Bolt - Movie Poster

Bolt

3.5 Anthony Macali

The canine star of a fictional sci-fi/action show that believes his powers are real embarks on a cross country trek to save his co-star from a threat he believes is just as real.

With a premise as cute as our hero, "Bolt" was always going to succeed, especially in the hands of a production team who know exactly what they're doing. As Bolt discovers how to behave like a 'normal' dog, many will delight in his lessons in canine antics. Classifying films like this as 'cartoons' do them an injustice, considering how visually stunning the animation is. You may forget the film quicker than you can say 'Bolt', but will thoroughly enjoy the show.


Marley & Me - Movie Poster

Marley & Me

2.0 Wendy Slevison

A family learns important life lessons from their adorable, but naughty and neurotic dog.

"Marley and Me" positions itself as a romantic comedy but unfortunately it fails to deliver. With no chemistry between its lead actors, the characters and plot are difficult to engage with, and you find yourself not really caring about the human stars. It's the 22 adorable Labradors who share the role of Marley that are the best part of this movie, and the only laughs come from the innumerable scenes of chewing and destruction. For dog-lovers with lots of patience only.


Yes Man - Movie Poster

Yes Man

3.5 Wendy Slevison

When wet blanket Carl decides to try saying "yes" instead of "no" to everything asked of him, his life changes in more ways than he could ever have imagined.

"Yes Man" is a warm-hearted, thought-provoking, and often hilarious comedy that makes for a very entertaining film. With a script perfectly suited to its unique star, the imaginative twists and turns of the plot will have you firmly cheering for Carl as he experiences the ups and downs of his experiment, but also pondering your own life. The message here is simple - try embracing more of life's opportunities.


Vicky Cristina Barcelona - Movie Poster

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

Two girlfriends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamored with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture.

"Vicky Cristina Barcelona" is an audacious romantic comedy that raises provocative questions on life and love. Set amongst the splendour and beauty of a Catalan backdrop, the affable characters provide a funny and capricious look into human relationships. The arts, love, sexual passion, and desire are blended together, explored, and then endearingly exposed in all of their intricacy - creating a bittersweet, entertaining film.


High School Musical 3: Senior Year - Movie Poster

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

2.0 Anthony Macali

Troy and Gabriella struggle with the idea of being separated from one another as college approaches. Along with the rest of the crew, they stage a spring musical to address their fears about their future.

"High School Musical 3" might be better suited for the stage, but definitely not for the big screen. It feels like cameras were simply stationed in front of each performance, creating a dull and disappointing view considering the potential of cinema. The dance choreography is impressive, far superior to the songs that take too long to gather any momentum or vivacity. The climax is a simple re-hash of the film's earlier songs, and like my senior year, I couldn't wait for it to be over.


Dostana - Movie Poster

Dostana

3.0 Anthony Macali

When a landlady, to protect her sexy niece, turns down two young men eager to rent her apartment, they pretend to be gay.

Similar stories in Hollywood have produced deplorable fare, but how does the Bollywood version compare? Laughs are the same, elicited from the "obvious" humour in straight people playing gay stereotypes. The best scenes involve Sam's mother, who unintentionally becomes aware of his lifestyle change, a key scene that introduces the running themes of family and forgiveness. "Dostana" is superficial, but you will find it hard to resist its glamour and charm.


Get Smart - Movie Poster

Get Smart

2.5 Anthony Macali

Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 for CONTROL, battles the forces of KAOS with the more-competent Agent 99.

The only thing smart about this film is the cunning marketing plan involved - releasing old TV shows to the cinema, and playing on the nostalgia of the audience to convince them to watch these far inferior interpretations. There are a few jokes scattered about from a cast who should know better, but a notable absence of laugh-out-loud moments fails to lend substance and sustain this feature-length film. I'm afraid "Get Smart" is another shameless cash venture in line with the trend of TV adaptations and sequels that continue to curse our cinema screens.


The Wackness - Movie Poster

The Wackness

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

A lonely teenager spends his last summer before university selling marijuana throughout New York City, trading it with his unorthodox psychotherapist for treatment.

"The Wackness" follows the empathetic character of social outcast and drug dealer Luke Shapiro, centering on the unlikely friendship he develops with his eccentric therapist, Dr. Squires. In each other they find a solace of sorts, sharing their parallel frustrations with life. This movie is entertaining in its strangeness, as it paints an almost sardonic humour through the juxtaposition of adolescent anxiety and middle-aged depression.


RocknRolla - Movie Poster

RocknRolla

2.5 Andrew O'Dea

In London, a real-estate scam puts millions of pounds up for grabs, attracting the city's scrappiest tough guys and its more established underworld types, all of whom are looking to get rich quick.

