Tenderness - Movie Poster

Tenderness

2.0 Anne Murphy

A juvenile offender with psychopathic tendencies is released from detention and hooks up with a twisted young girl, while a semi-retired cop dogs their tracks.

An unhinged murderer, a hackneyed lieutenant, and a troubled teenager from a damaged background play out this crime thriller. Reasonable watching descends into cliché as it becomes hard to pick which of the characters is the more stereotyped. Suspense is defused by moments corny enough to elicit laughter. Predictably, neither callousness nor tenderness delivers redemption, not for the players, and not for the film.


Winter's Bone - Movie Poster

Winter's Bone

2.0 Stefan Bugryn

A young girl sets out to find the truth of her father's disappearance whilst looking after her dysfunctional family.

This is a disappointing movie that promises a lot yet delivers little. The whole story acts as a tense build up to a secret a community of drug addled Southerners are keeping. But once you get to where it's headed, you feel like it wasn't worth the time, and it plays out rather banal. The set design and acting are actually both impressive, but they do not make up for the weak storyline. Sticks, stones, and a bad film will break "Winter's Bones"... and your enjoyment.


Greenberg - Movie Poster

Greenberg

2.0 Anthony Macali

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.


J. Edgar - Movie Poster

J. Edgar

2.0 Andrew O'Dea

Director of the FBI for almost 40 years, J.Edgar Hoover was feared and admired, reviled and revered.

This biopic is as unprovocative as it is uninformative. So much of "J Edgar" is dedicated towards an unnecessary focus on the man's battle with his sexuality and unrequited romance that it loses direction. Eventually, it labours towards the end of what is ultimately a dull and turgid affair. Utterly disappointing when you consider the talent of the director and the squandered opportunity to delve into the life of one of the most influential and controversial characters in the history of the United States. Sucks almost as much as the protagonists' vacuous namesake.


Unknown - Movie Poster

Unknown

2.0 Andrew O'Dea

A man awakens from a coma, only to discover that someone has taken on his identity and that no one believes him. With the help of a young woman, he sets out to prove who he is.

The premise of "Unknown" is solid, but it's the execution that falters. You can't help but shake the feeling you've seen it all before, only done much better. Most disappointing is the talented cast that is wasted in underwhelming, forgettable roles. An inevitable twist might explain inconsistencies in the plot, but it only leads to a pedestrian climax that will have most wishing the amnesia that plagues the protagonist could've translated to the viewing experience as well. Forget it.


Street Kings - Movie Poster

Street Kings

2.0 Anthony Macali

Tom is a veteran cop who finds life difficult to navigate after the death of his wife. When evidence implicates him in the execution of a fellow officer, he is forced to go up against the cop culture.

"Street Kings" is a dull, clichéd and terrible episode of life on the streets of LA. You have the African-American brother, the Mexicano Esé, the Korean Triad and the hard-boiled cops who always look out for each other and play the tough guy. The whole setup is embarrassing, with very mediocre and laughable dialogue, as well as unthreatening criminals who always end up helping the police. Filmed in a style where excessive grittiness is king, this is actually bad.


Grace of Monaco - Movie Poster

Grace of Monaco

2.0 Anne Murphy

The story Grace Kelly's crisis of marriage and identity, during a political dispute between Monaco and France, and a looming invasion of Monaco.

We're informed that this is a fictitious account of real events and it's impossible to discern what's real and what's not. It's an intriguing story that might have worked better as complete fiction. The princess is acted with beauty and grace, pardon the pun, but there are an annoying number of full screen close-ups of her countenance. If the camera is looking for warts shouldn't it focus on a frog or the prince? Airy-fairytale.


Trouble with the Curve - Movie Poster

Trouble with the Curve

2.0 Anthony Macali

An ailing baseball scout in his twilight years takes his daughter along for one last recruiting trip.

Don't expect too much baseball in "Trouble with the Curve". Instead, this offering plays more like one of those 'father-daughter relationship' movies. The father, grumpy and old, is stuck in his ways, spending most of his time grumbling and moaning while watching the game he loves. His daughter, a lawyer, is busy, career driven and resentful. The performances are heartfelt, but sadly the film is a little dull, and ties all the loose ends ever so neatly. No curve balls here, this story is predictable as can be... better picks out there.


