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Malcolm (1986)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Super creative. Not just another "Rain Man got skillz" clone., 8 October 2012

Malcolm (Colin Friels) is a toddler both emotionally and from a mental maturity standpoint. In one scene he is gifted a brand new television and is more impressed with the robustness of the cardboard box.

Afraid of contact and unaware of social niceties and intimacy, Malcolm lives alone after the death of his Mother in a small suburban home in Melbourne, confining interaction to only absolutely unavoidable situations, and even then conversing in only the most basic, factual sentences.

Malcolm likes things this way. He likes his countless model trains *ahem* trams, his pet parrot and his job at the Melbourne Tram services. He doesn't need human contact at all.

Then he loses his job.

Without a job Malcolm becomes a shut-in, but a shut-in with no income doesn't eat. Malcolm doesn't initially understand this, burying himself in backyard inventions that range from cute to ingenious, but after his remote controlled 'shopping buddy' returns home from the local deli with a note saying 'no more without $' instead of milk, he is forced to look at other possibilities.

At the behest of the kindly shopkeeper Malcolm advertises for a boarder, which brings Frank (John Hargreaves) – and later his missus Judith (Lindy Davies) – into his life.

Initially all parties have trouble finding their niche and dealing with the others, Frank is rough and ready and doesn't understand Malcolm's mental state, nor his meticulous drive and OCD tendencies. Judith often acts as a go-between for the two gents, she loves Frank but also takes a shine to Malcolm and his eccentricities.

As they become accustomed to each other Frank realises that Malcolm is somewhat of an engineering savant, capable of seeing possibilities with steel, wire and spare parts that few others can comprehend.

Malcolm in turn is fascinated to learn that Frank has only been recently released from prison for robbing banks. Malcolm is intrigued by the mechanics of such a job – not the ethics or legality – which gives both men inspiration, and Judith frustration and dilemma.

The unlikely 'crew' start with some 'live' practise runs which necessitate some amazingly creative inventions and entertaining getaways. These all build up to the big one, which entails remote controlled vehicles, ashtrays, clown heads, rubber gloves, Ned Kelly in a wheelchair and an ice-cream van.

What were you expecting? The small cast is excellent, Friels as Malcolm especially, he manages to underplay the vulnerability and eccentricity of the character so that he doesn't become a cliché or a cartoon. The story remains simple also, which breathes life into the sequences where the inventions and escape plans can take centre stage.

If the heist itself sounds strange and delightful the getaway is even more so, and in fact if you can ignore the legal ramifications the entire Malcolm experience will leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated.

Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. Malcolm might sound like just another I Am Sam, Rain Man clone, but it is entirely different to both and deserves to stand alone in its own right. Malcolm might be hard to track down, but it leaves an indelible impression and is worth finding.

Appaloosa (2008)
Westerns don't come along too frequently. Good ones even rarer. This is a good one., 8 October 2012

They don't make Westerns like they used to… and by that I mean they just don't make many Westerns period these days. Rotten Tomatoes lists only 33 Westerns in the dubbos with enough reviews to get a rating, and basically half of those were deemed rotten (the chicks with guns flick Bandidas inexplicably gets a Fresh rating, Shanghai Noon is another!).

My Dad grew up on Westerns, still watches pretty much exclusively Westerns and was the only reason behind me plucking Appaloosa from the video shop shelf recently. Having less than 2 films per year in his favourite genre must suck – and by reckoning half of those weren't true "Black hat – White hats facing down at sunup" Westerns.

Less than one a year… Appaloosa was one of the 17 good ones.


As Appaloosa adheres to the Western tradition of keeping things simple the story has two tough looking gents a-riding into the town of Appaloosa one day as the previous sheriff is now feeding the worms.

These two gents have been hired by the town's big-wigs to keep the peace and basically protect the citizens from a ruthless local rancher Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) and his men who exhibit – to coin a phrase – outlawish tendencies.

Virgil is a quick draw and a quick thinker, his main asset is perhaps the fact that he knows that while quick he can't take down too many guns at once, and while a thinker he might not be the most intellectual man in the wild west. To remedy this he rides with Everett, who is similarly quick on the draw but carries a big "Don't argue" shotgun and fills in the gaps in Virgil's vocabulary when called upon. The duo set upon restoring peace to the sleepy town, firstly by letting Bragg and minions know that they aren't having things their own way from now on.

A tenuous stalemate comes to pass for a time… then a woman arrives to ruin it.

