Monthly Archives: December 2012

5 STARS

The AvengersTHE AVENGERS

Monsier LazharMONSIEUR LAZHAR

ArgoARGO

A Royal AffairA ROYAL AFFAIR

BERNIE

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

TED

PAUL KELLY: STORIES OF ME

BRAVE

JACKPOT

4.5 STARS

ROBOT AND FRANK

 

Les MiserablesLES MISERABLES

 

SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD

THE SAPPHIRES

4 STARS

SightseersSIGHTSEERS Madagascar 3MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE’S MOST WANTED

FrankenweenieFRANKENWEENIE

 

IN DARKNESS

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER

3.5 STARS

Seven PsycopathsSEVEN PSYCHOPATHS Rise Of The GuardiansRISE OF THE GUARDIANSQuartetQUARTET

The HobbitTHE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

 

DEAD EUROPE

MOONRISE KINGDOM

THE BOURNE LEGACY

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE

THE CAMPAIGN

3 STARS

 LoreLORELove Is All You Need

 LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED

 

Celeste & Jesse ForeverCELESTE & JESSE FOREVER

 

Here Comes The BoomHERE COMES THE BOOM

 

SKYFALL

MAGIC MIKE

PITCH PERFECT

AND IF WE ALL LIVED TOGETHER

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2

YOU INSTEAD

ICE AGE 4: CONTINENTAL DRIFT

2.5 STARS

Hotel TransylvaniaHOTEL TRANYLVANIA

Paris ManhattanPARIS-MANHATTAN

Beasts Of The Southern WildBEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

STEP UP 4: MIAMI HEAT

THE EXPENDABLES 2

TOTAL RECALL

GOD BLESS AMERICA

2 STARS

Wreck-It RalphWRECK-IT RALPH

Parental GuidancePARENTAL GUIDANCE

HOPE SPRINGS

THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS

1.5 STARS

COSMOPOLIS

1 STAR

 

Fun SizeFUN SIZE

 

Les Miserables

Summary:Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, LES MISÉRABLES tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cossette, their lives change forever.

LES MISÉRABLES is the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved global stage sensation seen by more than 60million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the globe and still breaking box-office records everywhere in its 27th year.

In December 2012, the world’s longest-running musical brings its power to the big screen in The King’s Speech’s Academy Award-Winning director, Tom Hooper’s, sweeping and spectacular interpretation of Victor Hugo’s epic tale. the Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh production with international superstars and beloved songs – including “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More” and “On My Own” – LES MISÉRABLES, the show of shows, is now reborn as the cinematic musical experience of a lifetime.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United Kingdom

Director: Tom Hooper

Screenwriter: Alain Boublil (book), James Fenton, Victor Hugo (novel), Herbert Kretzmer (lyrics), Jean-Marc Natel, William Nicholson, Claude-Michel Schonberg (book)

Cast: Isabelle Allen (Young Cosette), Samantha Barks (Eponine), George Blagden (Grantaire), Julian Bleach (Clacquesous), Helena Bonham Carter (Madame Thenardier), Alastair Brammer (Prouvaire), Bertie Carvel (Bamatabois), Heather Chasen (Madame Magloire), Sacha Baron Cohen (Thenardier), Richard Cordery (Duc De Raguse), Russell Crowe (Javert), Killian Donnelly (Combeferre), Tim Downie (Brevet), Fra Fee (Courfeyrac), Georgie Glen (Madame Baptistine), Patrick Godfrey (Gillenormand), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Andrew Havill (Cochepaille), Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche), Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Stuart Neal (Lesgles), Adam Pearce (Brujon), Mark Pickering (Montparnasse), Ian Pirie (Babet), Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Michael Sarne (Father Mabeuf), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette), James Simmons (Champmathieu), Hugh Skinner (Joly), Stephen Tate (Fauchelevent), Aaron Tveit (Enjolras), Gabriel Vick (Feulilly), Natalya Angel Wallace (Young Eponine), John Warnaby (Majordomo), Colm Wilkinson (Bishop)

Runtime: 158 mins

Classification:M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Les Miserables’ Review: 

Like so many directors before him Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, The Damned United) finds himself at that point in his career when he has to find a project that will match the brilliance that he obtained with his previous project, in Hooper’s case the Oscar winning ‘The King’s Speech’.

