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Movies With Michael Doherty

Friday, 28 November 2008

Michael will be reviewing
. Madagascar 2
. The Secret Life of Bees
. Transporter 3
. Lakeview Terrace

Madagascar 2
Director: Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith
Rating: ***
Courtesy: Paramount Pictures

Plot: Attempting to reach home, the quartet of New York zoo animals and assorted hangers-on crash-land on the African mainland. As the wily penguins set about another escape plan, Alex the lion (Stiller) re-discovers his heritage...

Michael's Verdict: Entertaining sequel to the animated smash following our band of intrepid Zoo animals as they find themselves stranded on the African continent. This is a smarter movie than the original, with the strong cast - Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer - all on good form making hay with the fact that these are New Yorkers who can't cope with life ion the wild and can't relate to their fellow species.

Other verdict: Despite opening with a flashback intro of how Alex the lion (Stiller) came to New York to entertain zoo crowds, this sequel to 2005's Madagascar kicks off right where the last one left off. Alex, Marty the Zebra (Rock), Doris the hippo (Pinkett-Smith) and Melman the giraffe (Schwimmer) board a beat-up plane to leave their adopted land of Madagascar for new York. They don't make it, and crash land in Africa where Alex runs into his father (the late Bernie Mac in one of his last roles), battling with rival Makunga (Alec Baldwin) for the king of the Pride. The reunion is short lived, however, as Alex fails an initiation rite and is banished. He gets a chance to be a hero, though, when the nature reserve's watering hole dries up...

As usual, there are a multitude of pop references for adults that kids will enjoy too: gags nicked from (sorry, pay homage to) West Side Story, The Simpsons, The Twilight Zone, Planet Of The Apes and the plane crash scene from Almost Famous; while there's a number of song and dance numbers that include Private Dancer and More Than A Feeling. The best gag, although, has to go to Alex's Deja vu line - a nod and a wink by the filmmakers that we've seen all this before, perhaps? It might star Ben Stiller and Chris Rock, but neither are able to bring their own brand of comedy to the proceedings. As with the previous instalment, the best thing about Escape 2 Africa are the penguin mafia. But, again, there's not enough of them. Sacha Baron Cohen and Cedric The Entertainer return to lend their voices.

Review by Gavin Burke for

The Secret Life of Bees
Gina Prince-Bythewood
Starring: Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennefer Hudson
Running Time: 111' 30"
Rating: ***
Classification: 15A
Courtesy: 20th Century Fox

Plot: South Carolina, 1964. Haunted by the death of her mother, 14 year-old Lily (Fanning) seeks solace with her housekeeper Rosaleen (Hudson). When the pair go on the run after Rosaleen is racially attacked, they find refuge with the bee-keeping Boatwright sisters...

Michael's Verdict: Heartwarming drama set in the Deep South in 1964 with young Dakota Fanning attempting to flees the clutches of evil father Paul Bettany and finding solace in the company of housekeeper Jennifer Hudson. The cracking support cast includes Sophie Okonedo, Queen Latifah and Alicia Keyes. (The film's release has been overshadowed by the real-tragedy to Hudson and her family.

Other Verdict: Adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name, 'The Secret Life of Bees' sees Dakota Fanning lead an extremely talented cast admirably. She plays Lily, a teenage girl who has grown up without the love of a mother after she was killed in a tragic accident when she was but a child. If that wasn't bad enough, her father (Paul Bettany doing a fantastic southern accent) is abusive, and takes out her mother's untimely demise on her. One day, the bright Lily has enough, so she bounces her nanny (Hudson) from police custody and they both go in search of information on Lily's mother. They end up staying with Miss August (Latifah), a kindly black woman living with her two sisters, who may have known her mother. Set in the Deep South during the era of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it's not the first film to explore the tension and racial violence that took place around that time, nor is it the best; but it is the first that will appeal to the tween in you life. There's an extremely likeable lead in Fanning, as well as a story that is well told and structured, but not too bogged-down in plot. Proceedings are, of course, underlined with a certain inevitability, but that's not the point, here - despite predictable plot turns and an unsure start, it really is engrossing, as we spend just enough time with each character to get to know them better. This is essentially a touching ensemble piece anchored by Fanning, and she has grown from gifted youngster to a genuinely fantastic actress - the Jodie Foster comparisons may not be as far-fetched as first thought. There's also a slight whimsical element throughout that you can't help but buy into, rendering this a more attractive option than the latest CGI dog saving the world. The teens will lap this up, but there's a good chance that you will, too. The Secret Life of Bees is a hugely endearing feel-good film that transcends preconceptions.

Review by Mike Sheridan for

Transporter 3
Directors: Olivier Megaton
Starring: Jason Statham, Francois Berleand, Robert Knepper
Running Time: 103' 30"
Classification: 15A
Courtesy: Icon Films

Plot: Ice-cool driver Frank Martin (Statham) is forced into action when a terrorist (Knepper) straps a bomb to his wrist and insists he transport the kidnapped daughter (Rudakova) of a politician to a rendezvous. Should be easy - until Frank falls for the girl.

Other Verdict: This movie is a shame. Furthermore, it's a damned shame. I hate to be that way towards a guy I really like (Jason Statham) but it's true. He should have passed on this check and used his time to learn another martial arts discipline (Krav Maga maybe?).
All movies require that you suspend your disbelief on some level. You know E.T. doesn't like Reese's Pieces (he likes Krackel) and you realize that Will Smith can't fly an alien space craft. No worries, you're there to be entertained, to be swept away in the moment. But the very premise of Transporter 3 is so mind-bogglingly stupid as to be offensive. This film doesn't want you to check your brain at the door -- it wants you to walk in sporting a full frontal lobotomy. So from here on out we're going to talk about some major spoilers. If you still plan on seeing this after my initial advice, then tune out. Thanks for making it this far.

Review from

Lakeview Terrace
Directors: Neil LaBute
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington, Ron Glass,
Running Time: 110' 12"
Rating: **
Classification: 15A
Courtesy: Sony Pictures

Plot: Interracial couple Chris (Patrick Wilson) and Lisa (Kerry Washington) buy a home in upscale LA and earn the disapproval of Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson), the widowed black beat cop next door, who has strict 'rules' about things - and ways to enforce them.

Michael's Verdict: Routine thriller in which racist cop Samuel L. Jackson harasses his neighbours inter-racial couple Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington

Other Verdict: As a thriller it's solid three-star tension. As a Samuel L. Jackson showcase it proves a man can only coast through so many turns before having to display his full and overpowering talent.
Review by Kim Newman for Empire Magazine

To mark the release of Madagascar 2 Escape 2 Africa, The Afternoon Show has 10 movie goodie bags dvd, speaker set and t-shirt to giveaway!

For your chance to win one, simply answer the following question:

In the first Madagascar movie what Zoo did Alex and his friends escape from

A. Central Park Zoo


B. Dublin Zoo

Email your answer, along with your name and contact details to

The closing date for the competition is midnight December 5th.
Winners will be contacted and names posted here on December 8th

RTE standard competition terms & conditions apply