My only issue with this film is the fact that the woman who has arrived into Appaloosa by train, Allison French, is played by Renee Zellweger – I know it must have been said but she looks like she's just swallowed a whole lemon at all times – and it's only worse when she *GULP* smiles. With a look like that I am genetically predisposed to detesting every noise or line that she emits thereafter, and I did here. (Even my Dad said "I wouldn't get shot for her" at one point.)

Allison quickly realises that Virgil is the Top Gun in Appaloosa and hooks her claws into him. Bragg equally swiftly works out Virgil's new fugly weakness and arranges for Allison to be taken, and Virgil inexplicably doesn't just decide "Phew, I nearly married it" but decides to head after them.

And then the film proceeds as cowboy films must, with saddle sores, gruff terse dialogue and quick shootin'. To describe more would be a disservice to the film, suffice to say Appaloosa is an entertaining film, the action is scarce on the ground but carries an impact when it arrives, the effortless interplay between chatty Virgil and the more reticent and thoughtful Everett is well written and often amusing, and Irons creates a solid bad guy as Randall Bragg whose larger than life demeanour steals each scene that he appears in.

Being born a little late to fully get into the Western genre I must admit I seldom look them up, but if I see a trailer that looks gritty and realistic I will pick them up at the video shop, if they were all of the calibre of Appaloosa and weren't released so far apart this might happen more frequently.

Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. Westerns don't come along too often these days, good ones even less frequently. This is an solid, efficient and entertaining Western that manages to overcome Zellweger's lamentable cat's a*se of a face.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Ladies and Gents, Ti(me to get paid) West!, 8 October 2012

House of the Devil was an 80 minute build up followed by crushing disappointment, like a virgin who has saved his pennies and after an hour in the waiting room finds he has arrived at an S&M club to have his testicles smacked around.

Despite my lone disapproving opinion director Ti West received great critical acclaim for his throwback aesthetic, long silent scenes and creative camera angles – things my ADD mind found altogether boring.

And because a review cannot betray the ending no-one got to point out that it sucked.

Now a couple years on Ti West brings us The Innkeepers, and even though this latest effort is a long way from great, it boasts a little more in the (still quite slow) build up, and actually has an ending worth hanging around for.

Credible, over-rated Ti West, meet Ti(me to get paid) West.

An elegant but outdated hotel is celebrating its one hundredth anniversary. By closing its doors permanently. With only one long weekend remaining as a functioning entity the hotel – the Yankee Pedlar – is running on a skeleton crew of two staff, Luke and Claire. The duo are two typical 20ish employees counting down the clock and giving the bare minimum effort.

When not winding up the few guests and napping in any of the many unoccupied rooms Luke attempts to cash in on rumours that the hotel is haunted by a female guest alleged to have died horribly in the hotel last century. He runs a website examining the ghostly possibilities and has Claire patrol the hotel of a night time with equipment designed to take readings and identify spectral phenomena.

One of the precious few clientele is an ex-actress – now faith healer / psychic – who warns Claire that she might be better served twiddling her thumbs as the minutes wind down.

Those who seek trouble are often the first to find it.

In a welcome departure from The House of the Devil, which from memory expected me to sit through 80 minutes of bleh before it rewarded my patience with meh, The Innkeepers at least tries sporadically to wake you up. In true commercial horror form though the first four scares are cheap ones, a couple of 'Boos', a dream sequence and essentially a viral email that has been doing the rounds for years in various incarnations.

But while the slow build is interspersed by some clichéd moments at least this film does more than replicate the 70s, more than that it gets to a destination that makes it worth the journey.

It must be hard to make a ghost story, unless you are a true believer in the paranormal it is easy to write off the genre as silly – what with the wailing and people in sheets and all. If you try too hard for a scare a minute you fall into the Insidious trap, only exacerbating the silliness, don't do enough and you're boring.

For the most part The Innkeepers toes the precarious line well enough, it builds tension frequently yet wisely releases the audience just a little through minor scares or moments of levity. In truth there is really only one decent scene in the film where the tension and trepidation are earned, at that point I squirmed on the couch just a little.

That scene alone warrants a look at The Innkeepers. There are thousands of horror films around with most ranging from 'totally sucks' to 'mostly sucks', The Innkeepers has flaws and doesn't make a whole lot of sense at times, but it isn't boring and for those few minutes you are genuinely nervous.

That's why we watch horror isn't it?

