Tag Archives: Film Reviews

Movie Review – Alvin and the Chipmonks: Chipwrecked (2011)

Film: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
Released: 2011
Director: Mike Mitchell
Stars: Justin Long (voice), Matthew Gray Gubler (voice), Jesse McCartney (voice), Alan Tudyk (voice), Christina Applegate (voice), Jason Lee

Synopsis:
Playing around while aboard a cruise ship en route to a music awards ceremony, the Chipmunks and Chipettes accidentally go overboard and end up marooned in a tropical paradise. They discover their new turf is not as deserted as it seems.

What I thought of it:

Let me start off by saying, I HATE the Chipmunks. I always have and always will.

OK, now that we have that out of the way, here goes…

This was my three-year-old son’s first ever cinema trip, so it didn’t matter if I thought the movie as awful (which I did!), all that mattered was that he enjoyed himself (which he did!).

This is the third in the animated/live action chipmunks movie franchise, but it was easy to pick up what had happened before – Jason lee adopted three singing chipmunks, then managed to pick up three female singing chipmunks (the Chipettes) and now they’re on board a cruise ship and will be performing at a music awards ceremony. Are you following? Yes, it’s that easy to work out. And the villain from the previous movie(s) shows up too, but you very quickly realise his connection.

The plot is simple and focuses almost entirely on how the Chipmunks and Chipettes survive on the island after accidentally going overboard, and how they all learn something about themselves and each other. It’s entirely unfunny and they all have those incredibly annoying high-pitched warbly voices that will get the hackles up on any adult (unless they’re very strange and into that kind of thin), but which the kiddies all love. However, there is something very, very wrong about animated chipmunks singing Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance and nothing will ever convince me otherwise.

So, in short, a hideous experience for parents forced to watch this with their children, but great for the little’uns who will sit goggle-eyed, laughing like loons to the very end. Mine even wanted to stay to the end of the credits.

Rating:

(Rating for adults is 1, but for kids it’s 5, so I had to take the average for my overall rating)

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Movie Review – Kill Keith (2011)

Film: Kill Keith
Released: 2011
Director: Andy Thompson
Stars: Susannah Fielding, Simon Phillips, Marc Pickering, Keith Chegwin, Tony Blackburn

Synopsis:
A new host will be announced for popular breakfast show, Crack of Dawn, but someone is hunting down the people on the short list – Joe Pasquale, Tony Blackburn, Russell Grant, and last but not least, Keith Chegwin – to turture and murder them all. Will the Breakfast Serial Killer manage to murder all the prospective presenters? Who is this madman? And why is he embarking on his murderous spree? Can intrepid tea boy and wannabe presenter Danny save the day and get the girl of his dreams, none other than Dawn, the co-star?

What I thought of it:
From start to finish, this film is utter silliness. But you know what? It’s absolutely hilarious! The household names we love (and those we love to hate) are all present and correct as parodies of themselves (kudos especially to Cheggers and Blackburn!). Marc Pickering (Danny) looks like the secret love child of Alan Cumming and is brilliant as the loser who dreams of being more than just the tea boy on Britain’s favourite breakfast television show. The movie-based fantasy sequences are all brilliant.

And when it comes to seeing those aforementioned household names getting tortured, maimed and murdered, the over-the-top ick-factor is extremely high and extremely funny.

It’s nothing high-brow, it’s not particularly clever, but it will make you giggle like crazy. If you ever watched Swap Shop on a Saturday morning as a kid, you’ll love seeing Cheggers in this crazy comedy-murder-fantasy.

Rating:

Movie Review – The Muppets (2011)

Film: The Muppets
Released: 2011
Director: James Bobin
Stars: Amy Adams, Jason Segel,  Chris Cooper, The Muppets

Synopsis:
When three Muppet fans learn that Tex Richman wants to drill under the Muppet Theater for oil, Gary, Mary and Walter set out to find the Muppets who have been split up for years so that they can put on one last show and save the Muppet Theater. Kermit the Frog now lives in his own mansion depressed in Hollywood, The Great Gonzo is a high-class plumber at Gonzo’s Royal Flush, Fozzie Bear performs with a tribute band called The Moopets, Miss Piggy is the plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, and Animal is at a celebrity anger management rehab center in Santa Barbara.