"RocknRolla" is your prototypical gangster movie. It doesn't disappoint in featuring all of the mobsters, crime-lords, violence and cash one would expect from such a film. However, rather than an original revival of the genre, it simply produces a tired archetype that seems all too familiar. It lacks coherency, and a narrator constantly explaining the storyline is testimony to the overly convoluted plot. Only worth watching for gangster-film-groupies.


Choke - Movie Poster

Choke

3.0 Anthony Macali

A sex-addicted con-man pays for his mother's hospital bills by playing on the sympathies of those who rescue him from choking to death.

Victor Mancini is your atypical hero. Beneath a vivid sex addiction that thrives with perverse nudity is a man affectionate to his mother and seeking redemption from his self-destructive way of life. He also strives to identify his father, which leads to a bizarre and confusing set of events. It's this outlandish story that, complete with moral dilemmas and plot twists, heighten "Choke's" appeal, despite requiring your attention till the end.


How to Lose Friends & Alienate People - Movie Poster

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People

3.0 Anthony Macali

A British writer struggles to fit in at a high-profile magazine in New York.

This film could have been a shrewd attack on the culture of celebrity, but decides to play it safe instead, directly contradicting the very ethos of our main character, Sidney Young. As hard as Sidney tries to lose friends, mostly by getting into the most contrived and ridiculous of situations, he still seems to charm his work colleagues, while entertaining the audience with his seditious wit. "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People" is about an enjoyable character, one with a message inconsistent with the very fluff of his own story.


Burn After Reading - Movie Poster

Burn After Reading

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to sell it.

"Burn after Reading" is a wry, satirical comedy that revels in its own quirkiness. The outstanding performances convey a series of characters that haven't a clue what's going on - and neither do we - but therein lies the fun. The plot is as brilliant as it is convoluted. We don't see anything coming as each twist gathers momentum, creating a hilarious sense of the inconsequential. An absurdly entertaining film.


Sex and the City - Movie Poster

Sex and the City

3.0 Anthony Macali

The girls are back in town.

If the idea of watching 4 back-to-back episodes of "Sex and the City" sounds alluring, then you will love this. The length might be epic, but the pace is aligned with the TV show, maintaining all the fun, fashion and sex. We love spending time with these characters as they face some of the tougher challenges in life like marriage and divorce, a step above the usual frivolous banter of the series. On the other hand, if you're not a fan of our mid-forty heroinés, you will despise the glimpses into their lives. Fans of the show will find this film fabulous.


Smart People - Movie Poster

Smart People

3.0 Anthony Macali

Into the life of a widowed professor comes a new love and an unexpected visit from his brother.

"Smart People" is a comedy with a pretentious title, but enough wit to make it enjoyable. The film centres round a naive professor and how most of the people in his life loathe him. He falls in love with his nurse, a former student with an infatuation with the arrogant scholar that is questionable. It's the playful dynamics of his gifted family, and in particular, the sarcasm and rudeness of his daughter which are the most fun to watch. If only all those other issues didn't get in the way of spending time with this family. Interesting people, but not the smartest film.


Caramel - Movie Poster

Caramel

3.5 Anthony Macali

A romantic comedy centered on the daily lives of five Lebanese women living in Beirut.

It appears chick-flicks can transcend world boundaries. "Caramel" is time spent with friends - five women working in a salon, all trying to remove the issues in their lives. Such real-life problems we can relate to; from lust, romance, age, to daunting marriages. With genuine affection from the director's touch, we actually care about these characters, and enjoy their company, all the while adversely sympathising with them in the arduous scenes. This film is a refreshing sweet of cultural insight and winsome friends.


Step Brothers - Movie Poster

Step Brothers

3.0 Anthony Macali

Two spoiled guys become competitive stepbrothers after their single parents get hitched.

"Step Brothers" is a film of two adults behaving like kids. The jokes are cheap and immature, their amusement heightened by gratuitous swearing and childlike behaviour. You watch things happen on the screen, things that you know are supposed to be funny, but they simply don't make you laugh like they once used to. Brennan and Dale fatefully grow and mature, seamlessly and conveniently, and just in time for the inevitable happy ending. One to watch for those who are fond of juvenile performances.


Horton Hears a Who! - Movie Poster

Horton Hears a Who!

3.5 Luke Bartter

Horton the Elephant struggles to protect a microscopic community from his neighbors who refuse to believe it exists.

