Monday, 31 December 2012

Film Review: MOON (2009) - Revisited

Moon - poster Director: Duncan Jones
Writers: Duncan Jones (story), Nathan Parker
Running time: 97 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Sci-Fi
UK Release date: 17th July 2009

Watched on DVD Monday 31st December 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I saw this film on release and very much enjoyed it; I subsequently bought the DVD but never got around to watching it until today. It has to be said I enjoyed it even more this time around; beautifully paced with a stand-out performance from Sam Rockwell. Here’s a very brief, and spoiler free (I hope), summary before I delve deeper.

Moon - 4 In order to ease Earth’s energy crisis, Lunar Industries has several machines harvesting Helium 3 from the rocks on the far side of the moon. These machines are watched over from a base by one Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell). He is on a three year contract but gets regular messages from his wife Tess (Dominique McElligott) and their young daughter, Eve. As he is nearing the end of his contract, Sam finds his health beginning to deteriorate. Whilst out checking on one of the harvesters he has an accident and crashes his rover. He wakes up in the infirmary back at base with no knowledge of the crash. He has noticed one of the harvesters is not moving and wants to investigate but GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey); the base computer has orders to keep him inside until a rescue team can get there. Sam manages to get outside and makes his way to the harvester; what he finds there will totally change his life! I guess that’s enough – I don’t want to be accused of giving too much away now!

Moon - 2 There is much to admire in this film; everything from Sam Rockwell’s tremendous performance to the special effects on the lunar surface (all done with miniatures). The musical score by Clint Mansell is also excellent; slowly building until the end where it really cuts loose. I thought it was good back in 2009 when I had a 30 mile round-trip to see it; but it was even better this time around. I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve seen so many other films in the mean time or what; but it really struck a chord with me this time! If you love your sci-fi then it’s one I can heartily recommend.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My score: 9.6/10.

IMDb Score: 8.0/10 (based on 135,404 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1182345/

MetaScore: 67/100: (Based on 28 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Moon - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 90/100 (based on 181 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 86/100 (based on 89,542 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10009075-moon/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
GERTY: Sam, I can only account for what occurs on this base.

[repeated line]
Computer: Searching for long-range comms.

Moon - 8 Sam Bell: You've been up here too long man. You've lost your marbles.

Sam Bell: Are you OK with that?
GERTY: I'm here to keep you safe, Sam. I want to help you.

Moon - 3 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.sonyclassics.com/moon/
Trailer: (NOTE: Trailer gives away a tad more than I do in the review)

Sunday, 30 December 2012

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

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 on Sky+ Sunday 30th December 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I first saw this film about a year ago at the cinema and pretty much enjoyed it; as it appeared in the TV schedules this week I thought I’d give it a second look. 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 - 3 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 - 6 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 (all too brief though), 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 - 8 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.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.7/10.

IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 173,158 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1515091/

MetaScore: 48/100: (Based on 38 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows - 4 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 60/100 (based on 202 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 78/100 (based on 115,847 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/sherlock_holmes_a_game_of_shadows/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Professor Moriarty: 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 - 1 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SherlockHolmesMovie
Official Site: http://sherlockholmes2.warnerbros.com/
Trailer:

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Film Review: CUBE (1997)

Cube - poster Director: Vincenzo Natali
Writers: Vincenzo Natali, André Bijelic, Graeme Manson
Running time: 90 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Horror/Mystery/Sci-Fi
UK Release date: 25th September 1998

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 29th December 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I first saw this film many years ago and I very much enjoyed it then. Over the years I’ve tried to track it down but sadly failed to snare it. So I was very happy to see it appear in the TV listings this week; needless to say; recording equipment was appropriately set. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Cube - 6 A collection of seemingly random people wake up inside a mysterious maze made of rooms in the shape of cubes. In each room are six doors, one on each wall, that lead to adjoining cubes. But some of the rooms are booby trapped and it’s up to them to figure their own way out. The main characters; Quentin (Maurice Dean Wint), a cop; Worth (David Hewlett), an office worker; Leaven (Nicole de Boer), a student; Holloway (Nicky Guadagni), a doctor and Kazan (Andrew Miller), who is mentally ill are all being affected by the cube in various ways. Who will figure it out before they all succumb to the psychological pressures posed by The Cube?

Cube - 2 I love the ideas behind this film; a mystery combined with some sci-fi and more than a touch of horror is right up my street. Unfortunately the execution just fails to pay off sufficiently for me to call it brilliant. I think the dialogue comes over as a little dated and that does let it down somewhat. Also the twist at the end was a tad predictable. Even so, I can’t help but like this film; I think it appeals to the mathematician in me (don’t let that put you off by the way). You’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen it. Over all; a decent enough film that’s maybe becoming slightly dated, but still has the edge over many a high budget blockbuster or two.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.8/10

IMDb Score: 7.4/10 (based on 92,460 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0123755/

MetaScore: 61/100: (Based on 12 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Cube - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 59/100 (based on 34 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 74/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 85,853 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/cube/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Quentin: Listen, we can't go climbing around in here.
Holloway: Why not?
Quentin: There's traps.
Holloway: What do you mean traps?
Quentin: Booby traps. I looked in the room down there, and something almost cut my head off.

Quentin: For Christ's sake, Worth, what do you live for? Do you have a wife, or a girlfriend, or something?
Worth: Nope. I've gotta pretty fine collection of pornography.

Cube - 5 Worth: What do ya think?
Leaven: You don't have a lot of lives left.

Worth: There is no conspiracy. Nobody is in charge. It's a headless blunder operating under the illusion of a master plan.

[Quentin and Holloway are discussing who could have made the cube]
Quentin: This place is... remember Scaramanga? The bad guy in "The Man With The Golden Gun?" It's some rich psycho's entertainment
Holloway: [laughs] Is that what you think?

Kazan: This room is... green. I wanna go back to the blue room.

Cube - 1 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer: (Beware: A major plot point is given away in this trailer)

Film Review: LIFE OF PI (2012)

Life of Pi - poster Director: Ang Lee
Writers: David Magee (screenplay), Yann Martel (novel)
Running time: 127 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Adventure/Drama
UK Release date: 20th December 2012

Watched at the Picture House, K-Town Friday 28th December 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Although I haven’t read the book, I have heard an awful lot about this film since its release. The media are positively buzzing about this one and so I was very pleased that the Picture House in K-Town (my local cinema) decided to show it. So myself and a couple of friends (yes, I got some of those too) took a trip and enjoyed an evening with the ‘Life of Pi’. The subject of much debate at the end, mainly about what it all meant, but certainly a film I’d like to see again, but maybe after reading the book this time. Here’s a very brief summary.

Life of Pi - 3 We are told the story of Pi, or to give him his full name; Piscine Molitor Patel. It is told in flashback as the adult Pi (Irrfan Khan) relates his tale to a writer (Rafe Spall). We hear about his early years in India and how his father Santosh Patel (Adil Hussain) met his mother, Gita (Tabu), and how she taught him about the Hindu religion. He subsequently discovered other religions along the way. They ran a Zoo but the city council owned the land it was on and so Santosh decided they were going to move to Canada; taking the animals with them. While crossing the Pacific on a Japanese freighter, they are struck by a massive storm and Pi finds himself the only survivor. He is stranded on a lifeboat with a zebra, an orang-utan, a hyena and a Bengal tiger called Richard Parker. What follows is an amazing tale of survival that I don’t quite have the words to describe and so I’ll leave it here (the film is much better than anything I could write anyway).

