Goddess - Movie Poster

Goddess

2.5 Anne Murphy

Elspeth Dickens is stuck in an isolated farmhouse with her twin toddlers when a web-cam becomes her pathway to fame and fortune, but at a price.

It's faint praise to say that "Goddess" is a pleasant enough movie. The title suggests heavenly heights might be achieved but it is rooted in ordinariness. While this Australian production is not bad, it disappoints by not being fabulous either. It bounces around with a slightly annoying level of frivolity, finding form as a light and bright escapist production that never quite clicks into gear. Humdrum benign Mum.


Sorority Row - Movie Poster

Sorority Row

2.5 Courtney Slevison

A group of sorority sisters try to cover up the death of their house-sister after a prank gone wrong, only to be stalked by a serial killer.

"Sorority Row" is a typical 80's slasher remake aimed at horny teenagers, promising a few thrills and a few hot girls. The premise evaporates pretty quickly and you won't scream, but rather laugh at the parade of horror clichés and squealing, bra-clad, sorority girls. Definitely not the smartest or scariest horror flick you'll see, but possibly one of the most fun to watch if you don't take it too seriously.


Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps - Movie Poster

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

2.5 Stefan Bugryn

A young wall street trader learns firsthand about the dark side of America's corporate elite.

Greed continues to reign in this uninspiring tale about everything wrong with modern day capitalism. The subject matter and the characters could have been leveraged to create a much more engaging storyline, but it falls short of a potential Greek tragedy, and turns into a second rate, forgettable drama. Like the money grubbing fat cats it portrays, it looks fancy, but really has nothing much to offer. Greed is still good, but as for this movie... not so much.


The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones - Movie Poster

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

2.5 Anthony Macali

When her mother disappears, Clary learns that she descends from a line of shadow hunters.

This story of a fantastical world hidden among ours, a long-standing mythology of good vs evil, and a pair of star-crossed creatures finding love in the unlikeliest of places is starting to feel all too familiar. "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" makes up the rules along the way, providing answers to all the supernatural wonders and armaments for our drab protagonists. The continuous hocus-pocus soon transforms into boredom, and the inevitable romance hinted throughout is cringe-worthy, out of place in a film otherwise dark in tone. Full of the mundane.


Love, Rosie - Movie Poster

Love, Rosie

2.5 Anthony Macali

Lifelong friends Rosie and Alex discover the challenges of staying in touch as they grow older, live apart and meet new people.

"Love, Rosie" is a glossy and predictable romantic comedy that forgoes personality. Despite the best efforts of the charming and gorgeous leads, we care very little for their fate. This is a film of close-up passionate kisses and beautiful sun rays gleaming through the background, interlaced with awkward and unrealistic comedy setups that draw restrained bouts of laughter. Many years pass, boredom sets in, and we're still left looking for something real. Lots of love, but no heart.


Margin Call - Movie Poster

Margin Call

2.5 Andrew O'Dea

Follows key people at a bank, over a 24-hour period, during the early stages of the financial crisis.

Greed and opportunism are rife in this ensemble drama that paints a very loose snap-shot of the foundations of capitalist society, bottled into one investment firm on the eve of a financial crisis. The story is dialogue-driven, and although it deftly ponders the volatile issue of money versus morality, it fails to really delve past the numbers, lacking the visceral punch or emotional drive to grab our attention. Some will find this film serviceable enough as financial thriller, but for those wanting a little more emotional involvement, "Margin Call" is not a wise investment.


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Movie Poster

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

2.5 Andrew O'Dea

Decepticon forces return to Earth on a mission to take Sam Witwicky prisoner, after the young hero learns the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers.

"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" is a relentless sensory bombardment that presents what is unequivocally the pinnacle in movie sight and sound. Visually stunning CGI and thunderous action sequences do their best to keep you distracted from what is a laboriously cluttered and convoluted plot. This film is undoubtedly nothing more than a vehicle for visceral amazement; unfortunately there's literally not "...much more than meets the eye".


Lincoln - Movie Poster

Lincoln

2.5 Anthony Macali

As the Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield and as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

Without a preceding interest in the subject matter, "Lincoln" may struggle to win your vote. The historic period is recounted in splendid detail. Fine visuals don't aid the understanding of this important, turgid story that features a lot of bearded men arguing in dark rooms. Despite a remarkable and benevolent performance from the President, interest wanes as the long running-time draws out. Unlikely to please the majority.


Hitman - Movie Poster

Hitman

2.5 Anthony Macali

A gun-for-hire known only as Agent 47 is ensnared in a political conspiracy, which finds him pursued by both Interpol and the Russian military as he treks across Eastern Europe.

