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New release movie reviews - 30 August

Posted by: Jim Schembri | 30 August, 2012 - 5:21 PM
The Expendables

THE EXPENDABLES 2 *** (102 minutes) MA
The muscle-head gang of action movie macho men is back for more of the same. Surrounded by fireballs, flying vehicles and the muzzle flash of machine guns, Sylvester Stallone leads Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li and a few guest spots from other ageing action heroes of the 1980s and 90s - Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis, Arnie - on a revenge-fuelled lark across the bad-guy filled badlands of Albania. Jean-Claude Van Damme hams it up as the chief villain and local lad Liam Hemsworth chimes in with nice motivating support as a young sniper. It's cheesy, fun, disposable action pap on a big scale - but, boy, is it lazy. The story is pitted with annoying stop-start moments, people pop up out of nowhere and the guys have a knack of suddenly appearing back in their transport plane. As with The Bourne Legacy, the film will satisfy fans of the franchise but also carries a very strong "enough already" vibe. The cast quip about their age and being museum pieces, suggesting that even they know the film's novelty is about to hit its use-by date. No disrespect intended, but if we never see The Expendables 3, the world would not be a lesser place.       

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CHINESE TAKEAWAY ***1/2 (93 minutes; subtitled) M

In this wonderful Argentinian character comedy, hardware store owner Roberto (Ricardo Darin) has the neat order of his little corner of the world disrupted by the arrival of Yun (Ignacio Huang), a Chinese immigrant in search of his uncle. Neither speaks the other's language, and the Chinese spoken in the film is unsubtitled, a device used to very good comic effect. Written and directed by Sebastian Borensztein, this is a beautifully composed, unforced comedy rich with nuanced comic touches as it dances with themes about language, misunderstanding, communication and happenstance. A wall-to-wall delight, Darin is terrific as the taciturn loner so obsessed with things being just so that he complains if a box of screws doesn't contain the exact amount! Chinese Takeaway was the biggest film at the Argentinian box office last year that didn't come from the Hollywood factory and is the type of distinctive cultural comedy that will hopefully defy Americanisation.

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FINDING NEMO 3D ***** (107 minutes) G
If the Pixar vault was on fire and they could only save one film, it'd be this eminently re-watchable modern fairy tale. The neo-classic story of an over-protective clown fish (Albert Brooks) who goes off in search of his missing son looks all the more stunning with this state-of-the-art 3D retro-fit. Originally released in 2003, Nemo was such a worldwide hit even its creators were dumb-struck as to why. And the re-issue couldn't have come at a better time. Director Andrew Stanton recently made the mega-bomb John Carter, so Nemo will at least remind audiences that he does know how to make films people want to see.

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MOONRISE KINGDOM ** (94 minutes) PG
The reputation of Wes Anderson as one of America's most consistently over-rated directors gets another boost with his latest exercise in stylistic posturing and forced whimsy. Set in 1965 on a scout camp, unwanted foster child Sam (Jared Gilman) heads off on his own to hook up with Suzy (Kara Hayward), a kid with a similarly damaged psyche. This throws the scout leader (Edward Norton), the local cop (Bruce Willis) and Suzy's parents (Bill Murray, Frances McDormand) in a tizz as a troupe is sent after them. As with many of Anderson's films  - The Life Aquatic; The Royal Tenenbaums; The Darjeeling Limited - characters are emotionally stunted, the performances are mannered, the direction full of affectations and quirks that raise momentary titters, but don't add up to a satisfying whole. At least for some, that is. Made on a tiny budget of about $12 million the film has been a huge arthouse hit with Anderson's fiercely loyal fanbase. One visually interesting feature of the film is how it isn't just set in 1965, it looks like it was made in 1965. Oscar will no doubt notice.

Blog comments Your Say

  • This dude gives The Expendables 2 a better rating than Moonrise Kingdom.

    'nuff said.

    Justin Saturday 8 December, 2012 - 1:19 PM
  • this movie is a used banana peel, crushed can, a used kleenex that is stuck to the bottom of your shoe; complete garbage. Pretentious and lacking direction or substance, this movie feels like a monkey's video, if they made music videos back then this could serve as all the meat in those stews. i loved rushmore, life aquatic, but this was painful, like watching a michael bay film starring mark wahlberg...YUCK!

    irishinamerica Saturday 8 December, 2012 - 8:47 AM

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