Final Rating – 6 / 10. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Ti West for embracing the… ummm… what is it again…? … oh yeah money. Welcome back Ti.

The Divide (2011)
5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Undeniable proof of de-evolution..., 8 October 2012

Here is some undeniable proof in de-evolution. Both in terms of human beings and cinema.

In your stock standard, straight off the shelf post-apocalyptic environment a small group of survivors huddle in the basement of their apartment building alongside Micky (Michael Beihn), the building superintendent who seems to well prepared for just this possibility.

Before the shellshocked masses have any real opportunity to swap insurance information a group of white suited men with big guns breaks through the metal door, kills a few, takes some others and leaves, this time sealing the remaining few from the outside. Then it's back to bickering, panicking and chewing their nails.

Unfortunately for us, the 'highlight' of the film just came and went and we didn't even know it.

All that remains are questions. What is going on outside? Who is responsible? Who are left? If the airtight basement represents the only safe-haven from pollution, radiation and contamination why the fff... heck we all smoking like chimneys?


Don't bother worrying, this film doesn't bother even trying to answer any of these things, it is more worried with growing more and more claustrophobic, menacing and rapey.

If that floats your boat then have at it. For me though, I now have a new post apocalyptic perspective. If it ever eventuates that the big BOOM arrives, and I am blessed with options, here is how I would like to go out.

1. Alone with cockroaches, (Wall-E made it look quite fun). 2. Die in the blast. 3. Survive with only a DVD player and a copy of this film. 4. Survive with the moronic freak show that populates this basement.

And for the record, I ummed and aahed between alternating 3 and 4 for a couple minutes. This film was that lacking in entertainment, creativity or worth. I don't care how realistic, possible or well made it is – and for the record I don't really think it was much of any of these things – The Divide is dull, depressing and pointless.

Final Rating – 3.5 / 10. If I ever voluntarily sit through this again you know the end is nigh. That and I couldn't find a cockroach friend to play with.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
This multi-limbed Tremors rip is better than it should be!, 8 October 2012

Despite the fact that David Arquette is the quote-unquote 'star' of this – or any – film and that his name appears before the main title, 8 Legged Freaks is a fairly entertaining albeit instantly forgettable giant creep-crawly romp.

In the small town of Perfection *AHEM Tremors fans* Prosperity, Arizona, a toxic spill in the local water near a spider farm (!) has resulted in a new batch of 8 legged uh-ohs. This means Chris (Arquette) has picked a bad time to come home for the first time in over a decade, even if is for the noble intent of stopping Big Business from trying to buy out the town for some initially unknown (but assuredly fiendish and underhanded) reasons.

This leads to Chris, a young Scarlett Johansson, B movie queen Kari Wuhrer and some bug-loving kid to join forces against an incredible array of over-sized arachnids – 95% of them the CGI variety – who after they announce themselves to the sleepy town jump, crawl, scuttle and leap after, on and over the local population.

It's silly, inane, implausible and full of crappy effects and even worse acting, and the sound effects have to be heard to be (incredulously) believed. Just about everything that you could ask for in your B Movie creature feature really.

The only major drawback to Eight Legged Freaks is the dodgy CGI, this could have been Piranha 3-ish with today's computers and a few better jokes. That aside if you're after a decently atrocious $1 weekly rental you could do a lot worse, if only to see that even at a young age Scar-Jo already had a fair amount of what has made her so famous today. (I looked, she was 18 here, so it's merely creepy, not borderline illegal.)

Final Rating – 5.5 / 10. David Arquette's best film is a silly el-cheapo bug flick? That sounds about right to me.

The Dead (2010)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Beautiful in its ugliness..., 8 September 2012

The Dead is beautiful in its ugliness.

Here is a zombie movie with no pretensions to reinvent the genre or inject unneeded creativity into proceedings. It is the purest of pure scenarios where Character X & Y must get from Point A to Point Z on a map – the primary impediment being that all Points in between are infested with zombies.

And genre purist rejoice for the time of shuffling is at hand. These are the most Romero-est of zombies, mindless, numerous, and hungry… They have no rage or desire for violence, driven by base instinct and savage only by necessity, as the quickest way to the sweet blood of a living being is through the outer epidermis into the red goo beyond.

Unfortunately for the living these zombies are like fat people with a KFC bucket – they can never stop at one… Another significant plus (for me at least) is the fact that the movie opens with no explanations. The zombies are just there, and by there it seems everywhere, at least in West Africa where the film takes place.

