Dinner for SchmucksTom Jones
When he finds out that his work superiors host a dinner celebrating the idiocy of their guests, a rising executive questions it when he's invited, just as he befriends a man who would be the perfect guest.
Though there are funny moments, "Dinner for Schmucks" is clearly produced for American audiences and doesn't translate to the Australian sense of humour. Where we should be laughing at the displays of stupidity depicted in the film, we're more likely to remark 'oh my god'. The comedy of errors becomes relentless, which can be partly blamed on the script. Arguably, they relied too heavily on the talent of the starring comedians to make it work. Funny for only certain tastebuds.
Marriage and other DisastersAnne Murphy
Disillusioned with romance, an unmarried woman finds herself organising her sister's wedding.
"Marriage and other Disasters" has all the elements of a romantic comedy, and then some. There is the likeable cast playing mismatched couples, then there are the requisite independent and romantically available parties, the ubiquitous hopeful parents, the comical disaster-dates, the looming wedding and a certain depth that's often lacking in the genre. This movie is also intelligent, with a sassy savvy woman in the lead, it's delightfully laced with irony and served with breathtaking Italian scenery. Look elsewhere for disasters.
The First Beautiful ThingAnne Murphy
A misanthropic professor returns to his hometown to assist his dying mother.
A mother's life is recounted through the memories of her son, and the present viewed through his eyes. "The First Beautiful Thing" is about the everyday frustrations of family, the people closest to us who we never quite forgive for being themselves. The acting is engaging, warm, and vulnerable, as characters are authentically portrayed in this humorous and at times very moving story. The film moves seamlessly between past and the present, the scenes coloured with familial warmth. A truly beautiful thing.
Diary of a Wimpy KidTom Jones
Live-action adaptation of Jeff Kinney's illustrated novel about a wise-cracking sixth grade student.
When everything else is working against Greg Heffley, the hero of this film, you'd expect the audience would still be on his side. Unfortunately, they're not. The constant adversity against Heffley leads nowhere and he never learns from his mistakes, which makes the whole diary narrative a bit monotonous. What lets this film down even more; it isn't funny. The 'pause for applause' moments are met with tumble weeds in the wind. This is one diary which should be kept under lock and key.
Furry VengeanceWendy Slevison
In the Oregon wilderness, a real estate developer's new housing subdivision faces a unique group of protesters, local woodland creatures who don't want their homes disturbed.
Make no mistake. Everything your instincts tell you about this movie - the title, the actors involved, the plot, even the poster in the cinema - are worth listening to. All that, and the animals 'thoughts' appear as pictures in speech bubbles... Oh yes, it's that bad, an insultingly bad environmental message presented through fervently over-enthusiastic slapstick comedy. Please exact your own form of vengeance and stay away from this mind-numbing apology for entertainment.
Easy ATom Jones
A clean cut high school student relies on the school's rumour mill to advance her social and financial standing.
Forget what you think this film is going to be like (you aren't even going to hear 'like' after every second word). This is a new generation teen flick. It's witty, intellectual and no subject is taboo. The characters are multidimensional and worldly. An original and funny take on that common double standard of society; the guy gets all the glory, the more he can score. While the girl can do the same and yet you call her... You get the picture.
The Extra ManTom Jones
A man who escorts wealthy widows in New York's Upper East Side takes a young aspiring playwright under his wing.
Louis Ives travels to New York city to discover who he is. Is he a gentleman? An escort? A writer? Or... a woman? Much like the central character, this film suffers from its own identity crisis; it has no identity. The characters are not relatable on any level and this undermines the film's realistic base to the point where it's hard to take it seriously at all. Set in the city that never sleeps, this film may actually send you to sleep.
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty GaloreWendy Slevison
The ongoing war between the canine and feline species is put on hold when they join forces to thwart a rogue cat spy with her own sinister plans for conquest.
This is a movie that just doesn't succeed... On the one hand it is aimed at children, full of cute cats and dogs who talk. On the other hand, many of the references, as well as the stylised appearance, are targeted at an adult audience. Uninspired and unfunny, the film just isn't clever enough to achieve its cross-generational target, and even the well-known cast of voice actors can't save it. Will the evil Kitty Galore be defeated? We can only hope so.
The Sorcerer's ApprenticeAnthony Macali
Master sorcerer Balthazar Blake recruits a seemingly everyday guy in his mission to defend New York City from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath.