Life of Pi - 7 First off, it looks stunning; every shot has been meticulously worked out and executed with a high degree of skill and care. The VFX are quite amazing (I have to say for the record that I watched it in 2D). For me the film is in three parts, the story of Pi before he leaves India, the story on the ocean and the story when he makes it to land. It’s the middle section I found the most compelling; every time there’s a cut-away from the boat I couldn’t wait to get back. A very metered pace to proceedings allows the audience to become enwrapped in this tale. Ang Lee is very good at this kind of filmmaking and I have to applaud him for this particular effort. Over all, visually stunning and beautifully made; I thought the young actor Suraj Sharma, who plays Pi on the boat was truly excellent in the role. It may not be to everyone’s taste (too few explosions for some I suspect), but I certainly enjoyed it – it’s well worth a look.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.2/10

IMDb Score: 8.3/10 (based on 38,989 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0454876/

MetaScore: 79/100: (Based on 44 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Life of Pi - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 89/100 (based on 203 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 90/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 37,155 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/life-of-pi/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Santosh Patel: You think tiger is your friend, he is an animal, not a playmate.
Pi Patel: Animals have souls... I have seen it in their eyes.

Adult Pi Patel: What has mamaji already told you?
Writer: He said you had a story that would make me believe in God.
Adult Pi Patel: [laughs] He would say that about a nice meal.

Santosh Patel: We will sail like Columbus.
Pi Patel: But Columbus was looking for India!

Adult Pi Patel: Now we have to send our little boy to the middle of the Pacific.
Writer: And make me believe in God.
Adult Pi Patel: Yes, we will get there.

Life of Pi - 1 Pi Patel: I can eat the biscuits, but God made tigers carnivorous, so I must learn to catch fish. If I don't, I'm afraid his last meal would be a skinny vegetarian boy.

Adult Pi Patel: I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.

Writer: [reading off the report] Mr. Patel's is an astounding story, courage and endurance unparalleled in the history of ship-wrecks. Very few castaways can claim to have survived so long, and none in the company of an adult Bengal tiger.

Life of Pi - 4 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LifeofPi
Official Site: http://www.lifeofpimovie.com/
Trailer:

Thursday, 27 December 2012

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN (2011)

The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn - poster Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: HergĂ© (comic book series “The Adventures of Tintin”), Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish (screenplay)
Running time: 107 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Animation/Action/Adventure
UK Release date: 26th October 2011

Watched on Sky+ Thursday 27th December 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember there being a lot of talk in the press when this one came out; opinion appeared divided. Of course I didn’t get a chance to see it at the time of release and so I was pleased when it came up in the Christmas films on TV this month. It’s an interesting film with some nice ideas… I’ll tell you more after this very brief summary.

The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn - 3 When Tintin (Jamie Bell) buys a model of the 17th Century ship ‘The Unicorn’, he doesn’t realise the trouble he’s about to cause himself. A mysterious character, Sakharine (Daniel Craig) tries to buy the ship off him but he refuses. An accident leads to the discovery of a secret parchment; a clue that will lead Tintin (& his faithful dog, Snowy) on a great adventure. They board a ship and discover the captain, a certain Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) is being held captive and drunk by his own crew who have been bought off by Sakharine. Can Tintin discover the secret of the Unicorn… Can he sober Captain Haddock up long enough for him to be of any help… Will the Thompson Twins (Nick Frost & Simon Pegg) turn up later in a kind of ‘just in the nick of time’ way?... All these and many more questions to be answered.

The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn - 8 It’s all very well made with state of the art animation and motion capture to the fore. All the performances were very good with Andy Serkis standing out as Captain Haddock. It did, however, feel like a series of set pieces stitched together by a rather flimsy adventure story. Far too much is left to coincidence for anything to be credible I’m afraid, which is probably why I wasn’t really a fan of the Tintin stories in the first place. Over all, it didn’t quite work for me; however, I would be interested to see what they do with the next instalment.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED (…Just)

My score: 6.9/10

IMDb Score: 7.4/10 (based on 103,119 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0983193/

MetaScore: 68/100: (Based on 40 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn - 2 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 75/100 (based on 198 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 75/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 68,353 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_adventures_of_tintin/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[in a plane]
Captain Haddock: You do know what you're doing, right?
Tintin: Relax. I interviewed a pilot once!

Tintin: Captain, can you get us to Bagghar?
Captain Haddock: What sort of a stupid question is that?
[gets up]
Captain Haddock: Give me those oars! I'll show you some real seamanship, laddie! I'll not be doubted by some pipsqueak tuft of ginger and his irritating dog. I am master and commander of the seas!

