In the post-Lucas era, thank you to the new owners of Lucasfilm, the first of the non trilogy movies – ROGUE ONE – A STAR WARS STORY – has been released.
You do NOT need to have ever seen any of the previous science fiction movies in the series. Enjoy this “good final outcome, despite all the wrongs committed” 134 minutes of beautifully immersive filmmaking. The film features a gigantic action-packed battle at the end.
One of the key Rebellion events within the Star Wars timeline, this team of rebels have taken on the mission to steal the plans to the evil Galactic Empire’s as yet untested ultimate weapon of planetary destruction, The Death Star. Continue reading ROGUE ONE : A STAR WARS STORY→
Imagine you are a Catholic pilgrim walking the streets of Rome in a Jubilee year. We study what happens in a Jubilee year (We are currently in the middle of an extraordinary Jubilee year) and see the special opening of the doors at all four Basilicas. The special 3D technology used is a wonderful effect meaning it is almost as if we are viewing it standing right in front of the sculpture or looking up at the ceiling . There are also wonderful long panoramic landscape and aerial views of Rome and the Vatican and we see the routes taken to reach each church and how they are linked. The spectacular views are at times perhaps a bit dizzying and overwhelming.
We follow the history of art from ancient Roman mosaics to the billowing swirls of the Baroque and Roccoco eras. We are guided by Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, Paolo Portoghesi, internationally renowned architect, Claudio Strinati, celebrated art historian, and Micol Forti, director of the Vatican Museums Collection Of Contemporary Art, through the story of the basilicas, their evolution over the centuries and their most famous works of art. Continue reading ST PETER’S AND THE PAPAL BASILICAS OF ROME→
When confirming the RSVPs for the one and only STAR WARS Episode VII press screening in SYDNEY, the polite email received from DISNEY surprisingly included a very severe and stronger-than-usual hype about spoilers and embargoes: “In order to give audiences around the world the opportunity to enjoy STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS to its fullest and allow them to discover its surprises and plot twists in the cinema, we respectfully ask that you refrain from specifying plot points in your coverage, including on social media.”
Strangely smarmy and couched in slimy corporate-speak (Wow and thank you for making me a full partner, and precisely how many revenue points for this movie, are you giving away to each journalist?).
This film is the continuation of the famous science fiction saga, all created by writer/director George Lucas . . . The movie takes place 35 years after “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)”, 10 years after “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)” and 16 years after “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)”.
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away . . . ” OKAY, because you asked so sweetly, there never ever is a need to explain, what actually happens anywhere during this movie.
SPOILER ALERT: “Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens” . . . yes this brand new episode in the franchise, is with little re-working, very obviously a full remake intended for millennials of the well remembered “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)”. Continue reading STAR WARS: EPISODE VII – THE FORCE AWAKENS→
The amazing Dracula Pack is back, better than the original, with fresh animated slapstick for a non-stop adventure ride after Dracula becomes a grandfather. Just like the first film, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 has child-friendly sight gags and screwball punchlines, and corny farce humour and the latest scenario also features some ghoulish fun.
HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 begins after the wedding of Dracula’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) to human Jonathan (Andy Samberg) with the full blessing of Dracula (Adam Sandler). Dracula is now fixated with his new grandson’s lack of vampire heritage (with an appearance to remind you immediately of the ginger-headed children in Pixar’s Brave). Dracula, together with his undead and other monstrosities decide it is their duty to teach the toddler how to be the best ever little monster.
PIXELS the movie, you should only see this movie film in the 3D version, or the IMAX 3D version. Watching the 2D version, the computer games images are very flat, and look no better than when seen on computer screens in the 1980s, or when seen today on computer simulator versions.
This Adam Sandler comedy-fantasy screenplay is a full feature length 106 minute adaptation of Patrick Jean’s two minutes long, 2010 video-game themed short film called PIXELS.
