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192 reviews in total 
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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Starts Solid But Fizzles Out, 27 January 2015

I was dubious about the quality of this work before entering the cinema. Although I hadn't seen the musical, I knew that Disney's quality ranges from very good, to cringe-worth bad. What convinced me to see it in the end was solid early word-of-mouth, and curiosity of what they did with the strong cast that was attached to the film.

The first half of this movie is very good. Solid performances by Anna Kendrick, James Corden and Emily Blunt keep the fantasy elements in check, and the mise-en-scene by director Rob Marshall is interesting, vibrant and colourful. While it took me a while to take Meryl Streep seriously as the wicked witch, she eventually ended up bringing a large, booming presence to the role that was impossible to ignore. Chris Pine's over the top performance as the Prince was one complaint I had with the performances, but this is minor, as I think he did the best he could with the cartoonish role, and it was a character far more suited to the stage.

Another thing the movie does well is the music. This sounds obvious, given that the movie is a musical, but many modern musicals have had boring soundtracks that are bland and perfectly inoffensive in every way. Here, some or most of the songs are at least interesting or entertaining to listen to, and advance the story.

The story is quite clever, as it combines multiple fairy tales to make one complete story. It takes a while to take off, but when it does it is a fun ride for the first 80 minutes, and a pleasant movie experience for the whole family.

Unfortunately, after the promising start, the movie keeps going after its natural end. The movie goes on for about 20 to 40 minutes long, which again, may have been better and more natural in the stage play. After the movie reaches this point, it becomes far harder to take the cheesy moments seriously.

Without spoiling anything, there are some parts of the storyline that are repeated just for the sake of continuing the multi-storied arc (The Jack and the beanstalk story is a noticeable example of this). This would have made the movie shorter, and if they'd done this I think that the movie would have been a very good 100-minute experience. The whole Rapunzel storyline also feels very pointless, and, as it leads nowhere, feels like it should have been left out completely, almost like it is forgotten leftovers that belong in an extended edition.

Overall, this is a very good modern musical for the first 80 minutes of the 120-minute runtime. Good musicals are far more rare in modern times than they used to be, and so I was enjoying the experience of this film for the first two-thirds. Unfortunately the weak third-act meant that the movie seriously fizzled out, and the movie ends up leaving a sour taste in my mouth.

Score: 4/10

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
What Better Way is There to Learn History?, 12 January 2015

An entertaining narrative and amazing performances by actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, combined with fleshed out characters and old-fashioned epic styled cinematography, cover up minor moments of typical biopic cheesiness, making this movie highly worthwhile.

I must confess that I knew very little about Alan Turing before going into this film. An incredibly fleeting preview look at who he was showed him to be a highly influential figure in the British victory in World War II, and as somebody later in life prosecuted for the then-crime of homosexual acts.

Although Turing himself seemed like an interesting man to read about, I was initially slightly hesitant. Biography pictures have never been my cup of tea, and even the presence of talented actors such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightly and Mark Strong were not enough to convince me of this film's potential quality.

In the end what convinced me to see it was the mix of a good trailer, solid early reviews on the movie's quality, and the fact that the director Morten Tyldum's last movie was the very exciting, and very good, "Headhunters", which showed a lot of potential in him as a director.

The movie does a lot well straight off the bat. It's a highly entertaining film which moves at a fast pace, as it focuses mainly on Turing and his team of code-breakers as they try to break Enigma, the Nazi military code machine. Along with the main plot the story cuts back to Turing's childhood, when he was an outcast who was picked on at school before a boy named Christopher befriended him and introduced him to the codes which would play such a large role in his life. Also featured is Turing after the war, where police are investigating a break in at his house, which ultimately leads to him being targeted as a potential homosexual. By changing the time-frames that the story is being told in, and slightly messing with chronological order, the story is made infinitely more interesting, and we get to learn far more about the man Alan Turing.

Unlike failed biographical films, this movie has characters that feel genuine, and don't just feel like actors saying famous lines that the person was famous for saying. Of course, there are scenes where that does happen, but for the most part it is not a problem. The direction is top-notch throughout this whole work, and Tyldum gives the film the look of an old-school spy thriller, giving each shot an air of importance and, along with the work of the script by Graham Moore (and adapted from the book by Andrew Hodges), keeps what could be a slow and plodding story moving at a brisk pace.

