Super 8 (2011)

Director: J.J. Abrams

Writer: J.J. Abrams

Starring: Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, Zach Mills, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Noah Emmerich


Story When six friends Joe (Courtney), Charles (Griffiths), Cary (Lee), Martin (Basso) Preston (Mills) and Alice (Fanning) are filming a zombie movie at a train station disaster strikes. A car comes onto the track and drives straight into the train causing a horrific train crash. The six friends are lucky to escape unhurt but as they escape the Air force turn up.


The friends decide to use the train wreck for background on their movie. In their town strange things start occurring like electrical equipment going missing and all the dogs running away. After the Sheriff goes missing it is up to Deputy Jackson (Chandler) to find out the truth and Nelec (Emmerich) the leader of the Air Force tries to obstruct his investigation.


With a potentially alien creature roaming this small town can the residents make it though the situation? Is the creature dangerous or friendly?

Verdict This sci-fi thriller drama coming of age tale has everything. When things are getting to the edge of thrilling the drama pauses not stops the action and just as the drama gets to an emotional level the thriller comes off pause and picks up right where you left off. The young cast all shine in a realistic environment. The way the creature is hidden through the whole movie and only getting glimpse adds to the huge suspense. This has all the coming of age of Stand By Me mixed in with a monster movie is great effect. I think this movie shines by not having an A list star in letting each of the actors shine on screen, This movie has absolutely everything for all fans of every genre to see truly is a great.


Story Mark 10/10 Has everything


Action Mark 9/10 Some great action scenes incredible train wreck scene too.


Character Development Mark 9/10 Learn who each character is and more and more about the creature as the story unfolds.


Friendship Chemistry Mark 10/10 can all be seen to be best friends all the way through.


Special Effects Mark 9/10 Very effective special effects through out.


Star Performances Joel Courtney as Joe Lamb playing a child who mother has recently died and best friend and driving force of Charles determination to make the movie,


Elle Fanning as Alice being almost bossy but really just trying to fit into the group knowing an awkward moment needed to be spoken about.


Favourite Characters Charles reminded me of my favourite character in The Goonies Chunk but with a more sensible side.


Cary way to into his explosion very funny character


Joe determined nature that will do anything for his friends even after what has happened,


Best Part The train wreck is pretty special but its hard to pick an actually best part of a near perfect movie.


Best Quote after the driver is nearly asleep from drugs Cary goes ‘He’s too stoned!’ Martin goes ‘Oh, Drugs are so bad!’


Similar Too – Stand By Me, Cloverfield, The Goonies, E.T


My Rating 98%


Elf (2003)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: David Berenbaum

Starring: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Edward Asner, Mary Steenburgen, Zooey Deschanel, Peter Dinklage


Story Buddy the elf (Ferrell) leaves in the North Pole with all the other Elves and Santa (Asner). Buddy’s father Papa Elf (Newhart) has to break the news to him that he was adopted and even worse his real father is on the naughty list. Buddy has to travel down to New York City to find his real father Walter (Caan). Walter works for a publishing company that is struggling to find a book in time for Christmas. Walter has been putting his work before his family wife Emily (Steenburgen) and son Michael (Tay).


Walter thinks Buddy has come from a mental home and sends him off to a store to work as one of the Elves in a Christmas department. In the store Buddy meets the beautiful Joyie (Deschanel) but things soon go wrong in the store and Buddy needs to be bailed out by his father.


Can Buddy turn his anti Christmas father into a more jolly festive man and get him off the naughty list before Christmas?


Verdict In a world where there are way too many rubbish Christmas movie this one stands out as one of the best in the recent generation. The perfect amount of Christmas songs to keep the festive feeling going all the way through. Told in a fairy tale style, which gives it more Christmas magic. All actors give great performances. Over all this family festive film is top of its class that everyone will enjoy all year round. Just sit back and get into the Christmas spirit.


Story Mark 9/10 Great story on a very simple level comes of to great effect.


Comedy Mark 9/10 The comedy flows at the right level to make it very funny without it being too silly comedy.


Star Performances Will Ferrell – perfect fit for the role shows how good he can be without having to do over the top silly slapstick with a simple minded master class. One of his best performances too date.


Favourite Character Buddy – has a great way of making everything so simple in life without ever wanting to make an enemy.


Best Part When Miles Finch (Dinklage) comes to pitch ideas about a book and Buddy thinks he is also an Elf who left the North Pole.


Worst Part There isn’t really one


Best Quote After being dared to call Miles an Elf again Buddy goes ‘He’s an angry Elf’ in his naive voice.


Fun Trivia Will Ferrell caused several minor traffic accidents when walking through the Lincoln Tunnel in his costume because people were so surprised to see him wearing an elf outfit. 


Similar Too – Muppet’s Christmas Carol.


My Rating 90%

Captain America The First Avenger (2011)

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugh Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones


Story Steve Rogers (Evans) a small man who is trying his hardest to join the army so he can help in the war efforts. Steve is constantly getting reject because of his size, while his best friend James Barnes (Stan) joins the efforts. Going for another attempt Steve meets Dr. Abraham Erskins (Tucci) who gives him a chance. Colonel Chester Phillips (Lee Jones) is unsure of Rogers and wants a more built solider for the experiment. The doctor gets his way and showing how much he wants to be the best.


Howard Stark (Cooper) has created a way to make a man stronger and a better solider Steve is the choice for this. After the experiment a German spy kills Erskins, Steve captures the spy but the spy takes his own life before questions can be asked. The spy is from the German group HYDRA led by Johann Schmidt (Weaving) and he is out to destroy the world with the power of the Gods.


