There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining movies have been made using far less as source material (see The Lego Movie). But while there are some hilarious verbal and visual gags peppered throughout this movie, it all hinges on a script that's painfully obvious and animation that simply isn't inventive enough to hold the attention without a decent story and stronger characters.
It's set in Textopolis, an app inside the smartphone of the teen Alex (Jake T. Austin). The central character is Gene (T.J. Miller), who has far too many expressions for a meh emoji. His parents (Jennifer Coolidge and Steven Wright) worry that he has some sort of defect. Threatened by the cruel senior emoji Smiler (Maya Rudolph), Gene and his pal Hi-5 (James Cordon) sneak out of the app in search of the hacker Jailbreak (Anna Faris), who can help reprogramme him if they can make it to the cloud. But Smiler sends a team of killer bots in hot pursuit.
Yes, the plot is cursory at best, and essentially exists only so the film can namecheck carefully placed apps in a series of sponsored, rather pointless extended set pieces. This leaves the movie feeling like a low-rent variation on Wreck-It Ralph, although only a few of these sequences have any visual interest. The Candy Crush world is at least a colourful alternative to the dull digital look of most of most of the movie. And the lack of imagination shows in the depiction of music streaming as a stream and a firewall as a wall of fire. There's also a strange rush to violence in almost every sequence, as the bots continually try to delete our heroes.
Continue reading: The Emoji Movie Review
We use Emojis in text messages and social media everyday, but have you ever thought about what these images get up to when you put away your iPhone? When a high school boy goes to send his crush a 'Meh' emoji, it turns into something quite different. To the disappointment of his parents, Gene has never been quite as apathetic as he's expected to be, so when he messes up his moment it causes quite the problem for everyone else. Now the boy thinks his phone is broken, and he's on the way to get it re-set. That's not looking good for the emojis who find themselves desperately trying to back-up their world in the Cloud before their whole world gets wiped out. Meanwhile, Gene is about to learn that having more than one expression may not be such a bad thing after all.
Continue: Emoji Movie Trailer
When this South African animated adventure embraces its unique setting and characters, it's visually stunning and a lot of fun. But it also tries to force everything into a trite Hollywood formula, unnecessarily adding clunky songs, goofy comedy sidekicks and big action set-pieces. Still, there's enough fresh storytelling and lively humour to keep us engaged, and some spectacular animation too.
It's set in the Great Karoo desert, where a herd of zebras has fenced off its own watering hole. But as a drought sets in, bullied half-striped zebra Khumba (voiced by Jake T. Austin) becomes worried about the animals outside. When he hears about a mythical pond that can restore his stripes and supply water to everyone, he leaves his best pal Tombi (AnnaSophia Robb) to take an epic trek across the desert. Along the way he picks up a variety of goofy travelling companions, including a hyena (Steve Buscemi), buffalo (Loretta Devine) and ostrich (Richard E. Grant). But he's also hunted by the vicious half-blind leopard Phango (Liam Neeson), who blames Khumba for his own hot-tempered misfortunes.
The animators far surpass the simplistic script with imagery that takes the breath away, from expansive landscapes to cleverly designed characters. And as the wacky sidekicks continually try to push the film over into slapstick silliness, the startlingly violent Phango reminds us of the darker side of nature as well as some deeper African cultural issues. This mix sometimes feels jarring, but that works in the film's favour. As do some inspired comical gags involving, for instance, a nutty sheep (Catherine Tate), a gang of hilariously agreeable meerkats and a herd of dumb-jock springboks.
Continue reading: Khumba Review
Blu and Jewel believe that they are two of a kind as the only full grown blue macaws in existence as they make their home in a cosy Brazilian bird sanctuary with their fast-growing offspring. With Jewel developing itchy feet (or should that be talons?) and the 'babies' desperate to learn more about the world and their kind, the arrival of news of another flock of their kind deep in the Amazon rainforest sends Jewel reeling with excitement at the thought of vacating to the wild. Blu is less fond of the idea, now being comfortably accustomed to their artificial city lifestyle, but goes along on the adventure for the sake of Jewel. As they arrive in the jungle with their friends, they meet Jewel's formidable father and some old friends - and if that's not enough for Blu to worry about, Nigel the evil Sulphur-crested Cockatoo has also taken to the wild with revenge on his mind. But Nigel might not be the only thing to fear in the unpredictable Amazon wilderness.
