Category: Family/Kids

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.
Stars(3)

 

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:

Pan

Summary: 12-year-old Peter (Levi Miller) has always thought he was special despite what the nuns at the orphanage tell him. But he doesn’t realise how special he is until he is whisked away in the night and spirited away to Neverland where he is forced to work for Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) who dreams of ruling the mysterious land.

After a daring escape alongside Hook (Garret Headlund) and Sam Smiegel (Adeel Akhtar), and a chance meeting with Tigerlily (Rooney Mara), Peter learns that he is indeed special and soon sees why Blackbeard wants him dead.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th September 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, UK, Australia

Director: Joe Wright

Screenwriter: Jason Fuchs, J.M. Barrie (characters)

Cast: Nicholas Agnew (Pilot Primrose), Adeel Akhtar (Sam Smiegel), Orlando Loo Alfred (Yung), Tony Allen (himself), Gabriel Andreu (Matador), Nonsie Anozie (Bishop), Jozef Aoki (Ranger Pirate ‘Wings’), Jamie Beamish (Not-Dobkins), Neil Bell (Baggy), Brian Bovell (Long John Standing), Kathy Burke (Mother Barnabas), Jack Charles (Chief), Cara Delevingne (Mermaids), Kurt Egyiawan (Murray), Salo Gardner (Older Blackbeard), Garrett Hedlund (Hook), Paul Hunter (Daisy), Hugh Jackman (Blackbeard), Paul Kaye (Mutti Voosht), Amanda Lawrence (Sister Joseph), Jack Lowden (Dobkins), Lewis MacDougall (Nibs), Giacomo Mancini (Michelangelo), Rooney Mara (Tiger Lily), Phil Martin (Goliath), Ami Metcalf (Sister Thomas), Levi Miller (Peter Pan), Aaron Monaghan (Robbins), Tae-joo Na (Kawhu), Dean Nolah (Peanut), Michael Ryan (Silverman), Julian Seager (Livingston), Amanda Seyfried (Mary), Mike Shepherd (Fernley Trebilcock), Harry Lister Smith (Pilot Parker), Jimmy Vee (Lofty), Bronson Webb (Steps), Spencer Wilding (Growler), Leni Zieglmeier (Wendy Darling)

Runtime: 111 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR PAN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Pan was always going to be a film that came under a lot of scrutiny and was going to cop a fair whack of criticism. There are some Disney purists out there that believe once Disney has touched a story there is no need for anyone else to explore the story, and while I disagree with that I do agree with the fact that their have been some pretty dreadful movies over the years that have touched on both the Peter Pan and Captain Hook storylines. What I didn’t expect for Pan though was for it to become a film so alternative that some parents are arguing whether or not it is suitable for children to watch or not.

Now I’ll be honest helicopter parents who are too afraid to let their children play in dirt annoy me. They are normally the same kind of parents that will look for the slightest detail in a film that makes it ‘unwatchable’ for kids and then take to social media on a rant, or tell you why you liking the film is wrong! I’ll also admit that I grew up in the generation where films like Never Ending Story and all it’s magic, plus a healthy dose of monsters with chainsaws (I’m looking at you Gremlins) was considered okay for children to watch at the cinema. Having said that I do agree that Pan is not for very small children, but hey if you have older kids and teens then go nuts because the alternative feel to Pan is actually something a little bit refreshing.

Yes there are some problem scenes for small children, Blackbeard has no problem firing guns at children and natives alike while at the same time Tigerlily doesn’t mind getting a little stabby with some sharp objects but there is also a hell of a lot to like about this film as well. For starts director Joe Wright (known for Pride & Prejudice and Hanna to name a few) and screenwriter Jason Fuchs’ choice to include the songs of bands like Nirvana and The Ramones during some of their scenes came as a complete surprise while the aggression of characters like Blackbird seemed to make this feel seem a lot more ‘real’ then what your typical style of ‘slapstick violence’ would have.

Having declared that there were things about Pan that I loved I also have to admit that the film had its weak points. While the film moves along well it seems to lose a lot of its suspense once Peter, Sam and Hook are out in the wilds of Neverland and despite a relatively good flying Pirate ship chase and battle not even this scene seems to have captured the air of suspense that it deserves. It almost felt at times that Wright is the kind of director that can milk suspense out of a dramatic scene, like when Blackbeard first confronts Peter in the captain’s cabin, but is a little bit out of his depth when it comes to huge action sequences.

