Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Friday, 14 March 2014

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Movie Review

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters movie review, trailer, rating and photos

Director: Thor Freudenthal

UK Release Date: 7th August 2013

Running Time: 106 minutes

Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Douglas Smith, Levin Rambin, Brandon T. Jackson,  Stanley Tucci

"Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" follows directly on from the first film in the Percy Jackson film franchise, "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief" (2010). Directed by Thor Freudenthal the film is based on Rick Riordan's book of the same name. Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson and Alexandra Daddario reprise the roles they portrayed in the first film while some characters are portrayed by different actors which is often strange for a film series like this.

The safe place where Percy (Lerman) and his fellow friends, Grover (Jackson) and Annabeth (Daddrio) live, falls under attack but with the help of others, they must go on a quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece from the Sea of Monsters to save everything they know.  With enemies to contend with and a prophecy predicting the rise of an ancient evil Percy has to believe, fight and trust in people he would not normally to have any chance of saving Olympus and the world.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters movie review, rating, trailer and photos.

The movie is certainly action packed while remaining fun at the same time.  It is easy to watch, quick paced and benefits from the storyline consisting of mythical Gods that are always interesting for an audience to engage with.  Although it is aimed at a younger audience, it is a film that can be enjoyed by adults as well although is not one that should be taken seriously.  A lot of the graphics are very disappointing and downgrade the film's look and feel.  This was something that was very frustrating to see as for a film that is so mythical, it is important for mythical creatures to be shown on the screen in an exciting and engaging manner.  

Except from being quite entertaining "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" does not offer much else.  The plot is basic and can be followed with ease. It is not the worse sequel to a film you will ever see but it is way out of the leagues of the big hitters like films from The Hunger Games and Twilight film franchises. It is fresh to see a cast that is primarily young and this does work in the films favour in terms of keeping it entertaining and action packed while remaining light-hearted. 

"Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" is an okay film at best. It is limited due to its straightforward storyline and young cast yet this helps shape the film into what it is. It will be interesting to see if a third film is made, as it is set up nicely at the end but it would be good to see the film taken in a alternative direction or to try something different.  It is an enjoyable film which requires little effort to watch but is by no means a big hitter.

M+F Rating: 6/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Khumba Movie Review

Khumba movie review

Director: Anthony Silverston

UK Release Date: 11th April 2014

Running Time: 85 minutes 

Starring: Liam Neeson, Catherine Tate, Laurence Fishburne, Jake T. Austin, Steve Buscemi, Richard E. Grant.

"Khumba" - a film that's storyline is centered around zebras is one that you will feel you have seen before. Unfortunately the film lacks in originality and fails to impress even with a voice-over cast that includes Liam Neeson and Laurence Fishburne. In 3D the film did look very good.

Movie review, trailer and rating of Khumba
Khumba (Jake T. Austin) a new born zebra, is born with half his stripes which to the rest of the herd is considered as bad luck. As rains fail to fall and the water holes dry up, Khumba's popularity dwells and the blame is forced upon him. Following a map provided by legendary green mantis, Khumba's adventures start outside of the Zebras own proclaimed enclosure as he meets an ostrich called Bradley (Richard E. Grant) and Mama V - a wildebeest (Loretta Devine) as he searches for his stripes while being followed and hunted by Phango (Neeson).

From the outset the film has a sense of familiarity about it. With the main character being a zebra we immediately think of Marty from "Madagascar" (2005)  yet Khumba is totally different. Similarities can be seen throughout the film with there being a mixed feeling of The Lion King (1994), Happy Feet (2006) and Finding Nemo (2003) amongst others as the story line and plot comes to a conclusion. The problem is that "Khumba", while having a sense of these films does not bring anything of it's own that can match these films individually.  One could go as far to criticize the actual characters themselves. While at times they are fun and amusing generally they are difficult to relate to. The characters just feel out of place and rarely reflect well on screen together as a good well rounded animated cast. 
Movie review of Khumba

However considering that "Khumba" is a children's film these observations may be out of context. The film has a range of characters that children can enjoy and the storyline is very laid back and  enjoyable for that target audience. What child would not find for example football playing zebras amusing?  This being said though other animated films including those mentioned can appeal to multiple audiences both young and old. 

