You might think that a thriller featuring big names like Robert De Niro, Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy – alongside brand-new hot property Elizabeth Olsen – would at the very least be a slickly filmed, if creatively hollow, venture. Sure, Robert De Niro was in New Year’s Eve and thus has obviously lost his marbles. But Cillian Murphy wouldn’t be in a film that didn’t make sense, would he? You’d think that wouldn’t you? But no. Nope. You won’t find anything plausible here; only a collection of dodgy, derivative, poorly-acted strands mashed together like a jigsaw done by a drunk toddler. And not as fun to watch.
Yep, it’s another one of those films where very clean celebrities pretend to have names like “Holly” and “Gary” and there’s just loads of them, loads of them scuttling around like glowing, plastic noise-rats shouting “UH OH! BABIES!” and it’s funny until it’s not and then it is again because sad emotions only last as long as a scene of about four minutes, and then it’s BACK TO CHRIS ROCK DOING HIS JOKES and people in bikinis and Jennifer Lopez realising stuff and then crying so gently. Just call it Middle Class Heteros Have Kids (You Don’t Even Get To See Them Shag), and be done with it.
Muscular, mean, nightmarish and brutal, The Raid delivers an unyielding onslaught of exquisitely choreographed violence, reminding us all that the thick, brawny shoot-em ups we’re used to associating with the action genre wouldn’t last a minute up against Indonesia’s glistening finest. With shades of Oldboy, Ong Bak, Reservoir Dogs and more dripping from every blood-drenched sinew, this is endurance-entertainment that isn’t afraid to push its actors and audience until its final, skull-cracking moments. Best of luck.
Piranha 3D was the surprise hit of 2010, blending knowing references to its glorious B-movie heritage with a truly unfeasible supply of boobs, blood, boobs, fish, boobs, Christopher Lloyd and boobs. Can its long-awaited sequel work the same schlocky magic? …No, no it can’t. Piranha 3DD is exactly as bad as we expected its predecessor to be.
The wait is finally over! After no fewer than four stand-alone prequels, the giants of Marvel’s metahuman stable explode onto the silver screen in a joyous orgy of action, wit and great big hammers. Visionary director Joss Whedon pulls off the ultimate balancing act as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes™ settle their differences for one of the most exhilarating superhero films ever.
Will Ferrell flexes his language skills and breaks out the bootlace ties for this Spanish-language action/comedy mezcla. Ever wanted to see some of Mexico’s most critically acclaimed actors charge around like they’re in a dire 70s soap opera whilst Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite says “I like bitches” over and over again? YOU’RE IN LUCK! Dodge the bullets and the dud gags and you’ll find plenty to enjoy here.
Dexter Fletcher’s sensational directorial debut is a gangster film with almost no gangstering in it. Featuring a meticulously well-crafted cast, an engaging story, a script which is by turns heartbreaking and hilarious and a totally believable central performance, this film couldn’t be less like Guy Ritchie’s nonsensical oeuvre if it managed to sustain a relationship with Madonna. Superb.
Gary Ross fleshes out Suzanne Collins’ sparse survival tale into a fully-fledged dystopian action flick, adding social and political complexities only glimpsed at in the debut novel. Stonking performances from everyone involved, genuinely harrowing scenes of sacrifice and A TOTAL LACK OF WEEPING VAMPIRES make this one teen franchise actual worthy of the label Young Adult. Thanks Bella, but you can go now.
A who’s who of pensionable British talent is shipped off to the colonies for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a charming comedy which makes full use of its intoxicating setting and first-rate cast. Ever wished Love Actually had more curry and jokes about hip replacements?