What is it about penguins? From marching toward mating grounds in the Antarctic, showing off mad tap-dancing skills or ensuring military-style precision in operations on Madagascar, these little critters know how to captivate a cinema audience. They may not be the first creatures that come to mind when thinking of the wildlife Australia has to offer but in the sleepy Victoria town of Warrnambool these little guys are a very big deal.
“R.L. Stine. Whatever happened to that guy?” Rob Letterman’s mile-a-minute, edge of your seat, raucously funny Goosebumps confirms that the 1990s (pre-He Who Shall Not Be Named) petrifier of children is alive and kicking. Donning dark horn-rimmed glasses, Jack Black is at his maniacal, magnetic best as the enigmatic writer in a wildly entertaining family flick that has enough spills and chills to delight young and old alike.
Youth vaunts itself as an unabashedly cinematic film. Paolo Sorrentino’s latest offering knows just how pretty, sumptuous and clever it is and is in no way ashamed to flaunt rich colours, startling compositions and overwhelming talent to point a satirical finger at the glitz and glamour of stardom. Awash with admiration for the beauty of images on show, an audience is to lap up every glistening, perfect moment; to hell with modesty or self-deprecation.
The richly shot opening images of Andrew Droz Palermo’s debut feature hold much promise. Unfortunately, One and Two doesn’t go on to deliver. An interesting premise which dully travels from nowhere to nowhere, bogged down by loose direction, an underdeveloped script and little more than surface characterisation.
All those fans of cinema out there who have long wished for an action adventure epic set in 50 BC starring Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Adrien Brody need wait no longer. Dragon Blade – from Hong Kong writer-director Daniel Lee – is here. And it is inspired by true events. Cut down from over two hours in its original version to a more streamlined 100 minutes for an international release, it is possible that much needed characterisation was slashed from a film where narrative coherence and depth certainly play second fiddle to spectacle.
How many Fairbrasses does it take to knock together another hard-hitting, foul-mouthed, blood- splattered British crime movie? In the case of Jonnie Malachi’s Breakdown (2016) the answer is three. Man mountain and former Eastender Craig stars as Alfie Jennings, a vicious hitman who, predictably, is on the verge of a mental breakdown and wants out of the game. Sons Jack and Luke are credited with production duties. The bland poster tagline – “They all have to die” – suggests that a number of the cast won’t make it to the closing credits and that much does prove to be true.