Cars 2 - Movie Poster

Cars 2

3.5 Anthony Macali

Star race car Lightning McQueen and his pal Mater head overseas to compete in the World Grand Prix.

It takes time adjusting to a parallel world of talking planes, trains and automobiles. Once "Cars 2" hits its rhythm, this clever adaptation of the most famous spy franchise of all time will appeal to all ages. Our favourite characters are back, with laughs (and lessons) coming from the most unlikely of heroes in the simple-minded Mater, whose case of mistaken identity drives most of the laughter. While the film is probably one leg too long, it does allow for some more time to enjoy the cultural joking and the iconic cities recreated and polished in beautiful digi-colour. Can't lose this race.


Little White Lies - Movie Poster

Little White Lies

3.5 Anne Murphy

Despite suffering a traumatic accident, a group of friends go ahead with their annual beach vacation.

"Little White Lies" is an entertaining mix of comedy and drama. The film follows the cracks that appear as little pretences are revealed, straining the relationships among a group of long-time friends. It drifts along with a vacation atmosphere and a song-after-song soundtrack. You will probably wish you were a part of the tight-knit group by the seaside. Deep connections and human foibles are explored and exposed by the extraordinary French ensemble cast. Most enjoyable, and that's no lie.


Bridesmaids - Movie Poster

Bridesmaids

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

Picked as her best friend's maid of honor, lovelorn and broke Annie looks to bluff her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals with an oddball group of bridesmaids.

Although "Bridesmaids" may target a female demographic, it is definitely not your typical 'chick flick'. The film is both intelligent and ridiculous, but most notably it's also dexterously funny - there's enough raw comedy that will elicit some serious laughter from the boys and girls alike. The lead actress shines in her role along with a cast of characters who are clearly having fun in their assault on convention, gentility and good taste. Always the bride...


Get Low - Movie Poster

Get Low

4.0 Stefan Bugryn

An old hermit throws himself a funeral party... while he's still alive.

This thoughtful meditation on forgiveness starts out as a comedy, but unravels to become something much more poignant. The joke of the 'funeral party' lasts only briefly, while the true drama slowly creeps in. What really makes this film work is the fine acting by the three leads. The odd sense of humour, and some truly touching moments are delivered with marvellous poise by the cast. Combined with stylish music, customers and production design, it makes for a very enjoyable movie... and that's the low down!


The Hangover Part II - Movie Poster

The Hangover Part II

3.0 Stefan Bugryn

The wolfpack get themselves in trouble again days before Stu's Thai wedding.

This sequel is no more than a duplicate of the original... just in another country. There are a lot of moments where you will feel like you've been before, but the characters are likeable enough to allow them to just get away with it. Some laugh-out-loud scenes manage to carry the film only so far, and while the neat ending is a little too didactic, it's still worth seeing. Watch out for the cringe-worthy musical performance by a well-known boxer; it could well be cinema's worst. He was probably hung-over.


Burke and Hare - Movie Poster

Burke and Hare

3.5 Anthony Macali

Two 19th century grave robbers find a lucrative business providing cadavers for a medical school.

"Burke and Hare" might be a little grim for a comedy, but retells the true story of the historic Irish duo in quite an innocuous away. As the narrator kindly reminds us, we shouldn't really sympathise with murderers, but we do anyhow, following the crazed antics of the delightful cast, each with their own wonderful and weird plights. It slows to a canter towards the finale, in its "everything for love" sub-plot, but the film is funny and peculiar enough to survive to the end. An opportunity to have some fun with death and corpses.


Something Borrowed - Movie Poster

Something Borrowed

1.0 Thomas Jones

Friendships are tested and secrets come to the surface when terminally single Rachel falls for Dex, her best friend Darcy's fiancé.

If any actor is quoted saying it was the 'great script', which attracted them to this film, they are lying. Sure the movie promotes itself as a romantic comedy, but it fails in both genres. Every time there are glimpses of comedy, the script turns it on its head and it all becomes really deep. You almost feel sorry for the actors who try their best to make lemonade out of lemons. "Something Borrowed" will borrow your time and never give it back.


The Human Resources Manager - Movie Poster

The Human Resources Manager

4.0 Anne Murphy

The HR manager of Israel's largest industrial bakery sets out to save the reputation of his business and prevent the publication of a defamatory article.

The plot sounds like the set-up for a punch-line; an HR manager, a journalist, a street kid and the Commissar's husband go on a road trip, as opposed to walking into a bar. "The Human Resources Manager" is a warm and satirical journey across the landscapes of Israel and Romania that reveals man's humanity towards man, and it's as funny as any good bar joke. If only more HR managers were this delightfully quirky.


Something Borrowed - Movie Poster

Something Borrowed

3.0 Wendy Slevison

Friendships are tested and secrets come to the surface when terminally single Rachel falls for Dex, her best friend Darcy's fiancé.

Adapted from a popular novel, "Something Borrowed" is a romantic comedy of errors, where everyone seems to be in love with the wrong person. The movie is essentially the characters sorting themselves out. Unfortunately, this takes a while, and by the end of the overly long running time, audience investment in the protagonists has wilted a bit. While the actors all do a fine job of their roles, the film lacks freshness and charm. The plot feels a little like something borrowed.


Arthur - Movie Poster

Arthur

2.0 Andrew O'Dea

A drunken playboy stands to lose his inheritance when he falls for a woman his family doesn't like.

"Arthur" displays all the symptoms of an unnecessary remake. It suffers from a typically trite screenplay and a bevy of unfunny and uninspired gags. Although there are some definite laugh-out-loud moments and an often entertaining rapport between the leading man and his 'nanny', the problem is that they're interspersed by long stretches of boredom and an excruciatingly clichéd romance. You can't help but feel the comedic talent on display is wasted. You won't find Camelot here.


Potiche - Movie Poster

Potiche

4.0 Anne Murphy

When her husband is taken hostage by his striking employees, a trophy wife takes the reins of the family business and proves to be a remarkably effective leader.

The 70's are perfectly recreated with all of the colour and fashion to bring on pangs of nostalgia. The social attitudes are missed less. "Potiche" is a light-hearted movie loaded with social comment, looking at the role of women in the workplace, and the incumbent responsibilities of fatherhood. Focused on individual choices and growth, there's no haranguing, and the delivery is affable, warm, and comic. A gold medal for the trophy wife.


Paul - Movie Poster

Paul

3.0 Anthony Macali

Two British comic-book geeks traveling across the U.S. encounter an alien outside Area 51.

Science-fiction films usually present good value, and especially ones with extra-terrestrials, but you leave wanting more from "Paul". What was once cute about a bromance road trip loses its charm when the bond between the self-confessed geeks becomes a little too pronounced. The movie strives for mainstream appeal, fielding a varied range of jokes from satirical science-fiction writers, toilet humour and a galaxy of cultural references. In the end, the quips are hit and miss, invariably creating a funny, but not fantastic film. Average alien fodder.


Julia's Disappearance - Movie Poster

Julia's Disappearance

3.5 Anne Murphy

A comedy about aging, youth and other eternal truths.

"Julia's Disappearance" is a sophisticated and diverting exploration about growing older. The central characters are old enough to dread those once-a-decade 'milestone' Birthdays, events that are funny to everyone but the guest of honour. The cast are congenial and witty, so it is a pleasure to be in their company, or at least experience their on screen banter. The plot is threaded with charming short stories, all themed around aging, and thankfully told with enough heart and humour to prevent the topic becoming tiresome. It's well crafted and sophisticated, but where is Julia?


Single by Contract - Movie Poster

Single by Contract

3.0 Anne Murphy

A teenage girl falls for the lead singer in a popular rock band without knowing he is famous.

A classic storyline, retold for adolescents, is romantic and pleasing, if schmaltzy. By sticking to a tried and true formula, "Single by Contract" is predictable, but the story is still amusing to watch. The strong affable leads create interest and play out their romance with wit and style. This version of the tale about the celebrity and the simple girl gives something really joyful to an implausible plot... we can even forgive them for being surrounded by a cast of clichéd characters. Apparently contracts are made to be broken.


Barney's Version - Movie Poster

Barney's Version

3.0 Anne Murphy

Take a ride through the life and memories of Barney Panofsky, a hard-drinking, cigar-smoking, foulmouthed 65-year old hockey fanatic and television producer.

"Barney's Version" is a character study covering 30 years of one man's life. Depth is compromised by span when a life - even a fictional one - is featured in a movie-length couple of hours. This is a rambling, uneven and shallow movie held together by strong acting. The comedic story takes an unexpected and solemn turn towards the end, but by then there's not a lot of emotion vested in the outcome for the amiable but self-centred characters. An interesting soap opera version.


Kaboom - Movie Poster

Kaboom

2.0 Thomas Jones

A sci-fi story centered on the sexual awakening of a group of college students.

When imagining how "Kaboom" came about, you get the feeling there was a brainstorming session where any (and every) idea imaginable was put on the table, and the very next day they started filming. As a result, not a lot in this film makes sense; the lead is a gay guy, but he has sex with a woman who he later discovers is his half-sister. This type of nonsense escalates to the point where the audience gives up trying to understand what the hell is going on. Amusing for some, but others will quickly lose interest. Ka...booooooo.


The Butcher, the Chef, and the Swordsman - Movie Poster

The Butcher, the Chef, and the Swordsman

3.0 Anne Murphy

A tale of revenge, honour and greed follows a group of misfits that gets involved with a kitchen cleaver made from the top five swords of the martial arts world.

Ignorance, vengeance, and greed are the vices woven into stories that are furiously threaded together to create this movie. The pace is reckless and the characters are curious, if not downright bizarre, in a comic book sort of way. Not that the production suffers for any of it - it's vibrant, irreverent, energetic and very funny - just hang on for the ride. A slapstick bombardment of this, that, and the other.


I Love You Phillip Morris - Movie Poster

I Love You Phillip Morris

2.5 Anne Murphy

Steven Russell is happily married to Debbie, a member of the local police force, when a car accident provokes a dramatic reassessment of his life.

"I Love You Phillip Morris" contains some squirmingly uncomfortable stereotyping of various characters, and a flawed portrayal of gay men played for laughs by straight men. It's as unfunny as it is shallow, particularly disappointing is that the central romance is underdeveloped. The story, with its furious pace, covers a lot of events, mostly prison escapes, and unfortunately that's at the expense of real insight or depth. You might love Phillip Morris but probably not Steven Russell.


Spork - Movie Poster

Spork

3.0 Anne Murphy

A junior high school musical, about a frizzy-haired, hermaphrodite, an outcast who fights back.

The main character is called Spork, after an implement that's part spoon and part fork. The name provides a hint about the style of movie this is, where life is played out in an exaggerated comic book style. "Spork" is fun, a singing and dancing movie populated with a likable collection of quirky friends surrounding the central misfit. The movie's theme is one of self-acceptance over fitting in with any group, all realised through a satisfying, if nasty, battle between the outcasts and the mainstream. Put a spork in it.


Griff the Invisible - Movie Poster

Griff the Invisible

4.5 Anne Murphy

Griff, office worker by day, superhero by night, has his world turned upside down when he meets Melody, a beautiful young scientist who shares his passion for the impossible.

This fabulous movie is set against an atmospheric Sydney backdrop. It's not quite Gotham City, but then "Griff the Invisible" is quintessential Australian film-making, both in accent and flair. Featuring a loner who creates his own world, the film is comic without hilarity, and presents with a refreshingly grounded style as a result. Griff is not like everybody else, he wouldn't want to be, he's as much anti-hero as super-hero. I see you.


Violet Tendencies - Movie Poster

Violet Tendencies

3.0 Anne Murphy

A woman tries to distance herself from her gay friends in an effort to land a straight boyfriend.

"Violet Tendencies" is vibrant rom-com. It cracks a rollicking pace and has a buoyant mood to a point of almost being over-loaded with comic social observations. If there are more quips than conversation, it doesn't mean that the flamboyant characters don't take themselves seriously. The various couples and singles are trying to grow up and there's an earnest 'what next?' question being asked. A funny, smutty and entertaining offering that asks little of its audience. Paint me purple.


The Clink of Ice - Movie Poster

The Clink of Ice

3.0 Anne Murphy

An alcoholic writer is visited by an incarnation of his cancer.

"The Clink of Ice" is as original as it is deeply and darkly humorous. Imagine bantering with your life threatening illness and laughing. The premise of personifying a malignant disease in a suit sets up an intriguing film. Not that there is anything funny about cancer or facing death. Typically we deride perverse situations as being as 'funny as cancer' but the director and cast prove dexterous enough to turn that assertion around. As bleak as the themes of the movie are, the clinking of ice muffles the death knell.


All That Glitters - Movie Poster

All That Glitters

3.0 Anne Murphy

Two young women who have been friends since childhood are daring in their attempts to gain access to a social class beyond their reach.

A surprisingly unpretentious comedy that will speak to the aspirations and angst of many adolescents enthralled by the world of glamour and fashion. The film is anchored by the friendship of two central characters, who enthuse the story with their daring and their dreams. There are social messages on many levels, as the girls also manage to dismay with their denial of their backgrounds and family. "All That Glitters" is stylish, energetic, mischievous... and glittering.


Hall Pass - Movie Poster

Hall Pass

2.0 Andrew O'Dea

A married man is granted the opportunity to have an affair by his wife. Joined in the fun by his best pal, things get a little out of control when both wives start engaging in extramarital activities as well.

"Hall Pass" is a hit-and-miss comedy that provides some genuinely hilarious moments. The problem is, outrageous will only get you so far, and when you rely so heavily on repeated shock value to sustain a film, it loses value and becomes predictable. It's disappointing that the directors don't deliver on what could've potentially been a seriously funny escapade, given the subject matter. Not even close to a pass mark.


Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son - Movie Poster

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

2.0 Wendy Slevison

FBI agent Malcolm Turner and his stepson Trent go undercover at an all-girls performing arts school after Trent witnesses a murder.

This is not the kind of movie you go to see hoping for an original and engaging comedy. The premise is an oldie, but not necessarily a goodie - a ludicrous tale where it becomes imperative for a couple of hitherto "normal" men to dress as overweight, gaudily styled women in order to avoid detection by the so-called bad guys. There are a few laughs in this completely over the top shambles, but not the kind that make you feel good inside. Please Big Momma... no more... moviegoers deserve better.