The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn - 1 Tintin: To think, all it took was one day in the Sahara! Congratulations, Captain, you're sober!

Tintin: How's your thirst for adventure, Captain?
Captain Haddock: Unquenchable, Tintin.

The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn - 4 LINKS:
Official Site: http://us.tintin.com/
Trailer:

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Film Review: NATIVITY! (2009)

Nativity - poster Writer/Director: Debbie Isitt
Running time: 105 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U

Genre: Comedy/Family/Musical
UK Release date: 27th November 2009

Watched on Sky+ Wednesday 26th December 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Not the kind of film I’d usually pick but since it’s Christmas I thought I might give it a go. It wasn’t as bad as I expected and I have to say I was quite impressed with some of the talent on the screen (I mean the kids). For about three quarters of its length it’s the usual predictable story line (see summary below) but at the end it really pays off! Here’s that summary before I give you my thoughts.

Nativity - 9 We begin with three friends, drama students Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman), Gordon Shakespeare (Jason Watkins) and Jennifer Love (Ashley Jensen). Paul and Jennifer are together for a while but eventually they all drift apart; Paul and Gordon go into teaching at rival schools and Jennifer goes to Hollywood to work as a Producer (we’re told). Every year Gordon’s school wins a five-star review in the local paper and Pauls’ Head Teacher, Mrs Bevan (Pam Ferris), wants her school to get the plaudits for a change. She picks Paul to produce the Nativity play in this, her final year and puts he son-in-law, the simple minded Mr. Poppy (Marc Wootton) in Paul’s class as a classroom assistant to help out. Now, Mr. Poppy is very enthusiastic but doesn’t always think things through and so you can tell there’s going to be trouble. It rears its head when he witnesses a chance meeting between Paul in Gordon where Paul tries to get one over on Gordon by saying that he’s been in touch with Jennifer in Hollywood and they’re going to make a film of his play. Of course Mr. Poppy reports back and it soon all over the news! Paul is in a huge dilemma because, in reality, he hasn’t spoken to Jennifer in five years! Let the madness begin!

Nativity - 2 What starts out as a bit of a run-of-the-mill comedy about a small school putting on a Nativity play ends up as something totally different. Yes, it’s (for the most part) fairly easy stuff to watch with, it has to be said, some nice performances. I thought Martin Freeman (pre-Bilbo) did a very good job and Marc Wootton, although I found his character a bit creepy, was also pretty good. No, for me, the stars of the show were the kids (too many to name individually here sadly). They did a very good job in all the events leading up to the end, but really shine in the performance of the play (which is really great by the way!). I guess the film did its job and gave me that feel-good factor I have been missing! Would I watch it again… Well maybe just the last quarter when I need a little boost!...

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.1/10

IMDb Score: 6.2/10 (based on 1,775 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1242447/

MetaScore: No Data: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Nativity - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 48/100 (based on 25 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 68/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 1,037 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/nativity-2009/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
None Available.

Nativity - 4 LINKS:
Trailer:

Film Review: THE MUPPETS (2011)

The Muppets - poster Director: James Bobin
Writers: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller, based on characters created by Jim Henson
Running time: 103 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U

Genre: Comedy/Family/Musical
UK Release date: 10th February 2012

Watched on Sky+ Wednesday 26th December 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I can’t say I was ever the greatest fan of the Muppets, however, I will admit to admiring their artistry and I did like their particular brand of comedy. Baring this in mind I decided to take a look at ‘The Muppets’. I must say I was pleasantly surprised! Despite a couple of schmaltzy musical numbers I quite enjoyed this one! Here’s a very brief summary before I tell you why.

The Muppets - 4 Walter, (voiced by Peter Linz) and Gary (Jason Segel) grew up together and Walter is a huge fan of The Muppets. When Gary decides to take his girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams) to Los Angeles to celebrate their tenth anniversary together; he asks Walter to come along too so he can see visit the Muppet studios. Unfortunately the studios are a mess and whilst there Walter overhears an evil developer, Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), plotting to knock it down. Walter implores Gary and Mary to help him find Kermit and the rest of the Muppets so they can save the studio. All they need is ten million dollars by midnight on Friday! But can Kermit get the old gang back together, get the backing of a studio and find a celebrity guest in time!?... Sorry, my lips are sealed.

