BLENDED (PG) – Review

Warner Bros. Pictures/Happy Madison

Warner Bros. Pictures/Happy Madison

Warner Bros. Pictures/Happy Madison.

Warner Bros. Pictures/Happy Madison.

2 ½ stars
In a word: Playful

BLENDED reunites star-crossed actors Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore once again, this time as single parents on a familiar and predictable romantic trajectory.

Sandler and Barrymore star as Jim and Lauren, a widower and divorcee (or she’s separated, the film never quite makes it clear) respectively, who first meet on the worst blind date ever. So, naturally, they’re forced to bump into each other again – and again. This second time is where they both learn of a family vacation up for grabs due to a relationship spat between Jim’s boss and Lauren’s best friend. Continue reading

A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST (MA15+) – Review

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

3 ½ stars
In a word: Typical

There is literally nothing to this movie other than an abundance of jokes. There’s no substance, no dramatic depth and no emotional stakes. To be perfectly fair though, A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST never actually tries to exhibit any of these things – and that’s totally okay.

A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST comes from Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy and American Dad and the mastermind behind 2012’s best comedy – Ted. MacFarlane once again takes on directing and writing duties, but this time
around he has also cast himself as the leading man. Continue reading

GODZILLA (M) – Review

Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures

3 ½ stars
In a word: Controlled.

GODZILLA is directed by Gareth Edwards, a first-rate up-and-coming talent behind the camera who wrote and directed the brilliant 2010 indie sci-fi Monsters. Taking the director of a superbly quiet movie like Monsters to be the guiding hand of the extravagant and sweeping action of a Godzilla film could’ve resulted in something rather lackluster and incompetent, but thankfully Godzilla is mostly a roaring success.

In this modern day reboot of Godzilla, the story spans a few different time periods as we’re teased regarding some sort of monstrous entity rampaging through the world. Continue reading

EDGE OF TOMORROW (M) – Review

Warner Bros. Pictures/Village Roadshow.

Warner Bros. Pictures/Village Roadshow.

Warner Bros. Pictures/Village Roadshow

Warner Bros. Pictures/Village Roadshow

4 ½ stars
In a word: Dynamic

Let me preface this by saying I’m not at all overwhelmingly put off by the presence of Tom Cruise in a movie. Not even a little bit.

Edge of Tomorrow comes from Doug Liman, who has directed some fantastic films over his career in a wide range of genres, and also Jumper (the less said about that one, the better.) Starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, Edge of Tomorrow is set in the near future following a devastating alien invasion by creatures Earth have come to call ‘Mimics’. Major William Cage (Cruise) is a public relations specialist. He’s all about selling the war against the invasion without ever actually getting his hands dirty – so naturally he gets sent to the frontline. Continue reading

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (M) – Review

X-Men: Days of Future Past logo. Twentieth Century Fox/Marvel

X-Men: Days of Future Past logo. Twentieth Century Fox/Marvel

X-Men Days of Future Past poster. Marvel/Twentieth Century Fox

X-Men Days of Future Past poster. Marvel/Twentieth Century Fox

4 ½ stars
In a word: Determined

If I was ever so apprehensive about a movie in 2014, it was this one. X-Men: Days of Future Past, right from the outset, was a huge risk. Time-travel and alternating timelines, the huge ensemble cast, being a follow-up act to First Class and Bryan Singer’s return to the franchise set up quite a high bar.

It can be so easy to declare the latest film in an immensely popular franchise with an ever-growing fan base the ‘best one so far’. For DOFP, however, this is the only statement worthy of the film. It takes the best elements of every X-Men film so far, and throws them together in a near-perfect exercise of superhero storytelling.  Continue reading

MALEFICENT (M) – Review

Maleficent poster. Walt Disney Pictures.

Maleficent poster. Walt Disney Pictures.

Maleficent poster. Walt Disney Pictures.

Maleficent poster. Walt Disney Pictures.

3 stars
In a word: Abbreviated

Interestingly, the biggest problem that many Disney live-action fantasy adventure films have had over the past few years is that they’ve all been far too long.

Maleficent problematically suffers from the exact opposite. Perhaps the studio wished to overcorrect its past mistakes with this one, however this is one film that would’ve been serviced well by some more time to play with. Many important parts of the narrative are summed up in brief sentences of narration and there are far too quick leaps from plot point to plot point that could’ve used more deliberate development. Continue reading

NOAH (M) – Review

Noah poster. Paramount Pictures/Regency Enterprises.

Noah poster. Paramount Pictures/Regency Enterprises.

Noah poster. Paramount Pictures.

Noah poster. Paramount Pictures/Regency Enterprises

4 and a half stars
In a word: Human

This is not your God-fearing, narrow-minded conservative grandmother’s Noah. This is not the Noah you learnt about in Sunday School, if you ever went. This is Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. It is dark, it is bold and above all else it is abundantly human.

Astounding visuals and a tour-de-force performance from Russell Crowe as Noah, with highly memorable supporting performances from Emma Watson and Ray Winstone, make NOAH a highly entertaining, above average disaster film.  Continue reading