The child-killing game show is back in a champion-of-champions rematch, with Katniss and Peeta recalled to the arena to die in a rigged game before they can start a revolution.
Jennifer Lawrence impresses again as Katniss, the backwoods heroine with a bow and arrow trying to defy the totalitarian state of dictator President Snow – an arch performance by Donald Sutherland turning in his first proper acting performance in years. Watch for class act Philip Symour Hoffman as the new game maker Plutarch Heavensbee.
With Katniss and Peeta combating post-traumatic stress, and divided after the fake romance that got them out of their first Hunger Games, the naive pair are soon causing all kinds of trouble on their victory tour around the oppressed twelve districts. Their appearances begin to brew the very revolution that the Games are intended to quell. Continue Reading
Veteran director Clint Eastwood’s earnest biopic of FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover chooses to gloss over the corruption, illegality and blackmail in favour of a pitiful and unfulfilled gay love story, underpinned by a romantic score.
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator, Body of Lies) produces yet another remarkable performance, both as the driven young Hoover and the prosthetics-laden bitter old man. The trouble is, neither he nor Eastwood can help themselves but make one of the twentieth century’s most vilified men into a hopeless romantic lead. Tip-toeing around Hoover’s homosexuality, cross-dressing and ego-mania, we’re asked to excuse his paranoia and lies as merely brilliant Walter Mitty delusions all in the name of patriotism.
How they think they can white-wash Hoover’s illegal detentions, deportations and wire-taps in the current debate over constitutional rights with that delicate piano love theme is beyond me. Sorry gentlemen, it won’t wash. Continue Reading
Smith-Family Robinson meets Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island, all done with M. Knight Shame-About-the-Last-One’s heavy handed symbolism; a sci-fi fable that has divided opinion.
Polluted Earth. Exodus. Space colony. Alien Invasion. Blind aliens, but they can smell fear!
Tough space ranger. Headstrong teenage son. Broken relationship. Spaceship crash! Earth. Alien on the loose!
With this little subtlety, you know something’s wrong when Smith Snr. is a character called Cypher Raige and Smith Jnr. sees dead people… Continue Reading
As a syrupy ‘prequel’ to The Queen, Princess Diana’s alleged love of her life is retold in an embarrassing TV-movie aberration that would fit right into the Hallmark Entertainment stable. Just one question Naomi – you’re an Oscar winner, why this?
Being kind, Oliver Hirschbiegel’s (Downfall) well-intentioned, reverential and sentimental biopic is an excruciating, drawn out gossip-magazine fantasy of tabloid dialogue. Perhaps the switch to saint Diana from sinner Hitler and a change of language got the better of this project?
Apparently Naomi Watts ‘couldn’t say no’ to the role; why not? Surely she read the script first? Continue Reading
This highly anticipated sequel to Kenneth Branagh and Joss Whedon’s 2011 Thor is great fun, looks fabulous, and is streets ahead of the recent Superman offering.…
A sterling turn from Chris Hemsworth as a heroic, handsome and sincere Thor, though Natalie Portman’s beautifully blow-dried heroine Jane hasn’t much to do except get infected, fought over – and mope.
Tom Hiddleston is clearly having a ball, stealing the show as the humorous, vicious and treacherous Loki Continue Reading
Joseph Kosiniski’s futuristic adventure sets Tom Cruise as a drone-repair man on a devastated post-alien invasion Earth.
The planet is a post-nuclear, post-volcanic wasteland inhabited by Scav’s; humanity has fled leaving memory-wiped Jack Harper (Cruise – Mission Impossible) and partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) running the drones that keep the Scav’s away from the fusion generators draining Earth’s oceans. Cruise has memories of Earth before the war, and of a mystery woman, Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace). And don’t you know it, she crash lands on his doorstep.
Technically flawless, Oblivion has some of the best visual effects anywhere, every CGI sequence is like a photorealistic cover of a classic sci-fi novel. And there’s a sweet love-story fighting to get out from beneath the the overload of grand sci-fi tropes. Just nobody mention Wall-E… Continue Reading
Avengers director Joss Wheedon follows the Buffy formula for the comic-book, non-super-hero, whizz-bang action spy series. TV Marvel methodone for superhero film fans.
It really does feel like a return to Buffy after the disappeared-up-its-own-tailpipe, conspiracy labyrinth of Dollhouse. Jumping in where Avengers Assemble left off, the miraculously resurrected Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) puts together his Mission Improbable team of assassin, two science geeks, retired superspy and ingenue hacker, jumps on a stealth cargo jet packed with gadgets to fly round the world doing the derring-do.
It’s expensive, action-packed, smart, witty comics-inspired moodling. Only thing is, it’s not the Avengers. Continue Reading