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.


Hector and the Search for Happiness - Movie Poster

Hector and the Search for Happiness

3.0 Anthony Macali

A psychiatrist searches the globe to find the secret of happiness.

"Hector and the Search for Happiness" is an exotic journey about discovering oneself, which usually involves skipping from one continent to the next, navigating through stereotypes and clichés. The outset is promising, good-natured fun... before the patchy ill-directed plot wanders into the tiresome and mawkish. Exploring such a noble topic, we feel obligated to welcome the premise, but you can't help but think there's a missed opportunity to expand on the many laughs experienced. Nonetheless, the idea is cute enough to please those who will give it a chance. Still searching.


Before I Go to Sleep - Movie Poster

Before I Go to Sleep

3.0 Anthony Macali

A woman wakes up every day, remembering nothing as a result of a traumatic accident in her past. One day, new terrifying truths emerge that force her to question everyone around her.

"Before I Go to Sleep" is more frightening than one might think. Living with amnesia is a damned reality, and the film vehemently captures the constant fear and mistrust our protagonist is feeling. With eerie photos and distressing video diaries, each daily cycle will keep the audience guessing, as strong performances from the cast pull in many different directions, mentally and emotionally, before descending into the darkness of the final act. Sweet dreams.


Gone Girl - Movie Poster

Gone Girl

4.5 Anthony Macali

With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.

"Gone Girl" is a compelling investigation into the fallout of a missing person... where nothing is what it seems to be. The extraordinary story plays out with a candid reality that elevates this thriller to a class above, with countless twists and turns that continually renew your interest during an extensive running time. Supported by great characters and an electrifying score, this chilling film will linger long after the case is closed. Masterstroke found.


Advanced Style - Movie Poster

Advanced Style

3.0 Anthony Macali

Advanced Style examines the lives of seven unique New Yorkers whose eclectic personal style and vital spirit have guided their approach to aging.

"Advanced Style" is a lovely documentary that will invigorate and enliven. As it fleetingly delves into the profiles of the stylish ladies who make up this blog-inspired film, we get exposed to some deeply creative and driven elderly women that one might not normally notice walking down the street. We also learn that with age comes a great sense of humour, with the interviewees encouraged to share stories just a little more philosophical than the contents of their wardrobe. A passion for fashion.


Annabelle - Movie Poster

Annabelle

2.0 Anthony Macali

A couple begin to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

Crash, bang, creek... "Annabelle" is a pointless prequel. Not afraid to cash-in on the success of its predecessor, this film possesses no plot. Instead it relies on well-worn tricks to frighten the audience; exaggerated music, disheveled apparitions and the countless slamming of doors. Once the audience starts laughing at the glaringly obvious setups and lingering doll shots, you know there's a problem. Put her back in the cupboard.


What We Do in the Shadows - Movie Poster

What We Do in the Shadows

3.5 Anthony Macali

Follow the lives of three flatmates who are just trying to get by and overcome life's obstacles, like being immortal vampires.

"What We Do in the Shadows" demonstrates that life is hard for a vampire in Wellington. In true mockumentary style, the introduction of a wide-range of housemates is the best and funniest part of the film. The dry humour and deadpan delivery creates many laugh-out-loud moments, as it employs the classic bloodsucker traits and applies them to the modern world. While the lack of a story becomes prevalent towards the end, it doesn't last too long. They do hilarious.


Virunga - Movie Poster

Virunga

3.5 Anthony Macali

A group of brave individuals risk their lives to save Virunga National Park in Congo.

"Virunga" is a vibrant national park full of life and, to much dismay, a place of death. This breathtaking parcel of land happens to fall on a large oil deposit, and the battle between preservation and money plays out extraordinarily on screen. It's a shocking juxtaposition that lets its characters share their messages, from the adorable keepers and their family of gorillas, to the faceless business men contracted to incite war. A fine example of fearless journalism and heartfelt conservation. Primeval.


Paper Planes - Movie Poster

Paper Planes

3.0 Anthony Macali

An imaginative children's film about a young Australian boy's passion for flight and his challenge to compete in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan.

"Paper Planes" is a laudable representative of Australian drama, reminding us of some of the more imaginative and simpler pleasures in life. With themes of grief, bullying and the importance of winning, it's difficult to dislike this innocuous outing. While it may struggle to find an audience outside of its target demographic, the performances of the adolescents and uplifting musical score will inspire a generation. Pull out the A4's... and start folding.