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Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

(2011)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Being one of the highly anticipated movies of 2011, director Rupert Wyatt ("The Escapist" and "Get The Picture") delivers a rich, clever and highly rewarding film with "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes". When it comes to the tough task of creating an origin story that must live up to the expectations of die-hard fans of the 1968 release of "Planet Of The Apes", Rupert Wyatt is the perfect man for the job.

Set in present day San Francisco, the timeline of this movie is by all means confusing when one treats it as a prequel to the 1968 release. However, like Rupert Wyatt said, the movie is not the continuation of previous ones; it's an original origin story. So taking that into account, the movie is just simply magical. The "X-Men: First Class" to the "Planet Of The Apes" franchise if you will, where the story instills elements from all previous films, but at the same time isn't necessarily linked to them. Fans of the franchise will get to watch and experience a more subtle take of how Caesar (Andy Serkis) came to be (at least one that makes sense and is believable), which eventually leads to the onset of war for supremacy between man and ape.

James Franco ("127 hours" and "Spiderman") as scientist Will Rodman was outstanding, getting every aspect of his character right, portraying a devoted scientist with a strong hint of compassion perfectly. The same goes for Andy Serkis, widely known for his character as Gollum in the "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy, he was put to the test once again, this time having to portray a chimpanzee with human-like characteristics, and did an impeccable job while at it. The rest of the cast members held very menial roles, but as the movie plays on the big screen, audiences will soon realise how they are every bit just as necessary for the movie to be as great as it is.

The plot is a mysterious one, leaving the audience with many unanswered questions, which feels like a build up for a sequel of different possibilities. However on the action side of things, it was phenomenal and possibly the best of its kind, with the right amount of well staged action, but at the same time huge enough to be satisfying and also counting in the fact that it is brought to you by the same team that gave you the special effects of "Avatar", moviegoers can rest assured that they will experience apes in the most realistic form possible (as compared to the previous films where it was just men in ape suits and make up).

To sum it up, "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes" is a refreshing addition to the franchise, creating a platform where sequels can be built upon. A must watch for fans of the franchise and moviegoers alike.

Rio

Rio

(2011)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

With well renowned artistes lending their voices for the characters in "Rio" such as Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, Will.i.Am, Tracy Morgan, Leslie Mann, Jane Lynch, Jake T. Austin and Rodrigo Santoro, it seems that director Carlos Saldanha has managed to reveal a group of talented comedians among the ranks of Hollywood's finest.

"Rio" is a tale of blue male macaw named Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), who hails from a small town in Minnesota. When Blu discovers there's another rare blue macaw just like him, he leaves the comforts of his cage and heads to Rio de Janeiro to find the female macaw by the name of Jewel.

Jesse Eisenberg's role from being the geeky founder of Facebook in "The Social Network" and then towards voicing a macaw in "Rio", really depicts Eisenberg's versatility to switch his roles albeit the same hint of tone and mannerism is noticed in both movies.Jemaine Clement who voiced the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo named Nigel, was perfect as the villain which made him successfully stick out amidst the colourful characters. George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, Will.i.Am and Anne Hathaway also managed to fulfil their voice role well and provided a pleasant contrast to one another.

The CGI effects of the movie are a pretty decent watch, and with director Carlos Saldanha who hails from Brazil, the culture and colour of the nation was not neglected. The movie offers audiences the very essence of Brazil throughout the story, as the whole setting is like a sightseeing tour with the full details of the city meticulously worked on, including the huge Christ the Redeemer statue on the hills overlooking Rio De Janerio.

"Rio" is a fun filled experience not only for kids alone, as the comedic nature is also catered to the general public as a must watch animated movie of the year.

Tangled

Tangled

(2010)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Disney is well-known for its own adaptation of fairytales and Rapunzel's story received the same treatment. There were no stolen radishes, no evil witches nor a childless couple. Instead, the story begins with a drop of sunshine falling down to earth, spawning a magical golden flower with amazing regeneration ability that can only be triggered by a special incantation. The flower was the one that saved the Queen's life and as a result, she managed to give birth to baby Rapunzel - born with healing powers apparent in her hair that glows when a special song is sung.

Audiences are introduced to the antagonist Mother Gothel, who kidnaps the infant princess and locks her away in a secluded tower so only she will have access to Rapunzel's hair to restore her youth frequently. For the past sixteen years, Rapunzel grows up believing Gothel is her mother and oblivious of Gothel's true intention. She knows nothing of the outside world until the evening of her birthday as she sees thousands of lanterns floating in the skies (which is actually a tribute by her biological parents as mourning for their missing daughter). However, opportunity comes in the form of a charming bandit named Flynn Rider who sneaked into her tower to hide from his pursuers. From there on, her relatively 'hairy' adventures begins.

As Disney's 50th animated movie, "Rapunzel" is fortunate to be helmed under the established franchise for its debut as well as making it in 3D. Mandy Moore who voiced Rapunzel did a decent job as the singer and voice provider, though the pop princess' attempt to wear the mantle of a Disney Princess is vague compared to her predecessors. Meanwhile "Chuck"'s Zachary Levi managed to switch his geeky side to a suave yet funny flirt as Flynn Rider brilliantly, making one to see Flynn's characterisation as a pleasant combination of Aladdin's upbeat courageous side and fellow prince, Naveen's flamboyance.