"Khumba" is an okay film at best. It is helped by the well known cast of voice-overs that will help stem interest in the movie as well as carry the film in parts. Ultimately "Khumba" falls into the trap of being too much alike to other animated movies and this lack of originality really hinders the films progress. The movie is based for children though and should be one that they enjoy. 

M+F Rating: 5/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews. 

Friday, 28 February 2014

The Muppets Movie Review

The Muppets Movie Review

Director: James Bobin

UK Release Date: 10th February 2012

Running Time: 103 minutes 

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

"The Muppets" directed by James Bobin and starring a cast that includes a mix of How I Met Your Mother and The Office US stars, and also features a huge haul of cameo appearances that has only been rivaled recently by "Anchorman: The Legend Continues" (2013) is a fun and light film that brings our beloved characters back to the big screen. The film is a musical centered around easy flowing comedy but is predictable as with many films of this genre. 

The story follows Gary (Jason Segal) and his brother Walter as they try to bring back together the Muppets to try and save Muppet Studios from Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) who is planning drill underneath the studios to strike oil.  With many obstacles along the way and with Gary also trying to celebrate his ten year anniversary with girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams), The Muppets are against the clock to save their real home. 

Jason Segal as Gary and Walter in The Muppets
Walter and Gary (Segal) in The Muppets

"The Muppets" is an easy enough film to watch although it does verge on the edge of being cringe-worthy.  This is mainly down to some of the songs and a few of the scenes.  This does not impede on the rest of the film, although it can be found to be slightly annoying when watching.  As the film is a musical, obviously songs are common.  The songs themselves are okay.  They did not really stand out to us but they were at times quite catchy and easy to follow.  To us, all of the songs sounded similar to songs we know but different from each other. In fact one song from the movie, 'Man or Muppet' went on to win an Oscar for Best Original Song.  

The acting in the film is okay and is what can be expected.  Segal and Adams are both enjoyable to watch and are great for the roles.  Both perform well on screen and are soft in nature and funny to watch.  They interact well and the characters are well thought out and fit within the story well.  As usual, The Muppets are excellent. The whole 'gang' is present and provide nice comedy and moments of laughter.  The way the film goes you definitely feel an attachment to The Muppets having grown up with them.  

Amy Adams as Mary with Jason Segal as Gary with The Muppets Kermit, Gonzo in The Muppets
Mary, Gary and The Muppets

This movie features a huge cameo cast that includes the likes of Emily Blunt, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez and Dave Grohl.  It is good to see many familiar faces but in one way we felt that the film relied to heavily on their influence and also that they took away from the story line.  They felt more of a distraction to us rather than something that added extra depth or comedy to the story line.

Overall, "The Muppets" is a good film that is enjoyable to watch.  It has a fun uplifting feel to it throughout and you are bound to know at least some of the cast.  If you are a fan of The Muppets or not, this film is still worth watching and will provide you with good entertainment that does not require much engagement.  The songs are pleasant and even though the film is predictable, it is a good film that brings together some great characters and memories of The Muppets back onto the big screen.

M+F Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

WALL-E Movie Review

WALL-E Movie Review

Director: Andrew Stanton

UK Release Date: 18th July 2008

Running Time: 98 minutes

Starring: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Sigourney Weaver

We are generally big Disney and Pixar fans but it dawned on us the other day that we had not yet watched "WALL-E" which was released back in 2008.  We had heard a few things about the film itself, one being that there is next to no spoken script or dialect.  This intrigued us a lot and also worried us.  Pixar's other hits such as the Toy Story franchise and "Finding Nemo" (2003) both rely heavily on the script used however "WALL-E" is able to overcome this with a heart warming story that is both creative and one that the audience can relate to.

WALL-E (Ben Burtt) is a robot that is left on Earth to tidy up all the mess and rubbish left by the humans who have moved into space on a spaceship called Axiom.  A loveable and cute character he is soon not the only living robot on Earth as another, EVE (Elissa Knight), arrives.  WALL-E falls in love and ends up heading off into space on an adventure that will change the course of the human race, Earth and his own life.  