Agent 47 is best described as a focused man, more satisfied in making his kill than pleasuring his women. It's these anti-bond heroics that are refreshing to watch. Unfortunately, the film suffers from the uninteresting police in his pursuit, overplayed in typical hammy performances. The action scenes are also wasted in some bad forms of style and nuisance editing. This adaptation is still a hit above your usual video game exploit.


Get Hard - Movie Poster

Get Hard

2.5 Stefan Sgarioto

When an Banker is wrongfully convicted for fraud, he enlists the help of the man who washes his car.

"Get Hard" is exactly what you'd expect it to be: stupidly nonsensical and immature. With repetitive jokes about prison rape, ethnic minorities, class status and homosexuality the focal point, this film is borderline offensive, occasionally funny, but ultimately wears itself too thin. The progression of story is also stunted significantly due to how much time is devoted to the antics of a makeshift prison. The idea of an actual narrative almost seems a second thought. By no means a side splitter, but not entirely void of the occasional laugh either - perhaps I'm just getting soft.


Bait - Movie Poster

Bait

2.5 Anthony Macali

A freak tsunami traps shoppers at a coastal Australian supermarket inside the building - along with a 12-foot Great White Shark.

"Bait" is the story of a very hungry shark, brought beyond the shore with the help of some unremarkable special effects. Once the disaster subsides, the talent emerges from the water and we have the consummate setting for chills and spills. They make it quite clear which fish we want to live, and the chumps to be chewed, not shying from the blood and limbs synonymous with killer sharks, yet still suffers from taking itself a little too seriously. Dead in the water.


After Earth - Movie Poster

After Earth

2.5 Andrew O'Dea

A crash landing leaves Kitai and his father Cypher stranded on Earth, a millennium after events forced humanity's escape.

This ill-conceived film is an uninspiring, predictable story of survival. Poor acting isn't helped by wooden dialogue, nor the leading man's charisma being wasted in what is essentially a supporting role. The special effects are especially sub-par, which is particularly disappointing given dazzling visuals are often the most exhilarating and redeeming feature of sci-fi flicks. The best part about "After Earth" is finally making it to the 'after' part.


Terminator Genisys - Movie Poster

Terminator Genisys

2.5 Anthony Macali

John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother Sarah Connor.

"Terminator Genisys" is a sequel/reboot/redux, which inspires you to track down and watch the far superior original films. Made primarily to serve the faithful fans, all the winks and nods to the previous instalments cannot overcome the lacklustre and somewhat confusing plot. While it's a thrill to see a classic cast member return as a T-800, the subdued action sequences, which rely heavily on CGI, deliver little threat when these remarkably durable robots fight one another. A franchise close to obsolete.


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Movie Poster

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

2.5 Andrew O'Dea

Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him.

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" disappointingly fails to capitalise on the promise of its predecessor. 'Spidey' in full flight is still a sight to behold, and the striking visuals and first-person action sequences will dazzle. There are high marks for characterisation, only it's wasted with so many of them on screen. Navigating the myriad of plot threads and seemingly endless procession of villains becomes akin to being stuck in a web... only for the whole thing to be clumsily unravelled, paving the way for an inevitable next instalment. Down came the rain and washed the spider out.


Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - Movie Poster

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

2.5 Andrew O'Dea

The IMF is shut down when it's implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organisation's name.

This latest instalment of the franchise certainly lives up to its 'blockbuster' status. The explosions, car chases and action sequences in "Ghost Protocol" may be unrelenting, but the thrills they provide are cheap, and the lack of a coherent storyline effectively means it loses its grip on being gripping. There's always going to be an element of preposterousness in an action-flick, but this one goes too far and too often, reaching a point where it overtly insults our intelligence. Mission Implausible.


Year One - Movie Poster

Year One

2.5 Anthony Macali

When a couple of lazy hunter-gatherers are banished from their village, they set off on an epic journey through the ancient world.

"Year One" is a film comprised of cheap sets and cheap laughs. In the beginning, the jokes are primitive, and take time to grow in charm and wit. Many of the characters stand strong alone, but never band together well, meandering from scene to scene with biblical characters that handily feed the plot. Although some of the performances are uninspired, others never grow old. A clumsy production with just enough spectacle to satisfy the movie gods.


Frankenweenie - Movie Poster

Frankenweenie

2.5 Anthony Macali

A young boy conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog back to life.

"Frankenweenie" is the pet project of its director, brought to life in trademark gothic style and ethereal black and white. The cute story is bound to resonate with any person caring for a creature of their own, but the kids can only make it last so far. Despite all the odd and wonderful characters, and the adorable dog Sparky, you have to wonder who the target audience is in this animation veiled by horror. All of the nods and winks to the many iconic films of its inspiration can't save this beast, eventually waning in interest. Frankly boring.