Hooper surprised everybody by taking on the massive task of trying to pull off an all-singing (and I mean all-singing there is no single line of dialogue in this film) version of the much loved theatre show ‘Les Miserables’. Pull it off and Hooper would be considered one of the great filmmakers of this generation, fail and he’s at risk of becoming just another one-hit wonder director.

Luckily for Hooper ‘Les Miserables’ does enough to show that Hooper is a fine filmmaker. It has its faults but does okay them with ease.

For those that have never seen the stage show ‘Les Miserables’ is set in 19th-century France and sees a prisoner by the name of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman – Movie 43, Rise Of The Guardians) break parole and then re-emerge years later as a Mayor who cares about the people of his town. His caring nature is shown even more so when he promises a dying mother named Fantine (Anne Hathaway – The Dark Knight Rises, One Day) that he will look after her daughter, Cosette (Isabelle Allen – newcomer).

Valjean rescues Cosette from the devious Thenardier (Sacha Baron Cohen – Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, The Dictator) and Madame Thenardier (Helena Bonham Carter – Great Expectations, Dark Shadows) and then once disappears as a bid to escape the clutches of determined Police Officer Javert (Russell Crowe – Broken City, The Man With The Iron Fists).

Years later the pair surface again when Cosette (now played by Amanda Seyfried – Gone, The End Is Love) spots Marius Pontmercy (Eddie Redmayne – My Week with Marilyn, TV’S Birdsong) a young revolutionary that is determined to bring down the monarchy and is unaware of the fact that he is breaking the heart of his close friend, Eponine (Samantha Barks – TV’S Groove High). Marius and Cosette fall instantly in love and soon Valjean finds himself fighting alongside Marius and once again trying to avoid capture.

Early on it does seem like Hooper has failed to make ‘Les Miserables’ a great film. The film seems to chop and change between time periods with just a brief ‘eight or nine years later’ appearing on the screen. The result is that you never really find yourself warming to or caring for Jean Valijean in the way you are supposed to, but cinema lovers will soon see that Hooper had another card up his sleeve.

The card is the fact that the second half of ‘Les Miserables’ is absolutely faultless and the scenes around the barricades are some of the finest pieces of cinema that you will see this year. Early on the fact the film has every line sung sometimes stood out but in the second half of the film the music comes to the fore and ‘Les Miserables’ deserves to be called one of the finest musicals ever made.

When it comes to the acting there are a few surprises. Hugh Jackman is okay and while some of Russell Crowe’s voice, it does match that of his character very well, and at times Crowe portrays Javert so well that you find yourself liking him more than you like Valijean. Both Amanda Seyfried and Anne Hathaway’s roles in ‘Les Miserables’ are largely over-rated and they are both left far behind in the acting stakes by the relatively fresh Samantha Barks as well as Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter who steal every scene they are in.

If you are willing to endure a seriously lackluster first half then ‘Les Miserables’ will reward you with a second half that makes this one of the finest movies of 2012.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Les Miserables′: Check Episode #13 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Les Miserables’. You can also check out our other review on Helium

Rating: 4.5/5

IMDB Rating: Les Misérables (2012) on IMDb

Sightseers

Summary: Chris (Steve Oram) wants to show Tina (Alice Lowe) his world and he wants to do it his way – on a journey through this sceptred isle in his beloved Abbey Oxford Caravan. Tina’s led a sheltered life and there are things that Chris needs her to see – the Crich Tramway Museum, the Ribblehead Viaduct, the Keswick Pencil Museum and the rolling countryside that separates these wonders in his life. But it doesn’t take long for the dream to fade. Litterbugs, noisy teenagers and pre-booked caravan sites, not to mention Tina’s meddling mother, soon conspire to shatter Chris’s dreams and send him, and anyone who rubs him up the wrong way, over a very jagged edge.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: UK