"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is a modern take on the world of wizardry, competing in the popular genre with more money and less imagination. The ingredients are familiar: boy meets girl, the journey of the 'chosen' one, love is more important than the end of world... such unoriginality is cleverly cloaked in wiz-bang special effects and the charisma of the cast. Despite its bewitchery, the film is ultimately entertaining and destined for a future of more 'life' lessons from sorcerers.
Despicable MeTom Jones
When a criminal mastermind uses a trio of orphan girls as pawns for a grand scheme, he finds himself profoundly changed by the growing love between them.
"Despicable Me" is highly entertaining, well imagined and even at times quite touching, which is unexpected of a film where the hero is a sociopath living in a world where being evil is big business. The politically incorrect humour will have you laughing at the expense of innocent characters. It's 3D at its best, so make sure to secure any belongings; one particular scene on a rollercoaster feels too close to the real thing. Whether you feel guilty or not, it's still a pleasure to watch.
The Other GuysStefan Bugryn
Two mismatched New York City detectives seize an opportunity to step up like the city's top cops.
"The Other Guys" is a clear cut above the typical Hollywood comedy, offering a swag of genuine laughs that are both original and often unexpected. The storyline is your standard buddy-cop fanfare, but often veers off to focus on extended jokes about the characters which would make even the hardest cynic laugh. The 'been there, done that' action leaves a little to be desired, but an onlsaught of jokes offer the audience a uproarious distraction throughout. Hilariously fun for everyone, not just the other guys...
Please GiveAnne Murphy
In New York City, a husband and wife butt heads with the granddaughters of the elderly woman who lives in apartment the couple owns.
Manhattan films about nothing should be a genre of their own. Equal parts smart drama-comedy and introspective reflection on the human condition, "Please Give" is grounded in the angst of reality and near perfect. This is a chick flick populated with grown-ups who are still growing up. The city dwellers dealing with the everyday while struggling with life's big issues like guilt and insecurity are imperfect as well as sharp and funny. Nothing to give just breathe it in.
Vampires SuckAnthony Macali
A spoof of vampire-themed movies, where teenager Becca finds herself torn between two boys.
"Vampires Suck" is far from cinematic, but does show what an easy target the re-imagined world of vampires is. From acting quirks to excessive angst, there are some surprising moments of insight and wit, while restoring the bloody horror absent from its subject matter in outrageous style. Such humour quickly turns to the dark-side, resorting to poor slapstick and pop culture references that are simply embarrassing and beyond farcical. Admittedly, both fans and non-believers of the saga will find delight in the film's jocularity. A ridiculous observation of the blatantly ridiculous.
The Kids Are All RightAnne Murphy
Nic and Jules had the perfect family, until they met the man who made it all possible.
Watching this grown-up drama is an engrossing experience. The central family with its two Mums is more normal than many more traditionally conventional families. The complex and real characters are mature until they do something impulsive or all too human in a wonderful reflection of modern family life. There are tensions, teenage angst, love, and a good deal of craziness in this refreshing comedy. Without preaching and never condescending, we're immersed in a new normal. The kids are alright and their Mums are too.
Going the DistanceCourtney Slevison
A look at the trials and tribulations of a long-distance relationship.
"Going the Distance" is a pretty stock-standard romantic comedy. However, having a couple on either sides of the country attemps a twist that simply doesn't work. The pace feels rushed and you never quite feel the chemistry that is meant to be keeping the couple together despite the odds. The leads put in a likeable effort, but the movie as a whole ends up feeling a bit strained, and some moments are just plain awkward. If you go the distance with this film, unfortunately you will be disappointed.
Set on a rural farm in New Zealand in 1984, Boy, is the story of an 11 year old with a vivid imagination coming face to face with life's realities.
This coming of age tale is sweet at heart and the unpretentious portrayal of Boy's story is endearing. The comedic moments and the uniquely Maori dialogue make this film. However, the one-incident-after-another plot wears a bit thin at times and leaves a few too many loose threads. Is Boy the man? Nah bro'!
Four LionsAndrew O'Dea
The story of a group of British jihadists who push their fantastical and abstract dreams of glory to the breaking point...
This film is a witty, riotously funny, and undeniably unique comedy. At no stage does it resort to extracting cheap laughs from its volatile subject matter as is the case with so many other movies that pose as "outrageous". Brilliantly written, the hilariously farcical tone generates a constant supply of laughter, yet there is also an underlying intelligence that presents a very real and relevant message. All those involved in the making of "Four Lions" should most definitely take pride in it.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the WorldCourtney Slevison
Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil exes in order to win her heart.
