Killer EliteAndrew O'Dea
When his mentor is taken captive, a retired member of Britain's Elite Special Air Service is forced into action. His mission: kill three assassins dispatched by their cunning leader.
Shot in a gritty visual style, "Killer Elite" simply lacks the flair to separate it from the rest of the paint-by-numbers action flicks. There are definitely pockets of impressive, adrenaline-fueled action sequences and stunts, yet as the plot unfolds and the body count rises, the audience will find themselves misguided by a storyline that is over-complicated. This isn't helped by the wooden leading man and a supporting cast who should've simply done better. All killer, no filler.
The Tale of DespereauxWendy Slevison
The tale of three unlikely heroes - a misfit mouse, an unhappy rat, and a bumbling servant girl with cauliflower ears - whose fates are intertwined with that of a castle's young princess.
This movie, while looking like a beautiful old edition of a German Fairytale, has a bewildered storyline and crudely realised characters. While the nobility are given elegant equine faces, the servant girl and her father look like cabbage patch dolls - clichés that are disappointing given the potential of the animation genre. This film has no warmth or heart, and is a lacklustre contribution to the holiday movie releases for children.
A Nightmare on Elm StreetAnthony Macali
A re-imagining of the horror icon Freddy Krueger, a serial-killer who wields a glove with four blades embedded in the fingers and kills people in their dreams, resulting in their real death in reality.
Without an introduction, "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is terribly confusing. Some cool transitional effects blur the real and dream worlds: Freddy appears loudly, he cuts, blood is spilled... and the kids die in an amusing fashion. The result isn't very good, as too much tension is drawn from sound and not setup. Despite many micro-lapses, it does its best to keep you alive till the very end, and it eventually starts to make a little sense. It's difficult to stay awake during this deeply inferior remake.
High School Musical 3: Senior YearAnthony Macali
Troy and Gabriella struggle with the idea of being separated from one another as college approaches. Along with the rest of the crew, they stage a spring musical to address their fears about their future.
"High School Musical 3" might be better suited for the stage, but definitely not for the big screen. It feels like cameras were simply stationed in front of each performance, creating a dull and disappointing view considering the potential of cinema. The dance choreography is impressive, far superior to the songs that take too long to gather any momentum or vivacity. The climax is a simple re-hash of the film's earlier songs, and like my senior year, I couldn't wait for it to be over.
Observe and ReportAnthony Macali
Bi-polar mall security guard Ronnie Barnhardt is called into action to stop a flasher from turning shopper's paradise into his personal peep show.
"Observe and Report" is a terribly misjudged comedy. Ronnie, our 'hero', is a guy you don't like, don't care about, and don't find funny. It's a simple formula for failure, made worse by poor behaviour and excessive swearing, cheap tools for laughter. Some scenes are so misconceived, they border on surrealism. It's a disappointing effort from a cast who should know better. Protect yourself and don't watch this.
Date NightWendy Slevison
In New York City, a case of mistaken identity turns a bored married couple's attempt at a glamorous and romantic evening into something more thrilling and dangerous.
With its highly talented stars and strong supporting cast, this movie should have been a sure thing. What a disappointment that it's barely funny, and even worse, actually quite boring. The staging and script are clumsy, trying way too hard to garner laughs. Somehow nothing seems to click, and you just end up feeling uncomfortable watching so much effort for so little return. Like a bad date, "Date Night" makes you wish you'd opted for a quiet night in.
Vampires SuckAnthony Macali
A spoof of vampire-themed movies, where teenager Becca finds herself torn between two boys.
"Vampires Suck" is far from cinematic, but does show what an easy target the re-imagined world of vampires is. From acting quirks to excessive angst, there are some surprising moments of insight and wit, while restoring the bloody horror absent from its subject matter in outrageous style. Such humour quickly turns to the dark-side, resorting to poor slapstick and pop culture references that are simply embarrassing and beyond farcical. Admittedly, both fans and non-believers of the saga will find delight in the film's jocularity. A ridiculous observation of the blatantly ridiculous.
An underwater cave diving team experiences a life-threatening crisis during an expedition to the unexplored and least accessible cave system in the world.
It doesn't matter if it's a sinking ship, a hijacked plane or in this case, a flooded cave, we've seen this story too many times to care anymore. The only original thing about this film is that there is no undercurrent love story. There's more that will annoy you than entertain you. The Australian accent has never sounded worse and the writers need to learn, other words, aside from F%, can be used for emphasis. Sanctum, it sinks.