Steve has now become a sideshow hero performing in shows to collect money for the war. On a trip to the front line he learns of Barnes unit getting capture and with Stark and Peggy Carter (Atwell) he goes on a solo mission to save the soldiers. This mission will turn Steve Rogers into Captain America but can he save the day?


Verdict Superhero movies were a plenty this year with X-Men First Class, Thor and Green Lantern. X-men and Thor were two of the best superhero movies around so this one had a lot to live up too, and honestly this is a good overall movie but not to the same level as the other two. The thing that makes this movie not meet that level is the fact there isn’t an original villain and not happens that makes you really go wow, like the boat and anchor scene in X-Men does. The level of action is good for the casual viewer looking for a movie you don’t have to think about. Another year this could have been the best superhero film and it would have been if it were up against The Green Lantern. Superhero fans should enjoy this origin story of Captain America.


Story Mark 8/10 Routine superhero story


Action Mark 8/10 some good action scenes but nothing really special


Character Development Mark 9/10 Learn a lot about Steve Rogers becoming Captain America


Romantic Chemistry Mark 4/10 Steve and Peggy’s chemistry is just poor


Special Effects Mark 8/10 A look at future weapons with big effects, nice effects to make Chris Evans looks smaller and hiding his muscles before transformation and good realism on Red Skull


Star Performances Chris Evans shines in a role made for him.


Dominic Cooper plays the Stark role perfectly can see how Tony turned out how he did.


Favourite Character Howard Stark hard role to play after what Robert Downey created in Ironman as his son Ton Stark but this guy is just as mad and full of wise cracking one liners.


Poor Performance Hugo Weaving this guy was Agent Smith in the Matrix and it looked like he never got out of that emotionless persona in a role that need some.


Hayley Atwell she was unconvincing in this role, which seemed key to the story.


Least Favourite Character Peggy dull boring needless


Best Part Red Skull being revealed.


Worst Part There could have been a lot more fight scenes instead of montages.


Best Quote Johann Schmidt ‘ Captain America! How exciting! I’m a great fan of you films!’


Fun Trivia This is Chris Evans sixth comic book adaptation Fantastic Four 1,2, Push, The Loser and Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.


Similar Too – Ironman, X-Men


My Rating 81%

The Muppets (2011)

Director: James Bobin

Writer: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller,

Starring: Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones


Story Walter is a lifelong Muppet fan and when his brother Gary (Segel) takes Walter away with him and his girlfriend Mary (Adams) Walter is very excited. Upon arriving at Muppet studio they find it is empty building having tours without going into any of the buildings. Walter sneaks into Kermit’s office only to over hear the plan of Tex Richman (Cooper) to tear down the Muppet studio to get oil.


Gary, Mary and Walter decided to find Kermit to tell him the news. Kermit then sets out to reunited the gang and what follows is a series of different ways to re unit the Muppets. Now the Muppets have to raise 10 million dollars before the end of the week by performing in a one off show. Cue the cameos galore good musical numbers and good old fashion comedy.


Verdict The Muppets are back and it’s not just a reworked story with Muppets this time. The musical numbers are catchy songs and there is a lot of classic hits Muppetted. All the different cameos come off very well from Dave Grohl to Mickey Rooney and Whoopi Goldberg to Selena Gomez. Having the human story with Gary and Mary relationship gives an almost romantic story to the comedy of the Muppets. It’s the Muppets you have to like it and enjoy watching it.


Story Mark 9/10 Nice tale of reunion and joining forces to succeed.


Comedy Mark 9/10 classic Muppet humour and clever use of cameos.


Friendship Chemistry Mark 9/10 Strong bonding between characters who are and become friends.


Star Performances Jason Segel can pull off a range of comical reactions.


Favourite Character Animal starting in anger management class and can’t go back to the drums.


Least Favourite Character Tex Richman evil character determined to finish the Muppets.


Best Part Muppet or Man song.


Worst Part Not enough Rizzo


Similar Too – Muppet movies


My Rating 82%

Dragonfly (2002)

Director: Tom Shadyac

Writer: David Seltzer, Brandon Camp, Mike Thompson

Starring: Kevin Costner, Susanna Thompson, Joe Morton, Ron Rifkin, Kathy Bates


Story After Joe Darrow (Costner) wife Emily Darrow (Thompson) dies in an accident while working for the Red Cross her body was never found.  Joe’s work in the emergency ward starts to decline. Hugh Campbell (Morton) suggests Joe take some time to off. Having help from family friend Mrs Belmont (Bates) he decides to complete one of the tasks Emily asked off him.


Joe decides to look in on the children on Emily’s ward. Only one of her patients is still there, and after he nearly died Joe presences seems to revive him. When the boy a wakes he has been drawing the same symbol over and over again, he also has been given a message from Emily to give to Joe.


With Emily trying to communicate on a supernatural level can Joe figure out what the message is?


Verdict This supernatural drama thriller has some nice touches without really providing anything to over the top. Each message Joe receives is one many a believer could have happen from out of body experiences or symbols appearing on windows. The ending is very emotional charged when Joe finally gets some closure on his wife’s death. Where the $60 million budget came from is beyond me and this could have easily made with a much smaller budget. If you like a nice touching tale of messages from beyond the grave this one is well worth the watch.


Story Mark 8/10 Nice story but may not attract all viewers because of its simplicity.


Character Development Mark 8/10 You learn a lot about Joe and how much he misses his wife.


Star Performances Kevin Costner is the best performer but most other characters don’t get much screen tine,


Favourite Character Victor – the pilot who takes Joe to the accident scene


Least Favourite Character Some of the nurses are too straight minded not willing to believe in the afterlife.


Best Part The end is very good


Worst Part Feels more like a made for TV movie


Similar Too – Moth man Prophecies,


My Rating 71%