Saturday, November 26, 2011


Animated fantasy

Ramona Marquez: Gwen, a little girl
James McAvoy: Arthur, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause
Hugh Laurie: their oldest son Steve
Jim Broadbent: Santa Clause
Imelda Stauton: Mrs. Santa Clause
Bill Nighy: Grandsanta, Santa's 136-year-old father
Ashley Jensen: Bryony, an elf from the Giftwrap Battalion

A rather creative and entirely new approach to the traditional Santa Clause story, this is about his two sons and their efforts towards getting the job done. In this case, the job is to deliver presents to all the boys and girls. Something the target audience of youngsters are all too familiar with and this keeps them enthralled.

Along the way there are a few laughs and a rip roaring trip to various continents until things get sorted out. The animation is first rate with the colours bright and lively.

One quibble I have though is the plot premise that Steve, the Operations Manager and heir apparent to Santa, is quite satisfied that most kids have got their present so there’s no need to get excited about one little girl that got overlooked. The fact Santa does not step in and insist this be rectified does not fit with the Santa of old.

for some mild rude humor.

The Toronto skyline is missing the iconic CN Tower.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Animated action/adventure

Elijah Wood: Mumble, an Emperor Penguin
Alecia Moore: his wife Gloria
Ava Acres: their son Erik
Robin Williams: Ramón and Lovelace
Meibh Campbell: Eirk’s friend Roadica
Lil P-Nut: their friend Atticus
Hank Azaria: a puffin, The Mighty Sven, ruler of Adélie-Land
Sofia Vergara: Ramón’s love interest Carmen
Brad Pitt: Will the Krill
Matt Damon: his friend Bill the Krill
Richard Carter: Bryan the Beach Master, an Elephant Seal
Hugo Weaving: Noah the Elder

Not a total mess, but close to it, this sequel doesn’t come close to the original. Just one look at the list of characters gives you some idea what you’re in for, a rambling storyline intercut with musical numbers. In fact, it plays out more as a musical than a traditional kid’s movie. And what a musical mix it is, from hip hop and rap to an operatic aria solo.

Along the way there are wholesome lessons about hope and self-confidence even though some will question the wisdom of promoting the idea about “achieving what you want by willing it to happen”. Try willing to fly and see what happens! Giving unrealistic expectations to young ones is bound to cause some difficulties in life.

All the characters are beautifully rendered and some images of Antarctica are simply stunning. The two krill buddies provide some comedic relief as most of their puns are real “groaners”. Thankfully the producers have kept the requisite rude bathroom noises to a bare minimum.

for mild peril and some rude humor.

Sunday, November 13, 2011



John Cho: businessman Harold Lee
Tom Lennon: Todd, one of his associates
Kal Penn: Harold’s old buddy Kumar
Patton Oswalt: Kal’s supplier Larry
Paula Garcés: Lee’s wife Maria
Amir Blumenfeld: Kal’s buddy Adrian
Danny Trejo: Maria’s father

Anyone who saw the first in this series would know what they’re getting into. I did not so it was a bit of a shocker to find out it’s about potheads and the humour is the raunchy type laced with vulgarities while relying on crude slapstick to garner more laughs at someone’s expense.

I left at this point as this is not my sort of movie.

for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.

Saturday, November 12, 2011



Leonardo DiCaprio: J. Edgar Hoover
Judi Dench: his mother Annie
Naomi Watts: his personal secretary Helen Gandy
Armie Hammer: Agent Clyde Tolson
Josh Lucas: Aviator Charles Lindbergh
Jeffrey Donovan: Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy

In a series of flashbacks this biographical film covers the career of the longest serving Director of the F.B.I. including some speculative details of his private life. But that aspect of the man is not the real focus of the movie. Instead we follow his total dedication and uncompromising approach to the job, as he sees it.

Production values are first rate with particular attention paid to period detail. One thing though, I’m not sure why so much of it is shot in sepia-tones which lessens the visual impact somewhat. The acting is uniformly good with DiCaprio the best of the lot.

However typical of Clint Eastwood’s productions it is overlong running in excess of two hours. If only they had spent a little more time editing out the few tedious segments and spent less time on desaturating the film of its colour.

for brief strong language (brief it is with only two instances of any vulgar words).

The time shown on the Library of Congress clock is not the same from one scene to the next during the brief time Hoover and Miss Gandy are there.

When Hoover is in Robert F. Kennedy’s office the producers have used ADR (automated dialog replacement) whereby an actor in a sound studio repeats their lines of dialogue. If done well there is synchronization with the film action. Such is not the case in this instance.

This is one of my classic all-time favourite nitpicks: at the end of the telephone conversation Hoover hangs up and Robert F. Kennedy is left listening to the dial tone. In reality the dial tone is only heard after picking up the phone before dialling. That’s why it’s called a dial tone.

I can’t recall the last time I saw such a lousy job of makeup but Clyde in his later years looks like he’s been embalmed rather than made to look older.