I'm not finished.

Esmerelda: It's not heaven he's from! It's straight from the stinking flames of hell! The power of Satan is in him, I can feel it. Can't you? Have you poor sheep strayed so far from the path?
Edward: We're not sheep.
Esmerelda: Don't come near me!

Bill: So Edward, did you have a productive day?
Edward: Mrs Monroe showed me where the salon's going to be.
[turns to Peg]
Edward: You could have a cosmetics counter.
Peg Boggs: Oh, wouldn't that be great!
Bill: Great.
Edward: And then she showed me the back room where she took all of her clothes off.
[everyone stares, Kevin snickers]

Edward Scissorhands - 5 [last lines]
Kim: You see, before he came down here, it never snowed. And afterwards, it did. If he weren't up there now... I don't think it would be snowing. Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in it.

LINKS:
Trailer:

Friday, 30 December 2011

Film Review: THE KING’S SPEECH (2010) - Revisited

The King's Speech - poster (nz) Director: Tom Hooper
Writer (Screenplay): David Seidler
Running time: 118 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Comedy
UK Release date: 7th January 2011

Watched on Sky+ Friday 30th December 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is the second time I have seen this film this year; first time was in the cinema, and now it has made it to the small screen. I always like a film based on true events, it seems that real life has just as many amazing stories as pure fiction and this is a case in point. A man who stammers has to rise above his affliction, with the help and support of those around him, to speak for a nation. It’s quite a remarkable film. Here’s a short summary first before I give you my thoughts.

The King's Speech - 4 King George VI, known as Bertie to his friends and family, was not born to be king. That honour went to his older brother David, or King Edward VIII, after their father George V passed away. Unfortunately, David finds he cannot carry out his duties due to events in his private life (quite a scandal actually) and so Bertie has to step in. A long time before this he had started seeing an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue. He had always stammered and found it particularly hard to speak in public. With the help and support of Logue, his wife, Elizabeth and his daughters another Elizabeth (later to become Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret; this film depicts how he overcame his problems to give a very important speech live on the radio to the entire British Empire (as it was then) just after the outbreak of World War II. It also gives an insight into the reasons for Edward’s abdication and the effect it has on the nation. But I think that’s enough summary for now or the Spoiler Police (Royal Division) will have me banged up in the tower (again).

The King's Speech - 1 I found this a totally engaging film from start to finish. As a Brit, I was taught about the abdication of Edward VII in school, but I never knew about George VI’s stammer or the work of Lionel Logue. Of course, the film is most noted for the performance of Colin Firth as King George VI, which is totally justified, he is outstanding! Also worthy of note are both Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue and Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth (great casting IMO). Honourable mentions go to Derek Jacobi as Archbishop Cosmo Lang, Michael Gambon as King George V, Guy Pearce as King Edward VIII, Claire Bloom as Queen Mary and Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill.

Apart from the performances, I thought it was an excellent screenplay by David Seidler (a Brit who grew up in the US). Nicely directed by Tom Hooper, it depicts the period perfectly. This is a film with many laughs, more than a lot of modern ‘comedies’, IMO, which serve to lift the mood of what is, after all, rather serious events in world history. I also liked the music by Alexandre Desplat, very pleasing to the ear and matched the atmosphere perfectly. Over all, brilliant performances, a great story and a few laughs along the way… who could ask for more? Very highly recommended.

My score: 9.1/10

IMDb Score: 8.3/10 (based on 138,514 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1504320/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 95/100 (based on 215 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 93/100 (based on 113,112 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_kings_speech/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

The King's Speech - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Queen Elizabeth: [Using the name "Mrs. Johnson"] My husband's work involves a great deal of public speaking.
Lionel Logue: Then he should change jobs.
Queen Elizabeth: He can't.
Lionel Logue: What is he, an indentured servant?
Queen Elizabeth: Something like that.

