Two things you need to know about Gareth Edwards tightly-coupled prequel to Episode IV: A New Hope; there’s enough Star Wars-porn to satisfy the die-hard fans; and it’s really another World War Two movie with spaceships.
Inspired by the one-line mention of the small team that stole the plans of the Death Star, Edwards re-manufactures Where Eagles Dare and Guns of Navarone as a space-faring, behind-the-lines mission in which Felicity Jones and Diego Luna lead a rag-tag bunch of rebels to stop the Empire’s planet-killing weapon of mass destruction.
Never afraid of gratuitously over-the-top violence, death and destruction, this is anything but a kid’s fairy story, packed with shoot-outs, dog-fights, big fleet actions, big alien planets and regular rounds of blowing stuff up in gloriously rendered CGI detail: Star Wars reduced to its constituent parts. Continue Reading
Too-short Cruise does the running-jumping-shooting-punching thing, this time ripping off Taken right down to a version of that phone speech to the principle bad guy. It’s a polished version of the middle-aged-guy-with-skills-and-guns alright, but it’s no more than that. Never Go Back? Only if there’s a big franchise pay-check.
Charismatic, but increasingly asexual, Tom Cruise is now such a big movie star that every project he takes on becomes a Tom Cruise vanity project; look how Tom can run, jump, shoot, punch. And how much he now looks like a waxwork of himself.
Ex-military investigator Reacher drifts from case to case and positively trips over this one. His army successor, Major Turner (Coby Smulders – Avengers – holding the screen rather well) has been falsely accused on treason charges. Add in the revelation of a tearaway teen daughter he didn’t know about (an excellent Danika Yarosh), with the bad guys on their tail, there’s a military conspiracy to uncover. Continue Reading
An amusing genre mash-up of horror and classic literature tumbles out of the one-joke, no-budget, B-movie drawer. The cast has a whale of a time turning Jane Austen into the Walking Dead with bonnets, but for all it’s knowing winks and attractive stars, it’s little more than an overstretched French and Saunders sketch.
If you’re in the narrow, venn diagram demographic of classic literature, period drama and bloody body-horror fans, you will appreciate the genre clash, but maybe not all the way to the creaky, Hammer-inflected climax. Continue Reading
This dour and violent DC Comics adaptation is mostly a cynical marketing pitch for a whole string of movie franchises that instead should be stepping up to meet Marvel Studio’s brio. Technically brilliant, it’s loo long and very, very dull. Very dull.
In the aftermath of the Kryptonian 9-11-like invasion of Earth, evil genius Lex Luthor ferments a war between DC’s two greatest superheroes. For two and a half hours. Which is about an hour too long. Did I mention it’s quite dull?
Maybe it’s just me, but Superman was always so overloaded with powers, so invincible he can survive a nuclear explosion (spoiler), that writers always had to come up with increasingly daft threats to put him in danger, usually alien, and/or Kyptonite. So it ever was, so it is now. Guess what director Zack Snyder and writing team resort to? Continue Reading
The A-team of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass return to the Bourne franchise to give us more of what we want. It may not be original, but it has grit, tension and that visceral quality that made Bourne the go-to spy-guy. That was then, what about now?
Damon matures well as the battered survivor Jason Bourne with the extreme espionage skills, although the extended origins plot is now getting a little thin. We go further back into Bourne’s family history, turning the whole Bourne franchise into an Inigo Montoya revenge tale. Continue Reading
Closing the series, this expensive YA sci-fi remains predictably hokey, as the increasingly bland Tris (Shalene Woodley) and action-eye-candy Four (Theo James) lead the Divergent crew into the wasteland beyond the city walls. If they’re unlucky, they’ll meet the Scorch Triallers coming one way and the Hunger Gamers coming the other. But it will all be fine in the safe hands of the gently benevolent Jeff Daniels (Looper). Won’t it? Continue Reading
Duncan Jones (Moon) almost pulls off a triumph in bringing the Warcraft online game to life. His stock fantasy world is fully realised, where even the Orcs can be good guys; there’s plenty of bash, crash and smash, griffons, golems, wizards, fell beasts, wargs and that bloke from Vikings getting all angsty. So it’s Paula Patton (MI4) who takes the honours as leather-bikini-clad Garona, half-orc warrior, acting the rest off-screen through a set of joke-shop fangs whilst painted green like one o’ them birds out of Start Trek TOS. Continue Reading