Shannon Clayton's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

John Wick: Chapter 2
½

The first John Wick was such a surprise win that I was cautiously excited about the sequel - mainly afraid it would be an identical repeat to that of the first. Well... it kind of is, but rather than the same story, it is more of an expansion of the world we were introduced to in the first movie. And this is what allows John Wick 2 to stand on it's own. Filled with great action and fight sequences, it is a really solid entertaining flick. Highly recommend!

Sully
Sully(2016)

I love a good plane movie, and when it's based on a real life event, well it was always going to make my 'want to see' list. And Sully didn't disappoint. In fact, it well and truly exceeded my expectations. I admittedly was a little naive and whilst I had heard about the infamous plane landing in the Hudson, I never really unearthed any further detail than just that. This made the whole story quite new and fascinating and I found myself surprisingly captivated with what I would normally find quite boring - the investigative side of the story. Tom Hanks, as always, is superb - he can practically do no wrong in my eyes, and even the brief glimpse you get of the original Sully at the end of the pic validates how well Hanks captured him. The other thing that makes this movie so good, is it doesn't drag on. It's short and sweet, and not crammed full of unnecessary 'filler'.

Passengers
Passengers(2016)

Without giving any spoilers away, this movie probably suffers from a slightly misleading advertising campaign. But putting that aside, if you go in blind then it's actually a good, solid sci-fi film. It certainly helps that you've got super star power with Jennifer Lawrence and the humour and charisma of Chris Pratt. Together these two have the chemistry that's so pivotal to whether this movie is a hit or a miss, and for me... they made it a hit. The visuals are unarguably exquisite, the concept intriguing and the two leads charming... the only let down is the story could have done with a little bit more depth, mystery or both.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
½

There's something about the starwars franchise - I think for someone like me who appreciates imagination and creativity, I find it so inspiring that someone could think up such an amazing world, filled with rich characters and captivating storylines. Of course the challenge is bringing that writing to life, and Rogue One does just that. If you are a fan of the originals, Rogue One feels like you could extend the time of the originals and it would just be an excerpt, a chunk of film pulled directly out - ignoring the obviously better visual splendour. I loved pretty much everything about this movie, and the best thing was it didn't just feel like a money making exercise, it felt like a genuine part of the story being told.

Suicide Squad
½

I almost didn't go to the cinema to see this after all the critic reviews came out, but I am so pleased I ignored them and decided to make up my own mind! It's no Avengers, but it's still an enjoyable watch, and there is so much potential for sequels or spin-off solo movies, it's freaking exciting. And that really stems from the characters, each one portrayed perfectly and their back stories and personality traits are all so interesting. The disappointment was in the main storyline, it felt a bit weak and muddled, not a convincing enough premise to bring all the characters together. This kind of left me with the feeling of wishing they'd spent more time going into each character's back story than they had on trying to weave them together in a weak main plot. Some of the characters were SO underutilised, and this could be a DC ploy for solo movies, but I felt so hard done by with the number of Joker scenes - Jared Leto's portrayal deserved so much more screen time. So overall, so much better than the critics give it credit for, and it has made me become obsessed with Harley Quinn, and the Joker's mad love story - really hope they do a movie on their back story!

Ghostbusters
Ghostbusters(2016)

Well, it's not the original. Let's just get that out of the way first off. But... and there is a but, it's actually alright! The girls have great chemistry together, and Kate McKinnon is an absolute stand out - I wish they plugged it with more of her jokes. It's as visual as you'd expect it to be and the storyline is engaging enough (although the ending is a bit naff), but if you've seen the original(s) you'll have that flashing in the back of your mind. As a standalone movie, it's an enjoyable flick.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
½

As the critics consesus put it, the mystery is kind of lacking in this follow on from The Maze Runner, but it has enough action and visual splendour to keep you interested enough. The characters are a bit more annoying in this version, but that's thanks to the storyline rather than performances. It is undoubtedly a bit of a segue way movie - as so many of the second movies in a trilogy are - but it's certainly not the worst movie you could pick for a Friday night in.

Deadpool
Deadpool(2016)

So, so good. I mean when you use a 'poo' emoji in your advertising campaign, you know it's gonna be good, but this was so much better than I had even hoped it would be. Funny, amusing, and yet quite an engaging story at the same time. Ryan Reynolds at his best.

