Monte Carlo - Movie Poster

Monte Carlo

3.0 Anthony Macali

Three young women are whisked away to Monte Carlo after one of the girls is mistaken for an heiress.

There are very few surprises in "Monte Carlo", and much like its three heroines, we're encouraged to 'seize the moment'. The film's charm is impossible to resist, and the French coastal setting, with its lavish hotels and lookouts, is the perfect playground for the affable young cast. They play out the familiar premise with great humour, and even share a few messages and morals along the way. While slightly over-staying its welcome, the movie remains ashamedly fun, appealing to the hopeless dreamer inside all of us.


20 Cigarettes - Movie Poster

20 Cigarettes

3.0 Anne Murphy

An assistant film director working in Iraq finds himself caught up in a suicide attack.

This movie tells the autobiographical story of its director with a lighter touch than a documentary might have allowed. Iraq is shown as a place where soldiers and peace-keepers are wondering what they were doing there. Injury is graphically depicted, providing a palpable experience of the horror of war. A strong but very watchable political statement is made by bringing a personal story to the big screen. The cigarettes provide an interesting device to contrast everyday life with a day in a war zone. Smoking.


Sorelle Mai - Movie Poster

Sorelle Mai

3.0 Anne Murphy

The director's family is filmed over a 10 year period acting in film roles rather than biographic depictions to create an experimental and dramatic work.

"Sorelle Mai" is an interesting movie that follows the hopes and mostly thwarted dreams of a brother and sister. What makes it really interesting is knowing what the director attempted and the scope of the project. For those sitting in a cinema it's not obvious how ambitious the film-making is, and for the average viewer the slight narrative may be insufficient to captivate. Appreciate this one for being well crafted. Sisters are doin' it...


Lost Kisses - Movie Poster

Lost Kisses

3.0 Anne Murphy

A girl in the deprived outskirts of a Sicilian city becomes a local celebrity to her community when word spreads that she just might be able to perform miracles.

"Lost Kisses" uses cynicism to explore our faith in the inexplicable, and satirically mocks our need to keep up appearances. While not taking an overt stance on one side or the other of religious belief and our desire for miracles, there's a lot going on under the surface-line of the story. It's a pleasure to be allowed to draw your own meaning. A peck on the cheek.


The Change Up - Movie Poster

The Change Up

3.0 Andrew O'Dea

A comedy in which a married father accidentally switches bodies with his best friend, leading to a series of wildly complex difficulties.

This instalment of the body-swap genre is ultimately a crass affair, and is largely dependant on shock value rather than wit – not to say it's completely devoid of any intelligence. Like its protagonists, the audience too will be split, as the film's talented cast push the boundaries of tastefulness. Some will find the perverse humour laugh-out-loud funny, while others will simply find it vulgar and clichéd. "The Change Up" is definitely borderline... it really could go either way.


Priest - Movie Poster

Priest

3.0 Andrew O'Dea

A priest disobeys church law to track down the vampires who kidnapped his niece.

"Priest" makes the most of its short running time to deliver what is, in the end, a sleek action flick. Sure, there are clichés aplenty and the dialogue may cause you to wane at times, but it's all offset by some seriously stylish action sequences. What else could you honestly expect from a film where the hero flings ninja-stars in the shape of a crucifix? Although lacking in originality and littered with flaws, the target demographic will nonetheless be more than satisfied by this perfectly acceptable vehicle of vampire-slaying. Say 'Three Hail Marys' for enjoying this guilty pleasure.


The Greatest Movie Ever Sold - Movie Poster

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

3.0 Anthony Macali

A documentary about branding, advertising and product placement that is financed and made possible by brands, advertising and product placement.

The self-proclaimed "Greatest Movie Ever Sold" is far from it, though it does provide an interesting exposé into the unfamiliar advertising industry. The director/ documenter's lack of charisma is redeemed by his resourceful and determined displays, especially when forced to sell his idea to the advertising companies themselves with the aid of some amusing place cards. In the end, it's hard to tell if the financiers or film-makers come out on top, although as an audience, we're not 100% sold.


Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Movie Poster

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

3.0 Wendy Slevison

An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man's own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

The storyline for this movie could be the daydreams of apes that spend their lives in zoos, caged for human entertainment. Featuring remarkable CGI and motion-capture performances, in particular by the lead "ape", this is a gem for buffs, but could leave others a little underwhelmed. The human actors are rather dull, and it takes a long time to get the narrative established. However, with the apes firmly on the rise by the end of the film, stand by to 'go ape' for the upcoming sequel.


TrollHunter - Movie Poster

TrollHunter

3.0 Andrew O'Dea

A group of students investigate a series of mysterious bear killings, but learn that there is something more dangerous going on. They follow a strange hunter, and learn that he is actually a troll hunter.

Those who don't take this film too seriously are certain have a lot of fun, as the film's comedy is essentially rooted in this very mantra. The director is to be applauded for the resourcefulness of integrating the giant trolls - almost seamlessly - on what must have been a very modest budget. Although the film has a tendency to become quite languid at times, its drolly comic style and the beautiful fjords and forests of Norway littered throughout make it watchable. Fee, fi, fo... fun!


Littlerock - Movie Poster

Littlerock

3.0 Anne Murphy

Siblings from Japan get stranded in a small town, Littlerock, while waiting for a replacement rental car.

Viewing American culture, through the eyes of a non-English speaker is interesting but almost insufficient to maintain feature length interest. Perhaps it is the desolate location where nothing much happens, or the listless locals, but boredom stealthily encroaches. At times it feels that not enough is happening on the screen. Even so this story of strangers in a remarkably strange land is unsettling enough to hold attention, leaving a lasting imprint. It's like looking through a magnifying glass and not a kaleidoscope.


Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Movie Poster

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

3.0 Courtney Slevison

The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and learn its secrets.

This film is made for fans of the franchise, and for that purpose it's a great movie. Of course, others may be dismayed by the predictable storyline and cheesy dialogue. The special effects are outstanding, especially in 3D, and the epic action sequences will conjure enough excitement to satisfy the wide-eyed little kid in all of us. "Transformers 3" ultimately works because it's able to keep the story grounded enough in reality to make you think that it could almost be real… almost.


Super 8 - Movie Poster

Super 8

3.0 Anthony Macali

After witnessing a mysterious train crash, a group of friends in the summer of 1979 begin noticing strange happenings going around in their small town.

"Super 8" incites nostalgia, as we share the enthusiasm of the young crew making a short film. Just as the wonderfully realised characters start to develop, an underwhelming and subsequently non-threatening accident crashes the party in more ways than one. Strange things start to happen, some large objects get thrown about, but all it seems to do is rile our interest. Unfortunately the kids stop being kids, turn into detectives, and unveil a remarkably poor revelation. Not that great.


The Hangover Part II - Movie Poster

The Hangover Part II

3.0 Stefan Bugryn

The wolfpack get themselves in trouble again days before Stu's Thai wedding.

This sequel is no more than a duplicate of the original... just in another country. There are a lot of moments where you will feel like you've been before, but the characters are likeable enough to allow them to just get away with it. Some laugh-out-loud scenes manage to carry the film only so far, and while the neat ending is a little too didactic, it's still worth seeing. Watch out for the cringe-worthy musical performance by a well-known boxer; it could well be cinema's worst. He was probably hung-over.


Get Low - Movie Poster

Get Low

3.0 Anne Murphy

Equal parts folk tale, fable and real-life legend about the mysterious, 1930s Tennessee hermit who famously threw his own rollicking funeral party.

"Get Low" is a good old fashioned hokey folky story with warm understated performances from a big name cast, and a mule. It's deftly crafted and charming to watch. There's a slow build around the themes of guilt and forgiveness before the eventual plot reveal. Although tears are coaxed out during the long awaited climax, this movie will be watched for the dawdling journey rather than the ending. Hard not to like but lacking real highs and lows.


Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil - Movie Poster

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil

3.0 Anne Murphy

Red Riding Hood is training in the group of Sister Hoods, when she and the Wolf are called to examine the mysterious sudden disappearance of Hansel and Gretel.

Red is a girl who stands up for herself and knocks her opponents out, delivering action before comedy. Still, the snappy dialogue and cracking one-liners are welcome in movies aimed at younger audiences, providing enjoyment for the grown-ups. Annoyingly, there's some not so subtle stereotyping, and you can't help noticing the baddies are all chubby and the goodies fit and trim. Wink, wink, as all in all, it's more good than evil.