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Ever noticed how the box office always seems to release films in two? Confusing cinema goers making them rack their brains trying to decide on a film!

Here are a few examples to prove my point:
 -       Killers vs. Knight & Day (2010)
 -       Dante’s Peak vs. Volcano (1997)
 -       The Prestige vs. the Illusionist (2006)
 -       A Bugs Life vs. Antz (1998)
 -       Deep Impact vs. Armageddon (1998)

Check out more here if you want to get into each duo's plot details:
www.yourmovies.com.au/slideshow

Coincidence? I think not! But from looking at those titles, there’s always one that’s better quality than the other. And if you’re trying to decide which one is worth your time. Let me help you make that decision.

Both films are typical and predictable, definitely something for the ladies. Both portray a modern female character who are empowering and career focused & don’t want a serious relationship. But we can all guess what happens at the end, women hormones and emotions take over.

But if we’re going to compare the pair, ‘No Strings attached’ takes the cake hands down. The film's script takes on a much wittier approach and gave me a few chuckles and giggles. At the same time there were scenes that got me a little choked up. It was a good mix of comedy and romance like the genre suggests.

Not to mention Kutcher and Portman who were portraying these typical characters, seem to have more chemistry and didn’t make my skin crawl. Even the older wiser character in both films, played by Kline (Adam’s Father) had more of a distict characteristic and was flawed and funny as oppose to the ‘Friends with Benefits’ counterpart played by Clarkson (Jamie’s mother) who’s character failed to even resonate in my memory.

‘Friends with Benefits’ is a Justin Timberlake fans only film. Mila and Justin made a good effort, but if you’re looking for a film with a typical plot that would make you laugh and cry. You’d be better off checking out Reitman’s ‘No Strings Attached’ attempt.

Even though the 'No Strings attached' tagline appears to be directly ripping off 'Friends with Benefits'. How I see it is, if you’re going to do something that’s been overdone and clichéd. Then do it well. And ‘No Strings Attached’ did just that.

**Spoiler Alert**
My favourite scenes:
‘No Strings Attached’: Portman’s drunken jealous rage
‘Friends with Benefits’: Timberlake’s old school rapping (about the only part in the film that brought a smile to my face, only because I am a fan of his music)
 
 
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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.
 
 
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USA. 2010. Directed by Ridley Scott. Screenplay by Bruab Helgeland. Story by Ethan Reuff, Cyrus Voris. Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett

Rating: ★★½

Robin Hood - The untold story of the man behind the legend... A friend of mine came up with a much better tag-line. Robin Hood - Gladiator with bows and arrows. The same prologue, director and actor of Gladiator were used but nowhere near the same quality. The piecemeal scenes of Robin Hood that tied the storyline together were confusing and disappointing. A lot of the dialogue that contributed to the overall plot-line were unnecessary making the pace of the film appear choppy and condensed. So many ideas were brought into the story such as Robin’s paternal origins and the significance of certain characters were never developed or explained. The angle the director took to move the plot along were to make all the characters seemed partial and easily swayed, a king’s crucial decision for the future of this country made on a whim based on his mistress’ word. There was no debate or intense friction but a quick and easy dialogue delivery, like a bowl of uncooked instant noodles. 


In addition to the long winding war scenes, a large portion of the film danced around the romance between Marion (Blanchett) and Robin (Crowe), which was utterly excruciating to watch. The development of their growing love for each other was attempted through short awkward dialogue banter, only worsened by the lack of chemistry between the two actors. The fact that their mutual feelings were never addressed throughout the film made the 'declaration of love' scene; come as a sudden shock. They were excellent apart but skin-crawling in the scenes they filmed together.

**Spoiler Alert**
Blanchett convincingly portrayed Marion as a strong, independent, hard headed woman throughout the film, however the useless addition of her running into the final battle with sword in hand & full body armor leading her small legion of the lost boys was completely unnecessary! Ridley Scott, you’ve been pounding it in our faces that Marion is a heroine from the start. We get it! She’s tough! There was no need for her to join the battle and fail miserably. It completely undid her tough act and made the crucial farewell scene between Robin & herself obsolete. Although I have to give two thumbs up for the director of photography who made many of the scenery appear absolutely breathtaking. The film overall, didn’t bring anything new to the table of the already over-done Robin Hood legend.  

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And finally, my favourite scene from this 2010 rendition of Robin Hood was when Marion and Robin decide to share some intimate and dramatic lip-locking action... amidst a raging battle! Marion who’s fallen off her horse with heavy armor & is drowning/choking on the shore & Robin who’s bleeding from the head comes to her rescue with blood dripping onto his lover’s face; I ask this question. DO YOU REALLY THINK THIS IS THE BEST TIME TO BE MAKING-OUT?!? I don’t know if this “romantic” scene trumps Elizabeth and Will’s impromptu wedding ceremony/battle seen in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. *gag*