What I thought of it:
I love the Muppets. As a kid, I tuned in every week when The Muppet Show was on and laughed my little head off. I’ve loved loads of Muppet movies, and I thought I’d love this one too. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The main plot point was basically lifted directly from It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002) with the Muppet theatre (and, in this case, the whole studio) being threatened by an evil business mogul, but it all fell apart pretty easily because the $10 million The Muppets need to raise to save the theatre could easily have been handed over by several of The Muppets themselves – after all, Kermit is living in a mansion in Bel Air, Gonzo owns and runs a massively successful plumbing company, and Miss Piggy is the plus size editor for Vogue.

Then there are the human stars – don’t get me wrong, I like Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper, but I hated them all in this. Especially Chris Cooper as the aforementioned business man who cannot actually give a maniacal laugh, so instead repeats over and over the words “Maniacal laugh.” It’s tedious and annoying after hearing it just once.

The song, “Man Or a Muppet” won an Oscar for best original song, but it was the best number in the film and, to be honest, wasn’t all that great either. And jack Black has become such an obnoxious parody of himself I’d be glad if I never saw him onscreen again.

If you ever liked The Muppets, please DO NOT see this film, unless you particularly want all your wonderful childhood memories of them trampled and smashed to smithereens.

Rating:

Movie Review – Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)

Film: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Released: 2011
Director: Brad Bird
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg

Synopsis:
Ethan Hunt and his team are racing against time to track down a dangerous terrorist named Hendricks, who has gained access to Russian nuclear launch codes and is planning a strike on the United States. An attempt by the team to stop him at the Kremlin ends in a disaster, with an explosion causing severe destruction to the Kremlin and the IMF being implicated in the bombing, forcing the President to invoke Ghost Protocol, under which the IMF is disavowed, and will be offered no help or backup in any form. Undaunted, Ethan and his team chase Hendricks to Dubai, and from there to Mumbai, but several spectacular action sequences later, they might still be too late to stop a disaster

What I thought of it:
The eagerly awaited fourth installment of the highly popular Mission Impossible franchise is certainly filled with eye-popping stunts and special effects, but that’s pretty much all it has to offer, which is a shame, because it has some serious talent involved. First we have Tom Cruise who just is Ethan Hunt; then you have Jeremy Renner, who has picked up the baton as lead of the Bourne reboot; and finally Simon Pegg, who is just fantastic in everything, even when the material isn’t so great.

So what went wrong?

The plot is a bit naff to be honest. The Kremlin and a possible nuclear war? Really? That is so old hat it’s practically fossilised. And we have pretty much the same stunts again (yes, that old drop and dangle is involved yet again, but this time Cruise has stepped back to let one of his co-stars hover just above danger). It was all fairly predictable and a little disappointing, making me hope that Hollywood will just leave this series alone now.

There were one or two really great stunts though – scaling the skyscraper is one that springs immediately to mind – and it’s still a fair bit of fun to watch, just don’t expect it to tax the brain too much or you’ll be twiddling your thumbs long after you work out what’s going on (which will happen fairly early in the film).

If you’re looking for a bit of mindless entertainment, watch this. But if you fancy something a bit more challenging, don’t bother. It’s popcorn fodder and nothing more.

Rating:

Movie Review – Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in (2008)

Film: Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in
Released: 2008
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar

Synopsis:
Oskar, a bullied 12-year old, dreams of revenge. He falls in love with Eli, a peculiar girl. She can’t stand the sun or food and to come into a room she needs to be invited. Eli gives Oskar the strength to hit back but when he realizes that Eli needs to drink other people’s blood to live he’s faced with a choice. How much can love forgive? Set in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg in 1982.

What I thought of it:
I recently watched the American remake of this film (Let Me In) which was released two years after this, the Swedish original. Other film fans had told me the original was far superior to the remake, so as I had enjoyed the later film, I thought I’d go back and watch this version too.

To be honest, I needn’t have bothered.

