Friday, March 30, 2012

Wrath of the Titans ★ ★ ★

Feel the Wrath, Stay for the Creatures

Release Dates
29th March 2012 USA & UK 30th March 2012
Other Countries Release Dates


One of the first movies I ever saw at the cinema was the 1963 ‘Jason and the Argonauts’.  The fight scene with the skeletons is still vividly etched in my mind as one of the highlights of my early movie going days.  Apparently, this one three minute scene took four months to produce in those days before computers.
Thanks to ‘Jason’, I have a soft spot for these Gods versus Mortals films.  They are not popular with the critics, with good cause.  As I watched ‘Wrath of the Titans’, I attempted to remember the plot of its predecessor, the 2010 ‘Clash of the Titans’.  But it had become hopelessly muddled in my mind with ‘Prince of Persia’, the recent ‘The Immortals’, and possibly even a few ‘Mummy’ films. 
These films all have one thing in common, they are a boy's own adventure if a boy were allowed to let his imagination run wild.  An in-depth plot is the last thing we are meant to expect.  They are squarely aimed at those who enjoy big men leaping around with swords and tridents, fighting ancient creatures breathing fire and lava, and battling Gods who are pretty handy with lightening. ‘Wrath of the Titans’ is another episode in this fantasy genre.
A decade after his heroic defeat of the monstrous Kraken, Perseus (Sam Worthington), the demigod son of Zeus (Liam Neeson) is attempting to live quietly as a village fisherman as the sole parent to his 10-year-old son, Helius.
 The Gods, however, are not living peacefully, and are losing their immortality thanks to the mortal’s lack of devotion.  Kronos, the father of the long-ruling brothers Zeus, Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseidon (Danny Huston) is rotting in the dungeon of Tartarus in the cavernous Underworld.
Hades, fearing the loss of his immortality, hatches a plan with Ares (Édgar Ramírez) Zeus’s son—who has a real inferiority complex when it comes to his half-brother Perseus.  Together, they capture Zeus, imprisoning him in Tartarus, in order for Kronos to siphon off his power in order to take over the world again and punish the mortals.
Perseus, determined to rescue Zeus, begins an odyssey, accompanied by warrior Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Poseidon’s demigod son Agenor (Toby Kebbell), and fallen god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) searching for way into Tartarus to free Zeus.  Along the way, he must fight some powerful mythological creatures and navigate his way through a dangerous revolving labyrinth.
“There’s truly a smorgasbord of action to be had in this movie,” says visual effects supervisor and second unit director Nick Davis, who also worked on the first film.
As the title indicates, 'Wrath of the Titans' called forth some mammoth and mythical adversaries to pit against Perseus: the multi-headed Chimera, three one-eyed Cyclops, an army of double-bodied Makhai, and one powerful, menacing Minotaur. His most formidable opponent is, of course, Kronos, the gargantuan, father of Zeus, Hades and Poseidon, who is on the verge of breaking free and bringing hell down on the earth.
The first foe Perseus meets is the Chimera, a fire-breathing beast with the heads of a lion and goat, dragon-like wings and a vicious snake’s head at the end of its tail.
The creature was primarily produced via CG, but the damage it created was a combination of visual and special effects. Neil Corbould, special effects supervisor on both this and the prior film, explains, “In order to keep the audience guessing ‘Was that real? Was that CG?’ I find it’s better to marry the computer elements with practical ones, for a more seamless end result. It allows the atmosphere you generate—in this case, bits of ash or other light materials—to interact with the actors as well. So the destruction brought about by the Chimera was achieved on set, and enhanced later by the visual effects team.”
The strength of this film is in its visual effects and full on action, so don’t expect more than average dialogue scenes.  Even if the actors keeping their own accents are a little puzzling, the action is convincing.  If I think back to my first brush with the Gods in “Jason”, it wasn’t the story that I remember; it was the relenting and merciless skeletons advancing on Jason.  Don’t see this for the plot or the acting; see it for the wonderful monsters and creatures. Just like ‘Jason’s’ skeletons, they’re memorable.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Read my review here Hunger Games Review

THE HUNGER GAMES has claimed the #1 spot at the Australian box office with the largest opening weekend outside of the United States, ahead of the UK ($7.1m)and Russia ($6.2m).

The first chapter in Suzanne Collins’ dystopian trilogy earned a staggering $9m on 471 screens across Australia from Thursday to Sunday, beating the first instalment of Twilight ($5.4m).

The film is expected to take US$155m from Friday to Sunday in the US, the biggest opening for a non-sequel and the third of all time, behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($169.2m) and The Dark Knight ($158.4m).