The Muppets - 6 Very well made with some very funny comic moments throughout. If I’m honest, I have to admit I found it did lose a little momentum in the middle third. Some nice musical numbers with the stand-out being ‘Man or Muppet’, I’m sure those who have seen it will agree. All the performances were very good and the puppeteering top notch, as we’ve come to expect from the guys behind the Muppets. I must also give credit to the voice talents of; Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, David Rudman & Matt Vogel who provided the voices of all the major Muppet characters. There were also quite a few cameos featured (I’ll leave you to figure those out for yourselves). Over all I found this quite enjoyable, if a little schmaltzy here and there, but still well worth a look.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.3/10

IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 46,410 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1204342/

MetaScore: 75/100: (Based on 37 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

The Muppets - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 96/100 (based on 202 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 82/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 81,860 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_muppets/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Fozzie Bear: Wow, that was such an expensive looking explosion! I can't believe we had that in the budget.

Veronica: I'm gonna shoot straight: you guys aren't famous anymore.
Fozzie Bear: Yeesh. I wish she'd shot a little more curvy.

[repeated line]
Tex Richman: Maniacal laugh... maniacal laugh...

Animal: No drums! No drums! Jack Black said no drums!

The Muppets - 1 Kermit the Frog: What? You kidnap Jack Black? That's illegal!
Fozzie Bear: What's more illegal, Kermit: briefly inconveniencing Jack Black, or destroying the Muppets?
Kermit the Frog: Kidnapping Jack Black, Fozzie!

[singing]
Walter: Am I a Muppet, or am I a man? If I'm a man, that makes me a Muppet of a man.

Gary: So you guys aren't getting back together?
Kermit the Frog: [sadly] No.
Mary: This is going to be a really short movie.

Statler: If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were reciting some sort of important plot point.
Waldorf: I hope so. Otherwise I would've bored half the audience half to death.
Statler: You mean half the audience is still alive?

Uncle Deadly: How charming, a finale.

The Muppets - 9 LINKS:
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/MuppetsStudio
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/muppets
Official Site: http://www.disney.co.uk/muppets/
Trailer:

Film Review: SILENT RUNNING (1972)

Silent Running - poster Director: Douglas Trumbull
Writers: Deric Washburn, Michael Cimino, Steven Bochco
Running time: 89 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U

Genre: Adventure/Drama/Sci-Fi
USA Release date: 10th March 1972

Watched on Sky+ Wednesday 26th December 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I have seen this film a few times before but I guess I never really appreciated just what a technical achievement it was until recently. One of my favourite critics here in the UK, Mark Kermode, is always going on about how good this is and so I decided to give it another look when it came up on TV recently. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Silent Running - 7 After some catastrophe on Earth (we are never told what), all of what’s left of the flora and fauna is blasted into space in a collection of geo-domes aboard three huge cargo ships. We concentrate on one ship, the ‘Valley Forge’, and on one crew-member in particular, Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern). Whereas he embraces the wildlife and the plants; to the other crew members; John Keenan (Cliff Potts), Marty Barker (Ron Rifkin) and Andy Wolf (Jesse Vint), it’s just a job. One day word comes that the domes are to be destroyed and the ships returned to commercial use. This is devastating news for Lowell but the others can’t wait to get back to a more lucrative lifestyle. He knows he must try to save what he can… But at what cost?... I’ll leave it there so I don’t give too much away.

