This category contains 259 posts

Review – Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

In a relentless drive to up the ante in Marvel comic-book sequels, it’s only Joss Whedon’s sense of humour that saves this noisy, CGI-laden behemoth from crash, bash and smash tedium. The script is a load of portentous twaddle about artificial intelligence, monsters, mayhem and extinction-level events, or, put another way, any excuse to run … Continue reading

Review: Child 44 (2015)

Chameleon actor Tom Hardy (Batman, Legend) turns in a Brando-like performance as Russian war hero turned investigator Leo Demidov on the trail of a serial killer. In a paranoid Soviet state of suspicion and fear, executing its citizens at will, even his schoolteacher wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace – Prometheus, Dragon Tatoo trilogy) is afraid of … Continue reading

Last Knights (2015)

This technically impressive Euro-Asian co-production resets the 47 Ronin (the proper story, not the Keanu Reeves disaster) in a fantasy-medieval, multi-cultural version of the Byzantine Empire, looking for that Game of Thrones crossover. After Morgan Freeman’s (Transcendence, Lucy) nobleman sacrifices himself on principle, Clive Owen (Bourne, Closer) heads the masterless Samurai – sorry, knights – … Continue reading

Movie Catch-up: Jack Reacher (2012)

In an efficient, and in places, stylish, action thriller, the physically massive protagonist of Lee Child’s novels is replaced by the diminutive and svelt Tom Cruise. Between Knight and Day and various Missions Improbable, Cruise manages to bland-down the titular hero to a point somewhere between Minority Report and TV’s The Equaliser.

Review: Cinderella (2015)

Shakespeare and opera actor/director Ken Branagh continues his mainstream success (Thor, Jack Ryan) with this lavish live-action spectacular lifted from the Disney and Charles Perrault fairytales. It’s an entirely conventional re-telling of an orphaned girl and her chance meeting with a mystery prince named Kit in a fairy-tale Ruritanian kingdom; of vast fairy-tale palaces and … Continue reading

Review: Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Sam Taylor-Johnson steers this knowingly hilarious, better than expected Mills and Bondage, adapted from the terrible E L James “best-seller” – somebody still needs to explain that to me – down a surprising feminist path. Two surprises; it’s not the anticipated exploitation movie, being rather coy about the S&M; and it’s not flat-out terrible; plus … Continue reading

Review: The Imitation Game (2014)

This unassuming biopic of British scientist and father of modern computing, Alan Turing, is warmly and delicately told from his time as a schoolboy prodigy to his last days as a convicted, chemically castrated outcast. Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness, The Fourth Estate) brings his other-worldly strangeness to the obsessive cryptographer and builder of … Continue reading

Review: Ex Machina (2015)

Shy, awkward programmer Caleb wins the company lottery; a week with his reclusive boss Nathan, the brilliant, billionaire founder of the world’s largest search engine, at Nathan’s isolated private estate in the wilds of Alaska. On arriving, Caleb finds his prize is in fact to run the Turing Test on Nathan’s ground breaking artificial intelligence, … Continue reading

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Welcome to the futuristic San Fransokyo, where misfit robotics prodigy (aren’t they all) Hiro takes on his late brother’s project, a medical robot, Baymax. But soon Hiro and his band of misfit science geek friends (aren’t they all) are out to catch the evil genius (aren’t they all) who stole Hiro’s invention and caused his … Continue reading

Review: The Theory of Everything (2015)

Everyone knows Stephen Hawking, the world’s most famous living physicist, author of a Brief History of Time, now so famous that he’s appeared on everything from The Simpsons to Star Trek. He is also the most famous motor neurone survivor. From his bleak diagnosis in the 1960’s, The Theory of Everything follows the controversial physicist’s … Continue reading

Review: Blackhat (2015)

The question is, can master of style over substance Michael Mann (Heat, Miami Vice) overcome the worst movie title this decade as well as make computer hacking gripping and exciting? The answer is – no. So instead he churns out a third-rate Bond movie in his his favourite cop-show format. Redoubtable Chris Hemsworth (Rush, Thor) … Continue reading

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