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The Simpsons Movie (2007)
First watching - alright; second watching - pretty good
I watched The Simpsons Movie back in 2007 at the cinema. It was...average. Nothing special, played like one of the modern episodes of the show.
I watched it again a few nights ago and I have to say, I actually enjoyed it this time around. I still don't get Spiderpig and it's appeal - just stupid, as was 'Boob Lady' - completely pointless character.
This aside, the movie is satisfying. I honestly think I went into the cinema with pure hatred in my eyes, I expected it to be bad. Now two years later I'm a bit less biased and, well, I haven't watched The Simpsons in so long that it was like revisiting old friends.
The narrative is pretty good, despite the brain-dead distractions of Spiderpig and Boob Lady. I really feel that Russ Cargill should have been Scorpio. I know, I know...Scorpio was a one-off parody villain who wouldn't have a reason to harm Homer and Springfield. But still, it would have been nice.
Overall, open your eyes and watch at as The Simpsons without thinking about The 'old' Simpsons and The 'new' Simpsons. Just enjoy it for what it is. 7/10
The Sword in the Stone (1963)
While Carsten Corleis' review on here hits the nail on the head and I thoroughly recommend reading it, I'll give you my perspective.
This is not a perfect movie by any length, but it has heart. There's happiness and there's sadness. It features one of the most powerful scenes in a movie I've ever seen. The young female squirrel with tears in her eyes and a broken heart is just so heart-wrenching.
We must remember that kids need to see the good and the bad to have moral perspective. And let's face it, you wouldn't see such a sad scene in today's animated movies. And if you did, it would be made happy by the movie's end.
The story is a bit lacking, but it's a kids movies at the end of the day.
Merlin's final line of the movie is far more powerful and takes on a different meaning that it would have had back in the day as a simple joke: "Motion picture...that's like television, without commercials." The irony is a bit too much to bare.
This is an innocent wee movie, definitely one to show the kids. 7/10
This is certainly one of the most situational episodes of the Fresh Prince that you'll no doubt remember.
Will fancies himself as a chef and ends up burning the entire kitchen down, after attempting to infamously kick the fire out! Unfortunately, Uncle Phil has guests over for dinner who could help boost his career. With the Uncle, Aunt and guests unaware of what has happened, Will and the rest try to conceal the damage.
It's a solid enough episode and season opener. It has some good funnies. Definitely one you'll remember, probably because it's quite a simple episode. 7/10
Superb action movie with heart
Aliens is a classic. Even 23 years after its release and multiple watches later, it still captures my attention when channel flicking. Everything in the movie is top-notch and I mean EVERYTHING. Acting, script, plot, story, direction, editing, sound, props...you name it, it does it to such a high quality.
Ripley returns and proves that she truly is one of cinema's most iconic characters; a kick-ass female who's more in-tune with her feminine side than Sarah Connor, but no less dangerous. She's joined by the likes of the hardened but amiable Hicks (Michael Biehn), Bishop (played by the fantastic Lance Henriksen) and many other memorable characters.
Aliens is pretty much the highest quality action/sci-fi movie out there, even all the way down to the subtext. It surpassed its sequel, but at the same time it's a different beast to its predecessor. It has yet to be beaten in its class and rightfully so. 10/10
Packs a memorable punch, but not quite a knockout
I have to say, the IMDb rating for this movie is perfect. An 8.0 describes what Rocky is: a fairly great movie and completely deserving of its place as one of the top 250 movies of all time.
While I don't believe it to be the best in the series (Rocky Balboa is just above this), it did start it all and is such a great romance movie. It's not only romance in a physical sense, but romance in terms of what it does for the sport of boxing.
Rocky's a fighter in every regard, and he's played (and written) very well by Stallone. Talia Shire is also memorable in her role as Adrian (my word isn't she beautiful?) and you can't help but smile anytime Burt Young (playing Paulie) is on-screen, despite his horrible deeds.
Mickey's visit to Rocky's flat demonstrates Burgess Meredith's supreme acting skills; he and Stallone make a great, and unlikely, acting team. Finally, Carl Weathers is often forgotten but here he puts in a fine performance as Apollo Creed.
While it is a bit slow and showing its age now, Rocky is all heart. The only thing that could put first-time watchers off here would be the hype behind the character of Rocky, as they will no doubt find themselves confused by what they've heard and what they're seeing. But please do give him time to win you over. It's inevitable he will. 8/10
After reading HNSampat-2's review, I had to respond. Sampat writes that the episode should be disowned, but it's the 39th best rated TNG episode out of 176 on IMDb. It's the highest rated episode out of the first season. And if we consider the people who are taking the effort to rate each episode, it's obvious that it's the fans who think it deserves a 7.9.
So I put it to you Sampat - how is it not Star Trek? That's a load of rubbish. This show made Star Trek what it is today.
And this episode DOES relate to space. In fact, it's a prelude to what should have been a future space adventure episode relating to these beings. Instead they were replaced by the Borg.