Lionel Logue: Do you know any jokes?
King George VI: ...Timing isn't my strong suit.

[watching a clip of Hitler speaking]
Lilibet: What's he saying?
King George VI: I don't know but... he seems to be saying it rather well.

The King's Speech - 5 King George VI: [as he prepares to broadcast his wartime speech] However this turns out; I don't know how to thank you.
Lionel Logue: [after a pause] Knighthood?

LINKS:
Official Site: http://www.kingsspeech.com/
Trailer:

Film Review: NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND (1984)

Nausicaa of The Valley of the Wind - poster Original Title: Kaze no tani no Naushika

Writer/Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Running time: 117 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Animation/Fantasy/Adventure
Japan Release date: 11th March 1984

Watched on Sky+ Friday 30th December 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

The last in my current series of Studio Ghibli films; you can have a little too much Ghibli if you’re not careful! Fear not, I shall be returning to films from this studio sometime in the New Year so stay posted. This is an interesting one; I found the concept most intriguing but the execution (I’m sad to say) left a little to be desired (IMO). Technically and imaginatively, it’s up there with the best of them, I just found it didn’t quite have the punch I was expecting. More of my thoughts after this very brief summary.

Nausicaa of The Valley of the Wind - 1 A thousand years after the world was laid waste small kingdoms exist on the margins of a polluted planet. One of these is The Valley of the Wind where a princess, Nausicaä, flies over the toxic forests in her glider. Giant insects inhabit the forest and she is respectful of them. She finds she is called upon when her valley is invaded by those who would unleash the monsters that had initially destroyed the world. Can she calm the beasts in the Toxic Forest before they destroy what is left of humanity? As you can probably guess, the Spoiler Police would not be pleased if I told you here… In fact, I fear they would send me back to the Toxic Forest (again).

Nausicaa of The Valley of the Wind - 2 Beautifully animated throughout and with great imagination, I can’t fault the way this film looks or the imagination of Hayao Miyazaki. To come up with a world like this must have taken a great deal of time and effort. I saw the Japanese version (with subtitles) although I have heard of a dubbed (and severely ‘kiddiefied’) version – beware this one.

Nausicaa of The Valley of the Wind - 5 I guess the problem I had with this film was that, although it’s brilliantly conceived and made, it failed to have any emotional impact on me and it lacked the punch I have come to expect from Miyazaki’s work. I guess the characters didn’t have enough depth for me to really care about them enough. Add to that the fact that I found it way too long and I guess it’s failing on two counts! Having said that, I think it’s still worth a viewing… You never know, you may love it a tad more than I did!... Recommended (just).

My score: 7.2/10.

IMDb Score: 8.1/10 (based on 29,997 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0087544/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 80/100 (based on 10 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 63/100 (based on 65,379 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/nausicaa_of_the_valley_of_the_wind/

Nausicaa of The Valley of the Wind - 7 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Nausicaä: It's so beautiful. It's hard to believe these spores could kill me.

Kushana: Nice valley. Think I'll keep it.

Yupa: In the midst of my travels, I heard of an ominous rumour... It said that a monster from the ancient world had been excavated from beneath the city of Pejite where it had been sleeping.
Mito: A monster from the ancient world?
Yupa: It's a God Warrior.
Mito: A God Warrior? You mean, the ones that burned the world in the Seven Days of Fire...? This thing...!
Yupa: All God Warriors should have become fossils. But this one managed to sleep underground for 1000 years.
Mito: Now that you mention it, it does seem to have a human form.

Nausicaa of The Valley of the Wind - 4 LINKS:
GhibliWiki: http://www.nausicaa.net/wiki/Main_Page
Trailer:

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Film Review: SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS (2011)

Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows - poster Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers (Screenplay): Michele Mulroney & Kieran Mulroney
Writer (Characters: Holmes & Watson): Arthur Conan Doyle
Running time: 129 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Action/Adventure/Crime
UK Release date: 16th December 2011

Watched at the cinema Wednesday 28th December 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Having watched and enjoyed the previous Guy Richie Sherlock Holmes film at about the same time last year, it was nice to re-acquaint myself with the franchise on its second instalment. All the elements that made the first film great are back again, more so in some cases, and it was great to see that Richie still hasn’t lost his eye for the visuals. I will give you more of my thoughts after this brief summary.

Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows - 5 Countries in Europe are being brought to the brink of war due to a series of bombings that appear to be being perpetrated by extremists. The truth is, they are all the work of one man, Professor James Moriarty. It is clear that there is only one person who has the capability to stop him; Sherlock Holmes. Of course he drags Dr. Watson into it and manages to ruin his stag night in the process. The damsel in distress this time comes in the form of a gypsy fortune teller, Madam Simza Heron, whose brother has been incorporated into Moriarty’s plan. Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft Holmes also gets involved and that makes for some interesting times. The question is, can Holmes and Watson foil Moriarty’s plans? Well, as you can probably guess, those Spoiler Police with their fiendish disguises may well be in the room at this very moment, so I must be very careful not to say too much (again).

Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows - 3 As we’ve come to expect, this film looks great, Guy Richie really knows his craft and all the tricks are in evidence here. Some really superb ‘bullet time’ effects and some great fight scenes are fast becoming Richie’s hallmark. A great soundtrack from Hans Zimmer also backs up the visuals perfectly. All the performances were great, in particular; Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Dr, John Watson, both did a great job reprising the bromance that was so successful in the first film. Also worthy of note were; Noomi Rapace as Madam Simza Heron, Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler, Jared Harris as Professor James Moriarty, Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes, Paul Anderson as Colonel Sebastian Moran, Kelly Reilly as Mary Watson and Geraldine James as Mrs. Hudson.

SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS Lots of action, a fair smattering of comedy and a thrilling plot go together to make up this film. Most of it works pretty well, however there is a bit of a weak link and that is the part of the story involving the character played by the, woefully underused, Noomi Rapace. I thought it was a little weak and didn’t quite have enough believability (for me). Having said that, the rest of the film was very thrilling and entertaining throughout with a great ending! Over all, I did enjoy this film a lot more than I thought I would at the beginning and so I’m very pleased to deem it… Recommended.

My score: 7.7/10

IMDb Score: 7.8/10 (based on 19,468 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1515091/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 59/100 (based on 173 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 85/100 (based on 48,913 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/sherlock_holmes_a_game_of_shadows/

Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows - 6 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Professor Moriaty: Are you sure you want to play this game?
Sherlock Holmes: I'm afraid you'd lose.

Dr. John Watson: [seeing Holmes's drag outfit] What?
Sherlock Holmes: I agree it's not my best disguise.

Mycroft Holmes: [referring to Watson] You know, he's nothing like as slow witted as you've been leading me to believe, Sherly.

Sherlock Holmes: Uh, hmm... Right. Where are the wagons?
Madam Simza Heron: The wagon is too slow. Can't you ride?
Dr. John Watson: It's not that he can't ride... How is it you put it, hon?
Sherlock Holmes: They're dangerous at both ends and... crafty in the middle. Why would I want anything with a mind of its own bobbing about between my legs?

Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows - 4 LINKS:
Official Site: http://sherlockholmes2.warnerbros.com/
Trailer:

Film Review: THE DA VINCI CODE (2006)

The Da Vinci Code - poster Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Akiva Goldsman (Screenplay), Dan Brown (Novel)
Running time: 149 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
UK Release date: 19th May 2006

Watched on DVD Tuesday 27th December 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Whilst visiting some friends this film came up in conversation for some reason, I can’t exactly remember just why now, but needless to say, a viewing was hastily arranged. Having previously read the book I had a pretty good idea about the storyline and so settled down to enjoy Ron Howard’s interpretation. I will give you my thoughts after this very brief summary.

