I'm a freelance illustrator from Warrington, England and i'll watch just about anything bar slashers and musicals. Massive Simpsons Fan and a lover off all things animation in general
You got a question ask away.
(Agree with RT meter 77.5% of the time)
Train-wreck is what i was expecting from this. An absolute travesty of a film based on the trailers and the rather lack-luster animation but it wasn't 'that' bad. Yes it was poor, bad even but it didn't go completely overboard. Making it probably the biggest shock iv'e had this year - not much of a statement or something it should be proud of, after all it was still lacking.
'Free Birds' tells the story of 'Reggie' (Owen Wilson) a turkey that gets saved on thanksgiving (something i have zero connection too being English), pardoned from being eaten. But he gets kidnapped by a turkey by the name of of 'Jake' (Woody Harrelson) so they can travel back in time and permanently take turkey's off the menu at thanksgiving. The plot is stupid and poorly constructed, there's pacing issues. But if you take out the time travel, ignore it and just focus on them in the past then it's not too bad. It would have been so much better had the turkeys been just in the past from the get go and get rid of the stupid time-travel stuff. Every-time the story gets slight groove and follows what may be a standard formula but one that is ultimately working, it falls flat when time-travelling rears its head. It totally ruins any form of momentum the film was building up. Obviously that's not the only issue there are others but it would have solved a big problem and would have removed the ridiculous joke of an ending.
It was evident when 'Reggie' first meets 'Jenny' (Amy Poehelr)that a romantic interest was going to develop. It's not a bad thing as such, sure it's by the numbers but it's in the end a relief. As something much worse could have happened. That's what this film is all about, damage limitation, trailers can't tell everything but it was clear, from promotion, the studio that this wasn't grade A stuff and creating something passable is an achievement. Which it almost does. Voice acting is fine but this is very rarely a problem with animation, and when you see the cast there's a relief felt. The animation on the other hand isn't 'all' rosie, it's not bad it just has something missing - it feels outdated, sparse and not as well lit. But again it's still good enough. The same can be said for the jokes, which i was dreading the most and while there are some real stinkers. There are still a good number of laughs o be had which is somewhat surprising. Nothing hilarious but a chuckle and a laugh is better than nothing.
'Free Birds' isn't quite the turkey i was expecting. I can't class it as 'good' or even 'ok' but it's a damn sight better than i expected. It could have been bad, really bad. But the half decent plot that is unfortunately ruined by the inclusion of time-travel. There's the odd line to chuckle at and the characters aren't irritating. Pleasantly bad surprise much better than i anticipated - but obviously i still can't recommend it, although very young kids might get a kick out of it.
"No, why? Why do you shut me out? Why do you shut the world out? What are you so afraid of?"
Iv'e been disappointed with this film since it went from being 2-D a dying medium in films it seems. To 3D which just doesn't have the same flow and pull, there's something special about hand-drawn animation. The characters have more life and appeal as well more pronounced style. I wasn't mad that it went to 3D indeed i like 3D, some of my favourites are - 'Up' is my favourite animated movie of all time. But with now even core 'Disney' seemingly abandoning it in favour of the cheaper alternative i fear hand drawn films are all but gone.
'Frozen' is what i would assume is the 2nd in a long line of 3D musical 'Disney' films. I'm not talking 'Pixar' but in the same mold as 'Lion King', 'Jungle Book' and 2011s 'Tangled'. It appears that 'Princess And The Frog' may have been the last one and we can expect more like this. And considering i liked 'Tangled' quite a bit i was always going to like this. The story is loosely based on the story of the 'Snow Queen'. In Disney's version 'Elsa' (Idina Menzel) and 'Anna' (Kristen Bell) are sisters and the best of friends until Elsa's ability with to control the cold gets out of hand and she accidentally hurts 'Anna'. From then on in, 'Elsa' shuts herself away from everyone so she can't harm anyone. Naturally as the film plays out something goes wrong and 'Anna' goes in search of her sister. There's singing, dancing and a love story that two people are oblivious to until towards the end. So it's 'Disney' the pacing, the characters, everything is standard 'Disney' affair. For some that may be a bit irritating as we've seen it all before and done better, with better songs. but it still works and being in 3D it still has a slight fresh appeal to it - having it framed with this classic 'Disney' story is refreshing at the moment.
The story as i stated is classic 'Disney'. The characters are ok there's nothing new usual princess tropes - they're pretty but smart and have a nice happy personality blah blah blah. The only interesting character that 'feels' different is the antagonist that isn't revealed toward the ends and is shown as a genuine good guy for most of it. The pacing is standard affair its good but at times it does need pushing forward a touch. Animation is as expected brilliant coming from 'Disney' so it should come as no surprise. There doesn't need to be anything else said about this, there's just no point - it looks great it flows beautifully and the characters are well designed. Songs aren't my 'thing' in films it tends to irritate me but in animation it doesn't i tolerate it more than anything, so i can't comment on them being good because i mentally block out all past ones no matter how 'catchy' they are.
'Frozen' is good, is it a classic? i'm not sure, for some yes but to me it's identical make-up to past 'Disney' films is both good and its downfall. There's enough humour thanks to 'Olaf', the voice acting is brilliant and the animation is the kind of top notch stuff you only get with 'Disney studios'. I just wish they would break the mold of its pacing and create a female character that isn't a princess. But then again that's to speak it's young female audience - so i guess that's stupid of me to expect. In the end though this is certainly worthy and on par with 'Tangled.
The 'Carrie' remake is possibly the most pointless remake there's ever been. Not because it's bad (which it isn't) but because it's almost identical to Brian De Palma's vision that why? - why even bother?. There was no need for it, unless it added, or looked at the events in a different way or followed the book to as accurate degree as possible. But at least it wasn't bad, it's a competent film that at times may drag but because it is so similar to the 70s version that it also still has what that film good intact.
I'm not going to compare this with the original there's no point, yes it's more or less the same but it must be looked at on its own merits. It follows 'Carrie' (Chloe Grace Moretz) a nervous and shy high schooler who has a hard time fitting in. She's brought up with a highly religious mother, Margret (Julianne Moore) and is barely aloud to sneeze without being told she can do so. Then she starts to notice she has developed some form of power. The original may well be horror but this is not, it's not scary plain and simple. I'm not sure it's meant to be either because if it was it's a feeble attempt at it. It's more of a tragic revenge story with gore thrown in. It takes a while before things even go anywhere which is frustrating, its not lack of interesting scenes but rather poor execution. The shower scene is cliched reaction to brim and doesn't hold the same character that it should or rather is intended to. That's the main issue every scene that we know is ok, it works but it's ultimately kinda flat it doesn't have any new impact or point - we still have the feeling of relief when 'Chris' gets her just deserts. All through the film i was feeling this is ok it ever escapes this, i did fear for the prom scene i expected either something bad or great and it delivering something ok is actually fine with me. As this could have been a real mess, it could have got wrapped up in lots of "remember this in the book/film!" kind of thing.
The whole feeling of the film is very much of a cold, depressing nature, tragic it fits the bill and is probably the best thing about the film. The house is great really shoves the bible loving manner that 'Margret' has - to the pint of pain. 'Sue Snell' (Gabrielle Wilde) is probably the most important character in the film and she still has a likable persona. But lots of things are glossed over, it's mentioned out of the blue she use to bully 'Carrie' - why?, why did she stop?. These get answered (sort of) but in a brief this doesn't matter manner - the only problem being is it does. There's a lot missing from that character, she's very stripped down and basic.
There's a lack of explanation of 'Carrie' herself, everything has to be assumed, why she got her powers at this particular time. Obviously we know but only because of the previous film and book. If this was an original story the vagueness would be unacceptable. Maybe i'm being a bit lenient but despite my criticism of it and the stripped and vague nature of the story i did enjoy it. The acting is great and that was a big attribution to it 'Chloe' pulls of the loner and nervous characteristics well and 'Julianne' has the stern and serious face of a religious fanatic. The casting isn't perfect but it's not far off.
There's no real reason for this, it's the same again. it doesn't give us more or another stance in fact it has less. But it's constant mediocrity and nothing i'd deem boring is actually a good thing here. This could have been a disaster but it manages to avoid this by being average. The casting is great and naturally so is the acting. If you were a big fan of the original film then you'll probably feel angry. Yes the original film is better but that's not a bad thing there's just nothing memorable like it's predecessor.
The much loved story of 'Mary Poppins' gets the biographical treatment with 'Saving Mr. Banks' the story of how the Disney version came to be and all the loops jumped through to get the rights. Of course the details of how it actually went down probably aren't accurate - made all the more obvious with Disney's "look how nice and great everyone is" vibe. Still' there is certainly enough charm here as well as a marvelous performance from 'Emma Thompson' to make it a worthy watch.
As mentioned the film is an account of getting 'Mary Poppins' onto the big screen. It focuses on the creator 'Pamela Travers' (Emma Thompson) and her interactions with 'Walt Disney' (Tom Hanks) - often funny and confrontational, occasionally over the top. It flutters between 'Travers' now and when she was a child. I had a problem with the shift at first - int eh first half of the film they are very frequent to the point that it's 50/50 with the intended story. But once things calm down and the creating of 'Mary Poppins' begins they have the perfect balance. One scene in particular which is probably the best of the entire film. It sees the present and the past intertwine - in 'Travers' head as she remembers. It's a wonderful scene that really hits home her attachment to the story and the 'problems' she had when she was young with her family.
