Me Before YouJessica Avelsgaard
A recently retrenched young woman becomes the carer for a mercurial quadriplegic man and finds love where she least expected.
"Me Before You" is a hesitant and slow burning story of love and self-discovery. It's an interesting and unconventional take on the romance genre, but it isn't entirely convincing as some of the emotional blows miss their mark. Some superb moments of humor help to break up the drama along accompanied by an excellent soundtrack. Overall, the film plays viewer's heartstrings like a violin. Me before tissue.
Through a magical portal, a race of Orcs invade the realm of Azeroth in search of a new home.
Video games are typically a truly immersive experience, but sadly "Warcraft" the movie is not quite the same. The beginning is slow... very slow, grinding through the necessary setup required for all the noobs in the audience. Once we arrive at a point where we can vaguely recall the names of the clan, things become a little more interesting, exploring the admirable traditions of the Orcs, and challenging viewers with various mythologies and plot twists. Visually satisfying, breathtaking close-ups combat the less impressive vistas that deliberately mimic the source material. An honourable campaign.
Finding DoryAnne Murphy
The continuing under the ocean adventures of Dory the forgetful fish who sings.
"Finding Dory" is a colourful and visually stimulating marine adventure with stunning underwater vistas. Unfortunately, there's not much to delight audiences beyond those vivid splashy elements. The storyline is uncannily similar to its precursor, with one fish searching for another fish. There are some laugh out loud moments along with a low tide period where we're becalmed when neither the action nor the characters manage to hold viewer attention. It's disappointing that bullying sea-loins are portrayed as comic rather than offensive - poor role models. Go fish.
The Conjuring 2Anthony Macali
Ed and Lorraine Warren are summoned for desperate help to investigate a spirit in Enfield, England.
"The Conjuring 2" is a poor sequel that discredits the integrity of its far superior original with its lazy story-writing. Essentially the premise remains, moving its haunted house setting to North London, and then attempting to tie the plot-lines together to dismal effect. The scare tactics in this incarnation feel forced and repetitive, and a lack of empathy for the main characters further dispels interest. By the end, and with little vested in the investigation, you just don't care, which creates a disconnect that reveals the silliness of it all. Hoax? Scam.
Money MonsterAnne Murphy
A man with nothing to lose takes a TV financial adviser hostage.
The action here centres on an average guy who can't take it anymore, and as you might have guessed, he's as mad as hell. Sure our lead might be a little unhinged, though maybe we all should be a bit more outraged with the big-end of town and not pretend that the ordinary person has an equal chance. This is an intense thriller with plots twists that surprise and keep the audience on edge. It's also populated with great performances, which make this only-in-America storyline gripping viewing. Nightmare on Wall St.
Now You See Me 2Stefan Sgarioto
The four horsemen come out of hiding to pull off a new heist- but who is pulling their strings?
They say a good magician never reveals their tricks. If that was the case, then this film would be even more frustrating than it already is. The convoluted plot and the abundance of loose threads are only mildly forgotten due to the film's constant misdirection, and pay-offs that come from the explanations of the elaborate 'magic tricks'. Following its predecessor's cat-and-mouse structure, this sequel does have moments of brilliance, but inevitably is unable to pull out anything substantial from the hat. Now we've seen it all.
The Nice GuysAnthony Macali
In 1970's Los Angeles, two private investigators begrudgingly collaborate to unravel a conspiracy surrounding the suspicious death of a porn actress.
"The Nice Guys" is a forgettable crime caper that's not overly funny or boring. It's a film largely carried by its two famous stars, who diverge from more traditional roles to bring their charm to the swinging 70's. They do make an amusing duo, and combined with a precocious and delightful team member, together they glide through the contrived plot with intermittent bouts of laughter. Harking back to the buddy-comedies of yesteryear, audiences wishing to relive the era and nostalgia with find the most enjoyment. Perfectly tolerable guys.
Mother's DayAnne Murphy
A celebration of motherhood as Mother's Day approaches.
Mothers... don't let your children grow up to watch Mother's Day movies, make sure they have better things to do. If only the all-star ensemble had looked a bit embarrassed as they played out this offensive movie. Sadly they didn't, as they should have. This effort in attempting to explore family and diversity is too long, too crass, too icky and just plain awful. It is a wonder this film made it to a cinema near you, it didn't deserve to. Schlocking.
X-Men: ApocalypseAnthony Macali
Apocalypse, the world's first mutant, is awoken from a long slumber and set outs to wreak havoc.
Followers of the X-Men will absolutely revel in this action and visual spectacular. This sequel is fun, with its surprisingly sombre story, palpitating soundtrack, and clever character makeovers, who now have fresh and youthful counterparts to continue the franchise. While certain plot points and overpowered abilities raise questions, their plausibility is often forgotten and grounded by the terrific cast. It's a unique and rich ensemble that brings an emotional weight far beyond expectations. Apocalypse reigns supreme.
