American Gangster - Movie Poster

American Gangster

3.5 Anthony Macali

In 1970s America, a detective works to bring down the drug empire of a heroin kingpin.

"American Gangster" is an epic story of two people. Frank Lucas, a religious and devoted family man; and his polar opposite, Richie Roberts, the incorruptible cop, troubled at home but determined in his lonely pursuit. You can't help but take Frank's side, relishing his journey from rags to riches, and joining his vast corrupted network of cops and soldiers who succumb to greed. It's not until we see the effects of 'Blue Magic' that we're reminded his business is heroin. A brilliant and engaging crime classic.


I Am Legend - Movie Poster

I Am Legend

2.5 Anthony Macali

Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters, the sole survivor in New York City struggles valiantly to find a cure.

This post-apocalyptic thriller is all too familiar, with too much focus on a barren New York that becomes dull quickly after the excessive panning. More tameness comes in the form of the terrible infected, tanned a bland grey and lacking physicality. A group of computer generated embodiments are simply not as menacing as real people dressed in pale makeup and blood. Often tense but far from legendary.


Waitress - Movie Poster

Waitress

4.0 Anthony Macali

Jenna is a pregnant, unhappily married waitress in the deep south. She meets a newcomer to her town and falls into an unlikely relationship as a last attempt at happiness.

Far from a mid-life crisis, I found little to relate to in this sorry tale. Nonetheless, it's impossible not to sympathize with our titular waitress as we suffer her arduous imprisonment. As it hits an all time low, Jenna finally breaks free from her mundane lifestyle. We share her wry smile as she engages in a mischievous relationship with the hilarious and bumbling doctor. "Waitress" is a saccharine and sometimes quirky dish that everyone should try.


Atonement - Movie Poster

Atonement

4.0 Anthony Macali

Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit.

"Atonement" is a love story torn by unfortunate circumstance. Briony's interpretation of events are marred by jealously, and cleverly presented in a style that shows the points of view of all involved. These key events play alongside a beautiful score, complete with resounding keys of a type-writer that haunts throughout. This film is a timeless period piece and an admiral adaptation that shows the power of the written-word.


1408 - Movie Poster

1408

3.0 Anthony Macali

A man who specializes in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408.

Your typical bad guy comes in the form of a mask-wearing, knife-wielding bandit, or some kind of monster or creature. But a hotel room? Funny enough, a room can be scary - and frightening enough to make you question your very own alarm clock, telephone and the walls of your home. This lodge haunts your past, with plenty of suicidal ghosts to keep you company. It's thrilling and chilling stuff, only suffering in the certain level of unease that comes in the frantic finalé. A terrifying film of terrifying heights.


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.


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.


Rush Hour 3 - Movie Poster

Rush Hour 3

2.0 Anthony Macali

After an attempted assassination on Ambassador Han, Lee and Carter head to Paris to protect a French woman with knowledge of the Triads' secret leaders.

"Rush Hour 3" is a comedy riddled with contrivances. Before the franchise can sink any lower, our first genuine laugh arrives in the sewer. It's the last laugh to come till the finalé, in which an over-computer-generated sequence of fights and thrills on the Eiffel Tower are less than spectacular. You will find the outtakes the most enjoyable part, and they're not even in the movie! Don't rush to see this one.


The Kingdom - Movie Poster

The Kingdom

3.0 Anthony Macali

A team of US government agents is sent to investigate the bombing of a facility in the Middle East.

"The Kingdom" is an entertaining venture into a world of foreign affairs and the war against terror. The reality is frightening, in particular a bomb-making sequence where the device is constructed under a careful and meticulous preparation that sends chills down your spine. Unfortunately, much of the weight of discussion is lost in the final chapter, where a questionable chase rocket-launches into action. The forensics, politics and explosions will find an audience, but the message is lost in all the debris.


Superbad - Movie Poster

Superbad

4.5 Anthony Macali

Two co-dependent high school seniors are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry.