I Am Number Four - Movie Poster

I Am Number Four

2.5 Anthony Macali

John is an extraordinary teen, masking his true identity and passing as a typical high school student to elude a deadly enemy seeking to destroy him.

"I Am Number Four" is a poor man's superman. The hardest thing to believe about the film is how unremarkable it really is. There's no sense of impending danger or threat, nor sympathy for our protagonist, who struggles to show any form of emotion unless emitting outworldy beams of light from his hands. CGI showdowns do not save stories, or excuse a blatant setup for sequels. Number Five? I am not interested.


The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 - Movie Poster

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

2.5 Anthony Macali

The Quileute close in on expecting parents Edward and Bella, whose unborn child poses different threats to the wolf pack and vampire coven.

First there was the brooding, then the moping, followed by a lot kissing... and now the consummation everybody has been waiting for. In "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1" nothing else happens. It feels like the most disconnected chapter of the series, with little reference to the past and no conflict to sink our teeth into. They simply transformed the book into a film, a process that could only be satisfying to its readers. Breaks your heart.


Big Mamma's Boy - Movie Poster

Big Mamma's Boy

2.5 Anthony Macali

Rocco struggles to choose between the love of his life and his doting, over-protective Italian mother.

"Big Mamma's Boy" is an admirable attempt at cross-culture comedy, though its appeal outside the uniquely Italian and Australian community is always in doubt. Fast-paced dialect is slowed down and accents are accentuated as the humour reaching for that wider 'family-friendly' audience, but the result "no taste so good". The suburbs of Melbourne are a welcome backdrop, but too many jokes miss the mark when you to try to please everybody. Some ham-full acting and haphazard skits make the film as patchy as a lasagne. A lot to love, though more could have been left at home.


(500) Days of Summer - Movie Poster

(500) Days of Summer

2.5 Wendy Slevison

A romantic comedy about a woman who doesn't believe in true love, and the man who falls for her.

"(500) Days of Summer" is an offbeat romantic comedy that challenges the familiar elements of this genre by turning them upside down. Precisely because of this, some viewers will love it; some not so much. The film's distinctively quirky style is inspired by the first-time-feature director's background in music video. With perfectly-cast leads and an intriguing soundtrack, this movie should work but ultimately lacks the essentials of humour and warmth to pull off its dare to convention.


Wreck-It Ralph - Movie Poster

Wreck-It Ralph

2.5 Andrew O'Dea

A video game villain wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives.

"Wreck-It Ralph" brings classic arcade games to life through a wildly fun and exciting premise. It's just a shame the brilliant concept doesn't quite live up to its potential. Although the animation is superb, it eventually runs out of tokens, winding up as a simple 8-bit film that gives preference to visuals over heart. You won't be disappointed by the brilliant animated-short that precedes it, but unfortunately the main event is only mildly entertaining at best. Game over.


Hancock - Movie Poster

Hancock

2.5 Anthony Macali

A hard-living superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public enters into a questionable relationship with the wife of the public relations professional who's trying to repair his image.

In the wake of the superhero blockbuster movement, "Hancock" provides a unique and hilarious perspective of an alcoholic with gifted powers, resented by the people and equally vulgar in return. This setup is fun until Hancock faces his only real villain in the film, the story arch-enemy. The humorous setup can only take you so far and doesn't fly for the entire length of the film. The shaky CGI can be forgiven, but the plot that ensues cannot.


Jupiter Ascending - Movie Poster

Jupiter Ascending

2.5 Anthony Macali

Jupiter's boring and destitute life of house cleaning changes when Caine, a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down.

"Jupiter Ascending" shoots for the stars and falls flat on its face, relying on worn conventions and hopeless romanticism to propel its story. There's no question the visuals are amazing; a galaxy of brightly coloured planets, outrageous outfits, and finely detailed mazes and structures. Once the exposition finally kicks in, the back-story is a little more interesting, but also quickly forgotten, as we query some of the more gaping aspects of the plot. Box-office descending.


Pride and Glory - Movie Poster

Pride and Glory

2.5 Anthony Macali

A saga centered on a multi-generational family of NYPD officers. The family's moral codes are tested when Ray Tierney, investigates a case that reveals an incendiary police corruption scandal.

"Pride and Glory" is a slick production, albeit with a gritty "handheld" style. The characters shoot through scripted dialogue in indistinguishable fashion, lacking the creativity to generate an interesting "corrupt cops" story. To the films' credit, the ways the 'force' extract information from the bad guys is refreshingly original. The producers should take pride in these rare moments as the rest of the film is slow, tiresome and far from glorious.