Director: Ben Wheatley

Screenwriter: Amy Jump, Alice Lowe, Steve Oram

Cast: Jonathan Aris (Ian), Eileen Davies (Carol), Monica Dolan (Janice), Richard Glover (Martin), Kenneth Hadley (Richard), Aymen Hamdouchi (Chalid Sulinan), Stephanie Jacob (Joan), Alice Lowe (Tina), Seamus O’Neil (Mr. Grant), Lucy Russell (Lynne Marshall), Steve Oram (Chris), Gareth Tunley (Todd Marshall)

Runtime: 95 mins

Classification:MA15+

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Sightseers’ Review: 

In the past many filmmakers have tried their hardest to create the perfect horror/comedy. Through the years we’ve seen so many of those filmmakers fail miserably, of course the Brits showed us they could do earlier this year with the brilliant ‘Inbred’, and now they have done it again with a surprising Boxing Day release, the equally funny and horrific ‘Sightseers’.

Playing out like a twisted romantic-comedy ‘Sightseers’ sees the innocent Tina (Alice Lowe – TV’S Ruddy Hell! It’s Harry And Paul & Skins) having to live her life cooped up with her mother, Carol (Eileen Davis – The Holding, Pulse), and things seemed to have gotten worse as Carol has aged. Now she plays on the fact that she is getting frail as a way to keep Tina around the house. She now also has guilt on her side as a tragic accident, partly caused by Tina, resulted in the death of their beloved dog.

But things are about to get a shake up for Carol because Tina now has a boyfriend, strange but nice on the outside Chris (Steve Oram – Kill List, Curtains). Much to the horror of Carol Steve suggests a caravanning holiday to Tina so that he ‘can show her his world’. Finally free of her mother Tina thinks the holiday will be a lot of fun but she doesn’t plan on it turning as deadly as it does.

Director, Ben Wheatley (The ABCs Of Death, Kill List) has taken the script that stars Alice Lowe and Steve Oram have created and put together one of the funniest comedy-horrors you are ever likely to see. One moment the film will have you laughing out loud due to its outrageous black comedy and the next you’ll be laughingly guiltily as someone is bludgeoned to death as the wise quips just keep coming.

The key to ‘Sightseers’ working falls in the writing. So well set up are the characters of Tina and Chris that you can’t help instantly liking them and that doesn’t seem to change even when they are travelling across the British countryside killing any ‘wankers’ that Steve feel are worthy of meeting an early demise.

Aside from the writing it is the great comedic performances of Lowe and Oram that also make the characters so likable. Oram plays the lovable serial killer eerily well while Lowe announces herself as a genuine comedic genius.

It may be one of the smaller releases this Boxing Day but ‘Sightseers’ is also one of the most gruesome… and best.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Sightseers′: Check Episode #13 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Sightseers’. Dave’s other review of ‘Sightseers’ can be found on the Helium Entertainment Channel

Rating: 4/5

IMDB Rating: Sightseers (2012) on IMDb

Samsara

Summary: The team behind Baraka reunites for another journey around the world in Samsara, exploring themes of birth, life, death and rebirth through stunning visuals and music. ‘Samsara’ is a Tibetan word that means “the ever turning wheel of life,” and the film is an unparalleled sensory experience.

Baraka director Ron Fricke reunites with producer Mark Magidson to expand on their effort to portray the connections between humanity and nature in a bold way. Shot for over four years and across 26 countries, the film transports us through multiple cultures to sacred grounds, disaster sites, industrialized zones and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, the filmmakers subvert our expectations of a documentary. Instead, they encourage our own interpretations inspired by mesmerising visuals and musical compositions that infuse the ancient with the modern.

