Category: Animation

Batman The Killing Joke

Summary: As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd July 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: 3rd August 2016

Country: USA

Director: Sam Liu

Screenwriter: Brian Azzarello, Bob Kane (characters), Bill Finger (characters), Jerry Robinson (characters), Brian Bolland (graphic novel), Alan Moore (graphic novel)

Cast: Kevin Conroy (Batman/Bruce Wayne (voice)), John DiMaggio (Francesco (voice)), Robin Atkin Downes (Detective Bullock (voice)), Brian George (Alfred (voice)), Mark Hamill (The Joker (voice)), JP Karliak (Reese (voice)), Andrew Kishino (Murray (voice)), Nolan North (Mitch (voice)), Maury Sterling (Paris (voice)), Tara Strong (Batgirl/Barbara Gordon (voice)), Anna Vocino (Jeannie (voice)), Rick D. Wasserman (Maroni (voice)), Ray Wise (Commissioner Gordon (voice)),

Runtime: 76 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Few movie/television franchises have evolved as much as Batman has over the years. For those of us older enough we grew up watching the campy Adam West led series that saw Batman’s violence limited to ‘POW’ and ‘KAPOW’ being placed on the screen as Batman almost playfully put down his enemies. For anyone that had never read the original Batman comics and graphic novels there was no hint at all at just how dark this series could be. Tim Burton touched on it with ‘Batman’ and ‘Batman Returns’ while Christopher Nolan fully embraced with his Batman trilogy. Now however comes what is possibly the darkest ‘Batman’ adaption to ever grace our screens – the animated cinematic event that is ‘Batman: The Killing Joke.’

Loosely based on the Brian Bolland/Alan Moore graphic novel of the same name ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ sees the successful duo of Batman/Bruce Wayne (voiced by Kevin Conroy – ‘The Office’) and Batgirl/Barbara Gordon (Tara Strong – ‘Ice Age’) pretty much keeping Gotham City crime free. But things sour when their relationship turns sexual and it seems to Barbara that Bruce still wants to treat her like a child. As she decides to quit the Batgirl role both her and her father, Commissioner Gordon (Ray Wise – ‘RoboCop’), are attacked by The Joker (Mark Hamill – ‘Star Wars’) who is determined to prove that anyone can break the way he did.

Anyone who is expecting that ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ is aimed at children because of the fact that it is animated is in for a very rude shock indeed. I say that because those have read the graphic novel know that the treatment that Barbara and Commissioner Gordon receives from The Joker is extremely violent and adult orientated and here director Sam Liu (‘Green Lantern: The Animated Series’) doesn’t hold back. And while Liu doesn’t tone things done ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ is far from the perfect film.

Liu and his screenwriter, Brian Azzarello (‘Batman: Gotham Knight’) actually do a pretty good job making this a Joker origins story and while they produce a great insight into how the Joker ended up the way he did and what he is capable of doing there are also weaknesses in the plot. The opening scenes which show Batgirl and Batman trying to bring down Paris Franz (Maury Sterling – ‘The A-Team’) are massively too long. As a film this should be a Joker origins story but having a whole early sub-plot of having Paris develop a crush on Batgirl before the Joker is even properly introduced makes the film feel clumsy and awkward as it suddenly switches from being a Batgirl movie to a Joker movie… not a great move when you know what the Joker does to her here. It’s also a weird thing to say about a film that only runs for 76 minutes but that added Batgirl story makes the film seem over-long.

Perhaps the worst crime though that ‘Batman: The Killing’ commits though is its rushed ending. Liu does a great job setting up what appears like it is going to be an epic battle between Batman and The Joker after Joker has tortured Commissioner Gordon in an old fairground. But alas the battle is never as epic as you expect it to be and the ending is just ever awkward as you see Batman and Joker laughing together… something you would never expect to see when you know what Joker has just done to Batgirl. Anyone that knows Batman would know that this would never be his response to such an act and it feels dangerously out of place here.

The darkness of ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ does ring out the best in its voice cast. Anyway who says that Mark Hamill has had a ‘nothing’ career since ‘Star Wars’ will be silenced by his eerie and manic portrayal of The Joker while Kevin Conroy is his typical smooth self voicing Batman. The other star here is Tara Strong who gets the benefit from the added Batgirl storyline and she reveals herself to be one voice artist who really knows how to get emotion out of her voice.

‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ does have its weaknesses but they are somewhat overcome by the fact that this is one of the darkest Batman stories that we have ever seen on the big screen. While it may be animated it certainly doesn’t lessen the impact of the darker scenes and the filmmakers behind it need to be congratulated for not toning it down. Well worth a look if you are a hardened Batman fan.

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Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):   Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating:  Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Batman: The Killing Joke reviews: Nil.

 

Trailer:

Kung Fu Panda 3

Summary: Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd March 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, China

Director: Alessandro Carloni, Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Screenwriter: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger

Cast: Jack Black (Po (voice)), Jackie Chan (Monkey (voice)), Radzi Chinyanganya (Mi (voice)), Bryan Cranston (Li (voice)), David Cross (Crane (voice)), Barbara Dirickson (Grandma Panda (voice)), Steele Gagnon (Bao (voice)), Willie Geist (Dim (voice)), Dustin Hoffman (Shifu (voice)), April Hong (Mrs. Chow (voice)),  James Hong (Mr. Ping (voice)), Kate Hudson (Mei Mei (voice)), Angelina Jolie (Tigress (voice)), Knox Jolie-Pitt (Ku Ku (voice)), Pax Jolie-Pitt (Yoo (voice)), Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (Shuai Shuai (voice)), Zahara Jolie-Pitt (Meng Meng (voice)), Randall Duk Kim (Oogway (voice)), Liam Knight (Lei Lei (voice)), Wayne Knight (Big Fun/Hom-Lee (voice)), Lucy Liu (Viper (voice)), Seth Rogen (Mantis (voice)), Al Roker (Sum (voice)), Lindsey Russell (Peony (voice)), J.K. Simmons (Kai (voice)), Fred Tatasciore (Master Bear (voice)), Ming Tsai (Ming (voice)), Jean-Claude Van Damme (Mast Croc (voice))

Runtime: 95 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR KUNG FU PANDA 3 REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

John Noonan:

Five years since he last skiddooed onto the scene, Po the Panda is back and this time, for fear of sounding like a movie poster, he’s bringing the whole family. Yes, a chance encounter at his adoptive father’s restaurant leads  Po (Jack Black) to meeting up with his long lost Dad, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston). Meanwhile, the vengeful spirit of a great warrior known as Kai (JK Simmons) has returned to the mortal realm and is seeking to steal Po’s chi.

This is the second sequel to DreamWorks’s 2008 hit and it’s amazing to see the difference between this and their previous flagship series, Shrek. By the time Shrek coughed and spluttered into his third sequel, the franchise was nothing more than weak storylines on which to pin dated pop culture references and Eel songs.

Conversely, Kung Fu Panda 3 allows Po and his pals to grow organically. Despite being declared Dragon Warrior in the previous film, there’s still much for the young panda to learn. Including it seems, that of how to be a panda. With his newly found father, Po ventures to their secret village in the hills to understand panda nature (tips include that they don’t do stairs and they don’t get up before midday) and potentially learn something that can defeat Kai.

Yes, this ‘just be yourself’ through line is a tried and tested formula, but it’s yet to feel derivate in the Panda universe. Po, despite his prowess, is a still a student. He has questions about his place in the universe that he hopes to answer. Meanwhile, there is only so many ways to you teach an ogre that’s okay to be an ogre, as long as you change yourself a bit.

Kung Fu Panda 3, as has become expected, is beautiful with traditional animation – admittedly done by computers – used for line drawn flashbacks. It’s a simple trick, but one that is used to great and emotional effect. Elsewhere the vocal talent is uniformly brilliant, with JK Simmons sounding like he’s channelling the angriest of angry John Goodmans, whilst James Hong steals every scene as Po’s adoptive father, Mr Ping; who doesn’t take kindly to others cutting his grass.

Rumours are that DreamWorks’s have at least another three chapters in the story of Po, and whilst that is a tempting offer, should they never surface, rest assured Kung Fu Panda 3 is a wonderful and joyous ending to a truly enjoyable series of films.

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Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Kung Fu Panda 3 reviews: Nil

Trailer:

Alvin & The Chipmunks Road Chip

Summary: Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) return and this time they have a huge problem. Not only has their ‘father’ Dave (Jason Lee) put a stop to them performing live, so they can be normal kids for awhile, but his relationship with Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) is going so well it looks like they are about to get engaged.