The episode is very enjoyable. There's some dodgy direction in the fight scenes, but outside of that it's a joy to see the actors begin to gel with their characters. I could always remember this episode from when I was younger due to the beeping of the beacon sent out - chilling stuff.
Also, watch out for horror specialist Michael Berryman (Pluto in The Hills Have Eyes) making a guest appearance. 9/10
A well-executed TV movie
While doing a bit of studying for a course during the day, this TV movie popped on the tele. I was about to begin the channel hopping process to find something more suitable for background watching when the title flashed up 'Murder, She Wrote'. Now I'm no massive fan of the show, but I'll admit that I do enjoy repeats when I see them; no exceptions here.
The opening attracts the viewer right away. It's the classic 'whodunit' model as we see an African-American fellow running from an angry mob of Southerners. This is great scene-setting, as almost everyone can gather from these establishing shots and the props that we're way back during the times of black slavery. The final shot before we flash-forward to the modern day is literally a shot (from a gun). We don't see who shoots the man looking to escape, but we want to know who.
To find out who fired the gun and reach the dramatic climax, we need some present-day detective work from none other than Jessica Fletcher and her great Southern Aunt, Sarah McCullough (an initially laughable technique to put Jessica Fletcher in the past, but ultimately very effective).
The man that we saw running and, presumably, shot is Sam; a black slave owned by Sarah. Sam is accused of murdering a white man and from there on in it's classic Murder, She Wrote.
The acting is really something special. The stand-out for me is Michael Jace as Sam. What a wonderful performance, delivered with such skill and integrity - considering the subject matter. Angela Lansbury (who was around about 75 when this was filmed) is as strong as ever in arguably her most famous role.
My only problem was with some of the props and the haircuts/facial hair. For some reason, they took me out of the immersion that the telemovie had so far provided; a few of the extras looked as if they were modern day people dressed in costume, bah! Nonetheless, this is a good telemovie and yet another great outing from Jessica Fletcher. 8/10 Oh, and happy birthday Angela Lansbury. Just turned 84 and I hear she's on Broadway again, brilliant!
Last Ride (2009)
Once again, Australian cinema gets it right
I'm loving Australian cinema at the moment. It's showing a side of Australia we never see after years of Crocodile Dundee and Steve Irwin. I loved Kenny and loved Beautiful Kate even more. While I don't think it's quite in the same league as the latter, it's still yet another movie which shows the beauty of Australia's great outdoors.
But despite its visual warmth, the backbone of the movie is its dark story. It reveals itself gradually through-out the plot. You will hate Kev (the father), but there will come a point where you will actually come to accept him. Weaving is, as to be expected, solid and his co-star Tom Russell (Chook, the son) looks set to have a great future in the business.
It's a very good movie that you should check out if you get the chance. 8/10
Le renard et l'enfant (2007)
I felt like a kid while watching this; I loved it
There's perhaps a special reason why The Fox and the Child hit a special note in my heart. Having just said goodbye to my new fiancée - of oh...one day - for an unknown period of time, I was a bit overwhelmed with varying emotions and was suffering the fallout from putting on the brave face she needed to see.
I watched a few movies and TV shows, but my interest darted from what I was leaving behind to what is out there and what I haven't seen. For that, I have this movie to thank.
Being a nature lover and having heard about the film beforehand, I was sure I was going to like it anyway. But I didn't just like it, I loved it.
The technical mastery is astounding. How did they do it? How did they capture the animals in the way they did?? It's just wonderful.
The moral of the tale is a good one and while the ending is oh so French and ambiguous, it's a happy/sad one. Again, it caught me a bit off-guard. As a man who usually keeps his emotions to himself, the ending was tough going while on a plane full of people I would be seeing for the next 15 or so hours! Perhaps it's because the ending made me think back to what I left.
But for those few hours on the plane, I was happy to see something new and original. And that's life. Sure, there are those things you love and feel comfortable around...but the great outdoors holds many a mystery. So the next time I see something out of the ordinary while out in the open; I'm going to explore it, observe it and embrace it. That's precisely what happens in this movie and that's precisely what you should do with this darn good movie/nature doc too. 8/10
P.S. It's two months on from the plane journey. We still don't know when we'll see each other again, but we will.
The Choir (2007)
An interesting take on documentary
The Choir is a very awkward documentary which is saved by its subject matter being so fantastic.
I really don't know what Michael Davie was trying to achieve. This is because the direction and framing suggest that the majority of scenes were set-up. Actually, it feels like that for most of the movie. But perhaps it's good that there are movie makers out there breaking the mould. Yet, I can't help but feel it hasn't worked due to my failure to fully work out if it was real or not.
That being said, it's an uplifting, and equally saddening, story. The documentary focuses on the teacher of the prison choir and a new member over a period of six years. It's an interesting relationship.
All in all, The Choir is a very good documentary. I have issues with it, but it's ultimately the story that matters. 7/10