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Exodus: Gods and Kings

December 20, 2014
Christian Bale in 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' (2014)

Exodus: Gods and Kings was always going to be a spectacle on a grand scale but the challenge for director, Ridley Scott, was how to deal with the larger-than-life characters of Moses, the Pharaoh Ramses, and err.. God. He has made some bold choices, not the least being the casting of 11-year-old Isaac Andrews as … More


The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

November 8, 2014
Kyle Catlett in 'The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet' (2013)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet belongs to the other extreme of Francophone cinema to the Dardennes. His films are modern fairy tales with characters that are impossibly charming or grotesque. One of his favourite actors, Dominique Pinon, who has a small role in The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, manages to be both charming and grotesque. Jeunet’s films … More


Predestination

September 6, 2014
Sarah Snook in 'Predestination' (2014)

If you haven’t seen enough of Ethan Hawke in Boyhood, he reappears – and disappears, and reappears – in Presdestination, the third feature by identical twins, Michael and Peter Spierig, who were born in Germany but raised in Brisbane. The film is based on Robert A. Heinlein’s All You Zombies (1959), a short story about … More


Lucy

August 16, 2014
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“The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity,” reads the tag line for Luc Besson’s science fiction thriller, Lucy, “Today she will hit 100%.” It’s tempting to explore some variations on a theme: “The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity, but Luc Besson makes motion pictures using only a fraction of this … More


Godzilla

May 24, 2014
Elizabeth Olsen in 'Godzilla' (2014)

When Godzilla rose out of the ocean in 1954 and proceeded to trash Tokyo, no-one could have foreseen that he would still be wreaking havoc 60 years later. The durability of the “king of the monsters” owes something to the personality he developed in the 1960s, and something to his connections with nuclear energy, which … More


The Amazing Spider-Man 2

April 26, 2014
Jamie Foxx in 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' (2014)

To go from the cultish Only Lovers Left Alive to The Amazing Spider-Man 2, is to leave the would-be sublime for the out-and-out ridiculous. The latest blockbuster is always referred to as “eagerly-awaited”, but at last week’s preview, audiences had to wait more than an hour and a half because of problems with a digital … More


Divergent

April 12, 2014
Shailene Woodley in 'Divergent' (2014)

After spending a couple of hours at The Grand Budapest Hotel any other movie might seem humdrum. Neil Burger’s Divergent has the bigger problem of standing directly in the shadow of The Hunger Games, already an established franchise in the lucrative Young Adult market. I’m beginning to feel I’ve been wasting my life writing film … More


Noah

April 5, 2014
Russell Crowe in 'Noah' (2014)

In Chapter 6 of Genesis, God gives Noah very specific instructions about how to build an ark. It clocks in at a length of 300 cubits, a breadth of 50 cubits, and a height of 30 cubits. 300 cubits is roughly 138 metres in today’s measurements. By comparison the Titanic measured 269 metres from end … More


RoboCop

February 22, 2014
Joel Kinnaman in 'RoboCop' 2014

RoboCop redux generates seriously diminished expectations. How could one expect anything but a travesty of Paul Verhoeven’s original RoboCop of 1987? The big budget remake of Verhoeven’s Total Recall was possibly the most execrable Hollywood production of 2012, so one could only brace for the worst. It is with relief and surprise that I can … More


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

January 6, 2014
Martin Freeman in 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' 2013

J.R.R.Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings is reputedly the second bestselling novel of all time – after A Tale of Two Cities! A trilogy of some 1,800 pages, it is the sequel to The Hobbit, the fourth bestseller of all time, which clocks in at a mere 270 pages. Yet both stories have been turned … More