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after 5 years in hell I have come back with only one purpose; to be Batman
Its both sad and rather ironic that after decades trying to distance Green Arrow from his status as nothing more than a Batman clone; DC has, through the Arrow series managed to make him more of a Batman clone than ever before. The arrow cave, the dark and gritty, that every major enemies he faces is a main Batman villain (or Nightwing villain). Culiminating ultimately in them taking some of the most defining events in the Batman comics such as the offer of the demon and giving them to Oliver Queen.
Arrow is a great series, but it is beginning to really suffer due to their attempts to make the Arrow the new Batman.
Herbie, the Love Bug (1982)
Disney are fools.
They actually screened this in Australia prior to the TV Movie coming out, I enjoyed it as a child, can't remember much of it though, and of course its not available anywhere, legitimate copy or not.
The "general knowledge" is that Disney canceled the series after only 6 episodes and refuses to let it out of The Vault because its central theme is a divorced woman with children finding happiness with the (in this version) single Jim Douglas. And Disney will not tolerate the idea of divorce, nor support it in any way; doesn't matter that 1/2 of American marriages fail, divorce is wrong. That's the word on the street anyway, and its at least an explanation, even if it is a downright stupid one.
Also, only Herbie Goes Bananas was truly terrible, Herbie Fully Loaded was pretty good if you ignore the general laziness of the production and stupidity of the main characters. Even the TV movie is saved from the trash heap by virtue of Bruce Campbell and his power of being awesome.
Avengers Assemble (2013)
OK, I have only watched the first episode so maybe it gets better, I sincerely hope so, but for a pilot, it failed miserably.
Bad writing, bad voice-acting, lazy animation, cliché and predictable story. The pilot fails on all counts.
Bad writing: Iron man comes across as an unlikable dick in the opening line, OK. he is supposed to be a dick, but a likable one. The plot of the episode is cliché and predictable; the dialogue is almost entirely entirely cliché one-liners, no conversations, no banter, no distinct characters, just cliché line after cliché line. To make matters worse the voice acting is incredibly bland, they don't even try to put some emotion into the lazy script. So the dialogue is boring, the characters are boring and the episode is predictable, the old mind-switch, been done a million times before, and here its not even done well.
Animation: Less bad, and more lazy. It looks faded, not exactly HD, and at times it switches to motion comic style, which jars with the rest of the episode. For a series which is supposed to bridge the movies it fails miserably' the characters look nothing like their movie counterparts and Iron Man still has the circular uni-beam. Also, there is no explanation of where the mansion came from.
Its almost like a cross between Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (a truly excellent series) and the movie. Perhaps its based on the comics, as someone who does not read comics I would not know.
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
Good, but not great.
There is a lot of wasted potential in this film, which just falls short of being what it could have been. The film is visually stunning to be sure, but in this age of CGI madness, the effects are underwhelming, and the green skin of the evil witch looks like that of HULK 2003 and at one point in the dark forest they appear to be attacked by a Muppet show sketch, its just terrible. The transition from black and white also lacks the impact of the original film, especially as it comes about a minute after it should logically happen.
The film also suffers from three major elements and a few lesser ones.
1. Its not a musical. The closest they come to a musical number is a munchkin song which sounds begins really well but it cut short because Oz isn't interested in song and dance; except as a way to woo every woman he meets anyway.
2. An irritating; whiny; Billy Crystal inspired flying monkey sidekick who really drags down the story. I assume it was supposed to be comic relief for children, but Billy Crystal himself couldn't make the creature less annoying.
3. Also, James Franco is not nearly a good enough actor to pull off his part. Especially when he is acting acting, its just painful. Although not as painful as the monkey sidekick.
This film would have been 2 stars better for the replacement of the monkey "humour" with a few songs, there are so many places in the film where a song is called for and we get nothing. The first 20 minutes of the film is especially boring as a result of this.
The film also suffers in the writing, a lot of rather dull wooing scenes leading to a very weak motivation for The Wicked Witch of the West turning evil.