Roadshow Films Managing Director Joel Pearlman said: “This is an extraordinary result.  Australian audiences flocked to cinemas over the weekend to see the first of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games novels realised on screen.  Co-starring Australia’s Liam Hemsworth – we are delighted with these box office results.”

May the odds be ever in your favour.
“The Hunger Games is rousing, thought-provoking and one of the best films of the year so far.”
Nick Dent, Sunday News Ltd

“The best most, compelling elements of Collins’ chilling visions of the future are brought vividly to life...a solid and spectacular effort that promises even better things to come.”
Leigh Paatsch, News Ltd

“the bones of Collins’s story ensure an enthralling time”
Sandra Hall, Sydney Morning Herald

“the most intriguing heroine a Hollywood blockbuster has seen”
Craig Mathieson, Sun Herald and Sunday Age

The Hunger Games is rated M and was released in Australian cinemas nationally on March 22.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games ★ ★ ★1/2

Odds on to be a Winner

Release Dates
22nd March 2012  USA & UK  23rd March 2012 

Other Countries Release Dates

It was almost two years ago when I first heard the words, “The Hunger Games,” followed by “You must read the book.”  So I did, like 26 million others.  I didn’t love the book.  It’s hard for a Mother to read a book like this.  Something changes in your chemistry after having children and you find yourself accidentally placing your mind in a Mother’s position at the loss or injury of a child.  It always hurts a little.  However, I did feel the book was a fascinating and horrible idea that was executed well.
In The Hunger Games we enter a world of the future, where an unexplained uprising has left America a country governed by the Capitol, led by President Snow (Donald Sutherland). To maintain control of the impoverished Twelve Districts, whose sole purpose is to provide for the needs of the Capitol, the government has created the spectacle of the Hunger Games. Each year, two adolescent Tributes, one male and one female, are chosen from each district via a ballot on Reaping Day, They then play in a futuristic ‘Survivor’ battle to the death, with every minute detail broadcast live across the land. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), from District 12 volunteers herself after her little sister, Primrose, is chosen.  Katniss leaves behind her one true friend, Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and heads to the games accompanied by the other District 12 Tribute, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson).
Much of the book and film is devoted to the fluff and pageantry surrounding the games.  Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) is the over-the-top show host, commentating on the contestants and the killings, as if they were attending a spelling bee; Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley) is the much admired Game designer; and the Tributes are each assigned personal stylists and mentors. Our heros, unfortunately, must also make do with a drunken, depressed mentor, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson).
The catchcry of the games, “May the odds be forever in your favour,” does not seem to apply to them.  But Katniss is no ordinary girl and her cunning, wit and determination to win are not to be underestimated.  Things become even more complicated when Peeta reveals he has feelings for Katniss.  But is this part of a strategy?
It is a violent concept, pitting children against children, and the violence is minimised using an extremely annoying handy-cam shake during any death sequences.  But the idea cannot be muted and it is intriguing that young adults find it so compelling.  It may say a lot about a generation or it may simply be our modern version of the Roman Coliseum games.
When the film went into production, there were about 8 million copies of the trilogy of novels in circulation; by the time production wrapped there were 12 million and now the number has exploded to over 26 million. The first novel has since spent more than 180 consecutive weeks and more than three consecutive years to date on The New York Times bestseller list. Collins went on to write two more best-selling books in the series, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.
Gary Ross, the director and co-author of the screenplay with the book’s author, Suzanne Collins, first witnessed the impact of THE HUNGER GAMES and Katniss Everdeen on his own children. “I’d heard people raving about THE HUNGER GAMES and when I asked my kids about it, they kind of exploded and started going on and on until I had to stop them from telling me the whole story,” he recalls. “Their enthusiasm was so infectious, I went upstairs, started reading, and by 1:30a.m., I said ‘I have to make this movie.’ It was that impulsive.”
Right away, Ross had an unwavering vision of what lay at the heart of THE HUNGER GAMES’ appeal. “I saw there was something really beautiful happening underneath the story. It’s obviously a viscerally exciting tale of survival within a lurid spectacle of the future. But I think what really compels people to pass the book from one person to the next is that it is at bottom about one girl, Katniss Everdeen, finding her own humanity. She begins as someone who only wants to fight for herself, for her personal survival – yet what she finds in the course of the Games is something more important than even staying alive. Her heart opens and she becomes someone who’s willing to sacrifice for something bigger."
Suzanne Collins, the book’s author, understood that the film would necessarily be its own experience, no matter how faithful to the book’s essence. “When you’re adapting a novel into a two-hour movie you can’t bring everything with you,” she notes. “Not all the characters are going to make it to the screen. For example, we gave up Madge, cut the Avox girl’s back-story, and reduced the Career pack. Then there was the question of how best to take a book told in the first person and transform it into a satisfying dramatic experience.”
Do you need to read the book to enjoy the movie?  Should you read the book after you have seen the movie?  The answer to both questions is a YES.  Katniss’s rich inner thoughts and commentary certainly make the book a different experience.  In the film, the wizardry of technology creates a convincing future world. Jennifer Lawrence’s undeniable skill makes her a worthy Katniss.  Whilst the film isn’t the best that it can be, it will still satisfy most cinema goers.
This film and the following two of the trilogy are certain to be mega-hits, whether reviewers like the film or not.  To steal a Hunger Games phrase, “The odds will be forever in their favour.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