Whiskey Tango FoxtrotAnthony Macali
A journalist leaves the desk job behind to become a war correspondent in Afghanistan.
"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" is a sanitised version of Afghanistan, where parties and sex dissuade any thoughts of genuine fear. During the excursion, our reporter exclaims there is an obligation to report on the conflict, but she does little to heed this advice. The plot is a string of feel-good moments, where situations present plenty of opportunities to crack jokes that are too good to pass up. When it comes to the war itself, it's lightweight, so leave the political lens at home. This film is best enjoyed when you accept it for what it really is... 'Kabul. Home of the Rom-Com'. Whimsical Timid Fodder.
Eddie the EagleWendy Slevison
Based on the true story of an unconventional British athlete who surprised the world by competing in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics
"Eddie the Eagle" is a heart-warming and quirky movie about an eccentric young man who, from an early age, and with no athletic prowess whatsoever, is determined to become an Olympian. With his tireless dedication and infectious optimism, this lovable underdog somehow manages to make his dream come true, with the help of a down-and-out coach. Stunning ski scenes, surprising cameo appearances and authentic performances from the cast all contribute, but Eddie the unlikely hero is the star. This feel-good film soars.
Bastille DayAnthony Macali
A young pickpocket becomes embroiled in a terrorist plot after unknowingly stealing a bag that contains a bomb.
"Bastille Day" is a frolicking thriller with just the right balance of frenetic action and comedic whip. Sure the story may be a little preposterous, but combined with a pleasant Parisian setting it's more than serviceable. What really elevates this film above its genre peers is the compact running time and great chemistry between the two leads. Their charm and expert hands bring welcome bouts of comic relief amongst the sober politics and espionage. This parade delivers.
Bad Neighbours 2Anthony Macali
With their second baby on the way and house for sale, Mac and Kelly's plans are thrown in disarray when a new sorority moves in next-door, hell bent on exercising their right to host parties.
"Bad Neighbours 2" is a very surprising sequel. The concise plot, combined with consistently funny and to-the-point humour makes it a superior comedy than its predecessor. The cultural references and topical satire remain, while its crudeness never oversteps the mark, riding that fine line between amusing and distaste. It might not linger long in your mind at film-end, but the entire ensemble make equal contributions to sustain the laughter. Bucket-loads of fun... join the bloc.
Florence Foster JenkinsAnthony Macali
In 1950s New York, Florence Foster Jenkins is a wealthy and aspiring Opera singer who can't sing.
"Florence Foster Jenkins" is a playful reproduction of a somewhat delusional woman. While her intentions may be noble, this drab retelling, loosely inspired by a true story, reveals a self-absorbed aficionado with far too much time and money. Thankfully a delightful supporting cast are worthy of applause, their reactions are priceless, and a perpetual effort to uphold the illusion grants the most laughter. It's hard to sympathise with such ignorance, but the occasional moments of humour and disbelief work in vain to drown out the dull. An uninspiring voice.
Captain America: Civil WarStefan Sgarioto
Captain America and Iron Man find themselves on opposing sides of the law after there is a push for a governing body to oversee The Avengers.
Pitting superheroes against each other is a great spectacle when done right, and "Captain America: Civil War" manages to balance a large ensemble and their conflicting ideologies with ease. Whilst still keeping the star-spangled man center stage, "Civil War" cleverly explores the grey area between the two opposing sides; allowing audiences to decide who is wrong and right. Assisted by generous running time, the end result is a deeply personal and intricate story with large scale action sequences to boot. The pay-off is marvelous.
The BossAnthony Macali
A motivational speaker hits rock-bottom after being arrested for insider-trading and losing her fortune, forcing her to turn to her former assistant for help.
"The Boss" is yet another venture for its vehemently foul-mouthed co-writer and star, and a certain fondness for her brand of humour is a recommended prerequisite. We have another outrageous and admittedly funny character on display, but alas her performance is bigger than the story itself. To carry a film on antics alone is a tough gig, and a promising start crumbles into a subsidiary plot and tiresome bad behaviour. This exec is a one-trick pony.
After receiving a message about life outside the wall of a Dystopian Chicago, a group of teens plan an escape beyond the wall to find out the truth about their existence.
"Allegiant" doesn't bother to remedy any of the issues from its predecessors. Between wooden characters, a bland love story, inconsistent acting and a plot that gets more confusing with every explanation, it's surprising that it's actually not as awful as previous installments. While the whole thing remains rather lackluster, the film's strengths remain solely superficial, with the most interesting parts being a bombardment of CGI and some cool sci-fi genre nods. An improvement, but it's time to diverge.
