Month: September 2016

STORKS

89 minutes, Animated Family Comedy

Before STORKS officially begins, it has its work cut out for it with an annoyingly repetitive and largely unfunny comedic short film titled ‘The Master’, based on the Lego Ninjago series, preceding the feature length film. One strangely long short film and an overkill of advertisements later, it’s finally time to be introduced to the world of STORKS. There was a day these bird couriers were delivering babies, but they’ve moved along with the times and are now employed by a company run by a CEO named Hunter (voiced by Kelsey Grammer) who has his Stork employees now posting goods. When Junior (voiced by Andy Samberg), who is in line for a promotion, receives an order for a baby, he plans his adventure to safely deliver the infant human, without the knowledge of his boss.

 

Image result for storks movie australian release poster

Considering that STORKS is written & directed by the same guy who made other comedy feature films FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT and NEIGHBOURS, Nicholas Stoller doesn’t generate that same rate of laughter here in his first animated movie outing. Then again, the humour on offer is of a completely different variety to his previous MA15+ works. The adjustment can’t be easy! But nevertheless, this moderately enjoyable adventure provides mild levels of amusement for families. A couple of sub-plots thrown into the mix – one involving a human couple with an only child and the other another human companion to Junior – assist this mediocre, yet decent animated films quest in reaching the hour and a half mark with a pass mark. 

2.5 out of 5 

STORKS FILM TRAILER

Viewer Discretion
G – Some scenes may scare young children 

Moviedoc wishes to thank Jesse from Roadshow Films for the in-season pass to watch STORKS. 

Review by Moviedoc 
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BLAIR WITCH

89 minutes, Horror 

After its release in 1999, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT proved to be just as revolutionary as it was visionary in the horror movie realm. The found-footage fright-fest catapulted to fame courtesy of clever marketing and critical praise which led to it becoming one of the most successful independent films at the worldwide box office of all time. More importantly though, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was actually scary. Frightening, in fact! One dismal sequel and several years later, BLAIR WITCH (promoted under faux title THE WOODS) arrives on our big screens. A disposable quartet of characters led by James (James Allen McCune from TV’s “Shameless”) trek out to the demonic woods of Black Hills Forest, Maryland in search of James’s sister, Heather – the subject of the 1999 original!


Believe me when I state that the most frightening aspect of the new BLAIR WITCH movie, is just how bad it actually is! Hell-bent on finding the lamest ways of making you jump rather than generating a genuine scare, here is the lowdown as to where and how BLAIR WITCH claims top prize in becoming the worst film of 2016!

  • Ever have troubles remembering a character’s name throughout a movie? Won’t be an issue here. You’ll never forget James, Lisa, Ashley and Peter’s names, so incessantly and irritatingly screamed throughout, it fulfils almost the entire films dialogue
  • If you shut your eyes, it sounds like you are watching a movie depicting several victims trapped inside one heck of a powerful thunderstorm. As they try to escape, falling trees and repeatedly stepping on the branches can seemingly be heard. Yep, that constitutes your sound effects folks and BLAIR WITCH is relying very heavily on them
  • If you open your eyes, almost every move of the four friends is ineffectively and frustratingly captured by way of handheld shaky-cam (not something I have had an issue with in the past!)
  • BLAIR WITCH is a dumb movie, featuring dumb people who are doing dumb things
  • Those people have little to no characterisation, hence we couldn’t care less for them, but as it turns out, this ends up being the least of the films problems

This horror movie’s everlasting and insurmountable problems can be found in its screenplay, which recklessly conceives several implausible happenings. Some of those particular pieces present an opportunity for the BLAIR WITCH story to take a different route, yet all are bypassed in favour of the painfully repetitive and unoriginal path that ultimately lead to nowheresville. 

In need of a true thrill? The far superior and utterly impressive DON’T BREATHE is still in cinemas – check that out instead. 

0.5 out of 5 

Trailer
BLAIR WITCH

Viewer Discretion
MA15+ – Strong Supernatural Themes 
Warning – If you are squeamish when it comes to bodily injuries and/or if you are claustrophobic, please be advised that BLAIR WITCH contains scenes that may be distressing to watch. Also, bear in mind that shaky-cam filming style! 

Moviedoc wishes to thank Jesse from Roadshow, Roadshow Films and Village Cinemas Jam Factory for this invitation to the Media Screening of BLAIR WITCH. 