"WALL-E" is a film that anyone can watch.  It reaches the audience on multiple levels.  From being a nice story for children to follow to also conveying a message to the adult audience.  It really is a story about friendship, love, and making a difference.  It portrays Earth and the human race in a way that is not so farfetched.  It tackles topical issues in regards to technology, waste management, recycling and obesity.

WALL-E as a character is great.  Innocent, adventurous and looking for companionship in a world where he is all alone.  It really draws the audience in from the beginning. He rarely speaks and when he does it is limited but automatically you feel a connection to his character which is really great.  Throughout the film you are hoping he is okay and eventually finds what he is looking for. 


The film also addresses topical issues but does so in a way that it does not ruin or affect the film in a negative way.  These issues are portrayed so the audience can either choose to accept them and think about them or totally ignore them and just enjoy the film.  "WALL-E" shows what could happen to our planet.  Yes, this is woven into a story about love and friendship but it is clear that this representation of the future is a possible one.  The world has known for a long time that we need to recycle more and look after the planet which is still not happening - so much so that in the film the human population had to leave.  It also addresses issues in regards to obesity and technology.  The population is getting lazy and this is shown in the film - albeit to the extreme.  

"WALL-E" is a superb film and is one that every person should watch and will enjoy. It is a really nice story that is a pleasure to watch and for us it is definitely one of the Pixar greats.  Not only this, but it attempts at tackling different topical issues as well in an innocent but blatant way. An excellent movie that shows again why Pixar have been so good at producing these sorts of films over and over again. "WALL-E" will make you laugh, cry and will also make you wish you had your own little robot friend.

M+F Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Lion King Review: An Over the Top Dissection

Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
UK Release Date: 7th October 1994
Running Time: 89 minutes
Starring: Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane

General Overview

If you have not heard of or watched The Lion King then you are certainly missing out.  It is an American animated Disney film set in Africa. All of the characters are animals that are naturally found on the vast continent.  We have watched this film many times and grew up with it; it is one of the only films we have watched on VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray and at the cinema in 3D.  The film features an impressive soundtrack complete with songs composed by Tim Rice, Elton John and Hans Zimmer. The general consensus is that The Lion King is a children's film but we disagree with this film. Cleverly,  The Lion King conveys humour, life morals and emotions for multiple audiences; children and adults.

Film Structure 

The films structure is typical Disney.  Following the same base storyline that most Disney films have embedded within their scripts. The best way to describe this is with a flow diagram:

It is quite easy to fit this template to other Disney films such as Aladdin (1992). What is interesting is that they share the same base plot and both films were very successful. Now there are two ways to interpret this information. The first is that it is the holy grail of script writing. This storyline works and can be repeated from movie to movie with only minor details changing (setting, small parts of the plots, characters). The second is that other contributing factors made these films good and the base structure is only a small part of this, for example the soundtrack.  In our opinion we believe it is a mix of both interpretations.  Due to the success that these early 1990's Disney films achieved, it proves that the base structure worked and combining this with an excellent soundtrack made them hugely popular. Traces of this structure can be seen in movies everywhere and we do not claim that this is where this film structure originated at all but we are just applying it and analysing it for this film.

Life Lessons

The Lion King is primarily known as a children's film. It provides a great story with loveable characters that children can relate to.  Entwined within this are morals that can be learnt from the film.  One theme is friendship shown when Simba meets Timon and Pumbaa.  Simba, an outcast now, is alone and vulnerable but Timon and Pumba take him with them - looking after him as he grows into a young adult.  This is  a great notion for children to learn and understand.
"Hakuna Matata. It means no worries." - Timon and Pumbaa.

It also teaches any young viewers that family are important. You can withdraw inspiration from others including those close to you.  This is evident when Simba sees his father, Mufasa, in the clouds and also in a reflection of himself.  This gives him the self-confidence and belief needed to go back to where he belongs and face his enemy, Scar.  This is also a great lesson for children to learn. To stand up to adversity, to believe in themselves and others around them. The Lion King is an excellent example to children while also providing great entertainment.



