Despite substandard animation, this brightly coloured sequel has a strong enough sense of both its story and characters to hold the audience's attention. And kids might not mind the quality, as they are re-introduced to classic characters in an all-new adventure based on the book Dorothy of Oz by Roger S Baum (great-grandson of L Frank).
It starts the morning after Dorothy (voiced by Lea Michele) gets back home to Kansas after her iconic adventure. Her panicky friends Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion (Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer and James Belushi) summon her back to Oz, where considerable time has passed while a crazed Jester (Martin Short) kidnaps good witch Glinda (Bernadette Peters) so he and his army of flying monkeys can launch their reign of terror. On her long journey back to Emerald City, Dorothy has a series of adventures with Wiser the owl (Oliver Platt), Marshal Mallow (Hugh Dancy), the China Princess (Megan Hilty) and the old tree Tugg (Patrick Stewart), who all help her take on the Jester.
Yes, the plot is rather simplistic (the Jester merely seems evil for evil's sake), but the real problem is that the animation is badly under-developed. Characters are painfully thin, with no gravity to them at all, which makes it impossible for them to properly interact visually. Fortunately there are some clever touches to the design work, such as the way everything in Oz looks battered and broken, which adds a badly needed dark edge to the otherwise sunny silliness.
Continue reading: Legends Of Oz: Dorothy's Return Review
Dorothy Gale is barely back in her Tornado-ravaged hometown in Kansas five minutes than she is whisked off over the rainbow back to the topsy-turvy land of Oz once more to rescue her friends, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Glinda, and the rest of Oz's innocent residents from a terrible peril. At the helm of this new evil is the Jester, more frightening than funny, who plans to turn the leaders of Oz into puppets controlled for his own nefarious means. Along the way Dorothy and her beloved dog Toto meets a string of new and unusual characters including Wiser the Owl, China Princess, Marshal Mallow and former tree Tugg the Tugboat, as she sets off on another exhilarating adventure to find her friends.
'Legends Of Oz: Dorothy's Return' is a new animated fantasy based on both L. Frank Baum's 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' and his great-grandson Roger Stanton Baum's sequel 'Dorothy of Oz'. It has been directed by Will Finn ('The Road to El Dorado') and Dan St. Pierre ('Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey') and written by Adam Balsam, Randi Barnes ('Imagination Movers') and Barry Glasser ('Skateboy') with a film score by Oscar nominated singer Bryan Adams. This enchanting family movie with hit the US on May 9th 2014.
When a successful British ghost-writer (McGregor) is hired to clean up the memoirs of former Prime Minister Adam Lang (Brosnan), he can't quite believe the large paycheque heading his way. He soon relocates to an isolated island home in America to work with Lang, his wife (Williams) and assistant (Cattrall), but it quickly becomes clear that something fishy's going on here.
And maybe the scandalous news reports, about Lang's approval of torture in the War on Terror, are missing the real story.
Continue reading: The Ghost [aka The Ghost Writer] Review
After he messes up an important training test, failed police dog Shoeshine (with the voice of actor Jason Lee) winds up in the lab of Dr. Simon Barsinister (a perfectly cast Peter Dinklage) and his dopey assistant Cad (a totally out of whack Patrick Warburton). A genetic engineering experiment goes haywire, turning our hound into a hero, and our scientist into a psychopath. On the run, Shoeshine winds up with young Jack Unger (the vacant Alex Neuberger). While he tries to hide his special talents -- especially his ability to talk -- Shoeshine relents, and quickly becomes pals with his new owner. As he settles in for a life of chasing his tail, scratches fleas, and fighting crime, Barsinister will not let such a supremely successful example of his research slip away. He plots to kidnap and capitalize on the newly named Underdog, destroying anyone who intends to stop him.
Continue reading: Underdog Review
For the movie's hero, Howard Langston (Schwarzenegger), his current situation is slightly less trying. A workaholic, Howard has become a lousy husband and father, missing a series of obligations and special events. His young son, Jamie (Jake Lloyd), takes Howard's absences especially hard.
Continue reading: Jingle All The Way Review
The Yamadas are your basic suburban family weathering the storms that most families deal with. Because their issues have such a commonality, nearly everyone, regardless of age, will find something to connect with -- and chuckle at -- in this charming feature just released on DVD here in the States.
Continue reading: My Neighbors The Yamadas Review
You will not find a worse movie in Walt Disney's animated canon than The Wild. At the very least, the hyperactive abomination helps us understand why the once-mighty studio shelled out $7.4 billion to acquire Pixar Animation Studios earlier this year. Pixar is a proven hit factory, an imagination emporium responsible for the lucrative Toy Story adventures and the Oscar-winning superhero smash The Incredibles. If The Wild represents all that remains in Disney's think tank, it's now painfully clear that the Mouse House needs Pixar like a table needs legs.
Wild is a high-impact cartoon, the kind that catapults its characters head first into rocks, trees, and other animal's rear ends every time we expect a joke but are met with silence. Like its immediate predecessor, Chicken Little, this meaningless cartoon assumes kids will roar their approval so long as things move extremely fast, crash with teeth-shattering force, and pass gas. Parents lose twice - they must pay hard-earned cash to enter and then endure 90 minutes of noise.
Continue reading: The Wild Review
In updating the Little Red Riding Hood legend, writer/directors Cory Edwards, Tony Leech, and Todd Edwards found a fairy tale with ample room left to explore. We all know what happened when Red (Anne Hathaway) trekked through the forest to visit her grandma (Glenn Close). The big, bad wolf (Patrick Warburton) waited patiently under the sheets, barely masking a nose to smell with, those ears to hear with, and a set of choppers with which to eat.
Continue reading: Hoodwinked Review
Okay, scratch that last bit. Salvador is actually a gripping docu-drama about the horrors of the revolution in that country in the mid-1980s. From raped nuns to the mass dumping of dead bodies, Stone's gaze is unflinching on the horrors that occurred, and Wood's Boyle is there to document it all, despite an utter lack of charisma, money, or morality.
Continue reading: Salvador Review