It might be because of my general cynicism to wards overtly happy people but i found everyone bu 'Travers' to be totally unrealistic. It's the biggest problem i had, the constant smiles and lack any real personality became tiresome (particularly Walt - despite the great performance of 'Hanks'). Maybe they are all happy but this felt another level too far. Despite my grievances with that the story as a whole was very interesting and the interaction between 'Walt' and 'Travers' were great as they try and figure each other out. I think what makes it enjoyable is despite the falseness to it the main story i.e the difficulties of getting it how she wanted is probably more or less spot on. The compromise between 'Travers' and 'Walt' is fairly evident in the actual film as well - although it is clear that 'Walt' got more from it. Even so it's a nice connection with 'Mary Poppins'.
The acting is an area that has to be applaud, yes 'Emma Thompson' may be on storming form here - dare i say perfect?. But the whole cast are great, my favourite being 'Paul Giamatti' the bright and positive chauffeur 'Ralph'. Many have commented on Colin Farrell's performance as 'Robert Travers' in a negative light, noting him to be the 'weak' link - i don't see it, i thought he was great displaying a playful and tragic character. The settings are also very good even in their limiting fashion. The well known songs from 'Mary Poppins' are scattered throughout - in either attempts at humour or references. To me it feels more like "Hey, remember this song!" kind of things. It's not too bothersome as it's isn't a constant annoyance, but when it happens it did grate me a little - but that's me, a real fan of the film would probably appreciate it.
I think i'll have to take back my view on best actress with 'Judi Dench' as 'Emma Thompson' delivers a 'perfect' performance here. 'Saving Mr.Banks' may not be the incredible film i wanted it be but it is still a great one. The story is an interesting one even with the fast and loose way it treats the probable facts. The acting is great and it's occasionally funny. It will certainly be worthwhile for 'Disney' and 'Mary Poppins' fans, it displays the carefree and overall positive message the company has - and you get some songs in there to boot. And indeed i recommend it to everyone, i'd just lower your hopes touch if you're looking for accuracy.
Mundane, bland, predictable, uninspired these are all words that come to mind when i think of 'The Family'. It was never a film that from the trailer looked particularly good. There was a chance of it being ok, even a chance of it surprising and being good. And it has probably more or less hit 'the worst case scenario' deal here with what its given us. Still i can't help but feel somewhat disappointed.
'The Family' follows a -- well a family who are in witness protection after the father, 'Fred Manzoni' (Robert De Niro) testifies against his former life and 'family' the mob. It starts with things already in full effect after moving for the 2nd or 3rd times. There's little explanation as too what he actually said and at first it isn't even clear that he did testify - it muddles it in somewhere in the middle. I understand that what he said doesn't matter so much as we can pretty sure work out it's negative toward the mob. But the confusion of why they're there in the first place isn't acceptable. The family themselves are a thing i guess , it's nice that the two siblings aren't fighting all the time, usually the case. But its too far they're too buddy buddy. The only character that doesn't have a flat personality is 'Maggie' (Michelle Pfeiffer) she gets angry for a reason - something the others don't seem capable of.
There are some good ideas buried here the memoirs slant and him wanting to get out which is a real life characters trait. That's the main problem with this film (of which iv'e alluded to many a time), these characters are all very robotic, and fake. They don't have much realism to them. 'Warren' (John D'Leo) in particular is a laughable character - this so called wise guy attitude and unexplained 'figuring out of everyone in a day'. Obviously the characters aren't the only issue the pacing is off but by this films standards its one of the more forgivable things. I'm piling on it here so i'll point out the things i liked, because there are good things here. It's not a total disaster but there's also the chance it'll be on my worst list. As i said the memoirs are a nice idea, and the scenes with them are the most interesting is where we get a sense of Fred's life. A lass that's as much praise as i can muster, besides the performances which naturally are great with these veterans.
There are feeble attempts humour, mostly involving them hurting people because you know they were part of the mob. I maybe got a chuckle out of it on occasion. All this accumulates into my original sentence - this is bland and boring. It's not offensively bad but you could argue being dull is worse at least there something to talk about, this skates along and offers very little, making the same lasting impression as a snow flake - after a couple of seconds you've forgotten it. I wouldn't say avoid at all costs but there isn't much here to see other than 'De Niro' and 'Pfeiffer' showing there acting chops - and even that's not vintage.