Continue: Rio 2 - Alternative Trailer
Check out the colourful trailer below
When Khumba – a zebra with a lack of markings – is born into a superstitious herd, his fellow species think it’s a bad sign. And, much to young Khumba’s detriment, a potentially deadly drought soon follows his birth. But instead of letting his fellow zebras vilify him, he attempts to find a watering hole.
Hey, it's Khumba
In doing so, he meets a wide range of brilliantly funny, scary and loyal characters along way. There’s Phango, the dangerous leopard who controls the waterholes and terrorizes the animals in the Great Karoo, played by Liam Neeson.
Khumba is a young zebra who was born missing half of his stripes. Following his birth, there came a deadly drought threatening the survival of the herd and killing his mother. To his superstitious peers and his father, Khumba's unusual appearance is an extremely bad omen and he is eventually driven to run away from the herd to find water and acceptance elsewhere, leaving his only friend in Great Karoo, Tombi. On his travels, he meets a motherly wildebeest named Mama V and her wacky friend Bradley the Ostrich who are willing to travel with him and protect him from the ills of the wild, namely Phango the Leopard whose presence is a threat to every other creature in Great Karoo. He also meets Mantis, who reveals a map that could lead them to a waterhole - or will it instead lead Khumba to find his stripes?
'Khumba' is a heart-warming animated flick about that timeless message of accepting people's differences. It has been directed by Anthony Silverston in first direction, who co-wrote the screenplay alongside previous writing partner Raffaella Delle Donne ('Zambezia'). It was nominated for a Cristal award for best feature at the 2013 Annecy International Animated Film Festival and has already been released in the US.
Blu and Jewel's babies are growing up fast and developing an eagerness to learn about the world outside their Brazilian bird sanctuary run by kind owners Linda and Tulio. The free-spirited Jewel is also getting itchy feet, with the death-defying adventures of 'Rio' now wearing off, and is determined to venture out into the Amazon rainforest to meet other blue macaws and teach her children about life in the jungle. Joining them once again are their colourful avian friends Pedro, Nico and Rafael, and Luiz the bulldog who, just like Blu, struggle to adapt to the wild. On their new journey, Jewel meets her father after a long time apart, though he is anything but warm towards her slightly awkward mate. The in laws are the least of Blu's worries though as Nigel the evil Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is set to return once again with a revenge scheme on his mind.
'Rio 2' is the brilliant and wacky sequel to 2011's 'Rio' and sees the return of director Carlos Saldanha ('Ice Age', 'Robots') with a new co-screenwriter Don Rhymer ('Big Momma's House', 'The Santa Clause 2'). As well as all your favourite characters from the original movie, you'll get to see a lot more adorable new creatures as it hits UK cinemas in 3D on April 4th 2014.
Continue: Rio 2 Trailer
Jake T. Austin - Screening of a new documentary 'From One Second to the Next' - Los Angeles, CA, United States - Thursday 8th August 2013
Blu and Jewel live as an idyllic life as any blue macaw could wish for, raising their babies under the protection of their owners Linda and Tulio; two humans determined to keep the Brazilian jungle safe from the likes of the smugglers that previously endangered them. Rio bird parties are regular, and their flamboyant and unusual friendship group comprising of Pedro, a Red-crested Cardinal; Nico, a Yellow Canary; Rafael, Toco Toucan; and Luiz, a bulldog, are still with them enjoying their wonderful tropical lives. However, Jewel - a free spirit - wishes for nothing more than to venture into the wilderness of the Amazon rainforest; to raise their children among 'normal' birds and learn the ways of the wild. Used to being domesticated, adventure has never been a part of Blu's character and while struggling to adapt to his new surroundings, he finds himself intensely worried about the fate of his family. And when Nigel the evil Sulphur-crested Cockatoo makes his return, their new lives becoming anything but easy.
Continue: Rio 2 Trailer
Blu (voiced by Eisenberg) is a blue macaw raised in Minnesota alongside a little girl Linda (Mann). Years later, bird-rescuer Tulio (Santoro) wants to take Blu back to Rio de Janeiro so he can mate with the last remaining female of the species, Jewel (Hathaway). But in Brazil, the courtship between Blu and Jewel gets off to a rocky start, not least because Blu never learned how to fly. And when smugglers steal them, they need a variety of locals (including Lopez, Morgan, Foxx and Will.i.am) to help them escape from a menacing cockatoo (Clement).
Continue reading: Rio Review
Jake T. Austin Monday 4th February 2008 Special screening of 'Spiderwick Chronicles' at AMC Lincoln Square theatre New York City, USA
Date of birth
3rd December, 1994
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