Although the movie gets a lot right, it does have some moments that bring it down from a potentially great movie, and keep it at just being very good. For most of the movie, the soundtrack is superb, and atmosphere building, however on some occasions it is overbearing and creates some cheesy moments. In general, melodrama proves to be the film's main problem, with a few cringe-worthy scenes that are quite typically found in the biopic genre. In these scenes, characters act far more earnestly then they most likely would in real life so as to build the tension of dramatic moments. That being said, this dramatic flair is also what makes the movie interesting, so I suppose moments like this are easily forgiven. Another small problem I had with the film is that some historical moments just feel like they were added for the sake of it, almost like they had a check-list of things to cross-off that had to be in the film so as not to bother history buffs. In a movie that already flirts dangerously with what is fact and what is fiction, some of these definitely don't feel necessary.

Overall, despite some flaws, the movie works as it is incredibly entertaining with a clever narrative that shows the effect that Alan Turing had on the war. From what I hear the facts are exaggerated, but that feels understandable, and the movie still results in a smartly directed and worthwhile movie that has potential to be a genuine crowd-pleaser, in the old-fashioned meaning of the word.

The lame and more cliché moments in the script perhaps keep the movie from being great, and the no-risk approach to maintaining the likability of Turing perhaps is why it just misses out on taking the movie to the next level. That in mind, I would definitely recommend this to anybody looking for a movie to go and see in cinemas. Cumberbatch and Knightley are brilliant, and I will definitely be eager to see Tyldum's next feature film.

Score: 7/10

21 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
The Most Inevitable of Spin-off's Has Finally Arrived, 7 January 2015

The Most Inevitable of Spin-off's Has Finally Arrived: Although it is far from unwatchable, the cute antics of the Penguins from Dreamwork Animation's highly successful "Madagascar" franchise have finally begun to reach their tipping point, and now risk becoming simply another side-character annoyance.

When the first "Madagascar" movie came out in 2005, I was a big fan. Now, given, I was nine at the time, and admittedly filled the target audience for this film a bit more then I do now, but as the sequels have come out in 2008 and 2012, I have continued to find the "Madgascar" franchise a fun series, albeit one without the emotional or cinematic depth of other family offerings from companies like Pixar, or family films from overseas.

For kids, the vibrant colours of the animation, the fast-paced humour in the script and lovable characters of this series have proved too good to resist each time. For this reason, a spin-off featuring the penguins is no surprise, as they were one of the most memorable things about the original trilogy, for children and critics alike.

The question going into this movie was whether the penguins could carry the weight of their own solo movie. Time and time again, franchises have tried putting increasing focus on side characters, only to ruin what made the first film so good, and even sometimes make us question why we liked those characters in the first place. This was the test "Penguins of Madagascar" had to pass in order to not only be a worthwhile movie, but also for the possible future success of the "Madagascar" franchise.

One of the things that the movie does well, but inconsistently, is humour. There is a joke fired about twice a minute, resulting in many funny moments, but also far more examples where a joke falls flat on its face. The opening scene featuring our protagonists Skipper, Kowalski, Private and Rico's origins is cute and funny, and features simultaneously the films funniest moment, and the most emotionally resonant. For this scene, the addition of a documentary crew determined to make an interesting documentary about penguins at any cost, proves to be a highlight.

A problem with some spin-offs is lead characters having to become more developed to suit being a lead character in the story, and making this believable for fans of the original works by in keeping with that character. Fortunately, for the most part, this is the case in the film, however there is clear examples throughout of when extra tension and characteristics are added just to add some emotional depth to the story, and sometimes this doesn't feel in tune with what we know about the protagonists.

The animation is creative for the most part, and while the character designs and background aren't exactly original, it suits the look of the film. Voicework is assisted by stars John Malkovich and Benedict Cumberbatch, who liven up the characters and really personify them.

Although it's funny, the characters stay enjoyable, the animation is solid, and the voice work is spot on, these feats are largely overshadowed by what the movie didn't do very well. The third act of the movie completely halts the progress of the first two-thirds, and the ridiculous motivation used by the main villain becomes too much of a problem to put up with as the movie nears its end.

