#175 / 365 – ‘Horrid Henry’ – 93 mins
Cinema Challenge #73 / 115
Unruly Horrid Henry (Theo Stevenson) is too busy dreaming about being a rock star and fending off his “wormy worm” little brother Perfect Peter (Ross Marron) to do his homework. Naturally, this gets him into all kinds of trouble. Nasty old Miss Battle-Axe (Angelica Huston) promptly dumps him in detention. But Henry’s life is about to change in ways he couldn’t possibly anticipate. It seems Ashton Primary is to be closed and Vic Van Winkle (Richard E. Grant), the scheming head of grotty Brick House School, stands to make a fortune from the influx of pupils. Time for Henry to make a stand and do something he would normally oppose with every fibre of his being: save the school!
I approached the movie based on the hugely successful children’s books by Francesca Simon with a certain dread as everything in the Horrid (sorry) trailer for Horrid Henry shouted ‘worst movie of the year’. Well I happy to say that tag still lies with ‘Your Highness’ and ‘Zookeeper’ and the adventures of Henry and his ‘Purple Hand Gang’ and turned out to be mildly enjoyable experience.
Theres some good characters on show, with Angelica Huston as Miss Battleaxe being the most pleasurable to watch, as she takes a pivotal role in Henry’s Too Cool for School programme, its just shameful the character was criminally underused. Theo Stevenson’s performance as the titular character is impressive as he carries most of the movie on his shoulder.
Throughout the many chaotic scenes where everything is loudly coloured does result in the film becoming disjointed and headache-inducing at times. I watched Horrid Henry with my niece and nephews Jodie, Charlie and Harry and glancing across from time-to-time to see they’re faces, it was easy to see they were totally engrossed in Henry’s activities throughout it’s 93 minute runtime. So given they were it’s target audience and it was greatly enjoyed by them, then it should be applauded for achieving that plan, and is why it gets the following two ratings.
#176 / 365 – ‘The Big Lebowski’ (1998) – 117 mins
IMDb Challenge #103 / 250 – Ranked #139 – Via DVD Collection
When “The Dude” Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) is mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, two thugs urinate on his rug to coerce him into paying a debt he knows nothing about. While attempting to gain recompense for the ruined rug from his wealthy counterpart, he accepts a one-time job with high pay-off. He enlists the help of his bowling buddy, Walter (John Goodman), a gun-toting Jewish-convert with anger issues. Deception leads to more trouble, and it soon seems that everyone from porn empire tycoons to nihilists want something from The Dude.
It’s all about the ‘Dude’ in what probably is the Coen brothers most lunatic film. There are complete moments of utter hilarity throughout with some great and insane dialogue being exchanged between Dude and Walter, especially when they’re arguing which has become repeatably quotable over the years.
There’s fantastic characters all around, the trio of The Dude, Walter and Donny have such a believable relationship that you believe they known each other for years and this is perfectly illustrated in the first bowling scene. It’s also worth noting the supporting character of Jesus Quintana brilliantly portrayed by scene stealing John Turturro.
In the Dude, the Coen’s have created one of the most iconic stoner bum character’s in movie history and nobody plays lazy like Jeff Bridges. With every Coen brothers film you never know what you’re going to be severed with, which is what makes them such unique filmmakers. Make sure you check out this cult classic.
#177 / 365 – ‘The Lion King’ (1994) – 89 mins
IMDb Challenge #104 / 250 – Ranked #143 – Via DVD Collection
A young lion prince is born in Africa, thus making his uncle Scar the second in line to the throne. Scar plots with the hyenas to kill King Mufasa and Prince Simba, thus making himself King. The King is killed and Simba is led to believe by Scar that it was his fault, and so flees the kingdom in shame. After years of exile he is persuaded to return home to overthrow the usurper and claim the kingdom as his own thus completing the “Circle of Life”.
I had never seen The Lion King until today, and this challenge has now given me the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss is about. Well what I can I say. I was just totally blown away by the compelling story which is reminiscent of Hamlet. The vocal talent of superb, James Earl Jones, Rowan Atkinson, Matthew Broderick, Whoopi Goldberg but pick of the bunch as to be Jeremy Irons as Mustafa evil ambitious brother.
The Lion King gets everything just right and it’s full of excitement, humor along with an undercurrent of seriousness, and oh and you get some great songs by good old Elton John to sing along too, “Circle of Life”, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “Hakuna Matata”. This is another heartwarming Disney classic that I certainly will be watching again and again in the years to come.