In terms of its clumsy non-human sidekicks, Pascal the cheeky chameleon and Maximus the bad-tempered royal guard's horse brought more laughter to the computer-animated screen and were both so amusing that every single one of their scenes will make audiences laugh silly. The unlikely duo without a doubt aced the roles of the loveable animal companions.

The film's score was done by the talented Alan Menken who's famous for his works in "The Little Mermaid" and "Aladdin". "When Will My Life Begin" is not as infectious as "Part Of Your World" or "One Jump Ahead" while the couple's theme song "I See The Light" is not as memorable as "Kiss The Girl" and "A Whole New World", but Levi and Moore's chemistry did enough flavour for Disney and musical lovers out there even if it would not be as noticeable upon the first beat.

Overall, "Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale" is a must watch for all Disney fans.

WALL-E

WALL-E

(2008)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Who else but Disney can tell a human story so convincingly through robot terms - and with so little dialogue as well?

At once disarming, WALL-E as an animated character is the finished article, compared to what CJ7-type pretenders were reaching for - a completely likeable life form that can transcend its cyborg, android, animal or alien essence to deliver a human importance. WALL-E is a Bambi-eyed bashfulness that is dedicated to love and friendship. WALL-E doesn't need to be cute to be liked. He just is.

Oh - an introduction then. In a case of cold hard metal coming to life, our titular robot is a sort of advanced garbage collector, one charged with the unenviable task of scrap yard compression. After 700 years of doing what he was built for, he discovers what he is meant for; or so the tagline goes.

What is he meant for?

He twiddles his thumbs and records "Hello Dolly!" on a cranky old TV. He fiddles with old Zippo lighters and discoloured Rubic's Cubes. He even chases a cute cockroach around. Where have all the people gone?

Clever, really. That's why "WALL-E" needs very little dialogue. By reducing things to their basic operational cinegredients, the film has to strive extra hard to say twice as much in half the time with every given scene. If this does not happen, then the movie would ride out as a concept film heavy on spectacular CG alone. Storytelling has always been Disney's fort-e (ha!) and the dreamy yet substantial setting in "WALL-E" provides the right balance for a family film that doesn't offend more serious cineastes.

If only every other animation project decided against using celebrity voices, it's possible that a superior film will almost always be coming this way.

"WALL-E" opens a wonderful window to a post-apocalyptic world that only Pixar could have managed to make romantic. Weaved within the subtle sociology of "Wall-E" is not only a discussion on the depersonalisation of humanity (what with our mouse-click, brand name conveniences of modern living) but a solution to the same consumerist decadence. The picture tells us that saving humanity is not only about saving the environment - or merely drawing a distinction between the things we want and the things we really need - but saving the desire to dream and hope for a better life, wherever one may come from.

That is the magic of Disney, I guess. Watching this was easy and loving it, easier. Wall-E had me at hello - and you'd soon wish you never had to say goodbye.

Little Fockers

Little Fockers

(2010)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Never ending in-law animosity seems to have been stretched a tad bit too long. The title itself is hugely misleading in this unsavoury mishmash, as very little time is spent on the twins of Greg and Pam Focker. This is definitely the least and hopefully the last of a franchise that started amusingly a decade ago but now has overstayed its welcome. The jokes in this movie feel like they came right out of a men's room wall. It should have been more aptly titled "Little Floppers" instead of "Little Fockers".

"Little Fockers" focuses on the Chicago based Greg (Stiller) and Pam Focker (Teri Polo) as they approach middle age and deal with the usual challenges related to work, finances and the raising of their twins, Samantha (Daisy Tahan) and Henry (Colin Baiocchi). Greg is under a lot of pressure to make some extra money, renovate the family's dream home and find a good school for the kids -- all of which is aggravated of course, by the presence of Pam's overbearing ex-CIA dad, Jack Byrnes (De Niro), who has flown in with his wife Dina (Blythe Danner) for their grandchildren's birthday party.

The movie feels dead, the cast looks like they are forced into this franchise. The movie is supposedly about the kids this time but went off topic and came back to the tumultuous relationship between Greg Focker (Stiller) and his father-in-law Jack Byrnes (De Niro). While the married with children angle would seem new but the story takes a turn when Jack suffers a heart attack and suspects he may not be long for this world, he anoints Greg "the Godfocker," charging him with the sacred responsibility of protecting and maintaining the Byrnes family line.

Owen Wilson's return as Kevin is insufferable as if him being in the past two movies have not been enough for the audience to suffer through on the screen, Blythe Danner looks like she knows better (and she definitely deserves better) while quick cameos by veterans Streisand and Hoffman as the older Fockers add nothing special to the movie. Harvey Keitel is in the movie for less than ten minutes, and it makes no sense why they had him in the first place. Jessica Alba as the medical rep named Andi Garcia who gets Greg to promote Sustengo, an erectile dysfunction drug looks lost throughout the movie aside from being an eye-candy. On the other hand, the viagra becomes a sub-plot when it is responsible for a lot of lewd remarks as well as for the film's big crack at an outrageous scene. Having visibly acquired the desired result but with unwanted side-effects, Jack needs a quick relief from his condition with the same thing only Greg can provide -- through a Sustengo counter injection in the relevant area but the awkward scene turns out to be totally expected by the audience even before it happens.

Anchored by adult humour and incessant sexual innuendos, this movie will most likely be a hit in retirement homes and with audiences of a certain age and interests.

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