Now the Chipmunks are happy for Dave but are concerned that if he marries Samantha that wil mean that they that are now ‘brothers’ with a boy that seems to enjoy torturing them, Miles (Josh Green). When they learn that he isn’t too happy about being related to them either the four decide to embark on a road trip to Miami to prevent the engagement from happening.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Walt Becker

Screenwriter: Randi Mayem Singer, Adam Sztykiel, Janice Karman (characters), Ross Bagdasarian (characters)

Cast: Christina Applegate (Brittany (voice)), Jennifer Coolidge (Ms. Price), Kaley Cuoco (Elenaor (voice)), Anna Faris (Jeanette (voice)), Josh Green (Miles), Matthew Gray Gubler (Simon (voice)), Tony Hale (Agent Suggs), Ellie Knaus (Anna), Jason Lee (Dave), Justin Long (Alvin (voice)), Jesse McCartney (Theodore (voice)), Maxie McClintock (Alice), Joshua Mikel (Wyatt the Pizza Guy), Red Foo (himself), Eddie Steeples (Barry), Bella Thorne (Ashley Grey), Kimberley Williams-Paisley (Samantha)

Runtime: 92 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS:ROAD CHIP REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Well I guess it had to happen to one film and for most territories around the world it was Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip that went up against the might of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. When you actually think about it it’s not such a bad strategic move considering that most little kids who will want to see Alvin and co will have very little interest in going to see a film about intergalactic warfare. That leaves the big questions being… is this the kind of movie that will entertain or put my children to sleep?

Anyone who has sat through all four Alvin & The Chipmunks movies will tell you that this has been a franchise that has been all over the shop when it comes to quality. The first film surprisingly had meaning taking a huge swipe at the music industry and the way it treats young artists, but from then (like most of the franchises) these days it seems to have had more lows than highs. That is where you might be pleasantly surprised by Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip.

While the cast in front of the camera (and behind the microphone in some cases) haven’t changed this time around, the crew behind the scenes has. Known comedy director Walk Becker (who has previously brought us Van Wilder and Wild Hogs) steps up to the plate and is probably the reason behind a lot of the slapstick that surfaces this time around. Also new to the creative table are screenwriters who can boast films like Mrs Doubtfire and Due Date on their Resumes.

The new creative team behind the film takes this movie in a completely different direction to the last two films. Here the franchise once again finds its heart as the film explores the delicate subject of siblings being brought together as parents remarry etc. Surprisingly the film actually does that quite well, and while Miles is originally set-up as a brat you are supposed to hate the screenwriters do actually take his character on a journey that allows the audience to see how he ended up the way he did. It’s surprisingly moving.

Of course as you would expect from a movie aimed at the younger demographic there is also a lot of scenes that adults are going to find ‘silly.’ The battle scenes with Agent Suggs (Tony Hale) are over the top and too slapsticky for adults to really enjoy but you can guarantee younger kids will be in hysterics over them. Likewise the Red Foo scenes which are nauseating for anybody that has taste in music, but luckily the latter music scenes depicting the Chipmunks doing everything from playing in a redneck bar to rocking out with a brass band in New Orleans are a lot better.

As is normally the case with this franchise the actors are really overshadowed by the CGI chipmunks. Jason Lee seems to be cruise control, as is Kimberly Williams-Paisley. Tony Hale overacts constantly throughout the film, something that it is obvious he was asked to do by the creative team and for the most past it works. The biggest surprise though is the acting performance of Josh Green. The young inexperienced actor really shows that he may be an actor to watch in the future and he masterfully takes his character on a journey throughout this film. He manages to switch from comedy to moving emotionally scenes at a whim and he is one of the few actors who isn’t over-shadowed by his furry, cute co-stars.

Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip has enough crazy scenes and music sequences to keep younger kids happy while the older generations will warm to the more heartfelt moments throughout the film. Yes this film isn’t the car crash many expected it would be.
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Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip reviews: You can listen to our full Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip  on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #158. You can also read our full Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Blinky Bill The Movie

Summary: Blinky Bill (voiced by Ryan Kwanten) the mischievous koala is devastated when his father, Bill Koala (Richard Roxburgh) leaves their home town and goes exploring in the outback but hasn’t returned after twelve months. Despite promising his mother (Deborah Mailman) that he won’t Blinky heads off to look for him.

