Archive for 5 Star Rating

Fairview Entertainment, Moving Picture Company (MPC), Walt Disney Pictures,

Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken, Neel Sethi

Disney brings us the live action Jungle Book based on their animated film based on Rudyard Kipling’s books. Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is raised by a pack of wolves until he gains the unwanted attention of Shere Kahn, the fiercest Lion in the Jungle. The panther Bagheera who found him, tries to take him back to the man village, but the journey is plagued with danger and the eventual meeting with Shere Kahn.

This live action version of the classic Disney film is by far the most successful of the animated to live films that Disney has been trying lately. Mostly I suspect this is due to the quality of the writing and the original stories. There are many surprises in this film and many things that have led to it’s huge success. First is Jon Favreau who is an excellent director who has outdone himself here. Second is the intense world developed by the animators of this stunning look at the jungle created on Disney’s lot in Burbank. The lighting, shadow, and details down to every hair is absolutely breathtaking. Then there’s the tribute to the original, while still making this a grown up totally different experience for those like me who have seen the original over and over again. The characters are mostly the same, and the major story points are pretty similar, but it juts off at a couple places that really makes this experience new. Then there’s the music. How can we beat Louis Prima’s “I Wanna Be Like You” or Phil Harris’ “Bear Necessities”. Well they did use much of the same music, though not all, but in a completely new and modern style that will let you remember the tune and the gist of the story, but with many new words and different sounds that make it feel like a new song in many ways. Unlike the cartoon, the music isn’t the main feature, but a background reminder of what you’re watching in a whole new light. Then there is the really exciting and fun voices. Bill Murray as Baloo and Christopher Walken as King Louie is fabulous. But all the voice talent is top notch, that’s for sure. Finally, the performance of Neel Sethi as Mowgli. There are whole clips on YouTube about how he was selected, and this kid is as unexpected as the stars of Slumdog Millionaire when it arrived on the scene. All the buzz is about this fellow, and he was unbelievably good. This is a must see film, so don’t miss out. Catch this one right away while it’s still in the theater on the BIG screen….the BIGGER the BETTER!!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Color Force, Lionsgate, Studio Babelsberg,

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland

At the end of Part One, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) was back, but severely affected by this time in the capital where he was brainwashed. He jumped at Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and tried to strangle her leaving her in the hospital severely injured. But as we pick it up, she’s recovering and the rebel alliance is planning to bring all the districts together to take on the capitol and President Snow (Donald Sutherland). The want to leave Katniss out of it, but you know she’s going to do her own thing and sets off on her own secret mission to assassinate President Snow. This is a fight to the finish with a war designed to determine the outcome of a free democratic Panem once and for all. But the odds are not so good.

THis is a very fitting finish to this series of films, and it’s sad to see it end. Jennifer Lawrence has grown so much through these films and it opened so many new avenues for her. She deserves all the praise she gets. This is filled with so many big stars, but we don’t even notice as they are all so well familiar to us at this point. This is one hell of a story, and the production values are out of this world. This one, however, if filled with nitty-gritty down and dirty fighting less so much of the super glitzy special effects that the other ones had, but still the scenes of the capitol are very awesome. Some of the traps that the defenders of Panem have set are amazing to watch. There’s plenty of action, lots of excitement, and explosions galore! The only negative I could think of is that as it wraps up, there are a couple “surprises” thrown in that are so predictable, that probably any of us could have written the screenplay to wrap this up. But that’s okay, we still enjoy watching it. This is a must see film, and a superb ending to what is one of the classic series of all time. See it!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Lucasfilm, Bad Robot, Truenorth Productions,

Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow

It’s some time since the last part of the story, and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is missing, gone off to seek solace and to try to understand what has happened. The resistance is in hiding and trying to rebuild. Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is now a General in the resistance, and with the help of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca they set out to try to follow the trail of Luke to get his help. Darth Vadar is long gone, but a new dark lord Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) has risen to power and will do anything to stop them, and the empire has a new secret weapon that is well hidden and will make the death star look like a firecracker.

This long, long awaited sequel to Star Wars continues the story far into the future and is the seventh in the series. As everyone remembers parts 4,5,6 were first, then years later Lucas brought the warmth of Jar-Jar Binks to the world in the parts 1 – 2 – 3. I am not a Star Wars fanatic, nor do I hold the harsh view on parts 1, 2, and 3 that some people have. I find myself in the middle. I thought all 6 of the films were not all that bad, although I do nod to the originals and I do feel George Lucas went a bit overboard with the special effects in the prequels that left the meat of the story in the dust with all the sparklies and explosions. Now the world was waiting with baited breath to find out if Disney was going to be able to handle the pressure after purchasing the rights to the Star Wars franchise and their first attempt to finish the story with 3 more films. I think most people were hoping for the best, but secretly expecting Disney to screw up big time. Well, they did, in my opinion, a very good job of staying true to the original series, and though I thought a few things were a little strange in the first viewing, as time passed and with additional exposure to the new film, I’ve really come to the conclusion that they really nailed it. I am anxious for the next film and the one after that. This is a must see film, whether you’re a fan of the original films or not. This is a worthwhile story with lots of fun and action, but with lots of serious life issues as well. There is plenty to talk about after seeing this film, and it’s going to be another big part of the world’s culture for years and years to come.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Village Roadshow Pictures, Cott Productions, Enelmar Productions, A.I.E.,

Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, Jordi MollĂ 

Author Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) travels far to the home of Tom Nickerson (Ben Whishaw) who is a recluse, a drunkard, and a man who despises talking about things, but mostly not a word about The Essex. Melville is planning his new novel, Moby Dick, and is trying to find out the true story of a legend of The Essex, one of New England’s most famous whaling ships that was destroyed and the crew in lifeboats spending nearly 3 months trying to get back to the coast of South America. The official story was that it ran aground, but the legend persisted. Tom Nickerson was a young teenager on his first voyage and was the last living survivor of the Essex. The Nickersons are in deep financial trouble and Melville offers everything he has for the story. Tom begins the true story of what happened to the Essex and a confrontation with the monstrous white whale that destroyed the ship and caused a very horrible ordeal of shipwreck. Told in flashback we learn about unprepared Captain George Pollard (Benjamin Wlaker) who was on his first voyage due to his long lineage in the whaling families. Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) was born the son of a farmer, and has spent his life as a sailor who was promised the Captain position but was forced by the families to take the first mate role instead. It’s Owen’s experience and wisdom of the sea that saves the few survivors after a horrendous ordeal that only was survived by a handful of sailors including Tom Nickerson.