The same can also be said for the screenplay’s set up of characters. Peter and Blackbeard get wonderful set-ups which in turn allows Hugh Jackman to shine, but then there is the character of Hook, who any Peter Pan fan will tell you becomes a major character in the lead character’s life. Here Hook is a bit of a mystery, and strangely seems to be a nod as a tribute to Indiana Jones.

This also causes an inconsistency in the acting as well. Levi Miller announces himself as a little star with a brilliant performance in his debut lead role but even he is out acted by Hugh Jackman who relishes in the role of the ‘bad guy’ Blackbird. Jackman here puts in a performance here that we have wanted to see Johnny Depp deliver over the past few years. Jackman is completely transformed and unrecognisable and he genuinely becomes one of Hollywood’s meaner screen nasties. Sadly, the film’s poor reception means most cinema lovers will miss out on the performance.

Also stepping up here is Rooney Mara. Sure she doesn’t have anything near as dramatic to work with as she did when she did Girl With A Dragon Tattoo but she does has her moments as Tigerlily. The criticism she has copped for being a white actress playing a ‘native’ role is also ludicrous. If you look around the ‘tribe’ in Pan they seem to be made up of people of all skin colors, including an Australian Aboriginal playing the tribe’s leader, so seriously the complaints are just a few keyboard warriors with very little to do. Be warned if you’re a fan of Amanda Seyfried or Cara Delevingne just beware that their roles are very small indeed.

Pan certainly does not deserve the backlash that it has received as a film. Sure some of the action sequences do not reach the great heights that they should, but for the most part this is a well acted and alternatively fresh film aimed for teens.
Stars(3.5)

 

 

Greg King:

You can read Greg’s full Pan review on www.filmreviews.net.au

 

Stars(2)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:  Pan (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Pan reviews: You can listen to our full Pan  review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #147. You can also read our Pan 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.

 

 

 

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Stars(3)

 

 

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:

Oddball

Summary: Middle Island was once a flourishing penguin population but sadly over the years the numbers have dropped from a few thousand down to around ten due to the fact that foxes have worked out how to get to the Island. This has now caused problems for Emily Marsh (Sarah Snook), Jack Jones (Richard Davies) and Zoe (Tegan Higginbotham) who have been told they will lose their jobs if the Island is no longer considered a sanctuary.

As the nearby town of Warrnambool works hard at becoming a tourist destination by having the local council including Mayor Lake (Deborah Mailman) working with an advisor named Bradley Slater (Alan Tudyk) to come up with new tourism ideas. But when Bradley’s idea means the future of Middle Island is doomed a local chicken farmer named Swampy Marsh (Shane Jacobson) and his granddaughter, Olivia (Coco Jack Gillies) decides it is up to them and a mischievous dog called Oddball to come up with a way to fix everything.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 17th September 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Stuart McDonald

Screenwriter: Peter Ivan

Cast: Terry Camilleri (Judge Burns), Richard Davies (Jack Jones), Coco Jack Gillies (Olivia), Tegan Higginbotham (Zoe),  Shane Jacobson (Swampy), Dave Lawson (Sergeant Gosch), Deborah Mailman (Mayor Lake), Sarah Snook (Emily Marsh), Alan Tudyk (Bradley Slater), Frank Woodley (Dog Catcher)

Runtime: 95 mins

Classification: G

 

OUR ODDBALL REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

This has been the year when the Australian film industry has hit back with vengenance. Amongst the good drama films that have surfaced Aussie cult cinema has led the way around the world with films like Kill Me Three Times and Wrymwood making the charts in America while Mad Max: Fury Road seemed to thrill action film lovers as well. Of course one of the biggest Australian films over the past few years has been Red Dog – a family film that surprised everybody. Not surprisingly many Aussie filmmakers thought they had just discovered the best way to make people watch your film and that was to create a family friendly film about dog. Several projects fitting that description have fallen by the wayside but now Oddball manages to make its way to the big screen.

Yes I’ve made the clichéd comparison between Oddball and Red Dog so now let’s take a look at whether or not the film is actually any good. The answer to that question is a solid yes because director Stuart McDonald (who over recent years has worked on all of Chris Lilley’s projects) and screenwriter Peter Ivan have been brave enough to make Oddball a little bit different to the thousands of dog movies over the years. When the opening to Oddball boasts that this is a fairy tale they aren’t joking. Yes this is a true story that saw the people of Warrnambool embrace a Maremma dog but together these talented filmmakers have told the story in a fairy tale style which incorporates a smart script with a little bit of pantomime acting, especially from comedian Frank Woodley who plays the mean dog catcher. In the past this style of filmmaking has led to some pretty woeful Australian films, I’m looking at you Welcome To Woop Woop, but here it makes a refreshing difference and makes Oddball the kind of film that could be enjoyed by the whole family.

