Spy - Movie Poster

Spy

3.5 Anthony Macali

A CIA analyst is forced onto the field to recover a nuclear bomb after the identities of the organisations agents are compromised.

In this film, the style and sophistication of the spy genre is turned on its head, drawing plenty of laughs from the 'fish out of water' plot device. Agent Cooper, the aggressive and foul-mouthed analyst turned secret agent, is unequivocally the star of the show, cracking countless jokes, and making a mockery of the deliberately clichéd and amusing espionage setups. While the story is silly, the great supporting cast do a good job in complementing this one-woman show. License to farce.


Pitch Perfect 2 - Movie Poster

Pitch Perfect 2

3.5 Anthony Macali

In a bid to overturn their recent suspension, The Barden Bellas compete in the A Capella World Championships, where they meet their international rival Das Sound Machine.

"Pitch Perfect 2" will find it hard to rival the success of its first outing, but there are still plenty of witty jokes, crude slapstick and politically incorrect commentary to delight audiences. The weakest part of this sequel is the story, which invests more in the laughs, than the drama. While the strength of the original cast is bolstered by fresh additions, the film ultimately lacks the rhythm and catchy tunes of the predecessor. Corny, forgettable, yet still very funny. Das good.


Testament of Youth - Movie Poster

Testament of Youth

2.5 Anthony Macali

A young lady decides to become a nurse on the front-line after the involvement of her fiancée and brothers in the World War.

Based on a war memoir, "Testament of Youth" lacks the emotion and passion for such an important film. The slow pace of the story is akin to a pain-killer, over time it dulls the senses. While the setting and romance are beautifully shot, they also distract from the grim reality of life during the depression, and war. There's no question against the nobility and endeavour of the main character. Sadly her underlying message gets lost in the style of delivery. Testament of patience.


Unfriended - Movie Poster

Unfriended

3.5 Anthony Macali

A Skype conversation within a group of high-school kids goes awry when an unknown person infiltrates their digital world.

For the entire length of its short-running time, "Unfriended" takes place on a computer screen. This high-concept setting is the best thing about this horror movie. A techie's wet dream, its brilliance lies in its detail, adeptly capturing modern-day communication and its various tools. You won't sympathise with a lot of the characters, and you aren't supposed to. The only exception is the young girl who forms the premise, and perpetuates the strong anti-cyberbullying message. Like.


Avengers: Age of Ultron - Movie Poster

Avengers: Age of Ultron

4.0 Anthony Macali

In his attempts to create an AI robot to protect the world, Tony Stark inadvertently triggers the birth of Ultron, a machine hellbent on destruction.

Want to see a group of costumed heroes smash a whole bunch of robots, with great humour and style? Then "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is for you. With unlimited state-of-the-art tech at their disposal, the film-makers have created a universe of gleaming special effects and relentless action. Rarely do you get the opportunity to take a breath, as a barrage of set pieces power through the less than modest running time. It's a fantastic age to save the world.


Fast and Furious 7 - Movie Poster

Fast and Furious 7

3.5 Anthony Macali

Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for the death of his brother.

"Fast and Furious 7" is completely ridiculous. To expect anything different, especially after seven installments, would make you as absurd as this film. This movie is pure vehicular mayhem, and despite the preposterous nature of the stunts and story, is also surprisingly and unavoidably fun. Jet-setting from one major set-piece to the next, the action sequences smash the boundaries of thrills and frivolity. All your favourite characters are back, saving the world in style and charming the audience with the unexplained abundance of cars at their disposal. If only cars could fly.


Leviathan - Movie Poster

Leviathan

3.0 Anthony Macali

Kolya, with the help with an old friend now lawyer, fights the mayor to save his home.

"Leviathan" is multi-layered Russian drama that boldly investigates themes of corruption, broken families and religion. Centering on the small family in the middle of the dispute and set in the quiet and eerily beautiful sea-side surrounds, it allows us to emotionally connect with the characters and their struggle without obstruction. Arguments and celebrations often lead to the excessive consumption of vodka, and further complications arise when the story takes unexpected turns. Deep, dark and troubled waters.


The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Movie Poster

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

3.0 Anthony Macali

Sonny pursues his expansionist dream of opening a second hotel.

"The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" recycles the formula of its first incarnation, and succeeds once again thanks to the vigour and humour of its cast. While the plot in this edition is not particularly grand, the beloved elderly troupe carry the drama through the colourful and gleaming streets of India, notwithstanding the addition of a few fresh faces, whose introduction could be considered the only distinction from the first film. Same cup of tea, lots of sugar.