Brian is the lone survivor of a crashed plane taking the more privileged (read: white people) away from the bloodthirsty menace. He finds himself alone and smack dab in the middle of The Dead with no means of transport.

Brian teams with Daniel, an African soldier who is looking for his son, who is thought to have survived the initial onslaught and fled North with other uninfected.

After some initial race fueled resentment – Brian is a Caucasian-American and Daniel a black African-African – the duo realise that together they have a better chance of survival so they set off in a busted ute to risk exhaustion, heat, exposure and evisceration. Two guys, two guns and hundreds of miles of zombie rich terrain.

Again The Dead rebels against the standard motifs that have permeated the zombie genre in recent years, there is little infighting aside from bickering caused by stress and exhaustion. No-one learns any significant lessons, unbreakable bonds aren't formed and they don't have an epiphany in the finale along the lines of 'gee maybe we aren't so different after all'. It is simply a case of the Living Vs the (millions of) Dead.

Winning isn't the name of the game, merely survival.

Of course there can be no tension if you can simply run past the shuffling undead, so cars won't start when they should, torches blink and characters steadfastly refuse to look in the right direction until the most perilous last second, all forgivable requirements in such a film. The Dead is like last year's vampire equivalent Stake Land, it isn't as well acted, produced and directed – but then zombies have always been the ugly cousin to the pretty-boy vampires – but it is nearly as effective, and in truth remains truer to tone throughout (Stake Land had a couple of disappointing 'look how cool this is!' moments at the beginning and end of the film).

For many casual horror fans this probably means that The Dead is booooring, but I for one have grown very tired of sparkling vampires and trainable zombies in recent years, I sometimes prefer everybody shuffling every now and then to remind me that at base level zombies are dogged, vacant and extremely dangerous.

Push beyond the cheap CGI, occasional bad acting and threadbare plot and appreciate The Dead for what it is, a mindless, shuffling, determined zombie movie that demands you use your braaaaaaaiiiinnnnnnsssss.

Final Rating – 7.5 / 10. Who knew the unglamourous side of zombies could be so very pretty? .

Catchfire (1990)
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Repeatedly punch yourself in the groin instead, it's more fun and burns more calories., 8 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Word on the (imdb) street is that director Dennis Hopper was so p*ssed with studio interference that he asked for his name to be removed from the credits. Apparently he submitted and initial cut that ran over three hours and was then distraught when it was deemed too long and culled to a lean 90 minutes.

As a viewer I can only pass judgment based upon what I see, and I can sympathise with both parties. For one I cannot fathom sitting through another 90 minutes of this eye-vomit, but on the other hand it seems that an absolutely insane editing decision renders the viewing experience incomprehensible.

The upshot of that is as always no-one wins.

Consider this: Anne (Jodie Foster) is an avant-garde artiste who witnesses a murder within approximately 27 seconds of entering a 'bad neighbourhood'.

This moment of incredibly inopportune timing puts both mob and the FBI on her trail after she refuses to testify and shoots through to pursue a lifetime on the run in disguise.

Dennis Hopper plays Milo, the elite hit-man hired by the mob to eliminate Anne and put an end to this nonsense, only Milo is apparently entranced by Anne's artwork and almost instantly changes from a cold blooded hit-man into a creepy stalker-rapist.

Now. While all this is indeed mostly reprehensible it is not yet implausible. But wait there's more… (I would ordinarily warn of Spoilers to a 20 year old film here, but they are blabbed all over the back of the DVD cover so I don't feel so bad.) After Milo kidnaps Anne, threatens her life, forces her to don sexy (a word that should never appear in the same sentence as Jodie Foster) lingerie and rapes her – her words – we cut abruptly to a scene apparently only a short while later where they are both very much in genuine love.

Wait. What the f*ck? Anyway the rest of this god-awful mess exists if you care to find it. I wouldn't suggest it. Repeatedly punch yourself in the groin instead, it's more fun and burns more calories. Unfortunately for me I didn't take that option and was still sitting glassy eyed when the credits rolled… The only other thing worth mentioning is that this stain of a film actually boasts a top-notch cast of actors punching well below their weight; Fred Ward, Joe Pesci, John Turturro, Dean Stockwell, Catherine Keener and Charlie Sheen all wasted parts of their lives appearing in it.