This is a film like no other you've seen before, and Scott Pilgrim is an equally unique hero. Highly imaginative and often hilarious, this quirky film feels a lot like watching a video game in live-action. Blending fantasy and reality seamlessly with candy-coloured visuals, the film's only pitfall is that by the time the climactic fight scene is reached, it feels a little repetitive. With so many crazy and offbeat characters crammed in, you will definitely want to live and play in Scott Pilgrim's world.
Peepli LiveAndrew O'Dea
In the village of Peepli, two poor farmers face losing their land over an unpaid government loan.
With a running joke about suicide at its core, "Peepli Live" is an eccentric film that will make you laugh but also delivers a potent message. Buoyed by a witty script, the production values are grand, and the unknown ensemble cast are brilliantly authentic and often hilarious in their individual roles. Funny yet ultimately sobering, it examines India's rural class struggle while the director uses comedy as a vehicle to firmly skewer those who exploit the situation; from corrupt government officials to the depravity of the media and the levels to which they often stoop â€“ certainly no joke.
Two men, who don't realise they have just holidayed in the same place, at the same time, and with the same people, talk about their respective holidays over drinks.
The premise of "Hahaha" is quite amusing and the film is described as a comedy. It's a low budget effort with no fancy props or effects. Redolent of a lazy summer holiday, the pace is almost lethargic. However, the pace and simple presentation are problematic when watching becomes tedious and eye-lids heavy. Despite the cleverness of the plot told from different perspectives, the film relates a boring tale albeit in a picturesque setting. Hmmmmm...
The story of Robert, a murderous tyre with psychic powers.
"Rubber" doesn't travel far from its amusing premise. Robert rolls around the desert in style, camera low to ground and in-close focus, using his grumbling powers to produce carnage. Undoubtedly circumstances like these will always lead to laughter. An odd sub-plot weaves between moments of madness, where an audience in the movie observe the action from afar using binoculars and comment on the story as it unfolds. Yet it's these bizarre moments that help to drive the film when bogged down by following a tyre that simply rolls. An unconventional and slightly amusing vehicle.
A New Yorker moves to Los Angeles in order to figure out his life while he house-sits for his brother, and he soon sparks with his brother's assistant.
"Greenberg" is a guy who is annoying and weird, so aloof that you may question his mental state. At the beginning, you empathise with the man, but this doesn't last long, as you become bored by his antics and frustrated by his social encumbrance. It's difficult to root for such a character, especially when his old friends, and particularly the vulnerable assistant, suffer from his selfishness. Yes, life must be tough without any responsibility... poor Greenberg.
The Red ChapelAnthony Macali
Two Danish comics, one of them a spastic and both born in Korea, join the director on a trip to North Korea, where they have been allowed access under the pretext of wanting to perform an act.
"The Red Chapel" provides a rare glimpse into a hellish world. The hosts, who happen to police the crew on their visit, appear dutifully polite, but it becomes apparent their overstated hospitality is a mask of fearful obedience to the dictatorship. Our protagonists walk a fine line between injecting their comedy into the regime and heeding to the Great Leader, apprehensive in their attempts to salvage their show overtaken by propaganda. An eye-opening insight into a country of no humour.
A vacationing couples' idyllic life is upset when they discover that everyone wants to kill them.
"Killers" fails spectacularly in every area. Apart from the beauty of Nice in the early scenes, there is very little to make this movie worth seeing. The two leads, with zero chemistry, awkwardly make their way through a shemozzle of a story that you will find yourself laughing at for all the wrong reasons. Uninspired direction does nothing to save this film from an appalling script and insincere performances. Mixing romantic comedy with violent action is a risky endeavor which simply doesn't work in this instance. Avoid, even if all you're doing is killing time.
The TrotskyAnne Murphy
Leon Bronstein is not your average Montreal West high school student.
"The Trotsky" delivers everything we love from the best Canadian films, an indie tone, clever adolescent characters and a quirky story-line. The movie asks if it is apathy or boredom that leaves high-schoolers without motivation or political interest. A likeable revolutionary geek awakens students from their indifference. He battles family issues and perceived fascism. The action is funny as the players rally to their socialist causes and budding romances with passion. Chuckling audiences might be encouraged to come out of the political Siberia and join a movement.