Multiple Audiences

The film does not just convey messages for children.  In an earlier part of the film, Mufusa (Simba's father and mentor), is killed.  This is something that the majority of children would not understand to the extent that the older audience would.  We watched The Lion King throughout our childhood and it is only when we have viewed it more recently that we feel sad and emotional while watching this scene.  We believe this is because now we are older, we can relate to it in a way where it means something to us.  We were astonished at how this scene makes us feel considering when we were younger we would happily sit through the whole film without thinking any more of it.  This makes The Lion King a film that can be understood by both a young audience and an older one.


One aspect that makes this film even more appealing is the comedy that flows throughout.  The jokes mainly come from characters Timon and Pumbaa but also the hyenas - one of which is voiced by Whoopi Goldberg.  While the younger audience can relate to many of the jokes made, slipped in along the way are a few other jokes/dialect that are directed more at the older audience.  Here is the transcript of our favourite from the film:
Pumbaa: Hey, Timon, ever wonder what those sparkly dots are up there?
Timon: Pumbaa, I don't wonder; I know.
Pumbaa: Oh. What are they?
Timon: They're fireflies. Fireflies that, uh... got stuck up on that big bluish-black thing.
Pumbaa: Oh, gee. I always thought they were balls of gas burning billions of miles away.
Timon: Pumbaa, with you, everything's gas.
It does not seem that funny on face value but it did tickle us here at M+F Reviews.  We found it quite clever and shows the contrast from how a young person could understand the stars at night to an older person who knows what they are. It is a representation of what we have been aiming to explain in the earlier parts of this review - the film caters for two audiences.

Soundtrack Overview:

That's enough talk  about film structure and what audience the film is projected at.  The soundtrack of The Lion King is a masterpiece.  Tim Rice and Elton John composed the majority of the soundtrack while Hans Zimmer did the same with the film score. There are a range of songs, from high upbeat ones, to love songs that have become classics.  The soundtrack is without doubt one of the first things that comes to mind when anyone mentions The Lion King.  If you have not heard any of the songs here is our top three:
  1. Hakuna Matata - Elton John, Tim Rice (performed by others)
  2. Circle of Life - Elton John, Tim Rice (performed by others)
  3. This Land - Hans Zimmer


We recommend The Lion King to anyone who has not seen it and also for those of you who have seen it to watch it again.  A great animation, with amusing characters and script. Not only that but it offers deeper meanings for those who watch, whether you are young or old.
M+F Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Marley & Me Review: A Hard Hitting Reality

Director: David Frankel
UK Release Date: 11th March 2009
Running Time: 115 minutes
Starring: Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Eric Dane

Here at M+F Reviews, considering our love for film, Marley & Me was not our particular perfect choice of film to watch. We did not go and view it at the cinema, nor did we buy it on DVD. However, once it came on to our TV screens one Christmas we sat down and watched what turned out to be a roller coaster of emotions; a really hard hitting movie that is difficult to watch without welling up (even for the most macho people). 

The film stars Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, who play a real life couple called  John and Jenny Grogan. The film is a representation of John Grogan's memoir, 'Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog'. The film hit UK cinemas in 2009 and turned out to be quite a success. It follows the Grogan's life as they first come into contact with the now famous dog, Marley. It is a collection of stories about Marley and the family as they go through the family building part of their lives. 

Luckily, the stories of Marley, which are intended to be funny, do not lose any of their charm or comedy value when they are adapted to the big screen. In part this has to be down to Wilson and Aniston who are a good fit for the characters they play. The film features many funny stories which was a pleasant surprise. 

Marley & Me is however not a film to be watched without a box of tissues, which was a shock. Before we watched it we had no idea as to how sad this film is. So yes, this is a warning! The film does not only show the funny parts of Marley's life but also his inevitable end. Whether it is because we feel connected to the relationship of Marley, John and Jenny or whether we can all relate to having loved something and having it taken away, Marley & Me provides the hard hitting truth; all living things eventually die. These are harsh words, but this is what happens in life and in the film. 

We were shocked to see the film with this conclusion but it was a suitable way for the film to end. The message that the film portrays is to love and be loved, like the relationship between Marley and the Gorgan's. You will finish watching this film upset and if not at least a little bit touched - in one way or another we can all relate to it and that's what films are meant to do. They provoke emotions, thoughts and produce reactions that surprise the audience. Marley & Me certainly achieved that when we watched it and we encourage you to do the same. 

M+F Rating: 7/10 

Reviewed by M+F Reviews