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Anton van Beek  |  Dec 02, 2012  |  0 comments

That’s it then. The Harry Potter saga has finally come to an end. And while it’s been an uneven ride, it’s hard to deny that this last film sends the franchise off in style in a way that, say, Police Academy VII never quite managed.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 20, 2012  |  0 comments

Stop-motion specialist Aardman Animations has struggled to find a level of cinematic success to match that it regularly achieves on TV. In part this is down to some ill-judged forays into computer animation that have struggled to live up to the lofty heights of Pixar.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 15, 2012  |  0 comments

A group of heavily-armed cops find themselves trapped inside a 15-storey apartment block and facing overwhelming odds when a raid on a local crime lord goes horribly wrong. And that's all the plot there is to Gareth Evans' turbo-charged movie, The Raid. That pretext leads into a feature-length orgy of violence, showcasing some of the best-choreographed, most imaginative action scenes committed to film in years. Unmissable.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 12, 2012  |  0 comments

It was hardly a surprise that the success of the Transformers films spurred toy maker Hasbro into searching its warehouses for other properties to turn into potential blockbusters. But who would have ever thought that at the top of its list of contenders would be the board game Battleship?

Steve May  |  Nov 08, 2012  |  0 comments

A Christmas Carol as envisaged by Robert Zemeckis, is a rather darker retelling of the Dickens classic than you mighty imagine from the Disney Empire. It also has the distinction of being the first 3D Blu-ray from the 'House of the Mouse'. While some might argue that Toy Story 3 should have led the charge, this is actually the better choice. Despite a requirement to wear spex theatrically, Toy Story 3D is a flat viewing experience. This is much more in, on and around your face. 

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 08, 2012  |  0 comments

Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series saw two major changes in the popular sci-fi series, with the arrival of both a new Doctor (Matt Smith – quickly shaping up to be the best since Tom Baker) and new showrunner (Steven Moffat taking over from Russell T Davis). That said, neither change has made much of a tonal difference to the show itself, which continues to please kids of all ages with its magical mix of whimsical storytelling, scary monsters, daft jokes and crowd-pleasing special effects. And despite the odd dud like the redesigned Daleks, it’s easily the most consistent series since Russell T Davis’ first year running things. Roll on the Christmas Special.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 05, 2012  |  0 comments

This televised adaptation of Robert Kirkman's best-selling independent comic book series rumbles on with this extended 13 episode run (which plays much better when viewed en mass like this, rather than on a weekly basis). The main thrust this time is the gang's belief that their search for a safe haven from the zombie hordes may be over after the chance discovery of an isolated farmstead. However, tragedy is never far away and there are plenty of surprises – even for those who know the comics well.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 02, 2012  |  0 comments

It may be based on the latest ‘young adult’ publishing sensation, but don’t go expecting another Twilight. Instead, get ready for a smart sci-fi satire with traces of Battle Royale about it, where youngsters are pitted against one another in a fight to the death in a near-future America. As an added bonus it’s presented here on Blu-ray in its uncut 143-min form, rather than the censored version that played at UK cinemas.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 27, 2012  |  0 comments

Iron Man might not be the best known of Marvel’s superheroes, but his cinematic debt is possibly the company’s most important movie to date. The first feature Marvel has self-financed, Iron Man represents the first film in a flood of titles that will create a cohesive on-screen universe of Marvel superheroes that is planned to culminate with 2011’s The Avengers.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 25, 2012  |  0 comments

Every bit as efficient and effective as its killer shark, Steven Spielberg’s 1975 smash is not just a fantastic horror film, it’s also as close as you’ll ever come to finding the perfect Hollywood blockbuster. Every single element is perfectly balanced, be it suspense, horror, levity, character development or good old fashioned storytelling. It’s nothing less than a milestone in the history of cinema and a bloody great film to boot.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 19, 2012  |  0 comments

What can be said about the second part of Romero's epic zombie saga that hasn't be written before? Not much I'd wager given the weight of critical and academic analysis it has been repeatedly subjected to since its original release back in 1978. As such I'm not going to waste much time on the movie itself, after all every self-respecting horror fan will already be familiar with the film (in all of its many incarnations - replicated here with the inclusion of three different cuts) and those who have yet to see it are in for a gore-filled treat with an underlying subtext that is every bit as relevant today as it was thirty-plus years ago. As such, I'll just skip the waffle and reiterate the oft-repeated claim that Dawn of the Dead remains one of the greatest, and most influential, horror films ever made.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 15, 2012  |  0 comments

How soon is too soon when it comes to rebooting a popular film franchise? It’s only been five years since the release of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, but here we have a film that goes back to the beginning for the web-slinging superhero.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 23, 2012  |  0 comments

Iron Man 2 received a fair amount of flak when it hit cinemas earlier this year. But for the life of us, we’ve no idea why. The very definition of big-budget blockbuster moviemaking, this sequel takes everything that made the first such a smash, and ramps it all up to eleven while not forgetting to stimulate the brain as well as the eyes and ears. So, while the action and special effects are mind-blowing, it’s the character stuff that really makes it all work, with the narrative through-line about responsibility and consequences allowing Downey Jr to really stretch his legs and showcase an onscreen chemistry with his co-stars that’s sadly all-to-rare in Hollywood blockbusters.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 14, 2012  |  0 comments

Grand in scope and packed with spectacle, Kenneth Branagh’s Thor doesn’t quite stack up against the very best superhero movies, but it’s a blast nonetheless.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 10, 2012  |  0 comments

Like Richard III and Romeo + Juliet before it, Ralph Fiennes’ directorial debut gives one of Shakespeare’s plays a modern spin. A tale of warmongering and politics  infused with imagery dragged straight from contemporary war zones, it makes for an arresting piece of cinema – even if it isn’t the most approachable of the Bard’s works.