Review: Spy (2015)

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Bridesmaids, The Heat and now Spy, Paul Feig’s rapid ascent to comedy maestro is cemented by this laugh-a-minute and extremely well cast, if padded, action-comedy. Dried up CIA desk analyst Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is sent out into the field to stop deadly arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) in her tracks when the identities of all active operatives are exposed. Spy is a hearty and spirited send-up of the most infamous espionage films that also embraces – and reforms – the well-worn framework. The script, however, flounders in its unrefined state, causing the film to drag every now and then. But the humour consistently hits the mark; the cast heartily rising to the challenge and producing many stand out moments and hysterical one-liners. Jason Statham, Allison Janney and especially Byrne emerge as the closest matches to McCarthy, who’s a fireball of energy and ingenuity. Spy might drop the ball on the odd occasion, but for the most part it’s top drawer comical brilliance.  Continue reading “Review: Spy (2015)”

Review: Fast & Furious 7 (2015)

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Cars fly and worldwide destruction ensues in Fast & Furious 7, yet the distinct – and increasing – cracks under the bonnet are hard to contest. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) and their crew are forced out of retirement and into a cat-and-mouse chase when Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) seeks revenge for his brother’s hospitalisation. Continue reading “Review: Fast & Furious 7 (2015)”

Review: The Expendables 2 (2012)

When one of the team is mercilessly killed on a what should have been a routine assignment, The Expendables – comprised of Barney (Sylvester Stallone), Lee (Jason Statham), Gunner (Dolph Lundgren), Hale (Terry Crews), Toll (Randy Couture) and new recruit Maggie (Nan Yu) – are driven to exact revenge on Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme). However, when his savagery prove too much even for them, they’re forced to call upon past friends to achieve their objective Continue reading “Review: The Expendables 2 (2012)”

Review: Safe (2012)

Ex-cop turned cage fighter Luke Wright (Jason Stathan) finds himself embroiled in a three-way throw-down between the Russian Mafia, corrupt NYC officials and the Chinese Triad when he stumbles upon Mei (Catherine Chan), a 12-year-old Chinese girl who saves him from attempted suicide. Vowing to protect Mei from all and sundry, Luke thrusts himself back into his old, destructive life.

Unlike many films of its ilk, Safe resists the temptation to explode into one relentless action sequence after the other from the offset. Instead, writer and Continue reading “Review: Safe (2012)”

Review: Gnomeo and Juliet (2011)

Gnomeo and Juliet is a new animation film loosely based on William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. It’s directed by Kelly Asbury.

The film centers on two garden gnomes, Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt), caught in forbidden love. The couple looks to find lasting happiness and avoid tragedy as they are trapped in the middle of a feud between blue and red-hatted garden gnomes.

The heart and beauty of the film, aside from its queerness and spirit in bringing the garden gnomes to life, lies in the sheer attention-to-detail in the visual storytelling. The story and stunning animation, with all its quirks, draws you into the gnomes’ magical existence, and is so soft-hearted, daft and delightfully British that it’s hard not to be swayed.

Asbury awards each gnome a contemporary, individualistic personality that kids of all ages – including some adults – will respond to. In addition, the cast – including McAvoy, Blunt, Michael Caine, Jason Statham, Maggie Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ashley Jensen, Matt Lucas, Stephen Merchant, and even Ozzy Osbourne – enhance the enjoyability and retain the wholly British quality, inhabiting their respective personalities with such joy and comical timing.

The soundtrack, carefully constructed by Elton John, compliments the film seamlessly, becoming a character of its own and enhancing the story and mad-cap eccentricities unravelling on-screen, sweeping you away with its undeniable heart-warming nature.

While it may not have a hope in hell of reaching the dizzy heights of a fellow Pixar or Dreamworks Animation film, Gnomeo & Juliet is a wonderfully homegrown, quirky and seductively fun animation film that is sure to find a place in your heart, unless, however, it’s made of stone.