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Anton van Beek  |  Feb 14, 2011  |  0 comments

The Social Network might seem to be a film about the creation of Facebook, but once past the surface it’s so much more than that. Director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin have used Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires as the springboard for a rich and rewarding intellectual property battle-cum-morality play, albeit one that is almost indecently smart and quite probably plays a little fast and loose with the facts. While Fincher’s direction is as assured and fastidious as ever, it’s Sorkin’s script that is the real star this time around. Loaded with genuine wit and wisdom, it transforms what could be a dry and technical history lesson into one of the most engrossing and invigorating Hollywood films in ages.

RED
Anton van Beek  |  Feb 13, 2011  |  0 comments

RED stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich as a quartet of retired CIA agents who are forced to go on the run and fight for their lives when they’re targeted for termination by the organisation they used to work for. Based on a little-known comic book miniseries, this light-hearted action comedy coasts by on the chummy chemistry of its aging stars and the sheer pleasure you’ll find in watching a ‘classic’ actress like Helen Mirren whip out a machine gun and start blasting away at the baddies. So, while it’s far from perfect, RED knows exactly what it’s doing and in its curious, ambling way, delivers plenty of chuckles and some cracking action along the way.

Anton van Beek  |  Feb 06, 2011  |  0 comments

Bambi is possibly Walt Disney’s crowning achievement in feature animation. Based on the popular book by Austrian author Felix Salten, this story of a young fawn and his woodland friends might boast a fairly sleight 70min running time, but into that it packs some of the most beautiful hand-drawn animation ever committed to celluloid, a simple yet effective narrative that set the template for countless animated films to follow and some heart-wrenching scenes that can still turn adults into a blubbering mess. Truly magical.

Anton van Beek  |  Jan 31, 2011  |  0 comments

Winter’s Bone has been garnered with praise and awards since its release, and with damn good reason. This remarkable family-drama-cum-thriller stars Jennifer Lawrence as 17 year-old Ozark Mountains native Ree Dolly. The sole carer for her younger siblings and her almost catatonic mother, Ree finds herself in a race against time when her father skips bail having put their home up as the bond.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 27, 2010  |  0 comments

Jonah Hex might not be the most high profile comic book character to make the leap to the big screen. But that’s no excuse for the paucity of effort and imagination that was put into cooking up this cinematic turkey.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 27, 2010  |  0 comments

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a tough film to pin down. Adapted from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s six volume comic book series and directed by Edgar ‘Shaun of the Dead’ Wright, it’s an anarchic love letter to pop culture, cool music and… well… love.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 13, 2010  |  0 comments

Apocalypse Now is one of the great films of American cinema. As much a disturbing journey into the human psyche as it is a voyage into the unknown during the Vietnam war, Francis Ford Coppola’s epic 1979 war film is quite simply a masterpiece in every single regard and for many represents the last great gasp of US cinema before it was swallowed up by the blockbuster mentality that followed in the wake of Jaws and Star Wars.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 13, 2010  |  0 comments

Knight and Day is as frivolous a piece of popcorn cinema as you’re likely to see all year. Coasting by on flashy action scenes and the supposed charisma of its two grinning stars, the film cares not a jot for tension or characterisation, it simply wants to entertain its target audience by giving them Tom Cruise doing stunts and Cameron Diaz being a bit ditzy. Director James Mangold sums the film up best, saying ‘There’s movies that you make because you want to deliver a message. There’s movies you make because you want to take someone on an emotional journey. This is a movie that’s supposed to be a ride’. To which we can only add that, although fun while it lasts, you shouldn’t expect it to be a journey you’ll want to take more than once.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 13, 2010  |  0 comments

Salt feels like a film out of time. Brimming with Cold War antagonism, it’s a movie that might have found a place in the 1980s, but which feels weirdly out of touch with the world today. That said the film does have a couple of aces up its sleeves, which help make it at least a watchable curiosity.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 13, 2010  |  0 comments

The Expendables is pure wish fulfilment for fans of ‘80s action movies. The plot is little better than most Direct-to-DVD fodder (blow up some foreign-types and save the girl), but who cares when it’s jam-packed with so many memorably staged fights, shootouts and explosions? And then there’s the incredible roster of testosterone-fuelled talent onboard including Sylvester Stallone (who also wrote and directed the flick), Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin, Gary Daniels, Eric Roberts and even fun cameos by Bruce Willis and the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 10, 2010  |  0 comments

Metropolis is a true cinematic epic. Everything about Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent classic is massive, from its scale and budget to its continuing influence on the sci-fi genre as a whole. But for the past 80 years, it’s also been a rather incomplete film, lacking over half-an-hour of footage that was trimmed from the film and presumed lost forever. But in 2008 a 16mm print of the film containing roughly 25mins of additional footage was discovered in the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires, and this restored version is the closet yet to truly capturing the remarkable vision of the future Lang committed to the screen.

Steve May  |  Dec 06, 2010  |  0 comments

Inception is that rare commodity: an overblown blockbuster that glowers into the face of its audience and dares them to keep up. It’s worth making the effort. Chris Nolan’s cerebral heist movie delivers more digital wow than (nearly) every other film released in 2010. That you should add it to your BD collection goes without saying. The only question is should you opt for the Triple Play release (two Blu-ray discs, one DVD and the keys to a Digital Copy download), or geek out with the stainless steel Briefcase Edition? This includes a replica of Cobb’s spinning top token, a PASIV (Portable Automated Somnacin IntraVenous) Device User Manual and Movie art-cards. If you go for the latter, we suggest you don’t broadcast the fact to your friends.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 29, 2010  |  0 comments

When we last left Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) at the end of ...New Moon, they'd just returned from an exciting visit to Italy with the 110 year-old vampire agreeing to change his 18 year-old love interest into a vampire after they get married. Bella had also discovered that shirtless Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and his equally topless chums weren't part of some 'alternative lifestyle' branch of the Boy Scouts of America, but were actually a clan of werewolves who really don't like vampires and have the ability to transform into big cuddly CGI wolves whenever the budget can stretch to it.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 26, 2010  |  0 comments

The A-Team is an extremely silly film – an over-the-top cavalcade of ludicrous action, broad humour and macho attitude that rarely ever stops for breath. But, what else were you really expecting from a movie remake of this particular ‘80s TV franchise?

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 22, 2010  |  0 comments

Toy Story 3 is possibly the year’s most surprising film. Given the narratives and themes explored so brilliantly by its two predecessors, it’s hard to imagine any new ground or fresh ideas that could be explored. And yet, thanks to the brilliance of the creative minds at Pixar, what could have been little more than a crass exercise in financial, rather than artistic, franchise filmmaking has emerged as the most exciting, creative and touching films since… well, since the last Pixar movie, in all honesty. Surprising then, and also one of the year’s very best films.

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