Fifty Shades of Grey - Movie Poster

Fifty Shades of Grey

2.0 Anthony Macali

Literature student Anastasia's life changes forever when she meets handsome billionaire Christian.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" is a story about the allure of wealth, and bizarre sexual contractual agreements that arise from 'dating' a wealthy man. An introduction to these politics from our two leads is assuredly the most interesting part of the film. Unfortunately the rest is a bitter disappointment, dominated by a tiring and flirtatious game of to-and-fro, a precursor to the passionless and sanitised sex that follows. Attractive leads, inadvertent laughs and very little to love. Don't submit to boredom.


What to Expect When You're Expecting - Movie Poster

What to Expect When You're Expecting

2.0 Wendy Slevison

A look at love through the eyes of five couples experiencing the thrills and surprises of having a baby.

If you're the type of person who has always found pregnancy funny, then this may just be the film for you! Based on the best-selling 1980's advice book of the same name, this muddled mess struggles to connect with its audience. Too many storylines, too little character development and way too many clichéd jokes make the best thing about this movie the incredibly lifelike, prosthetic pregnant bellies. If this is your thing, great. Otherwise, don't expect much.


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.


Labor Day - Movie Poster

Labor Day

2.0 Anne Murphy

Depressed single mom Adele and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride.

Five days can pass with a blink in screen time, but in this two hour effort the "Labor Day" weekend seems interminable, and staying engaged takes a bit of effort. This low-action romance might leave you snickering as the credits roll, such is the implausibility, and it's difficult to believe it's supposed to be taken seriously. Fortunately the actors keep the film together with fine performances, yet as hard as they work, their efforts are insufficient to weigh credibility to the story. Even if you're ready for the weekend, just keep Friday on your mind.


The Last Song - Movie Poster

The Last Song

2.0 Wendy Slevison

A rebellious girl is sent to a Southern beach town for the summer to stay with her father.

"The Last Song" was specifically created as a vehicle for its female lead to make the shift to more adult dramatic roles, but regrettably it won't help her career as much as she may have hoped. The movie is everything you'd expect – a cheesy, schmaltzy tear-jerker. While the young stars do their best to provide some sense of authenticity to their roles, the overwrought, overloaded and implausible plot make it very hard work for cast and viewer alike. It almost certainly won't be the amiable young star's last song, but sadly isn't her best.


Special Treatment - Movie Poster

Special Treatment

2.0 Anne Murphy

A world-weary psychoanalyst and a classy prostitute both struggle with relationship issues.

The premise for "Special Treatment" is intriguing, but unfortunately the film fails to leverage the plot for comic or dramatic interest. While parallels are sketched between the professions of the two main characters, the outlines drawn are insufficient to sustain audience curiosity, which is not encouraged to deepen into involvement. The supporting cast suffer in undeveloped roles, as clients and friends, they fail to bring enough colour to the screen to be appreciated as eccentric, and subsequently end up looking pitiful. Better treatment required to make this movie special.


Gomorrah - Movie Poster

Gomorrah

2.0 Anthony Macali

An inside look at Italy's modern-day crime families. Based on a book by Roberto Saviano.

This film is a sprawling mess of characters and storylines. You see a mafia suit distribute money among the neighbourhood, two gung-ho youths wanting to be gangsters, and a guy who creates skirts in a workshop. It leaves us clueless as to how all these scenes fit together to create the big picture. Trying to make sense of it all is a slow and boring exercise. "Gomorrah" is a poorly executed and frustrating insight into the Italian underworld.


Charlie St. Cloud - Movie Poster

Charlie St. Cloud

2.0 Thomas Jones

Charlie St. Cloud is a young man overcome by grief at the death of his younger brother. So much so that he takes a job as caretaker of the cemetery in which his brother is buried.

Under usual circumstances, if someone could see dead people, they'd be called crazy. But apparently, if that someone is incredibly good looking, it's endearing. For a film, which deals with heavy subject matter, it's rather underwhelming. Too much emphasis is placed on peripherals (what do geese have to do with anything?) and not enough on the tragedy and trauma, which comes with losing someone. When it comes to Charlie, best stick to the regular seven stages of mourning.


Summer Hours - Movie Poster

Summer Hours

2.0 Wendy Slevison

Two brothers and a sister witness the disappearance of their childhood memories when they must relinquish the family belongings to ensure their deceased mother's succession.

