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.


Moneyball - Movie Poster

Moneyball

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

The story of Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players.

"Moneyball" is intelligent filmmaking that takes an unlikely subject and makes it interesting. It's a testament to the solid direction and brilliance of the scriptwriters that a story about the business of baseball could be so captivating. You can't help but be drawn in as it explores the opposing philosophies of intuition versus statistics, bolstered by that feel-good sentiment of rooting for the underdog. An entertaining movie that covers all the right bases, this one is right on the money.


The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - Movie Poster

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

A story seen through the eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of a commandant of a concentration camp, who forms a forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence.

This film takes a surprisingly poignant approach to a very difficult subject matter. Credit must go to the filmmakers' remarkable ability to capture, then maintain, a child's naivety and innocence amidst the horror of the holocaust. Significantly, "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" is to be applauded for avoiding condescension; and although at times some may find it harrowing - almost devastating - for children especially, it constitutes a very important film.


The Grey - Movie Poster

The Grey

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

In Alaska, an oil drilling team struggle to survive after a plane crash strands them in the wild. Hunting the humans are a pack of wolves who see them as intruders.

This tale of survival is a surprisingly philosophical one. "The Grey" is still punctuated by enough action to thrill, but at its core remains a meditation on existentiality and an intelligent snapshot about man's primal will to live. Unsparingly bleak, the film's spiritual agenda is stripped as bare as the cold and wild backdrop it's set against; carried by some superb characterisation and the commanding presence of its leading man. Once more into the fray...


The Lego Movie - Movie Poster

The Lego Movie

3.5 Anthony Macali

An ordinary Lego construction worker, thought to be the prophesied 'Special', is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the Lego universe into eternal stasis.

"The Lego Movie" is an amusing anti-hero story wrapped in a world of little interconnecting blocks. It's puzzling to identify the target audience; adults will revel in the nostalgia and quick-wit, while kids will delight in the fast and frenetic colour and explosions. The film-makers have exceeded expectations in capturing the wonderful creativity and fun of their subject matter, with brilliant characters and animation. Break out the toy box, Lego is awesome.


Source Code - Movie Poster

Source Code

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.

Although the premise of this film is both complicated and perplexing, you inevitably appreciate the refreshing inventiveness and deft touch of a director who clearly knows how to build suspense. The sublime and deliberate pacing, which is difficult to maintain considering the film revisits the same scene over and again, still manages to keep you intrigued. The constantly changing plot will keep you guessing on an immersive ride that makes "Source Code" equal to, or greater than... entertaining.


Footloose - Movie Poster

Footloose

3.5 Courtney Slevison

City kid Ren McCormack moves to a small town where rock 'n' roll and dancing have been banned, but his rebellious spirit shakes the town up and he sets out to have the rules abolished.

This remake of the classic is bound to have its sceptics, both those who are fans of the original, as well as those who had no interest in it the first time around. All cynicism will be pushed aside however, as this film is simply too fun to not enjoy. The two young leads carry the movie with an authenticity that lifts it from the cheesy mess it could have been, and the impressive choreography gives "Footloose" an exuberance that will have you dancing in the aisles.


The Boys Are Back - Movie Poster

The Boys Are Back

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

A sports writer struggles with suddenly becoming a single parent in tragic circumstances.

"The Boys are Back" is a tale of fatherhood. A deeply moving meditation on life, death and the importance of family, the heart-wrenching opening sequence sets the tone for the film's sense of purpose that resonates throughout. Far from manufactured, it avoids being conveniently sentimental as it veers between moments of grief and humour. The cinematography is simply stunning, coupled by a beautifully melancholic soundtrack and sublime male-focussed performances that make this a movie for both boys and girls alike.


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.


The Mechanic - Movie Poster

The Mechanic

3.5 Tom Jones

Follows an elite hit man as he teaches his trade to an apprentice who has a connection to one of his previous victims.

Sure the plot-line is uncomplicated, the acting is over-the-top and the stunts impossible, but who really cares? "The Mechanic" is pure entertainment. The hero himself, with his 'take no prisoner' attitude, will have men wanting to be him and women wanting... are there any women in the audience? This film is definitely one for the boys, with the uncensored action/violence sequences, the guns and good guys vs. bad guys battles. Broken down? Go see the Mechanic.


Edge of Darkness - Movie Poster

Edge of Darkness

3.5 Wendy Slevison

As homicide detective Thomas Craven investigates the death of his activist daughter, he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion.

Adapted from a popular British television series, "Edge of Darkness" showcases the leading man in his signature genre, the action thriller. Solidly produced, with strong performances and plenty of dramatic tension, most of the film is a satisfyingly intense ride. Unfortunately, the last section becomes somewhat chaotic, and the body count ridiculously high. A word of warning – the storyline is quite complex, so concentrate or you'll be left in the dark.


Captain Phillips - Movie Poster

Captain Phillips

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 cargo ship hijacking by Somali pirates.

This evocative retelling of the MV Maersk Alabama hijacking brings the tension of a real-life hostage drama to screen. The director's trademark visceral style and realism is perfectly suited to this intense biopic, and the handheld camerawork compliments the turbulence of the situation at hand. We remain gripped by the antagonistic relationship between the two captain as the film builds to a dazzling crescendo of military operations. Anchored by superb acting, particularly the brilliant performance from the lead, "Captain Phillips" is a thrilling cinematic voyage well worth boarding.