"Superbad" is the most hysterical movie of the year so far. A simple story and adept insight into life growing up, it truly captures the awkwardness in meeting girls and the difficulty in obtaining alcohol underage. Delivered with brash dialogue that is fresh and funny, this film is Superbad-Ass.


A Mighty Heart - Movie Poster

A Mighty Heart

3.0 Anthony Macali

The film is based on Mariane Pearl's account of the terrifying and unforgettable story of her husband, Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl's life and death.

"A Mighty Heart" is a genuine and heartfelt account of tragedy. The excellent performances reflect a true sense of the frustration, determination and suffering of all those involved. The film struggles to draw the audience into the investigation, presumably of little concern to the director with motives that seem to favour accuracy over entertainment. An authentic portrayal with a good heart, but little excitement.


Spider-Man 3 - Movie Poster

Spider-Man 3

2.5 Anthony Macali

Peter Parker is having relationship issues with Mary Jane, continued conflict with Harry and faces the threat of three new villains. One is alien goo that bonds to Peter amplifying his darker qualities.

The first delightfully explored the transformation of Peter into Spidey. The second he encountered Dr. Octopus. The third... more villains? They must have run out of ideas with the introduction of many new characters, all with cobweb thin backgrounds. The only relief is when Peter relishes the power of the Venom suit, transforming him into dancing fool causing him to swat Mary Jane, a guilty highlight in the film. This spider has finally been squished.


Sunshine - Movie Poster

Sunshine

3.5 Anthony Macali

This film takes you on board spaceship "Icarus II" where an international crew of scientists attempt to reignite a dying sun with a payload of explosives.

The mission is dangerous (the sun is pretty hot) and it's interesting to see how the crew react when their lives and the future of mankind is at risk. Thrilling stuff that will entertain those who don't favour science fiction.


Ratatouille - Movie Poster

Ratatouille

4.5 Anthony Macali

Remy, a sewer rat makes an unusual alliance with a restaurant's new garbage boy Linguini.

A story about a rodent that can cook may not sound very appetising, but don't under-estimate one of the most beautiful films of the year. From the glowing Paris skyline, to the buffet of foods you wish to grab straight off the screen, "Ratatouille" is a warm animation that is fast and fun. The highlight is the affable Linguini, a lanky and dopey character, but once puppeteered by Remy, is uproariously amusing with his comical antics. It succeeds in making us sympathise with a rat and believing anyone, human or animal, can cook.


TMNT - Movie Poster

TMNT

2.0 Anthony Macali

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.


The Bourne Ultimatum - Movie Poster

The Bourne Ultimatum

4.5 Andrew O'Dea

Bourne dodges new, superior assassins as he searches for some finality to his unknown past.

"The Bourne Ultimatum" is a spy-thriller that magnificently meanders its way through Moscow, Madrid, London, Morocco and New York. The movie travels at a frantic pace, and the camera never stops moving either, as it compels us to identify with the urgency of every scenario Bourne is confounded with. We are forced to brace ourselves as the thrill of the chase creates a gripping tension. The intense action sequences that result are a seamless constant, and bring an uncompromising yet exquisite realism to the film that you cannot help but marvel at.


Next - Movie Poster

Next

2.5 Anthony Macali

A Las Vegas magician who can see into the future is pursued by FBI agents seeking to use his abilities to prevent a nuclear terrorist attack.

"Next" is an embarrassing action thriller propelled with a terrible superfluous score and bland, random dialogue. It looks like the actors are only after their next pay cheque, their empty expressions throughout the movie scarily simular to the audience. The gift of foresight is portrayed well, but could have been used in better context than the numerous cgi-ridden chases that provide an excuse for action. This should not be the next movie you want to see.


Black Sheep - Movie Poster

Black Sheep

3.5 Andrew O'Dea

An experiment in genetic engineering turns harmless sheep into blood-thirsty killers that terrorize a sprawling New Zealand farm.

"Black Sheep" is a horror comedy pertaining to the most unique of premises. It's clever and fun and gets away with it because there's no need to pull the wool from our eyes, and it's easy to just sit back and enjoy the mutton madness. These 'baa-baa bad sheep' blend enough humour and gore to create a sublime comedy. If you don’t take things like this too seriously, ewe'll be sure to laugh...