The star of "Summer Hours" is the exquisitely beautiful French countryside; the actors are largely wasted in this tepid examination of family dynamics upon the death of the stabilising matriarch. As the film languorously tells its tale, we never really get to know or care about the individual characters and their stories. In fact, it was actually difficult to ascertain any point to the movie at all, and by the end you find yourself longing for a change of season.


The Butler - Movie Poster

The Butler

2.0 Stefan Bugryn

The story of Cecil Gaines, who for three decades served as the chief butler in the White House for eight consecutive US Presidents.

The main problem with "The Butler" is it tries to fit too much into tight parameters, and becomes a little trying as a result. In fact, there's so much going on, it actually feels like there's nothing going on at all. The story between the lead character and his son is engaging enough, but even so, there isn't much depth to the lead himself. He is actually a little boring, much like the entire movie. You'll be better served somewhere else.


The Bad Intentions - Movie Poster

The Bad Intentions

2.0 Anne Murphy

A young girl convinces herself that she will die on the same day that her brother will be born.

A sullen, spoilt, and maladjusted little girl is the central character of "The Bad Intentions", and few 8 year olds could be as unlike-able as this one. Therein lies a problem, as the story is hers, other characters are ancillary to the plot. It's hard to maintain interest in what befalls a child so disinterested in those around her, background political unrest and the privileged social standing of the girl's family providing the only peripheral interest. The intention is dark humour, but not so good.


The Judge - Movie Poster

The Judge

1.5 Jan Di Pietro

A big city lawyer returns home where his father, the town's judge, is suspected of murder.

"The Judge" provides genteel drama with textbook precision. It places the family unit and justice as the guiding institutions for society, suggesting that if Middle America's families are suffering, the world will come crumbling down. What we all need, apparently, is law to keep us "equal". There are funny, commendable performances, although they are stained by poor script and story, and it becomes frustrating to watch genuinely interesting characters held hostage to beige tasks. Raise your right hand… away from your wallet!


Margaret - Movie Poster

Margaret

1.5 Stefan Bugryn

A horrific bus accident sends a young woman down an emotionally destructive path to seek justice.

This film is painfully long. The lazy editing could have culled a scene or ten, saving the audience some sanity and patience. Instead, we’re left with an overly intricate nit-picking of one of the most annoying characters in cinema. She is a dishonest, manipulative, and obnoxious teenager who uses others for her own self-righteousness. The supposed saving grace is her ‘noble’ intention, but she comes across as nothing more than an unrelenting monster. A lot of the scenes are too pretentious and preachy to be taken seriously. Have a Margarita instead.


Hahaha - Movie Poster

Hahaha

1.5 Anne Murphy

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...


Push - Movie Poster

Push

1.5 Andrew O'Dea

Two young Americans with special abilities must race to find a girl in Hong Kong before a shadowy government organization called Division does.

"Push" is a forgettable addition to the 'superheroes' genre. The only superpower present here is the uncanny ability to teleport from one completely inane plot hole to another. The storyline is as boring as it is confusing, exacerbated by flimsy handheld camerawork and an unflattering visual style. Even the ostentatious action sequences end up looking like nothing more than sci-fi muddle. When push comes to shove, this film falls flat on its face.


Holy Motors - Movie Poster

Holy Motors

1.5 Stefan Bugryn

The mysterious Monsieur Oscar spends a day vaulting from one persona to the next…

Be warned: this surrealist fantasia is one hell of a challenge. Like an abstract painting, precious little is explained, and almost everything is open to interpretation. More questions are raised than answered, which will no doubt instigate discussion and arguments after viewing. Sadly, the majority of those questions are just plain pretentious, self indulgent, and weird. It will confound, confuse, shock, tease, frustrate, and ultimately, divide the audience. If it doesn't captivate you, it will simply disgust you. But that's the beauty of cinema, right? Well, not for everyone.


Play - Movie Poster

Play

1.5 Anne Murphy

Over the course of a tense afternoon, a gang of five lure three younger boys into a complex street scam in order to rob them.

"Play" is based on real events that happened in Sweden. The movie is shot on location and uses untrained actors, imbibing a mockumentary tone, leaving a funny taste that it is neither fact nor fiction. The interactions between the cocky perpetrators and the intimidated targets make racial tensions uncomfortably palpable, but there's little else on offer. Interesting enough, but real-time drags like slow motion as the film goes on and on without getting anywhere. No fun.