Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is pure family-friendly froth

2 Stars (2 / 5)

Man, it’s a difficult life being the child of a god.

It’s been three years since teenage demigod Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) last appeared in The Lightning Thief, his equivalent of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone.…

Blackfish: a heartbreaking plea for a species’ freedom

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Orcus orcina, also known as the killer whale. While the name suggests violence, it relates instead to the Roman god of the underworld. Besides, the orca is more closely related to the snubfin dolphin than its blue, sperm, or baleen namesake.

Paranoia evokes nothing but boredom

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

 

Paranoia is a lavish techno-thriller with no central processor.

Director Robert Luketic, who’s made a career out of forgettable rom-coms, and Barry Levy, the writer behind the Rashomon-derived Vantage Point, cobble together a motion picture out of spare parts.…

Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain might actually be worth the effort of watching…

3 Stars (3 / 5)

Before we see anything, before even the whirling stars of the Paramount logo form their triumphant arc above the idealized mountain peak, we hear the agonized grunts and yells of a man indulging in brutal self-abuse.

Then comes the money shot: Mark Wahlberg doing full-body sit-ups from a leg rest halfway up a twenty-foot billboard of an Atlas-like figure pumping iron.…

2 Guns is a throwaway summer fling of reputable caliber

3 Stars (3 / 5)

Denzel Washington and Mark Walhberg banter with friendly acrimony, speed around in a variety of cars, and generally blow shit up. If you like the sound of that, you’ll probably get on with 2 Guns.

Washington is winningly cool as Bobby Trench, Wahlberg likeably guileless as Michael Stigman – two law enforcement officers who end up undercover and unaware of the other’s background – the type of character types both actors have built careers around playing.…

RIPD is the cinematic equivalent of being in limbo

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

“Say what you want about the tenets of The Lone Ranger, dude, at least it’s an ethos.”

RIPD, the newest big-budget adaptation of an obscure comic book series, sounds like a concept being sold on its title.

Elysium is a gritty, high-in-the-sky moral fable

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

It’s probably premature on the strength of one film to call a filmmaker a genius.

Orson Welles might have earned that plaudit based on Citizen Kane or maybe Jean-Luc Goddard for A Bout De Souffle, Rob Reiner for This Is Spinal Tap, Pajit Ray for Pather Panchali, or Tarantino for Reservoir Dogs.…

Kick-Ass 2 opens a mid-sized can of meta whoop-ass

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

Superhero sequels are all about the escalation. Spider-Man 2, X2, The Dark Knight: they all feature villains who come about as a result of the heroes’ actions in the first film.

As The Joker says to Batman, “You’ve changed things – forever”.

Only God Forgives is an unforgivable load of tosh

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

 

It’d be easy to dismiss Only God Forgives as Drive in Bangkok: as in his previous collaboration with director Nicholas Winding Refn, Ryan Gosling stars as a laconic, almost too-cool protagonist amidst neon lights and bursts of shocking violence.