Film, Action

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The Giver

15 Sep 20142 stars

Disappointing adaptation of Lois Lowry's YA novel with Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges

The pile of unwanted, underwhelming young-adult adaptations is rising. From The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones to The Host via Ender’s Game, the search for another Twilight or The Hunger Games has ransacked the bookshelves of many literate teens.

Let's Be Cops

26 Aug 20143 stars

Fitfully entertaining cop comedy featuring New Girl's Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr

The buddy cop comedy gets an interesting spin in Let’s Be Cops, a hit-and-miss affair that amuses and frustrates in equal measure. Co-written and directed by Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door), the film follows two loser flat-mates – Jake Johnson’s…

How to Train Your Dragon 2

10 Jul 20144 stars

The animated vikings 'n' dragons sequel arrives full of its predecessor’s invention, wit and flair

Cast your mind back to 2010, and Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders’ animated adventure How To Train Your Dragon. Inspired by the series of YA books by Cressida Cowell, this tale of a young Viking named Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his impossibly…

In Order of Disappearance

19 Jun 20144 stars

Extremely black revenge comedy starring Stellan Skarsgard as a vigilante Citizen of the Year

Directed by Hans Petter Moland, In Order of Disappearance is set in a remote Norwegian town and stars Stellan Skarsgard as snowplough driver Nils Dickman, who has recenty been voted Citizen of the Year. When his son is killed by a vicious drug gang…

Guardians of the Galaxy

28 Jul 20144 stars

Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana star in triumphant addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Based on little known comic-book characters, Guardians of the Galaxy represents something of a leap of faith for Marvel Studios, especially since the film's ties to the all-conquering Avengers franchise are largely superficial, consisting only of brief…

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

14 Jul 20144 stars

The simian sci-fi sequel proves you can marry visual spectacle with heart and intelligence

Complexity is something that’s all too rare in modern blockbusters but Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – like Rupert Wyatt’s Rise – proves you can marry visual spectacle with something to engage the heart and the head too. Thought-provoking…

Into the Storm

19 Aug 20142 stars

Richard Armitage stars in an underwhelming found footage disaster movie from director Steven Quale

Steven Quale’s Into the Storm may blow you away with the quality of some of its special effects but it'll leave you underwhelmed and exasperated in most other respects. Set in or around Silverton, Oklahoma it sees a powerful storm hit the town. By…

Plastic

29 Apr 20142 stars

An appealing young cast can't save this idiotic heist movie

The art of a good con movie is populating it with likeable characters, articulating it with a witty script and having them pull off something ingenious. It should also make you forget that what’s unfolding on-screen is actually illegal! Unfortunately…

The Expendables 3

11 Aug 20143 stars

Stallone, Statham and Schwarzenegger reunite for the third part of the actioner franchise

Sylvester Stallone may have assembled his biggest cast yet for this third instalment in his Expendables franchise but, while certainly enjoyable, it’s also (bullet) riddled with the same problems that beset its predecessors. The lack of a decent…

Transformers: Age of Extinction

1 Jul 20142 stars

A gratuitously lengthy addition to Michael Bay's sci-fi action franchise, starring Mark Wahlberg

The fourth film in the Transformers franchise may mark a freshening up of sorts but it still suffers from the same problem as both previous sequels: the presence of Michael Bay. Never one to shy away from excess, Bay here outdoes his own ridiculous…

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3 Days To Kill

17 Jun 20142 stars

Kevin Costner headlines a preposterous actioner that fails to clone Liam Neeson's Taken

Directed by McG, 3 Days to Kill stars Kevin Costner as hotshot CIA operative Ethan Renner, who's diagnosed with terminal lung cancer (signified by a Cough of Death) after collapsing on his latest mission. Determined to spend his remaining days…

Kick

28 Jul 20143 stars

Entertainingly madcap Bollywood remake starring Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez

Remakes are just as rife in Bollywood as its western counterpart. Kick finds director Sajid Nadiadwala making his debut behind the camera repurposing Reddy Surender’s 2009 hit as a glossy vehicle for Salman Khan to strut his stuff and air his grievances…

Hercules

23 Jul 20143 stars

Dwayne Johnson makes a charismatic 'son of Zeus' in an unashamedly entertaining take on the myth

