Film Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Nowadays, it seems that prequel-reboots of old franchises are all the rage. James Bond, Star Trek and X-Men have all been successfully revived, ready to entertain another generation. Next up is the ‘Planet Of The Apes’ series, which went stale despite Tim Burton’s ‘reimagining’ in 2001. Surprisingly, ‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’ feels nothing like its predecessors. There […]

Film Review: Captain America – The First Avenger (2011)

Marvel Studios’ master plan is going well. Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and Thor have each made the jump from page to screen, their adventures paving the way for ‘The Avengers’. All that remains is Captain America, the last to be adapted before the characters can be assembled next summer. It is World War II, and […]

Film Review: Cars 2 (2011)

‘Cars 2′ is preceded by ‘Hawaiian Vacation’, a short film set in the Toy Story universe. Despite the fact that ‘Toy Story 3′ was supposed to be the end of the franchise, Pixar seems reluctant to let go. It is not hard to see why – despite being only 6 minutes long, this appetiser manages […]

Film Review: Transformers – Dark of the Moon (2011)

“Transformers, robots in disguise! Autobots wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons”. Simple lyrics, from the theme-tune of the 1980s cartoon, outline what ‘Transformers’ is all about: the simplicity of good versus evil, combined with the novelty of shape-shifting robots. The key problem with the sequel, ‘Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen’, […]

Film Review: X-Men – First Class (2011)

‘X-Men’ has been saved. It never quite reached the painful lows of the ‘Batman’ franchise under the misdirection of Joel Schumacher, but after the last two distinctly average outings, the franchise faced an uncertain future. Not anymore: X-Men has been restored to its former glory. ‘X-Men: First Class’ is to X-Men what ‘Casino Royale’ was […]

Film Review: Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides (2011)

‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ started off as a single, surprisingly good, film. With the addition of two poor sequels, it became an embarrassing franchise. Part 4 has a new story, mostly new characters, and barely a reference to parts 2 and 3. Clearly, it tries to distance itself from past mistakes – only it doesn’t […]

Film Review: Hanna (2011)

Once upon a time, there was a little girl called Hanna (Saoirse Ronan), who was raised in a forest by her father Erik (Eric Bana). As an ex-CIA agent, Erik taught Hanna everything she needed: hunting, armed and unarmed combat, and all the languages in the world. One day, Hanna was sent out of the […]

Film Review: Thor (2011)

The final pieces of Marvel’s master plan are falling into place. Developing their key characters one film at a time and sowing the seeds of hype with post-credit teases, Marvel have prepared for ‘The Avengers’ with military precision. Next up is Thor – lesser known, but no less entertaining. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a prince of the […]

Film Review: The Veteran (2011)

At the end of 2008’s ‘The Hurt Locker’, an ex-soldier struggles to choose which type of cereal to buy. Accustomed to life-or-death situations, he is incapable of such a trivial decision. It’s a brief scene, but it perfectly captures the difficulty of adapting to civilian life after the horrors of active duty. This is precisely […]

Film Review: Source Code (2011)

Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a train, with no idea how he got there. A total stranger (Michelle Monaghan) treats him like an acquaintance. His reflection in the window shows him another person’s face. The train explodes. Colter finds himself strapped upside-down inside a strange machine. ‘Source Code’ is only Duncan Jones‘ […]

Film Review: Sucker Punch (2011)

Zack Snyder has become a name associated with spectacular action, and his attachment to the next ‘Superman’ project has caused geeks everywhere to salivate. However, some have questioned his talent because of his tendency to rework other people’s creations. It may be unfair to say that he has piggybacked his way to success on the […]

Film Review: Rango (2011)

Over the years, Pixar has pretty much dominated the field of CG animated films. Sure, there have been plenty of competitors, such as Dreamworks (‘Shrek’) and Blue Sky (‘Ice Age’) but nobody has really been able to knock Pixar off its pixelated throne. Enter ILM, a company known primarily for its strength in special effects. […]

Film Review: Unknown (2011)

Since ‘Unknown’ was announced, the internet has been abuzz with talk of it being another ‘Taken’, a film responsible for rebranding Liam Neeson as an action-man of sorts. And why not? ‘Taken’ received a lot of positivity for its high-octane, no-bullshit action and gained Neeson a whole new following, begging for more. Comparisons are inevitable, […]

Film Review: Ironclad (2010)

There are plenty of lower-budget independent films that have gone on to be more critically acclaimed and more financially profitable than big-budget Hollywood pictures. What is rare, however, is an indie film that masquerades as one of these pictures. A self-labelled “all-star indie action blockbuster” and “inspired by history”,‘Ironclad’ is such a film, trying to redefine […]

Film Review: Hereafter (2010)

In the trailers, shots of a tsunami and a smoking London tube station tell us to expect disasters. From all over the world, people track down Matt Damon, who used to be a psychic but really doesn’t want to communicate with dead people. ‘Hereafter’ seemingly mixes up the best of M. Night Shyamalan and Roland […]

Film Review: Dare (2009)

A pop-art animation shows a pair of hands, wrapped around an iPhone. On the screen, the thumbs tap out the opening credits. Occasionally, the hands reject incoming calls from Mom. They also accidentally type out things like “props!” and “OMG”. It is a rather embarrassing attempt to seem down with the kids (or is that […]

Film Review: Black Swan (2010)

Darren Aronofsky originally intended to make a single film about a love affair between a wrestler and a ballerina. That didn’t work out as planned, and so ‘The Wrestler’ (2008) was made first, with ‘Black Swan’ following two years later. Despite being divided into separate stories, the films remain as companion pieces. The ring and […]

Film Review: Tron Legacy (2010)

‘Tron: Legacy’ is not a perfect film, and nobody will feel otherwise. Some elements of the story are cloudy. The lead actor is a bit wooden. CGI young-Jeff Bridges is a bit hit-and-miss. The famous Light Cycles are underused. The 3D was totally unnecessary. And the product placement for Ducati was unsubtle. However, that is […]