Review: Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)

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Marvel remain the favourite with their Cinematic Universe as DC’s marquee match-up Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is a crushing bore. Zack Snyder’s direction proves an oppressive burden; the darkness and heavy-handed approach leaving no room for humour or levity as Batman (Ben Affleck) rages with anger and Superman (Henry Cavill) sulks. Continue reading “Review: Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)”

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Review: American Ultra (2015)

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After their successful pairing in Adventureland, Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg reunite for a ropey stoner comedy that coasts on their individual wits and chemistry rather than its own thrills. Perpetual stoner Mike (Eisenberg) – who is in fact a sleeper operative – has plans to propose to his girlfriend Phoebe (Stewart). But when he’s targeted for elimination, his program is activated, leaving him battling for survival. Continue reading “Review: American Ultra (2015)”

Review: Rio 2 (2014)

Rio 2

The sequel to Blue Sky Studios’ smash-hit parrot adventure, Rio 2 maintains the same bright and brisk approach that helped carry its predecessor to a cool $484M box office cume, but lacks substantially in substance and emotional depth. When a hidden tribe of Spix’s Macaw’s are discovered in the Amazon, Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and his family – Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and their three chicks – leave their domesticated life in search of pastures new. Continue reading “Review: Rio 2 (2014)”

Review: The Double (2013)

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Adapted from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novella of the same name, The Double – a darkly funny psychological thriller in its own right – marks Richard Ayoade’s follow-up to the coming-of-age comedy Submarine. Here, Jesse Eisenberg plays Simon James, a timid office drone for a data processing plant who lives his life in the shadows, failing to make an impression on anyone, including boss Mr Papadopoulos (Wallace Shawn) and neighbour come object of affection Hannah (Mia Wasikowska, brilliant as ever). Continue reading “Review: The Double (2013)”

Emma Stone: Hollywood’s New ‘It’ Girl

Who is Emma Stone?

It’s a question that has an array of different answers. Asked a mere five years ago, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who had a clue. Aside from a few brief appearances in Malcolm in the Middle and the Medium, she was an unknown, studying away at acting school, doing whatever she could to get herself noticed. Asked today, however, and most people would probably reply with something along the lines of “OLIVE PENDERGHAST FROM EASY A”. Okay, maybe not Continue reading “Emma Stone: Hollywood’s New ‘It’ Girl”

Review: Rio (2011)

Rio is the latest animation film from Blue Sky Studios, and features the voice talents of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Jemaine Clement, Leslie Mann and Jamie Foxx.

The film centers on Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), a domesticated macaw from small-town Minnesota, who, when he meets the fiercely independent Jewel (Anne Hathaway), takes off on an adventure to Rio de Janeiro with this bird of his dreams.

The peppy, action-packed and convivial screenplay – aside from struggling to sustain the party atmosphere to the end, and falling foul to the well-trodden romantic chase caper, and the trademark slapstick gags – combines charm, thrills, laughs and romance to admirable, sweet avail. It’s not overly complicated, and may feel a tad strained at times, but the approach is sharp enough to keep you entertained throughout.

The characters, including the humans, are under-developed and, no matter how top-notch the voice acting is, the dialogue feels too conventional and flaky to capture audiences attention like other, braver, animation films.

There is, however, one exception. Clement, who voices Nigel, a red-eyed cockatoo, steals every scene he’s in, even delivering a hilarious yet equally fearsome performance as the central villain.

In a technical sense, Rio is simply exquisite, with director Carlos Saldanha ensuring every scene twinkles with a remarkably high level of attention-to-detail. The 3D is crisp, richly attained with a tremendous depth of field, accentuating the glorious, picturesque scenery and wonderfully buoyant animation, and never feeling unnecessary.

The music, ranging from John Powell’s score to original songs by Taio Cruz and will.i.am, was tempestuous, but not always as soaring as you’d expect.

Rio may not be hugely original, and certainly has its share of flaws, but it has a refreshingly light, entertaining feel to it that, in addition to the superb animation and energetic voice acting, should leave you beaming from cheek to cheek.