Soon Blinky is joined by an accidentally freed zoo koala named Nutsy (Robin McLeavy) and a crazy filled neck lizard called Jacko (David Wenham) as he battles the dangerous outside world in a bid to find his Dad. The journey is made even more dangerous by the fact that they are being pursued by a cranky cat (Rufus Sewell) who wants to make the koalas his dinner.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 17th September 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia, USA

Director: Deane Taylor, Noel Cleary, Alexs Stadermann, Alex Weight

Screenwriter: Not listed

Cast: Toni Collette (Beryl/Cheryl (voice)), Barry Humphries (Wombo (voice)), Ryan Kwanten (Blinky Bill (voice)), Deborah Mailman (Blinky’s Mum (voice)), Robin McLeavy (Nutsy (voice)), Barry Otto (Mayor Cranklepot (voice)), Richard Roxburgh (Bill Koala (voice)), Rufus Sewell (The Cat (voice)), David Wenham (Jacko (voice))

Runtime: 91 mins

Classification: G

 

OUR BLINKY BILL THE MOVIE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Blinky Bill is one of those children’s characters that never seems to go out of fashion. Created by author Dorothy Wall in 1933 generations of Australian children have grown up loving Blinky in the countless television shows, books and two movies that have told the larrikin koala’s stories over the years. Now in 2015 Blinky gets a resurgence and unlike so many other characters that have been re-invented for the kids over the years this is one character’s story that still holds up.

Aside from trying to make a character cool for the younger generation that has been around for over 80 years there are a few other hurdles that director Deane Taylor has had to overcome with Blinky Bill The Movie. First of all is trying to get kids who have grown up on the slick animation of Pixar to warm to a movie that uses some old fashioned style animation. The key it seems in this case was to come up with a story that transcends generations and here the filmmakers seem to have done that well. Not surprisingly when you consider that Taylor has worked on some legendary animation projects over the years including Popeye, Casper, The Flintstones, Pink Panther, Footrot Flats and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas the film does conjur up that simple old time animation story of a character on an adventure while being pursued by a character wanting to put an end to it – yes Sewell’s cat here is like the Will-E Coyote or Elmer Fudd characters of old.

Taylor brings a simplistic style to the film’s storytelling and it ends up working. To be honest there is nothing new here but for some reason the audience finds themselves barracking for the little koala and his friends and while some of the gags are a little childish there are some other humorous moments in there that are obviously designed to bring a smile to older audience members. Like the Ginger Meggs stories there are some things about Blinky that are a little questionable about whether today’s parents are okay with their children watching it but for the most part this is a fairly innocent film. Some serious issues around refugees and conservation does get a look in with the screenplay but just like Oddball this isn’t a film that you are going to walk out of and feel like you have been preached at with.

One of the obvious things about Blinky Bill The Movie is that this is a film that seems to be aimed at an international audience rather than just an Australian audience. The inclusion of big name actors like Toni Collette, Barry Humphries, Ryan Kwanten and Richard Roxburgh do give this film a lot of credibility while the inclusion of so many lovable forms of Australian wildlife could just give this film a life outside of Australia if it is marketed right.

Blinky Bill The Movie does nothing wrong. A simple story that has you barracking for the young koala as he outruns the villainous cat is very Looney Tunes like, while the script is smart enough to also include some touching moments about the relationship between a father and a son. Blinkey Bill The Movie is mainly for younger children but certainly won’t put an adult to sleep, it’s just innocent fun.

 

 

 

 

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Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Blinky Bill the Movie (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Blinky Bill The Movie reviews: Blinky Bill The Movie with be reviewed in an upcoming episode of The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show.

Trailer:

Tinker Bell And The Legend Of The NeverBeast

Summary: Tinker Bell’s (voiced by Mae Whitman) good friend Fawn (Ginnifer Goodwin) creates a stir when she brings a predator into Pixie Hollow to care for. The ‘Eagle incident’ soon sees her cop the wrath of Queen Clarion (Anjelica Huston) and the fairy in charge of security, Nyx (Rosario Dawson) which leaves the young fairy wondering whether or not her kind heart makes her act without using her brain.

She soon finds herself torn again however when she stumbles across the mysterious NeverBeast, a creature that she has never seen before. While she decides that she needs to study the creature it soon becomes apparent that the NeverBeast may not be a welcome creature in Pixie Hollow.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th March, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Steve Loter

Screenwriter: Steve Loter, Tom Rogers, Robert Schooley, Mark McCorkle, Kate Kondell

Cast: Pamela Adlon (Vidia (voice)), Chloe Bennet (Chase (voice)), Jeff Corwin (Buck (voice)), Rosario Dawson (Nyx (voice)), Ginnifer Goodwin (Fawn (voice)), Grey Griffin (Narrator), Danai Gurira (Fury (voice)), Megan Hilty (Rosetta (voice)), Olivia Holt (Morgan (voice)), Anjelica Huston (Queen Clarion (voice)), Thomas Lennon (Scribble (voice)), Lucy Lui (Silvermist (voice)), Raven-Symone (Iridessa (voice)), Kari Wahlgren (Robin (voice)), Mae Whitman (Tinker Bell (voice)),