The Revenant
The Revenant(2015)

Despite being a huge Leo fan, I was admittedly hesitant to see this one - from the preview, I just kinda figured I wouldn't like it. But it was surprisingly as good as the Oscar hype had generated. Leo is, without a doubt, the star, and carries the film from start to finish. The story is engaging and the cinematography is just simply stunning. Definitely not a 'feel good' Saturday night popcorn blockbuster, but a worthy drama.

Jurassic World
½

Let's just get straight to the crux of it... this pretty much is just a replica of the first one. And that's probably why it was enjoyable - kinda silly, lots of people getting eaten by dinosaurs, and the occasional lameish joke thrown in the mix. It's a recipe that's proven, and it fits perfectly into that category of 'I just want to watch something mildly entertaining without having to execute any brain power at all".

Love, Rosie
Love, Rosie(2015)

It's kind of cute and has moments of humour (that work) but it just doesn't quite manage to pull it off. While the characters are likable, they're also sort of annoying, or maybe that's just the story... Having not read the book, I can't comment if it's better or worse, but I can say that it's not a total write-off. It's one of those movies you chuck on when your partner is away and you just want something to watch on TV that will keep you engaged for a couple hours.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

After enjoying MI Ghost Protocol so much, I was actually really looking forward to a new Mission Impossible movie, and I wasn't disappointed. It's not groundbreaking stuff, in fact it doesn't really deviate away from the standard format that has served the series so well in the preceding films, and that's why it's so successful. It knows what it is, it knows it's formula and it sticks to it. You don't go along to these sorts of films expecting surprises, you go along to these films because they are reliable! Satisfactory entertainment and a good popcorn movie :)

Pitch Perfect 2

It's not the sequel I was hoping for, but maybe that was false hope considering the fact that it was a sequel and the premise it had to work with. I didn't really connect with the humour in this one, it felt a little too forced, but if you liked the a cappella scene from the first, then there's probably enough to satisfy in this one too.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Okay, so it's not as good as the first one (the inevitable first question) but it does enough to stand alone - still a solid superhero movie. There's definitely a segue way component to this sequel, where you feel the story is being set up for later movies, more so than developing into anything truly engaging on its own, but nonetheless, it packs enough action, humour and visual splendour to keep Avengers fans happy.

The Place Beyond The Pines

It's definitely not the notebook... and actually, if you think this is at all going to be even remotely close to a feel good film, you're a long way off. It's sombre, raw, and at times quite heart breaking to watch, but it's this darkness that makes it quite powerful all the same. Coupled with a great cast, this movie is really well done considering a challenging storyline.

Fifty Shades of Grey
½

So much hype, so much anticipation and yet... Fifty Shades, almost surprisingly so, actually stands on its own two feet. In fact, as a reader of the books who found them reasonably enjoyable, I admittedly LOVED this film adaptation. Johnson is truly a star, transforming into Anastasia and delivering such a natural and genuine performance, complemented by Dornan who manages to fit the elusive Grey's shoes. There's an honesty to their chemistry created by witty dialogue and humorous banter that had me giggling constantly throughout. But perhaps most importantly, the sex scenes and subject matter is handled so delicately and so perfectly; humour planted in the perfect spots, yet avoiding any sense of 'comical' and creating the perfect amount of sexiness. I took my man along and even he claimed "It wasn't as bad as he thought it was going to be, and was actually 'alright'". Fifty Shades is sultry, sexy, and yet at it's heart it portrays quite a sweet atypical love story.

Taken 3
Taken 3(2015)

I think the critics are being a little bit expectant here. Taken 3 is not meant to be third time lucky in a franchise trilogy that suffered the classic 'second movie' fate. It is merely an excuse and relatively easy way due to the existing story and characters, to create another Liam Neeson action movie, filled with unaccountable violence, implausible action sequences, and the MacGyver-esque tricks that make it all relatively entertaining. And that's why you watch this movie, to be relatively entertained.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

As with any instalment within a franchise, it's hard not to sit here and compare Mockingjay part one to it's two predecessors, however the more I thought about it, the more I decided there needed to be a separation - it isn't as straightforward as apples to apples. This movie has a completely different and new story to tell than The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, so understandably it does take a different turn and loses some of the extravagance that was quite enticing in the first two movies. In saying that, what it loses in embellishment, it gains in grit, creating a raw sombreness. The perfect casting and performance deliver once again and the cinematography maintains the style demonstrated in the first two films. Fans of the series won't be disappointed, a good movie to carry on the Katniss journey.

