Film Reviews

Indecipherable muddle

While Samantha Morton does a sterling job, Decoding Annie Parker feels muddled and melodramatic.

An entertaining education

St Vincent is a kind of reverse Dennis the Menace and proves Bill Murray is still a comedic force to be reckoned with.

An intimate Kiwi epic

broken hallelujah

REVIEW: Inspired by Leonard Cohen's song Hallelujah, Broken Hallelujah might not be perfect but it's further proof of NZ cinemas' annus mirabilis.

Roman in the groaning

annabelle

REVIEW: An over-caffeinated score and too many WTF moments ruin what genuine scares Annabelle manages to conjure up.

Long gone girls

a walk among the tombstones

REVIEW: Liam Neeson is able to march to a slightly different rhythm in A Walk Among the Tombstones.

Review: Get on Up

Chadwick Boseman

In trying to sketch out a life that could have yielded a 12-part TV series, Get On Up will fall a long way short.

Pride worthy of its name

Pride

Pride, based on a true story, is a little ripper. Go and have a look.

A diamond in the rough

Siddharth

Certainly not a conventional film, but Siddharth ends up being one of the most surprising and insidiously effective you'll experience this year.

Gloriously awkward

We Are the Best

We Are the Best is a beautifully exuberant, feel-good, achingly honest and gloriously awkward coming-of-age yarn.

Action-comedy a rehashed cop-out

Let's Be Cops

This sporadically entertaining film suffers from inevitable comparisons with the far superior, similarly-themed recent efforts.

Uneasy and wildly uneven

The Judge

The Judge is a mediocre, cliched and terribly under-done film.

Lacks insight and inspiration

reaching for the moon

REVIEW: Reaching For The Moon is hampered by a disappointingly pedestrian script, and by Bruno Barreto's plodding direction.

Charlotte and her schwester

beloved sisters

REVIEW: Sumptuously costumed and shot, Beloved Sisters at times feels rushed, despite its more than two-hour running time.

When Vlad was still a lad

dracula untold

REVIEW: The tone and mood of Dracula Untold are right and the storyline hangs together. File it under "not too shabby".

Chasing Amy

gone girl

REVIEW: Dense, disturbing and devilish, Gone Girl makes for compelling viewing and potentially awkward post-movie discussions.

Superior sequel offers surprises

planes fire and rescue

REVIEW: Overall, Planes: Fire and Rescue is one trip to the movies worth taking these school holidays.

Review: Rock the Casbah

rock the casbah

REVIEW: Rock the Casbah is stagey and more than a little bit predictable.

Review: The Maze Runner

the maze runner

REVIEW: After a promising opening, The Maze Runner settles into a predictable Hunger Games meets Labyrinth via Pitch Black plot.

Shot full of plot holes

the equalizer

REVIEW: The Equalizer isn't just a poor film, it's bad even by director Antoine Fuqua's subterranean standards.

Most of the right moves

hip hop-eration

REVIEW: According to The Guinness Book of Records the oldest dance troupe in the world live in New Zealand.

Review: The Skeleton Twins

the skeleton twins

REVIEW: At The Skeleton Twins best it is terrifically likeable, but at its worst the urge to yell "why should I care?" was overwhelming.

Review: The Lunchbox

the lunchbox

REVIEW: Although reminiscent of Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan films, this poignant, tender tale certainly possesses its own unique flavour.

A truly gripping drive

locke

REVIEW: The most original, interesting, and inventive film of 2014 so far? It's Locke. Hands down.

Turtles go back to the future

teenage mutant ninja turtles

REVIEW: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles does everything you could hope for and delivers exactly what the trailer promises.

Review: Step Up All In

step up all in

REVIEW: Now on its fifth outing, the Step Up series has started to lose some of its originality, creativity and pure spectacle.

Green is the colour

sin city

REVIEW: All the window dressing in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For can't quite conceal the cracks in the storytelling.

A compelling adaptation

predestination

REVIEW: Predestination does feel like an extended Twilight Zone episode, a simple premise stretched to almost breaking point.

A lovely tale, well told

aunty and the star people

REVIEW: Aunty and the Star People is exactly the quietly spoken, unpretentious, but unashamedly joyous film that Jean Watson's story deserves.

Braff's latest scrubs up well

wish i was here

REVIEW: Wish I Was Here is a hip dramedy that you'd wish you'd seen, if you don't make the effort to seek it out.

Slick moves in slow motion

night moves

REVIEW: Those expecting sustained action in Night Moves would be advised to give this a wide berth.

Dystopian tale lacks depth

the giver

REVIEW: The Giver had plenty of promise - based on Lois Lowry's novel - it was both credible and reasonably inventive.

Found footage loses impact

into the storm

REVIEW: Into the Storm is a decent enough waste of a few hours on a Friday night, but no more than that.

Sleep perchance to forget

before i go to sleep

REVIEW: Before I Go to Sleep is the cinematic equivalent of Ovaltine.

Predictable thriller a missed chance

the keeper of lost causes

REVIEW: The Keeper of Lost Causes feels like a TV pilot and one that's closer to an episode of Cold Case than True Detective.

Review: Housebound

housebound

REVIEW: Housebound is a rollicking success. It is a fast, funny, good-natured, and wickedly effective comedy-horror to adore.

The Gang show relives the past

Tanya Horo

The Z-Nail Gang shot in Te Puke for an estimated $30,000 is perhaps more at home on a small screen rather than a large one.

The Last Saint should be celebrated

The Last Saint

But for its energy, for the craft and love that have gone into making it and for the fact it actually exists, The Last Saint is one to celebrated.

Review: If I Stay

If I Stay

This young adult movie suffered from an overdose of tragedy.

Boyhood: It's a wonderful life

Boyhood

Over a decade in the making, Boyhood looks like being one of the movies of the decade.

Inbetweeners sequel offers middling fare

inbetweeners 2

While comparisons to the American Pie series are inevitable, this offers additionally salty language and virtually none of Pie's sweetness.

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