Silent Running - 4 If you remember that this film was made with no CGI then you might just appreciate just what a technical achievement it was. There are an awful lot of shots from outside the various spaceships and they all look quite believable. As far as the narrative goes, well yes, it’s all a bit ‘tree hugging’ in places, but still, for its time, a pretty well thought out piece. Bruce Dern does a great job as Lowell; the whole thing lives or dies on his performance and I thought he did an excellent job! I know it may not be to everyone’s taste, but I for one enjoyed it.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.2/10

IMDb Score: 6.7/10 (based on 12,109 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0067756/

MetaScore: No Data: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Silent Running - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 65/100 (based on 26 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 54/100 ‘Want to see’ (based on 8,192 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/silent_running/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Anderson: On this first day of a new century we humbly beg forgiveness and dedicate these last forests of our once beautiful nation to the hope that they will one day return and grace our foul earth. Until that day may God bless these gardens and the brave men who care for them.

Freeman Lowell: It calls back a time when there were flowers all over the Earth... and there were valleys. And there were plains of tall green grass that you could lie down in - you could go to sleep in. And there were blue skies, and there was fresh air... and there were things growing all over the place, not just in some domed enclosures blasted some millions of miles out in to space.

Silent Running - 2 Freeman Lowell: On Earth, everywhere you go, the temperature is 75 degrees. Everything is the same; all the people are exactly the same. Now what kind of life is that?

Freeman Lowell: [following other astronauts carrying out orders to destroy the forests] Hey, wait a minute, wait a minute... I don't think you guys understand what this means, please don't blow up the domes.
Andy Wolf: [laughing] Which ones going first?
Marty Barker: Let’s hit four first.
Freeman Lowell: But they're not disposable!
John Keenan: We don't have any choice Lowell.
Freeman Lowell: [pleading] But they're not replaceable!

Silent Running - 3 LINKS:
Trailer:

Monday, 24 December 2012

Film Review: SAFE HOUSE (2012)

Safe House - poster Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writer: David Guggenheim
Running time: 115 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Crime/Drama
UK Release date: 24th February 2012

Watched on Sky+ Monday 24th December 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I admit I’m partial to the odd espionage thriller and, on the surface of it; this one appeared to fit the bill. And for the most part, it did; there were a few niggles which I’ll get into later. For now, here’s a very brief summary.

Safe House - 1 When former CIA agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), now considered rogue, turns himself in to the US Consulate in Cape Town, he is sent to a safe house to await interrogation. This particular house is looked after by a young agent; Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds). He is looking to improve his lot and when the interrogation begins the house is attacked. The interrogation team are killed but Weston escapes with Frost; who is soon trying to get into the young agent’s head. Weston contacts headquarters and his superiors; Catherine Linklater (Vera Farmiga) and David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson) tell him to bide his time while they organise an extraction team. But is Frost right, can he really trust them? I’ll leave it there or an interrogation squad will be looking for me (again).

Safe House - 3 A well made film with some nice stunt work and an awful lot of fight sequences; maybe a couple too many IMO. The performances from both Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds were pretty good, although nobody was particularly stretched. Plot-wise, I guess it was ok but it didn’t particularly do anything we haven’t seen before. If anything I found it about fifteen minutes too long, but still worth a look if you have a couple of hours spare.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED (…Just)

My score: 7.1/10

IMDb Score: 6.8/10 (based on 86,801 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1599348/

MetaScore: 52/100: (Based on 36 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Safe House - 4 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 53/100 (based on 82 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 65/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 105,660 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/safe_house_2012/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Tobin Frost: That house was a secure location. Whoever crashed it didn't stop by a gas station and ask for directions to the nearest safe house. They were invited. Someone told them, Matthew. Think about it. Someone you know, so you better ask yourself, can you trust your landlord?
Matt Weston: Go ahead. You're not gonna get in my head.
Tobin Frost: I already am in your head. They're going to isolate you, Matt. They're going to be real nice to you at first. They're going to put their arm around you and tell you things like, "You did a decent job, son. We'll take it from here." That's when you know you're screwed. Forget about me, they're going to focus on you. They're going to try and make a connection between you and I. So that if this all goes wrong, they'll have something to fall back on in their little Senate hearings. I'm not your only enemy tonight.

Matt Weston: Are you going to kill me?
Tobin Frost: [Frost shoots the wall next to Weston's head] I only kill professionals.

[on the run, advised to follow protocol]
Matt Weston: Protocol? There is no protocol for this?

Safe House - 6 LINKS:
Trailer: