Crazy Heart - Movie Poster

Crazy Heart

3.5 Anthony Macali

A faded country music musician is forced to reassess his dysfunctional life during a doomed romance that also inspires him.

"Crazy Heart" has great country songs that will appeal to all fans of music. It plays as an insight of a washed-up musician - old, poor, and often drunk, with little comfort/relief but for his recollections of his time at the top and continued luck with the ladies. Perhaps the story shows too much admiration for 'Bad Blake', who gets away a little too easily with some of his lesser qualities. In the end, the film is a one-man show, with a central performance strong and charming enough to uplift the masses.


The Intern - Movie Poster

The Intern

3.5 Anthony Macali

An online fashion site offer a senior Internship program to boost their public image.

"The Intern" is a feel-good outfit, which will appeal to a wide audience. Despite the cliché setup, the film is stylish, and is carried with aplomb by the two delectable leads. This unconventional pairing is clearly the best part, as they drive the most laughs and delight in sharing their stories and offering life lessons. While it might languish in the final third when a heap of drama and themes are forced upon the narrative, its overarching sweetness will please its buyers. The perfect fatherly figure.


Beowulf - Movie Poster

Beowulf

3.5 Anthony Macali

The warrior Beowulf must fight and defeat the monster Grendel who is terrorizing towns, and later, Grendel's mother, who begins killing out of revenge.

A motion-capture animation of breathtaking visuals, "Beowulf" is a story of one enigmatic warrior, his gruff voice and the monsters he meets. The most merry-making of them all, is a large dragon with a fiery breath that blasts from the cinema speakers at full volume. The action will please the fantasy fans, and the rest will marvel at the computer graphics that tends to overshadow the plot, characters, and any other elements of the film.


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest - Movie Poster

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest

3.5 Thomas Jones

Lisbeth is recovering and awaiting trial for three murders. Mikael must prove her innocence, but Lisbeth must be willing to share the details of her sordid experiences with the court.

Millennium fans will be fulfilled by this portrayal of the final book of the series. The magnitude of this story is handled well, despite feeling a little rushed at times. The quickened pace impacts on the suspense, which is never given enough time to really build. Consequently, the film feels less like a thriller and more like a courtroom drama. However, the acting is superb, the story is bold and the climax… revenge has never tasted so sweet. She's kicking nests... and goals.


Iron Man 2 - Movie Poster

Iron Man 2

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

Billionaire Tony Stark must contend with deadly issues involving the government, his own friends, as well as new enemies due to his superhero alter ego Iron Man.

"Iron Man 2" is fuelled by ultra-impressive effects and some explosively awesome action. The plot is a little rusty and isn't helped by the uneccessary introduction of characters for inevitable future franchises. Thankfully, it's redeemed by both leads who are superb in their roles, and they combine brilliantly to capture the loveably narcissistic Tony Stark and the hulking Russian menace Ivan Vanko. Not completely iron-clad, but there's definitely more than enough firepower to entertain the fanboys.


Ted 2 - Movie Poster

Ted 2

3.5 Anthony Macali

Ted and Tami-Lynn get married, but when they evaluate their options for having children, the government questions Ted's status as a person.

Ted returns alive and well in this sequel, with all of the crude vulgarity and boyish humour that accompanied his first outing into the world. While the story arch remains familiar, the jokes are fast and fresh. If you can handle elevated levels of weed inhalation and sperm deposits that feature in this film, then you may find similarly offensive material laugh-out-loud funny. An amusing piece of property.


The Boat That Rocked - Movie Poster

The Boat That Rocked

3.5 Anthony Macali

A period comedy about an illegal radio station in the North Sea in the 1960's.

"The Boat That Rocked" is a dazzling compilation of the best music of the sixties, played and presented by an equally upbeat cast. There is no story, only parody, with scenes that'll either make you cringe, smile or laugh out loud. In fact, it's so wrought with feel-good moments that it may be enough to make you sea-sick. However, if you enjoy being immersed in such euphoria, you'll enjoy this film, maybe even love it, and everyone else can revel in the celebrated soundtrack.


About Time - Movie Poster

About Time

3.5 Anthony Macali

At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life.

