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  • Rated as: 2/5

A smart concept is thoroughly wasted in this cute but grating Dreamworks animated comedy. It opens with an alien invasion – but not one of those messy, bloodthirsty ones. Our new extraterrestrial overlords, the cheerful, squashy Boov, merely want to shift the population of Earth to a new home in Australia – renamed Happy Humans Town – so they can enjoy the rest of the planet in peace. (read more)

The Boy Next Door

  • Rated as: 2/5

Jennifer Lopez has serious beefcake issues in this lazy, low-budget, not-as-much-fun-as-it-should-be potboiler. Following the departure of her cheating husband (John Corbett), schoolteacher Claire (Lopez) should be throwing herself into work. Instead, she throws herself into the well-toned arms of neighbouring hunk Noah (Ryan Guzman), the kind of all-American kid who likes to quote Homer, shoot oranges off a log with automatic weapons and slowly peel off his tank top in front of open windows. But when Claire opts not to go back for seconds, Noah’s inner psycho is unsurprisingly revealed. (read more)

Chappie

  • Rated as: 4/5

After the out-of-nowhere sucker punch of his 2009 debut ‘District 9’, Neill Blomkamp’s second film, 2013’s ‘Elysium’, felt like the work of a Hollywood-designed, blockbuster-producing robot: slick and anonymous. So it’s a huge relief to discover that, with ‘Chappie’, the South African filmmaker has re-engaged his emotion chip and ramped up the weirdness factor for this lovably scattergun cybernetic satire. (read more)

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story Of Cannon Films

  • Rated as: 2/5

Is there a more toothsome subject for documentary than Cannon Films? Snapped up for a song in 1979 by wheeler-dealing Israeli producer-director team Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, this iconic production house quickly became synonymous with wild, low-budget drive-in trash like ‘The Delta Force’, ‘Missing in Action’ and the incomparable ‘Death Wish 3’, their logo a byword for instant lowbrow thrills, not to mention notorious production practices, out-of-control budgets and bizarre marketing schemes. So it’s a crushing disappointment that this overview from director Mark Hartley – whose Aussie exploitation doc ‘Not Quite Hollywood’ was such a treat back in 2008 – fails to capture the Cannon spirit. (read more)

The November Man

  • Rated as: 2/5

Pierce Brosnan made no secret of the fact that he was left ‘in shock’ when the James Bond producers dropped him from the role of a lifetime in 2004. He quickly bounced back, securing the rights to author Bill Granger’s ‘November Man’ series of spy thrillers with a plan to kickstart his new franchise in 2006. Well, he’s only eight years late. Ironically, the character Brosnan plays here – retired-but-deadly CIA operative Peter Devereaux – is a lot closer to Daniel Craig’s surly, angst-ridden Bond than to Brosnan’s own laidback take on the character. (read more)

Lay the Favourite

  • Rated as: 3/5

Rebecca Hall is an ex-stripper with a kind soul and a good head for figures in this sprightly but disjointed American comedy from veteran British filmmaker Stephen Frears (‘Tamara Drewe’). Working from a script by DV DeVincentis, who also wrote his 2000 film ‘High Fidelity’, Frears tells the story of Beth Raymer (Hall), a dancer-turned-gambler whose memoir inspires the film. (read more)

Calvary

  • Rated as: 4/5

What do you say to a priest you plan to shoot pointblank between the eyes? ‘Say your prayers,’ of course. Part ‘Father Ted’, part Tarantino, John Michael McDonagh follows up 2011’s ‘The Guard’ with this wickedly funny black comedy, all fatalism and gallows humour, with both a beating heart and an inquiring mind lingering beneath its tough-guy bluster. The mighty Brendan Gleeson – a man built like a wardrobe, with a face like he’s been left on a cliff-edge, battered by north winds – plays Father James, a good priest. In the confession box, a man tells him how he was raped by a priest at the age of seven. That priest is now dead, so it’s Father James who must pay. (read more)

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