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It wasn't crap, but it wasn't brilliant.
A fairly likable film, but I feel that Ratatouille is undeserving of the high praise heaped upon it. Number 129 in the IMDb Top 250? Are you kidding me? Above Toy Story 2? Above Finding Nemo? Above The Incredibles (arguably the finest animated movie ever)? And, I'm not the world's biggest fan of it, but above The Lion King?
The only area that Ratatouille is superior to any of the afore-mentioned films is the excellent, realistic animation and the innovative 'action' sequences. Character development? Minimal. Laugh-out-loud moments? Reserved for the last twenty minutes...the biggest redeeming feature of the film (well done Mr O'Toole). Silly plot twists? Check. Overkill of a premise? Check. Speaking English with newspapers in French? Check. Overdone physical 'comedy'? Check. Pointless violence? Check.
I think a little more time needed to be spent on the script and not how well it was presented. I didn't feel much of a connection to any of the characters, and did not become emotionally involved with Remy until the end of the film.
However, this isn't a BAD film, it's just disappointing. Brad Bird's Incredibles saga was a hugely engaging, entertaining and funny film, and this is not. I know a lot of people may disagree with me (129th??), but I felt this fell way short of the bar. Bring on The Incredibles 2 and let's give thanks that Hayao Miyazaki is still churning them out. At least Spirited Away is in a fitting place on the Top 250.
Casino Royale (2006)
Very enjoyable Bond film. Some of the action sequences suffer from overkill, but are still exciting, if a little convoluted. I was almost ready to blast the movie for not including the James Bond theme, but...oh, you'll have to watch it.
Daniel Craig is a great Bond. Full of pith and vinegar, cold and charismatic, sexy and sinister. It's almost as if the opening black and white sequence tells you to forget everything you knew about Bond and the franchise so far...this is Bond re-born, year zero.
Once the movie gets into the plot of the original novel, the movie is in full swing. Obviously plot devices such as mobile phones and state-of-the-art MI6 communication have been inserted to modernise Bond, but the story does not suffer for it.
I've heard a lot of people say that they hate Bond movies, but they really liked this one. People also comment that they don't like the gadgets either. What the hell? Are the gadgets not one of the most exciting elements of a Bond film? The suitcase in From Russia With Love? The key-ring from The Living Daylights? The Lotus car/submarine from The Spy Who Loved Me? The Aston Martin from Goldfinger? Come on! This is certainly a re-invention, but the lack of some Bond traits disappointed me. Die Another Day was, quite rightly, hailed as the worst movie of the franchise, and CR does set things right again. A wonderful sign of things to come...but please, don't forget the roots of the series. Some things must be updated, but not everything.
All in all a very good movie, Bond film or not.
As many a movie-goer has said...the penguins were the best thing in Madagascar. There seems to be an alarming trend in animated films where secondary characters outshine the main cast, eg: Scrat from the Ice Age films.
What more could you ask of the penguins? Great characters, wonderful quotes, hilarious visual antics and fantastic animation. I was so excited the DVD contained this wonderful Christmas short, and I constantly watch it in favour of Madagascar...although sometimes I just watch the penguin bits.
I'll leave you all with some of my favourite penguin lines:
"Hoover Dam! We're still in New York! Abort! Dive! Dive! Dive!" "Shittake mushrooms! No more cute and cuddly!" "Never bathe in hot oil and Bisquick?" "Gotcha! Just kiddin' doll, the people are fine. They're on the slow boat ride to China." "This is all some kind of whacked-out conspiracy. We're going to the wide-open spaces of Antarctica." "Eggnog at 2100 hours, writing our names in the snow at 2105."
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
It's almost like it was directed by Kubrick's son. Sure it wasn't a Kubrick film, but it had similar themes and pacing as some of his movies. Spielberg is too much of a director in his own right to make A.I. the way Kubrick envisioned it.
That being said I thought this film was fantastic. Osment and Law were wonderful in their roles, Law in particular showing a lot of believability to his robotic performance. The premise is nothing new, but the state of the world in the future is terrifying. A world where many cities are now drowned and robots are built to perform tasks only to be discarded later.
That is what is so heart-breaking about this movie. A robot programmed to love a woman as a mother is then rejected by her. He then spends the rest of his life wanting to be a real boy so she will love him. The final thirty minutes of this film had me in tears. It was a dark, depressing film at times, but ultimately, it was a happy ending.