The film immediately reminded me of the movie GHOSTBUSTERS. Instead of killing ghosts, these protagonists, because they are nerd gamers, are able to kill the invaders’ video game characters. Continue reading PIXELS THE MOVIE→
The MINIONS 3D computer-animated comedy movie begins from the dawn of time, with the relatively simple-minded MINIONS evolving from single-celled organisms, and then starting with the Jurassic Era becoming fiercely loyal beings who live just to serve history’s most despicable masters. The forever-young goggles-wearing yellow henchmen, from the two delightful ‘Despicable Me’ childrens’ movies, now have starring roles in this latest film produced by Illumination Entertainment for Universal Pictures. Sandra Bullock finally gets the role of a lifetime as the nasty super-villain, ‘Scarlett Overkill’.
‘Scarlett Overkill’ does mention the bard, and to quote William Shakespeare “She vaunted ‘mongst her minions t’ other day” (Henry VI Part 2). This retro ‘Despicable Me’ prequel is set during 1968 initially in New York and Orlando, with wonderful pop culture icons/references throughout. In the Swinging 60s London finale, Scarlett Overkill alongside her inventor husband Herb, wants to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown from the Tower of London. The trio of Minions – Stuart, Kevin and Bob pass the henchmen recruitment process at Villain-Com International. Scarlett Overkill gives the job to her new henchmen, the trio of Minions, KEVIN (the leader), STUART (the teenage rebel with his ukulele) and the diminutive and very lovable BOB carrying Tim his Teddy Bear, and is easily identifiable with his brown/green “Heterochromia Iridum”. Via the bedtime story of THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, with “Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf” on the soundtrack, Scarlet threatens to kill the minions if they fail to steal the crown.
HOME is a fast-paced delightful 94 minutes, I really enjoyed watching this movie as did my kids. Released on 19 March, HOME is DREAMWORKS lone theatrical release of this year, and it has been well worth the wait, especially in the 3D version as distributed only in overseas markets by Twentieth Century Fox.
DREAMWORKS marketing for this movie was both clever and unique, because they released from 7 March 2014 a fast-paced, wonderful, charming and captivating 3D DreamWorks computer-graphics-animated four minute comedy short called “ALMOST HOME”, that screened before each new DreamWorks children’s movie, including the 3D Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and 3D Penguins of Madagascar, plus the Blue Sky Studios film 3D Rio 2.
Based on the 2007 children’s science fiction book, written by Adam Rex, “The True Meaning of Smekday” and featuring the voices of Steve Martin, Rihanna and Jim Parsons, HOME has Gratutity (“Tip”) Tucci as its female protagonist, this a wonderful story that has both heart and humour.
Discreetly shot at night using a mix of native 3D and some of the most advanced 3D technology available for cameras today THE TREASURES OF THE VATICAN MUSEUMS IN 3D is an amazing , dizzying tour through one of the most impressive and rare collections of art in the world today. Filmed in collaboration with the Vatican Museums Directorate , SKY 3D, a division of Britain’s Sky Broadcasting Group, leads us on a magnificent seemingly personal and intimate tour of the Vatican Museums’ famous art collection and the gigantic Sistine Chapel. Continue reading Vatican Museums 3D→
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR featuring an all-star cast, is a wonderful and much anticipated sequel to “Sin City” (2005), which was based on a series of graphic novels by American comic artist Frank Miller, that first appeared in the “Dark Horse Presents” comic books, issue numbers 51-62 from April of 1991 to June of 1992, and these stories were not originally published in chronological order. Replicating the stark black/colour visuals of the world of the original graphic novels, Frank Miller was also involved in writing the screenplay for this new movie.
THE BOXTROLLS is based on Alan Snow’s childrens novel “Here Be Monsters”, part of a series of rather ghoulish but quirky and very clever childrens’ books.
