An energetic sense of the absurd helps make this animated romp entertaining, even though the script is almost painfully stupid. But the pace is so brisk, and the stream of deranged jokes so continual, that kids will find it hilarious and grown-ups won't be able to stop smiling. So who cares if the story makes no sense at all?
Our hero is a scrawny turkey named Reggie (voiced by Wilson), who's an outcast on his farm because he's both smart and naive. When he's accidentally pardoned by the US President on Thanksgiving, he's living the high life until the meathead turkey Jake (Harrelson) kidnaps him, ranting about a mission to travel back in time to stop the pilgrims from starting the Thanksgiving turkey tradition to begin with. Sure enough, they find a time machine and off they go to 1621, where they team up with a colony of native American turkeys led by Broadbeak (David) and his feisty daughter Jenny (Poehler). But they're also being pursued by a relentless human hunter (Meaney).
The screenwriters conveniently ignore the fact that more turkeys are eaten globally at Christmas than at America's Thanksgiving, but never mind. They also pack the script with a continuous stream of riotously warped gags, random movie references and crazed action sequences. Although even a 5-year-old will be confused that 17th century pilgrims are rendered more like 19th century cowboys. This continual sense of incoherence gets even more annoying later, when the plot abandons even its own tenuous sense of logic. But by then we have realised that it's pointless to resist.
Continue reading: Free Birds Review
'Free Birds' could follow 'Despicable Me 2' and 'Monster's University' as big animated movies in 2013.
The trailer for Free Birds, Jimmy Hayward's animated adventure movie, rolled out online this week. It stars Reggie the Thanksgiving turkey (Owen Wilson) who fails to convince his dumb feathered friends that they're being fattened up for the approaching festival feast, alienating himself from the group.
However, things begin to look up when he is rescued by the President and begins a new life of eating pizza at his cool new pad. When militant turkey Jake (Woody Harrelson) shows up, Reggie's new life of peace is put on the backburner in favour of a death-defying mission to go back in time and scratch out the traditional festive dinner from history. It sounds mental. It kind of is a bit mental, but it's sure to be plenty of fun for kids and families this Christmas.
Continue reading: Is 'Free Birds' The New Chicken Run? [Trailer]
'The Bible' sequel, written by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, will be called 'A.D. Beyond The Bible'. NBC will air the programme.
Mark Burnett's miniseries The Bible will have a sequel. A.D. Beyond The Bible will be set in the days following Jesus' death.
The Bible aired over Easter on the History Channel and attracted around 13.1 million viewers for its premiere. The finale on Easter Sunday attracted 11.7 million. It has gone on to become, on DVD, the top selling miniseries of all time, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Mark Burnett at The Kaleidoscope Ball, L.A. in April 2013.
Continue reading: 'The Bible' Sequel Confirmed: NBC Will Air 'A.D. Beyond The Bible'
Mad geniuses Tom Tykwer (Perfume) and the Wachowski siblings (The Matrix) boldly take on David Mitchell's layered epic novel, which connects six generations through the power of storytelling. The film takes so many huge risks that it's breathtaking to watch even when it stumbles. And as each tale is passed on to the next generation, the swirling themes get under the skin.
The six stories are interlinked in a variety of ways, transcending time to find common themes. On a ship in 1849, a seriously ill American lawyer (Sturgess) shows kindness to a stowaway ex-slave (Gyasi). In 1936 Edinburgh, a great composer (Broadbent) hires a musician (Whishaw) to transcribe his work, then tries to steal the young man's magnificent Cloud Atlas symphony. In 1973 San Francisco, a Latina journalist (Berry) gets a tip about dodgy goings on in a local nuclear power plant. In present-day London, a publisher (Broadbent) is trapped in a nursing home by his brother (Grant) and plots a daring escape. In 2144 Neo Soul, an official (D'Arcy) interrogates a replicant (Bae) who started a rebellion alongside a notorious rebel (Sturgess). And in a distant stone-age future, an island goatherd (Hanks) teams up with an off-worlder (Berry) when they're attacked by a warlord (Grant).
While the themes in this film are eerily involving, what makes this film unmissable is the way the entire cast turns up in each of the six story strands, changing age, race and gender along the way. Even so, they're essential variations on each other. Weaving is always a nemesis, whether he's a hitman, a demon or a nasty nurse. Hanks' characters are always strong-willed and often badly misguided. Grant goes against type to play sinister baddies. And D'Arcy is the only actor who plays the same character in two segments, as Whishaw's 1930s young lover and Berry's 1970s elderly informant. Meanwhile, each segment plays with a different genre: seafaring epic, twisted drama, political mystery, action comedy, sci-fi thriller and gritty adventure.