Also, Bruce Campbell is completely wasted in his tiny cameo role as a gate guard.
Finally there is no real lead-in to the original film, no sign of Ruby slippers, no explanation for how Munchkin Land becomes enslaved. Its a good film, but it is not great and certainly not what it could have been, should have been. Oz the Great and Powerful.
Not half what it could have been .
I just saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and it was very disappointing. When I heard they were going to make 2(3) movies out of a very short book I expected them to use a lot of the backstory from The Appendices, The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.
Instead they completely rewrite the history of Middle-Earth, weaken Gandalf in order to build up Radagast and to compress 500 years into 5 days and basically give us a huge amount of filler they made up for the movie when the original story would have been more interesting and more engaging if properly expanded instead of being completely rewritten.
Its a good movie, but its far short of the standards of the LOTR films, which at least stayed true to the spirit of the books. If it had stayed more true to the source material it would have been at least twice the movie it actually is.
The Hobbit is full of plot holes, missing explanations and bland filler.
The extremely high frame rate makes everyone seem fat-faced in close-ups, although the 3D effect is impressively floating.
And Glamdring still doesn't glow around orcs, and nor does Orcrist; despite Gandalf saying all elf blades do and the goblin king actually mentioning Glamdring is supposed to shine like daylight.
And Gandalf still summons the eagles through freaking Moths! That was a dumb idea from the beginning, sigh.
Its just a disappointing movie.
Chelmsford 123 (1988)
Classic British Comedy at its finest
Chelmsford 123 is one of the great but little known gems from the heyday of British comedy. Set in Romano-Britain in the days when things were still settling in, the show revolves around the interplay between the Roman Governor Aulus Paulinus and the local Celtic Chieftain Badvoc.
With a superb cast, excellent comic timing and a brilliant array of (mostly) original jokes, this show remains as hilarious today as it was back in 1988/90. Some of the cliché jokes are a tad tired perhaps, but they are handled well and the clever humour of the rest of the episode always makes up for it.
Chelmsford is not an over the top pratfall comedy like Faulty Towers, relying more on overacting and miscommunication to pass for humour. The humour here is both visual and linguistic, utilising puns at times, but more often simply clever dialogue and body language to carry the joke, which provides for clever humour, which certainly carries a lot of cultural references, and yet is still easily accessible to anyone. It is similar to the humour of Blackadder IV, yet more restrained.
The sort of comedy it produces can be likened to that of another gem, Maid Marian and her Merry Men, however Chelmsford 123 is not a children's program as it contains many blatant sexual references, some bestial in nature, as well as several sex scenes.
There are some elements of "dramatic necessity" that really make absolutely no sense and the vanishing of Gargamadua (Erica Hoffman) between seasons could use some explanation, but these can be ignored in the face of the laughter.
While some episodes are undoubtedly weaker than others, the final one in particular being rather cliché and disappointing, all episodes contain excellent jokes and most of the series will have you genuinely guffawing.
This series is definitely worth buying to re-watch time and again.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010)
This deserved a cinema release
This film is probably the best of all the Superman animated movies that have been released over the least few years, better even than Doomsday. The animation quality, the voice acting, the comic timing, the action scenes, the story, and especially the writing are all of the highest standard.
Telling the story of Kara Zor-El's arrival on earth this film is notable for its use of realistic elements, such as language barriers to truly reinforce the realness of the story; although having Kara have powers from the start even though she crash landed at night is a tad annoying. The voice for Darkseid was a little too refined as well, but the talent of Andre Braugher makes up for this.
Great action, good drama, well placed and perfectly timed comedy, great voice acting and a very good story mean this movie was wasted on only being direct to video.
Puss in Boots (2011)
A typical and should have been expected flat Disney sequel
I halfway expected it after the lacklustre Shrek 3 and the appalling Shrek Christmas, but still I managed to get up enough interest and hope to go and see Puss in Boots. It was even more disappointing than I expected. There was only 1 or two halfway funny jokes in the entire movie, the rest of it was frankly dull, just the continued overextending of a tired formula that has become synonymous with Disney over the past 16 ears.
