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Australia. 2010. Directed by David Michôd. Screenplay by David Michôd. Story by David Michôd. Starring: Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn, James Frencheville, Jacki Weaver

Rating:
★★★★½

Animal Kingdom is a riveting insight into a 1980’s Australian crime family. The film trails a teenage boy named Joshua ‘J’ Cody (Frencheville). Due to unfortunate family circumstances J moves in with his grandmother and mentally unhinged uncles.

New comer James Frencheville portrays the slow & vulnerable teenager, flawlessly. His pensive dopey expressions are approriate enough to gain sympathy without rendering him useless. Jacki Weaver’s performance as the grandmother is also absolutely amazing. Her sweet, doting, polite characteristics can also be seen as eerily threatening as the plot progresses.

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The film’s intensity does not waver from start to finish and is definitely not for light hearted entertainment. Animal Kingdom is a perfect depiction of the different rapacious instincts & cunning decisions brought out in each person for their own survival.

**Spoiler Alert**
The one scene I can’t seem to shake, is when J is on the run from his uncle and attempts to get his girlfriend’s family out of their house. To avoid alarming them for their own safety, he simply asks for a lift to the shops. As the family bustles around to leave, the urgency in J’s eyes enclosed by his calm demeanour was insanely nerve racking. I was so intensely enveloped in the scene I began chewing on my hair without even realising it. Not many films have ever caused me to chew on anything other than popcorn. Two thumbs up!
 
 
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USA. 2010. Directed by Michael Patrick King. Screenplay by Michael Patrick King, Candace Bushnell, Darren Star Story by Michael Patrick King. Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristen Davis, Cynthia Nixon

Rating:
½

The charm of the original 'Sex and the City' series is that women can relate to each of the awkward, ditsy, clumsy, sex crazed working gal. SATC2 bombed! It took all the charm away and presented a bunch of over-the-hill photoshopped New Yorkers on a glamorous all expense paid holiday. I didn't sign up for this shit! It was detached from reality and completely over the top. The girls are all well groomed in their perfect little lives, with their perfect apartments, loving husbands and massive wardrobes. Yet, still find pointless shit to complain about! Now they're just being spoilt difficult rich bitches. It makes me cringe.

**Spoiler Alert**
The first scene already started on the wrong foot, with cheap gimmicks used in an exaggerated gay wedding with an ice palace, swans, choir singers and Liza Minnelli. Who looked like she was about to drop dead after her 'single ladies' performance *cringe again*. Followed by eye-rolling, gag worthy and head shaking scenes one after the other. No interesting controversial topics were brought up. No clever cute humour. All in all, a lame over the top exaggeration about nothing.

Usually I end it with my favourite stupid scene but the whole movie was so ridiculous, I say the worst part was going to the movies to see it in the first place. Short and sweet.


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USA. 2010. Directed by Mike Newell. Screenplay by Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard. Story by Jordan Mechner. Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley

Rating: ★★★½

To bring out yet another film based on a video game (and with the quality of past video game films like Tomb Raider, Doom, etc) immediately heightened my critical scepticism. But as soon as the first scene leapt on screen, I was pleasantly entertained from start to end. Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney already accomplished a similar feat when they brought Pirates of the Caribbean to the big screen, a movie based on a theme park ride and reigniting the spark in a overly common dwindling genre.

There was really nothing I could criticise too harshly about the film. Some of the scenic choices seen in Prince of Persia were nothing short of breathtaking. The storyline and character development were just enough of an explanation to move the plot along without taking away from the action. No useless characters or WTF dialogue. The theme explores the idea of strong family values, which is a unique take on Hollywood’s usual action packed box office films. It took all the best parts of the original game bringing back the childhood nostalgia but finely tuned the good old Prince of Persia experience. The protagonist prince Dastan (Gyllenhaal) was introduced to the audience as loveable character, immediately intriguing us to follow this underdog’s story. Gyllenhaal who really bulked up for the roll showed off his impressive athleticism and fancy footwork which gave the action scenes a distinct look and feel; and frankly less boring to watch.

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**Spoiler Alert**
Of course there were annoying little flaws here and there throughout the film that could have been addressed better. Like the occasional awkward romantic moments between Dastan & Princess Tamina (Atertan) or the underuse of the Dagger in critical moments. And worse of all the typical Disney airy fairy happy ending which is as bad as ‘I woke up and it was all a dream’ (an amazing dream at that). But overall entertaining and amusing for what it was, great cinematography, likable characters portrayed by decent actors and an original plot and theme delivered through substantial script and storytelling.

There was no distinctly stupid or funny scene that I can recall, but I did love the 360degree rotation of Dastan standing on the roof’s edge during battle. Which reminded me a lot of the Assassin’s Creed video game and for an instant I thought he’d jump off and land in a shallow hay barrel (often used in the game). But instead he tied a rope to his ankle and managed to jump into the level below in one swift impossible manoeuvre, that gave me a little chuckle.

Looking forward to the next Jerry Bruckheimer & Disney collaboration - The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.