The Da Vinci Code - 6 A murder has been committed at the Louvre museum in Paris; an eminent professor has been killed, but he has left clues to the identity of his murderer. Robert Langdon, an expert in symbology is called in by the police… but do they have an ulterior motive? The victim’s granddaughter, cryptologist Sophie Neveu warns Langdon that he is in danger. They manage to fool the police into thinking they’ve escaped and take to opportunity to look for clues. What they find leads them to a revelation that, if made public, would blow religion wide apart! To this end, they are also pursued by an agent of the church, Silas, a cold blooded killer… I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police will have me clapped in irons (again).

The Da Vinci Code - 1 This is a very well made film that looks great on the screen; you can tell there was a good chunk of money thrown at the project. The music, by Hans Zimmer,was also great and fitted the visuals perfectly. As far as performances go, well I thought the best performance came from Ian McKellen as Sir Leigh Teabing, for me he stood out. Honourable mentions must go to; Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu, Jean Reno as Captain Bezu Fache, Paul Bettany as Silas and Alfred Molina as Bishop Manuel Aringarosa.

The Da Vinci Code - 4 In scanning through other reviews, the phrase, ‘not as good as the book’ seems to come up quite a lot, and I must say I agree, the book is better. Having said that, I did find that, although it is very long, the time passed pretty quickly due to the fast-paced storytelling. The problem with this is that it’s quite easy to miss a vital piece of the puzzle and that can be annoying. For me, it was a decent effort to put on the screen quite a complicated tale. Unfortunately if falls down because there are just a couple too many coincidences that work out. A blind alley here and there might have helped (IMO). At the end of the day, if you haven’t read the book it’s still an entertaining watch and one that may well spark a little debate. (It certainly did with me and my friends!)… Recommended (just).

My Score: 6.5/10.

IMDb Score: 6.4/10 (based on 147,704 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0382625/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 25/100 (based on 220 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 64/100 (based on 682,325 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/da_vinci_code/

The Da Vinci Code - 5 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Silas: Stop now. Tell me where it is.
[removes hood]
Silas: You and your brethren possess what is not rightfully yours.
Jacques Saunière: I don't know what you are talking about.
Silas: Is it a secret you will die for?
Jacques Saunière: Please...
Silas: As you wish.
[cocks gun]

Robert Langdon: It's an old wives' tale.
Sir Leigh Teabing: The original one, in fact!

The Da Vinci Code - 2 Robert Langdon: The ancient male symbol was the blade, it's a basic phallus. It's still used today on military uniforms.
Sir Leigh Teabing: Yes, and the more penises you have, the higher your rank. Boys will be boys!

[last lines]
Robert Langdon: She rests at last beneath starry skies.

LINKS:
Official Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/davincicode/international/
Trailer:

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Film Review: MEGAMIND (2010)

Megamind - poster Director: Tom McGrath
Writers: Alan J. Schoolcraft & Brent Simons
Running time: 92 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Animation/Action/Comedy
UK Release date: 3rd December 2010

Watched at the cinema Tuesday 27th December 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is another of those blockbuster animated films that uses the voices of famous stars to sell it. Well that’s what I was led to believe from the hype anyway. At the end of the day I decided it wasn’t all that bad. As far as I’m concerned, anyone could be supplying the voices in this one; it’s the writing that makes it (for me). I’m sure contributions were made by those involved, but the basic storyline would have remained the same and it’s the story that holds the thing together. Of course I was also immune to the 3D because I watched it in exactly the same number of dimensions the screen has. But I digress, here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Megamind - 1 With their planets doomed, two babies are sent towards Earth. One lands at a mansion and is brought up in a privileged home. He has superpowers and grows up to be the good guy: Metro Man. The other, well he lands in a prison, has no superpowers, but a genius mind and he becomes the bad guy: Megamind. The pair have many battles over the years with Metro Man always finishing with the upper hand. But this time it would be different; this time Megamind has a particularly evil plan. He kidnaps Metro Man’s girlfriend, reporter Roxanne Ritchie, and lures Metro Man to his doom. But will the destruction of Metro Man give Megamind everything he wants? Well, I’m afraid the Spoiler Police would really not like me telling you that… and anyway, they’ve threatened me with the ‘forget-me stick’ if I tell.