Well done to the human touches given to the robots. Robin Williams' voice for Dr Know, Chris Rock's brief comedy robot and of course, Jack Angel's wonderful voice for Teddy. You forgot that Teddy was just a teddy bear. Take that Wilson!
This isn't for everybody and it certainly isn't for every Kubrick fan. Try not to have any pre-conceived notions of what you're in store for. It is incredible how human this story really is.
What a great idea for a story, and a great way to tell it. You can't turn your brain off with this one. Every scene makes the previous scene make sense, and if you switch off you miss vital plot developments.
The film is all down to Guy Pearce and the incredible editing. His sincerity and complete believability in the role of Leonard is fantastic. How this film didn't get more notice is beyond me. The fact that it didn't pick up the Oscars for editing and original screenplay is baffling.
I just know that I'm going to be doubting what is real in my memory for a few days. Recommended for those who like to think, and want to break from the typical Hollywood blockbuster no-brainer. Well done Mr Nolan!
Wo hu cang long (2000)
A great movie with a plot that just unravels on its own terms. Great characters and incredible action sequences are the backbone of this fantastic film. It's also beautiful to watch, with the cinematography wonderfully capturing the lush scenery as well as the dazzling fights. My only criticism is that the background story of Lo and Jen goes on for too long. I felt that I wanted to get back to the compound, and follow the rest of the story. Otherwise, this is an almost flawless film, without the typical Hollywood endings or twists.
The Interview (1998)
An Aussie Classic!
While the supporting cast is excellent, make no mistake: this is Hugo Weaving's film. He constantly keeps the audience guessing and easily changes his role from the victim to the villain by the tweaking of his facial features.
Hugo is starting to make waves in the international scene, and hopefully, if there's any justice he will a win similar success that Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce are enjoying. Roles in the Matrix (and now Lord Of The Rings) trilogy are winning him notice.
This film is recommended for those don't think any movie made in Australia (by Australians) can be worth watching. A very intelligent film that demands your attention and holds your intrigue until the very last shot.
Dead Man (1995)
Strangely hypnotic, poetic and disturbing...
A very bold and uncompromising movie. Filmed in black and white with a doomed ending, eerie symbolism and mysterious messages a-plenty, it is clearly not your average piece of cinema. It is very weird, and almost nonsensical in parts, but I love this movie. I love Johnny Depp's left-of-centre movie choices, and this is certainly that.
For some reason, I love the opening scene between Depp and the extremely under-used Crispin Glover. It makes very little sense, but it sets the tone for the rest of the movie perfectly. Glover's delivery of the line "I wouldn't trust no words written on no piece of paper by no Dickinson from the town of Machine' is eerily prophetic and even disturbing.
A different western with wonderful performances from the strangest group of actors assembled together in recent memory. Recommended for film buffs that are not afraid to make their own conclusions, and don't need to have everything spoon-fed to them.
A Scot in the Arctic (1996)
Interesting Look At Billy
This fascinating TV special about Billy Connolly's adventures in the Arctic shows more insight into Billy's personality than the beautiful landscape. There are some moments where he is alone, talking to a camera, and we get a sense of how he sometimes likes being isolated and enjoys his solitude. Quite interesting for a man who comes across as being so extroverted.
There is one part where he groans about the rest of the crew joining him during the day. He says its so peaceful and tranquil until he hears the sleds and noises of the others arriving. He almost comes across as a bit of grumpy hermit, but this doesn't make you love him any less. He is still entertaining, and he is still funny. There are some glorious scenes of nature and interesting trivia as well. Recommended if you want a nature show with a difference.
Heroes' Mountain (2002)
Very Well Acted Piece Of Australian History
Heroes' Mountain offers a great insight into the Thredbo tragedy. We Australians were devastated by this disaster and we all greatly admired the sole survivor Stuart Diver. This movie shows his ordeal very well, with a fine performance from Craig McLachlan as Diver. Every member of the supporting cast was excellent, lending such believability to their performances that you forgot that you were watching the film, and not the real thing.
The only drawback, I felt, was that it didn't deal with the aftermath at all. We got told that Stuart Diver recovered and eventually returned to Thredbo. It would have been good to know other details of the tragedy, rather than just focusing on Diver. How many people were killed? What happened to the families of the victims? What did Stuart Diver achieve after the accident, if anything?
It is a well directed film, and very engaging. Particularly for those of us who remember seeing Stuart Diver pulled out live on television in 1997. Well done to all the actors. Definitely worth a look.