Ironically when watching Oddball the old fart joke and over the top dog chase does have a bit of a feel of a Paul Jennings story and sure enough a quick check of Peter Ivan’s bio shows that he was one of the writer’s on Two Twisted, a show based on Jenning’s work. Somehow this script manages to incorporate that kind of humor with a dramatic storyline revolving around how greed can impeach on nature and also explores the fractured relationship between father and daughter when it comes to things between Swampy and Emily. Yes Ivan and McDonald together have somehow created a film that will actually have you laughing one moment and tearing up the next.

The key to this film working as well as it does though is through it’s casting. Shane Jacobson does a great job in the lead role of Swampy. He made the character of Kenny famous all those years ago and while his comedic talent is held back a little here he now has also made Swampy a much loved Australian character. He is well supported by Alan Tudyk who plays the pushy American but the scenes here are stolen by Sarah Snook who once again shows why she is an Australian actress on the rise and young Coco Jack Gillies who here shows the world that she is a child actress with a huge future ahead of her.

Oddball is a genuine treat. It is a film that has a strong conservational message but doesn’t get bogged down in preaching to its audience. A great script that manages to mix humor and drama together well without becoming to adult for children is a rarity these days, but here it works well and allows it’s talented cast to really show there skills. Different but smart, cute but dramatic Oddball will surprise more than a few people who take the time to watch the film.

 

 

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Greg King:

You can read Greg’s full Oddball review on www.filmreviews.net.au

 

Stars(3)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Oddball (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Oddball reviews:Oddball 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.

 

Stars(3)

 

 

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:

Annie

Summary: In the remake of the classic musical Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) is a young orphan who lives with Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), a washed-up, alcoholic pop star who now lives off the money she earns for looking after a number of foster children… none of which she particularly likes.

Annie spends most of her time trying to keep out of Hannigan’s way and trying to piece together what happened to her parents who abandoned her at a restaurant years earlier. Things change for her however when a chance encounter occurs between her and wannabe-Mayor, mobile phone tycoon Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), his assistant Grace (Rose Byrne) and campaign manager Guy (Bobby Cannavale).

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 19th December, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Will Gluck

Screenwriter: Will Gluck, Aline Brosh McKenna, Thomas Meehan (play), Harold Gray (comic)

Cast: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Nash), Scarlett Benchley (Fish Goddess), Mike Birbiglia (Social Services Inspector), Brad Bong (Pickle Stevens), Rose Byrne (Grace), Bobby Cannavale (Guy), Zoe Margaret Colletti (Tessie), Cameron Diaz (Hannigan), Eden Duncan-Smith (Isabella), Andrew Fleming (Cleve Sweetzer), Michael J. Fox (himself), Jamie Foxx (Will Stacks), Ray Iannicelli (Waiter at Domani), Mila Kunis (Andrea Alvin), Stephanie Kurtzuba (Mrs. Kovacevic), Ashton Kutcher (Simon Goodspeed), Dorian Missick (Annie’s “Dad”), Jill Nicolini (Ms. Giannetti), Nicolette Pierini (Mia), Taylor Richardson (Red Haired Annie), Rihanna (Moon Goddess), Jessica Sherr (Mary Gillen), Pauline Simkin (Maria), Raushanah Simmons (YaYa L’Occitane), Temple University Diamond Marching Band (themselves), Tracie Thoms (Annie’s “Mom”), Amanda Troya (Pepper), Peter Van Wagner (Harold Gray), Quvenzhane Wallis (Annie), David Zayas (Lou)

Runtime: 118 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR ANNIE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg KingYou can check out Greg’s Annie review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(3)

 

David Griffiths:

The critics seemed to by baying for blood for Annie before the film had even been released. Many were tipping that it was the kind of film that was perfect for a Worst Films Of 2014 list and many even seemed to rejoice in the fact that the cast seemed to be ever revolving door as producer Will Smith tried to put the film together.

Then of course there was disaster for the film’s distributors Sony when Annie turned out to be one of the films that the hackers managed to steal from them and release online weeks before it was due to the cinemas. Yes it really did seem like it was going to be a hard-luck life for Annie, but luckily this has turned out to be a film that comes with a few surprises.

By the time Annie did reach the cinemas early there should have been more than enough warning signs to indicate that Annie might have a few things in its corner. First of all its director Will Gluck has good pedigree being the man responsible for the fairly well received comedies Easy A and Friends With Benefits. Add that to the fact that the cast contained the likes of Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne and Cameron Diaz and maybe it was time to start re-evaluating things.