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.


Death Proof - Movie Poster

Death Proof

3.5 Anthony Macali

Two separate sets of women are stalked at different times by a scarred stuntman who uses his "death proof" cars to execute his murderous plans.

Homage to the classic Grindhouse cinema of the 80's, "Death Proof" is an suspenseful thrill-ride featuring many delightful ladies. With a killer soundtrack, the only thing that slows this vehicle is the tenuous dialogue. Most of the pop culture babble will interest you and a large portion of it won't. But let's not forget we're in a surreal world, where the crazed predator engages in a climatic pursuit which is possibly the best car sequence in history.


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.


Horton Hears a Who! - Movie Poster

Horton Hears a Who!

3.5 Luke Bartter

Horton the Elephant struggles to protect a microscopic community from his neighbors who refuse to believe it exists.

As the strip mining of our youths continues, this is the first Dr. Seuss film adaptation that maintains the appeal of the original source. It's a vivid and exciting world, with genuine warmth, humour and true "Seuss-esque" dialogue. The plot does slow in the middle, but recovers for a satisfying finalé. With a good message about imagination, friends and just listening, "Horton" is worth looking out for, especially if you need to keep some little folk entertained.


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.


The Bank Job - Movie Poster

The Bank Job

3.5 Anthony Macali

Based on the true story of the 1971 Baker Street bank robbery which was prevented from being told for over thirty years because of a Government gagging order.

"The Bank Job" spends little time on the planning and execution of the robbery, giving a false impression of the relative ease of the operation. The film's prize is investigating the ramifications of the heist, countless sensitive materials in the hands of common thieves caught in a very dangerous situation. Extortion, guns, cars, brothels, dodgy politicians, and the mob all play a part. A slow and erratic start pays off in the rewarding finalé.


Adam - Movie Poster

Adam

3.5 Wendy Slevison

Adam, a lonely man with Asperger's Syndrome, develops a relationship with his upstairs neighbour.

A somewhat eccentric addition to the romantic comedy genre, this utterly charming and insightful film deals with a condition not fully understood by most people. The title character is realistically and sensitively portrayed, while the female lead perfectly sustains him, in roles which will help raise public profile about the small yet significant segment of our society who suffers from Aspergers. This movie is a quirky, unassuming and tenderly realised story about a search for love and acceptance, something much more difficult for "Aspies" than most.


Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole - Movie Poster

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

Soren, a young barn owl, is kidnapped by owls of St. Aggie's, ostensibly an orphanage, where owlets are brainwashed into becoming soldiers.

"Legend of the Guardians" is technically brilliant, and manages to harness the 3D medium to full effect. Beautifully animated, the films production values are visibly exceptional. Although you may get the feeling it doesn't quite take full flight, the scope of its story is ambitious yet refreshing, and is a positive alternative to traditional children's storytelling. Surprisingly replete with enthralling slow motion duels and sprawling action sequences, this film will be a hoot for both adults and kids alike.


One Day - Movie Poster

One Day

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

After spending the night together on the night of their college graduation Dexter and Em are shown each year on the same date to see where they are in their lives.

"One Day" represents a promising move away from the fabricated, sickly modern trend of most romantic dramas. This movie poignantly captures the complexity of relationships and the way lives meander and inextricably change, bolstered by the terrific on-screen chemistry of our two leads. We enjoy the way they generate humour and warmth in the same way we appreciate how the film explores themes of love and loss. Whatever happens tomorrow, you'll always have today.


Blindness - Movie Poster

Blindness

3.5 Wendy Slevison

A doctor's wife becomes the only person with the ability to see in a town where everyone is struck with a mysterious case of sudden blindness.

This allegorical film depicts societal collapse, triggered by mass loss of sight, accompanied by the descent into ugly degradation as people struggle against each other for survival. Filmed with a starkness that provides a sense of the white fog which precedes the blindness, and displaying a fiercely committed performance from the lead actress, this movie is a challenging experience which is certain to stimulate both thought and conversation afterwards.


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.


Lawless - Movie Poster

Lawless

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

A bootlegging gang is threatened by a new deputy and authorities who want a cut of their profits.

"Lawless" is steeped in dirt and bloody vengeance, painting a grim and violent picture amongst what is a distinct and evocative recreation of depression-era America. Masterfully crafted and beautifully filmed, it's the style and attention to detail that coerces us to overlook the minor storytelling flaws that hold it back from being a potential classic. Performances from the leads as well as terrific ensemble cast are terrific, underpinned by a sublime 'hillbilly' score. Uncomfortable and unsettling, this entertaining jar o' moonshine kicks like a mule.


Dr. Seuss' The Lorax  - Movie Poster

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

3.5 Anne Murphy

Dr. Seuss' classic tale of a forest creature who shares the enduring power of hope.

"The Lorax" targets young audiences and captivates them with candy coloured animation, cute critters and a lively pace, all presented in 3D. Although the original story book was written 40 years ago, this is a fable for today with greed pitted against green. There's a strong moral message about the importance of caring, and thankfully the lesson is related without preaching; instead there's singing and dancing in a kid's own adventure. Spirited school holiday viewing, a magical movie starring Truffula trees.