Megamind - 3 The animation is up to DreamWorks’ usual standard, nothing particularly extraordinary about it really. I love the soundtrack, but then again, put AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne and Guns ‘n’ Roses in there and I’m yours! (I saw at least two of them in the same bill once). Performance wise, well everyone did a decent job, so I’ll give honourable mentions to the voice talents of; Will Ferrell as Megamind, Tina Fey as Roxanne Ritchie, Brad Pitt as Metro Man, Jonah Hill as Hal Stewart/ Titan, David Cross as Minion and Ben Stiller as Bernard.

Megamind - 2 The whole story is told from the point of view of Megamind which makes for an interesting dynamic. You end up sympathising with the bad guy and that, I guess, is what makes the whole thing work. I liked the storyline, but I suspect it may have been a little too complicated for younger members of the audience. They also fall into the trap of putting little nods to older films so the parents don’t get bored, I suppose, and this is all getting a little cliché Hollywood. Still, it’s pretty entertaining over all and one that’s worth a look… ‘Recommended’.

My score: 7.3/10.

IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 50,452 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1001526/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 72/100 (based on 170 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 73/100 (based on 93,545 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/megamind/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Megamind - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Megamind: Here's my day so far: went to jail, lost the girl of my dreams and got my butt kicked pretty good. Still, things could be a lot worse. Oh, that's right... I'm falling to my death. Guess they can't. How did it all come to this? Well, my end starts at the beginning... The very beginning!

Megamind: This will be the last you ever hear of... Roxanne Ritchie! Huh?
Metro Man: [gasps] Roxanne! Don't panic, Roxy... I'm on my way!
Roxanne Ritchie: I'm not panicking.
Megamind: [smirking] In order to stop me, you'll have to find us first!
Roxanne Ritchie: We're at the abandoned observatory!
Megamind: [lunges for the control and turns off the camera on Roxanne] Nooo! We're NOT! Don't listen to her, she's crazy!

Megamind - 5 [a solar-powered laser starts to activate]
Minion: [at a monitor] Death ray readying!
Megamind: Let's see if Metro Man can withstand the full concentrated power of the sun! FIRE!
[nothing happens]
Megamind: [to Minion] Fire!
Minion: [at monitor] Still warming up, sir.
Megamind: Come again?
Minion: Warming up.
Megamind: Warming up? The sun is WARMING UP?
Minion: Just a little more and...

LINKS:
Official Site: http://www.megamind.com/
Trailer:

Monday, 26 December 2011

Film Review: MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO (1988)

My Neighbour Totoro - poster Original Title: Tonari no Totoro

Writer/Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Running time: 86 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U

Genre: Animation/Adventure/Family
Japan Release date: 16th April 1988

Watched at the cinema Monday 26th December 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Another one in my mini Studio Ghibli series. I remember the first time I saw this how blown away I was by the way everything looked so natural. The way people move, the animals and the plants all drawn with such care and attention to detail. Add to that a magical story and you’ve got what Disney is constantly on the lookout for. Unfortunately (for them) it’s a story that I don’t think would translate well for the markets they’re catering for. But I digress, here is a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts on the matter.

My Neighbour Totoro - 4 Satsuki and Mei have moved house with their father so they can be near their mother who is in hospital. Their new house is in the countryside next to a forest. The girls have great fun exploring and when Satsuki has to go to school Mai goes off on her own. She discovers some magical forest creatures, Totoro’s, one of which is of massive proportions! Soon Satsuki sees him too and they have many adventures together. But when Mei gets lost and Satsuki has exhausted every other avenue of help, it’s to Totoro that she turns… Can he help her find her little sister? Well, I guess I had better not tell you that or the Spoiler Police (Ghibli Division) will be revoking my viewing rights (again).