The unbelievable added tension between main characters also clearly highlights the fact that they are not equipped to be main characters, and flaws such as the plot and lack of development of characters are joked about in meta ways, which just doesn't make up for the poorness of the storytelling. Although the audience is predominantly children, the writers aren't, and they should know better then to cover up their own laziness with such band-aid methods.

The movie struggles to work, but stays watchable with the occasional solid laugh it provides. The frenetic nature of the plot and the jokes keep the pace going so fast that no individual moments stay annoying for too long. However, because of this, no moments truly land, and the jokes and scenes in the "Madagascar" series seemed to have a lot more clarity and purpose to them.

Overall, the movie doesn't achieve the already modest highs of the preceding trilogy of films, if only just for the reason that the main characters were designed as sidekicks, and the four penguins just don't make for compelling enough protagonists. The movie remains OK throughout and even good at times until the last act which becomes far less funny, and a typical and uninspired final action scene also sets this movie on a collision course directly for mediocrity, and ultimately ends up dragging the movie down into becoming a failure.

Score: 4/10

Old Dogs (2009/I)
12 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Satisfactory kids movie, 7 January 2010

A lot of people have bagged this movie since it came out, whether it is because of the predictability of the storyline or voicing disapproval of the jokes. What these people don't seem to realize is that this is a kids film. A movie not meant to thrill the older members of the family, but to be at least something bearable for them to do with there kids, and in this respect this movie succeeds. I have heard people mention that this film shows how dumb movies think kids are, and that kids deserve to have a movie with thought, but not all adult movies require thought, and most people are OK with that (the sensible ones) and since there is kids movies with thought coming out quite often at the moment (Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox) it seems quite reasonable that they can balance this out with brainless fun like this film. For negatives, while Robin Williams and John Travolta do there parts to the best of their ability the supporting cast is lackluster, while there are funny cameos by numerous comedy faces the supporting characters that actually matter (mum and friend) are not very good and don't add anything to the fun of the movie. This being said, Robin Williams and John Travolta hold it together all the way through with just a couple not very funny scenes. Overall, if you want to take your kid to a movie you could do a lot worse then "Old Dogs". 5/10.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Not Anderson's best, in my opinion, but certainly a very entertaining movie, 6 January 2010

Fantastic Mr. Fox based off the classic story by Roald Dahl is a very abstract kids film done by legendary director Wes Anderson. This film by Anderson is aimed more at the family market (Which was expected to all those who have read or heard of the book) and it seems like he pulled it off. The movie is lined with a strong cast of acting professionals, ranging from starring roles (George Clooney, Merryl Streep) too supporting roles (Bill Murray) just to name a few. The movie sometimes goes out on a bit of a limb and while most of the time is funny and entertaining there are moments which are just plain annoying. The story, while not staying very true to the book, is executed moderately well by Anderson and although his style of directing may not fit as well into the family film market he certainly has made an entertaining film worth a watch. Overall I would give it a 7/10.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Good TOH but not great, 4 November 2009

I, like many Simpson's fans make it an annual tradition to sit down and watch the Simpson's tree house of horror specials (Which don't air on Halloween) and although always liking one of the segments the specials of late have been sadly below my expectations. Unfortunately this episode, while having many likable moments is not a fantastic episode by any means. I will now go into my analysis of all 3 segments.

Dial M For Murder Or Press # To Return To Main Menu: 7/10 This segment (Obviously) is a spoof of horror legend Alfred Hitchcock and the particular spoof they have here is of classic 1951 movie "Strangers On A Train". The plot line of this short has Lisa and Bart both in detention and bitter against the teacher where Bart has the plan to criss-cross and ding-dong-ditch the teacher. Bart then kills Lisa's teacher and Lisa, mistaking the ding-dong-ditch to be just a harmless prank fails to impress Bart and Bart tries to get her to take care of his business. This short is incredibly clever in the many spoofs of Hitchcock and there are many enjoyable moments in the 5 minutes this short takes up.