As for the 'headliners' Jodie Foster was always miscast in a role that demanded 'sexy', and Dennis Hopper over-acts to sh*t in this film. If that isn't enough he adopts a ridiculous and annoying accent. Not being an American I have no idea if the accent is authentic or not and frankly I don't care, all I will say is that if it is legit perhaps it is advisable to simply not have characters from that particular region in film from this point on.

Like this film there are things that don't need to exist.

Final Rating – 3.5 / 10. If I was Dennis Hopper and had to live with the realisation that I was even partially responsible for Back-Track / Catch-Fire / Cinematic-Turd I wouldn't seek to remove the name Dennis Hopper from the film, I would seek to remove myself from Dennis Hopper.

The Killer (1989)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Another John Woo classic bullet-opera., 7 September 2012

John Woo is a sensitive new age guy who is probably busting to make a period drama filled with romance, lush backdrops, glorious costumes and electrifying dialogue.

It just so happens that his primary skill is choreographing hugely elaborate gunfights with insanely high bodycounts and much bloodletting.

Such is the case with The Killer, the film opens with peaceful music, an opulent candelit backdrop – replete with the requisite white doves – and a handsome guy giving a friendly smile at the nice lady in the club who is singing beautifully for the appreciative patrons.

Then with a start action-Woo takes over, perhaps realising that a mortgage payment is due and that doves, smiles and pan-pipes don't pay the bills. The smiling guy is Jeff (Chow Yun Fat), a contract assassin in the club on business. He sets about his tasks and 73 spurting squib-assisted deaths later he can knock off for the day… Unfortunately in the hail of bullets and cacophony of death cries and splintering shrapnel Jeff managed to inadvertently blind the nice singing lady named Jenny with the powder blast from one of his many death dealing shots. Being the nice guy that he is he takes pity on Jenny and in the weeks that follow her release from hospital spends much time helping her readjust to her new sightless existence, and of course the two gradually fall in love – with Jenny never realising that her beau is in fact the very man who rendered her likely to fall over her own furniture… As with every John Woo film the hero needs a counterpart, because without one there can be no Mexican standoff later in the film – and yes this film has more than one – the foil to Chow's killer is Inspector Lee, though they end up calling each other Mickey Mouse and Dumbo in much of the lamentable dialogue that permeates the 'waiting time' between shoot outs.

Jeff and Lee see similarities in each other despite standing on opposite sides of the law, another staple of Woo films, the bad guys aren't really that bad and the cops always seem to readily sympathise and even befriend them. But that said both men shoot often, shoot straight, and things (and people) tend to explode and be propelled upwards when they shoot them.

And they each have numerous chances to shoot at things in glorious intricately designed lengthy sequences of carnage and explosions. (I had a joke about China needing a one-child policy because Chow Yun Fat killed all of the males in John Woo films, but even I dubbed it borderline racist.) I can't say that Jeff takes out hundreds of armed assailants single-handedly in this film, because even though he does take out that many he often utilises both hands, each gripping the pistol tightly as he flies all over the place taking out thugs and punks.

The plot is merely a frame to hang some of the best shootouts in cinema history on, and the undeniable truth is that some of the non-shooty scenes are frankly pretty amateurish. But this is an action film, and when scrutinised as an action film is stands head and shoulders above many modern day pretenders. Jeff and Lee ultimately end up in a breathtaking showdown vs a never-ending horde of blindly (no pun intended) charging assailants who storm their church hideout about 6 at a time Left 4 Dead style. As they repel these invaders in stylish fashion they share an ongoing dialogue about how much they mean to each other and such, pausing only to grit their teeth and pick off still more would-be assassins.

Even in near death situations John Woo still wants people to share their feelings...

There is an ongoing argument over whether this and its companion piece Hard Boiled are truly classics or simply well choreographed bullet-operas. I'll just say that where action is concerned no-one stages a bloody shootout as well as Woo. I'd much rather watch this or Hard Boiled than any of the last 17 generic action flicks churned out by Hollywood.

If I had to choose, I would rate the hospital shootout in Hard Boiled as better than anything in The Killer, but the church finale here does take a lot of beating also.

Ultimately though you can't really go wrong with either.

Final Rating – 8.5 / 10. John Woo films are like the contestants for Miss Universe pageants – breathtaking to look at, but it's always slightly disappointing when they talk…

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Still fun, but lacks the spark that made the first two films so memorable., 20 April 2012

After getting the formula about right with The Great Muppet Caper, the series takes a strange turn with 'Manhattan' only a few years later. Veteran Muppet Frank Oz takes the helm from Jim Henson and makes a few minor but noticeable changes. Gone are the nods and winks to the audience for the most part, and the film is far more plot based and linear than the slapstick shenanigans of the first film.