I do not know the factual story of Herman Melville’s visit to Tom Nickerson, but I have read “In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick which was published 15 years ago. This was a spectacular book. Basically, based on as much truth as possible, this book tells the true story of an amazing whale that took down one of the best fitted whaling ships of the time. The fact that Herman Melville used the true story of this disaster as the basis for his fantastic novel Moby Dick is true. This is an amazing story, and the trouble endured by the sailor set adrift in the middle of the Pacific where there are often no winds, 3000 miles from the coast of South America, is truly horrible. The sailors had to make some hard decisions to manage to survive at all, and this, back in the 19th Century (the Essex sunk in 1820) certainly was troubling to the religious tone of the day and caused a great deal of concern. Ron Howard and his usual gang produced this epic film, and though it had a smaller than expected week in the box office, everyone waiting for Star Wars next week certainly had an effect on the gross. I really hope the traffic will pick up as soon as the Star Wars circus is over, as this is a very, very well done film. This film is showing in 3-D and IMAX, but I watched it on a regular screen and it was very stunning. The cinematography was excellent, and it is an amazingly true story that is, in this case, better than fiction. I have always had the yearning for the life of a sailor as it looks very romantic, but after seeing the realism of what life was like on a whaling ship in 1820 I did not think this through. There are a number of scenes like the infamous Nantucket sleigh ride when the rowboats take off when a whale is harpooned and takes the men for quite a ride, the work of cutting up and boiling down a captured whale, and the horror on the little lifeboats that will haunt you for quite a while. These are stunning and extremely well filmed and full of detail. Chris Hemsworth does a spectacular job as Owen Chase, and all in all the script is fabulous, the actors are great, the presentation is about perfect, and it a whale of a tale. Do yourself a favor and see this one in the theater. This is a spectacular movie!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Twentieth Century Fox Animation, Blue Sky Studios, Feigco Entertainment,

Noah Schnapp, Hadley Belle Miller, Alexander Garfin, Mariel Sheets, Venus Schultheis, Rebecca Bloom, Noah Johnston, A.J. Tecce, Francesca Capaldi, Bill Melendez

Charlie Brown is back in this new 3D feature film with all the Peanuts gang. This goes back to the roots and the beginning of the peanuts gang and is about their adventures in school and out. A new neighbor moves in across the street from Chuck and Snoopy and it turns out to be a little red haired girl. Charlie Brown is smitten, and tries his best to impress her. but Charlie has nothing but bad luck. Snoopy, meanwhile, along with Woodstock and company and his new girlfriend set out to write the worlds greatest novel about his adventures fighting the evil Red Baron. This is a flash back to our youth that is brought to us with all the greatest new technology and techniques.

This is a stunning 3D film. All of the gang is there, and though they’re presented in a new way with 3D Pixar style computer generated characters, they never looked better. There were many adults in the audience, including me, that laughed out loud numerous times as the humor was really poignant and just really funny. We took my 7 year old grandson with us, and although he liked the movie, he told us it was a bit boring and too slow. Imagine this coming out of a 7 year old boy, but he knows what he likes. The problem for him, of course, is that it the nostalgia and the warm memories of Charlie and Snoopy that bring such pleasure to the older folks. The kiddies are aware of Snoopy and the gang, but don’t get the fuzzy warm memories that we have. When I was in college, the only comic strip our paper carried was Peanuts, and we literally ran to the newspaper stand to get our copy every morning turning to the last page first to check out what Charles Schultz had written for us. In those days the strips continued the story for weeks and weeks on end, and it was a pleasure to see them every morning. That’s why I think the adults may love this film way more than the kids. Just don’t be devastated if your kids don’t get as excited afterward as you do, as they are just too young to get it. Still, the story is very well told, and though it is slow developing, that’s the way Peanuts always was. For kids who are used to Iron Man and their doses of Saturday cartoons that are all action, they won’t get the relationship stuff that good kid friends have when there are no adults around. One elephant in the room. Prior to his death, Charles Schultz insisted that Charlie Brown die with him. Charlie Brown, after all, was Sparky Schultz, and he couldn’t bear for anyone, even his son, to create new stories without him. I don’t know what the agreement was, or how this was done, but one thing that stood out like a sore thumb was the title screen where it said, “by Schultz”. It seemed really odd, and though there wasn’t much original here, but more background of the original comic strip, I felt a little like maybe we were cheating on Charles Schultz, final wish by watching this. Then I realized that he is gone, and his estate belongs to his family, and it’s up to them how they honor his wishes. Perhaps it was only the daily comic strip that he wanted to stop, and I sure he would have loved this homage to his original characters. Whatever the case, I really loved it and was very glad to see it. This is a true G rated film, good for everyone, and very much worth seeing. If you get a chance to see it on the big screen with the reclining seats, in 3D, please do it. If you have fond memories of Peanuts at all, you’ll love this as much as I did.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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