Through powerful, breathtaking images pristinely photographed in 70mm and a dynamic music score, Samsara shows how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet. The filmmakers give us privileged access to profound scenarios. For filmgoers who cherished the revelations of Baraka almost twenty years ago, Samsara proves to be worth the wait.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Ron Fricke

Screenwriter: Ron Fricke, Mark Magidson

Cast: Nil

Runtime: 98 mins

Classification:PG

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Samsara’ Review: 

You can hear Subculture Media’s review of ‘Samsara’ in episode #13 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast .

Rating: TBA

IMDB Rating:Samsara (2011) on IMDb

Quartet

Summary: Cecily (Pauline Collins), Reggie (Tom Courtenay) and Wilfred (Billy Connolly) are in a home for retired opera singers. Every year, on October 10, there is a concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday and they take part. Jean (Maggie Smith), who used to be married to Reggie, arrives at the home and disrupts their equilibrium. She still acts like a diva, but she refuses to sing. Still, the show must go on… and it does.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: UK

Director: Dustin Hoffman

Screenwriter: Ronald Harwood

Cast: Shola Adewusi (Sheryl), Colin Bradbury (Olly Fisher) Virginia Bradbury (Daisy), Michael Byrne (Frank White), Pauline Collins (Cissy Robson), Billy Connolly (Wilf Bond), Tom Courtenay (Reginald Paget), Sarah Crowden (Felicity Liddle), Alexander Duczmal (Marta), Ania Duczmal (Eva), Ronnie Fox (Nobby), Michael Gambon (Cedric Livingston),John Georgeiadis (Bill),  John Heley (Leo Cassell), Ita Herbert (Regina), Jack Honeyborne (Dave Trubeck), Ronnie Hughes (Tony Rose), Jumayn Hunter (Joey), Dame Gwyneth Jones (Anne Langley), Denis Khoroshko (Tadek), Patricia Loveland (Letitia Davis), Iona Mathieson (Young Violinist Iona), Isla Mathieson (Young Violinist Isla), Cynthia Morey (Lottie Yates), Luke Newberry (Simon), Kent Olesen (Lars), Trevor Peacock (George), Eline Powell (Angelique), John Rawnsley (Nigel), David Ryall (Harry), Andrew Sachs (Bobby Swanson), Graeme Scott (Fred), Maggie Smith (Jean Horton), Sheridan Smith (Dr. Lucy Cogan), Patricia Varley (Octavia), Melonie Waddingham (Marion Reed), Nuala Willis (Norma McIntyre)

Runtime: 98 mins

Classification:M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Quartet’ Review: 

‘Quartet’ is unashamedly aimed at an older audience, but that certainly shouldn’t put you off if you’re of the younger generation and enjoy a good film. Because age demographic aside ‘Quartet’ is an enjoyable film that is likely to provide a chuckle or two along the way.

Directed by legendary actor, Dustin Hoffman (who hasn’t directed a film since 1978’s Straight Time) Quartet’ finds three members of England’s once-most talented opera quartet living together in a retirement home for retired musicians under the charge of young doctor, Dr. Lucy Cogan (Sheridan Smith – Mr. Stink, TV’S Jonathan Creek).

The first member of the group is Reginald (Tom Courtenay – Gambit, The End Of An Era) who seems  so active and ‘with-it’ it would appear he has gone into the home too early. He is still extremely active and keeps his mind going by passing on his musical knowledge to young students. When asked why he went into the home he always says he is in there to be with his best friend, Wilf (Billy Connolly – Brave, TV’S House) who has lost the ability to censor himself after a stroke affected his brain. Rounding out the group is Cissy (Pauline Collins – Albert Nobbs, TV’S Mount Pleasant) who knows suffers from such severe dementia that she constantly needs to be reminded what she should be doing.

The trio’s world is turned upside down though when the new resident who moves in just happens to be Jean (Maggie Smith – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, TV’S Downtown Abby) – the missing member of their quartet. While Cissy and Wilf thinks it would be great to get Jean to rejoin their quartet so they can perform in a gala night being put together by the extremely bossy Cedric (Michael Gambon – Restless, TV’S Luck). It seems like a good idea however Jean seems like she is reluctant to ever perform again while poor Reginald is at a loss at what to do as Jean once broke his heart.