Gone Girl
Gone Girl(2014)
½

It's difficult for a movie that sits sort of in the space of dramatic thriller to maintain such a level of intensity that Gone Girl demonstrated, and from the very start to the very end, without losing momentum. This is what really made Gone Girl so good, because to be honest, I didn't think the story was that surprising or unpredictable - perhaps parts of it, but not in its entirety. Instead this film relied on creating so much more than just a curious plotline. The acting was superb with Affleck and Pike perfectly cast and then followed up by perfect deliverance of their roles. The cinematics of the whole film are perfect, balancing elegance and style with the dark and twisty, that will have you engaged end-to-end.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
½

It's not quite up there as a new Die Hard, but Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit ticks many of the boxes that this seemingly 'easy' genre so often fails to do. Pine jumps into the lead role with ease and confidence, and fits the shoes of the action hero star perfectly - funny, charming and bursting with brawn, and Knightley is a surprisingly believable partnering. The story is a little wordy at times, but progresses with enough pace to keep you entertained.

Guardians of the Galaxy

It's perhaps not the gigantic blockbuster it portrays itself as, but Guardians of the Galaxy has enough quirky, funny, visual spectacles coupled with a very well-rounded and accomplished cast. It's not groundbreaking, but it's entertaining and exactly what you want from this kind of film.

Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow

This is one of those movies where it delivers exactly what the preview promises. Filled with awesome action scenes, great special effects, a perfect cast, an engaging story, and the occasional chuckle-worthy one liner, it's exactly what a blockbuster action movie should be. Despite Cruise taking the lead role, Blunt completely steps up and isn't lost in the Tom Cruise star power shadow, instead the two are together on the same stage. And that is probably the only real flaw, if you can even call it that - the film does rely on Cruise and Blunt, almost overly so. This is partly due to the story, but it might've been nice to develop up the supporting cast a little further. Overall, the perfect popcorn munching movie for a Saturday night in!

Transformers: Age of Extinction
½

Despite my fondness for Marky Mark Wahlberg, without the comical geekiness of Shia Labeouf as the lead, I wasn't as desperate to see the next film in the Transformers series as I had been for its predecessors. This might be in part to the rather disdainful reviews all over RT as well. Nonetheless, I thought I'd give it the benefit of the doubt and make up my own mind. And to all the haters... I don't think it's at all deserving of your scorn! The thing with the Transformers movies is that you always know what you're going to get. The promo and trailers are hardly misleading. For those expecting a new epic storyline, that's never what Transformers has been about. It's filled with cool action sequences, awesome special FX, and the cliche eye candy a la Nicola Peltz. Admittedly without Shia it is missing a bit of the humour, the one liners included feeling a little more forced. But overall, it's still a satisfying enough flick for the Transformers fan.

22 Jump Street
½

Making the most of the well-deserved status of sequels being rubbish, 22 Jump Street makes fun of itself at every turn, and in doing so, creates a movie filled with enough laughs to break out of substandard sequel status. Hill and Tatum have the same charisma and chemistry which made their pairing in the first film so entertaining. The story doesn't take itself too seriously and plays upon the fact its premise is a replicate of its predecessor. Even with high expectations, I walked out of this very satisfied. It's fun, funny and definitely my sense of humour.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
½

Action, suspense, a dose of that sardonic humour from Wolverine that we all know and love, this installment in the X-Men franchise delivers a whole bundle of the best parts of comic book movies, and in particular draws on all the strengths and most enticing elements of the X-Men series to create a very satisfying blockbuster. Following in its predecessors' footsteps, Wolverine is at the helm again, and rightly so with Hugh Jackman stepping perfectly back into the role. While I was slightly disappointed that the film tilted towards the 'younger versions' of the X-Men characters, this was overcome by a very notable cast and performances from the likes of McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence. It has almost the whole package and is a great illustration of why the X-Men series is one of the most successful comic book franchises.

