Film reviews

Sequel that's no false Dawn

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

REVIEW: It's hard not to be swept along by the thought-provoking premise and entertainment value of gorillas as guerrillas.

Musical tale bucks the cliche

Keira Knightley Begin Again

REVIEW: Sometimes a cliched poster and a trite movie title prove to be completely misleading as to the quality of a film.

Nice visuals, shame about the violence and silliness

planet of the apes

Being a film reviewer means appreciating movies you don't like. Planet of the Apes tested that for me.

Review: A Promise falls flat

A Promise

It's like binge-watching the first few seasons of Friends.

Review: The French Minister

The French Minister

Fans of Yes, Minister and The Thick of It will lap up this hilarious, razor sharp French political satire.

Review: Sex Tape less than satisfying

Sex Tape

After a strong, attention grabbing opening, this rekindling-the-romance comedy all gets rather flaccid.

Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

This is a hugely competent film, with story-telling nous to match it's huge technical achievement.

Film review: How to train your dragon 2

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Except for one fairly major asterisk, this is a school holidays winner.

Film review: Broken Circle Breakdown

Broken Circle Breakdown

The Broken Circle Breakdown is at heart a romantic melodrama incorporating exquisite musical numbers.

Film Review: Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy

tinker bell

REVIEW: Fifth time around is not all bad for Tinker Bell.

Film review: Jersey Boys

jersey boys

REVIEW: Would you believe, Clint Eastwood has made a musical?! Of sorts.

Film Review: Ernest and Celestine

ernest and celestine

REVIEW: Award-winning children's film Ernest and Celestine is a long, cool drink of watercolour.

Film review: The House of Magic

The House of Magic

This is a curiously old-fashioned and understated children's animated movie.

Film review: Calvary

Calvary

It's a funny thing. I came out of Calvary none too keen on the film, let me tell you.

Film review: The Face of Love

The Face of Love

Handled well, tales of grief can be sensitive and touching. This film wastes the opportunity.

Transformers reboot same-same

Transformers: Age of Extinction

REVIEW: Transformers 4 is a hugely overlong, incoherent and witless slab of naked product placement.

Film review: Tarzan

Tarzan

REVIEW: Come back Phil Collins - all is forgiven.

Film review: Million Dollar Arm

jon hamm

REVIEW: I'm not exactly the target market for this Disney update on Jerry Maguire meets Slumdog Millionaire, but I was prepared to be charmed.

Film review: Jake

film jake

REVIEW: Jake moves at pace from one humiliation to the next for our poor, incapable hero.

'Slumdog McGuire' comes to mind

Million Dollar Arm

When an American sports agent travels to India to unearth potential stars, a likeable fish-out-of-water yarn emerges.

Funny without a shadow of a doubt

vampire film

REVIEW: I shake my head at the sheer cleverness of the elaborate on-going gags in What We Do in the Shadows.

Uninspiring despite engaging leads

Words and Pictures, Clive Owen

PREVIEW: In the spirit of not judging a book by its cover, just ignore the trailer for Words and Pictures.

Vampire flick hilariously deadpan

Taika Waititi

REVIEW: What We Do in the Shadows is the most consistently funny Kiwi film in over a decade - even the tagline is genius.

22 Jump Street a truly funny sequel

22 Jump Street

PREVIEW: 22 Jump Street is a film that doesn't just mock the cop movie genre, it also mocks its own status as a sequel.

A heady mix of punk rock

Good Vibrations

PREVIEW: Good Vibrations is a raw, funny, bittersweet paean to tough times, small record shops and brilliant music.

Vibrations causes barely a ripple

Good Vibrations

REVIEW: That it's been released here more than 12 months after its British opening hints at Good Vibrations' relevance to Kiwis.

Review: Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow

This is one Tom Cruise action blockbuster that deserves its hype, and possibly even more than one viewing.

Film Review: Fantail

Fantail

REVIEW: Fantail is a deft piece of film-making that has made it home after some international acclaim.

Review: A Million Ways To Die in the West

Million Ways to Die

Apart from a couple of inspired moments from Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi, A Million Ways is a mostly laugh free zone.

Fantail a charming contemporary tale

Fantail

REVIEW: It's no mean feat to produce your first movie in this country, let alone one with a strong local voice and performances.

Impressive, hard to fault

The Fault in our Stars

REVIEW: As with any beloved book, if you're going to shine it onto a big screen, you'd better get it right.

Majesty and occasion

Maleficent

REVIEW: Chasing hard after the charms of Frozen, Disney's Maleficent presents two kingdoms side-by-side.

A less than regal biopic

Grace of Monaco

REVIEW: Grace of Monaco seeks to align itself more with its director's success, La Vie En Rose, than the flop Diana biopic.

Review: X Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men

Feeling fatigued by the thought of another X-Men movie? Don't be.

Review: The Trip to Italy

The Trip to Italy

There was bound to be a follow-up: the first film had audiences laughing so much it hurt.

Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men

X-Men: Days of Future Past cleverly negotiates multiple timelines and stories in the series' mythos.

Bringing Chopin back to life

chopin

REVIEW: Those who have seen Phil Grabsky's first three films in this series (where he was searching for Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven) will already have made up their minds to see his exploration of Chopin.

Film review: Fading Gigolo

gigolo

This is a sweet, idiosyncratic, and at times enormously likeable film, which I found myself grinning and chuckling along with.

Film review: Godzilla

god

The crowd were literally clapping and cheering right through the final ten minutes.

Film review: Bad Neighbours

bad neighbours

Bad Neighbours carries on that ugly trope of playing misogyny for entertainment.

Film review: Chef

chef movie

Yes it's self-indulgent, and yes it entirely buys into that Hollywood cliches, but Chef is also a hugely likeable and engaging wee movie.

Tasty treat light on comedy

Chef

REVIEW: Chef will have your stomach rumbling, but belly laughs? Not so much.

Review: Transcendance

Johnny Depp, Transcendance

Despite its starry cast, this film won't leave you blown away so much as underwhelmed.

Review: Fading Gigolo

Fading Gigolo

It all starts with a menage a trois. Well, the offer of one.

Review: On My Way

Catherine Deneuve

This unexpected little road movie capitalises on French film star Catherine Deneuve's timeless beauty and apparent willingness to throw herself convincingly into any farcical situation.

Dream cast can't save dire script

Transcendence

With so much talent and experience and a $100m to play with, you'd be forgiven for being optimistic about Transcendence.

Yellow Sun bold and admirable

Half of a Yellow Sun

Film adaptation Half of a Yellow Sun grapples with some massive events and scores some impressive points.

The Other Woman does the job

the Other Woman

Leslie Mann and Cameron Diaz excel as women done wrong in The Other Woman.

Miyazaki goes out with a masterpiece

The Wind Rises

REVIEW: Hayao Miyazaki's final film is his most profound, beautiful and moving work yet.

Invisible Woman a must-see

The Invisible Woman

REVIEW: The Invisible Woman should not be allowed to slip away unseen.
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