Just as in their previous film CORALINE, Laika Animation has worked really hard to stand out with their unique stop motion movies, and their genuine stop motion is so exquisite in every detail and is uniquely charming, as amply demonstrated in the trailers for their third American animated feature length film BOXTROLLS. I am an absolute fan of movie animation in its many forms, however the physical process of creation by the frame-by-frame alteration of every character, still is a very welcome treat for my eyes. Continue reading Boxtrolls→
This documentary provides dramatic insights into James Cameron’s quest to reach the bottom of the sea.
Cameron has been obsessed with the oceans of our world and their mysteries since childhood. He became scuba certified at 16 and went onto make a series of films about the lure of the oceans and the unknown secrets of their depths.
These films include; The Abyss, Titanic and a string of documentaries about the depths; including Ghosts of the Abyss, Volcanoes of the Deep and Bismarck. He has also created the most spectacular 3D film of all time, Avatar. In DEEPSEA CHALLENGE 3D all of Cameron’s obsessions about the deep, technology, his skills as a story teller, and his ability to create amazing 3D effects come together to deliver a truly beautiful and thrilling tale of a 21st century team of adventurers who set out to conquer the last true frontier – the deepest part of the ocean at 36,000 ft. This is at the bottom of the Mariana Trench near Guam, known as the Challenger Deep. This depth is more than Mount Everest is high or the cruising altitude of a commercial airliner.
I confess I have not marveled at the Marvel movies. Reboots of radioactive spider bite victims and jolly green giants with giant jolly deficiencies don’t thrill me, nor Thor, and not amalgamations of iron clad, shield wielding, hammer throwing millionaires, Norse gods or WW2 relics.
I was wooed to the latest movie MARVELISATION by word of mouth that it was a funny take on the super-hero, sci fi scenario. Here I was hoping for something akin to GALAXY QUEST or the original STARSHIP TROOPERS. What I got was a rehash of STAR WARS with a little RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK but without the cheekiness of Harrison Ford.
Pic starts with a prologue set in the 1980s with a surly young brat plugged into his Walkman, not wanting to be anywhere near his mother’s death bed. In an ultimate act of denial he runs from the hospital only to be vacuumed up by a passing space craft. Continue reading Guardians of the Galaxy→
TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION starring Mark Wahlberg plus OPTIMUS PRIME® and the remaining AUTOBOTS, is back with a fresh take and a new back story. It is has to be said that the film is a better experience when seeing this CG special effects movie in a cinema equipped with impressive ear-splitting DOLBY ATMOS sound and 3D. The movie is the latest entry into the Transformers giant fighting robots franchise, directed once more by Michael Bay, and the very predicable storyline and its (unintentionally laughter inducing) routine dialogue was written by Ehren Kruger.
Typical of a Michael Bay film, the predicable plot of this 165 minute movie, will test your patience because the pacing is set at a snail’s pace, building character and its new back story. It takes around thirty minutes before the action expected from every Transformers storyline finally starts, and the mindless action keeps stopping to take more lengthy opportunities to further flesh out the narrative and the new characters.
All those incredible RIO original characters are back, and new character voices are provided by Oscar® nominee Andy Garcia, Grammy® winner Bruno Mars, Tony® winner Kristin Chenoweth and Oscar/Emmy®/Tony winner Rita Moreno, plus featuring the clever music of new Brazilian artists and catchy original music by Janelle Monae and Wondaland.
This second animated outing for the blue macaws from the magical city of Rio, is full of energy and eye candy. Blu and Jewel unexpectedly discover, that there are other members of their species located ”Deep in the Amazon”. City bird Blu (Eisenberg) is happily married to Jewel (Hathaway) and this time, they travel to the Amazon with his family and his friends (from the first RIO movie) to look for Jewel’s family, but the villainous adversary Nigel (Clement) the deranged white cockatoo, is again gleefully subversive and keen on revenge. One of my favourite scenes, is the soccer match between the Blue Macaws and the Red Macaws
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (2010) was immensely successful for DreamWorks Animation, and was a runaway critical and commercial hit. We now return to the animated world of Dragons and Vikings, and this second thrilling chapter is a sweeping and very imaginative fantasy adventure, and the intelligent storytelling of the original has been beautifully expanded with ambitious high-speed battle sequences. This is an inspired piece of escapism, heavily infused with more of that independent spirit with a slightly off-kilter aesthetic, that enriched the original movie. Starring the voice talents of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou.