Godzilla
Godzilla(2014)
½

As my first introduction to the Godzilla franchise, I found this installment to be relatively satisfying, incorporating all that you would expect; cool special FX, amusing one liners, and of course, giant monster lizard things doing a good impression of Hulk smash on big iconic cities. The story isn't exactly 'powerful', and the development of the characters is unfortunately a little weak but it's worthy of a watch just for Ken Watanabe's "We call him.... Godzilla" line!

Neighbors
Neighbors(2014)

A fresh comedic premise and perfectly cast roles makes this movie well worth a peek, appealing to both the bestie or the boyfriend for a weekend movie trip. I was a little nervous this film was going to suffer the ill-fate of showing all the good bits in its trailer, but it thankfully delivered more than a couple laughable highlights. The three main stars are all perfect in this movie, Efron the obnoxious yet lovable ring leader, and then Rogen and Bryne managing surprising chemistry! Not to say Bryne is out of his league, but well... she is. The story, though secondary to the revenge antics, has enough substance with just the right amount of ridiculous and crass jokes that stop at the right point. A satisfyingly funny film.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

For not only a fairly saturated genre, but a most definitely saturated series, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is surprisingly worthy addition. While 'amazing' might be a stretch, this film delivers the classic combo; a likable super hero (completely attributed to a stellar performance from Andrew Garfield), cool villains (Foxx and DeHaan are awesome!), a feisty but not annoying female (another great performance from Stone), a love story that blossoms in all the right places, and enough action to satisfy without being over the top CGI. Yes the story we have seen so many times before it's like a rerun of Friends, but it is undoubtedly the cast of this film that make it something new. Worth a watch though don't bother with the 3D! :)

Coraline
Coraline(2009)

One word... creepy! I was surprised that this was actually a kids movie because not only are the graphics and imagery on the spooky side, but the concept itself is very dark! In saying that, Coraline is very well done with exceptional visual animation. But it is undoubtedly the story that brings this up a tier; original, inventive and very intriguing, Coraline sucks you in just like the hidden locked door itself.

The Other Woman

Finally, a Cameron Diaz girly Rom Com, we've been waiting for one of these for ages, but did it deliver? I came out of this thinking it was okay, until I tried to think back about what I liked about it and the list was pretty small. Cameron Diaz is her normal likable self, and while Leslie Mann carries out her character to perfection, it's the character itself that is flawed. Cringe-worthy and just plain annoying, I kept expecting her to get better, but it just didn't happen. The jokes are weaker than diluted cordial and there are several moments that are just plain ridiculous. Kate Upton is under utilised and far too stereotyped, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau should run back to Game of Thrones at pace. I certainly wouldn't pay to watch this again... and I'm not sure I'd watch it for free either. Flat and dominated by the whingeing character of Leslie Mann, that gives the rest of us a bad name!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

A welcome addition to the comic book genre, the sequel to Captain America steps it up from its predecessor delivering us a super hero that's vastly more 'super' than we've previously seen him! While he still has that Captain America all american sheen to him, in short, he kicks a lot more ass in this movie - or at least he looks a lot cooler doing it. There are some great action scenes and a good supporting cast, in particular Sebastian Stan is fantastic. While it lacks the humour of the Iron Man movies, the darkness of the Dark Knight, or the fantasy element of Thor, it gives us Captain America in all his glory... admit it, he's growing on you!

After Earth
After Earth(2013)

I think the best thing to start with here is.. this is no where near as bad as everyone has made you think it is! The story is fairly weak and no doubt possesses some holes, but it did have potential... it just didn't quite reach it. It's not his best flick, but I still love Will Smith!

2 Guns
2 Guns(2013)
½

Starring Denzel and Marky Mark, in addition to a good supporting cast, this movie wasn't short of pull power and all up, it delivered enough to satisfy. The story isn't revolutionary but this movie sits comfortably in the comedic action slot and stands on its own two feet enough due to the performances of its leading men.

About Time
About Time(2013)

One of those movies that is much better than the preview indicates, About Time was a pleasant surprise. It sort of flew in under the radar despite starring Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy, and perhaps this is due to the rest of the cast being relatively low key, including the lead man, Domhnall Gleeson, but this movie was a satisfactory addition to the time travelling genre. Gleeson creates a character who is very likable and funny, alongside the welcomed humour of Nighy, it's a cute romantic comedy that's a wee bit quirky and have you smiling throughout.