It’s not bad. Really, it’s not bad, and if I had seen this first, I might have enjoyed it more, but I think I still would have preferred the remake, which is remarkably unusual for me (the only other recent occurence being The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

I honestly cannot see why people rave about this film. Like I said, it’s not bad, but there’s nothing really spectacular about it either. The young leads were alright, but that’s as far as it went for me – the performances of the kids in the remake were a lot better; perhaps not surprising as both have filmographies as long as your arm and have done some sterling work in the past.

There were a few changes in scenes and storyline, but these were minimal and, once more, I thought the remake was tighter than the original and had better flow. Surprisingly, the almost sensual relationship between Eli and her “father” was downplayed even more than in the remake – I really thought it would be a little more overt.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed with this film, partly because of the hype but not entirely so – even if I hadn’t seen the newer film, this one would have been just as much of a let-down. It’s decidedly average fare – only watch it if you’re a total vampire nut and like to see every vampire film going, just to say you have.

Rating:
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The Oscars 2012

Ah, the Oscars! The most eagerly anticipated movie awards ceremony of the year. We’ve already had the BAFTAs and various others, but when it comes to coveting an ornament saying “You’re brilliant at what you do in the film industry,” it’s that golden statuette that stands head and shoulders about the rest. (I’m so sorry, I couldn’t resist the terrible pun!)

So, here are the categories with who I would like to win each award along with who I think will win them. Where the titles are highlighted, you can click on the links to be taken either to my review or my husband’s where I haven’t written one (of course, some we haven’t reviewed at all!). I’ve not included the documentary and animated short categories, as I have not seen any of the nominations and have no opinions on them:

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Movie Review – The Artist (2011)

Film: The Artist
Released: 2011
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle, Malcolm McDowell

Synopsis:
Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break.

What I thought of it:
In an incredibly bold move, Hazanavicius has eschewed the big-budget reboots, remkes and franchises to bring us something both fresh that harks back to the earlier days of cinema complete with intertitles. In looking at the difficulties of a silent movie star to adapt to performaing in “talkies”, one realises that the modern filmstars will have had similar difficulties in protraying the exaggerated mannerisms of the silent movie era – something completely alien to today’s more natural style of acting.

Dujardin and Bejo both pull off this feat magnificently. Dujardin looks like a cross between David Niven and Vincent Price, with the elegance of Fred Astaire and the charm of Clark Gable (all stars of the later era of film-making, but no less important in their oeuvre). Bejo’s face perfectly encapsulates both the leading ladies of the silent era and the early talkies, with her “peppy” style truly living up to her character’s name, Peppy Miller.

It’s beautifully shot and the lack of sound other than the dramatic and theatrical score is wondrful. There is, however, one very clever scene that involves sound – George Valentin’s dream sequence – that serves to juxtapose his dilemma and inability to make the transition from silence to sound.

I can see why this film has been sweeping the awards season this year, and it really does deserve the recognition for stepping away from the “safe” arena of the blockbuster and giving us something spectacularly different. It’s not my favourite of the Oscar nominated films, but it’s pretty close and I think this one will once again win the coveted Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor as it did so recently at the BAFTAS. I can also see it scooping Art Direction, Cinematography and Costume Design, but I think Bejo will miss out on the Best Actress statue as she suffers the same misfortune as Michelle Williams in being pitted against Streep in one of her best ever performances as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.

This is a must-see for fans of cinema and film history as well as for those who just enjoy seeing a really great film. It’s a joy to see and it will surely be seen as a timeless masterpiece and a classic over time. It is a pity that more production companies don’t take the risk and dare to be as different in their projects as this, because the results here are nothing short of stunning.

My hubby’s review HERE.

Rating:

~***~

I realise I have rated several Oscar-nominated films as 5/5 and this is very unusual for me, but they are all deserving of the highest rating I can give. There is very little in it and they all have the same rating, however here they are in order of my personal preference:

  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • The Artist
  • My Week with Marilyn
  • The Iron Lady

Of course, this is only my personal preference and will most likely not be reflected in the choices of the judging panel of the Academy Awards, but I thought it was worth mentioning in case anyone wondered which films I enjoyed the most of those I had rated so highly.