Thursday, December 26, 2013

Weekly Review Round Up 26th Dec, 2013

THIS WEEK'S PREVIEWS

Merry Christmas everybody.  Today is the big day at the box office in Australia with the studios releasing their holiday season big openers.  Every one of the pictures I reviewed this week gets a huge thumbs up. If you have children you will all love Disney’s Frozen.  Everybody will love The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It's one of my favourites this year. Philomena is another stunning film and truly heartbreaking. Of course, hairy feet fans don’t need to be told The Hobbit 2 is out.  This one is even better than the first and a real adventure. So grab your family or other half or just yourself and visit a nearby cinema. You can’t really go wrong. 

(My movie Pick of the week)
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY ★★★★½

Opens in Australia: 26th December, 2013
Other Countries: Release Information
Perth, Australia:       See at Luna Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
When I check the reviews for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I feel as if I saw an entirely different film to the U.S film critics. There appears to be a backlash against the sentimentality of this film, and many unfavorable comments compare it to the 1947 Technicolor version. Well, I would imagine most of the current film-going public didn’t catch that one. This “Walter Mitty” made my favorites list for 2013, and I loved it enough to see it twice.
It is a sweet, thoughtful and inspirational story of Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), a man who has never done anything “noteworthy or mentionable.” Mitty works in the backroom of “Life” magazine managing the photos. Walter is prone to “zoning out”. When he does, he disappears into fantasy worlds where he imagines himself the hero. He also has a crush on colleague Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig), but he can’t muster the courage to talk to her, attempting to make contact via a dating website.
When adventure photographer and all round craggy, heroic type Sean O’Connoll (Sean Penn) courier delivers a special photo—“negative 25”—for the cover, it is decided by snarky “change management” executive, Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott) that it will appear on Life Magazine’s last ever print cover.  But when the negative goes missing, Walter must escape his emotional boundaries and embark on an adventure across the world to find it.
Ben Stiller directs and stars in “Walter Mitty” and he does a wonderful job with the aesthetics. It’s big and beautiful with a stirring soundtrack and enough laughs and romance to be called a rom-com but at its heart it’s an underdog film that finds the right balance of whimsical and sentiment.

STUDIO BLURB
Ben Stiller directs and stars in THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, James Thurber's classic story of a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job along with that of his co-worker (Kristen Wiig) are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. (c) Fox

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ★★★★ ½ stars

Opens in Australia: 26th December, 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
        All non-Hobbit fans you can skip this review; I know I will never convince you that this is a fun film series. And I know you don’t care how great this Lord of the Rings non-fan enjoyed this film or the first 2012 Hobbit film. This time around I was just like all the other fans eagerly awaiting numero due of the trilogy. I had my hairy feet and pointy ear geekdom fully switched on.
        And this is no disappointment.  In fact, it is even better than the first. We don’t have to sit through any dwarf sing-a-longs and longish treks across green hills and dales and craggy cliffs.  We know all the characters, although I will never be able to remember the names even under the threat of burning at the stake by dragon.  It doesn't matter though, you know the faces, you know they are going to end up in perilous danger over and over, you know that eventually they will arrive to face Smaug.
   Its rip-roaring, fire-breathing, barrel-rolling adventure from almost the opening scene until the cliff-hanger ending that left our audience gasping “No” as the screen went blank. Can you see this one without seeing the first? Yes, you can, but why would you?  Go Hobbit. Embrace your geekdom.

STUDIO BLURB
       The second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.(c) WB

Disney’s Frozen ★★★★  stars
(Disney Short: "Get a Horse" ★★★★★)

Opens in Australia: 26thth December, 2013
USA: 27thth November 2013
UK: 6th December 2013 
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
The Disney people want you to know, though the posters look very young’uns like, that this is a film for everyone. I wholeheartedly agree. This is a Disney musical in the true Disney style. It’s beautifully animated, has catchy, quality music, a magical story-line, and memorable characters. If you don’t laugh at Olaf (Josh Gad) the funny snowman, then you may have a frozen heart.
Anna (Kristen Bell) is the younger sister, full of life and naïve optimism, compared to her serious sister, Elsa (Edina Menzel), who is destined to become the Queen. But Elsa is charmed and not in a good way; everything she touches freezes (sort of like Carrie in reverse). So her parents hide her and her powers away, even from her sister.
When things go terribly wrong on Elsa’s coronation, Anna teams up with an unlikely ally, mountain-man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer Sven, to save Elsa and the kingdom. Along the way, they battle some serious adversaries including the weather.
Attached to this film is the usual Disney short. This one entitled Get a Horse will leave you gob-smacked; I could write a whole review on the brilliance of this alone. It’s worth the price of entry, but you will need to see it in 3D to appreciate the incredible visuals. It is a shoe-in to win best animated short at the 2014 Oscars.

STUDIO BLURB
Featuring the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, "Frozen" is the coolest comedy-adventure ever to hit the big screen. When a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, Anna, a fearless optimist, teams up with extreme mountain man Kristoff and his sidekick reindeer Sven on an epic journey to find Anna's sister Elsa, the Snow Queen, and put an end to her icy spell. Encountering mystical trolls, a funny snowman named Olaf, Everest-like extremes and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction. (c) Disney

Philomena ★★★★ 

Opens in Australia:      26th December, 2013
Other Countries:          Release Information
Perth, Australia:           See at Luna Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
      This film is well JudiDench. Yes, there is such a thing and it means it is awesome.  You can get the slogan "Denched" on a t-shirt, in fact.  Judy Dench stars in this true story of a poor Irish woman who has her son stolen from her by the catholic nuns and then sold to an American family.
      It makes you hopping mad watching the inhuman way, she and the other young single mothers are treated by the nuns. It's another reveal of the terrible goings on behind the closed doors of the church; just as was revealed in Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012).
      Steve Coogan who plays Martin Sixsmith, the BBC correspondent who helps her locate her son. is brilliant.  He is simply beyond talented in writing, producing, and acting in this.  He seems to be in everything lately. It is the year of the Coogan it seems.
This will be another awards favourite. It is so very Dench.
   
STUDIO BLURB
      Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, PHILOMENA focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee (Dench), mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock - something her Irish-Catholic community didn't have the highest opinion of - and given away for adoption in the United States. In following church doctrine, she was forced to sign a contract that wouldn't allow for any sort of inquiry into the son's whereabouts. After starting a family years later in England and, for the most part, moving on with her life, Lee meets Sixsmith (Coogan), a BBC reporter with whom she decides to discover her long-lost son. (c) Weinstein 
       Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, PHILOMENA focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee (Dench), mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock - something her Irish-Catholic community didn't have the highest opinion of - and given away for adoption in the United States. In following church doctrine, she was forced to sign a contract that wouldn't allow for any sort of inquiry into the son's whereabouts. After starting a family years later in England and, for the most part, moving on with her life, Lee meets Sixsmith (Coogan), a BBC reporter with whom she decides to discover her long-lost son. (c) Weinstein


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