Don't Have A Cow, Mankind: 8/10 This is the best special of the night which is a spoof of the fantastic zombie film "28 Days Later" where Krusty Burger sells tainted meat which infects all of Springfield with an infection which turns them all into blood thirsty zombies. They then find out Bart is immune to infection and, with the help of Apu try to get him outside of Springfield to the "Safe Zone". This short is, while short, incredibly enjoyable and funny for a zombie fan. The only problem with this segment I have is that Homer was incredibly annoying in this short (More annoying than he has been usual in this normal series which is bearable) but that was not enough to put too much of a dampener on this generally hilarious spoof.

Sweeny Todd Type Spoof 5/10 While the second one was the best segment this one unfortunately fails to reach the standard of the first two (Which usually is n't how they do it in TOH episodes). This segment had some funny and well thought out moments but a lot of it seemed rushed. I can sadly only give this one 5/10.

Overall while this was n't the best TOH episodes it is probably the best from the last 3 years or so. Overall I'd give this a 7,

163 out of 300 people found the following review useful:
Ordinary popcorn movie, 5 August 2009

This movie may have a questionable script, some sub-par actors (Some were surprisingly good for a popcorn movie which is applaudable) and some Team America style action (They seemed to cause a lot more damage to Paris then the terrorists plan to) but the film can not help but be entertaining. It has what Transformers 2 had which was good special effects, but what Transformers 2 lacked was entertainment which this movie definitely has, even if it is n't a very good movie from a movie point of view.

While lots of people and critics alike are going to bag the hell out of this film, I think as long as you go in with an open mind a low expectancy of the movie to hold any sort of realism you will have a pretty good time, which is really the reason the film was made (After the money of course).

Overall, this film is a good watch for non fans of the series at least but, not having seen the cartoon I cant speak for existing fans of G.I. Joe but I had a good time, and I think a lot of other people will 2 as long as they can maintain an open mind.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Hilarious film! One of the best comedies of 2009 (So far), 5 July 2009

This has n't really been a good year for comedies this year and when I saw this trailer I did n't really expect much. But, always open to seeing a comedy movie, I went to the drive and really enjoyed myself. It was really funny all the way along and even when it stopped to set up a scene it was still really interesting to watch and I never got bored throughout the movie. I think most people are used to films like this right now, with the shock value level set high and trying to make as many people annoyed as possible, but I like to think this film has a lot more going for it, with much better humour and if not that, much funnier character's.

The film also uses its concept better then all the other comedies that have been released this year, and the plot line does n't disappoint and the disaster theme, while used in thousands of other Hollywood films before this is again done really well and keeps this film interesting and lively.

Overall, this was a much funnier movie then I thought it was and is another movie that has really surprised me by doing the opposite of what I thought it would be like (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and I was very glad I decided to this. I give this movie 83%. I would recommend this for lovers of Apatrow styled movies (Knocked Up, Superbad, Zack And Miri Make A Porno).

14 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Sometimes funny, sometimes not, 5 July 2009

This is the third movie in the highly enjoyed Ice Age trilogy and after the fantastic first one and sadly slightly lackluster second movie, my reactions when I heard of this movie was that of not caring. But when I had seen everything else at the cinema I went, and I must say this movie was pretty entertaining. Its plot, while predictable kept me entertained and the character's were kept true to their usual self's.

Some negative movies though is the humour it resorts to if a scene starts to drag on a little and this film we saw a lot of the same humour used in 100 films before it but only a small fraction of the films jokes were taken up with this and mostly the film kept original.

Overall, I think I enjoyed the movie more then the second one, but the second one had this bit for style and grace. I will give this movie 52%.

Not as good as the first movie, but highly enjoyable, 5 July 2009

This movie suffers from sequel fever, it probably should n't have been made, and that nearly kills it in the first place. However the writers and cast of this 2006 made sequel seem to pull it into a pretty decent film.

In this movie we see Manfred, Sid and Diego living in their version of paradise before they are forced out of their home by unforeseen events, they then begin their journey to a safe location.

The movie has lots of character's, most of them are funny and add to the sorry but some feel forced and just there to provide slapstick humour (Crash and Eddie did n't get laughs from some of the kids even) but to the films credit, it does n't completely stuff up the original character's, and they still take front and center in this sequel.

Overall, this film does not even compare to the first film but is an enjoyable watch for fans of the first movie. This is a very good movie for families to sit down and enjoy together.

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