21 Jump Street ★ ★ ★ ★1/2


Nope, never did!   Just wanted to state up front that I have not seen one minute of the original eighties series, 21 JUMP STREET, which set Johnny Depp on the road to stardom.  But my husband has and he was bouncing excitedly down the theatre corridor to the screening of the new 21 JUMP STREET Film.
Apparently it was a very cool series. Well it had Johnny Depp, so that I get.  However, a lot of these old hit series do not translate well into modern film.  They tend to become corny, cash grabs, that fade quickly onto DVD.  I can remember a very bad experience with MOD SQUAD (one of my faves of the seventies) where , half way through the screening, I couldn’t stop my feet from removing me from the cinema.  Yes, it was that bad.
So the question you are going to ask me is: Does it live up to the series?
The answer, drum roll please, or should I say machine gunfire in the air, is…
Yes. It (insert swear word starting with F here)ing does live up.  I add the swear word because it deserves its MA15+ rating in Australia and R in the States. The profanity and sex jokes run from the opening scene until the last car chase.  But these guys make swearing funny—very, cover your mouth oh that is terrible, funny.
21 JUMP STREET, pairs Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) as enemies in high school who find themselves graduating as friends from Police Academy.  Schmidt is the smart nerd and Jenko the good-looking muscled and not so bright other half of the team.  After fumbling a park arrest on the bicycle beat, they are transferred into the secret Jump Street unit, run by the tough Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), whose charming turn of phrase constantly includes four letter words, Mother, and the slang for the male appendage.
From there they are sent undercover to a high school—youthful appearances and back packs in tow—where they must track down the dealers and suppliers of a new designer drug. Jenko thinks he has the undercover persona worked out, having, only a few years before, been top dog at school.  They soon discover that everything is not what they expected and Schmidt can’t resist rewriting his bad High School nerd memories even at the expense of the case and his friendship with Jenko.
The film is not a remake of 21JUMP STREET but, according to producer, Neal Moritz and executive producer Tania Landau, more an update of the premise. They admit that it wasn’t until Jonah Hill became involved that the project really came into focus. 
“It’s a great concept,” Landau says.  “Two young-looking cops go undercover at a high school, and against all odds, bust a drug ring.  We make a lot of action movies, so that was how we saw the direction for this project, too.  But things changed when we had lunch with Jonah and he suggested doing it as an R-rated action comedy.  Suddenly it all fell into place.”
Jonah Hill, who also executive produced and wrote the story, along with screenwriter Michael Bacall, says that it started with a simple question: "I asked myself what would it be like to relive the most important time period of your youth—high school.  You think you have all the answers that you didn't have then, but then you get back there and realize those answers are all wrong. You then immediately revert back to the insecurities and problems you had when you were seventeen."
Bacall explains, “At first, nothing goes as planned for the characters.  These guys treat it like wish fulfillment—‘Oh, if I only knew then what I know now’. But all of the information that they have no longer applies.  Jenko—who was always the cool kid back then—falls in with the nerds, and Schmidt—the nerdier of the two—falls in with the cool crowd.  It’s a total role reversal.”
It’s this role reversal concept that elevates 21 JUMP STREET to more than another tired action comedy cashing in on an iconic series.  Put a slick script together with two actors, who are clearly having the most fun you can have whilst being paid millions, and you have one very cool action comedy.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum enjoy perfect chemistry together and the film never forgets it has one job, to make us laugh and then make us laugh some more.  If you want to see the original series buy the DVD.  If you want to see what could be one of the best comedies of 2012, see 21 JUMP STREET.  It is (beeping) awesome.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Introducing…Disney's Frankenweenie

First trailer for Disney's stop motion animation feature Frankenweenie- only at the movies October 25

 “When you lose someone you love they never really leave you, they just move into a special place in your heart” –Mum

