REVIEW: MUPPETS MOST WANTED

CAST

Ricky Gervais (Ghost Town)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Steve Whitmore (The Dark Crystal)
Eric Jacobson (Sesame Street)
Dave Goetz (Inside Out)
Bill Barretta (When Families Grieve)
Matt Vogel (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Tony Bennett (Analyze This)
Hugh Bonneville (Paddington)
Jemaine Clement (Legion)
Sean Combs (Get Him To The Greek)
Rob Corddry (Warm Bodies)
Mackenzie Crook (One Chance)
Celine Dion (The Magic Sword)
Lady Gaga (Sin City 2)
Zach Gilifianakis (The Hangover)
Josh Grodin (The Hollars)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Tom Hiddleston (Thor)
Tom Hollander (Mission Impossible 5)
Toby Jones (Atomic Blonde)
Frank Langella (Superman Returns)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Usher Raymond (She’s All That)
Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow)
Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones)
Russell Tovey (Being Human)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes)
Dylan Postl (Leprechaun Origins)

Following the events of the previous film, The Muppets find themselves at a loss as to what to do until Dominic Badguy suggests the Muppets go on a European tour with him as their tour manager. As the Muppets begin their tour, a criminal mastermind named Constantine, a near-exact double for Kermit the Frog in appearance, escapes from a Siberian Gulag and joins his subordinate Dominic to begin a plot to steal the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.Once the Muppets arrive in Berlin, Germany, Dominic secures them a show at a prestigious venue. Frustrated with the group’s incessant requests and Miss Piggy’s insistence they marry, Kermit goes for a walk at Dominic’s suggestion. Constantine ambushes him and glues a fake mole onto his cheek then slips away. Mistaken for Constantine, Kermit is arrested and sent to the Gulag. Taking Kermit’s place, Constantine’s blunders in imitating him are covered by Dominic; however, Animal knows the truth. After the Berlin performance opens with Constantine freezing at the audience, Scooter has to introduce the show. Constantine and Dominic steal paintings from a museum while the Muppets perform. The next morning, Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon and CIA agent Sam the Eagle grudgingly team up to apprehend the culprit whom Napoleon believes to be his nemesis “The Lemur” – the number-two criminal in the world.Meanwhile, Kermit has attempted several times to escape the Gulag but is thwarted each time by prison guard Nadya, who is not only aware of his true identity but is as infatuated with him as Miss Piggy is. Nadya orders Kermit to help organize the prisoners’ annual talent show.Following hidden instructions on the stolen painting, Constantine and Dominic divert the tour to Madrid, Spain. Constantine allows the Muppets to perform whatever they wish, much to Walter’s confusion. During this show, Constantine and Dominic break into a museum and destroy a roomful of busts to find a key needed for their plan. Even though the performance is a disaster, the Muppets receive critical acclaim. Sam and Napoleon deduce that the connection between the crimes is the Muppet tour, and the pair interrogates the Muppets, only to find that they are too ill-equipped to be guilty. The instructions on the stolen key lead Constantine and Dominic to schedule the next show in Dublin, Ireland.In Dublin, Walter discovers that Dominic has been giving away show tickets and bribing critics to ensure a packed house and rave reviews, while Fozzie Bear notices Kermit’s resemblance to Constantine. They both realize that Constantine has taken Kermit’s place and brought in Dominic as his accomplice. Constantine attacks Walter and Fozzie, but Animal fends him off and the three escape from the train to rescue Kermit. During the Dublin performance, Dominic steals a locket from a museum and Constantine proposes to Miss Piggy onstage; Piggy accepts, and the pair plan a ceremony to be held at the Tower of London in London, England, where the Crown Jewels are kept.Fozzie, Walter, and Animal reach the Siberian Gulag on the night of the performance, and Kermit uses it as a front to allow them, himself, and all the prisoners to escape the Gulag. Kermit, Fozzie, Walter, and Animal infiltrate the Tower as the wedding begins, and Dominic (with the help of Bobby Benson’s Baby Band) manages to steal the jewels.Kermit interrupts the ceremony, revealing Constantine’s ruse, but the crook takes Piggy hostage and flees to a helicopter, where he is intercepted by Dominic, who is actually the Lemur and intends to double-cross him. Constantine ejects him from the helicopter and tries to take off with Piggy, but Kermit jumps aboard and the rest of the Muppets climb atop each other to stop the escape. Kermit and Piggy knockout Constantine and both criminals are arrested. Nadya arrives in London to arrest Kermit for escaping. The other Muppets tell her that if she arrests him, then she will have to take all of them as well; she relents, allowing Kermit to go free. The Muppets perform at the Gulag with Constantine and the prisoners participating, ending the film.The heart and soul of the film is about the way the characters manage to bring a sense of togetherness and unity to the Muppets and how this unity brings joy to all those around. Throughout the film, Kermit manages to be a core reminder as to why The Muppets are generously wonderful creations for the world: the optimism, the kindness, the laughter: everything combines to form a strong impression that both children and adults can feel completely enamoured by. This is a film that is full of magic and it sits alongside The Muppets magnificently and is not to be missed.

REVIEW: CITY OF EMBER

 

CAST

Saoirse Ronan (The Host)
Harry Treadaway (Honeymoon)
Bill Murray (Zombieland)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Martin Landau (Ed Wood)
Tim Robbins (Antitrust)
Marianne Jean-Baptiste (The Cell)
Liz Smith (The Tunnel)
Mary Kay Place (Sweet Home Alabama)
Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Ian McElhinney (Krypton)
Simon Kunz (Goldeneye)

 

MV5BMTYzNzA3MzQ0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTIwMTU3MQ@@._V1_In the midst of an unspecified catastrophe, an underground city is constructed to shelter a large group of survivors, with secret instructions to future generations in a small box timed to open 200 years later. This box is entrusted to the mayor of the City of Ember. Each mayor, in turn, passes the box on to his or her successor. Over time, the significance of the box is forgotten, and the succession is broken when the seventh mayor dies before revealing the importance of the box. The box opens at the allotted time, but goes unnoticed. 41 years after the box opens, Ember’s electric generator begins to fail, and the reserves of canned goods and light bulbs are depleted.MV5BYjljZjRkNzMtMjVkNy00NGE0LWEwZWMtNTI2NTQ0ZmNhODg0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzExMzc0MDg@._V1_At a rite of passage for all graduating students, Mayor Cole (Bill Murray) stands before the students as they choose their occupations by lottery. Protagonist Lina (Saoirse Ronan), who dreams of becoming a messenger, is assigned to be a “Pipeworks Laborer” under the technician Sul (Martin Landau), and her classmate Doon (Harry Treadaway), the son of Loris ‘Barrow’ Harrow (Tim Robbins), is assigned “Messenger”; whereupon the two secretly exchange assignments. At home, Lina finds the timed box, and enlists Doon’s help to decipher its contents.MV5BMTY0NzkxMjUxMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTQ3MTY4NA@@._V1_Gradually, they learn that the document is a set of instructions toward an exit from the city; and later, discover that Mayor Cole has been hoarding canned food in a secret vault. When they report the theft, they are arrested and the mayor attempts to take the box from Lina; but a blackout allows Lina to escape. Now fugitives from the mayor’s police, the pair obtain Poppy (Amy Quinn and Catherine Quinn), Lina’s 4 year old sister, and escape with the help of Sul, along a subterranean river. Meanwhile, the Mayor turns against his accomplice Looper, and locks himself in his vault, only to be devoured by a gigantic mole. Lina, Doon, and Poppy reach the surface, where they witness the sunrise; and later tie a message of their discovery to a rock and drop it into the city, where it is found by Loris.MV5BY2M2YTcwYWUtOWRlOC00OWJlLWFlMmUtYmFkYzY4NjRhNjEwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjY0NzQxNjk@._V1_Saoirse Ronan and Harry Treadaway give convincing performances in their lead positions and very rarely give attention to their ages. Sure enough, their roles aren’t the most demanding of jobs, but despite their characters’ underwritten nature both fulfil the requirements of leads nicely and with enough conviction to consistently carry the film forward. Of course, it’s always good to have a familiar face around, and Bill Murray, playing the obnoxious and gluttonous slob Mayor Cole, is the one to provide such a role. Murray, although arguably underused as far as his talents go, does well to establish a character that nobody is necessarily going to warm to, and uses whatever screen time he has adequately to further the movie on and to back up his lead performers. In the end however, all these elements simply come together to create one thing; an adventure. As just that, City of Ember is a very strong and convincing effort from director Gil Kenan who makes his live-action debut here.