300 - Movie Poster

300

4.0 Andrew O'Dea

King Leonidis leads a band of elite warriors to war in the defence of their revered Sparta.

A gourmet for the purest of action fans, "300" is a visual feast. It doesn't concede to that typical movie concept whereby our heroes find themselves vastly outnumbered only to overcome insurmountable odds. Amidst all the testosterone and glistening abdominal muscles, it still does well to conjure inspiration and give substance to the brave three hundred's valour and sacrifice. It's brutal, but ultimately moving. With ferocious battle sequences choreographed using superlative CGI, and a plot to match, slaughter never looked this good.


Sicko - Movie Poster

Sicko

3.5 Anthony Macali

A documentary comparing the highly profitable American health care industry to other nations, and HMO horror stories.

This film will convince you that America has the worst health care system in the world, and that France is a good country to live in. There is nothing more powerful than showing the price tags of body parts, supplemented by uncovering the greed and corruption of the government and insurance companies. How can the same medicine be 2400% more in the US than Cuba? This highly entertaining documentary will make a socialist out of you.


Die Hard 4.0 - Movie Poster

Die Hard 4.0

3.0 Anthony Macali

McClane takes on an Internet-based terrorist organization who is systematically shutting down the US.

This film will appeal those who like their action old school; bad guys and henchman vs the reluctant good guys, carrying an array of bullet wounds and the burden of the country. The director has a real eye for action, the first half of the movie is a refreshing and entertaining thrill of big booms and familiar wisecracks. It's a lot of fun when the baddies die hard, usually with big thuds from large falls. You know it's wandered too far when the pursuits take John to the top of the fighter jet. I prefer my new school action grounded in reality.


Hot Fuzz - Movie Poster

Hot Fuzz

3.5 Anthony Macali

A city cop, too good for his job, is reallocated by his colleagues to the English country town of Sanford. The cop soon discovers a lot of suspicious accidents in this supposedly quiet town.

There are many laughs in this tribute to the buddy cop films of the eighties with countless references (some purposely orchestrated). The grande finalé should have started earlier in the film, but was not unwelcome and provides the best satire. If your humour welcomes fly-kicking elderly citizens to the head, you will enjoy this.


The Simpsons Movie - Movie Poster

The Simpsons Movie

3.0 Anthony Macali

When Homer mistakenly pollutes the river with toxic waste from his "Pig Crap" silo, he causes the EPA to encase Springfield in a glass dome.

Cheeky and mischievous, "The Simpsons Movie" starts well with the jokes fast and funny. It's when we pass the usual episode length of time the movie stumbles and bores. The revamped animation and widescreen transfer do add value, but there is nothing new or surprising in this film that warrants the cartoon to reach for the cinema. We should all listen to the wisdom of Homer, and watch this on TV for free.


Bridge to Terabithia - Movie Poster

Bridge to Terabithia

4.0 Anthony Macali

A preteen's life is changed after befriending the new girl at school.

This is a rare film that encourages children to use their imagination. The beauty of "Terabithia" is its growth parallels the children's minds and does not appear instantly on the other side of the looking glass. A large proponent of the film confronts relevant issues facing young adolescents. While bullying gets the most attention, the story also touches class distinction, religion, friendship and death. This fable shows how the power of imagination can help cope with the real world and bearing an "open mind" is good.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Movie Poster

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

4.0 Anthony Macali

With their warning about Lord Voldemort's return scoffed at, Harry and Dumbledore are targeted by the Wizard authorities as an authoritarian bureaucrat slowly seizes power at Hogwarts.

Harry endears Hogwarts, a home of magic tricks, lavish feasts and Quiddich heroics, which is not as much fun when he who should not be named (Voldemort) is tormenting his mind. Potter fights some real evil this time around; defending against the dark arts, blinding dementors and stunning evil Azkaban escapees. Join the wonderful ensemble cast of Dumbledore's army in the most terrifying and suspenseful instalment of the series yet. Darker is better.