Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekly Film Review Round Up 22nd September 2013

Its school holidays in Australia, so we have our usual release of “fill in a few hours of the day" fare.  Most are not too bad, but nothing is a stand out I am afraid. The only thing for the tweens is Percy Jackson but don’t discount the cutie Turbo 3D  for them.  My very harsh-critic children really enjoyed it.  If a film can get past the ten-year-old it’s pretty good.

(My movie Pick of the week)
Turbo 3D ★★★ ½

Opens in Australia: 19th September, 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
Turbo 3D may seem like a goofy idea but in the hands of Dreamworks it works pretty well.  My harsh-critic children even enjoyed it; with the very tough ten-year-old turning to me after and saying how great it was—“surprisingly.”  It’s colourful, well-paced and has the obligatory life lessons in there, which is always helpful with the children exposed to so much negativity these days.
STUDIO BLURB
In Venice, California, Theo, a.k.a Turbo (Ryan Reynolds), is a garden snail who dreams of being the greatest racer in the world, just like his hero, 5-time indinapolis 500 champ, Guy Gagne. His obsession with speed and all things fast has made him an oddity and an outsider in the slow and cautions snail community, and a constant embarrassment to his cautious older brother, Chet (Paul Giamatti). Turbo desperately wishes he could escape the slow-paced life he's living, but his one chance to live proves a near fatal disaster.  When a freak accident gives him extraordinary speed, Turbo sets out to try to make his dream come true.

Planes ★★★

Opens in Australia: 19th September, 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
Cars was never my favourite Disney franchise.  And Cars 2 had me snoozing.  It’s not just me; the kids have never been great fans, either. We have the Cars DVD and it was never the one they pulled out for repeat viewing.  So Planes was never going to have my anticipation soaring (excuse the pun).  However, I found it charming, colourful and a lovely story. It’s very by the numbers and pretty much Cars all over again, but with planes.  This time round they’ve paced it up a little and dropped the long montage scenes that would see the kids out of their seats and running around the cinema.  It’s for the younger ones, but parents can still enjoy the simple but sweet story and plane and truck parody clichés.  We all love an underdog or, in this case, an under-plane.
STUDIO BLURB
Cars gets a spin-off with this Disney Toon Studios film starring the voice of Dane Cook as a vertically-challenged plane with high hopes of becoming an air racer.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters ★★★

Opens in Australia: 19th September, 2013
Other Countries:          Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
I wasn’t a real fan of the 2010 “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.” In fact, my ten-year-old wouldn’t come to this, because he thought the first one was so boring (but he is a tough film veteran critic).  The twelve to thirteen-year-old children with me enjoyed this one, and so did some of the mothers who escorted them.  So, if you have a child in that age group, this should be a fun outing for you.  Fans of the Rick Riordan’s books should be pleased.

STUDIO BLURB
Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, continues his epic journey to fulfill his destiny, as he teams with his demigod friends to retrieve the Golden Fleece, which has the power to save their home and training ground, Camp Half-Blood.

Riddick ★★★
The Movie ★★ The dog thing

Opens in Australia: 12th September, 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
I expected very little from this film. Vin Diesel is so “blah” for me. If you want a muscle-mumbler give me Dwayne Johnson any day. I loved the origin film, the 2000 Pitch Black. Then, of course, they destroyed everything with the tragically boring follow-up Chronicles of Riddick. This one is pretty much a return to the original formula and is action all the way.  It’s not terrible but it’s not great, and it will probably win an award for most cliché characters in a sci-fi film. There have been so many disappointing sci-films this year that I sadly concede this is not the worst we’ve seen. I would have given it only two stars, but Riddick does pick up this cute hyena type dog and it gave the best performance. So it scored an extra star.  This one is purely for Vin Diesel fans. Other folk will think it is a tad “Riddick-uli.”
STUDIO BLURB
Riddick, the latest chapter of the groundbreaking saga that began with 2000's hit sci-fi film Pitch Black and 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick reunites writer/director David Twohy (A Perfect Getaway, The Fugitive) and star Vin Diesel (the Fast and Furious franchise, xXx). Diesel reprises his role as the antihero Riddick, a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy. The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he's encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty. The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. (c) Universal

R.I.P.D. ★½ 

Opens in Australia: 12th  September, 2013
Other Countries:          Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
I am sure it seemed like a good idea. Take a popular graphic novel, a veteran Oscar winner, a charismatic romantic-comedy lead, a reasonably good action director, top notch writers, and viola!  You should have a blockbuster hit.
But sometimes the cake just doesn’t cook, no matter how many quality ingredients you use.  This is the case with R.I.P.D.  You can almost see the tinkering behind the scenes as the studio realises they’ve cooked up a flat soufflé.
My thirteen-year-old son did think it was “okay.”  And if I saw it in 1992 I would feel the same.  But this is 2013 and we’ve had “Men in Black,” “Ghost,” and “Ghostbusters,” so we don’t need a cynical mash up of those again.  It’s tired and stale, and even the song at the end is miserable and plodding.  Hopefully, this one will R.I.P at the back of a DVD store, unrented.   
STUDIO BLURB
Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds headline the 3D supernatural action-adventure R.I.P.D. as two cops dispatched by the otherworldly Rest In Peace Department to protect and serve the living from an increasingly destructive array of souls who refuse to move peacefully to the other side. Veteran sheriff Roy Pulsifer (Bridges) has spent his career with the legendary police force known as R.I.P.D. tracking monstrous spirits who are cleverly disguised as ordinary people. His mission? To arrest and bring to justice a special brand of criminals trying to escape final judgment by hiding among the unsuspecting on Earth. Once the wise-cracking Roy is assigned former rising-star detective Nick Walker (Reynolds) as his junior officer, the new partners have to turn grudging respect into top-notch teamwork. When they uncover a plot that could end life as we know it, two of R.I.P.D.'s finest must miraculously restore the cosmic balance...or watch the tunnel to the afterlife begin sending angry souls the very wrong way. (c) Universal


What have you seen this week? Did you find our comments helpful or do you disagree? Share your thoughts with us.