Review by Moviedoc 
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BRIDGET JONES’S BABY

122 minutes, Comedy/Romance

The character that arguably catapulted her to stardom fittingly resuscitates her career. Renee Zellweger is splendid as Bridget Jones in this third instalment of the franchise. Fans of the novels will probably know that this is actually an original screenplay written specifically for this film, with everything happening here taking place prior to the events in the third book of the series. And it’s been fabulously written by Helen Fielding (the author of the books and film screenplay writer), Dan Mazer (most famous for his work on Sacha Baron Cohen films) and acclaimed actress Emma Thompson, who also co-stars. Bridget Jones – still single, albeit now skinnier and in her 40’s. Oh, and pregnant! An old flame, Mark (Colin Firth) remains in the picture, however Hugh Grant’s Daniel Cleaver is a notable admission here. Instead, enter Patrick Dempsey (TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”) as Jack, the founder of a dating agency that may very well be Mr Right. But is he the Father of her baby?

 

Bridget Jones's Baby Poster

Those who cherished Bridget Jones first time around (and maybe even in the mediocre THE EDGE OF REASON) will be delighted to know that Bridget remains every bit as painfully awkward and wonderfully winsome as she always was. So too is the humour, which again has plenty of variety and is bound to strike up a laughter rate of high frequency. The BRIDGET JONES’S BABY screenplay does a fine job of ensuring a worthy contribution is made from each co-star of the film and from every scenario it creates, with Emma Thompson’s sharply comical performance a prime example. Directed by Sharon Maguire (who made the first film), BRIDGET JONES’S BABY marks this trilogy as the first ever to be directed solely by females. It may have been 12 years since we last saw Bridget Jones, but unlike the unmistakably overacted and overbearing company her Greek cousins provided in MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2, the writing and characterisation has returned with a winning combination of old charms and fresh wit. 
3.5 out of 5
Viewer Discretion 
M – Sexual References and Coarse Language
Some parents may wish to know that the sexual references includes partial nudity. 
Moviedoc wishes to thank Universal Pictures, Georgina from Universal Pictures and Village Cinemas Crown for the invitation to the Special Preview Screening of BRIDGET JONES’S BABY. 
Review by Moviedoc
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SULLY

95 minutes, Biography/Drama

When talking film directors, they don’t come much more reliable than Clint Eastwood (director of CHANGELING, GRAN TORINO and AMERICAN SNIPER). Particularly when presenting a true to life story.
When talking lead actors, they don’t come much more reliable and appealing than Tom Hanks. He too has worked on a number of incredible true stories (CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, CAST AWAY and SAVING MR BANKS to name a few).
When talking SULLY, an adaptation of the autobiography “Highest Duty” by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger – the celebrated pilot of that United States Airways flight that made an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River on January 15th of 2009 – the pairing of Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks surely means SULLY couldn’t be in better hands, right?

Sully Poster


Wrong!
To no fault of Tom Hanks whatsoever, it turns out that a 30 minute episode of Air Crash Investigations is more insightful and consistently structured than this truly disappointing bio film. An insightful opening that operates as a behind-the-scenes introspection of Sullenberger (Hanks) as he cooperates with the investigation into the emergency landing (or crash as investigators prefer to call it) and the toll that constant media attention & fame is having on “Sully” and his wife (played by Laura Linney), certainly offers viewers an alternative and valuable perspective from this event. But much of that value is lost when the screenplay goes quite off the radar by suddenly and unnecessarily diverting its attention toward Sullenberger’s youth and by adopting the wrong time to re-enact flight 1549’s frightening yet miraculous ordeal. Even more inexplicable is how this sequence is repeated later in the film, only this time where it heightens the drama, not hinders it. SULLY does climb in altitude by the end, placing its focus back to the themes explored at the start, though unfortunately these more absorbing plot points do remain underwritten in a film that promises much more than it delivers.

2.5 out of 5


Trailer 
SULLY
Viewer Discretion 
M – Mature Themes and Coarse Language
Moviedoc wishes to thank Village Roadshow Pictures, Jesse from Village Roadshow and Village Cinemas, Jam Factory for the invitation to the Melbourne Preview Screening of SULLY.
Review by Moviedoc
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CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

118 minutes, Comedy/Drama

 

First and foremost, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, which is a bloody fantastic film, is not another superhero character to be introduced by the Marvel or DC universe and any such assumptions made will quickly be corrected during the opening few minutes! In my opinion, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC can be described as an amalgamation of the sublime ROOM starring Brie Larson and the 2006 road movie LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, yet very much its own movie all the same. It was his own personal experiences as a parent that inspired award-winning writer & director Matt Ross (the Un Certain Regard Directing victor at Cannes in May) to bring this bold tale to fruition ever so powerfully. Viggo Mortensen is Ben, who is raising his six children in the forest of the Pacific Northwest. The children undergo strict training regimes which involves methodical physical activity and education of an outside world they’ve yet to see. When this family need to travel beyond their natural surrounds to New Mexico, will they be ready for the confronting journey that lies ahead?

