100 Word Review – Hocus Pocus (1993)

If you’re only going to watch one film this Halloween, make it this one.

Max (Omri Katz), with his little sister (Thora Birch) and a local girl (Vinessa Shaw), lights a candle and sets in motion an age old curse, resurrecting the Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy), witches who have been dead for 300 years.

Corny maybe, but it is also hilarious. Full of enough jokes to keep adults thoroughly entertained and jumps to keep kids on the edge of their seats. Directed by Kenny Ortega (High School Musical, This Is It), it could be nothing less.

100 Word Review – Coraline (2009)

Disappointed and frustrated by her life, Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) discovers an alternate reality in which everything is the same but better. What dark secrets could such a place be hiding?

Based on a novel by the always remarkable Neil Gaiman (Stardust, Mirrormask) and adapted and directed by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach), this is a beautiful family animation with a dark and twisted underbelly only found in the best children’s stories.

Nominated for an Oscar and with some recognisable voices (listen out for French and Saunders) this film is quite simply brilliant.

100 Word Review – Men In Black (1997)

As a piece of my childhood I find it hard to be objective about this film. Having said that I’ve never met anyone who disliked it.

After seeing a suspect blink sideways, police officer Jay (Will Smith) is inducted into a top secret organisation that keeps the world safe from aliens who already live on Earth, the Men In Black. Tommy Lee Jones co-stars as MIB stalwart, Kay.

Adapted from Lowell Cunningham’s comic by Ed Solomon (Now You See Me, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and directed by Barry Sonnefeld (Wild Wild West, Get Shorty), this film is brilliant fun.

100 Word Review – Megamind (2010) 

Don’t underestimate this film. It may not be Despicable Me, but  definitely fits into that wheelhouse and is certainly worth a watch.

Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the ultimate super villain; he defeated his arch-nemesis Metro Man (Brad Pitt). But what is a villain with no one to struggle against?

Clearly based on the Superman origin story with an unusual perspective, it highlights everything that is brilliant about super heroes, as well as everything that isn’t.

Directed by Tom McGrath (Madagascar) and co-starring Jonah Hill, David Cross, Ben Stiller and Tina Fey, this film is great fun for all the family.

100 Word Review – The Goonies (1985)

Hey you guys! 

I watched this for the first time last night and was blown away!

Set in a time before parents worried about their children disappearing on bikes into the sunset, a groups of kids (Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Jeff Cohen, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton and Jonathan Ke Quan) seek a pirates treasure while being pursued by escaped criminals.

Screenplay by Chris Columbus (Gremlins), directed by Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon) with Steven Spielberg responsible for the story, it’s everything you’d hope for from an 80’s family action adventure film.

You’ll laugh, jump and quote it for days!

100 Word Review – The Addams Family (1991)

Margaret: Where’s your costume?

Wednesday: This is my costume. I’m a homicidal maniac. They look just like everybody else.

Adapted from The New Yorker satirical comic strip of the 1940s and the TV series of the 1960s and 1970s, this time the inversion of the ideal American family are hitting the silver screen.

After going missing in the Bermuda Triangle for 25 years, Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) is reunited with Gomez (Raul Julia), Morticia (Angelica Huston), Wednesday (Christina Ricci), Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) and Lurch (Carel Struycken). But is everything as it appears.

Family-friendly fun, albeit with a morbid sense of humour.

100 Word Review – Last Action Hero (1993)

Arnie’s back.

Danny (Austin O’Brien) is a young boy with a big imagination, obsessed with his favourite action hero Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger). When he is given a ticket to the latest Slater flick he jumps at the chance, little suspecting that he might become part of the action…

Co-staring the magnetic Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones), this is lighter and more comedic than a lot of Arnie’s ouevre, but doesn’t quite fit in to his family-friendly-range (see Junior or Twins). It’s a joy to watch, full of the ridiculous one-liners and explosions we’ve come to expect.

100 Word Review – Up (2009)

Possibly one of Pixar’s most beautiful family features. 

Carl (voiced by Edward Asner) has lived a long life. Now widowed and alone, Carl will stop at nothing to prevent developers from seizing his property, including flying away.

Written and directed by Pete Doctor (Inside Out, Wall.E) and Bob Peterson (Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc.), it captures the spirit of adventure that lives on in us long after our childhood years. Christopher Plummer along with both directors and various members of their family, lent his voice to the film.

Winner of two Oscars for music and animation, it’s now #114 in IMDb’s Top 250.

100 Word Review – Lars and The Real Girl (2007)

One of the best films I have ever seen about coping with mental illness in a loved one.

Lars (Ryan Gosling) is an awkward young man who brings his girlfriend over for dinner with his brother (Paul Schneider) and sister-in-law (Emily Mortimer). She is a sex doll called Bianca, that Lars ordered online and is having a deep and meaningful relationship with.

Writer Nancy Oliver (Six Feet Under, True Blood) was nominated for an Oscar for her work. This film is moving beyond belief, but in a really happy way. It’s touching and subtle and dry and very very human.


100 Word Review – Inside Out (2015)

I cry at every Pixar film, so let’s take that as a given.

Inside Out follows Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) from the unique perspective of her governing emotions, as she moves to San Francisco for her dad’s work. Meet Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Fear (Bill Hader) and Anger (Lewis Black).

Despite a couple of moments where they chose the easy stereotype, Pixar are on top form. Pete Doctor (Up, Monsters Inc) and Ronaldo Del Carmen (Ratatouille, Brave) wrote and directed it. It’s already #48 on IMDb’s Top 250.

No wonder I laughed, cried and felt all warm inside.