Friday, 24 June 2011



Saoirse Ronan is Hanna, the teenage super assassin raised in a forest who's eventually unleashed in to the world by her rogue spy daddy Eric Bana so that she can learn the truth about her dead mother, herself and life in general. Joe (Atonement) Wright crafts a strange yet compelling fairytale/action thriller /coming of age story following Hanna as she makes friends, busts heads and tries to avoid cruel and cold-hearted Cate Blanchett as a wicked stepmother type who wants Hanna dead in order to keep certain secrets buried. Blanchett and Bana are great as always but with her white hair and pale skin, Ronan is just superb as the deceptively delicate, wonderfully odd, viciously brutal, yet vulnerable and sweetly innocent Hanna. The pulsing Chemical Brothers score is also immensely effective. An original spin on a familiar tale. 4 (out of 5)

Mathew (Kick-Ass) Vaughn directs this utterly brilliant 1960’s set prequel to Bryan Singer’s fantastic X-Men and X2 with James McAvoy as a young Prof. X meeting up with Michael Fassbender’s Nazi hunting Magneto to stop evil Kevin Bacon from starting World War 3. Rich in story and character, X-Men: First Class is a slick and exciting superhero action adventure with genuine heart and soul as well as some pulse quickening action and mighty fine spectacle. The entire cast is great but the never better Fassbender is the real star here. The A list awaits him. So, forget the barely adequate X-Men: The Last Stand and the godawful X-Men origins: Wolverine, this one’s the real X deal. 5 (out of 5)

Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw 2, 3, 4) directs this decidedly nasty, violent, sadistic remake of a dodgy 80’s horror flick. Rebecca DeMornay is the psycho mother who along with her three sons and one daughter invade the home of a young couple in search of a stash of hidden money. Murder and bloody torture follow as mother is convinced the homeowners are holding out on her and her nutty, nasty brood. Mother’s Day is a well-made film and quite a gruelling watch. It has a good cast (especially DeMornay) and explores familiar themes of family, loyalty and the extremes people can go to given the right circumstances. It’s a bit too long and a bit too torture porn for my tastes but overall Mother’s Day is an intense and reasonably interesting affair. 3 (out of 5)


Brandon Routh is Dylan Dog, a private detective secretly charged with keeping the supernatural denizens of New Orleans in check. When a young woman hires Dylan to find out what killed her father and why, he is drawn in to a supernatural conspiracy which could mean the end for all human kind. Based upon a popular comic book from Italy, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is, according to the book’s fans, a total travesty. Now I’ve never read the comic so I can’t judge. What I can say is that this movie is a very cheap, very silly, monster movie romp. I found it to be perfectly acceptable, good natured fun - thanks mostly to its goofy tone, the easy low key charm of Routh (who should still be Superman) and the evocative New Orleans location. Okay, so the effects are often laughably poor, the overall story utterly predictable and by the numbers, and Sam Huntingdon as Dylan’s recently zombiefied friend intensely annoying. Stop SHOUTING! But you know what? I enjoyed it. Sue me. It's a cheap, cheesy, silly, B movie monster mash-up. Don’t put this Dog down just yet. 3 (out of 5)

Martin Campbell’s mega budget space opera/superhero adventure stars Ryan Reynolds as the power ring wielding intergalactic peacekeeper in glowy green tights. Now, this is a great looking movie for sure. It’s glossy as all hell. Problem is the script is clunky and muddled and stuffed to the gills with bad dialogue. The structure and pacing is also totally off with the film feeling as if important chunks are missing while other often dull and unimportant stuff just grinds on and on. The action works well for the most part (love the dogfight near the start) and the space-set stuff is actuallly pretty darn cool. Also Reynolds is a great leading man. He brims with likeable charisma even when he's being a cocky git. It’s just a shame more care wasn’t taken in the writing. Not as awful as most critics would have us believe, Green Lantern is a solidly watchable effort with real flashes of greatness that are sadly overshadowed by quite a bit of shoddiness. A shame. 3 (out of 5)

Michael Fassbender (him again) takes his sweet primary school teacher girlfriend Kelly Reilly to a remote beauty spot for a weekend of camping in order to propose. Unfortunately they run in to a gang of thuggish and thoroughly despicable local teenagers who, after an unfortunate run in with Fassbender, take it upon themselves to hunt down and torture the nice young middle class couple. Eden Lake is a nasty little film. Like Mother’s Day it is a bit too much torture porn for my tastes. But also like Mother’s Day it is well made and has some interesting observations and points to make about society and its attitudes towards children. It also helps that Fassbender is good even if his character does some well stupid things. But cute Kelly Reilly is even better. She gives a very strong and affecting performance as the initially sweet and caring Jenny who’s eventually driven to become the thing she hates most. 3 (out of 5)

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