Hoffman brings together a wonderfully brilliant film that certainly captivates it’s audience, but that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t made a couple of mistakes along the well. On the surface the idea of having the central characters played by actors and the other residents in the home being played by some of the Europe’s finest opera performers and musicians seems like a great idea, however during the film the ‘others’ seem to get dangerously out-acted by what can only be described as an A-List of some of the United Kingdom’s finest actors.

No matter your age you will find yourself drawn to the characters of ‘Quartet’. It’s a heartfelt story and let’s be honest you don’t have to be in this film’s demographic to know what heart ache or the lack of self-worth feels like. Don’t take any notice of the advertising this really is a film that can be enjoyed by all age groups.

Of course as you would expect one of the standouts about ‘Quartet’ are the acting performances. As usual Maggie Smith is brilliant while Pauline Collins also does a fabulous job. But even they seem to be outdone by Michael Gambon who seems to embrace a slight comedic part while Billy Connolly leaves everybody in his wake and he gathers up laughs left, right and centre.

‘Quartet’ is a great little film that reminds us all that you don’t need a big budget, just a great script, to work as a cinema piece.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Quartet′: Check Episode #13 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Quartet’. Dave’s other review of ‘Quartet’ can be found on the Helium Entertainment Channel

Rating: 3.5/5

IMDB Rating: Quartet (2012) on IMDb

The Hobbit

Summary: THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY follows title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug.

Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever… Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities…

A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA/New Zealand

Director: Peter Jackson

Screenwriter: Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, J.R.R. Tolkien (novel), Fran Walsh

Cast: Richard Armitage (Thorin), Timothy Bartlett (Master Worrywort), Manu Bennett (Azog), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Jed Brophy (Nori), Adam Brown (Ori), John Callen (Oin), Benedict Cumberbatch (Necromancer), Martin Freeman (Bilbo), Mark Hadlow (Dori/Bert Troll), Peter Hambleton (Gloin/William Troll), Ian Holm (OLd Bilbo), Barry Humphries (Great Goblin), Stephan Hunter (Bombur), William Kircher (Bifur/Tom Troll), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Bret McKenzie (Lindir), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), Michael Mizrahi (Thrain), James Nesbitt (Bofur), Dean O’Gorman (Fili), Lee Pace (Thranduil), John Rawls (Yazneg), Thomas Robins (Young Thrain), Andy Serkis (Gollum), Conan Stevens (Bolg), Ken Stott (Balin), Jeffrey Thomas (Thror), Aidan Turner (Kili), Stephen Ure (Fumbal/Grinnah), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Elijah Wood (Frodo)

Runtime: 169 mins

Classification:M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Review: 

While ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ is one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year, it also has the potential of becoming one of the most frustrating films of the year. Many audience members will find themselves being blown away as director, Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones, King Kong) once again takes them on a journey into Tolkien’s Middle Earth world but sadly the film is also let down by the fact that Jackson has experimented with a new of film-making.

Closely following the original novel ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ begins with Old Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) writing down more of his adventures for Frodo (Elijah Wood – TV’S Wilifred & TRON: Uprising). This time around he tells a story that occurred sixty years before the events of the original ‘Lord Of The Rings’ trilogy.

This new adventure sees young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman – Animals, Pirates! The Band Of Misfits) selected by Gandalf (Ian McKellen – Miss In Her Teens, TV’S Doctor ho) to take up the part of ‘burglar’ in a group led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage – Captain America: The First Avenger, TV’S Strike Back) that has the mission to returning to a once grand Kingdom (now known as the Lonely Mountain) that belonged to the Dwarves and then to defeat a Smaug the Dragon that took control of it and the gold that it contains.

But when they begin their journey they soon realise that there is a dark rising in Middle Earth. While this means the group is constantly under threat by a group of Orcs led by the war-chief Azog (Manu Bennett – TV’S Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms & Spartacus: Blood And Sand), a meeting with a wizard known as Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy – The Academy: Special, Eldorado) also reveals that a new evil has emerged, an evil known as the Necromancer (Benedict Cumberbatch – Wreckers, War Horse).