My Neighbour Totoro - 5 Beautifully animated with great attention to detail, I really love the way this film looks. I watched it in Japanese with subtitles and I didn’t mind one bit, it’s a really easy plot to follow and so not too taxing on the little grey cells. I will give honourable mentions to the voice talents of; Noriko Hidaka as Satsuki, Chika Sakamoto as Mei, Shigesato Itoi as Tatsuo Kusakabe (the father) and Sumi Shimamoto as Yasuko Kusakabe (the mother).

My Neighbour Totoro - 2 A simple story is the backbone of this film; the magical world of Totoro really makes it a terrific watch. On the downside, I did find the girls voices tended to get a little grating towards the end… most of their dialogue seems to be SHOUTED! Apart from that, I found it beautiful to look at with a quite magical tale, not a lot to dislike here… Recommended.

My score: 8.6/10.

IMDb Score: 8.2/10 (based on 47,047 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0096283/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 90/100 (based on 29 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 67/100 (based on 76,524 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/my_neighbor_totoro/

My Neighbour Totoro - 3 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Satsuki, Mei Kusakabe: Come out, come out, whereever you are!

Mei Kusakabe: To-to-ro? You're Totoro!... I bet you're Totoro...

Tatsuo Kusakabe: Trees and people used to be good friends. I saw that tree and decided to buy the house. Hope Mom likes it too. Okay, let's pay our respects then get home for lunch.

My Neighbour Totoro - 6 LINKS:
Trailer:

Film Review: DEAD MAN’S SHOES (2004)

Dead Man's Shoes - poster Co-Writer/Director: Shane Meadows
Writers (Screenplay): Paddy Considine & Shane Meadows
Writer (Additional Material): Paul Fraser
Running time: 90 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Drama/Thriller
UK Release date: 1st October 2004

Watched at the cinema Monday 26th December 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I knew very little about this one before giving it a viewing, so no preconceptions to cloud my judgement this time… very rare these days. I was quite surprised just how good this film was, considering budget restrictions. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from perfect and there’s plenty of room for improvement, but the writing was spot on (IMO). I’ll tell you what I think after this very brief summary.

Dead Man's Shoes - 1 Richard has returned to his home town after a stint in the army. He is a man with a purpose, and that is to wreak revenge on the gang who had tormented Anthony, his simple-minded younger brother. It begins innocently enough with tactics designed to intimidate and unsettle them. But things soon escalate and the gang begins to fall apart under the strain. There’s one member though, who isn’t with them any more… Can he escape Richard’s wrath? I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police will be telling Richard where I live (again).

Dead Man's Shoes - 3 Made very much with the look of a documentary, it’s not the best looking of films, but it’s one of those where the look isn’t all that important. Decent performances from the major cast members and so honourable mentions must go to; Paddy Considine as Richard, Gary Stretch as Sonny, Toby Kebbell as Anthony and Paul Hurstfield as Mark.

Dead Man's Shoes - 2 The dialogue seemed (at times) to have been ad-libbed quite a bit. This made it a little disjointed and sometimes a bit hard to follow. There is a nice twist at the end, which I’m not going to talk about here, that saved it from being just another low-budget British movie. In fact the writing was pretty good throughout and I also quite liked the soundtrack. As the story unfolds, bits and pieces of flashback tell just how Anthony was tormented by this gang. I found this an effective technique that keeps the audience interested. Over all, I must say it’s quite brutal, but at the same time quite a compelling story. Maybe not the best film you’ll ever see, but certainly worth a look… Recommended.

My score: 7.3/10.