The worst part of the film is the character of Humpty Dumpty, who fails to even crack when he falls off the wall, but the main problem was simply the complete lack of humour in a movie format that relies upon it entirely for success. All the nursery rhyme angles in the film are poorly adapted and irritate rather than engage and the overall film simply falls flat. The excellent voice acting by Antonia and Salma aside, the best part of this film was the preview for the new Muppets movie, which were the only real laughs heard.
Wagons East (1994)
A clever comedy western about settlers who have just had enough.
Wagons East is a well presented western about a group of settlers who have found the glorious west to be more The Land of Barbarism than the promised Land of Opportunity. So they quit and head home.
It is wrong to think of the movie as a spoof and if you watch it expecting a Mel Brooks movie you will only be disappointed. Wagons East is a genuine western comedy, with a wide variety of laughs from family trip clichés to road runner gags and seen as such it is a remarkably good western with clever, though uncomplicated comedy and a good plot image. Although the greedy, but paranoid Rail Mogul is a little weak, most of the clichés fit in neatly and comically with the plot.
Oh and don't watch Wagons East expecting a John Candy film. The main leads are Richard Lewis and Robert Picardo, with strong input from Scrubs star John C. McGinley. Candy makes a good appearance, but his comic performance is considerably muted compared to his more prominent films. This may be due to his unfortunate death towards the end of filming; or it may be that he felt the role deserved a more quiet presentation due to the terrible secret in the characters past.
I enjoyed this film immensely and heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys a light laugh.
Overrated Adventure with impressive CGI and a so-so plot.
Avatar is a well constructed film which has spent a fortune on reportedly breathtaking 3D-CGI effects and scenery. They are not breathtaking, but they are very well done. Overall though Avatar simply fails to impress. The plot is adequate, not great, about the best you can expect from Pocahontas in Space, the love story is tired and predictable. While the action sequences and the well constructed CGI landscapes do look suitably almost real and for a few minutes even make the movie exciting. The 3D isn't enough of a boost to justify the extra 5 dollars on the ticket price and the plot is barely good enough to justify a standard ticket. The acting is bad, the directing is bad, the plot-holes are gaping and you just know the whole thing will end off screen with being nuked from orbit. Avatar is an sub-par movie that has fallen into the classic 21st Century trap. All the effort goes into the scenery and the writers get left behind. Far from Cameron's best.
Truly one of the greatest adventure stories of all time.
The 1959 adaption of Jules Verne's epic tale: Journey to the Center of the Earth remains to this day not only the best adaption of the 19th century novel, but one of the truly great movies of all time. Standing beside The Lord of the Rings trilogy and National Treasure as one of the three greatest adventure movies ever made.
Featuring an all star cast, powerful and invigorating music scores and just the correct mixture of action, relaxation and humour it stands as a true testament to the talents of all involved in the production, from script to screen.
There are some that feel the forty-five minute lead-in prior to the underground events is too long. I do not. The story development in the opening scenes serves to draw the viewer into the movie and develop the characters as complete three-dimensional beings. Something missing in many modern films.
The special effects are superb for the time and can stand up to in most cases even to a digital screen and in comparison to the marvels of computer generated images. But the special effects are background (as they should always be) to the story itself.
Carried by a masterful performance from James Mason and with strong performances by all other cast members, the willing suspension of disbelief comes without effort as the adventure unfolds.
This is a daring tale of bold adventure and discovery, balanced neatly with lighter elements and humour and produced with stunning visual effect.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949)
A showcase for talent, nothing special.
I'm a big fan of baseball movies, but Take Me Out To The Ball Game rather failed to sparkle. It has all the brightness and colour of the great musicals, but lacks depth. The games are skimmed, the background characters have no development at all and the leads themselves are only surface projections. The songs fail to entrance and while the title song sticks in the mind, it, like the others, is not particularly interesting.
