Utterly charming, this silly prequel rewrites the origin story of the minions and sends them on a series of adventures that are gently anarchic and refreshingly low-key for an animated blockbuster. The film has an unusually gentle tone, with some real visual artistry to it rather than the cookie-cutter story structure and imagery in most summer movies. And while it's not riotously funny, children will be mesmerised and adults will be smiling.
It opens at the dawn of time, as minions evolve into yellow pill-shaped sidekicks who serve their evil masters throughout history. When they find themselves without a leader, they try to build a society in an arctic cave, but something just isn't right. So Kevin, Stuart and Bob (voiced in Esperanto-style gibberish by director Pierre Coffin) head off to 1968 New York to find a villain to work for. There they hear about ruthless baddie Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), so they head to Villain-Con in Orlando to meet her. She's impressed by their loyalty and takes them to London to work with her inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm) on a nefarious plan to steal the British crown from the Queen (Jennifer Saunders). But nothing goes quite as planned.
Since it's set in the 1960s, the filmmakers give the film a groovy vibe, with sun-drenched animation and hilariously colourful details in every scene. Adults are more likely to catch references to things like the Monkees, Hair or Bewitched, but kids will enjoy the general silliness, including lots of chances to sing along with the minions as they babble through classic tunes. Thankfully, directors Coffin and Kyle Balda resist temptation to use the standard animation formula, opting instead for a meandering pace, a less pushy moral message and action scenes that emerge from the plot, settings and characters. And the starry voice cast refreshingly disappears into the characters.
Continue reading: Minions Review
The book was great, the film not so much...
Like many films, The Book Thief is based on an internationally renown and bestselling book of the same name. Unfortunately, the cinematic adaptation hasn’t managed to translate the story in the same way its written opposite number did, and the critics are basically unanimous in their ‘nearly, but not quite’ deductions.
The Book Thief, starring Sophie Nelisse
The story sees young Liesel – a girl forced into adoption – find solace from the gruesome realities of the second world war by stealing books and sharing them with likeminded sufferers; leaning to read in the meantime.
Continue reading: Close, But No Cigar: Critics Agree That 'The Book Thief' Hits a Bum Note
While there's a strong story in here about the power of literature and the fragility of life, this movie takes a far too wistful approach, so it feels like a cheesy bedtime yarn rather than a look at horrors of Nazi Germany. As a result, it's difficult to feel the full force of either the wrenchingly emotional events or the provocative themes.
Set in 1938, the story opens as irreverent 12-year-old Leisel (Nelisse) is taken away from her mother, who is accused of being a communist. She's then adopted by the childless couple Hans and Rosa (Rush and Watson). But while the cheerful artist Hans makes her feel at home, Rosa is relentlessly harsh. Leisel also reluctantly befriends neighbour boy Rolf (Liersch) and embarks on a series of adventures, including stealing books from Nazi book-burning rallies. But the mayor's wife (Auer) doesn't mind Leisel stealing books from her library. And when Hans and Rosa take in a Jewish refugee boy (Schnetzer), he encourages Leisel to start writing her own stories.
Oddly, director Percival softens every dark element in Petroni's screenplay. The Nazis are like school playground bullies, while the Allied bombings leave buildings in rubble but dead bodies bizarrely intact and peaceful. Even the setting looks like a fairy tale, with magical snowdrifts and fanciful spires. And the strangest touch of all is the cheery voiceover narration by Death (Allam), which turns the most horrific atrocities into a kind of wry eventuality. Watching brutal murder presented as a sort of poetic justice is deeply disturbing.
Continue reading: The Book Thief Review
Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush - Celebrities attend 2014 G'DAY USA Los Angeles Black Tie Gala to honor Australians Geoffrey Rush, Jacki Weaver and chef Curtis Stone at JW Marriot at LA Live. - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 11th January 2014
Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush - 2014 G'DAY USA Los Angeles Black Tie Gala to honor Australians Geoffrey Rush, Jacki Weaver and chef Curtis Stone at JW Marriot at LA Live - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 11th January 2014
The three actors were honoured on Saturday night by the Academy for their varied careers
Angelina Jolie, Steve Martin and Angela Lansbury were honoured on Saturday, 16 November, night at the Academy’s Governors Awards, in a night where emotions ran high and the awards circuit got off to a start. Jolie was perhaps the biggest celebrity name on the awards sheet, but it was Martin and Lansbury who stole the show with their heartfelt gratitude towards being honoured by the Academy for a career in front of the camera.