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 22,308 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0419677/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 56/100 (based on 41 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 82/100 (based on 58,084 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dead_mans_shoes/

Dead Man's Shoes - 4 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Richard: [narrating] God will forgive them. He'll forgive them and allow them into Heaven. I can't live with that.

Herbie: Can I help you, mate?
Richard: [shrugs] Sorry?
Herbie: [says aggressively] What the fuck are you looking at?
Richard: [shouts] You, ya cunt!

Soz: I told him not to mention the elephant...

Dead Man's Shoes - 5 Richard: [to Mark] You, you were supposed to be a monster - now I'm the fucking beast. There's blood on my hands, from what you made me do.

LINKS:
Trailer:

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Film Review: PORCO ROSSO (1992)

Porco Rosso - poster Original Title: Kurenai no buta

Writer/Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Running time: 94 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Animation/Adventure/Drama
Japan Release date: 18th July 1992

Watched at the cinema Saturday 24th December 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I believe this was the first Studio Ghibli film I ever saw. I remember being blown away by the excellent story telling, the animation and the general feeling of the whole thing. From then on I was hooked and made it a bit of a mission to see as many of them as I could. Well, that’s not hard when Film4 (here in the UK) has been showing a season of them for the last couple of weeks. I’ll give you my thoughts on this particular offering after this brief summary.

Porco Rosso - 1 Porco Rosso is a pilot; a bit of a hero from World War I who now makes a living as a bounty hunter. He tracks down the sea plane pirates who attack the ships on the Adriatic Coast (a part of the Mediterranean). It is the 1920’s and flying is what everyone wants to do. At a bar run by Gina, who secretly loves him, Porco meets an American fighter ace, Curtis, who has been hired by the pirates to take him out. But Porco has problems with his plane and has to take it to Milan to be repaired. Curtis follows him and shoots him down, leaving him stranded. When he’s picked up he makes it to Milan with what’s left of his plane and has it rebuilt by Fio Pikkoro, a seventeen year old girl who just happens to be a very talented engineer. When he returns, Fio comes with him to make sure he pays his bill. Little does she know they’re about to have another run-in with the pirates and this time they’re playing for keeps! I won’t say any more or the Spoiler Police (Animation Division) will have me re-drawn as some crazy animal (again).

Porco Rosso - 2 Over the years I have become a bit of a fan of the work of Hayao Miyazaki, he certainly knows how to make a movie that can take you away to another world for a couple of hours. Again, this one is beautifully animated and I also loved the music by Joe Hisaishi, it really evokes the era and stirs the emotions. I watched this one in Japanese with subtitles and I think that helps you to concentrate on the story. For those who fear the subtitle I believe a dubbed version is available. It’s not really clear just who played who from the listings I’ve seen, but I will give honourable mentions to the voice talents of; Shûichirô Moriyama, Tokiko Katô, Tsunehiko Kamijô and Akemi Okamura.

Porco Rosso - 3 I found this film beautifully made, funny at times, but also very touching when it needed to be. It certainly did what many of the Studio Ghibli films have done and that is entertain me! I must admit I feel lucky that I saw this one first; others that don’t quite hit the mark may have put me off. So it’s got a bit of everything, a flying pig, some comedy, a bit of a love story and pirates, who could ask for more!? As you have probably guessed by now, for me… Definitely recommended.

My score: 8.4/10.

IMDb Score: 7.8/10 (based on 16,525 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0104652/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 100/100 (based on 13 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 60/100 (based on 40,738 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/porco_rosso/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Porco Rosso - 4 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Porco Rosso: A pig that doesn't fly is just a pig.

Porco Rosso: I'd rather be a pig than a fascist.

Arms Dealer: If you make money from war, you're scum. If you can't make money from bounty hunting, you're an idiot!

Curtis: [taunting Porco] If you run away, I'll tell everyone you're chicken!
Porco Rosso: Chicken, pig, what's the difference?

Porco Rosso - 6 LINKS:
Trailer: