Dear Dracula (2012)

Review by CJ

Dear Dracula

Director:
Chad Van De Keere

Starring:
Nathan Gamble, Ray Liotta, Emilio Estevez, Ariel Winter

Other notable appearances:
Matthew Lillard, Marion Ross, Tara Strong, Yuri Lowenthal

Running time:
42 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Hotel Transylvania, ParaNorman, Monster House, Frankenweenie

 

Sam (Gamble) is a classic horror movie aficionado who lives with his grandmother (Ross). When Sam begs for the latest Dracula action figure, his grandmother suggests that he writes to Santa and asks for the ‘doll’. However, with Halloween significantly closer than Christmas, Sam decides it would be a far better idea to write to Dracula instead. This leads to a washed-up Dracula (Liotta) deciding to pay young Sam a visit with his minion Myro (Estevez).

I watched Dear Dracula on a whim because it was free, available and looked like fun. I have never been more happy to judge a book (movie) by its cover (promotional image).

At only 42 minutes, Dear Dracula is a movie that is shorter than most television shows I watch. However, in doing so the creators have ensured it isn’t stretching for material that isn’t there. For the story that is told, the length is perfect and adding to it would only diminish the quality.

The story is endearing as Sam helps Dracula get his scare factor back and Dracula helps Sam get the girl. Dear Dracula also has some very funny moments, including Dracula explaining why vampires who sparkle are not okay.

The animation leaves a bit to be desired at times but overall the aesthetic is good, especially for an animation studio that isn’t Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks.

Overall, with its fun story, amusing characters and subtle undermining of the less than horrific horror/monster films, I would highly recommend Dear Dracula for kids both young and old.

Rating: 4/5

The Crazies (2010)

Review by CJ

The Crazies

Director:
Breck Eisner

Starring:
Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker

Running time:
101 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Dawn of the Dead, Dreamcatcher, The Thing

 

David Dutten (Olyphant) is the sheriff for Pierce County when a virus begins to spread that causes the affected citizens to become violent psychopaths. When the military arrive to contain the infection and relocate the uninfected, David’s wife Judy (Mitchell) is flagged as a threat and apprehended due to a pregnancy induced fever. David returns to the quarantine area with his deputy Russ (Anderson) to rescue Judy and her assistant Becca (Panabaker) who has also been wrongly detained. The four survivors must find a way out of their town through a military with orders to kill first, ask questions later; infected citizens in  psychopathic frenzies; and their own paranoia.

Continue reading The Crazies (2010)

Bait (2012)

Review by CJ

Bait

Director:
Kimble Rendall

Starring:
Xavier Samuel, Phoebe Tonkin, Sharni Vinson, Julian McMahon, Dan Wyllie, Martin Sacks

Other notable appearances:
Sharks. A tsunami. Bad CGI.

Running time:
93 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Shark Night, Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, The Reef

 

A coastal Queensland town is hit with a tsunami leaving several survivors trapped in a flooded supermarket with a 12-foot great white shark. The survivors must band together and overcome their pasts to keep from being killed by electricity, aftershocks and, of course, the shark.

Continue reading Bait (2012)

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Review by CJ

Olympus Has Fallen

Director:
Antoine Fuqua

Starring:
Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman

Other notable appearances:
Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd

Running time:
119 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
The Die Hard series, Executive Decision, The Expendables

 

The White House has been taken by North Korean terrorists. President Asher (Eckhart) is a hostage in his own safe bunker. The President’s son, Connor, has evaded capture and is hiding somewhere in the White House. It’s now up to former Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Butler) to find Connor before the terrorists and save the President.

Continue reading Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

Review by CJ

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Director:
Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Starring:
Bill Hader and Anna Faris

Other notable appearances:
Bruce Campbell, James Caan, Mr T, Neil Patrick Harris, Andy Samberg and Benjamin Bratt

Running time:
90 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Despicable Me, Hotel Transylvania

 

Flint Lockwood (Hader) is a child inventor who grows up to be his small island community’s constant annoyance. Most of Flint’s inventions don’t work at best and cause havoc to the community at worst. That is, until he finds a way to turn water into a unlimited variety of foods. This is a breakthrough for the island population that has eaten only sardines since the rest of the world stopped eating the fish that supported the island’s economy.

However, accident prone Flint’s invention malfunctions and rockets into the atmosphere. Soon after, the sky begins raining cheeseburgers and the town rejoices. Flint forms a friendship with weather girl Sam Sparks (Faris) who is fascinated by the prospect of food raining from the sky. As Flint succumbs to the demands for different foods from the town, his invention begins to reach a dangerous level of instability culminating in what will be the perfect food storm. It’s up to Flint and Sam to save the day, with a little help from their friends.

Continue reading Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

Coneheads (1993)

Review by CJ

Coneheads

Director:
Steve Barron

Starring:
Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Michelle Burke, Chris Farley, Michael McKean and David Spade

Other notable appearances:
Drew Carey, Jon Lovitz, Ellen DeGeneres, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards, Sinbad, Adam Sandler, Tom Arnold, Phil Hartman

Running time:
Far too long (88 minutes)

Watch this if you liked:
Annoying SNL skits from the 70s.

 

Beldar (Aykroyd) and Prymaat (Curtin) are conical-headed aliens from the planet Remulak. Their craft crashes on Earth and they find themselves awaiting rescue for an indefinite amount of time. While attempting to blend in on their new planet, the Coneheads’ unconventional behaviour and shady social security numbers attract the attention of Immigration and Naturalization [sic] Services (INS) agents (McKean and Spade) for being – wait for it – illegal aliens. After escaping the clutches of the American Government, Beldar and Prymaat settle in suburban America to raise their newborn daughter, Connie (Burke).

Fast forward to a teenaged Connie dating mechanic Ronnie (Farley) and the family living the average (for TV anyway) American family life. The family have adapted well to life on their new home and are torn when they receive word they are about to be ‘rescued’.

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Top Ten Movies I Watched at the Cinemas in 2013

Article by CJ

I feel like I really dropped the ball when it came to cinema viewings this year. Generally, I aim to see at least one movie at the cinema every fortnight, but managed to see only 16 in 2013. Regardless, below is my opinion on the best movies I watched this year along with a list of the ones that didn’t quite make the cut.

Criteria: Must be a movie I watched at the cinemas in 2013.

Continue reading Top Ten Movies I Watched at the Cinemas in 2013

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