Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

It’s long – too long by a good hour. And the chroma key (green screen) moments still fly in the face of otherwise sterling production values. Why? Who knows. It deviates from the core story with lumpy stretches of exposition and wholly invents action scenes solely to provide popcorn-chewing moments late in the film. The [...]

Review: ‘Iron Man 3’

When Robert Downey Jr.’s opening monologue kicks in over 'Iron Man 3's smartly edited opening sequence, the standard is set for a tonally different Marvel Comics film adaptation. You can thank veteran action film director Shane Black for that. His previous catalogue reads like a how-to guide to crafting smart, sexy action – itself exactly [...]

Review: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

A decade after Peter Jackson became a household name with his (and partner Fran Walsh’s) screen adaptation of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, the duo are preparing for another trilogy. This time, after years of on-again, off-again production woes and collaboration with one-time confirmed director Guillermo Del Toro, we’ve seen ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ [...]

Review: ‘Dredd 3D’

Verdict: awesome. You can pretty much stop reading at this point if you want. ‘Dredd 3D’ is undoubtedly one of the strongest action movies of 2012, inventive in ways that will surprise you and pleasingly gritty and violent for fans of the 1970s comic book series on which it’s based. It also shares a plot [...]

Review: ‘Looper’

Everything about ‘Looper’ feels big. It starts with a great premise: in the future, the mob uses illegal time travel technology to whisk their targets back to the past, where hitmen known as loopers knock them off. Joe, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (‘Inception’, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’) is one such looper, who learns that his [...]

Review: ‘The Watch’

What makes you laugh? What makes a comedy actually funny? How do you quantify humour? These are hard questions – and ones that I’m stuck on, because I didn’t think ‘The Watch’, ostensibly a harmless, if provocative, comedy film, was very funny. It wasn’t humourless (I mean, everybody knows the money is in dick and [...]

Review: ‘Painted Skin: The Resurrection’

Chinese cinema has, in some ways, come a staggering distance over a few short years. In other ways, it hasn’t moved on in decades and decades. ‘Painted Skin: The Resurrection’ has more breathy outbursts from wronged lovers and strange pseudo-sexual and homoerotic encounters than a late-night soap opera, matched with a visual style that points [...]

Review: ‘Prometheus’

The uncomfortable laughter that rippled through the audience said everything, really. Not because Prometheus is at all funny – or corny. It isn’t. It’s horrific and frequently brilliant. But it’s in that laughter that this audience was finally able to release their tension. Bunch of emotional lightweights in this session? Or a true indicator of [...]