Saturday, December 7, 2013

Weekly Review Round Up 7th December 2013

THIS WEEK'S PREVIEWS

There are two school holiday films opening this week, and they are both approved worthy of your holiday entertainment budget, especially Ender’s Game.  There is also the very Slow Train to Lisbon that really should be missed. An awful journey! And the very sweet Delivery Man.

(My movie Pick of the week)

ENDER’S GAME ★★★★

Opens in Australia:               5th December, 2013
Other Countries:                    Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
This hasn’t fared well at the box office, and it’s probably lost a star at the review sites, not because of the movie, but because the author of the books which were released in the eighties has been misbehaving in the media. Homophobic author Orson Scott is a vocal opponent of gay marriage, writing that its codification would mean"the last shreds of meaning will be stripped away from marriage." The statements were condemned by the movie's distributor and star Harrison Ford. So, there was a call for a boycott of the film in the U.S., which actually worked.
However, it’s a shame because it’s a terrific film for young teenagers.  It’s intelligent, well created when it comes to the technology involved and the low-gravity sequences, and it has good messages within the story. In fact, the strongest message, ironically, is not to fear those who are different but embrace them for their uniqueness. Go figure that one.  The author should heed his own books.
My sons are eleven and thirteen, and thanks to my fairy-dust sprinkled career as a film critic I can take them to anything for free. Yet, there is so little that is good for that age group to which I do take them. The films are too violent, too loaded with sex, or too young. They are at a difficult film age. 
But Ender’s Game is perfect for them, and it is an enjoyable view for parents and also any science fiction film fans.  These school holidays do take your kids along to this—boycotting it does not make anyone in agreement with the rants of an ignorant person.  You won’t be disappointed. What I am disappointed about is that the author scuttled the film, which due to poor box office won’t now become a series, and that is cinema-goers loss.

STUDIO BLURB
          From director Gavin Hood (X:Men Origins: Wolverine) comes a visually stunning action-adventure event film based on the best-selling  book franchise. Asa Butterfield leads an all star cast as Ender, a young boy who has the responsibility to save Earth and mankind using his superior gaming skills.
           In the near future, a hostile alien race has attacked Earth. If not for the legendary heroics of International Fleet Commander, Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), all would have been lost. In preparation for the next attack, the highly esteemed Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) and the international military are recruiting and  training only the best young children to find the future Mazer (the military leader). Ender is a shy, but strategically brilliant boy who is pulled out of his school to join the elite and ordained by Graff as the military's next great hope. Under training by the great Mazer Rackham, himself, Ender and his friends embark on an adventure of a lifetime, working together in an epic battle that will determine the future of Earth and save the human race.


CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 ★★★ ½ stars

Opens in Australia:                5th December, 2013
Other Countries:                    Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
For some reason, I didn’t love the first Cloudy. Maybe all the food that I couldn’t eat annoyed me, or maybe I was suffering from animated film burnout. I vaguely remember there was a lot in 2009.
However, this one was fun and colourful and very enjoyable. The harsh critic children also enjoyed it tremendously.  Sony Pictures Animation is a solid film studio. They are not in the same league as Disney or Pixar, but they put out good, solid entertainment, if a little forgettable.
If you haven’t seen the first one, this one is still understandable. You may want to buy or rent the original thought to enjoy the backstory. This is approved as worthy, by harsh critics and me, for you to spend your school holiday budget on.

STUDIO BLURB
         Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 picks up where Sony Pictures Animation's hit comedy left off. Inventor Flint Lockwood's genius is finally being recognized as he's invited by his idol Chester V to join The Live Corp Company, where the best and brightest inventors in the world create technologies for the betterment of mankind. Chester's right-hand-gal - and one of his greatest inventions - is Barb (a highly evolved orangutan with a human brain, who is also devious, manipulative and likes to wear lipstick). It's always been Flint's dream to be recognized as a great inventor, but everything changes when he discovers that his most infamous machine (which turns water into food) is still operating and is now creating food-animal hybrids - "foodimals!" With the fate of humanity in his hands, Chester sends Flint and his friends on a dangerously delicious mission, battling hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, apple pie-thons, double bacon cheespiders and other food creatures to save the world again!

Night Train to Lisbon (only because the scenery was lovely)
Opens in Australia:                5th December, 2013 
Other Countries:                    Release Information
Perth, Australia:                   See at Luna Cinemas


THOUGHTS
Good grief what the hell where they thinking?  This is not a film, but a means for putting insomniacs to sleep.  It is dreadful. When I searched through reviews after enduring it to see what other reviewers thought (because my friend actually liked it), I saw the word “euro-pudding” used to describe it. If this is what you call euro-pudding, then I am sticking with Pavlova.
The character of Raimund (played ridiculously morosely by Jeremy Irons) laments that his wife left him because he was boring.  I don’t think I would have left him; I think the only fair thing to do would be to slip something in his tea and put him and the world out of its misery.  What if he had had children? Would they be called Borelings?
All I wanted to do was leave the cinema through most of it.  It has great actors, acting badly. Don’t get on this train. It’s going nowhere, and the great crime is that it's going nowhere very slowly, and arrives at the land of Euro Pudding—a place you don’t want to visit.
P.S.  Have a look at the poster.  Do they look like interesting people with whom you want to spend two hours?  I think not.

STUDIO BLURB
Raimund Gregorius, a Swiss professor of old languages, saves a Portuguese beauty from committing suicide when she is about to take a lethal leap. Right after this incident he comes across a book written by Portuguese author Amadeu do Prado. It is a novel about the resistance against the late Portuguese ruler António de Oliveira Salazar and he gets obsessed with it. He starts to dedicate his life to the study of the Portuguese history in general and Amadeu do Prado's oeuvre in particular.

Delivery Man
★★★ stars

Opens in Australia:                5th December, 2013
Other Countries:                    Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
This is the American version of a 2011 French Canadian film (Starbuck).  I sadly missed that film, so I can’t compare, but all the reviews say that it was far better than this direct copy.
Still, I enjoyed Delivery Man, and so did my family. It’s not outrageously funny and feels overly Hollywoodfied, but at least it is a different set-up to the normal boy meets girl and disaster strikes. Here, boy meets 142 of his children and must wade his way through that little number to win the heart of the girl.
It’s sweet, cute, and ultimately forgettable. But, sometimes, that is all you need.

STUDIO BLURB

From DreamWorks Pictures comes "Delivery Man", the story of affable underachiever David Wozniak, whose mundane life is turned upside down when he finds out that he fathered 533 children through sperm donations he made twenty years earlier. In debt to the mob, rejected by his pregnant girlfriend, things couldn't look worse for David when he is hit with a lawsuit from 142 of the 533 twenty-somethings who want to know the identity of the donor. As David struggles to decide whether or not he should reveal his true identity, he embarks on a journey that leads him to discover not only his true self but the father he could become as well. (c) Disney



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