Tom Cruise plays a coward, Major William Cage, who is shanghaied into wartime active service to immediately fight the invasion at the front, by storming continental Europe from the beaches of France in a fresh D-Day styled invasion.
As a untrained private, he gets killed yet again and again by invasive metallic orange soldier aliens and one metallic blue alien, he quickly realises that he has been trapped, in some kind of science-fiction time loop, but he has omniscient awareness.
This dramatic blockbuster story, is an ambitious fresh take on time-bending science fiction, but is very reminiscent of GROUNDHOG DAY (1993) without the comedy, but lots of intensely violent action and repetition, and has side kick and love interest, Emily Blunt as an obvious Thatcheresque-like war hero and ball buster.
Disney’s movies and theme parks were created for adults to feel young again, and MALEFICENT with its new twist, was created for everyone who enjoys this genre. Watching it one gains a whole new perspective on the fairy-tale innocence of the Disney Animated classic Sleeping Beauty and one learns all about Maleficent, the thirteenth fairy godmother.
A must see dark fantasy movie, Angelina Jolie is magnificent in the lead role. of this new Disney film directed by Robert Stromberg.
Thousands of fans turned out at Melbourne Central on Friday May 16 to catch a glimpse of Hugh Jackman, (Wolverine), Peter Dinklage (Bolivar Trask) and Fan Bingbing (Blink) walk the red carpet for the Australian premiere. Although Hugh Jackman received a huge welcome, he was somewhat overshadowed by his diminutive co-star, Peter Dinklage, best known for playing Tyrion Lannister on the Game of Thrones television series, who stole the spotlight. Fan Bingbing also got a massive reaction by her fans, many of them in tears upon meeting her.
Days of Future Past offers some of the most amazing action sequences, 3D and special effects and scenery shown on the big screen. However, film goers who are not fans of the series will get caught up in the story with its many overlapping subplots and characters.
Like its many superheros, Marvel Entertainment is once again flying high at the box-office. The latest instalment to the 2011 Captain America: The First Avenger, THE WINTER SOLDIER is so far the highest grossing film of the year, taking in $645,359,241, $16 million alone in Australia.
Over the last few years, Marvel has been expanding its crime fighting universe with blockbusters like the Spiderman reboot series, Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk bringing them all together in The Avengers in 2012.It was the biggest money maker of that year, raking in over one billion dollars.
Best LEGO family adventure movie ever, this modern day satire is subversive and yet counter-cultural. This Australian made 3D computer animation comedy movie film, is already so beloved by USA audiences because this film satisfies audiences of all ages, and the sequel is already being made. Decent plot with very engaging characters, and you will be taken for quite an emotional and hectic ride, but near the end, the story has that unexpected twist, with an intriguing moral lesson for all, that is essentially true to life.
Emmet (Chris Pratt) a forgettable everyman, struggles as an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO mini-figure and is hopelessly and hilariously under prepared, when mistakenly identified by our surveillance culture. When anointed by an underground resistance movement as the “The Special” and the key to saving the world, Emmet is drafted into an epic quest journey (think HOBBIT) to stop Lord Business (Will Ferrell) the evil tyrant who intends to permanently glue everyone in place. Just like MR.PEABODY AND SHERMAN, there are some surprising voices used as cameos, this time from famous female and male actors. Amazing visuals and yes it is very hard to tell that everything, is not actually made of real Lego pieces.
MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN is an American 3D computer-animated comedy science fiction movie film about time travellers
Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) is a lovable talking dog, who is smartest being in the world, business titan, inventor, scientist, a cool musician, Harvard graduate, Nobel laureate, gourmet chef, and two-time Olympic medalist.
Mr. Peabody finds little baby Sherman in a cardboard box, and then adopts him because Peabody wants something that he didn’t have when he was small, a home for him.
Mr. Peabody is the most accomplished dog in the world, and his mischievous “pet” a seven-year-old adopted boy named Sherman (Max Charles), use their time machine – The WABAC – to go on the dangerous time travel adventures in the past on Planet Earth.
FREE BIRDS is an American 3D computer-animated comedy movie film all about changing the American Thanksgiving Holiday with “TURKEYS that Time Travel”, directed by Jimmy Hayward and produced by Reel FX Creative Studios.
Pardoned by the President of the United States, Reggie (Owen Wilson) is a pardoned turkey, and lives a comfortable life at Camp David, enjoying pizza and watching television Jake (Woody Harrelson) is the president and the only member of the Turkeys Liberation Front. They team up and the adventure begins by hijacking a government time machine, and they travel back in time to just before the first Thanksgiving, to get all turkeys off the Thanksgiving menu forever.
From the world of 19th-century children’s literature and very loosely based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”, in this century good and evil have become psychologically complex, and also not so clear-cut, and with coherent storytelling we learn that a princess now has to show all her strengths and work to earn her happily-ever-after ending.
Set in the fictional kingdom of Arendelle, the beautiful blond, high-strung princess Elsa (Idina Menzel), and has a secret magical problem. Everything freezes when Elsa waves her un-gloved hands. Her impulsive redheaded younger sister, Anna (Kristen Bell), was nearly frozen to death by accident by Elsa the Snow Queen. Anna suddenly falls in love at first sight with Hans (Santino Fontana), a scheming and opportunistic but otherwise is a too-good-to-be-true picture-perfect prince, but Elsa forbids their marriage. Elsa causes eternal winter in the kingdom of Arendelle.
Extravagant, exuberant, and excessive essentially describes the so called Jazz era depicted in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE GREAT GATSBY. It pretty much sums up F.Stop Luhrmann’s depiction of the celebrated story.
And who would be surprised if the Great Bazby delivered some drab drama without his trademark bazamatazz?
No surprises he and constant collaborators, screenwriter Craig Pearce and designer Catherine Martin, have fashioned a flamboyant film full of flappers, flim flam, and film glam, although it fades fatally in the final furlong, its fabulous prelude at odds with its doldrums dénouement.
Leonardo DiCaprio literally plays the Great Jay as a golden haired boy, a sartorial splendid store-front mannequin as marquee star resplendent in spats and suspenders and haute couture in hues of pink.
Toby Maguire as Nick Carraway, Carey Mulligan as Daisy and Joel Edgerton as her born to rule bully husband, Tom Buchanan give fine supporting work. Would loved to have seen more of Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson and Jason Clark as her cuckold and ditto for Elizabeth Debicki who took the biscuit as Jordan Baker but given short shrift by the film makers thus short changing Fitzgerald and the audience.
The use of voice over narration is burdensome and so is the choice of palimpsest of text superimposed on the screen.
The decision to shoot in 3D seems to illustrate and emphasise that the true star of the show is its design, both sets and costumes. It is what is truly great about this Gatsby.
One might muse that a full musical treatment might have served this movie better because it works best when it is in full operatic, high camp sweep.
Camera and characters are choreographed rather than moved and the music, both iconic of its era and anarchically anachronistic, serves as simplistic counterpoint rather than synchromesh; distracting, disjointed and discordant rather than synthesis. Gatsby’s glorious, glitzy and glamorous gay time parties play swell and further tease at what might have been had Baz taken the bull by the balls and given it the full Busby Berkley.
Still, there is no denying THE GREAT GATSBY is entertaining for most of its unsustainable two hours twenty minutes, eye candy to rot the retina.