Runtime: 76 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF  THE NEVERBEAST REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

While animated franchises like Ice Age and Madagascar have dominated the box office over the last decade or so Disney has also had a smaller franchise that has chugged along nicely and never really delivered a bad film. Sure the Tinker Bell franchise doesn’t exactly set box office records nor does it dominate headlines but then this is a series aimed at young girls who are too young to be going out and buying the latest video game or expensive electronics so it has really been a franchise that has been left to its own devices and enjoyed by its fans… and some film critics alike.

Sadly despite the fact that the Tinker Bell franchise has never had a weak spot it does look like the latest film, Tinker Bell And The Legend Of The NeverBeast, may be the finale as Disney is yet to commit to a seventh film. If that is the case than it will be a bit of shame seeing that fans of the star herself, Tinker Bell, might be a little miffed at why this Tinker Bell film doesn’t centre around the green fairy but instead centres around her friend, Fawn.

Despite that fact however it is hard to fault the film which was written and directed by Steve Loter (who strangely enough also worked on Kevin Smith’s Clerks animated series). Once again the film is entertaining from start to finish and while it doesn’t reach the heights that Tinker Bell And The Secret Of The Wings it still has enough charm to flow along nicely, and yes even contains an ending that may or may not bring a tear to the eyes of both adults and children alike. Like the other films in the franchise Tinker Bell And The Legend Of The NeverBeast is not afraid to take the young viewers on a journey that will see some well placed morals drilled into them as well. Topics such a stranger danger are there for all to see, while dig under the surface a little and you will also see the screenplay pushes across valuable lessons in preventing cruelty to animals and also not judging people (or creatures in this case) for looking a little bit different to the way you do as well.

Once again this film also manages to again bring a big name voice cast to the table as well. Mae Whitman reprises her role of Tinker Bell and franchise regulars Anjelica Houston, Raven-Simone and Lucy Liu. This time however we also see current ‘it’ girl Rosario Dawson take on the role of the tough Nyx while Once Upon A Time star Ginnifer Goodwin plays the sweet natured Fawn, revealing a natural talent as a voice actress.

If the Tinker Bell franchise is to come to a close with Tinker Bell And The Legend Of The Never Beast than it is a bit of a shame. While the film isn’t weak at all, the fact that it doesn’t centre around the main character of Tinker Bell will be a little sad for the fans of this amazing series. With suspense and emotion littered all through out the script this film once again shows one of this is one of the better franchises doing the rounds.

 

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Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Run All Night reviews: You can also read our Tinker Bell And The Legend Of The NeverBeast review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Penguins Of Madagascar

Summary: You’ve all come to know the cute but wise-cracking Penguins from the hit Madagascar franchise of films, but now is the time to learn a little more about them as they have their own film. The film shows how Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller) and Rico (Conrad Vernon) first come to ‘adopt’ the baby of the bunch, Private (Christopher Knights) and also shows how in their own minds they have become an ‘elite’ squadron… who can’t fly.

Things turn really nasty for the Penguins though when they decide it is time to leave their Madagascar buddies but soon find themselves being hunted by the evil Dave (John Malkovich), a shape shifting squid who has a serious vendetta against the flippered quartet. The Penguins seem even more in danger when they can’t bring themselves to work with an elite animal protection squad called The North Wind, led by the smart agent Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch).

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian DVD Release Date: 1st January, 2015

Country: USA

Director: Eric Darnell, Simon J. Smith

Screenwriter: John Aboud, Michael Colton, Eric Darnell (characters), Tom McGrath (characters), Brandon Sawyer, Alan J. Schoolcraft (story), Brent Simons (story)

Cast: Sean Charmatz (Cricket (voice)), Benedict Cumberbatch (Classifed (voice)), Werner Herzog (Documentary Filmmaker (voice)), Danny Jacobs (King Julien (voice)), Ken Jeong (Short Fuse (voice)), Christopher Knights (Private (voice)), Annet Mahndru (Eva (voice)), John Malkovich (Dave (voice)), Tom McGrath (Skipper (voice)), Chris Miller (Kowalski (voice)), Andy Richter (Mort (voice)), Peter Stormare (Coroporal (voice)), Conrad Vernon (Rico (voice))