New Year's EveTom Jones
The lives of several couples and singles in New York intertwine over the course of New Year's Eve.
Another occasion where 99.9% of the funding is spent on star power and the rest goes to the scriptwriter. Remember show and tell? Well New Years Eve is more tell, without the show. Characters relay so much information about themselves and the situation in every line, but you never actually see anything. It is over the top. The ball dropping at midnight is treated like a military operation complete with presidential style press conferences. When it comes to New Years, hold out for the real thing.
Paranormal Activity 2Tom Jones
After experiencing what they think is a "break-in", a family sets up security cameras around their home, only to realize that the events unfolding before them are more sinister than they seem.
Mum's possessed by the devil! Quick, get the handy-cam! The ridiculousness of this film is matched only by the ludicrousness of the haunting inflicted upon the family home. Though there are moments where you may jump in your seat, you are more likely to laugh at this depiction of the unreal and at the actors, who try a bit too hard to appear like your typical family. Yet another sequel to add to the list of those that don't live up to the original.
Iron SkyAnthony Macali
The Nazis set up a secret base on the moon in 1945 where they hide out and plan to return to power in 2018.
Venture to the dark side of the moon and you will discover the Nazi's of "Iron Sky". Yes, the film is ridiculous, as the premise might suggest. A war brought to life with cartoonish CGI done on the cheap, which in all honesty, looks quite impressive considering the obvious budget constraints. There are some funny jokes about technology, even a little on politics, but for the most part it's space-junk, including a sleuth of Germans and Americans who are really annoying. B-Grade fanfare.
Imagine ThatAnne Murphy
A financial executive who can't stop his career downspiral is invited into his daughter's imaginary world, where solutions to his problems await.
"Imagine That" is a confused family offering, where on one hand the setting is an industry probably incomprehensible to children, and on the other is humour that is juvenile, unlikely to amuse older audience members. Mediocre on many fronts, yet incredible too, as no special effects are used in a film where an imaginary world is a major plot feature. Some movies made for the big screen go straight to a DVD release, imagine that.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of TimeAnthony Macali
Based on the video game, which follows an adventurous prince who teams up with a rival princess to stop an angry ruler from unleashing a sandstorm that could destroy the world.
"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is another disappointing game adaptation with an underwhelming story and clunky CGI. The action is good but the editing is brash, and its over-reliance on special effects is a curse, despite the brief moments it's actually of valuable consequence. Naturally there are nods to its origins, but they didn't need to bring back the two-dimensional characters. The hourglass just doesn't run out quick enough on this one.
Trouble with the CurveAnthony Macali
An ailing baseball scout in his twilight years takes his daughter along for one last recruiting trip.
Don't expect too much baseball in "Trouble with the Curve". Instead, this offering plays more like one of those 'father-daughter relationship' movies. The father, grumpy and old, is stuck in his ways, spending most of his time grumbling and moaning while watching the game he loves. His daughter, a lawyer, is busy, career driven and resentful. The performances are heartfelt, but sadly the film is a little dull, and ties all the loose ends ever so neatly. No curve balls here, this story is predictable as can be... better picks out there.
Four turtle brothers, mutated from toxic ooze and master ninjas, must work together and battle an ancient mysterious evil to save the world.
When you're young, turtles are the ultimate pets, ninja is cool and pizza is your favourite food. I still enjoy pizza, but I also enjoyed the rubber suits from the old "TMNT" movies. Replaced with CGI, the new "TMNT" is targeted at a much younger audience. The story is a bit silly, but sweet nun-chuck skills and a happy ending will be a lot of fun for kids. It needs to make more funny's to be totally bodacious.
A drunken playboy stands to lose his inheritance when he falls for a woman his family doesn't like.
"Arthur" displays all the symptoms of an unnecessary remake. It suffers from a typically trite screenplay and a bevy of unfunny and uninspired gags. Although there are some definite laugh-out-loud moments and an often entertaining rapport between the leading man and his 'nanny', the problem is that they're interspersed by long stretches of boredom and an excruciatingly clichéd romance. You can't help but feel the comedic talent on display is wasted. You won't find Camelot here.
A Few Best MenAnne Murphy
An English groom and his three best men travel to the Australian Blue Mountains for his wedding.