And while not giving away any spoilers the journey also sees the group meet up with old favourites including Elrond (Hugo Weaving – Cloud Atlas, Happy Feet Two), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett – Hanna, The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg), Saruman (Christopher Lee – Dark Shadows, The Hunting Of The Snark) and Gollum (Andy Serkis – Arthur Christmas, The Adventures Of Tintin) while also introducing new characters including the Jabba The Hut like Great Goblin (voiced by Barry Humphries – Kath & Kimderella, Mary And Max).

To the credit of Peter Jackson and the team of screenwriters (which included Guillermo del Toro) that helped put together ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ the film’s story carries quite well. Yes there are some slow moments before the journey actually begins but they are necessary to set up the characterisation of those going on the adventure. Others may find the singing parts (especially the stacking of the cutlery) a little too Disney, but others will also see this as an important part of bring Tolkien’s world to life.

The story does provide a great deal of suspense as various members of the small troop have their lives put at risk on a number of occasions although if you are thinking about seeing the film in the 48FPS format you should probably reconsider. At times the picture is too crisp to be believable and this format of showing the film leads to an annoying optical illusion that at times makes it feel like it is being played in fast-forward. The format does although enhance some of the battle scenes and it is almost virtually impossible to tell what is CGI and what is real but then at other times ruins the film by clearly showing that some of the backdrops have been made from cardboard or polystyrene while the rabbit sleigh sequence looks so bad you could be excused for believing that you are watching a badly made 1980s music video clip.

If you want to see ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ looking at its absolute best go and see it in 2D or in standard 3D form because the 48FPS will only ruin an otherwise brilliant film for you.

When it comes to the casting Peter Jackson has hit the nail right on the head. Martin Freeman is likable as the younger Bilbo Baggins but to be honest you never feel as close to his character as you did with Frodo in ‘The Lord Of The Rings’, but the real star here is Richard Armitage who brilliantly portrays Thorin, so well in fact it is a truly memorable performance.

If you choose to see ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ in the right kind of format you are in for a truly magical experience, but be warned if you see it in the 48FPS format you may be in for a disappointing time.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey′: Check Episode #13 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’.

Rating: 3.5/5

IMDB Rating:The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) on IMDb

Wreck-It Ralph

Summary: Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) longs to be as beloved as his game’s perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer). Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy. But they do love heroes… so when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch), Ralph sees it as his ticket to heroism and happiness.

He sneaks into the game with a simple plan—win a medal—but soon wrecks everything, and accidently unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. Ralph’s only hope? Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), a young troublemaking “glitch” from a candy-coated cart racing game, might just be the one to teach Ralph what it means to be a Good Guy. But will he realize he is good enough to become a hero before it’s “Game Over” for the entire arcade?

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 25th December, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: 24th March, 2013

Country: USA

Director: Rich Moore

Screenwriter: Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee, Rich Moore, Jim Reardon

Cast: Skylar Astin (Roy (voice)), Adam Carolla (Wynnchel (voice)), Kevin Deters (Clyde (voice)), John DiMaggio (Bear Papa (voice)), Jamie Elman (Rancis Fluggerbutter (voice)), Jess Harnell (Don (voice)), Rachael Harris (Deanna (voice)), Dennis Haysbert (General Hologram), Kyle Hebert (Ryu (voice)), Martin Jarvis (Saitine (voice)), Mindy Kaling (Taffyta Muttonfudge (voice)), Maurice LaMarche (Root Beer Tapper (voice)), Rueben Langdon (Ken (voice)), Kate Lowes (Candlehead (voice)), Jane Lynch (Calhoun (voice)), Jack McBrayer (Felix (voice)), Edie McClurg (Mary (voice)), Tim Mertens (Brad (voice)), Rich Moore (Sour Bill/Zanigef ((voice)), Ed O’Neill (Mr. Litwak), Raymond S. Persi (Gene/Zombie ((voice)), John C. Reilly (Ralph (voice)), Gerald C. Rivers (M. Bison (voice)), Horatio Sanz (Duncan (voice)), Brandon Scott (Kohut (voice)), Stefanie Scott (Moppet Girl (voice)), Sarah Silverman (Vanellope (voice)), Roger Craig Smith (Sonic The Hedgehog (voice)), Josie Trinidad (Jubileena Bing Bing (voice)), Joe Lo Truglio (Markowski), Alan Tudyk (King Candy (voice)), Cymbre Walk (Crumbelina De Caramello (voice))

