Rescue DawnAnthony Macali
A US Fighter pilot's epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission during the Vietnam War.
This film combines two of my favourite things: jungle and escaping prison. The jungle is captured beautifully: green, luscious and dense, impossible to penetrate without a machete. Escaping prison is slow, and painful. But this movie goes as far as showing many negligible details, from a crash-course in picking locks to converging the guards. The prisoners are a colourful bunch, the interplay in their state of delirium is very amusing. This is an exceptional war movie of survival and the jungle.
Day WatchAnthony Macali
In the war between the forces of Light and Dark, a device is found that can restore life to Moscow.
"Day Watch" is an eternal struggle between good viewing and bad. You have the good watch, its dark gothic style, impending dread and gloom, and an interesting support cast, whose stories and developments expand the scope of the others, showing more to war than the two bosses and the great ones. And you have the bad watch, a long running time, an out-of-context lesbian kissing scene, and the entire fate of the future lying in a piece of chalk. An entertaining sequel that suffers in its departure from darkness.
A Mighty HeartAnthony Macali
The film is based on Mariane Pearl's account of the terrifying and unforgettable story of her husband, Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl's life and death.
"A Mighty Heart" is a genuine and heartfelt account of tragedy. The excellent performances reflect a true sense of the frustration, determination and suffering of all those involved. The film struggles to draw the audience into the investigation, presumably of little concern to the director with motives that seem to favour accuracy over entertainment. An authentic portrayal with a good heart, but little excitement.
Year of the DogAnthony Macali
A secretary's life changes in unexpected ways after her dog dies.
Peggy is a thirty-something single women, fixated on her pet dog Pencil and finding it difficult to deal with his death. She cannot hide from her friends or the director's camera, always in her face. This style highlights the talent of the actors, whose detailed facial expressions speak louder than words. It may sound sad, but there are cute dogs and humour to be found. Peggy's transformation into crazy dog lady is both beautifully tragic and utterly hysterical. Animals aside, it's a nice story that shows the consequences of forcing our ideals on others.
Spider-Man 3Anthony Macali
Peter Parker is having relationship issues with Mary Jane, continued conflict with Harry and faces the threat of three new villains. One is alien goo that bonds to Peter amplifying his darker qualities.
The first delightfully explored the transformation of Peter into Spidey. The second he encountered Dr. Octopus. The third... more villains? They must have run out of ideas with the introduction of many new characters, all with cobweb thin backgrounds. The only relief is when Peter relishes the power of the Venom suit, transforming him into dancing fool causing him to swat Mary Jane, a guilty highlight in the film. This spider has finally been squished.
This film takes you on board spaceship "Icarus II" where an international crew of scientists attempt to reignite a dying sun with a payload of explosives.
The mission is dangerous (the sun is pretty hot) and it's interesting to see how the crew react when their lives and the future of mankind is at risk. Thrilling stuff that will entertain those who don't favour science fiction.
The Science of SleepAnthony Macali
Stéphane works in a boring calendar job. He's only joy lies in his infatuation with his neighbour Stéphanie, where their relationship blossoms in his imagination and dreams.
The dream sequences are magical, a collage of intricate cardboard cut-outs, floating cotton clouds, and swimming through the sky. The lovable Stéphane escapes from his mundane life interweaving reality and imagination, a vague existence that eventually overwhelms and restrains him. It shows to live the life we want, we must craft our reality and not our fantasy.
Remy, a sewer rat makes an unusual alliance with a restaurant's new garbage boy Linguini.
A story about a rodent that can cook may not sound very appetising, but don't under-estimate one of the most beautiful films of the year. From the glowing Paris skyline, to the buffet of foods you wish to grab straight off the screen, "Ratatouille" is a warm animation that is fast and fun. The highlight is the affable Linguini, a lanky and dopey character, but once puppeteered by Remy, is uproariously amusing with his comical antics. It succeeds in making us sympathise with a rat and believing anyone, human or animal, can cook.
Four turtle brothers, mutated from toxic ooze and master ninjas, must work together and battle an ancient mysterious evil to save the world.
When you're young, turtles are the ultimate pets, ninja is cool and pizza is your favourite food. I still enjoy pizza, but I also enjoyed the rubber suits from the old "TMNT" movies. Replaced with CGI, the new "TMNT" is targeted at a much younger audience. The story is a bit silly, but sweet nun-chuck skills and a happy ending will be a lot of fun for kids. It needs to make more funny's to be totally bodacious.
A modern-day musical about a busker and an immigrant and their eventful week, as they write, rehearse and record songs that tell their love story.
The best songs are born from grief, and in "Once" we are introduced to the loveable guy and girl, who's loneliness and music bring them together. The acoustic overtures not only signal beautiful songs, but a time of reflection to look at our own relationships. This film shows how the most unlikely of people we meet in the world may share passions and dreams similar to ours, and whose simple friendship can bring joy to our sometimes stale lives.
A Las Vegas magician who can see into the future is pursued by FBI agents seeking to use his abilities to prevent a nuclear terrorist attack.
"Next" is an embarrassing action thriller propelled with a terrible superfluous score and bland, random dialogue. It looks like the actors are only after their next pay cheque, their empty expressions throughout the movie scarily simular to the audience. The gift of foresight is portrayed well, but could have been used in better context than the numerous cgi-ridden chases that provide an excuse for action. This should not be the next movie you want to see.
A documentary comparing the highly profitable American health care industry to other nations, and HMO horror stories.
This film will convince you that America has the worst health care system in the world, and that France is a good country to live in. There is nothing more powerful than showing the price tags of body parts, supplemented by uncovering the greed and corruption of the government and insurance companies. How can the same medicine be 2400% more in the US than Cuba? This highly entertaining documentary will make a socialist out of you.
Die Hard 4.0Anthony Macali
McClane takes on an Internet-based terrorist organization who is systematically shutting down the US.
This film will appeal those who like their action old school; bad guys and henchman vs the reluctant good guys, carrying an array of bullet wounds and the burden of the country. The director has a real eye for action, the first half of the movie is a refreshing and entertaining thrill of big booms and familiar wisecracks. It's a lot of fun when the baddies die hard, usually with big thuds from large falls. You know it's wandered too far when the pursuits take John to the top of the fighter jet. I prefer my new school action grounded in reality.
A Few Days in SeptemberAnthony Macali
September the 1st, 2001. Elliot, an American CIA agent holding top secret information on the immediate future of the world.
This film is best summarised in its title. It simply follows a couple of people spending a few days in September. They talk; sometimes they meet people, only to have to wait a day to meet them again, allowing more hapless discussion. The direction features a series of blurry shots throughout, with an impact undermined by the headaches they induce. The dialogue is ambiguous, characters ever-so irritating and an ending more irksome than profound.
Hot FuzzAnthony Macali
A city cop, too good for his job, is reallocated by his colleagues to the English country town of Sanford. The cop soon discovers a lot of suspicious accidents in this supposedly quiet town.
There are many laughs in this tribute to the buddy cop films of the eighties with countless references (some purposely orchestrated). The grande finalé should have started earlier in the film, but was not unwelcome and provides the best satire. If your humour welcomes fly-kicking elderly citizens to the head, you will enjoy this.
The Simpsons MovieAnthony Macali
When Homer mistakenly pollutes the river with toxic waste from his "Pig Crap" silo, he causes the EPA to encase Springfield in a glass dome.
Cheeky and mischievous, "The Simpsons Movie" starts well with the jokes fast and funny. It's when we pass the usual episode length of time the movie stumbles and bores. The revamped animation and widescreen transfer do add value, but there is nothing new or surprising in this film that warrants the cartoon to reach for the cinema. We should all listen to the wisdom of Homer, and watch this on TV for free.
Bridge to TerabithiaAnthony Macali
A preteen's life is changed after befriending the new girl at school.
This is a rare film that encourages children to use their imagination. The beauty of "Terabithia" is its growth parallels the children's minds and does not appear instantly on the other side of the looking glass. A large proponent of the film confronts relevant issues facing young adolescents. While bullying gets the most attention, the story also touches class distinction, religion, friendship and death. This fable shows how the power of imagination can help cope with the real world and bearing an "open mind" is good.
Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixAnthony Macali
With their warning about Lord Voldemort's return scoffed at, Harry and Dumbledore are targeted by the Wizard authorities as an authoritarian bureaucrat slowly seizes power at Hogwarts.
Harry endears Hogwarts, a home of magic tricks, lavish feasts and Quiddich heroics, which is not as much fun when he who should not be named (Voldemort) is tormenting his mind. Potter fights some real evil this time around; defending against the dark arts, blinding dementors and stunning evil Azkaban escapees. Join the wonderful ensemble cast of Dumbledore's army in the most terrifying and suspenseful instalment of the series yet. Darker is better.
Knocked UpAnthony Macali
For fun loving party animal Ben Stone, the last thing he ever expected was for his one night stand to show up on his doorstep eight weeks later to tell him she's pregnant.
A cocktail mix of crass jokes and baby sentimentality, "Knocked Up" is a surprisingly touching story that will leave you drunken with laughter. With a premise that is borderline believable, it introduces a unique perspective on birth, one not afraid to poke fun at all parts of the 40 week journey. It shows the miracle of birth, the trials of marriage and how fantastic, difficult and funny life can be.
Duelling alien races, the Autobots and the Decepticons, bring their battle to Earth, leaving the future of humankind hanging in the balance.
"Transformers" is a relentless blockbuster fuelled by comedy and powered by action. When the sentient robots transform, it's an opera of sight and sound, ten thousand moving parts clicking and turning to excite and astound. A geek's delight, the toy line has been credibly transported to the silver screen, fully realised with the magic of computer graphic designers that continue to reshape the cinema of today.
A Mayan village is overrun by a vicious tribe, imprisoning the men and sentencing them to be sacrificed.
"Apocalypto" throws you deep into the jungle, welcoming the simple life of hunting to eat, tribal dances and procreation. The editing is fast, setup brilliant and characters superb. You will be gripped and curious and always anticipating the fate of our heroes.
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver SurferAnthony Macali
The Fantastic Four learn that they aren't the only super-powered beings in the universe when they square off against the powerful Silver Surfer and the planet-eating Galactus.
The Fantastic Four have become a group of scientists without any chemistry. We don't see enough of our beloved Silver Surfer. If only the producers gathered even more conspicuous product placement, they could have extended his stay. Overshadowed by the Surfer, Reed and Sue's relationship is not interesting. The innocuous jokes that sustained the first film are all gone, and all we are left is another sequel that is high in special effects, and nothing else special.
The DescentAnthony Macali
A group of six woman organize an adventure trip to go cave exploring. Things start to go wrong when they venture down unchartered caverns.
This is a classic genre movie exploiting the chilling atmosphere of murky caves and uncomfortably claustrophobic tunnels. As our adventures descend into the dark, the tension increases and the Gollum-like creatures come out to play. These predators are vicious, predictably narrowing our crew one victim at a time... with excessive blood so thick, it forms pools. A delight for horror fans who don't plan to delve into the sub terrane in the near future.
Dreamgirls follows the lives of three young women who form a singing trio called the "Dreamettes". Their rise to the top is not as smooth as their lyrics.
This film is a continuous exposition of music, illuminated brilliantly on the stage. It's all visually stunning, in particular the montages that race through time. Casting real-life singers to the main roles is an inspired choice that draws strong vocal performances to the screen. But like many good songs, they are overplayed and tire towards the finale.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's EndAnthony Macali
The pirate lords of the world must unite to defend themselves against the East Indian Trading Company. This includes Captain Jack Sparrow, who must be retrieved from Davey Jones' Locker.
"Pirates" is long voyage of excruciating proportions that will leave you befuddled and confused. Don't worry if you don't understand any of it, as the monkey will do something funny after each key plot point is revealed to relieve you of the frustration of trying to comprehend the story. The director struggles to garner any credible performances from the crew, favouring computer action sequences over coherence. This movie sinks.