ParaNorman
ParaNorman(2012)
½

Cute and quirky, ParaNorman delivers an entertaining flick for a rainy Sunday afternoon but not one that is going to be shelved with the leaders of the genre. The storyline isn't remarkably unique (and somewhat scary at times for kids!) but it has some cute characters and enough charm to keep the adults mildly amused for its short one hour 30 min timeline.

Monsters University

Okay, so this one is actually one of those movies where I will compare to the first and say it's not as good. But let's be fair, the first delivered us something pretty special, a world of not only awesome monsters and amazing animation, but it created a world, a concept, that was so super original, it was always going to be hard to reach that standard with another addition. Nonetheless, you certainly don't watch MU and go "they should never have made that". It delivers a fun and entertaining experience, it's just not quite as special.

American Hustle

It's an intriguing movie American Hustle, because while I thought it was really good, it's also one of those movies that you probably wouldn't watch over and over again. This film relies on perfect components, all brought together to create something that really epitomises good film making. The directing and film editing is stunning, I felt like I was watching the entire thing in a hazy glow, like somehow there was a filter on the lens, but not because of any visual effects, moreso because of the emotions it evokes, and this is largely complemented by a perfect, and I mean PERFECT soundtrack. Not only did they pick great song choices, but the timing of each is impeccable. Then we move to the cast... the five main characters are all outstanding, creating such believable characters. And then there's the story, which is good, but not amazing, arguably the weakest part of the film and the only thing stopping this movie from being taken to a whole other level. However, it's all these parts together that make you really appreciate the craftsmanship of this movie. Like I said, it's not one I'd watch over and over again, but it's very well done.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

It's always going to be compared to the LOTR movies, but if you look at The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug independently, then it more than delivers a highly enjoyable fantasy film. Despite being the second film in the trilogy, it doesn't seem to follow the typical segue way characteristics such as; no story progression and filled with action, though don't get me wrong there are some worthy action scenes too but in addition the story is developed at pace. In fact, the pace is almost to its detriment with the first half feeling a little pieced together, one scene jumping to the next, but once it gets into things and finds its feet, the flow is much better. The special fx are amazing and allow for some fun and entertaining action scenes. The addition of Orlando Bloom's character Legolas was also a great move, as he tends to champion the best action sequences of the movie. Some of the other characters introduced are also great add-ons including Bard and Tauriel, but I must say that the 'romance' storyline between dwarf and elf is pretty weak and not very believable. Freeman and McKellan once again morph into their characters so well and deliver great performances as does Cumberbatch (great voice for Smaug!), and while the rest of the dwarf cast are fine in their acting abilities, I find their characters almost annoying and not the most likable at times. Despite the flaws, I walked out pretty satisfied with the movie and would definitely recommend it!

The Wolf of Wall Street

Having read the book, and being a huge DiCaprio fan, I must admit that I was a little nervous about him taking on the role of Jordan Belfort - no of course I don't doubt Leo's ability, but he just wasn't what I had pictured - however, the real Jordan Belfort wasn't quite what I pictured either, so I can put this aside. Now I might be slightly swayed with my DiCaprio and Scorsese bias, but I think this was a fairly well crafted adaptation of a book that is dominated by a web of difficult themes to translate. It manages to balance the wall street/stock market mumble jumble without talking over the heads of us mere non-financiers, it tackles excessive drug use without turning it into a 'drug movie', and captures the arrogant a-hole charisma of its namesake in a likable and entertaining way, and without over-glamourising or swinging too far in the other 'villainous' direction.
Ultimately, this movie swings the pendulum perfectly and does a great representation of the book, and ultimately the story which is exactly how it appears; outrageous, entertaining, and filled with smart, stupid and enough drugs to hang out with Hunter S Thompson.