Fifty Shades of Grey - Movie Poster

Fifty Shades of Grey

2.0 Anthony Macali

Literature student Anastasia's life changes forever when she meets handsome billionaire Christian.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" is a story about the allure of wealth, and bizarre sexual contractual agreements that arise from 'dating' a wealthy man. An introduction to these politics from our two leads is assuredly the most interesting part of the film. Unfortunately the rest is a bitter disappointment, dominated by a tiring and flirtatious game of to-and-fro, a precursor to the passionless and sanitised sex that follows. Attractive leads, inadvertent laughs and very little to love. Don't submit to boredom.


Project Almanac - Movie Poster

Project Almanac

2.5 Anthony Macali

A group of friends make a crazy discovery that leads to the development of a working time-machine.

"Project Almanac" melds many ideas of the past, and throws in a hand-held camcorder to appeal to its modern teenage audience. Through nauseating cinematography, we are presented with an account to be expected from its high-school protagonists. Among the foolish time loops is a bumbling romance, gratuitous body shots, and some amusing 'striking it rich' scenes. The result doesn't amass to very much, except to ponder our own time-travel hypothesis. Cinema repeating.

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Jupiter Ascending - Movie Poster

Jupiter Ascending

2.5 Anthony Macali

Jupiter's boring and destitute life of house cleaning changes when Caine, a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down.

"Jupiter Ascending" shoots for the stars and falls flat on its face, relying on worn conventions and hopeless romanticism to propel its story. There's no question the visuals are amazing; a galaxy of brightly coloured planets, outrageous outfits, and finely detailed mazes and structures. Once the exposition finally kicks in, the back-story is a little more interesting, but also quickly forgotten, as we query some of the more gaping aspects of the plot. Box-office descending.


Dumb and Dumber To - Movie Poster

Dumb and Dumber To

1.5 Anthony Macali

20 years since their first adventure, Lloyd and Harry go on a road trip to find Harry's newly discovered daughter.

"Dumb and Dumber To" is one of those sequels that sadly sours your experience of watching the first instalment. Revisiting the characters 20 years on was always a dangerous proposition, and this agonising journey does very little to validate the idea. A large number of the jokes are mere imitations of their first incarnations, and anything else that is somewhat original is generally pretty poor. For most part, the film trudges along before grinding to an inevitable halt. Just dumb.


The Interview - Movie Poster

The Interview

2.5 Anthony Macali

Dave Skylark, host of the celebrity tabloid show "Skylark Tonight" lands an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

"The Interview" has a few funny segments, but will struggle to capture your attention for the life of the film. The 'Skylark' character is a great one, and his gaudy and obnoxious behaviour provides some unique entertainment. Problems arise when they eventually land in the People's Democratic Republic and they're not exactly sure what to do with the supreme leader, resulting in a number of lame cultural references that fail to gain applause. Slightly controversial, even less laughter.


Foxcatcher - Movie Poster

Foxcatcher

3.0 Anthony Macali

The greatest Olympic Wrestling Champion brother team joins Team Foxcatcher led by multimillionaire sponsor John E. du Pont as they train for the 1988 games in Seoul.

"Foxcatcher" is not an ordinary tale of Olympic endeavour. This story is bleak, and rarely strays from desolate tone and colourless surroundings. The striking transformations and uneasy performances from the central characters are the films greatest strength, creating tension and a sense of discomfort as the drama unfolds. With authentic wrestling and a glimpse into the lavish, the setting is good but lacks the emotion to successfully engage its audience. Not a gold-winning team.


The Theory of Everything - Movie Poster

The Theory of Everything

3.0 Anthony Macali

A look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife.

"The Theory of Everything" is an inspiring look into the great physicist, focusing on his endeavour rather than his achievement. With great heart and warmth, and minimal mention of science, we see a man confronted with a terrible condition and the inescapable effects on his relationship. Together with his equally resilient wife, they battle each obstacle and embrace it with good humour. The central performances are seamless, and as remarkable as they are, thankfully do not distract from the story considering the subject. The theory is sound.


American Sniper - Movie Poster

American Sniper

3.5 Anthony Macali

U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle becomes one of the most lethal snipers in American history.

"American Sniper" is the story of a war veteran and his ongoing conflict with the before and after effects of his ceaseless tours of duty. The action is fierce as the camera lies beside the sharp-shooter. You can almost feel the long, cold gun in your very own hands, unwittingly raising questions about the necessity of all the brutality. Unrelenting short scenes fuel the adrenalin and thrill of combat, astutely contrasting against the quiet and aimless life back home. American hero.


Unbroken - Movie Poster

Unbroken

3.5 Anthony Macali

After a near-fatal plane crash in WWII, Olympian Louis Zamperini spends a harrowing 47 days in a raft with two fellow crewmen before he's caught by the Japanese navy.