Runtime: 108 mins

Classification:PG

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ Review:

According to cinema experts in the good ol’ United States ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ is supposed to be a film that bridges the gap between those who love video games and those who love cinema… ridiculous if you ask me as I don’t believe such a gap actually exists, or if it ever did then it would have been bridged about the time films like ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’ first surfaced.

‘Wreck-It Ralph‘s’ central character is Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly – The Dictator, Tim And Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie), a character who through no fault of his own has become one of the gaming world’s bad guys. In the fictional game he calls home he destroys things and it is up to ‘the good guy’ Felix (Jack McBrayer – Movie 43, The Campaign) to fix it. But when the game celebrates its anniversary and the characters don’t invite Ralph he realizes how tired he is of being seen as the bad guy and decides things need to change.

When the characters decide that if Ralph wins a medal (something he can’t do in his own game) they’ll accept him into their homes and he immediately decides to game jump (a risky thing to do) in a bid to achieve his goal. He arrives in a first-person shooter game in a bid to get his medal but to the dismay of the aggressive Calhoun (Jane Lynch – Dino Time, TV’S Glee) he unleashes the game’s evil into other arcade games including a candy-coated go-kart racing game when he befriends a glitch by the name of Vanellope (Sarah Silverman – TV’S Bob’s Burgers & The Simpsons) who is an outcast in her world thanks to the evil King Candy (Alan Tudyk – TV’S Suburgatory & Robot Chicken).

When you first hear that ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ is going to celebrate video games of old you can’t help but feel a little excited, especially if you’re an old gamer at heart. But it really does seem that director, Rich Moore (TV’S Sit Down Shut Up & Drawn Together) only promises that as a way to tease audiences out there.

Yes ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ does contain so brief appearance from some characters from ‘Street Fighter’ and Sonic The Hedgehog pops up once but any references of games of old are quickly forgotten when the characters land in Vanellope’s game, a game so annoying that you can’t help but feel any serious gamer would give it a wide berth. The game is so crappy that you can’t even find yourself feeling for Vanellope, a problem considering that is something the filmmakers need you to do to make it work.

‘Wreck-It Ralph’ really falls in a hole. The references/appearance of the old-school characters are too minimal for old school gamers to love the film while you feel that modern gamers will be turned off by the ‘babyish’ game that Vanellope calls home.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Wreck-It Ralph′: Please check Dave’s review of ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ that is available on the Helium Entertainment Channel. Check Episode #13 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Wreck-It Ralph’.

Rating: 2/5

IMDB Rating:Wreck-It Ralph (2012) on IMDb

Parental Guidance

Summary: A married mom asks her parents to look after her three children when she needs to leave town for work.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 25th December, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Andy Fickman