The Huntsman: Winter's WarAnthony Macali
The Huntsman goes in search of the Magic Mirror to prevent it from getting in the hands of ice queen Freya, who seven years prior sabotaged the soldier's romance while under her service.
"The Huntsman: Winter's War" is thoroughly unoriginal, with a story that is easy to foretell. The plot and adventure mirrors many significantly better films that have come before it. While no expense has been spared on the production design, what's really disappointing is that the beauty of the visuals markedly exceed the appeal of the story's cold and uninspiring characters. Fall in love with this fairytale, and you will be heartbroken. This is generic Hollywood "playin'-it-safe, big-cast CGI fodder".
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2Stefan Sgarioto
Amidst a massive family revelation that demands another Greek wedding, Toula and Ian also deal with the fact that their daughter wants move interstate for college.
It's quite easy to say that "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2" is bigger, fatter and 'Greekier' than its predecessor; however there comes a point when you realise you've been just been fed re-heated leftovers. Aside from a few plot tweaks, there isn't anything actually new being brought to the table. Not that it really matters though, because just like the first serving, there are plenty of crazy family antics and corny sitcom style jokes to keep the audience satisfied. No BYO baklava required.
Kung Fu Panda 3Anne Murphy
Po continues on his journey of legendary awesomeness encountering both his past and his destiny.
Stunning 3D animation, precisely choreographed action sequences, and well-tuned character voicing are what we have come to expect from this franchise. The production crew delivers on all counts. The adventures of our quirky on-screen friends take us into other-worldly realms and steeps the audience in mantras drawn from Eastern philosophies. The back story is in danger of being over explained, but the central message is simple enough: find your chi, be yourself, and it's OK to eat rather a lot of dumplings. Panda expanded.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeAnthony Macali
Superman's aid to society comes under question after the fallout of his confrontation with General Zod, and continuous collateral damage he leaves in his path.
For all its scale and enterprise, "Batman v Superman" falters under the weight of a rudimentary plot. It seems any form of character progression was better served in previous films. In this outing, a large proponent of the running time is spent building upon the uninspired grudge at the center of story. The rest is occupied by heavy CGI visuals and extensive action set pieces we've become accustomed to. While the film never descends into boredom, it's frustrating that so many key elements are lacking, considering its size and promise. The dawn of further spin-offs.
London Has FallenAnthony Macali
Leaders of the world gather in London for the funeral of the Prime Minister, only to discover it's a trap.
Much like its previous rescue, "London Has Fallen" delivers exactly on what it advertises on the tin. It's a ridiculous premise, with a set of cartoon cut-out world leaders, our magnanimous hero and a litany of terrorists. The action and explosions that follow rain debris across the great British city, with cheesy jokes aplenty. High ranking officials crowd round-tables in disbelief, and the key is not to treat their political melodrama too seriously... you will find more amusement this way. Arrive with low expectations and you won't be cross. This is bloody fun.
10 Cloverfield LaneStefan Sgarioto
After surviving a car accident, a woman wakes up in an underground cellar with two men, who claim that a worldwide chemical attack has left the outside world uninhabitable.
Secrecy is the name of the game in "10 Cloverfield Lane", where the less you know about it, the better it is. While touted as a blood relative but not a direct sequel to the similarly named monster-horror film, it’s implied that monsters come in many more dangerous forms. While this film has a slow build, the pay-off is worth it. Brimming with claustrophobia, paranoia and incredibly tense character dynamics, this suspenseful psychological thriller keeps you guessing until the very end.
Hail, Caesar!Anthony Macali
When movie star Baird Whitlock goes missing, production is halted on the epic feature he was working on. It's just one of the many problems for studio executive Eddie Mannix to fix.
"Hail, Caesar!" is a homage to Hollywood's Golden Era and a platform for some larger political and spiritual questions littered across the directors' back catalogue. In isolation, there are a number of amusing and entertaining scenes, but often they don't seem to service the overall picture. The film is rich in period detail and delightful characters, but there is little to take away from its wide agenda apart from the occasional chuckle. A breezy salute.
Gods of EgyptStefan Sgarioto
A mortal teams up with the god Horus to take on the god Set, who threatens to plunge the once peaceful and prosperous Egyptian empire into chaos and conflict.
The vibrant and extremely CGI laden tone of "Gods of Egypt" is almost enough to distract you from the god-awful train-wreck that it is. For every impressive (and sometimes unimpressive) frame of stunning visual effect, there are just as many poorly delivered scenes of corny dialogue and over-the-top set pieces. The whole film is ridiculous, yet if that's what you're expecting, it can almost be entertaining. All in all, this film is extremely dumb fun, and fits the bill of being 'so bad, it's good'... but by god is it bad.