The Jungle Book (2016) Review

The Jungle Book (2016)

Directed by Jon Favreau

Based on The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Starring: Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken, Neel Sethi

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Jungle Book stars and introduces Neel Sethi as Mowgli, an orphaned human boy who, guided by his animal guardians, sets out on a journey of self-discovery while evading the threatening Shere Khan.

My Opinion:

(FYI – I’ve never read the book so can’t make any comparisons to it)

I actually wasn’t all that bothered about watching this one when I saw the trailer. I of course love Disney’s 1967 The Jungle Book. Who doesn’t?! It’s one of my top ten animated Disney movies (I did rank every single one I’ve ever seen HERE in the early days of my blog – I really need to update that list). And it’s one of the absolute best for songs (two of them made my list of My Top Ten Disney Songs. I love making Disney lists).

Anyway! I’m a big fan of the Disney classics and just didn’t really see the necessity (ha) of making this “live action” version. However, it’s pretty good. It could never replace the animated classic for me and I’m mighty pissed off that this new version has a higher IMDB rating than the 1967 film but, oh well – it’s an enjoyable film & its child star (Neel Sethi) does a really great job.

First of all, the CGI in this is spectacular. You have to remind yourself that Sethi was actually acting alone during these scenes – they just look so real. So you have to give the kid extra credit for that! A few bits didn’t look quite right but, overall, I’d have to say that nothing really threw me out of the movie the way that bad CGI can sometimes. Well, nothing as far as the “look” of the film threw me out of it… Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the voice acting.

Of all the animals, I especially loved Bagheera. He looked amazing and, just as importantly, he was voiced very professionally by Ben Kingsley. By saying that I mean this: you don’t go “WOW – that’s Ben Kingsley!” the second you hear Bagheera talk. In fact, we didn’t know until the end credits who actually voiced that character and that’s the way it SHOULD be if Disney wish to make their films timeless classics. I’d say the same for Lupita Nyong’o’s Raksha as well. Raksha was probably my second favorite animal character and I again think a big part of that was down to the fact that I wasn’t picturing the real-life voice actor the entire time.

I went to see this with extended family & seemed to enjoy it more than anyone else in the group. I’m glad I didn’t review it right away, though, as I liked it a little less the more I thought about it (I saw it a week & a half ago). My hubby was especially not a fan. He’s always pooping on my enjoyment of things! I’m pretty damn picky on movies but, believe me, he’s far worse. I do see his point, though, as his biggest complaint is that this movie felt like “The Bill Murray Show”.

I doubt there’s anyone out there who doesn’t love Baloo from the 1967 The Jungle Book. I suppose it’s a difficult job to voice such a beloved character but Bill Murray voices him in that typical Bill Murray way of his: he voices Baloo as Bill Murray. I guess that’s good if you absolutely love him and go to this wanting to see a Bill Murray movie but that’s not what I personally want from any Disney film. I don’t want to picture the actors. I want to get lost in the world created by the movie which, in this case, really did look pretty fantastic. But then Baloo came along acting all Bill Murray-like. And I also adore King Louie from the 1967 film (I actually prefer I Wan’na Be Like You to The Bare Necessities and love that part of the film). But who voices King Louie? Christopher Walken! Are there many voices more identifiable than his?! He did actually tone things down a bit in this but I still couldn’t help but picture King Louie with a gun to his head & talking about sticking a watch up his ass. 

My Daughter’s Opinion: I was surprised that she didn’t seem to like this one very much. Her first comment afterwards was “How long was that? It felt like it was on for aaaaaaages!” so that’s clearly not a good sign (it’s 1 hour 46 minutes, FYI). So I asked her how she liked it compared to the other movies she’s gone to this year & she said it’s last after Kung Fu Panda 3, Zootropolis, Pan & Goosebumps. Man, she’s harsh. But I’m not too upset – this hopefully means she’ll always prefer the superior 1967 film. 🙂

Summary:

If you pretend the 1967 film doesn’t exist, this is a very enjoyable family Disney film that looks absolutely amazing. A really good semi-live-action Disney film… (but not fully live action – it’s honestly so impressive that I keep thinking of it only as live action). The problem, though, is that the animated classic does exist so it’s impossible to not compare the two – especially as they’re so similar and this one does contain the two main songs from the animated film, which I was happy to hear yet at the same time wasn’t sure that they worked in this version. Plus they were sung by Murray & Walken and I’ve already said how I disliked their voices in this. Oh, actually – Scarlett Johansson was equally annoying as Kaa. That bit really didn’t work for me at all.

The other problem, and not everyone will care about this, is that you wouldn’t exactly want to have this one on if a two-year-old is in the room so it’s not as “entire family” friendly as the animated film. It looks far too real and many scenes are very intense for anyone really young.