Kermit and the gang are finishing college and pondering their futures, which will very likely result in them all moving on separately and losing touch. However Kermit boldly concocts a plan that will see the gang remain together, by heading en masse to Manhattan to launch a massive stage musical called Manhattan Melodies, with all the Muppets as performers or stage hands.

Unfortunately after just a few short days, no success and low on funds, the various characters are forced to disperse and forge their own future, with the promise from Kermit to summon them all if/when the musical gets greenlit. Kermit takes a job in a diner and everyone goes their separate ways.

In many ways this is a more depressing film than the first two – even with the frog killing theme – for long periods of time the characters mope and ponder a future alone, and it seems that the Muppets will never again operate in unison. Of course this isn't how the film ends, but even in a puppet movie you don't need to be kept sad for over half the running time.

The jokes are less frequent and the tone less tongue in cheek. The cameos are still plentiful but are more 'look here's the famous cameo' than in other films. The inclusion of the Muppet Babies in a thinly veiled promo for the spin-off is as entertaining as it is blatant, and in some ways is a minor indictment on the dull tone of the rest of the film that it can be upstaged by a flashback.

There is another attempt at a grand sequence with Piggy taking a skate through the park, but it is far less successful than either of the sequences from Caper, and the big finale was an apt but desperate ending to proceedings.

Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. I by no means am saying steer clear of Manhattan, but after the Muppet Movie got the ball rolling and Caper took such a great leap forward, it is disappointing that the franchise would take a step back like this.

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A fine entry into the Muppetational universe., 20 April 2012

An inspired combination of slapstick, music, vaudeville and charm, The Muppet Movie takes all the now familiar characters away from the Muppet Theatre where humans were the minority, and plonks them right among the (almost) real world.

We meet Kermit alone in his swamp singing beautifully to himself, and after a chance meeting with the frog, a crocodile and a movie agent – yes it's that kind of film – Kermit is inspired to try to forge his own path in showbusiness.

Along his journey to Hollywood he meets aspiring stand up comedian Fozzie, amateur stunt man Gonzo and a group of zany musos known as The Electric Mayhem. He also finds that romantic sparks fly when he meets a diva pig with delusions of grandeur.

That's the core part of the initial Muppet group identified, the slightly awry element arrives in the form of a fat, sweaty guy in a white suit named Doc Hopper, who just happens to sell frog's legs as cuisine. He takes a shine to Kermit's pins and decides that he simply must have them to promote his wares, whether Kermit agrees or not.

The remainder of the film is essentially an extended chase sequence as Kermit and the gang hightail it towards Hollywood with Doc Hopper and his toadying (no pun intended) assistant close behind.

And this to me is the problem with the initial Muppet Movie, the best parts are the simple times, Kermit sitting on the log singing Rainbow Connection without a care in the world, the awkward but undeniable chemistry between pig and frog, the stoner-ish hep dialogue between the members of the Electric Mayhem, the stand-up bear who is terrible at stand up.

They kinda lost me when the film veered into 'eating the primary character's legs' territory. They definitely lost my four year old in the looming torture scene, and nearly killed the poor boy when the Frog assassin clad all in black and looking decidedly evil showed up. (I really didn't remember these things from my previous viewings.) Despite these depressing and out of place sequences there is still a lot to love about the first Muppet Movie, the constant breaking of the fourth wall is already obvious, the general funkiness of the Electric Mayhem and the timelessness of Kermit's tunes, the cheesy jokes that are so bad that you can't help but smile – especially when delivered with such innocence and charm by a handpuppet… the inclusion of several big name cameos, none of whom for a moment let on that they are conversing with a sock, yet some of whom still manage to out-ham the very same talking puppets.

The Muppet Movie finds a bunch of frogs, pigs, bears and whatevers coming to terms with their own existence, growing into their own skin and fur. Over the years some peripheral characters became more central, and others stepped back to spout occasional quips when required.

Most of all this film showed that there was entertainment value to be found in these talking socks, and that people of all ages could enjoy their shenanigans guilt free.

Final Rating – 7 / 10. 'Mature thematic elements' aside, this is a fine intro to the Muppetational world.

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