As the strip mining of our youths continues, this is the first Dr. Seuss film adaptation that maintains the appeal of the original source. It's a vivid and exciting world, with genuine warmth, humour and true "Seuss-esque" dialogue. The plot does slow in the middle, but recovers for a satisfying finalé. With a good message about imagination, friends and just listening, "Horton" is worth looking out for, especially if you need to keep some little folk entertained.


Baby Mama - Movie Poster

Baby Mama

2.5 Anthony Macali

A successful, single businesswoman who dreams of having a baby discovers she is infertile and hires a working class woman to be her unlikely surrogate.

"Baby Mama" possesses plenty of comedic talent that is wasted in a predictable and sugar-coated plot that induces morning-sickness-like nausea. Sometimes, rare moments of wit are shared between characters, exchanges easily forgotten when the story trails down the safe "Hollywood" path of superficial charm and happy-endings. Once it becomes apparent this film isn't as original as it first appears to be, it lulls and dulls and rocks you to sleep.


Son of Rambow - Movie Poster

Son of Rambow

3.0 Andrew O'Dea

Set in the early 80's, this is a comedy about friendship, faith and the weird business of growing up.

"Son of Rambow" is a quirky comedy that takes us on a nostalgia trip. It rekindles our sense of youthful exuberance as we're invited into the imaginations of a couple of schoolboys as they set about creating their own crude and amusing homemade 'Rambo' movie. Through their unlikely friendship we remember the ecstasy and difficulties of being a kid. Though the story lacks excitement in parts, and suffers prematurely from a relatively dull climax, lovers of heartfelt movies will find it very engaging.


Superhero Movie! - Movie Poster

Superhero Movie!

0.5 Anthony Macali

A send-up of superhero films, from Batman Begins to Fantastic Four.

Everybody involved in this project should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Anytime I think about the fact there was a script for this movie, it makes me want to bang my head against the wall. "Superhero Movie!" is terribly bad and not even remotely funny. The only thing that can be considered funny is that people are still actually paying to watch these insipid films. Don't watch this movie as they will only make more.


Tropic Thunder - Movie Poster

Tropic Thunder

2.5 Anthony Macali

Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.

This film could have easily been titled "War Movie", inline with the many other spoof films. The premise is understandably contrived, and a challenge to be convincing. If you're seeking wit, you won't find it in this jungle. Jokes consist of recreating classic war scenes and actor parodies, ironically commenting on their retarded role choices. "Tropic Thunder" has a big cast and big budget, but relies too heavily on props and stereotypes to elicit laughs.


Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Movie Poster

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

3.5 Anthony Macali

Devastated Peter takes a Hawaii vacation in order to deal with recent break-up with his TV star girlfriend, Sarah. Little does he know Sarah's travelling to the same resort as her ex.

"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is a delightful comedy filled with many interesting characters. The best parts are the small snippets that fall in-between scenes. These whimsical moments contain some of the best jokes, but also some welcome insights into our protagonists. The only disappointing bits are the undue vulgarity and contrivances towards the end. This film is a memorable mix of laugh-out-loud scenarios and genuine heartbreak.


Pineapple Express - Movie Poster

Pineapple Express

3.0 Anthony Macali

A stoner and his dealer are forced to go on the run from the police after the pothead witnesses a cop commit a murder.

If you smoke weed, more often then not, you end up in crazy scenarios. They are often highly contrived, outrageous, and equally hilarious. When the bad guys over-estimate the good guys, suspecting they're intelligent hired professionals, it's always hysterical. Like a number of characters, some jokes are not great, though never resorting to vulgarity. "Pineapple Express" is a ridiculous comedy of ridiculous people, stuck in ridiculously funny situations.


Be Kind Rewind - Movie Poster

Be Kind Rewind

3.0 Anthony Macali

A man whose brain becomes magnetized unintentionally destroys every tape in his friend's video store. In order to satisfy the store's most loyal renter, the two men set out to remake the lost films.

A wave of nostalgia hits you in "Be Kind Rewind" as our affable heroes go about remaking a list of video classics that include Ghostbusters, Robocop and Rush Hour. The intention is to inspire the filmmaker in all of us, but it often feels a little too self-indulgent on the director's part. The video sketches provide plenty of do-it-yourself innovation and a lot of fun; it's the rest of the film you want to fast-forward.


Juno - Movie Poster

Juno

3.5 Anthony Macali

Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

There is much to love and hate about Juno. She undermines the process of giving birth with her contrived banter, and is immature and naive when it comes to adult issues. It's a credit to the film that we still find sympathy for our smart-mouthed hero. She takes responsibility for the impregnation and is deeply appreciative of the varied idiosyncratic characters that support her. "Juno" is an admiring tale that will frustrate and amuse.