Screenwriter: Lisa Addario, Joe Syracuse

Cast: Dwayne Boyd (Lowell), Bart Hansard (Joey), Kyle Harrison Breitkopf (Barker Simmons), Billy Crystal (Artie Decker), Joanna Daniel (Lauren), Jennifer Crystal Foley (Cassandra), Patricia French (Rose), Daniel Fridkin (Chet Halloran), Kendra Goehring (Doris Halloran), Rhoda Griffis (Dr. Scheever), Jan Harrelson (Babaloo),  Tony Hawk (himself), Gina Herron (Carol), Kathleen Hogan (Betsy), Brad James (Officer Chernin), Cade Jones (Ivan Halloran), Karan Kendrick (Lisa), Justin R. Kennedy (Brad Zolick), Joe Knezevich (Kent), Christine Lakin (Helen), Steve Levy (himself), Madison Lintz (Ashley), Bailee Madison (Harper Simmons), Marla Malcolm (Emma), Audrey McCroskey (Gwen), Bette Midler (Diane Decker), Mavrick Moreno (Cody), Tiffany Morgan (Amanda), Maia Moss-Fife (Samantha), Jade Nicolette (Lulu), Erin O’Connor (Clara), Nate Panning (Coach Bostick), Joshua Rush (Turner Simmons), Tom Everett Scott (Phil Simmons), Troy Michael Simeon (Parker), Ron Clinton Smith (Umpire Clark), Brooke Jaye Taylor (Lois), Jody Thompson (Aaron), Marisa Tomei (Alice Simmons), Matthew Warzel (Josh), Gedde Watanabe (Mr. Cheng), Hunter Weeks (Dino), Cody James Wright (Drayton Glass), Paul Luis Zimmerman (Nate)

Runtime: 105 mins

Classification:PG

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Parental Guidance’ Review: 

Take a look at the poster of ‘Parental Guidance’. Did I miss the time warp back to the 1980s? Am I supposed to pull out the happy pants and slap a happy-slapper on my arm? Maybe I’m wrong but ‘Parental Guidance’ seems to have surfaced a little too late (like thirty years too late) because with this cast, and these jokes it could have done awfully well back in 1985.

‘Parental Guidance’ sees Artie Decker (Billy Crystal – Small Apartments, Tooth Fairy) losing his beloved job as a baseball broadcaster. With his life in freefall his wife, Diane Decker (Bette Midler – Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore, The Women) feels the best medicine is to answer the call from help from their daughter, Alice Simmons (Marisa Tomei – The Ides Of March, Crazy Stupid Love) and her husband, Phil (Tom Everett Scott – Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups, TV’S Good Christian Bitches), who need to go to a work conference but have no-one that can stay at home and look after their children.

While it seems quite simple for some grandparents to look after their grandchildren the big problems are the fact that Artie and Diane rarely see Harper (Bailee Madison – TV”S Holliston & Once Upon A Time), Turner (Joshua Rush – Playing For Keeps, TV’S Teens Wanna Know) and Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf – TV’S Being Human & Against The Wall) and while Alice and Phil run their household using modern family techniques Artie and Diane are certainly part of the old school way of doing things.

While ‘Parental Guidance’ seems like it may come from the 1980s it suffers from the same problem that so many modern comedies seem to do these days, and that is the fact that it just isn’t funny. The film tries for laughs many times but each time it fails miserably and at the end of the day director, Andy Fickman (You Again, Race To Witch Mountain) has delivered yet another dog of a film.

At times ‘Parental Guidance’ does threaten to be an okay film. The idea of some old school parents clashing with the new generation’s parental skills seems like it should work but the film’s laughs just never come and the inclusion of people such as Tony Hawke really does leave you with a feeling that the writer’s never really left the 1980s.

As a sign at just how bad ‘Parental Guidance’ really is the lead actors are outacted by the kids all the way. Billy Crystal really shouldn’t have come out of retirement for this rubbish while Marisa Tomei and Bette Midler seem to have been instructed to ‘just look pretty and whatever you do don’t act’.

One of the unfunniest comedies you are ever likely to see, ‘Parental Guidance’ is not even worth a look.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Parental Guidance′: Check Episode #13 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Parental Guidance’. Dave’s other review of ‘Parental Guidance’ can be found on the Helium Entertainment Channel

Rating: 2/5

IMDB Rating: Parental Guidance (2012) on IMDb

Address: On the corner of Chapel Street and Dandenong Road, St Kilda.

Phone: (03) 9510 1414

Website: http://www.astortheatre.net.au/

Films Currently Screening at The Astor:

28th December – The Sting (1973)

29th December – Skyfall (2012)

30th December – The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

30th December – Frankenstein (1931)

30th December – Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

30th December – Out Of Africa (1985)

31st December – The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)