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Showing posts from October 5, 2014

Review: Alice in Wonderland

The story of young Alice (voiced by Kathryn Beaumont), who follows the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole and ends up in Wonderland, a most curious place indeed, and one in which she might just lose her head, if not careful.

Although I prefer “Pinocchio”, “Peter Pan”, “Robin Hood”, and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, this 1951 Disney animated version of the infamous and enduring Lewis Carroll classic is highly enjoyable stuff. This is what Disney animation does best, not crap like “Fantasia” or “Treasure Planet”. Classic stories well told.

I liked the Tim Burton version from 2010, but if you’re gonna skip the book and watch the film (Don’t!), make it this one. This one hits all the main beats of the story, and the scenes with an oversized Alice are particularly fun, and probably a challenge at the time from an animation standpoint. I actually think the story works better than the animation here, though the latter is fine. It’s a very pretty and colourful film. It’s a cracker of a st…

Review: The Conjuring

Set in the 70s, when a seemingly typical American family (Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, and daughters played by Joey King, Shanley Caswell, and Mackenzie Foy) is terrorised by a sinister presence in their new Rhode Island home, they must call in the services of paranormal investigators (and God-fearing husband and wife to boot) Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga to rid this house of evil.

I honestly didn’t expect “Insidious: Chapter 2” to be the best James Wan (“Saw”, “Death Sentence”) film of 2013, but indeed this old-school supernatural flick is the lesser of the two films from the Aussie director for the year. However, it still earns an above average grade from me, if only just. I was quite disappointed, actually, as word of mouth had this pegged as a really scary horror film. It just didn’t get there for me.

Perhaps I have underrated the screenwriting efforts of Leigh Whannell, because this one comes penned by Chad and Carey (W.) Hayes, who previously gave us the tedious remake of “Hou…

Review: House of Wax (2005)

A bunch of dead-heads (Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Jared Padalecki, Paris Hilton, Jon Abrahams, and Robert Ri’chard) get lost in the backroads of Baton Rouge. And then something happens to their car. A local hick (played quite well by Aussie character actor Damon Herriman- the film was shot over here) agrees to take Cuthbert and Padalecki to the nearest town, leaving the others behind. At this town they run into mechanic Brian Van Holt, who says he has the parts they need to fix their car. They also come across an old wax museum. And that’s when people start dying.

Although the idea of a house literally made of wax is a clever one in conception, this 2005 remake of the 1953 Vincent Price classic (or the 1933 “Mystery of the Wax Museum”, if you prefer) from first-time feature director Jaume Collett-Serra (Who went onto the OK “Orphan” and the enjoyable thriller “Unknown”) gets pretty much everything wrong. The 1953 film was macabre fun with a terrific ham special from Vincent…

Review: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

Three supposed time travellers from the year 2204 (Chuck Wilson, Richard Berger, and Anna Nakagawa) and an android arrive in Japan to warn of the radioactive disaster that is Godzilla. If the big green lizard isn’t stopped, it will mean disastrous things for Japan’s future, environmentally. The future humans travel back in time with Terasawa (Kosoyuke Toyohara, as the author of a book on Godzilla) to the 1940s, where Godzilla was just a regular dinosaur (!) who actually helped the Japanese in WWII (!) before nuclear tests turned him into the radioactive giant lizard known as Gojira/Godzilla. However, these future humans and their ‘cute’ little creatures they bring with them aren’t all they appear to be. Oh look, those cute little ‘Dorats’ appear to be turning into a three-headed, dragon-like monster. That’s what happens when you feed them after midnight. Megumi Odaka essays her usual role of ESP-gifted Miki, who travels with Terasawa etc.

Socially conscious 1991 Godzilla film from wri…

Review: Crossing Over

Several stories centring on immigration to the US. Harrison Ford (perhaps a tad too old) plays a veteran ICE agent who agrees to help illegal immigrant Alice Braga get reunited with her son before she is to be deported. Unfortunately, he doesn’t act quickly enough and she has already been sent back, the woman’s plight now haunting his conscience. Summer Bishil plays a proud 15 year-old Muslim who in addition to being an illegal immigrant, unwittingly announces herself to the FBI (represented by Jacqueline Obradors as a woman with a vaguely Arabic-sounding name) as a possible terrorist threat after she indicates in an essay that she understands (but doesn’t condone) the actions of the 9/11 hijackers. Oh, and her bedroom is ‘austere’, which is apparently code for: This bitch be Jihad crazy, ‘yo! Ashley Judd is the immigration lawyer attempting to help her, whilst also working on the case of a young African orphan. Her husband is Ray Liotta, an immigration official who attempts to help s…