“I don’t want him in my heart. I want him here, with me.” –Victor

“I know. If we could bring him back we would…” –Mum

Frankenweenie is an upcoming 3D black-and-white stop motion-animated film, directed by Tim Burton, and it is a remake of Burton's 1984 short film of the same name. Like the 1984 version, it is a parody of and a homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein based on Mary Shelley's book of the same name. In the film, a boy named Victor loses his dog and uses the power of science to bring it back to life. The film is scheduled for release on October 5, 2012. It will be the first black and white feature and first stop-motion film to be released in IMAX 3D.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012



          Tickets for the highly anticipated THE HUNGER GAMES are selling strongly two weeks out from the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ first book in her dystopian trilogy hitting the big screen.
          Eager fans have snapped up tickets to midnight sessions at all major cinema chains across Australia, which will take place hours before the film is officially released on March 22.  With many sessions already sold out, exhibitors are continuing to add more sessions in response to customer demand.
          Gino Munari, Village Cinemas General Manager – Programming, said: “Early ticket sales across the Village circuit leaves me with no doubt that The Hunger Games is fast shaping-up as one of the hottest films of the year. In fact, at the same stage, sales are tracking ahead of the original Twilight.”
          Chris McGlinn, Director of Marketing at Event Cinemas added: “We are thrilled with the strong early ticket sales for the first sessions of The Hunger Games in all of our major locations.  We will have sell-out midnight and opening weekend sessions around the country, especially in Vmax and Gold Class.”

About The Hunger Games

          Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its 12 districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games.  A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.
          Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers in her younger sister’s place to enter the games, and is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) when she’s pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives.  If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
          Directed by Gary Ross, The Hunger Games also stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland and Wes Bentley.
          The Hunger Games is yet to be rated and will release in Australian cinemas nationally on March 22.  We are attending the preview on the 21st March. So look for our review. 

          Are you planning to see the HUNGER GAMES? 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

JOHN CARTER ★ ★ ★ ★1/2


So who is ‘John Carter’??? From the film trailer, he seemed to be a very handsome, shirtless guy, leaping around amongst four armed creatures on Mars. 
‘John Carter’ is Edgar Rice Burroughs—the Tarzan author’s—literary hero, who sprung from a serialised 1912 story entitled “Under the Moons of Mars”, which was later published in 1917 as the novel, “A Princess of Mars”
Over the decades, Burroughs continued to write many popular books and serials on the adventures of ‘John Carter’ on Barsoom—Mars’ fictional name.
Science fiction writers Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury have all credited ‘John Carter’ as inspiration for their own work.  James Cameron cited the ‘John Carter’ books as an influence on his epic science-fiction film, AVATAR, whilst George Lucas credits ‘Carter’ with inspiring the STAR WARS movies. The list of fans goes on, including Carl Sagan, Michael Crichton and more. 
So on ‘John Carter’s’ one hundredth anniversary, Disney Studios has decided to treat us, for the price of a movie ticket, with a trip to Mars to rediscover ‘John Carter’ in the technological age of green screen, CGI and 3D.
If you have seen the trailers, you could think that this film could go either way.  It could be truly amazing or a corny disappointment.  My verdict: “Amazing”.
You need to see it. You need to take your kids—over eight I’d say.  You need to take your other half and prepare yourself to see a movie that will become a favourite.  You will want to own the DVD.  You may even want to build a home theatre so you can watch it over and over again on a big screen, as it is meant to be seen. YES, I think it's that good.
JOHN CARTER is set in the civil war period and told in flashback via his own journal given to his nephew upon his death.  Our hero, John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is war and world weary.  Despite being a strong fighter, he wants no part of the war. He wants instead to find a rumoured cave of gold.  When he finds the cave he also finds a portal to another world—Barsoom (Mars).  And wouldn’t you know it; there is a ten thousand year old civil war on Barsoom too.  This guy just can’t catch a break
With the powers that John inherits, due to the difference in atmosphere, he becomes a much desired ally by all factions.  He is captured by the Tharks, four armed, tusked creatures, who are hoping the humanoid inhabitants of Barsoom will kill off each other and leave them alone.  Eventually he wins the respect of their leader, Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe). 
Meanwhile, the Zodangans, lead by Sab Than (Dominic West), battle with the Heliumites, whose beautiful Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) strives to find a solution that will end the fighting and save her beloved planet.  This comes in the form of a planned marriage to Sab Than, the enemy.   But, like all good Warrior Princesses, Dejah Thoris will not go quietly.  Don't worry if you can't get your head around the unwieldy names. You have one hundred and thirty-two minutes in which to become familiarised.  The story is an action packed adventure, with a quest thrown in, as John Carter tries to find a way home to Earth.  Once Dejah Thoris meets John Carter, well let’s just say, planets collide. 
The one thing that sets JOHN CARTER apart from other fantasy adventures is that the story and the visuals are extremely believable. This is very much due to the vision of its Oscar Winning Director, Andrew Stanton, who also co-wrote the screenplay along with Michael Chabon, and Mark Andrews.  Stanton helped establish Pixar as one of the world's leading animation studios as the designer and writer on the TOY STORY films, A BUG’S LIFE, FINDING NEMO AND WALL-E.
Stanton says, “JOHN CARTER is a big, epic, sci-fi action-adventure with romance and action and political intrigue and because the subject matter was written so long ago, it became the origin of those kinds of stories in the last century
It was difficult to go back into this book and not look like you were being derivative of everything else because it’s been an inspiration for one hundred years.
So Stanton and his team approached the film with a clear mandate.   “I want you to believe that these really are the laws of nature and the rules of reality on another planet,” says Stanton.  “I want the audience to accept Barsoom in the same way you might visit a foreign land in our world and not know anything about its cultures or its flora and fauna and yet, for as fantastical as it can be, you accept it because you know the place really exists somewhere.''
And real it does feel.  JOHN CARTER is a movie like no other. It crosses almost every genre, combining them to take audiences on an exciting ride. The reasonably unknown leads are not only gorgeous to behold but hold their own amongst the technology and animation. 
But it’s the story and the characters that are the true stars here.  One hundred years later, these characters will capture your imagination as they did previous generations.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking towards the night sky and wondering, did Edgar Rice Burroughs write fantasy or fact.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