Everything about a "A Few Best Men" is exaggerated. From the central romance to the panoramic Australian scenes, the lure and perils of illicit drugs for the groomsmen to the political ambition of the bride's father, this movie is larger than life and complete with a cast of clichéd characters. As is expected of wedding fairytales there is little semblance to reality. Not that there is anything wrong with cinema escapism, but some will want to escape the cinema rather than watch this celebration of matrimony. Baaa.
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver SurferAnthony Macali
The Fantastic Four learn that they aren't the only super-powered beings in the universe when they square off against the powerful Silver Surfer and the planet-eating Galactus.
The Fantastic Four have become a group of scientists without any chemistry. We don't see enough of our beloved Silver Surfer. If only the producers gathered even more conspicuous product placement, they could have extended his stay. Overshadowed by the Surfer, Reed and Sue's relationship is not interesting. The innocuous jokes that sustained the first film are all gone, and all we are left is another sequel that is high in special effects, and nothing else special.
The ExpendablesStefan Bugryn
A team of mercenaries head to South America on a mission to overthrow a dictator.
"The Expendables" is a testosterone fuelled man-movie that packs a record amount of masculinity into an extremely unoriginal script. The premise is simple, and has been done over a million times in one way or another. The characters are like big plastic action figures with no depth behind barrels of sweaty muscle, and their swift delivery of bullets and pain is matched only by their cheesy one liners and laughable acting. If mindless action and explosions is your thing, drop everything and see this movie. Otherwise, expend your time elsewhere.
Side EffectsAnne Murphy
A woman's world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist has unexpected side effects.
Much like its characters, "Side Effects" is never in touch with reality, not that realism, per se, is necessary for a good movie. The misrepresentation of mental health problems and treatment is a little unforgivable though; an already marginalised population may be further stigmatised, and that's not entertainment. There are lots of twists and turns that build intrigue but somehow the story manages to become more preposterous with each plot revelation, and the suspension of disbelief is necessary for viewing enjoyment. Pharma meets psychodrama.
The CampaignAnthony Macali
The world of politician Cam Brady is shaken up with the introduction of a new candidate in district, who challenges his Congress position in an upcoming election.
"The Campaign" lacks any substance or agenda, except to make its supporters laugh. The plot is weak, and the topic is simply a platform for a handful of skits that happen to feature the same two politicians behaving badly for mild amusement. The stretches in-between the jokes are dull, and with nothing on the line, the debate warrants very little interest. Where's the hard-edged commentary or satire? This is a fight that won't sustain the full campaign.
A frustrated office worker learns that he is the son of a professional assassin, and that he shares his father's superhuman killing abilities.
The major problem with "Wanted" is that it's really stupid. It requires an absolute suspension of belief, as we're supposed to believe "looms of fate" can prove fatal. Story aside, some of the sequences are decent in their slow-mo gun-toting CGI kind of way. If the film didn't take itself so seriously, the setup would not be completely ridiculous. Over-the-top choreographed action cannot save it from a predictable plot and a fraternity of two-dimensional characters.
The BoxAnthony Macali
A small wooden box arrives on the doorstep of a married couple, who know that opening it will grant them a million dollars and kill someone they don't know.
Based on a short-story, this creepy film doesn't live up to its promising premise. A lot of weird stuff happens - blood noses, gateways, lightening and other unintentionally funny moments of suspense. The score is atmospheric, performances solid, but intriguing questions of morality are lost in the frustratingly ponderous revelations. The lesson here is to stay at home in your box, perhaps watch the box, and avoid the confusion that is "The Box".
Bad TeacherWendy Slevison
A foul-mouthed junior high teacher sets her sights on a rich colleague instead.
This is a movie that starts out at full throttle, and from there, finds it hard to maintain momentum. Despite trying so hard to be outrageous with its brazen, juvenile comedy, "Bad Teacher" is ultimately not terribly funny. The jokes are just too obvious; there is no subtlety or nuance. Everything is in your face. The cast, in particular the leading lady, work (too) hard with mediocre material that lacks wit and warmth. You don't care about what happens to these 'teachers' - and you definitely don't want to waste an apple on any of them.
We're the MillersAnne Murphy
A veteran pot dealer creates a fake family as part of his plan to move a huge shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico.
"We're the Millers" will divide audiences. Some will find it hilarious and entertaining, while others will squirm and remain straight faced. Try this test; do you usually like movies that are advertised in bus shelters? Answer "yes siree", then next stop is the cinema. Answer "meh, I don’t think so", then stay on board. This film doesn't ask much of viewers, yet doesn't deliver much either. Ironically it's about a big deal... but is no big deal.