Continue reading: Cloud Atlas Review
In 1940s New Orleans, Tiana (voiced by Rose) has grown up with a dream to have her own jazz joint. But as a young black woman she has to work two jobs to make ends meet. One day the sinister Facilier (David) turns a visitor, Prince Naveen (Campos), into a frog as part of an elaborate plot to take over the city. But things don't go as expected Tiana reluctantly kisses the frog, and soon they're lost in the bayou with only a trumpet-playing gator (Wooley) and a lovelorn firefly (Cummings) to help them.
Continue reading: The Princess and the Frog Review
Mary (Bullock) is a socially inept crossword creator for a local newspaper in Sacramento, California, where she lives with her oddball parents (Hesseman and Grant). They set her up on a blind date with news cameraman Steve (Cooper), who quickly realises that she's a nutcase. But she follows him and his crew (reporter Church and producer Jeong) to from story to story across the Southwest, convinced that they're meant to be together. It all culminates at a collapsed mineshaft in Colorado.
Continue reading: All About Steve Review
Unfortunately, the film is a cacophonous mess without a single interesting character.
In the nearish future, roleplay game-maker Ken Castle (Hall) has made his fortune with two games that let people live vicariously through others: the sex-and-party Society and the war-and-destruction Slayers. The twist is that the gamers are controlling actual people due to nano technology implanted in the performers' brains. In Slayers, they're all death row inmates firing real bullets, and the global megastar performer is Kable (Butler), controlled by rich geek Simon (Lerman). But Kable longs to escape and find his wife (Valletta), and a renegade hacker (Bridges) sets his escape in motion.
Continue reading: Gamer Review
Like Alice in Wonderland reconfigured for David Lynch fans, this eerie-yet-elegant tale sets its sights on the blue-haired, oddly-named girl who gives the film its title. Voiced with energy and outre charm by Dakota Fanning, Coraline is the only child of a pair of Michigan-alum parents (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman) who write garden catalogues as their daughter explores the dire tundra outside their new home. Prompted by curiosity and ongoing rows over mom's bad casserole and drab taste in clothing, the parilous scamp ultimately unlocks a small door and finds herself in a world where the land outside glows like Christmas lights, her Other Father is a buoyant inventor, and her Other Mother (both voiced by the same players) always cooks a luxurious feast. The catch: Everyone, including the neighbors and their pets, has black buttons for eyes.
Continue reading: Coraline Review
When we first meet Durell (Ice Cube) and LeeJohn (Tracy Morgan), they have just been snagged by the cops for their involvement with some stolen, pimped-out wheelchairs. Sentenced to 5,000 hours of community service by a no-nonsense judge (Keith David), they soon find themselves picking up trash along the streets of Baltimore. When the gangster owners of the medical equipment come looking for payment, LeeJohn is suddenly $12,000 in the hole. Then Durell learns that his Baby Momma Omunique (Regina Hall) needs $17,000 to keep her beauty shop open, or she'll have to move to Atlanta -- and take the couple's son with them. Desperate for money, the guys stumble into the neighborhood church, where Pastor Mitchell (Chi McBride) and his snooty Deacon (Michael Beach) have just announced the successful raising of $300,000 for a new building project. So naturally, our heroes decide to rob the congregation.
Continue reading: First Sunday Review
At the start of the film, Riddick is being chased on a remote, frozen planet by some bounty hunters, whom he promptly dispatches and steals their ship to ride back to the planet of Helios Prime, where their employer was from. Once there, he finds out the bounty was put on him by one of Pitch Black's other survivors, Imam (Keith David, resplendent in flowing robes and a sharp goatee). Apparently, Imam and Aereon (Judi Dench), an ambassador from a ghost-like race called the Elementals, think that Riddick, being a member of the Furion race, will be able to help the galaxy fight off an onslaught of planet-destroying religious fanatics called Necromongers. The Necromongers are on a galactic jihad to bring about something called "the Underverse" and will convert or kill anybody in their path. But, before any of this can really be figured out, the Necromongers' gigantic armada crashes down on Helios Prime and things get really complicated. There's about ten minutes' worth of action that takes place later in a prison which, even now, after much contemplation, still makes absolutely no sense.
Continue reading: The Chronicles of Riddick Review