Angelina Jolie was honoured for her humanitarian work
Jolie received the first standing ovation of the night though, picking up the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her continued, dedicated service to aid work across the globe. Attending the event with her hubby Brad Pitt and their son Maddox, Jolie accepted the award from George Lucas after being toasted in a video presentation featuring clips from her in the movies and in refuge camps and care-giving scenarios found across the globe. Receiving thank you's from four stars of her upcoming Bosnian war film In the Land of Blood and Honey, Gena Rowlands then toasted the star before she took to the stage, asking, “How does she have the time to do all this? She acts and directs, she has a large family… and she has to keep that smile on Brad’s face.”
The World War II drama 'The Book Thief' adapted from Markus Zusak's novel, hit theatres this Friday to a mixed reception.
'The Book Thief' is the latest Hollywood film adaptation to hit the big screen. The movie, which is based on the novel of the same name by Australian author Markus Zusak, was released this Friday and it depicts the harrowing time of Germany's Nazi-era. The World War II drama boasts an impressive cast which includes Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and two upcoming stars, Sophie Nélisse and Ben Schnetzer.
Geoffrey Rush and Sophie Nélisse in 'The Book Thief'
The story follows a young girl called Liesel Meminger (Nélisse) who is first introduced to the audience by sitting next to her bothers gave, who recently died. It is there she discovers a book left behind by the grave-diggers and hides it under her coat.
Finally, in just a few short months, the expert work of Markus Zusak will be seen on screen for the first time.
For those who have read and loved Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, the film trailer below has been a long time coming. Anyone who hasn’t gotten around to reading the book yet, deserves a stern look of disappointment, but also, here’s the brief summary to get you up to speed. The film takes place in Germany during the final years before WWII. Young Liesel Meminger is separated from her family, who are suspected of communist leanings, and she gets sent to live with Rosa and Hans Hubermann instead. The couple take her in as their own.
Watch the brand new trailer for The Book Thief below.
In London, Jack (Depp) is brought before George II (Griffiths) so he can help the Brits beat the Spanish to the Fountain of Youth. But after an elaborate escape, Jack ends up in the crew of the ship captained by the evil Blackbeard (McShane) and his daughter Angelica (Cruz), with whom Jack has a past. So now Blackbeard, the Spanish and the British, led by Jack's old nemesis/pal Barbossa (Rush), are racing to the Caribbean to find the secret of immortality. And their first task is to capture a mermaid.
Continue reading: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Review
Momentous historical events add a remarkable kick to this fascinating personal drama, which is based on journal entries and firsthand accounts. besides being hugely entertaining, the film also gives Colin Firth yet another meaty role to dive into.
In 1925, Bertie (Firth), the Duke of York, is paralysed with fear when required to speak in public. After unsuccessful treatment for his stammer, his wife Elizabeth (Bonham Carter) locates unorthodox speech therapist Lionel Logue (Rush), an Australian who insists on familiarity even with the royals. But as Bertie begins to make progress, his life takes a dramatic turn when his brother Edward VIII (Pearce) abdicates the throne, leaving Bertie in place as George VI just as war breaks out with Germany. Now the nation really needs to hear his voice.
The sharp, often very witty script has the ring of truth to it, refusing to overplay big events or to create some miracle cinematic cure that sees Bertie rising to inspiring orator status. Even though it's still extremely crowd-pleasing, it's a much more complex story centring on the man behind the stutter, exploring the intimate, difficult journey Bertie must have taken before he was so suddenly thrust into the limelight.
As with last year's A Single Man, Firth invests the role with layered subtext that gives Bertie a fully fledged inner life far beyond the astute screenplay.
It's a beautiful performance that tells us as much with a quiet sigh as it does with a razor-sharp line of dialog. His banter with the excellent Rush is also full of substance, while Bonham Carter not only uncannily captures the Queen Mother's physical presence but also the strength of the woman who, together with her husband, would so bravely lead Britain through the Blitz.
Visually, the film transcends the usual costume-drama approach, with expert direction from Hooper that beautifully plays with perspectives and textures.
Also notable is the way the camera quietly captures expansive backdrops that continually remind us (and Bertie) that there's a whole nation out there waiting for his next word. And along the way, we strongly identify with Bertie, which makes his journey takes both stirring and thrillingly inspiring.