Garret, Sinatra, Kelly and Williams all put on typically fine performances as the story follows the traditional plot which Sinatra and Kelly reveal in so many of their films.
Take Me Out' is not so much about the game, or the characters, but rather a showcase for the talents of the Leads, cashing in on their popularity. I would suggest that it is worth watching if you come across it in a video store, but not worth adding to your permanent collection. Enjoyable in a rather flat way, Take Me Out' is definitely not a bad movie. The plot may be standard, but it has laughter and good heart and Sinatra and Kelley always work well together. All things considered though, it is nothing special. Try High Society instead.
A Christmas Carol (1999)
Quiet, reserved and wonderful.
Although I am very much a fan of the original Scrooge (1951), I must say that this reserved and respectful portrayal is every bit as great a success. A flawless performance and dedicated script presents perhaps the best version of A Christmas Carol ever filmed. Although one does wonder at Fred being so poor that he can afford to keep a maid.
As others have commented, Patrick Stewerts assertion of the character not as a bent old miser, but as a rather cold London businessman serves the story well in terms of realism and effect. It is clear from the beginning that Scrooge is not a monster, but rather a man who holds the ghosts of painful memories locked away. This is emphasized by his final treatment of the Ghost of Christmas Past.
Poignant and touching, as it should be, the Stewert version of A Christmas Carol is truly a masterpiece.
-- Sunny Lovett
A Christmas Carol (2004)
What a joke
I have seen quite a few versions of A Christmas Carol in my time and this is without a doubt the worst adaption of Charles Dickens greatest work ever made. Poor casting, bad acting, uninspired and prolonged dance scenes, scatty songs which certainly do not stir the heart and a rather over the top approach whenever they feel the need to depart from the original script. The film appears to have been a deliberate and disastrously failed attempt at humour, at least one hopes so as that is the only thing that could excuse casting Kelsey Grammar as Scrooge. He does not pass muster as a dramatic actor. Do not waste your time with this musical, it isn't worth it.
If you want to see a truly inspired adaption you can't go past Scrooge (1951), which after fifty years still remains superb. If you want to see the truest version of the story then George C. Scott's 1984 portrayal is best. If you want something a little lighter to show the children, then The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) is another excellent adaption with some wonderful songs. If you want a cartoon then the 1971 version with Scrooge's Alastair Sim reprising his role.
I would advise sticking to Scrooge though and maybe the Muppet's on a back shelf. Grammar's 'Carol is simply is terrible.
A gentle tale worth watching with a relaxed mind.
Watching Supergirl this week for the first time since childhood I see it with fresh eyes and a newfound appreciation of the movie. Supergirl must be considered separate and unrelated to the Superman movie foursome or it will fall short. There is not supposed to be a comparison. The Superman movies are action epics, Supergirl is the story of strength growing out of innocence.
Watching Supergirl now with an understanding of focus that I did not have when younger, I truly enjoy it. Helen Slater, Peter O'Tool, Peter Cook and Maureen Teefy all put in superb performances. Mia Farrow tends to overact the part of Selena, but then the character believes herself larger than life. Brenda Vaccaro could use a little more self assertion, but does alright. Marc McClure is of course an undeniably talented actor, though his part in this film is minor. I am forced to scream at the screen however; Why the hell do you wear a camera if you aren't going to use it when a major news piece flies into your lap?
I remember being dismissive of Supergirl when I was younger; due in part to the use of magic which has no part in the Superman films, but mainly I suspect due to the ludicrous man-eating excavator scene. This scene remains the major absurdity of the movie. Supposed to be terrifying it comes off as a rather poor imitation of the hundred Volkswagens from Herbie Rides Again. It isn't scary, its stupid.
Apart from that scene, Supergirl is good gentle viewing and a nice counterpoint to Superman.