Runtime: 92 mins

Classification: G

 

OUR PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg KingYou can check out Greg’s Penguins Of Madagascar review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #111

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David Griffiths:

Spin-offs from successful franchises often fall by the wayside. Anyone remember how spectacularly Joey failed after the demise of Friends, or seen your local store littered with DVDs in the bargain bin of characters such as Stitch or Pumba who have failed to reach the popularity that the franchise they were lifted from managed over time. Even Disney learnt that Planes couldn’t capitalise on the success of Cars before it.  Now the brains behind Madagascar try to do the same with Penguins From Madagascar and while the film is likely to put bums on seats it is highly unlikely that fans of the franchise will be as impressed as they have been previously.

Perhaps the biggest problem for this film is that it follows hot on the heels of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, a film that many fans say is the clear best in the series. Penguins Of Madagascar had a lot to live up to but sadly fails on most levels… a fault that sadly falls at the feet of the screenwriters.

First the screenwriting team have decided to bring out the tired old cliché of introducing a James Bond style character into the cartoon world. Here it is Classified the suave talking Brit (who happens to be a wolf) who is always able to save the day, except here he seems to fail on a number of levels. It’s as if the screenwriters have just chosen to ignore how many cartoons and animations have done this over the years, including Cars 2 which was released not all that long ago. Recycled plot lines are never a good idea in a movie.

Even Dave the ‘baddie’ seems to be a re-hash of the bad guys we have seen previously in much better films like Despicable Me or Planet 51. It almost seems like the writers decided that there was no need to actually come up with anything creative at all when developing the script, that the name Madagascar being in the title would be enough to ensure that this film would put bucks in the bank regardless.  In fact the only thing you could even say the screenwriters get remotely right is that they push the edict that everybody is important no matter how they look, which is a more than worthy life lesson for the kiddies watching.

Then there is the fact that many of the so called jokes written into the Penguins Of Madagascar script just end up becoming unfunny and going nowhere. The idea of throwing an actor’s name into the ring to get a laugh, eg ‘Let’s save Kevin’s Bacon’ gets tired really, really quickly and is never fully explained to why it is there… are the penguins closet cinephiles? We don’t know because we are never told anything that in depth about the characters.

Sure some of the chases and moments of supposed peril that the penguins find themselves in may be enough to impress the littlies that go along to see this film (and most likely pester their parents to buy them the toys from whatever fast food restaurant has them on offer) but this is hardly going to be a film that even kids are going to want to watch over and over and it is bland and predictable. And well if you are a parent who is being forced to go along and watch this with your tikes be prepared for a film that is likely to put you to sleep very, very quickly as it is nowhere near as exciting as the previous films in the Madagascar universe.

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Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2)

 

IMDB Rating: Penguins of Madagascar (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Penguins Of Madagascar reviews: You can hear our full Penguins Of Madagascar review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #111. You can also read our Penguins Of Madagascar review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Tarzan

Summary: Tarzan and Jane Porter face a mercenary army dispatched by the evil CEO of Greystoke Energies, a man who took over the company from Tarzan’s parents, after they died in a plane crash.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 11th September, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Germany

Director: Reinhard Klooss

Screenwriter: Reinhard Klooss, Jessica Postigo, Edgar Rice Burroughs

Cast: Brian Bloom (Miller (voice)), Lynn Robertson Bruce (Karla (voice)), Les Bubb (Jim Porter (voice)), Jeff Burrell (Derek’s Father (voice)), Robert Capron (Derek (voice)), Mark Deklin (John Greystroke (voice)), Cecily Fay (Teeka (voice)), Chris Fries (Chris (voice)), Craig Garner (Tarzan Aged 4 (voice)), Brian Huskey (Smith (voice)), Spencer Locke (Jane Porter (voice)), Paul Lowe (Young Terkoz (voice)), Kellan Lutz (Tarzan (voice)), Jamie Ray Newman (Alice (voice)), Edd Osmond (Young Taug (voice)), Jo Osmond (Young Teeka (voice)), Rebecca Reaney (Jane (voice)), Christian Serritello (Chris (voice)), Trevor St. John (William Clayton (voice)), Andy Wareham (Tublat (voice)), Anton Zeetterholm (Teenage Tarzan (voice))

Runtime: 94 mins

Classification: CTC

 

OUR TARZAN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Tarzan review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #96

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Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2)

 

IMDB Rating: Tarzan (2013) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Tarzan′: For our full Tarzan review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #96 .

