Mt. Zion - Movie Poster

Mt. Zion

3.0 Anne Murphy

Turei's family are hard-working potato farm workers in rural New Zealand.

The town is Pukekohe and the year is 1979, it is hard to break away from family and community and young men have big dreams. "Mt Zion" is a modest movie that appeals with its simple earthy feel. You're left to wonder if we grow up too quickly and lose imagined possibilities. Subtitles are provided when a Maori dialect is spoken and there is the odd line of English dialogue that could use translation too, if you know what I mean bru. Singing songs of Zion.


Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Movie Poster

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

3.0 Wendy Slevison

An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man's own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

The storyline for this movie could be the daydreams of apes that spend their lives in zoos, caged for human entertainment. Featuring remarkable CGI and motion-capture performances, in particular by the lead "ape", this is a gem for buffs, but could leave others a little underwhelmed. The human actors are rather dull, and it takes a long time to get the narrative established. However, with the apes firmly on the rise by the end of the film, stand by to 'go ape' for the upcoming sequel.


Young Adult - Movie Poster

Young Adult

3.0 Stefan Bugryn

A deluded writer returns to her hometown to wreck her high school sweethearts marriage.

This is a light film on the outside that ends up being quite socially morbid on the inside, all because of the main character. You probably won't like her... but that's the point. She's the person that never grew up and has all the bad attributes of a 16 year old schoolgirl; spiteful, rude, selfish. But it’s still a very real story, one most people might even relate to. The tone is quite playful, but the themes are actually quite debauched. Gets a tick of approval for young and old.


Step Up 3D - Movie Poster

Step Up 3D

3.0 Wendy Slevison

A tight-knit group of New York City street dancers find themselves pitted against the world's best hip hop dancers in a high-stakes showdown that will change their lives forever.

Using the same mainstream storyline as many other chick-flicks such as friendship, love, competition and issues of trust, this is definitely a film intended for dance lovers. While showing a disappointing lack of imagination in the plot and rather forced and fake acting, the electrifying dance scenes and razor-sharp chorography do redeem the film. However, it could have stepped its game up a bit.


Brighton Rock - Movie Poster

Brighton Rock

3.0 Anne Murphy

Charts the headlong fall of Pinkie, a razor-wielding disadvantaged teenager with a death wish.

"Brighton Rock" is a moody and suspenseful thriller, set by a gaudy seaside carnival. A serving girl looking for love gets entangled with a criminal establishing the central tension between good and evil. The movie is dark but the chilling tone becomes hard to hold as the odd scene teeters on a melodramatic precipice... almost, but not quite, compromising its otherwise ruthless edge. An unmistakably English veneer of tea-shop gentility is cracked by hardened characters and gripping action. Callous at its core. Brighton rocks unrelentingly.


The Bling Ring - Movie Poster

The Bling Ring

3.0 Tom Jones

Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities' whereabouts in order to rob their homes.

Anyone who admires or tries to emulate the lives of celebrities, prepare for disappointment. You'll find little inspiration here, except maybe the very cool soundtrack. This film does not glamorise, or popularise this culture, which is arguably a healthy step in the right direction. The characters have zero substance, except what they snort. They're not likable, funny, endearing, or worth pitying; their story isn't even compelling, just repetitive. Steal, party, steal, party, you get the picture.


Bottle Shock - Movie Poster

Bottle Shock

3.0 Anthony Macali

The story of the early days of Californian wine-making, featuring the now infamous blind Paris wine-tasting of 1976, which has come to be known as "Judgment of Paris".

Bottle Shock is a whimsical tale of wine, passion and love. Unfortunately, it's the servings of love that are the most unpalatable, with some thin romances used to fill out a lean plot. Such a story accords the film-makers an opportunity to showcase the stunning Californian wine country, and they squeeze every last drop of it, producing a film that should cater to most tastes.


Die Hard 4.0 - Movie Poster

Die Hard 4.0

3.0 Anthony Macali

McClane takes on an Internet-based terrorist organization who is systematically shutting down the US.