"About Time" is one of those sweet romantic comedies designed for everybody to love, with the added gimmick of time-travel to keep the story moving forward. It's a plot device we've all seen before, but the charming set of characters allow a welcome and constant reminder to treasure every moment of our day-to-day lives. Despite the lack of originality, there's enough laughter and plenty of good-will to forgive the film for its obvious flaws. About life.


Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows  - Movie Poster

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson join forces to outwit and bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty.

"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" is a film dotted with action, mystery, intrigue and humour, picking up right where its predecessor left off. The audience will once again regale in the superbly realised relationship between Holmes and Watson, their chemistry and witty banter providing the perfect accompaniment to an intricate storyline and a series of gripping action sequences. Although some may find this instalment overly stylised, most fans will no doubt be satisfied. It's elementary.


Cloverfield - Movie Poster

Cloverfield

3.5 Anthony Macali

Cloverfield follows five New Yorkers from the perspective of a hand-held video camera. The movie starts as a monster of unknown origin destroys a building.

"Cloverfield" is filmed from the perspective of its protagonists using a hand-held camcorder, a technique which is effective for the majority of the short running time. The monster is a mighty sight to behold, and you wish it featured more. It's the monster's spawns that are the stars, their calls and cackles leaving you in fits of laughter, rather than frightened from their beckoning bite. By the end, you are exhausted, and perhaps nauseous, from the non-stop footage.


Silver Linings Playbook - Movie Poster

Silver Linings Playbook

3.5 Anne Murphy

After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife.

From the beginning to the triumphant (if predictable) end, "Silver Linings Playbook" is funny and enjoyable, and has the audience wanting good outcomes in the complicated lives of the irresistible characters. The strong cast bring the story to life with a jangling frankness. Performances are quirky and comedic, rather than screw-ball hilarious, which endows a sense of realism and balance given that the movie dares to dance with themes of mental wellness. Happy to play along.


Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - Movie Poster

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

3.5 Courtney Slevison

Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil exes in order to win her heart.

This is a film like no other you've seen before, and Scott Pilgrim is an equally unique hero. Highly imaginative and often hilarious, this quirky film feels a lot like watching a video game in live-action. Blending fantasy and reality seamlessly with candy-coloured visuals, the film's only pitfall is that by the time the climactic fight scene is reached, it feels a little repetitive. With so many crazy and offbeat characters crammed in, you will definitely want to live and play in Scott Pilgrim's world.


Big Hero 6 - Movie Poster

Big Hero 6

3.5 Anthony Macali

The special bond that develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax, and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.

"Big Hero 6" is a whiz-bang robotic romp, self-assured in its style and execution. Set in the clever and aptly titled 'San Fransokyo', we are presented with an awesome mix of colourful and futuristic animation to suit the story. The unlikely hero is an oddly marshmallow-looking invention, a functional and affable health bot whose impassive questions and incessant shuffling generate the greatest laughs. Kids and adults will escape unscathed in this action-packed adventure. Pain-free.


Borat - Movie Poster

Borat

3.5 Anthony Macali

Kazakhstan TV reported Borat is sent to the US and A to report on the greatest country in the world.

Yes it's funny, and it pokes fun at Jews and the Yanks... and he infuriates most people. But a thing all great comedies have is memorable moments. Apart from the many "Hi-Fives" I have given to my peers, nothing else really stuck from the film. To be pure comedy gold, we need to be able to recite those lines so we can pretend to be as funny as Borat himself.


Brothers - Movie Poster

Brothers

3.5 Anne Murphy

A young man comforts his older brother's wife and children after he goes missing in Afghanistan.

"Brothers" is as compelling as it is emotional, a powerful combination. As the title suggests, the focus is our most important relationships, the ones with family. The story navigates some difficult political and ethical terrain and is all the better for doing so without judgement. The audience is treated as intelligent, and almost everything is pared back except the strong performance from the entire cast. The overall tone and simple background setting are downplayed for realism, and the lingering memories are heart wrenching. He ain't heavy...


Unfriended - Movie Poster

Unfriended

3.5 Anthony Macali

A Skype conversation within a group of high-school kids goes awry when an unknown person infiltrates their digital world.

For the entire length of its short-running time, "Unfriended" takes place on a computer screen. This high-concept setting is the best thing about this horror movie. A techie's wet dream, its brilliance lies in its detail, adeptly capturing modern-day communication and its various tools. You won't sympathise with a lot of the characters, and you aren't supposed to. The only exception is the young girl who forms the premise, and perpetuates the strong anti-cyberbullying message. Like.