Mainly, though, I’m just disappointed that they ruined the chance to make this yet another timeless Disney classic simply because they wanted to stick some big names in it. I expect that from other studios, such as DreamWorks, but not from Disney or Pixar. Okay – I’m not saying my two favorite (now joined) studios never use big names because, yes, they always do. But they usually first make sure that those voices suit the characters whereas this time it felt like they hired the actors without any thought as to if they were appropriate. It’s a shame as I think this would be pretty fantastic without those famous voice distractions. But, either way, it’s still not the animated classic so I don’t care too much anyway as that’s the one I’ll continue to watch for years. Interestingly, both my daughter and husband preferred Maleficent as well as the live-action Cinderella. Hmm. I’m not yet sure how I’d rank the three of them but I’ve given them all the exact same rating.

My Rating: 7/10

Oh! Oh! The baby wolves were adorable. Forgot to mention that. 🙂

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Road House (1989) Review

Road House (1989)

Directed by Rowdy Herrington

Produced by Joel Silver

Starring: Patrick Swayze, Ben Gazzara, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott, Jeff Healey, Marshall R Teague, Kathleen Wilhoite

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Road House is a 1989 American action thriller film directed by Rowdy Herrington and starring Patrick Swayze as a bouncer at a newly refurbished roadside bar who protects a small town in Missouri from a corrupt businessman. Sam Elliott also plays a bouncer, the mentor, friend and foil of Swayze’s character. The cast also includes Kelly Lynch as Swayze’s love interest, and Ben Gazzara as the main antagonist.

My Opinion:

SPOILERS!! This is one of those movies where I HAVE to talk about what happens in it because it’s just so horrendously awesome and I want to chat with any Road House-loving bloggers. I know you’re out there because most of you stopped by when my “review” of Steve Jobs turned into a Road House discussion instead as I’d just seen this cinematic masterpiece for the first time ever while wrapping some Christmas presents. I did watch it a second time while doing more present wrapping and my newfound love grew even stronger. Where have you been all my life, Road House?? You are amazing. I needed a postcoital cigarette after watching this movie. And I don’t even smoke!

I’ve never been a big Patrick Swayze fan as I mainly saw him as the Dirty Dancing guy and, let’s be honest, that movie is pretty fucking lame. Okay, Point Break is a favorite of mine but it’s mainly Keanu Reeves who I think of in that one. So I suppose I never even thought about watching Road House as it looked pretty damn bad. And, boy oh boy is it bad! Good bad. Awesome bad. It’s fucking ridiculous. I love it! I should’ve listened to hubby sooner as he’s been telling me for years that I should watch it. He knows me so well. Poor bastard – he married such a weird girl…

Anyway! I love how Road House starts out silly and crazy but is still a pretty straightforward story of your typical sexy, well-educated, philosophical, not-as-big-as-expected master tai chi bouncer in the skankiest, filthiest, trashiest redneck & slut bar imaginable (but with good live music, provided by Jeff Healey. the Angel Eyes guy?!).

So it’s nuts from the start but THEN, from out of nowhere, shit is exploding Michael-Bay-style and monster trucks are driving over cars and women are stripping and people are being stabbed and there are giant stuffed animals (like, real ones – not teddy bears) and polar bears are falling on people and Kelly Lynch is wearing loads of hairspray and a gingham tablecloth from a small-town cafe (and, later, apparently no panties) and throats are being ripped out (I had to rewind that bit as it was so totally unexpected) and Sam Elliott is a fucking stud as always & I’d totally sleep with his character (oh yes) and Patrick Swayze is trying to find his inner peace throughout all this bullshit by doing sexy, shirtless, glistening tai chi.

I still can’t believe it took me this long to watch the movie that’s so hilarious it causes Bill Murray & his brothers to call up Kelly Lynch’s husband every single time the Road House sex scene is on TV to say “Kelly’s having sex with Patrick Swayze right now. They’re doing it. He’s throwing her against the rocks.” But her character is a DOCTOR. Swayze’s sensitive bouncer wants a smart girl, not the skanks who strip in the filthy Double Deuce bar. Look at them “meeting cute” – they’re SO gonna fuck!:

See??:

He was really turned on by her tablecloth dress:

I admit that, while I never found Swayze sexy, he’s almost sexy in this movie. This role was great for him. He’s way cooler here than in that silly Dirty Dancing movie. (Yeah, I far prefer Road House to Dirty Dancing. I really suck at being a girl!)

But, although I admit that Swayze was good in this and that the role did really suit him, it’s Sam Elliott who steals the show. What a fucking stud. I already loved him from one of my all-time favorite movies (Mask) and, yeah, he’s pretty much playing the same sort of character in this movie as well. But that’s okay – it’s the perfect role for him.


Fucking Stud.

As if these awesome main three characters aren’t enough, though, we also get a wide variety of rednecks, sluts, blind musicians, and a corrupt small-town businessman who likes to hunt big game (why wasn’t America freaking out about Brad Wesley killing polar bears?! This polar bear should’ve been projected onto the Empire State Building!):


I told you a polar bear fell on someone…

Then there’s the big ‘ol slut always trying to screw Swayze even though she’s the property of the corrupt businessman. She does a striptease all around Jeff Healey at one point (who is really likeable in this – I didn’t know he’d done any acting!) and I have to say she has a pretty great bod. And big 80’s panties under her ugly 1981 prom dress:

I looked her up & she went on to be a stuntwoman & it looks like she was that tough, fully nude chick in the shower in Point Break (also with Swayze!). Really?! Huh! Anyway, the sluts and rednecks are great:

But nothing beats this prick:

Earring dude prick has a big manly man fight with Swayze toward the end of the film, during which he says…

Wait. What did he just say?? Never mind nobody putting baby in a corner – nobody says THAT to Patrick Swayze because he’ll rip your fucking throat out! He does! He did! Ripped it right out, Temple-Of-Doom-style!! I wasn’t expecting that in this 1989 film, even after seeing the 18 rating in the UK. Awesome. He should’ve ripped the throat out of the guy who knocked up Penny in Dirty Dancing. Dirty Dancing would have been greatly improved with throat-ripping & monster trucks.


The bigger the truck, the smaller the penis…

Summary:

Classic. This is the perfect “so bad it’s good” movie. You hear that phrase a lot but very few movies achieve that perfect balance. Watching this movie was seriously the most fun I’ve had watching a movie in a long, long time. ROAD HOUSE!!!!!

My Rating: 8/10

Here’s the trailer, which I just watched with a big dumb grin on my face:

And here are all the Road House bits from an episode of Family Guy that Emma told me about. Haha! Thanks, Emma! 🙂

**FYI – I’ve quickly done this review as the next three days I’ll be posting my end-of-year Top Ten lists & this movie has made My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2015 list. Come back tomorrow to see where it ranks! 🙂

Groundhog Day (1993) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Barry of The Filmnomore Movie Blog. Thanks for the review, Barry! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about Groundhog Day, IMDB rank 178 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

**I have 1 remaining IMDB guest review to post but have a lot still outstanding. Let me know if you still wish to review the movie(s) you’ve signed up for. If not, I’ll add them back to the list of available films. Thanks!**

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I was delighted when I discovered I had been granted the rights to review this classic 90’s comedy. Groundhog Day stars Bill Murray as cynical local news weatherman Phil Connors who sees himself as the big fish in the little pond of Pittsburgh. He is on his way to endure the annual ritual that is Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania where an oversized rodent (I’ve checked Groundhogs are rodents) predicts whether winter is coming to an end. Unfortunately Phil finds himself having to relive the same day over and over again.

The film sees Murray teaming up with his now dearly departed Ghostbusters (1984) co-star Harold Ramis who directed and co-wrote this feature. It’s amazing to look back at the writing career of Ramis whose credits include Caddyshack (1980), Stripes (1981), Analyze This (1999) and Bedazzled (2000) to name just four. Groundhog Day follows a classic rift of a character (Phil) going on a journey of self discovery that has been imposed upon him by a change in circumstances. He finds himself coming out the other side a better person and as with any fairy tale he has a princess to woo in the form of his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell).

Of course the journey to love and happiness is not a straight forward one and it is only when he learns the importance of being selfless that Phil is released from his nightmare and he can continue with his life. Within this age old tale of redemption is a story about dealing with loss. In Groundhog Day the loss is the life that he knew and the certainties this brought. During the film Murray’s character experiences denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. He acts out in various ways including the now classic sequence when he abducts the Groundhog himself, Punxsutawney Phil.

This film works for two main reasons. The first is that it has Bill Murray in his prime (I don’t get along with the reinvented dour-faced Murray) and playing a role tailored to his style of comedy. The second reason is the film uses a classic structure that we’ve all seen a thousand times before but keep lapping up. We all appear to be suckers for characters who find redemption (preferably in the arms of a new lover) and Groundhog Day delivers the feel good factor in spades.

I can’t really find much to criticise in this film beyond the slightly annoying Ned Ryerson (Stephen Tobolowsky) who is just that little bit over the top. Hell even MacDowell is tolerable. Groundhog Day doesn’t overwhelm me with emotion so I can’t give it that elusive fifth star but it is an all time comedy classic. My rating 4/5.