Having said all that though Annie is the kind of film though that will divide audiences. Some will instantly dismiss it will others will be able to spot a certain quirkiness that makes Annie it an enjoyable, dumb-but-fun film.

Gluck it seems is the perfect man to be at the helm of Annie as he makes sure the film never takes itself too seriously, something that he sets-up from the get-go with an opening shot of a red haired Annie, showing he is only too aware of the original film. He then manages to keep the fun and games going while at the same time pointing out some very relevant facts such as how many black American students slip through the cracks when it comes to things like reading and writing. Gluck makes sure that the film is just the right amount of over-the-top, he allows Cameron Diaz to really go all out and also allows to Jamie Foxx to center himself in the middle ground between comedy and drama.

Even the early concerns that this was just going to be a rap/hip-hip version of Annie are put to rest with most of the original songs getting just the right amount of R&B flavour to make them new and interesting but not getting to the point where they are unrecognisable from the original. Bringing on board Sia to oversee a lot of the musical side of things was also a fair touch of genius from the people behind the scenes.

The one thing that will hit most people about Annie is how many actors use this film to showcase their many other talents. Rose Byrne has already shown the world she can do more than just drama with her comedic performances in films such as Bridesmaids and Bad Neighbors, here she shows she has another string on her bow by adding singing and dancing to her resume. Likewise Jamie Foxx capitalises on the fact that he already has a successful singing career behind him and manages to make himself a triple threat with music, comedy and drama.

Perhaps the biggest acting surprise in Annie though comes from pint-sized Quvenzhane Wallis who has already wowed audiences with her dramatic performances in Beasts Of The Southern Wild (which she scored an Academy Award nomination for) and 12 Years A Slave. Here Wallis also shows she is a worthy little singer and dancer and she quickly wins you over as she plays the sassy and intelligent Annie.

Annie isn’t exactly going to be the film that you are going to be raving about for years to come but it is fun enough that you won’t exactly be leaving the cinemas complaining about it either. It’s cute and funny, but never gets annoying, while it’s reworking of the story is just modern enough to make it work and create its own identity.

The real plus though are the acting performances. Everyone seems to be having fun and it shows on the screen, especially with Cameron Diaz who seems to love the fact that she is playing a role that completely allows her to lose control. Meanwhile the film even finds time to take a swipe at social issues such as modern politics and how the rich treat the poor making sure the film does have some substance as well. Also watch out for some smart cameos from Michael J. Fox, Sia, Rihanna, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis.

Stars(3)

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

 

IMDB Rating: Annie (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Annie reviews: For our full Annie review make sure you check out The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #110. You can also read our 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:

Alexander And The Horrible Terrible Bad No Good Day

Summary: Alexander’s day begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by more calamities. Though he finds little sympathy from his family and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him, his mom, dad, brother, and sister all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 4th December, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Miguel Arteta

Screenwriter: Rob Lieber, Judith Viorst (book)

Cast: Tara Brook (Receptionist Abby), Joey Capone (Jimmy), Steve Carell (Ben Cooper), Jennifer Coolidge (Ms. Suggs), Mekai Curits (Paul Dumphy), Alex Desert (Mr. Rogue), Kerris Dorsey (Emily Cooper), Eric Edelstein (Mr. Tonucci), Andrew Franklin (Captain Hook), Sidney Fullmer (Becky Gibson), Jesse Garcia (Dwayne), Jennifer Garner (Kelly Cooper), Donald Glover (Greg), Jonah Goldman (Actor John Darling), Burn Gorman (Mr. Brand), Ben Greene (Joaquin), Martha Hackett (Mrs. Gibson), Reese Hartwig (Elliot Gibson), Katelyn Hilario (Actor Wendy Darling), Joel Johnstone (Logan), Samantha Logan (Heather), Rizwan Manji (Mr. Cellars), Lincoln Melcher (Philip Parker), Dylan Minnette (Anthony Cooper), Mary Mouser (Audrey Gibson), Megan Mullally (Nina), Ed Oxenbould (Alexander Cooper), Alina Phelan (Sheila), Bella Thorne (Celia), Toni Trucks (Steph), Dick Van Dyke (himself), Elise Vargas (Baby Trevor), Zoey Vargas (Baby Trevor)

Runtime: 81 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg KingYou can check out Greg’s Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day review on www.filmreviews.net.au

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

 

IMDB Rating: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day reviews: For our full Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day review make sure you check out The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #108.

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

Stars(2)

 

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: