Monday, 27 September 2010

Cinema Review: Eat Pray Love

Based upon the autobiography of writer Elizabeth Gilbert, Ryan Murphy's Eat Pray Love depicts the story of one woman's attempt of self discovery after her grim divorce and realization that life itself has slowly slipped from her grasp. Seeking balance and spiritual awakening, she spends a year traveling around Italy, India and Bali.

American sweetheart Julia Roberts takes the role of the damaged, almost lifeless Gilbert in her stride, with a certain responsibility placed upon her delicate shoulders to respect the true-life protagonist and the source material from which she, and her experiences, spawned. Undoubtedly carrying her roles with enthusiasm and an eagerness to form a connection with both her characters and the audience, Elizabeth's trials and heavy-handed tribulations through relationships and everyday life can be mirrored against the film's target audience, therefore, the tagline "let yourself go" couldn't be more fitting. While being a tad lengthier than your average-ordinary romance, it carries a weight most also wouldn't find.

Swept away on a life-alternating trip, Liz's feelings of desperation and loneliness is understood tremendously by Roberts' ability to become at one with her characters. Wide-eyed and sensibly dramatic, she never bores, merely assisting the beauty of the locations she finds herself in. The wondrous backdrops of Italy, the harsh but enchanting spiritual temples in India and the captivating, luscious and downright bewitching landscapes of Bali; a lecture on traveling, if you will.

With the script depicting one woman's salvation to a happy life, to escape the misfortune of including far too many 'bumper sticker' insights would have been too lucky, therefore if you're looking for multiple, long-winding excuses to affirm your place in life, this is your personal ticket. Otherwise, you'll find yourself face-palming almost instantly.

Still, after everything Liz works towards -- the ability to live, happily, without a man -- is thrown out the window come the ending, proving that Eat Pray Love may just be like every other romcom (minus the com), with the endings the genre is constricted to proving slightly problematic.

While Gilbert's travels may interest only the female-orientated public, it allows them to revel in two hours of female-driven spontaneity which is unarguably feel-good. Roberts illuminates the screen, the cinematography knee-quivering and the story is universal. It may stray from the source material, but it never refrains you from the delightful after taste Eat Pray Love is bound to leave you with.


Thursday, 23 September 2010

Movie News: New Deathly Hallows Trailer!

Once again, Warner Brothers have outdone themselves with the Potter franchise, releasing a brand-new, full length theatrical trailer for the final two-part installment, with never-before-seen footage.

Watch below and revel in the sheer brilliance that is Harry Potter, and be prepared to bid farewell to one of film and literature's most beloved characters.

Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is scheduled for a November 19th release date, with the saga concluding July, 2011.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

This Week's DVD/Blu-ray Choice, September 20th

This week's chosen DVD release is the Spanish horror sequel, [REC]2.

Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza team once again after the surprising acclaim for their high octance, intense first-hand horror [REC], detailing an infectious outbreak within the confines of an apartment block from the view of a reporter and her cameraman. Unnervingly ending, a sequel was inevitable. This time we follow a group of SWAT team members outfitted with cameras enter the quarantined building just seconds after the first ended. Accompanied by a medical officer, the team must acquire a blood sample from one of the building's infectious inhabitants, proving rather difficult due to their increasingly problematic state. A worthwhile sequel, changing the pace almost entirely from a full-blown horror, to an action film with elements of horror - much like Alien and it's James Cameron directed sequel Aliens.

Honourable Mentions:

Surprisingly, J-Lo's return to the big-screen in The Back-Up Plan wasn't as terrible as most were expecting. Sure it suffered under a predicable script, with even more predictable performances from its lead stars, but somehow it managed to sweeten me enough to not fully loathe the characters and the melodramatic situations they find themselves in. Jennifer Lopez's character is articifically inseminated the day she meets the hunk of her dreams, therefore breaks the news to him upon their first full night together. Sticking around, he attempts to care for her through her pregnancy. A light, often frothy, romcom with a few decent laughs.

Dishonourable Mentions:

Not even Julie Andrews can raise this sinking turd. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson continues his streak of family-friendly, supposedly laugh-a-second, comedies with The Tooth Fairy, the edgy true story of a pro hockey player that lands a part-time job as a high-flying, child-stalking mystical tooth fairy due to his particularly bad deed against his girlfriend's child. Well, i may have strayed a little, but hey, it sounds a million times better, no?

Other releases...

Roman Polanski's political thriller The Ghost (The Ghost Writer) based on Robert Harris' novel depicts the intense story of Ewan McGregor's character taking the job of completing the memoirs of an infamous ex prime minister which almost instantly proves life threatening. The film co-stars Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams and Kim Cattrall.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Choose Your Scare: A Preview of Halloween's Flicks!