Trailer:

Postman Pat The Movie

Summary: A veteran postman finds his beliefs challenged after he enters a TV talent show competition.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th August, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: UK, USA

Director: Mike Disa

Screenwriter: Annika Bluhm, Kim Fuller, Nicole Dubuc

Cast: Jim Broadbent (CEO (voice)), Jane Carr (Mrs. Goggins (voice)), Robin Atkin Downes (Simon Cowbell (voice)), Susan Duerden (Sara Clifton (voice)), Greg Ellis (Jimmy (voice)), Rupert Grint (Josh (voice)), Dan Hildebrand (Ted Glenn (voice)), Ronan Keating (Postman Pat (singing voice)), Stephen Mangan (Postman Pat), Parminder Nagra (Nisha Bains (voice)), T.J. Ramini (Ben Taylor (voice)), Enn Reitel (PC Selby/Reverend Timms (voice)), Darren Richardson (Alf (voice)), Julian Stone (various voices), Sandra Teles (Julian Clifton (voice)), David Tennant (Wilf (voice)), Peter Woodward (Carbunkle (voice))

Runtime: 87 mins

Classification: G

 

OUR POSTMAN PAT: THE MOVIE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Postman Pat:The Movie review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(2)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2)

 

IMDB Rating: Postman Pat: The Movie (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Postman Pat: The Movie′: For our full Postman Pat: The Movie review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #92.

Trailer:

 

Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy

Summary: When a misunderstood dust-keeper fairy named Zarina steals Pixie Hollow’s all-important Blue Pixie Dust, and flies away to join forces with the pirates of Skull Rock, Tinker Bell and her fairy friends must embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th June, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Peggy Holmes

Screenwriter: Jeffrey M. Howard, Kate Kondell, John Lasseter (story), Peggy Holmes (story), Robert Gannaway (story),  Lorna Cook (story), Craig Gerber (story)

Cast: Pamela Adlon (Vidia (voice)), Angela Bartys (Fawn (voice)), Jeff Bennett (Smee/Clank/Fairy Gary (voice)), Jim Cummings (Oppenheimer/Port (voice)), Grey DeLisle (MC Fairy/Gliss (voice)), Christina Hendricks (Zarina (voice)), Tom Hiddleston (James (voice)), Megan Hilty (Rosetta (voice)), Jane Horrocks (Fairy Mary (voice)), Anjelica Huston (Queen Clarion (voice)), Lucy Liu (Silvermist (voice)), Jesse McCartney (Terence (voice)), Rob Paulson (Bobble (voice)), Carlos Ponce (Bonito (voice)), Raven-Symone (Iridessa (voice)), Kevin Michael Richardson (Yang (voice)), Youlika Skafida (Fawn (voice)), Kari Wahlgren (Sweetpea/Sydney (voice)), Mae Whitman (Tinker Bell (voice)), Mark Wingert (Starboard (voice))

Runtime: 78 mins

Classification: G

 

OUR TINKER BELL AND THE PIRATE FAIRY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

While the whole cinema world has been flocking to the cinemas over recent years to see big franchises such as The Hunger Games and The Avengers one much smaller franchise has been chuffing along quite nicely producing enjoyable films while also managing to sell a lot of tickets and DVDs. That franchise has been Disney’s Tinker Bell franchise which is often overlooked by any cinema patron who doesn’t have small children… a shame because it has turned out to be a franchise that has produced some pretty good animated films and always seems to be able to bring an A-List guest to the table… or should that be microphone.

The latest film is the franchise is Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy a film which sees the much loved fairy Tinker Bell (voiced by Mae Whitman – American Dad, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) make a much anticipated return to Never Land where most Disney buffs would have first seen her, in the tale of Peter Pan.

The story starts in Pixie Hollow where an inquisitive young fairy by the name of Zarina (Christina Hendricks – Lost River, God’s Pocket) is making a name for herself by asking way too many questions about the science involved with Pixie Dust. When one of her scientific experiment goes horribly wrong and endangers the lives of everybody in Pixie Hollow she flees from her friends to begin a new life.