American Graffiti
½

I can't argue it isn't good, because it is, but I did find the pace to be a bit slow at times and this is probably more so due to the films we are exposed to nowadays which are plugged full of action, special FX and ridiculously good looking celebrities. In saying that, this movie isn't so much about the action and is instead more about the adventure of each individual character, each having their own sub-plot that weaves perfectly together. I probably wouldn't say it was amazing, but you can't help but not appreciate American Graffiti.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
½

Like any second movie in a trilogy, Catching Fire is a segue way movie, it's there to merely link the first introductory movie to the third climatic finale movie, in which case normally we see little progression of the story and a film that is instead filled with action scenes and special FX. Catching Fire fits this stereotype, but that didn't bother me in the slightest (hence the 4.5 star review!). Having recently read the books and developing an overnight obsession with everything Hunger Games and Katniss Everdeen related (I feel as if I'm a tweenager...), I had high expectations for this movie, and it completely delivered on them. Plenty are going to say it isn't as good as the first, but this point is simply irrelevant. It's filled with action, the characters are continuing to be developed and of course the casting is fabulous, and there is enough story evolution to prevent you feeling like you could've skipped the middle movie entirely. One other comment, it continues to stay very true to the books (woohoo!). Can't wait for the third now :)

Oblivion
Oblivion(2013)
½

I'd heard mixed things about this movie, but I thought it might be one of those situations where people were just going in with the wrong expectations. I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed as well. Don't get me wrong, there's elements of this movie that are really cool - the Special FX, some of the futuristic concepts etc. but for me its fundamentally let down by its story. Without giving anything away, Oblivion feels like it was written with the sole purpose of trying to create a surprising ending, an unpredictable twist. And as a result, the entire movie and underlying story feels secondary to this purpose. It lacks the depth and character development that would normally have you invested mentally and emotionally so you feel remarkably disconnected throughout its entirety. It also speaks a lot of the advanced technology and future, but does little to represent this on-screen. Overall... it wasn't bad, it just wasn't for me.

Thor: The Dark World

Another addition to the high volume of super hero movies that seems to be having their moment in the spotlight, and Thor: The Dark World fits perfectly into this genre. The elements are all there to create a satisfying super hero flick; likable hero with the occasional funny one-liner, romance with a hot chick, evil villain(s) played by the best actor(s) in the movie, abundant action scenes and a plot that covers the scientific holes with fantasy (queue Natalie Portman's Etch A Sketch). There are some good laugh-out-loud moments and while there are a few jokes in this movie that aren't quite pulled off, it doesn't take itself too seriously (cough cough superman), and thus has the flexibility to poke fun and make this a more entertaining action movie then a dramatic story - and let's be honest, this is a good move. The story is largely irrelevant so let's not even bother going there. The action scenes are great, definitely satisfying, though once again I'd say it wasn't worthwhile in 3D. The cast is well-rounded, though I would argue that Tom Hiddleston as Lokey, once again, carries this movie from both a credibility and cohesiveness perspective, with another stellar performance. This movie nestles comfortably into what the super hero genre is all about, so if you're a fan, then like me, you should walk out satisfied.

Casino
Casino(1995)
½

Another film on the journey of my moviEducation, but this one moreso for trying to continue to acquaint myself with classic Scorsese, and I must say I was satisfied with this film. Initially the three hour duration had put me off but surprisingly it actually didn't drag at all. This is probably due to the story being quite engaging the whole way through. However, without a doubt it is the cast that give this movie it's substance, style and status as a classic. De Niro is that satisfyingly traditional De Niro and Pesci is perfection in the role of mobster Nicky Santoro, then throw Sharon Stone in who is so convincing I almost didn't recognise her at times. Combine the cast, the intriguing story and Scorsese's film making, and you get a movie well worthy of it's spot on the shelf.

Despicable Me 2

The thing with sequels is that everyone inevitably goes "is this one better than the first?" Well, for this movie, I don't really think it matters! Though just for those of you who will call me a fence-sitter (albeit a remarkably accurate statement), I think it is definitely on par... Okay, that's not the most decisive stance but I'll still claim it! Anyway, back to the movie. It is cute, adorable, funny, sweet, and having completely fallen in love with the first movie, I was very happy with the follow-on. I think one of the best parts is that the story feels like a logical continuation and not just the characters plonked into a new, but largely the same, scenario. Watch it and be happy :)

Gravity
Gravity(2013)