Captain Fantastic Poster


Ross offers his audience the opportunity to challenge their own thinking and beliefs with an utterly thought-provoking screenplay which makes for a uniquely mesmerising cinematic experience that is equally uplifting and impressive. Though there is some heavy-lifting to be done by the highly unorthodox script, several stretches of some most intelligently-written dialogue and the cleverly extracted humour from the most unconventional of places, are just a couple of outstanding elements that make CAPTAIN FANTASTIC anything but heavy viewing. Moreover, it is the production work invested into this mighty project that further elevates the outstanding thematic material – a hypnotic and atmospheric score by composure Alex Somers and arresting cinematography from Stephane Fontaine, among the highlights. And finally, the performances. Has Viggo Mortensen ever been anything short of excellent? The one-time Oscar nominee (for 2007’s EASTERN PROMISES) will definitely have voters’ attention here – it is crucial this role be properly understood and accurately portrayed to achieve the films objective and Viggo is just perfect. His younger co-stars, all of whom are given a chance to demonstrate their talents in the spotlight and each of them truly excel. This is one very fine movie you must not miss in 2016. I loved it. 

 

4.5 out of 5 
Viewer Discretion 
M – Mature Themes, Coarse Language and Nudity
As further note, some viewers may find some scenes of animal harm distressing. 
Moviedoc wishes to thank Claire from Entertainment One, Entertainment One and The Backlot Studios for the invitation to the Media Screening of CAPTAIN FANTASTIC. 
Review by Moviedoc 
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THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS

87 minutes, Animated Family Comedy

Arriving in time for the September school holidays is this endearing family film which is accessible for all ages. A big hit in the US, where it has become the first film that is not a sequel or based on previously published material that’s earned over $100 million in its opening week, its success extends worldwide after becoming the highest grossing, non-Disney animated film in box office history. Success that is now guaranteed to be replicated in Australia. Max (voiced by Louis C.K) is a Jack Russell Terrier that’s loving his life being the sole companion to his owner, Katie (voiced by Ellie Kemper). When Katie returns home one day with a much larger, shaggy mongrel named Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet), the two canine’s compete for territory and Katie’s attention.

 

The Secret Life of Pets Poster


This undeniably cute and more than likeable family film first introduces a premise that adult viewers would eventually find tedious if occupying the entire film length. Fortunately, the writers behind THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (most of whom also penned the DESPICABLE ME films) are ostensibly onto this fact and take their all-ages crowd on a fun-filled journey beyond the New York City apartment it is set. It is throughout this off-the-leash odyssey that our canine companions meet the character that completely steals the limelight – Snowball, a bunny rabbit, dynamically voiced by Kevin Hart. This production is a very vibrant one that contains occasional referential humour and short & simple yet meaningful messages, which adult viewers will identify and appreciate. 

3 out of 5

 

Trailer 
Viewer Discretion 
G – Very mild sense of threat and some crude humour 
Moviedoc wishes to thank Universal Pictures and The Backlot Studios for the invitation to the Media Screening of THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS. 
Review by Moviedoc 
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MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE

99 minutes, Documentary

Last year, documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney’s GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF provided audiences with a comprehensive introduction and study into Scientology and its founder. By way of interviewing former members (some of which were very high-up the Scientology order) and sticking to astounding facts, GOING CLEAR was as mind-blowing as it was informative and educational. MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE follows well-known British-American journalist and documentarian Louis Theroux as he investigates what really goes on behind Scientology walls. Alongside Theroux is Marty Rathbun (one of many guests from Gibney’s film), a long-serving former member of The Church of Scientology who held a prominent position within the church hierarchy.

My Scientology Movie Poster

 

MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE, presented by Theroux, is a mixed bag of insight and entertainment into a world in which those on the outside often deem to be crazy and those who live inside are crazy about. Sporadically shifting gears as a work of light entertainment, being keenly informational and as a confrontational expose, it is often difficult to distinguish the objective of this documentary. A generous number of scenes from MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE involve re-enacting events that reportedly took place inside various Scientology locations. Whilst some of these scenes purport their purpose, an over-reliance on them ultimately becomes a distraction from the truly fascinating material we’re not quite being shown enough of. Structurally, this is unevenly produced and prone to causing some confusion too. Nevertheless, the drawcard to this documentary leaves it well-worth seeing – MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE is easily at its most exciting and interesting when Theroux is casually and politely, yet without intimidation, ruffling the feathers of Scientologist members. And to see what those Scientologists do once their feathers have been ruffled! My advice – use GOING CLEAR to better understand this religion and further educate yourself before witnessing the more confrontational MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE.

3 out of 5

 

Viewer Discretion 

M – Coarse Language

 

Moviedoc wishes to thank Madman Cinema, Sophie from Madman Cinema and the Cinema NOVA for the invitation to the media screening of MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE

 

Review by Moviedoc 

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