This film will appeal those who like their action old school; bad guys and henchman vs the reluctant good guys, carrying an array of bullet wounds and the burden of the country. The director has a real eye for action, the first half of the movie is a refreshing and entertaining thrill of big booms and familiar wisecracks. It's a lot of fun when the baddies die hard, usually with big thuds from large falls. You know it's wandered too far when the pursuits take John to the top of the fighter jet. I prefer my new school action grounded in reality.


Martian Child - Movie Poster

Martian Child

3.0 Anthony Macali

A science-fiction writer, recently widowed, considers whether to adopt a hyper-imaginative 6-year-old abandoned and socially rejected boy who says he's really from Mars.

"Martian Child" is a well-produced film with a simple message and a good heart. The titular Dennis is the most frustrating of all the characters - one scene you want to slap him, the next you want to hug him. The film deals with these problems, how parents struggle with troubled kids, and how kids have trouble facing the real world. Not the most exciting film of the year, but a genuinely human and heartfelt story.


The Way Back - Movie Poster

The Way Back

3.0 Andrew O'Dea

Siberian gulag escapees walk 4000 miles overland to freedom in India.

A testament to the resilience of the human spirit, "The Way Back" is authentic film-making that proves you don't need CGI to create a sweeping epic. The incredibly long running time and deliberate pacing commands you to appreciate the vast distances and stunning landscapes of the protagonists' journey, step by slow step. One suspects this was entirely the director's intention, and in this regard credit is undeniably due. Some will no doubt be inspired by this sprawling story, but others may get lost along the way.


American Hustle - Movie Poster

American Hustle

3.0 Anthony Macali

A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive British partner, Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso.

"American Hustle" isn't a memorable crime caper, but it's thoroughly entertaining nonetheless. It doesn't take long to get swept up by the glamour and characters of the time, parading their retro costumes to the sound of a lively 70's soundtrack. Soon begins a battle of wits, each player out to scam the next, in a clever way to keep the story full of suspense. Moments of tension are broken with scenes of laughter, but ultimately there's no real substance to all the cons. Robbed of empathy.


Dead Europe - Movie Poster

Dead Europe

3.0 Tom Jones

A photographer transporting his father's ashes learns of something sinister from his family's past.

Despite compelling performances and powerful depictions of Europe, it is hard to ignore some very lazy script development. The central conflict, which successfully sustains intrigue for most of the film, is resolved in the most underwhelming way; a character is literally introduced to provide all the answers. How this character knows everything is never addressed and the central character’s response is even more ridiculous. You just found out some of your relatives committed atrocities, any questions? Apparently not.


Shock Head Soul - Movie Poster

Shock Head Soul

3.0 Anne Murphy

In 1903 Daniel Paul Schreber published the most celebrated autobiography of madness ever written.

"Shock Head Soul" is innovative for its use of animation alongside the dramatic reconstruction of the experiences of the protagonist. Interesting documentary techniques utilise interviews and interpretations of modern-day psychiatrists that highlight the austerity of the setting through interesting image distortions. As a result, the movie is both artistic and harrowing, much like the memoir of the high court judge it is based on, an account largely written from the confines of asylum during schizophrenic episodes. Delusional or visionary?


Camino - Movie Poster

Camino

3.0 Anne Murphy

Inspired by real events, a young Spanish girl is gracious in accepting her imminent death from an aggressive cancer while she is preoccupied with daydreams about a boy from theatre group.

This extraordinary film is both a pleasure to watch, and yet difficult viewing; most disquieting is the way in which the religiously devout are overtly mocked for their piety and fervent belief. Camino is a well crafted movie; particularly notable are the fantasy dream sequences used to escape dark realities and pursue faith in love; an emotional drama overpowering in its intensity.


Dolphin Tale - Movie Poster

Dolphin Tale

3.0 Anne Murphy

A story centred on the friendship between a boy and a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap.

An amazing heart-warming tale, pardon the pun, based on a real story is related in "Dolphin Tale". This movie will be embraced by young audiences as an exciting adventure in an adult world. Older kids may find it formulaic as adversity is transformed into triumph, but nonetheless it's stirring viewing. The dolphin is a scene stealing star that puts the rest of the cast in the drink despite their solid performances in this family friendly fun film. Move over Flipper.