"Unbroken" is a prisoner of war drama that shows the limits of how many beatings a single person can take. The camera is placed firmly in the thick of the action and lets the remarkable true story do the heavy-lifting, revealing an incredible, resilient man and his ever-constant fight for survival. Unsurprisingly, this film encompasses all the inspirational quotes accustomed to the genre, but thankfully these clichés don't overshadow the impact. Unrelenting.


Big Hero 6 - Movie Poster

Big Hero 6

3.5 Anthony Macali

The special bond that develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax, and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.

"Big Hero 6" is a whiz-bang robotic romp, self-assured in its style and execution. Set in the clever and aptly titled 'San Fransokyo', we are presented with an awesome mix of colourful and futuristic animation to suit the story. The unlikely hero is an oddly marshmallow-looking invention, a functional and affable health bot whose impassive questions and incessant shuffling generate the greatest laughs. Kids and adults will escape unscathed in this action-packed adventure. Pain-free.


Nightcrawler - Movie Poster

Nightcrawler

4.0 Anthony Macali

When Lou Bloom, a driven man desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant.

"Nightcrawler" is a film that will immediately capture your attention and maintain it throughout. Roving through the night is a chilling anti-hero, unabashed and unafraid to succeed. His unrivaled determination forms the film's backbone, exposing society's startling and interminable thirst for news, bloody news. It's a brilliantly eerie performance from the lead, and combined with edge-of-your-seat thrills, will be sure to shock and entertain its viewers. Must-watch video.


Let's Be Cops - Movie Poster

Let's Be Cops

2.5 Anthony Macali

Two struggling pals dress as police officers for a costume party and become neighborhood sensations

"Let's Be Cops" take dress-ups to an entirely new and ridiculous level. While the premise can be easily dismissed, it provides the setup for many of the outrageous skits and varied laughs on patrol. Apparently being an officer of the law is great for picking up women, and if you can get past blatant objectification and not take the rest of the film too seriously, the outcome is mildly entertaining. Let's leave our brain at the door.


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 - Movie Poster

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

3.0 Anthony Macali

In District 13, Katniss Everdeen works to a nation moved by her courage under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends.

Just as this franchise begins to catch fire, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" is reduced to a slow-burn, which can only be attributed to its division into two separate films. World war has begun and the images are striking, but their emotive impact is lost when the characters continue to tread over the same ground... literally. The strength still lies in the ensemble cast, as their bravado resides over some of the more spectacular set pieces. It's less games, more politics.


Love, Rosie - Movie Poster

Love, Rosie

2.5 Anthony Macali

Lifelong friends Rosie and Alex discover the challenges of staying in touch as they grow older, live apart and meet new people.

"Love, Rosie" is a glossy and predictable romantic comedy that forgoes personality. Despite the best efforts of the charming and gorgeous leads, we care very little for their fate. This is a film of close-up passionate kisses and beautiful sun rays gleaming through the background, interlaced with awkward and unrealistic comedy setups that draw restrained bouts of laughter. Many years pass, boredom sets in, and we're still left looking for something real. Lots of love, but no heart.


Two Days, One Night - Movie Poster

Two Days, One Night

3.0 Anthony Macali

Sandra discovers that her workmates have opted for a pay bonus in exchange for her dismissal.

"Two Days, One Night" ponders a precarious dilemma. We learn our protagonist is wrestling a sickness, and feel the helplessness and frustration that comes living with it, amplified by a strong and palpable performance. While the setup is questionable, it enables an interesting and often unseen view of families on the weekend, and the common economic struggles they face. The quiet pace might not suit everyone, but it allows time to properly introduce the various characters, and effortlessly create an emotional connection. Lingers many days after...


Kill the Messenger - Movie Poster

Kill the Messenger

3.0 Anthony Macali

Based on a true story, A reporter becomes the target of a vicious smear campaign after he exposes the CIA's role in arming Contra rebels in Nicaragua and importing cocaine into California.

"Kill the Messenger" gets caught up not knowing what kind of film it wants to be. Considering the alarming and hard-hitting news of the discovery, the expectant feelings of anger and discontent towards the cover-up are severely lacking. The narrative serves more as a lesson in public relations, as we watch an honourable journalist get discredited; his breakdown not as interesting as the politics. An admirable story to bring to the fore… even if the message isn't clear.


Interstellar - Movie Poster

Interstellar

5.0 Anthony Macali

With Earth on the brink of extinction, a group of space explorers search for a new habitat.

"Interstellar" is an unparalleled visceral experience. This epic feature hurtles by at the speed of light, its jolting emotional course riding the bumps of a family growing and living apart. We cannot help but marvel at the enigmatic and visual amazement of deep space, and the unforgettable adventure of traversing into a new galaxy. This film represents a commanding feat from its director, and demands big-screen cinematic attention to fully appreciate the illustrious detail and absorbing sound and score. Out of this world, out of this time.