Movie Review #0004 TOY STORY 4.
Can’t believe it’s almost 25 years since the original Toy Story movie blew all previous efforts around CGI out of the water. Clever universe, cool characters and awesome parodies built around the imaginations of children, their play and the toys they find interesting and amusing.
Can’t help but wonder whether those toy manufacturers which at the time chose not to license their products to the franchise might feel a bit like the guy who ‘lost Queen’ in Bohemian Rhapsody!
Anyway, this is the fourth is the series (obviously!) and probably the best since the original. Didn’t really enjoy #3 but #2 was good, introducing the concept of Woody being a collectible. The gang is back for numero quattro along with a few new faces to compliment the mix. Some of the regulars do suffer reduced screen time but this is probably better than trying to cram too much in.
It continues on from the end of #3 with the chums now under the ownership of cute lil Bonnie who has embarked upon a road trip with mom and dad. Of course, toys are lost and found along the way and it’s left to Woody and Buzz to save the day with host of antics and tricks to amuse and amaze.
Ending is a little twisty and while seemingly a wrap up to the series, there is just a sliver of an opening for a Toy Story 5 to add to the legend. And, this smart*ss, sorry, critic for one will welcome that.
Overall great for the kids, the big kids and the pretend grown ups with enough thrills and spills to entertain the real littlies as well. Good one Pixar, 8.5/10.
Movie Review #4974 THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS II.
Follow up to same name CGI fare from 2016 sees terrier Max and housemate Duke, last time’s antagonist now best of mates who head to the country with their humans, who also have an addition of their own.
Based like last time on a premise of pets up to no good while owners are at work, we have multiple story lines intersecting and finally converging with the pup’s return home. Some of the original characters are back along with a few new ones and amusing to see Han Solo turn up voicing a rough’n’raw farm pooch.
Nothing too original and I always thought the base premise was a bit flimsy but the script tries hard to amuse and there are a few lip smirking sequences, the farm turkey probably closest to a decent laugh. Still, this like the first is a kids movie (yes, this big kid was bored with nothing to do!) and the handful of munchkins present seemed to enjoy it.
Unlike some of these eg Toy Story, Incredibles etc it doesn’t really translate into an adult interest. Overall not as bad as some of the ilk and yes, a good one for the kids. 6.5/10.
Movie Review #1854 MIB INTERNATIONAL.
Fourth in the MIB franchise and the first not to feature Tommy Lee Jones and fresh prince Will Smith.
This time we’re off to London with probationary Agent M teaming up with local-hero-now-living-off-reputation Agent H, both under the auspices of one Liam Neeson otherwise known as Agent T. Appears a secret alien weapon could fall into the wrong hands and H & M need to retrieve it before it falls into even wronger hands.
Typical MIB antics unfold with the usual alien sidekicks and comic foils turning up although annoying talking pugs and stringy wisecracking extraterrestrials are thankfully limited to cameos only. We wrap up with more save-the-world heroics and you get the feeling this has all been done before. It has but, it is all surprisingly OK and probably the best MIB since the original.
Story while not quite so original has a few twists and turns and the CGI is as to be expected, quite good. In fact the only blot is Agent H, Aussie Chris Hemsworth. The original worked by playing off TommyLJ’s straight-laced Agent K with Will Smith’s zany Agent J. Hemsworth is about as zany as an untreated plank of 4x2 and Tessa Thompson’s M not so zany either but then she’s not supposed to be.
However countered by Neeson’s touch of class matched with that of Emma Thompson showing up as Agent O, we do get over it and end up nicely entertained then actually looking forward to the next one, which undoubtedly there will be.
Movie Review #8356 THE AFTERMATH.
Post-WWII drama set in Hamburg towards the end of 1945.
Keira Knightley is the wife of an aristocratic senior British army officer charged with keeping the peace in an environment where Nazis are still running round blowing people away. Being ruling class they’re assigned a stately home on the outskirts of the city, trouble is it is still occupied by its owner, a German architect along with his daughter & house servants. And so the fun starts with lotsa complicated relationships and interactions and with a dialogue and screenplay that is fully engaging and absorbing.
Awesome performance by Ms Knightley with a not-far-behind from unknown Flora Thiemann on German daughter duty. Much of the proceedings take place across a snowbound landscape which only adds to the bleakness of a defeated and destroyed city and its people.
Overall a brilliant essay on how trauma and tragedy can dent even the strongest of relationships leading to unexpected and disturbing emotions and behaviour yet going the way of what feels or seems best, is not always the most appropriate option.
Unpredictable and engaging around a time rarely covered in a war movie, for those who think and the best one in a while, 9/10
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since, I've been mesmerized by the giant screen, and the darkness that went on forever. Despite the infernally uncomfortable seats, (plus having to stand for God Save the Queen), I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism.