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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

New Release Roundup for 26/07/2013 to 08/08/2013

And now for your regularly scheduled capsule reviews.

Now You See Me. This ridiculous but hugely entertaining thriller about a group of stage magician anarchists/ thieves who rob banks as part of their stage show has largely been overlooked but for all of its unabashed daftness - that final twist really makes no sense - it's light, frothy and funny with a kick ass cast and a snappy pace. But please, enough with the Prestige/ Inception/ Oceans Eleven comparisons - Now You See Me is far too unassuming to warrant it. (7/10)

Great Expectations. As the five millionth adaptation of Dicken's classic novel, this Great Expectations is a fairly straightforward, if condensed, take on the story that has plenty of style and a very strong cast but is let down by its shallowly and quite annoyingly drawn lead characters and an abundance of plot that drags the film's energy down to zero far too often. Literary purists may like it but give me the very flawed but at least somewhat interesting 90s modern update over this turgid mess any day. (4/10)

Dark Skies. A surprisingly enjoyable generic alien abduction film. Its largely b-list cast acquit themselves very well and the admittedly rather cheap scares do their job well enough but the best thing about Dark Skies is that it mixes sub-X-Files alien stuff with some well observed domestic drama that is very much of this post-recession world. A more subtle touch would have gone a long way but Dark Skies is still a slight but effective bit of sci-fi horror. (6/10)

Killing Them Softly. Technically there's a lot to admire - not least of all the performances - but this modern noir is let down by uninteresting and unsympathetic characters, a by-the-numbers plot and plenty of very long, very sub-Tarantino conversations that go nowhere at all. It is, however, the film's tiring nihilism, its overcooked, cynical misanthropy and its irritating apolitical sloganeering that turns it from an admirable failure into something I outright hated. (3/10)

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