Having already established himself as the king of trashy blockbusters, thanks to films like the Rush Hour series and Tower Heist, Brett Ratner steps things up to epic levels for his daft but watchable take on Hercules. Inspired by the graphic novel…

Interview: Robert Rodriguez, Eva Green and Jessica Alba talk Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

26 Aug 2014

The director and stars are making a return to Frank Miller's graphic neo-noir universe

If there’s been one question Robert Rodriguez has faced over the past nine years, it’s this: When are you going back to Sin City? ‘To have a movie that people chase you down about to get a sequel for. That just doesn’t happen,’ nods the 46-year-old…

Snowpiercer

18 Jun 20142 stars

Leaden and confused all-star movie of interest only to fans of expensively botched sci-fi money-pits

Much anticipated, Joon-ho Bong’s's futuristic train epic, expensively adapted from a French graphic novel called Le Transperceneige, finally arrives at UK platforms way behind schedule and in a somewhat disheveled state. The high-powered concept for…

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22 Jump Street

3 Jun 20144 stars

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return in one of the finest sequels you're ever likely to see

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum reunite to hilarious effect in 22 Jump Street, a rare sequel that actually manages to surpass the crowd-pleasing achievements of the original. Co-directed once again by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, this winning…

Sabotage

9 May 20142 stars

Arnold Schwarzenegger's presence weighs down what should have been a gritty thriller

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s post-governorship acting comeback appeared to be heading in an intriguing new direction when he signed on to star in David Ayer’s gritty thriller Sabotage. But despite some decent moments the film struggles to realise its…

Interview: producer Jason Blum talks The Purge: Anarchy, micro-budget filmmaking and franchises vs creativity

22 Jul 2014

'If all I’m ever making is sequels, I should look for work elsewhere - that would be bad'

In the future, crime, unemployment and homelessness in America are at an all time low, thanks to one night a year where all crime is made legal. That's the concept behind The Purge, a low-budget action-horror that came out of nowhere to become a…

The Purge: Anarchy

22 Jul 20143 stars

Sequel to the unexpected smash entertainingly expands on the original's premise

‘Profit-making is not the essence of democracy’ offers one of the more eloquent characters in James DeMonaco’s engagingly blunt sequel to 2013's The Purge, a low-budget sensation which turned a massive profit despite being little more than standard…

Edge of Tomorrow

28 May 20144 stars

The Tom Cruise-starring sci-fi actioner is witty, thrilling and consistently inventive

Based on the novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Edge of Tomorrow is directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) and plays like Groundhog Day crossed with Starship Troopers. Set in the near future, where the Earth is under deadly attack…

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

15 May 20143 stars

Bryan Singer's directorial return is triumphant but may leave non-fanboys scratching their heads

Where most superhero movies strive to win ever more fans by reinventing themselves with each new sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past is content to reward the loyalists. Not only does it mark the return of co-creator Bryan Singer (for the first time since…

Godzilla

13 May 20144 stars

Gareth Edwards delivers a visually stunning, if emotionally flawed, monster-sized blockbuster

Having impressed with his low-budget debut Monsters, British filmmaker Gareth Edwards now delivers a visually stunning, if emotionally flawed, monster-sized blockbuster with Godzilla. A self-confessed Godzilla geek, Edwards has stayed true to many of…

Brick Mansions

29 Apr 20141 star

Paul Walker's last completed film is a disappointing, badly made remake of District 13

A remake of parkour-showcasing French thriller District 13 (2004), Brick Mansions is notable for being the final film completed by star Paul Walker before his tragic death in a car crash last year. Sadly, that's the only thing that's notable about it…

The Raid 2

9 Apr 20143 stars

Some astonishing set-pieces underwhelmed by this sequel's over-complicated narrative

The first film in writer / director Gareth Evans’ proposed trilogy of martial arts thrillers was a kick-in-the-pants to the genre: a simple, fluid action film that showcased the art of pencak silat via the story of Jakarta policemen fighting their way…

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

9 Apr 20144 stars

Marc Webb's superhero sequel delivers a sparky blend of thrills, laughs and heartfelt emotion

Marc Webb's sequel to 2012's franchise reboot finds Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) juggling his daily superhero duties as costumed crime fighter Spider-Man while agonising over whether or not he should honour the promise he made to girlfriend Gwen…