I must admit, I saw the preview for this and wasn't really enticed to go see it but after seeing a high-praise review and the rating on RT, I thought why not - given that I love the cinema experience, I didn't really need much convincing!
The review I read insisted that even for 3D naysayers, this was one of those movies that was worth paying the extra bucks and I completely agree. I find for a 3D movie to be successful, it can't just be an ordinary movie, it needs to have particular elements about it such as animation or large portions of Special FX and CGI. Gravity is a perfect movie where 3D can be used to its advantage and not just a means to cash in on the higher ticket price. Visually, this movie is simply spectacular. The picture is amazing, the clarity, the detail, and the 3D elements make it pretty cool too! But not only that, the 3D actually helps create the feel of space, and subsequently gravity... or lack thereof. And this is where I think Alfonso Cuarón has excelled - using 3D in a way that is so complementary to what the entire movie is all about. Because to be honest, the story isn't exactly amazing, but the story is almost a subplot.... this movie is about space. It is about the characteristics, the infinite boundaries and the sheer power of an environment we still have little understanding of. Alongside this, Bullock delivers a great performance and Clooney adds a comic value that stops the movie being too heavy. It's quite short, at only an hour and a half, but it's definitely worth a watch!

White House Down
½

Hey it's not going to win an Oscar any time soon, but the brilliance of these kind of movies is that your expectations are always perfectly aligned with execution, and you are sure to walk out of the cinema feeling satisfied that you got what you came for.
Of course, one can't really review this without mentioning the similarities with Olympus Has Fallen... because as the name would suggest, they are essentially the same movie with the occasional words changed. In saying that, don't go thinking you need to just watch one as I enjoyed both for different reasons. This one definitely has a more comic angle to it, which Channing channels (hehe, see what I did there) really well, as does Foxx. There are several scenes chuckle-worthy and it could've been so much better had they applied this to the entire movie and not just moments! Regardless, it's easy action with the odd laugh and while there are flaws (an unnecessary annoying daughter), it's exactly as you expect it to be.

Despicable Me

I don't know why, but when this movie first came out it didn't make it onto my radar and it wasn't until the sequel came along plus some friends insisting that we should watch it that I finally succumbed - what a good choice this was!
I absolutely loved this movie. It is quite simply adorable. Funny, quirky and something new in the animation genre. The characters are fabulous and there are nuances and quotes that will have you imitating and giggling for many moments afterwards. A heartwarming, fun, enjoyable tale :)

Now You See Me

There is something about the concept of magic that is so enticing, alluring, and well... magical! And the preview for Now You See Me certainly creates anticipation with a story that looks almost like a magician's version of Ocean's Eleven. Unfortunately, despite a fabulous cast, the story is like a slightly undercooked marshmallow, and the whole time you're consuming it, you can't help but think that it could be better had it had a little longer to develop. Nonetheless, while it could have been better, it is still an entertaining and enjoyable flick!

This Is the End

Okay, so I saw this a wee while ago when it first came out - what can I say, it has James Franco in it, I can almost stop my review there, but I won't... - however if it's still on at the movies then I highly recommend you go along and see it. It's a comedy that actually had me laughing out loud, which is really hard to find these days! And if you go and see it at the movies then you get the added element of other cinema-goers, which I always find makes a movie funnier as you feed off other people's laughter. Anyway... about the movie, it's funny, slightly ridiculous - well actually, very ridiculous, and an entertaining way to spend a couple hours. Plus, did I mention it has James Franco in it?

Elysium
Elysium(2013)

Apocalyptic Sci-Fi flicks seem to be having their moment in the spotlight right now, but despite the competition, Elysium has enough substance and inventiveness to satisfy. The fundamental storyline is good and there are some strong characters, and character performances, but it almost seems like they don't fully exploit the creative concepts they introduce. A lot of the film is focused on the 'earth-side' of the story and thus we only get snippets of the imagination behind the space station Elysium - you can't help but feel just a teensy bit of disappointment that there almost wasn't twenty minutes more of the film, just to fit in some cool technology ideas.
Overall, everyone is going to compare this to District 9 - you just can't help yourself, and while I agree with others who have said they don't think it's as good, it's a solid film that has enough "oooOOooo that's kinda cool" moments to keep you walking out of the cinema feeling your sixteen-odd bucks were well spent.

The Croods
The Croods(2013)
½

I must admit, when I first saw the preview for this film, I wasn't convinced about it and it was actually my boy who watched it and said that he thought I would like it. Well... it looks like he knows me pretty well after all! I not just liked it, I really liked it. It's cute, funny, quirky and surprisingly original - particularly in the animation genre whereby it feels like most things have been covered.