It is hard to describe my exact feelings, but I do feel that standing on its own Supergirl should be considered a success and I deeply regret never having a chance to watch the sequels that were never made.
Casino Royale (2006)
The best Bond Film ever?
Possibly, although its a little unfair given the advantages modern special effects can give (when used appropriately, and they are here). Make your own judgment, personally I think it just might be. Before you start you have to get past the issue of CR being in effect a complete Ret-Con, it is Bond's first assignment, but in the 21st century, so all the other movies don't exist. Once you have accepted this Casino Royale is hugely enjoyable.
The girls, guns and gadgets are all there, but simplified, more believable. As for Craig; he might not have the humour of Connery, but he makes up for it with sheer gall. He owns the role.
CR does seem to be twice as long as other Bond Films and you notice it, but the action holds your interest without difficulty and almost every minute is used to full effect.
High Tide at Noon (1957)
Gentle and enjoyable with a subtle power.
This is the tale of the collapse of a fishing community from the eyes of a girl at the heart of it. Gentle and warming, though with some much darker scenes the film has that elusive quality which holds the interest of the viewer throughout. Like many Rank movies it falls more towards the TV movie than Hollywood showcase, but still far superior to a mere television work.
Not an award winner or a well-loved treasure, High Tide at Noon is nonetheless a very watchable film and an pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The actress does have a certain naivety, but that is part of the charm of the picture.
I recommend this movie to all those who yearn for a simpler time.
Ocean Girl (1994)
One of those great shows of intelligence, excitement and adventure
Ocean Girl is the most enjoyable and certainly one of the most intelligent children's series that it has been my good fortune to experience. Made in the time before now, when the producer's of children's TV believed in quality rather than budget, it carries well on all levels.
Far more than just an "alien on earth" program. Ocean Girl deals with friendship and bullies, the environment, family and life. There is little call for special effects in the story lines, but those there are have neither pretensions nor inadequacies. The plots are in interesting, inventive and attention catching with a strong emphasis on the necessity of protecting our oceans.
One of the most important aspects is the high quality of the acting from the main and supporting cast members. A strong attachment to the characters is easily developed and one genuinely cares about what happens to them.
The strong performances and excellent visual effects lend a strong sense of realism to the tales and unlike modern programs adults can enjoy it nearly as much as their children. It is truly targeted as family entertainment, not just for children. While there are enemies to be overcome and some rather scary moments, the stories are not dark and a happy ending is always around the corner. The beautifully shot scenes of The Great Barrier Reef, the ocean and the islands also lends a sense of loveliness to the happy scenes.
Ocean Girl is a science fiction program, but the language and ideas are no different from today's and the technology is mostly current, although with elements such as AI computers which are perhaps a few short decades beyond us.
Date Movie (2006)
Enjoyable, although a little sickening at times.
Well I have glanced through a few of the reviews and am astounded at the overwhelming negativity towards Date Movie. Yes its plot is extremely thin, yes it is nothing but a bunch of rather poorly done parodies of the more successful films over the last 20 years. But what I think you fail to understand is that is the point. It isn't supposed to be a cleverly made Oscar winning masterpiece, it is purely designed to give a few laughs. Now some of the scenes to be sure are more disgusting than funny (hairball), but many of the scenes do indeed have a lot of humour in them. The audience I attended the movie with laughed fairly constantly throughout and no wonder.
I think it all comes down to a matter of taste in the end. Date Movie, like its predecessors of the Scary and Teen persona, follows the basic plot line of the genre it is spoofing very loosely, but with enough innovation to be enjoyable and the spoofs are in fact quite cleverly conceived. They aren't hilarious skits such as you would find in Flying High, but they are amusing enough and while it certainly helps to have seen the movies spoofed, most of the jokes are obvious enough to work on their own.
In short, the film is funny as long as you don't go into it with high expectations. Not as good as its predecessors, but it still works. I won't be buying the DVD, but I'll be sure to watch it on TV one day. After all, it is in the end a cheap laugh and a good way to wind down of the evening.