REVIEW: THE ADVENTURES OF TIN TIN: THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN

CAST

Jamie Bell (King Kong 2005)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Daniel Craig (The Golden Compass)
Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz)
Simon Pegg (Shaun of The Dead)
Toby Jones (Captain America)
Mackenzie Crook (Solomon Kane)
Tony Curran (Gladiator)
Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)
Sebastian Roché (The Originals)

Young journalist Tintin and his dog Snowy are browsing in an outdoor market in Brussels, Belgium. Tintin buys a miniature model of a ship, the Unicorn, but is then accosted by Barnaby and Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine, who both unsuccessfully try to buy the model from Tintin. Tintin takes the ship home, but it is accidentally broken, resulting in a parchment scroll slipping out of the model and rolling under a piece of furniture. Meanwhile, detectives Thomson and Thompson are on the trail of a pickpocket, Aristides Silk. Tintin, later finds that the Unicorn has been stolen. He then visits Sakharine in Marlinspike Hall and accuses him of the theft when he sees a miniature model of the Unicorn, but when he notices that Sakharine’s model is not broken, he realizes that there are two Unicorn models. Once Tintin returns home, Snowy shows him the scroll. Moments later, Barnaby arrives at Tintin’s residence, but is fatally shot and killed. After reading an old message written on it, Tintin puts the scroll in his wallet, but it is stolen by Silk the next morning.
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
Later, Tintin is abducted by accomplices of Sakharine and imprisoned on the SS Karaboudjan. He learns that Sakharine formed an alliance with the ship’s staff and led a mutiny to take over control. On board, Tintin meets Captain Haddock, the ship’s nominal captain. Haddock is permanently drunk and thus unaware of the happenings on board his ship. Tintin, Haddock, and Snowy eventually escape from the Karaboudjan in a lifeboat but the ship’s crew tries to ram it. Presuming them to have survived, Sakharine sends a seaplane to find them, which the trio seize and use to fly towards the fictitious Moroccan port of Bagghar. They are forced to crash the seaplane in the desert, due to low fuel.
tintin-759
While trekking through the desert, Haddock hallucinates and remembers facts about an ancestor of his, Sir Francis Haddock, who was a 17th-century captain of the Unicorn. Sir Francis’ treasure-laden ship was attacked by the crew of a pirate ship, led by Red Rackham. After defeating Red Rackham, Sir Francis sank the Unicorn and most of the treasure to prevent it from falling into Rackham’s possession. Sir Francis prepares three Unicorn models, each containing a scroll; together, the scrolls can reveal coordinates to the location of the sunken Unicorn and its treasure.
The third model is in Bagghar, possessed by Omar ben Salaad. In a concert by opera diva Bianca Castafiore, Sakharine causes a distraction allowing him to successfully steal the third scroll. Tintin gives chase, but Sakharine gains all the scrolls by ordering his gang to toss Captain Haddock and Snowy into the water, forcing Tintin to rescue them instead of saving the scrolls. Sakharine escapes, and Tintin is ready to give up but is persuaded by Haddock to continue. With help from officers Thomson and Thompson, Tintin and Haddock track Sakharine down, who is revealed to be a descendant of Red Rackham. They head back to their starting point and set up a trap, but Sakharine uses his pistol to resist arrest. His gang fails to save him, so Sakharine challenges Haddock to a final showdown. Sakharine and Haddock sword-duel with cranes and swords, but Sakharine is defeated and pushed overboard by Haddock. When climbing ashore, Sakharine is arrested by Thomson and Thompson. Tintin gathers the three scrolls and uncovers the solution to their riddle, leading him back to Marlinspike Hall. There, Tintin and Haddock find Red Rackham’s treasure and a clue to the Unicorn‍ ’s location in a walled-off room in the cellar. The film ends with both agreeing to continue their search of the shipwreck.
A fairly simple plot, very much in the style of adventure films both animated or not. The quality of animation is excellent throughout clearly a lot of effort has been put into the production. The film is quite fast paced,  The ending leaves the door  for other sequels.