In the Loop - Movie Poster

In the Loop

3.5 Anne Murphy

The US President and UK Prime Minister fancy a war. But not everyone agrees war is a good thing.

Incisive political satire at its best, filmed with a sense of authenticity. The realism is almost mock-umentary in style from a fly-on-the-wall perspective. The story is horrifyingly familiar, being inspired by recent political machinations. The characters are variously bumbling, vain, despicable, and witty as they form convenient alliances in the corridors and bathrooms of power. Depictions of the political forces of darkness are cynical, inspired, outrageous and hilarious. Loop the loop and laugh.


It's Complicated - Movie Poster

It's Complicated

4.0 Wendy Slevison

During their son's graduation, Jane hooks up with her ex-husband, Jake, who's now remarried. As well as becoming her ex's mistress, Jane also finds herself drawn to Adam, a smitten architect.

This movie, a quirky variation on the typical love triangle premise, is extremely funny. On many occasions throughout, the entire cinema was laughing uproariously, a somewhat rare experience. The delightful stars work fabulously together, and appear to be having an absolute ball. The feeling is contagious. It's really not complicated at all – for a good laugh and a bit of fun, see this film!


Bran Nue Dae - Movie Poster

Bran Nue Dae

4.0 Anne Murphy

In the summer of 1965 a young man is filled with the life of the idyllic old pearling port Broome - fishing, hanging out with his mates and his girl.

It's a pleasure to watch a colourful Australian film that doesn't skirt around serious indigenous issues. Even with its underlying messages "Bran Nue Dae" is far from sombre; humour and music are the vehicles used to stir the collective conscience of the audience. This is a funny, high-spirited and rollicking road trip with an outstanding ensemble cast. If only every day dawned so brightly...


Up in the Air - Movie Poster

Up in the Air

4.5 Anne Murphy

With a job that has him traveling around the country firing people, Ryan Bingham leads an empty life out of a suitcase, until his company does the unexpected: ground him.

A movie for the times, "Up in the Air" is topical and astutely observed. Social satire doesn't get delivered more incisively than this perfectly balanced movie. Just when a character approaches caricature the comedic effect is turned back and some of life's big questions are plausibly presented. We respond with a collective sigh, not to mention the odd tear. Let "Up in the Air" bring you back to earth.


Fantastic Mr. Fox - Movie Poster

Fantastic Mr. Fox

4.5 Anthony Macali

Angry farmers, tired of sharing their chickens with a sly fox, look to get rid of their opponent and his family.

You quickly forget "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is a children's book as you marvel at the quirk and style of this clever adaption. The wild assortment of animals spring to life in impressive detail and spellbinding character, going about their business just like real people would. It's always funny when the foxes behave like humans, and while children may not understand all the jocularity, this sly fox has enough charisma to keep any audience enthralled. Cussing brilliant!


The French Kissers - Movie Poster

The French Kissers

3.5 Wendy Slevison

A coming-of-age tale about an adolescent boy and his efforts to fit in amongst his peers.

This is an endearingly pragmatic and unrestrained film about the tricky, sticky life of a French fourteen year old boy. There is no airbrushing here – the pimples are real, and ready to pop - a warning to the weak of stomach! The gritty and authentic performances from the mostly young and inexperienced cast are excellent. The first-time director, previously known for writing comic strips, has created a simple and appealing alternative to the overly-glossy, largely American contributions to the teenage angst genre. Pucker up!


3 Idiots - Movie Poster

3 Idiots

4.0 Amit Jain

Two uni friends embark on a quest to find their lost friend.

This film is witty, emotional and uncontrollably entertaining. Questioning the current education system in India, the movie is subtle in its messages and the many golden rules which can change one's life in a big way. The cinematography and locations used are simply breathtaking. "3 Idiots" is a laughing riot that talks about the most important of human pursuits and preaches not to chase success, but to "...chase excellence and success will follow".


Did You Hear About the Morgans? - Movie Poster

Did You Hear About the Morgans?

0.5 Wendy Slevison

An estranged couple who witness a murder relocate to a small-town as part of a protection program.

