Five years on: the ‘vikings’ are still inexplicably Scottish, their kids remain, more inexplicably, irritating all-American teens; Jay Baruschel still sounds like Tom Hanks; but the dragons and the flying sequences are even more thrilling. Just as well, given some dodgy politics.
At times terrifyingly dark, intense and scary, the kinetic theme-park ride can’t conceal the broadest-brushed life lessons in a hackneyed script. But why does Kate Blanchett’s character look like a space alien, and what’s with the borderline racism? Continue Reading
Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s third instalment of the pretentiously labelled Cornetto triology delivers yet another bizarre and slightly desperate genre mash-up. As top-notch British actors uncomfortably mix profanity, slick martial arts action, and big-effects sci-fi, one wonders what we could have had if the touching buddy-comedy-drama had been left to play it straight.
There are laughs and superb performances, but it’s all undercut by the desperate silliness of alien killer robots. Continue Reading
Always watchable Tom Cruise fights another War of the Worlds in this rollicking, timey-wimey, CGI-laden Groundhog Troopers. Or should that be Starship Groundhogs? Or possibly Independence Groundhogs?
Five years after meteorites crash land carrying an alien invasion force, cowardly PR slime-ball Will Cage (Cruise) is sent to the front-line as cannon-fodder and is killed almost immediately – only to wake up again at the start of the previous day. Somehow he’s been infected with the aliens’ ability to ‘reset’ time. Under the training of Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), Cage lives the same day over and over; but foreknowledge of the battlefield doesn’t prevent the failure of the human counter-attack. Instead, the pair have to find a way to kill the alien central ‘mind’ before the attack even happens.
It’s Groundhog Day with armoured exoskeletons, big guns, big explosions and hordes of thrashing, tentacled metal nasties. Continue Reading
A talented ensemble cast swap wigs, prosthetics, race and even gender in multiple roles, but the question remains; is the sprawling, interlocking, portmanteau fantasy-drama a breath of fresh air or an epic failure? You can see why so many award-winners signed up for the challenge; there are some stunning performances; but no amount of makeup can make up for the pretentious twaddle at the heart of the script.
Adapted from David Mitchell’s novel of the same name, Cloud Atlas tells six stories in a variety of genres spread over a period of nearly 500 years, from 1850 to 2321. As a technical exercise, it is a stunning assembly; six plots and six sets of characters that form six distinct movies cut together with profanity, nudity and some graphic violence; but the house of cards threatens to topple over about every ten minutes.
The Wachowskis fancy themselves as philosophers and visionaries, which is why they, with arthouse director Tom Twyker, took on the ‘unfilmable’ novel. These days, anything is filmable, but does that make a decent movie? Continue Reading
In our only concession to the Soccer World Cup, Michael Caine and Sly Stallone defy the Nazis in this throw-back WWII prisoner-of-war-with-soccer movie, aided by Pele, Booby Moore and a host of International soccer stars. Time to party like it’s 1966.
Aside from the cliched plot and the flat script, the biggest question is can any movie dramatise football in any way to make it as exciting as the real game? Assuming you think football is exciting to begin with? Continue Reading
Nieces. That’s my excuse for going to see this. So what’s the producers excuse for what they’ve done to a beloved childrens’ TV character?
Why, when they make a feature length movie, do producers want to take the very thing they presumably paid a lot of money for the movie rights, then turn it into something else?
Postman Pat The Movie is like a throwback to 70′s sit-com spin-offs; take a successful TV property, then take it on holiday; sacrifice the familiar elements that make it what it is, then ditch the characters, the setting and any of the plotting and turn it into… a shallow imitation of itself. Continue Reading
American-Japanese fantasy action with a comic-book sensibility, featuring mythical beasts, shape-shifting witches, shaolin-space-alien monks, a cave troll from LOTR; and Keanu Reeves as half-breed sword-slinger Kai doing a bit of super-powered Matrix-ing as a Samurai Messiah. Again.
Look down the list on my movie site and you’ll see I love Eastern cinema; clearly so do the producers of 47 Ronin, which is presumably why they’ve lashed together this Kurosawa-Manga-anime-Tolkien mash-up with a big American star name and a huge budget. Unfortunately what they’ve produced is more Cowboy and Aliens than The Hidden Fortress, Hero or Thirteen Assassins.
It looks stunning in every frame but, boy, it’s all over the place. Continue Reading