Thursday, 12 January 2017

Mini-Review: Cars 2

Cars 2 takes the route of making the plot half about a big race and half about an espionage plot involving, of all characters, Mater.  Perhaps making Mater the main focus of the movie wasn't the best choice but there are still a few good laughs hidden in the script, although the love story between Mater and secret agent Holley Shiftwell (Emily Motrimer) is far from believable (but hey you've already suspended your belief to the point of a romantic relationship between two cars isn't totally stupid...!).  Michael Caine has a lot of fun voicing top secret agent Finn McMissile, and many of the capers take off typical spy thriller tropes.

It's a mixed bag to be honest, I found it entertaining and good for a few laughs, but in truth it seemed to have little in common with the original Cars movie bar several characters appearing in both.  As you might expect with a spy thriller there are fights aplenty and explosions galore, and plentiful car chases (duh).  Some of the action might be a little intense for very young children.

Don't expect too much from this one but as a reasonably entertaining animated movie with a few sly laughs it's not bad, and it's almost worth it for Michael Caine's voice performance alone.

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Mini-Review: Cars

I've always struggled to understand why Cars is viewed by so many with less love than the other PIXAR greats - I've always found it a charming, fun and surprisingly emotional movie with plenty of laughs, visual thrills and a lot of heart.  I guess some couldn't identify as readily with automobiles having emotions, or just didn't take to the characters / story as much as I did.  

Lightning McQueen is a rookie hoping to win the coveted Piston Cup, but his journey to the final race of the season doesn't go as planned and his detour takes him to the sleepy town of Radiator Springs.  There he discovers that speed is not the only thing worth having...  Owen Wilson's voicing is perfect for the naive racing car, with able support from the likes of Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy and Michael Keaton among others.

Most didn't like it as much as I did it seems, but if you're willing to give it a go I think you'll enjoy it.

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Monday, 9 January 2017

Mini-Review: Megamind

I'd always wanted to see this one but never got round to it, happened to notice it was available on BBC iPlayer so managed to watch it with the kids.  Although your young ones will enjoy it, the majority of the humour comes from spoofing superhero movies, in particular Superman.  All of the usual superhero tropes are dealt with here and with a solid story and great characters to back it up, this animated movie is great fun.  The basic plot revolves around a supervillain and his great battles with a superhero - but when the villain (the eponymous and modestly named Megamind) actually wins outright, his life becomes strangely empty.  He comes up with a plan which his minion feels is doomed to failure, and life just becomes more and more complicated...

Featuring the voice talents of Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill and David Cross in the lead roles.  Thoroughly recommended.

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Monday, 2 January 2017

New Year = More Posts?

Well, I don't know... maybe.  No promises but I would certainly like to get back to keeping this blog at least semi regularly updated.  Since I have young kids I watch mostly animated movies, of which I have quite a few not yet reviewed, and have just ordered Happy Feet 1&2 and Cars 1&2 cheap off ebay.  Also picked up 2 movies I've wanted to see for ages, Gravity and School of Rock, at a local charity shop.  So... hopefully I'll be posting some reviews in 2017.

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Star Wars fan to giveaway priceless autograph book to benefit disability charity

(13 December 2016 – London, UK) - A film industry prop maker, who has spent eight months collecting the celebrity signatures of the cast and crew of the iconic Star Wars films, including Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and John Boyega, is to give it away for charity, with the proceeds going to the national disability charity Sense.   
Lifelong Star Wars fan, 43 year-old Neil Ellis, from Elstree, Hertfordshire, landed his dream job when he started work for Lucasfilm as a concept model maker and specialist in the costume FX department. His work on the new films, including last year’s ‘Episode VII’, and this year’s Rogue One, sparked the autograph idea, and he says he quickly decided that he wanted to do it to benefit people with sensory impairments, a specialist area for Sense.
Neil said: “It dawned on me that kids who are deafblind will never be able to appreciate all the things that make Star Wars so amazing. I know it’s the least of their worries, but it’s just another thing that they must miss out on. I’m working in such a creatively rich environment, I couldn’t imagine not being able to appreciate the visuals of movies and their soundtracks.”
The autograph book, which also includes Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker from the original series, and new series’ directors Gareth Edwards and Rian Johnson, is displayed in a spectacular ‘Millennium Falcon themed’ bronze-cast that Neil has designed himself.

Rather than auction the book off to the highest bidder, Neil has made the decision that every fan should have an equal chance to win it. The public are being invited to make a minimum donation of £5 to Sense through Neil’s fundraising page, with one lucky donor being selected at random by Neil to win the prize on May the Fourth: Star Wars Day (4 May 2017).
Neil says his friends and family have been supportive of the autograph hunt, despite it taking up so much of his time, but do question one thing – “They think it's great idea, but do keep asking why I didn't do two copies of the book, so I could keep one for myself!”

Sense Deputy Chief Executive, Richard Kramer, said: We’re incredibly grateful that Neil has chosen to support Sense. Not everyone will be lucky enough to win the prize, but they can be certain that the donations will go towards supporting people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs, to enjoy more independent lives.
We know that with the right support, people with complex needs can enjoy and experience many of the everyday things that we take for granted, such as going to the cinema. Accessible screenings, audio description dialogue that describes scene changes and subtitles can all help.  We also have some big fans of Star Wars across Sense, so this has created a real buzz around our organisation” 
To make a donation to Sense and be in with a chance of winning Neil’s autograph book, visit:

There are over 150 autographs in the book to date.  To see them all visit:

About Sense: 
Sense is a national charity that supports people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs, to enjoy more independent lives. Our expertise in supporting individuals with communication needs benefits people of all ages, as well as their families and carers. We provide information and advice, offer a wide range of flexible services and campaign passionately for the rights of the people we serve. 

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