If you did hear about the Morgans, avoid them like the plague. Their movie is dreadful. There is not one redeeming feature. Not the story, not the scenery, and definitely not the two leads. Right from the start, they both seem to know they have made a terrible mistake. It only goes downhill from there. Zero chemistry, performances bordering on caricature and a truly terrible script make this movie an absolute and unqualified disaster. Please spread the word... have nothing to do with the Morgans.


Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel - Movie Poster

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

3.0 Anne Murphy

The world famous singing pre-teen chipmunk trio return to contend with the pressures of school, celebrity, and a rival female music group known as The Chipettes.

A familiar cast of characters squeak and shrill their way through predictable slap-stick fare. Disappointingly there's little depth to the prosaic story-line, and while children will be enormously entertained by the high school antics of the warbling rodents, there is little in the goofy plot to amuse older viewers. Be warned that the best thing about this movie is the clever word play in the title. There's nothing crisp about these cheeky, chirpy chips.


Religulous - Movie Poster

Religulous

3.0 Anne Murphy

Bill Maher's take on the current state of world religion.

"Religulous" would be a documentary but for its unbalanced, mocking tone. Comedy is given priority over facts and there are many amusing but unnecessary cheap shots. At times the disdain of the interviewer for the people interviewed is disquieting. Not so much investigative as much as lampooning in tone, too often the aim seems to be to provoke and dismiss rather than attempting to open debate. Nonetheless the topic is bravely tackled and worth seeing for some of the 'only-in-America' tableaus. Warning: Disturbingly dogmatic.


Zombieland - Movie Poster

Zombieland

4.0 Anthony Macali

A cowardly shut-in is forced to join up with a seasoned slayer in order to survive the zombie apocalypse.

"Zombieland" has zombies aplenty, but it would be unfair to label it this genre alone. In between the biting scenes you'll find a buddy comedy, and an adventure into the malevolent unknown. There are enough guns and gore to satisfy the blood-hounds, but also lessons in surviving the unreal epidemic, often shooting across then screen in its own typically amusing style. The characters are fully-fleshed out and thankfully realised in a world populated by a critical few. Fast, funny and terribly infectious.


Away We Go - Movie Poster

Away We Go

2.5 Anne Murphy

A couple who is expecting their first child travel around the U.S. in order to find a perfect place to start their family.

This film is a road movie at heart, and disappointingly fails to connect with the audience's heart. A lot of miles are traversed by the central couple but this is a study of people met on the journey rather than the places travelled to. The characters encountered are shallow and vulgar stereotypes, and their depiction is coloured with contempt rather than wit or insight. The resultant product is slight; funny without being funny ha-ha.


The Informant! - Movie Poster

The Informant!

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

The U.S. government decides to go after an agri-business giant with a price-fixing accusation, based on the evidence submitted by their star witness, vice president turned informant Mark Whitacre.

"The Informant!" is densely layered yet unassumingly funny satire. More 'quirky funny' than 'laugh-out-loud funny', it pokes fun at corporate greed as we navigate through a delightful web of deceit. The lead actor is superb, and we struggle whether to critisise or empathise with his goofball character. Although it may not have a lasting impact, the oddity of the film alone is enough to keep you entertained as you grapple with being informed on misinformation.


The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls - Movie Poster

The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls

4.0 Anne Murphy

A profile of the world's only comedic, singing, dancing, lesbian twin sisters.

"Topp Twins" evokes the '100% Pure New Zealand' tourist campaign that showcases the pure hearts and honest lifestyles that are recognisably typical of our imaginings of life in nuclear-free New Zealand. This documentary chronicles the careers of two remarkable characters that are both subversively and overtly political, and the tone is musical and humorous. The movie is threaded with a cabaret performance, recent and archival footage cleverly edited to tell this down to earth, and at times quite moving, story. Topp viewing.


Cold Souls - Movie Poster

Cold Souls

3.5 Anne Murphy

Paul is an actor who feels bogged down by his participation in a production of Chekov's play, Vanya.

"Cold Souls" has a delightfully original storyline told with a sombre, almost deadpan tone. The movie provides an intelligent and inquisitive voyage into existential angst, a surreal and introspective journey of both the familiar and the unknown. It could have been heavy going but for the well-crafted production, and the result is an entrancing and stylishly minimalistic film where the attention to detail is apparent. More 'funny peculiar' than 'funny ha ha' in style, this comedy is refreshingly soulful to boot.