Years later as Tinker Bell and her friends Silvermist (Lucy Liu – The Man With The Iron Fists, TV’S Elementary), Iridessa (Raven-Symone – Pixie Hollow Bake Off, TV’S See Dad Run), Rosetta (Megan Hilty – Lucky Duck, TV’S It Could Be Worse) and Vidia (Pamela Adlon – TV’S Californication, Louie) prepare for the Pixie Games they are horrified when it comes under attack by Zarina who uses a potion to make everybody sleep while she steals the holy grail… the Blue Pixie Dust. Tinks and her friends set off after Zarina and learn that she has now become part of a crew of Pirates that also features Captain James Hook (Tom Hiddleston – Muppets Most Wanted, Thor: The Dark World) who plan on using the Blue Pixie Dust for criminal gain while putting all fairies at risk.

Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy is a film that deserves a lot more credit than it will ever get from most film buffs. Sure the animation isn’t as spectacular as what you will see in a big Pixar or Dreamworks animation but that is something that you don’t notice due to the good storyline and wonderful characters. In fact it almost feels like a bit of a journey itself being able to sit down and watch the same Disney animation style and characters that we all grew up with when we were children ourselves.

Directed by Peggy Holmes (Secret Of The Wings, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning) and put together by a long list of screenwriters Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy has the challenge of following up The Secret Of The Wings which too many fans of this franchise was the best film to date. Not to be outdone though The Pirate Fairy sees this franchise become a prequel to one of the greatest Disney films ever made Peter Pan. In a way that certainly can’t be described as disrespectful the film explores Tinker Bell’s first crossing of paths with the infamous Captain Hook who of course is one of the animated film world’s best loved villains.

Teh story works well and the decent script allows for Disney to produce the trustworthy formula that has always made their films work. Much loved characters being involved it storylines that will entertain the whole family while also throwing the odd song or two that is going to get stuck inside most audience’s member’s heads long after the credits have rolled. And unlike How To Train Your Dragon 2 the screenwriters here have managed to bring things such as sword fights without bordering into some violence that might scare younger audience members.

As has become the norm in this franchise the voice cast once again put in great performances. For the likes of Whitman, Liu, Hilty and Raven they have voiced these characters so many times that they now deliver performances so professional that they should now be considered some of the better voice actors going around. Once again some A-Listers come to this franchise as guest stars, this time Christina Hendricks voices the rough and ready Zarina while Tom Hiddleston (who most would know as Loki from The Avengers) seems to have a great deal of fun as he voices the legendary Captain Hook.

Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy once again shows that this is a franchise that can deliver quality animated entertainment. The well written script provides a story that is going to be enjoyed by children and parents alike while the fact that it serves as a prequel to Peter Pan means that this is one film that the Disney buffs out there are going to have to have in their collection. At the end of the day Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy is a surprisingly good film.

Stars(3.5)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  The Pirate Fairy (2014) on IMDb

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy′: For our full Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #85

Trailer:

Mr Peabody & Sherman

Summary: Using his invention the WABAC machine, Mr. Peabody and Sherman go back in time to experience world-changing events and interact with some of the greatest characters of all time.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 27th March, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Rob Minkoff

Screenwriter: Craig Wright, Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon, Michael McCullers, Jay Ward (series creator)

Cast: Jasper Johannes Andrews (Baby Sherman (voice)), Guillaume Aretos (Robespierre (voice)), Lake Bell (Mona Lisa (voice)), Leila Birch (WABAC Machine (voice)), Karan Brar (Mason (voice)), Mel Brooks (Albert Einstein (voice)), Ty Burell (Mr. Peabody (voice)), Zach Callison (King Tut (voice)), Max Charles (Sherman (voice)), Stephen Colbert (Paul Peterson (voice)),  Walt Dohrn (Spartacus/French Peasant/Taxi Driver (voice)), Lauri Fraser (Marie Antoniette/Egyptian Woman (voice)), Jess Harnell (Abraham Lincoln/George Washington/Bill Clinton/Isaac Newton/New York City Cop (voice)), Allison Janney (Ms. Grunion (voice)), Tom McGrath (Odysseus (voice)), Pautrice A. Musick (Teacher (voice)), Al Rodrigo (Ajax (voice)), Joshua Rush (Carl (voice)), Stephen Tobolowsky (Principal Purdy (voice)), Stanley Tucci (Leonardo da Vinci (voice)), Steve Valentine (Ay (voice)),  Patrick Warburton (Agamemnon (voice)), Ariel Winter (Penny Peterson (voice))

Runtime: 97 mins

Classification:PG

OUR MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

Greg King:

To see Greg’s Mr. Peabody & Sherman review please go to www.filmreviews.net.au.

Stars(3.5)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(3.5)

IMDB Rating:  Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Mr Peabody & Sherman reviews: For our full Mr Peabody & Sherman review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #73.

Trailer: