Culture, Film

Star Trek Beyond review – Shoots for the stars, makes it to the moon

Star Trek Beyond, still 01, Spock, Jaylah, McCoy (2560x1440)Director: Justin Lin  Starring: John Cho, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba

Crash landing on an uncharted planet was never going to look anything but spectacular when the minds behind the last two Star Trek films and the director of Fast & Furious 36 got together. Star Trek Beyond doesn’t wrap up as spectacularly as its bold initial vector, but this sci-fi adventure still manages to be rip-roaring fun.

Culture, Film

Star Wars: The Force Awakens review – passes the saber in spectacular style

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 02, Chewbacca, Han Solo (1920x1080)Director: JJ Abrams  Starring: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega

History has taught us that anybody attempting to revive a film series as monolithic and beloved as Star Wars was doomed to fail. There is too much legacy, too much expectation and too many stakeholders to please, the naysayers said. JJ Abrams and crew have just proved them wrong, because The Force Awakens revitalises the series with the spirit and spectacle many have longed for.

Culture, Film

Avengers: Age of Ultron review – a mouthwatering feast of supersized action

Avengers: Age of Ultron, 02 (964x542)Director: Joss Whedon  Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen

Director Joss Whedon and crew are having so much fun with Avengers: Age of Ultron. And it seems like, from the parade of CG neutron explosions, dismemberments and collateral damage that make up this globe-trotting comic adventure, when faced with the decision of whether they should do something simply because they could – much like Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark in the film – their answer every time was an emphatic: “How could we say no?”

Culture, Film

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel review – laughs that delight regardless of age

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, press photo 02, by Fox Searchlight/PR/Laurie Sparham (1062x597)Director: John Madden  Starring: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Tina Desai, Lillete Dubey, Maggie Smith, Celia Imrie, Rajesh Tailang, Ronald Pickup, Dev Patel

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel isn’t a film targeted at the more-than-catered-for 20-something with plenty of free time on their hands. In fact, you’d be right to be suspicious if anybody under the age of 30 told you this film – the sequel to a 2012 sleeper hit about a group of kindly, mature ladies and gents, living out their twilight years in an Indian hotel – was on their must-see list.

So how did I end up seeing this film, when under different circumstances, I would have opted for It Follows, Selma or even Shaun the Sheep? Quite simply, my grandmother requested I accompany her to see a film at the cinema, and, naturally, she left the choosing of the film up to her web-literate grandson, who in turn looked to see what grandmother-appropriate films were showing.

That’s how I ended up choosing to see comedy-drama, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, yesterday evening. And, you know what? It’s not bad. As light and somewhat predictable as the story is, the characters and plotlines here are entertaining and will delight most of those old enough to feel their youth is fading or behind them.

Culture, Film

Interstellar review – boldly goes where no father-daughter story has gone before

Interstellar_film_2014_01 (1920x1080)Space is a cold, lonely place. Which is why, whenever filmmakers blast actors into the fictional heavens in search of strange new worlds, they’re always after focal points that will make events more human.

That’s certainly director Christopher Nolan’s aim with Interstellar, a film of humongous scope that boldly goes forth to tell another tale of mankind’s struggle for survival, but is ultimately about a father-daughter relationship.

Culture, Film

Africa is in the detail: Mother of George

For a film about pressure there’s a tremendous amount of pleasure to be had from seeing Mother of George.

Director Andrew Dosunmu and cinematographer Bradford Young are committed to telling this story of an African couple’s struggle to bear a child in scintillating detail, as if it were some fleeting waking dream caught on camera and slowed down to slideshow pace.