3 Nov 2015



Both big fans of the penguins when they have popped up in the previous Madagascar films I, for one, was sitting, my fingers crossed, hoping this spin-off wouldn't disappoint. 

Phew! Thankfully every bit as much fun. A great all-rounder in that it has some great visual gags (probably more appreciated by Mr T than myself and therefore great for the wee ones) along with some wonderfully funny laugh out loud verbal jokes. TT

Yes funny sketches, and lots of subtle references to other films going on in there. The penguins are just as OTT as they were in the Madagascar films but the other characters do not develop in the film, are very thin existing only as foil for the penguins antics.  The story did not develop too far either, no depth to it, no twists or surprises, more a string of slapstick set pieces... (and I like slapstick) just felt a bit flat really. NJT


Once again both big fans of Shaun who has previously featured in the Wallace and Gromit films. Twenty fours after watching the above, we eagerly sat down to watch this spin-off.

Ten minutes in and realising this was going to be a silent movie (I say silent in that there was no actual speech as such) I had my doubts and was worried I was going to become bored very quickly.

Great fun and more grown-up than I had expected it to be (I hadn't realised it had a PG certificate for its 'rude' humour). I have to say the whole 85 minutes flew by in a film that if you blinked you were sure to miss something. TT

Can't be disappointed with Shaun. The depth of detail in the animation is wonderful, particularly in the sets and peripheral actions where there is more going on than in the main scene. I do wonder though what the rest of the world makes of this? It does strike me as a particularly British sense of humour that is on show in this film and I do wonder what other nationalities would make of it. NJT


Based on the memoir, Travelling To Infinity: My Life With Stephen by Jane Hawking. Anyone viewing this in the hope of seeing Professor Stephen Hawking's life played out will find themselves disappointed as whilst there is some of this (how could there not be?) The Theory Of Everything is first and foremost a love story albeit it one without any soppy sentimentality. 

A tad superficial at times and with a tendency to gloss over events this was nevertheless a very poignant film. Eddie Redmayne's portrayal of Stephen Hawking's physical decline nothing short of amazing, Felicity Jones as Jane, incredibly moving in her depiction of a woman working incredibly hard to keep things together. TT

Approached with a little trepidation on my part, Stephen Hawking being a bit of a hero for me, I was surprisingly taken with his wife's story on the screen. Having followed his career, bought the books, the T-shirt etc. there was just enough physics in this to highlight the significance of his work. Eddie does the job brilliantly depicting the professor and Jane's earnest devotion shows well through the efforts of Felicity. Not least in her description of the tension between classical and quantum physics, demonstrated with a pea and a potato, explaining the consequences for belief in a divine creator. I found it a tad sentimental, much of the gritty battles omitted, but then real life love and devotion I think usually is; more so than fictionalised romance. NJT  

Only just out at the cinema, not a fan of 007 myself, Mr T saw this with some friends ....


A joy and delight for all conspiracy theorists... yes, the whole world is run by just one bloke. But worry not; M's posthumous wish is being enacted by 007.

" So... what makes a man become a paid assassin?"
"... well, it was either that or the priesthood."

M's discourse with the new 'C' runs to the point that you can only achieve so much with data and surveillance and at some point someone has to look the subject in the eyes and decide whether or not to pull the trigger. A licence to kill is also a licence to not kill.
Exploring further into the childhood and youth of James, the film brings together themes from Daniel Craig's incarnation as Fleming's espionage creation, moving deeper into the darker and more emotional Bond.  The film also pays homage to earlier Bonds with some subtle (and some not so subtle) references to the earlier movies in the franchise. Monica Bellucci is stunning and wonderful but appears for all too brief a moment in the film compared to Lea Seydoux who despite being a feisty young woman of some capacity for violence herself, did not convince me of her characters passions. And the man at the centre of things, yes, is truly dark but utterly affable and pleasant to the extent that I'm not convinced he will go down in the annals of Bond villainy on the basis of this outing.

Other than these points, thoroughly enjoyed the film, with all of the hallmark Bond necessities, wry humour, superlative cars, big scary henchman to fight, chases and the odd Martini, despite Q's recommended tipple. Not as reliant on the gadgetry as previous films but then that would have been counter-intuitive to the thrust of this story; as the bad guy is about to take control of the merged intelligence agencies of the developed nations in one huge new surveillance machine built on the banks of the Thames.  It also marks a significant development of Q's place in Bond's life. Mind you, James has been very naughty on his recent trip to Mexico City and has caused ripples in Whitehall... The Weberian bureaucracy and technocrats have proven the necessity of the machine over and above the '00' programme, but neither the new M nor James agree, and suggest that there is something about human interaction that somehow makes life more interesting. NJT


Gina R said...

I've only seen the first movie listed here but agree, it WAS good! Spin offs can be really hit or miss but definitely glad it was the latter. Thanks for the share guys!

Kelly said...

Should I admit I'm not familiar with Shaun the Sheep? I saw parts of the penguin movie at my grandkids' house and thought it was cute.

I'm still debating the Hawking film. I'd prefer more bio than romance.

I'll pass on Bond. ;)

So many books, so little time said...

Is it bad I haven't seen any of them? I always meant to see Madagascar but never got round to it. Want to see the new James Bond and the Krays movie

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Anonymous said...

We watched the Penguins of Madagascar last week, and laughed out loud the whole way through!! OK, there wasn't much of a plot, but it was just wonderful entertainment.

Suko said...

Tracy, thanks for your entertaining post. I haven't seen any of these films. The last movie I saw was the Steve Jobs movie, which I enjoyed.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I just read another positive review for the Shaun the Sheep film, so that's great you enjoyed it too. I really liked The Theory of Everything!


Brian Joseph said...

I am a James Bond fan. IU plan to go see the new film over the weekend.

I am excited that Specter is back. I am also glad that the new films are adding so much depth. Daniel Craig is such a superb actor and he is perfect for the roll.

Arti said...

I saw The Theory of Everything just a few weeks back and I liked watching it, like you, even I found Jane's character to be amazing. I have been planning to watch Penguins... for sometimes now but deferring it for later, your post nails it. Will look out for 'Shaun the Sheep Too' too. Thanks for your amazing reviews as always, Tracy.

Literary Feline said...

My daughter really enjoyed Shaun the Sheep, but I was bored. I don't like clay animation, which may have contributed to my dislike of the film. I am glad you liked it though.

I haven't watched any of the other movies you mentioned, I'm afraid.

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