Re-inventing, then re-re-inventing the comic-book hero from WWII saviour to man-out-of-time in the present day, the two Captain Americas are as different from each other in tone and style as chalk and cheese.
But while Captain America pulls off the all-American, White Hat hero with spotless morals, there’s an oddly asexual, homo-erotic theme in both movies – and not just in the amount of leather bondage-wear sported by both casts.
Impressive action sequences can’t disguise these boy’s own fantasies as anything more than comic-book wet-dreams with extraordinary budgets. Continue Reading
Gaenocologist Catherine (Julianne Moore – Magnolia, Mockingjay) believes college professor husband David (Liam Neeson – Taken, The Grey) is having affairs with his students. So she hires up-market call-girl (aren’t they all) Chloe (Amanda Seyfried – In Time, Red Riding Hood) to see if he falls to temptation. Like you do. But Chloe develops an obsession with Catherine.
Respected and prolific art-house director Atom Egoyan (Erotica, The Captive) remakes French erotic thriller Nathalie, and despite stellar performances from Moore and Seyfried, the whole preposterous melodrama collapses under French bourgeois angst. Continue Reading
Jupiter Ascending is the latest extravaganza from the Wachowskis – spoiler alert!
Mila Kunis’ (Ted) Jupiter Jones leads a hated poverty-trap life cleaning other people’s loos with her Russian immigrant family in Chicago. A chance decision to sell her own eggs to an alien-infested fertility clinic lands her into the chaotic realisation that she has inherited planet Earth from herself, and her son/fiancé is none too happy about it…
So far, so promisingly bonkers, but is it any good? Nowhere near as much all-out fun as Guardians of the Galaxy, which it resembles. Continue Reading
Jake Ghyllenhaal (Source Code, Prince of Persia) stars in and produces this queasy thriller of a nocturnal LA news reporter chasing the ambulances in search of ratings.
Opening with Ghyllenhaal’s Louise Bloom trying to fence metals stolen with violence and trying to talk himself into a job, we already know that his immensely polite and wide-eyed openness is a thin veneer; Bloom is a unique and distinctive anti-hero.
Speaking fluently in the language of teach-yourself-business books and self-help courses, Bloom flagrantly manipulates everyone around him in single-minded pursuit of the American Dream. Continue Reading
Producer David Hayman’s adaptation of Michael Bond’s children’s book may be more Harry Potter than anything else, but that doesn’t matter. Hayman’s oddly retro-anachronistic take on the bear from darkest Peru is a joy, a delight, a treasure.
Ben Wishaw (Skyfall, Cloud Atlas) voices the innocent-abroad, Paddington, not only remade as a slapstick hero after Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, but possibly the most polite movie hero in screen history. Everyone will want to look after this bear. Continue Reading
De-bunking the Hercules myth and rebuilding it as a sword-and-sandals Magnificent Seven (count ‘em at the end), Big Action director Brett Ratner builds big stupid fun with plenty of hacking and slaying around Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson.
The cheeky script from Radical Comics’ revisionist Hercules leaves no cliche untouched in this CGI-laden romp, but it’s the best of British – Sewell, Hurt, Fiennes, Mullen and McShane – who steer it home. Continue Reading
Favourite bonkers French bloke Luc Besson (Fifth Element, Lockout) steps straight from Nikita into Transcendence via 2001: A Space Odessey and with his latest sci-fi thriller of big guns, big brains and big ideas.
The science may be specious, but the action is frenetic and stylised. In typical Besson style of throwing everything at the screen to see what sticks, there’s action, there’s pathos, philosophy and an art-house score from Eric Serra. Continue Reading