PERTH READERS, Click through to to win in-season tickets to experience Rooftop Movies.

Perth cinema-lovers have lapped up the launch of Rooftop Movies, the latest instalment from the Artrage team.  The pilot programme kicked off with a VIP soirée, Wednesday 29 February, which saw Moi and husband and 250 special guests, among the first to be treated to the delights of Perth’s newest summer attraction.


Hubby and I were very impressed with the quality of the sound and picture.  It is certainly an amazing venue and we can’t wait to go again with friends.  Do bring along a small pillow to rest your head on the deckchairs and a jacket in case the temperature drops a little.  It was windy on launch night, which wasn’t perfect, but it couldn’t mar the fabulous experience of sitting amongst the beautifully lit Perth buildings as a backdrop, whilst laughing at ‘The Big Lebowski’.  In fact, I don’t think it matters what movie you see. It is all about the experience.


Artrage director, Marcus Canning, says, “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to this pilot programme, selling close to 2000 tickets so far which is almost a third of the total seats in the first season”

“Our opening night screening of The Big Lebowski sold out in a matter of minutes, and our first Double Feature on March 2, Heathers and Suspiria, sold out earlier this week.

“Season Two will be announced mid-March and run until the end of April. If the programme is successful we will look to running the programme annually from December to April,” says Canning.

The film programme includes classic and cult movies, recent releases as well nightly pre and post screening entertainments, including ongoing weekly special events .

A partnership between Artrage and City of Perth Parking, Rooftop Movies is located on the roof of the Roe Street Car Park in Northbridge. The partnership allows patrons to combine the cost of parking and the cost of the movie into one ticket price.


Bulmer’s Comedy Wednesdays

Featuring live comedy pre and post feature film

·         March 7 – Dr Strangelove Or: How I Learnt to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

·         March 14 – Blazing Saddles

·         March 21 – Borat

·         March 28 – Revenge of the Nerds

Friday & Saturday Double Features

A specially programmed duo of films over the weekend nights

·         March 2 – Heathers & Suspiria SOLD OUT

·         March 3 – Alien & The Fly

·         March 9 Dazed and Confused & Fast Times at Ridgemont High

·         March 10 – Dawn of the Dead & Zombie Flesh Eaters

·         March 16 – Goodfellas & Natural Born Killers

·         March 17 – Blue Velvet & Wild at Heart

·         March 23 – Beetlejuice & Gremlins

·         March 24 – Control & 24 Hour Party People

·         March 30 – Blow & Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

·         March 31 – Carrie & Fight Club

Stella Artois Sunday Classics

Featuring live Jazz pre and post feature film to screening a cinema classic

·         March 4 – Casablanca

·         March 11 – Lolita

·         March 18 – La Dolce Vita

·         March 24 – North by Northwest

Pre-sale tickets are $10 plus $2 booking fee. Door sales $13.
Tickets for Friday & Saturday Double Features are $15 plus $2 booking fee.
Parking options include $5 for 2 hours or $8 all night. Parking can be pre-purchased online or with your ticket at the box office.

For more information on the programme head to