Monthly Archives December 2013

The Armstrong Lie

The Armstrong Lie - quad posterDirector: Alex Gibney

Writer: Alex Gibney

Cert: 12

Running time: 122mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney turns farce into fascination with The Armstrong Lie. Originally a celebratory record of Lance Armstrong’s 2009 return to the Tour de France circuit, it was shelved when doping allegations reared once more and then utterly refocused when the disgraced cyclist admitted he had been illegally enhancing his performance all along. An Icarus like tale of hubris and corruption becomes a story for this “win at all costs” age, where the strong survive and how they became strong is ignored.

Lance Armstrong, Oprah WinfreyCourtesy of Alex Gibney

The full verdict: Alex Gibney likes focusing on big, problematic personalities. Enron CEO Jeff Skilling in Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room...

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Stiller, posterDirector: Ben Stiller

Writer: Steve Conrad

Cast: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Shirley MacLaine, Patton Oswalt, Adam Scott

Cert: PG

Running time: 114mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: Unabashedly sentimental and brimming with the joys of real life, Ben Stiller’s fifth directorial outing jumps off the screen – without the aid of 3D. A triumph of imagination and a cry to grab the world by the collar, it might be too heart-on-sleeve for some but with the wonder on display here it’s a tough nut who has not cracked by the moving final moments. It’s a wonderful life indeed…

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Stiller, Adam ScottThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Stiller, action movie

The full verdict: Loosely based on James Thurber’s 1939 two-page story, Stiller’s Walter Mitty is a satire on homogenized CGI-heavy fantasy and celebration of the little man in a corporate world.

As played b...

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug - banner posterDirector: Peter Jackson

Writer(s): Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro

Cert: 12

Running time: 161mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: If The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was a wobbly start to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings prequel trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug is where the saga finds its (hairy) feet. Darker in tone, with less slapstick and (thank God) no singing, it is an epic adventure through a dazzlingly realised, thrilling world. Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen and joined by LOTR alumnus Orlando Bloom as Legolas and newcomer Evangeline Lilly as warrior Elf Tauriel. And Smaug, the lethal dragon voiced with mellifluous menace by Benedict Cumberbatch, is set to become one of cinema’s best baddies.

The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug - Bilbo, Freeman, spiderTHE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

The full verdict: Who knows how much of it was planned an...

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Silent Night, Festive Fright!

Christmas is Cancelled!

A Christmas Story. It’s A Wonderful Life. The Muppet Christmas Carol. Home Alone. There are movies infused with holiday spirit that make the sleeps until December 25th more bearable.

These are not those movies.

To celebrate the cinema release of Better Watch Out, we present our favourite movies that take a warped look at the most magical time of the year. And we’re not talking Gremlins or Die Hard. Below we have home invasion, murderous tots, Christmas Eve police brutality, Yuletide demons, and attempted suicide in front of a silly season Looney Tunes cartoon.

Happy Holidays everyone…


Better Watch Out (2017)

Chris Peckover’s film is a prime example of hemlock in the holly, but by Rudolph’s red nose it is a toughie to talk about...

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Oldboy (2013)

Oldboy - remake, poster, Brolin, Spike LeeDirector: Spike Lee

Writer: Mark Protosevich

Cast: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Imperioli

Cert: 18

Running time: 104mins

Year: 2013



The lowdown:
After languishing in a single cell Development Hell for almost a decade, Old Boy finally gets its English language makeover. And the reaction is one of relief. Director Spike Lee’s take on the tale of a man inexplicably incarcerated for decades and then set free to solve the mystery loses the power of the Korean original, but is a good story briskly and brutally told. Josh Brolin, Sharlto Copley and Samuel L. Jackson are the oddballs in Lee’s bizarre and violent world and for fans of the original, yes, the claw hammer does return.

Oldboy - Brolin, hotel roomOldboy - Brolin, massacre

The full verdict: This is not the world’s first Old Boy remake...

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This Ain’t California

This Aint California - posterDirector: Marten Persiel

Writer(s): Marten Persiel, Ira Wedel

Cert: 15

Running time: 90mins

Year: 2012

The lowdown: When does one of 2013’s best documentaries become merely an interesting curio?  When it transpires a large chunk of it is made up and the remainder highly suspect. Director Marten Persiel dubs his film about rebellious skateboarders in 1980s East Germany a “documentary tale” or “hybrid documentary”. Others may not be as kind and will wonder why he didn’t just roll down the full fiction route.

This Aint California - Kai Hillebrand, wheel eyesStill from This Ain't California

The full verdict: Beginning life as a mockumentary about an East German teenager who accidentally “invents” skateboarding behind the Iron Curtain, This Ain’t California evolved into the quasi-documentary we have now.

But while reaching for a poetic kind of univer...

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Saving Mr Banks

Saving Mr Banks - Hanks, Thompson, UK posterDirector: John Lee Hancock

Writers: Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith

Cast: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, Colin Farrell, Jason Schwartzman, B J Novak

Cert: PG

Running Time: 125mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: All right ladies an’ gents! Step right up as Essential Media, BBC Films and Walt Disney Studios present for your viewing pleasure a less amicable Australian-Anglo-American partnership. Heading-up an all-star cast, Emma Thompson is terrific as Mary Poppins author P.L Travers and Tom Hanks dazzles as Disney. The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock skilfully explores the battle to bring the no-nonsense Super Nanny to the big screen. There’s only one word for it…

Saving Mr Banks - FarrellSaving Mr Banks - Hanks, Thompson

The full verdict: Who doesn’t love Mary Poppins? The Oscar winning blend of charming performances, an...

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