Insidious - Movie Poster

Insidious

3.5 Stefan Bugryn

A family is haunted by evil spirits who try to embody their comatose child.

This has to be one of the scariest movies made in a long time. As a narrative, it doesn't break any new boundaries, but uses old-school shock tactics extremely well. It thrives on familiar moments like 'what's around the corner?', and 'who made that noise?', whilst slowly revealing the plot (and genuinely horrific creatures) as you go along. There are odd moments of humour that break the mood and don't belong in the film, but as a salute to the Hollywood Book of Horror, it is a frightening treat.


Spectre - Movie Poster

Spectre

3.5 Thomas Jones

A dying wish sends James Bond on a rogue mission to uncover an evil criminal organisation.

'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' seems to be the attitude of the filmmakers in the 24th installment of this franchise, as it sticks to the famous formula. Original? Noo… with a double O. We see our blue-eyed spy doing what he does best, catching planes, trains and automobiles, fighting scar faced evildoers, and seducing pretty women with accents. The scale of the opening sequence is awesome, but the middle is a bit all over the shop. However the world is saved when the action is heightened towards its more entertaining end, giving audiences the full spectrum.


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.


Bastille Day - Movie Poster

Bastille Day

3.5 Anthony 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.


Trance - Movie Poster

Trance

3.5 Anthony Macali

An art auctioneer who has become mixed up with a group of criminals partners with a hypnotherapist in order to recover a lost painting.

"Trance" is a demonstration in the odd behaviours associated with art, hypnosis and love. What starts as an apparent heist film quickly transitions into a psychological thriller, challenging the audience to discover the truth. With each chapter, the story introduces new pieces of the puzzle and dissecting each revelation delivers a sense of accomplishment. Driven by a great cast of ensnaring characters, the only frustrating memory might be a plot-twist too many. A riveting piece missing perfection.


Unstoppable - Movie Poster

Unstoppable

3.5 Anthony Macali

An engineer and conductor race against the clock to stop an unmanned, half-mile-long freight train.

"Unstoppable" follows a long, loud train powering to a frightening destination. The journey is full of suspense courtesy of the faithful introductory clause, "inspired by true events". It's important the characters get their back story, and they get just enough service. However, the unmanned locomotive is the star, and shines in the hands of a director who loves to film fast moving objects, creating an exciting raw energy. As it weaves between the event and the news coverage, you get the feeling it is all unfolding right in front of you. And once it starts, you can't stop watching.


Angels & Demons - Movie Poster

Angels & Demons

3.5 Wendy Slevison

Symbologist Robert Langdon works to solve a murder and prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican.

A definite prerequisite for enjoyment of this film is an ability to suspend reality, and just go for the crazy ride. The cinematography, music score and CGI are all top quality. The stunning Roman scenery, much of it authentically recreated in a studio in LA, makes a perfect backdrop for this thrilling, albeit absurd, murder mystery. Action-packed from start to finish, this well-crafted movie doesn't take itself too seriously. It's entertaining and heaps of fun. Nothing sinful about that.


The Spectacular Now - Movie Poster

The Spectacular Now

3.5 Anne Murphy

A hard-partying high school senior's philosophy on life changes when he meets the not-so-typical "nice girl."

Some matches are made in heaven, and the romantic match central to "Spectacular Now" is made on a front lawn. That should tell you that this is a quirky but down to earth tale. The focus is on the now rather than the future, but the past looms large for the characters. Spectacular suggests grand, but it's the simplicity of the everyday that is most engaging. Then there is self-discovery, ubiquitous and inevitable in coming-of-age movies, and breathtaking here. Simply stupendous.


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - Movie Poster

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the Lonely Mountain from falling into the hands of a rising darkness.

Grand in its scope and ambition, "The Battle of the Five Armies" is an action-ravaged adventure saturated in the director's customary visual splendour. Pitting dragon against man, against dwarf, against elf, against orc, the battle sequences are exquisite, especially during the film's mammoth finale. Although characterisation is somewhat neglected, there's enough tension and thrills to make the journey there (and back again) a satisfying conclusion to the Hobbit trilogy... one last time.