Category Archives: Movie Review

Hampstead, Director: Joel Hopkins

Diane Keaton is radiant in this charming little “late life” rom-com, opposite an eccentric Brendan Gleeson. She plays a recently widowed American, living in a slightly rundown but elegant apartment on the outskirts of Hampstead in North London. At loose ends after a lifetime of being a wife and mother, she is wondering how she will survive as her supposedly successful late husband left her with a mountain of debt. Gleeson is a hermit, living in a decidedly un-chic shack he built in the Hampstead Heath, which is about to be bulldozed by developers seeking to construct a luxury apartment complex. When they meet, it’s quirky, off kilter kismet. Continue reading

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Paris Can Wait, Director Eleanor Coppola

When the 80-year-old wife of Francis Ford Coppola, who’s been his helpmate, assistant and cohort since 1963, decides to write and direct her first feature film – what happens? Eleanor Coppola picks up the reins as if she’s commanded them her whole life and delivers a sure-footed tale of romance and self-discovery on a road trip through the French countryside. Continue reading

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The War for the Planet of the Apes, Director: Matt Reeves

I left the cinema after seeing The War for the Planet of the Apes, wondering if I had seen the same flick as the woman sitting next to me. She was reduced to tears, literally blubbering for a good part of the flick, while I sat there stunned at a grim pile of tired clichés that played out before my eyes. How can this be? I suppose, if you’re a die-hard fan of the franchise (which I am not) you get more of the characters and world you’ve come to love, even if there isn’t much of a story this time out. Even so, this final episode could have been edited down to a tidy half hour before reaching its well-telegraphed conclusion. Instead it was two and a half hours of cruelty, platitudes and boredom. Continue reading

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Spider-Man: Homecoming Dir: Jon Watts

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keato, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey, Jr.

Toby Maguire? Andrew Garfield? Now Tom Holland? Yep that’s right, the sixth Spider-Man film in 15 years has arrived, and this one is directed by Jon Watts. Continue reading

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My Cousin Rachel, Director: Roger Michell

Rachel Weisz delivers a wonderfully enigmatic performance in this adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1951 classic novel, My Cousin Rachel. Impeccably shot and set in the lush Cornish countryside, it’s a mystery-romance-thriller that leaves the viewer pondering the possibilities long after you’ve left the theatre. Continue reading

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Transformers: The Last Knight Dir: Michael Bay

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Hopkins

That’s right Transformers is back, and so is Michael Bay with the 5th in the franchise. Can you believe it? There’s 5 of these things. The Transformers franchise has been critically panned for the most part, but has grossed 3.7 billion worldwide. It’s a smart business decision to keep this thing going even though critics may not find ‘art’ within these films. All that matters is that they can get people into the theatre, and they do. Every. Single. Time. Continue reading

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All Eyez on Me – Director: Benny Boom

All Eyez on Me purports to tell the true, untold story of rapper, poet and activist Tupac Shakur (Demetrius Shipp Jr.) What it doesn’t tell is why anyone should care why, twenty years after his death, his work still matters. But we do get to see a hell of a lot of booty and bullets. Continue reading

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The Mummy Dir: Alex Kurtzman

Starring: Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sophia Boutella, Russell Crowe

The Mummy, is directed by writer/director Alex Kurtzman, and is the first instalment in the Universal ‘Dark Universe’ shared cinematic universe of classic movie monsters. Continue reading

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Wonder Woman, Director: Patty Jenkins

There’s an infinite number of considerations when attempting to write a review of the new Wonder Woman movie. How could Gal Gadot ever fill the iconic Lynda Carter’s bustier? Why is this the first time she has been brought to the big screen in her own feature film? Is Wonder Woman too sexy for girl power? Then there is the curious question of the Amazons living for centuries without men on a secret island. But let’s forget all that for the moment and just talk about the movie – because regardless of your (or my) opinions on all of the above – Wonder Woman simply rocks! Continue reading

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Snatched, Director: Jonathan Levine

Life isn’t going well for 30-something Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer.) She can’t keep a job. Her boyfriend dumps her on the eve of an overseas holiday. Her tickets are non-refundable and unsurprisingly, none of her friends is willing to go along. She’s a self-centred wreck, oblivious to others and with no one left to turn to – she runs home to Mother (Goldie Hawn.) Continue reading

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Alien: Covenant Dir: Ridley Scott

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup 

Alien: Covenant is the much anticipated sequel to Prometheus. And I’m just going to say it. “I liked Prometheus”. I also really enjoyed the previous Alien films just to make that clear. A few of my friends are also Alien fans, and consider Prometheus to be the equivalent to ‘The Phantom Menace’ and have lost a little faith in Mr Scott. It’s very interesting, whenever I’ve met someone who is a huge fan of the Alien films they say they hate Prometheus. But when I’ve spoken to a general movie fan, they (for the most part) enjoyed it. Continue reading

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Dir: James Gunn

Starring: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana

The first Guardians film was yet another example of how plucking a talented passionate filmmaker from indie obscurity (James Gunn) and giving him a shot can be a big pay off for a major Hollywood studio. Continue reading

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Kong: Skull Island

Meet the new Kong!

It’s 1973 and the Vietnam War is coming to an end. Facing redundancy, army scientist Bill Randa (John Goodman) convinces his superiors to let him lead a geology expedition to an uncharted island in the South Pacific. He gets his crew together: soldiers led by Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), a tracker (Tom Hiddleston), a photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larsen) and a few others clearly cast as monster-fodder. Their crew flies in through a fierce electrical storm in a dozen helicopters and as soon as they arrive at this breathtaking tropical paradise, they start bombing the hell out of it. Continue reading

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Alone in Berlin

With Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson heading up the cast, I had high hopes for Alone in Berlin. It’s based on the highly praised 1947 novel by Hans Fallada, which has only recently been translated into English, apparently based on the story of a real life couple. Continue reading

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T2 Trainspotting – Dir: Danny Boyle

 

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle

T2 Trainspotting, the sequel to the ground-breaking 1996 film, got a preview screening last night at Auckland’s Broadway Newmarket Cinema. Along with a bevy of local “celebrities”, director Danny Boyle was on hand to say a few words before the film rolled. Continue reading

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