With the month that officially belongs to ghouls, goblins -- or, more relevantly, vampires and serial killers -- and all things that go bump in the night just around the corner, I take a peek at some of October's highly anticipated horror flicks. Astoundingly, it's one of the best months for films out of the entire year.

Hatchet II

Rising horror director Adam Green hammed it up to sheer perfection in 2006 with old school horror homage Hatchet, introducing the world to swamp dwelling, disfigured lunatic Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder). Starring a cast of young hopefuls (including Avatar's Joel Moore) and a script as witty and outright gory as anything released that year, it was only a matter of time before he helmed a sequel, and here we have it. Released October 1st Stateside (no news on the UK release as of yet) is Hatchet II, and to pump up your taste for gore even further is the fact that he's able to screen it across the US in its full unrated form - something which the first was unable to do due to the MPAA cracking down and unfairly rating it atrociously.

Recurring character Marybeth (Danielle Harris -- Rob Zombie's Halloween -- taking over the role) escapes the clutches of Crowley and heads back to safe land where she uncovers his past, then, predictably, returns back to the dreary wasteland with a band of sure-to-be victims to rid him once and for all.

My Soul to Take

With Scream IV currently in production, Wes Craven's long delayed post-converted (eurgh) 3D horror My Soul to Take has been scheduled an October 8th release date. Clearly having talent working alongside a cast of young'uns, the fairly unknown teenage cast may assist Craven in either his ticket to a year of high-flying success, or merely be a passing schlup serving as a starter to his real money maker out in April.

Max Thieriot (Chloe, Mission Without Permission) is one of the several teens born on the same night that the town's local serial killer was put to rest. Years later, unusual killings set off a strong of incoherently frightening circumstances, leaving the towns folk to believe that the murderous bandit was never laid to rest in the first place.

Saw 3D

This wouldn't be a countdown to October's splatterfest without the involvement of our regular visit from one of cinema's most reluctant serial killers. Please welcome the sixth sequel to 2004's acclaimed horror thriller, Saw 3D (or Saw 7), the so-called final act of one of horror's most biggest movie franchises.

Not much has to be said other than Jigsaw, somehow, influences another string of baffling murders, unleashing his vengeance once again on those unwilling to live life to its fullest. With the teased return of an original character (finally!) and the tying of all loose ends promised, it's hard not to fall excited with how this groundbreaking series will end.

Let Me In

Despite much controversy surrounding Cloverfield director Matt Reeves' remake of the Swedish masterpiece Let the Right One In -- based originally on John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel, the recent uproar in gloriously positive reviews have astounded even me, hyping it up to the most extreme proportions. Let Me In is released in the US October 1st and the UK November 5th.

Kodi Smit-McPhee (previously seen alongside Viggo Mortensen in The Road) stars as Owen, a bullied young boy whose sudden friendship with the mysterious new girl in the apartment block sparks a strong connection, even after the realization that Abby (Kick-Ass star Chloe Moretz) is in fact a vampire that craves human blood.

I Spit On Your Grave (2010)

You'd think Hollywood had truly run out of original ideas; next up we have the remake of 70's brutal, and originally banned, horror, I Spit On Your Grave. With a cult following ever since it's original release back in '78, the film has gained acclaim as one of the grittiest, most vengeful out of all the horror flicks released in the past few decades. Clearly those that pronounced the film "glorified violence against women" won't be interested in this modern re-telling, but, much like the remake of The Last House on the Left, it will undoubtedly find its audience.

Spending time in her quaint holiday cabin, writer Jennifer is interrupted once a group of local men brutally attack her, raping and leaving her for dead. Years later, she tracks down her attackers and seeks vengeance in the harshest of ways. *snip*

Chain Letter

While the trailers don't exactly do it justice, teen horror Chain Letter may just have enough to fulfil the quota for a fun, presumably corny splatterfest - with a hint of cheese, clearly. Released October 1st, the film will unarguably find it hard to compete against some of the others within the month, but with the ton of pre-adolescents gasping for a cheeky scare to sneak into on Halloween, this horror may just be their ticket to a partially frightful Hallow's Eve.

A sadistic man stalks and murders teens if they fail to forward a chain letter sent by email, text etc. Ehrm, yeah, that's all.

Paranormal Activity 2

Possibly the most anticipated sequel of the month is the follow up to 2009's (it was actually made in 2007, did you know?) smash hit creepfest Paranormal Activity, detailing once couple's descent into utter terror after an ominous presence makes himself known in truly chilling ways. One of the most profitable movies ever made, this low budget indie horror astounded, and terrified, audiences worldwide with director Oren Peli able to milk the maximum amount of tension available with such a small, modern setting. Will the sequel do the original justice? Head out on October 22nd to find out!

Not much has been released plot-wise, but going by the trailer, we haven't seen the back of Katie.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Psychotic Teens: Celebrating F's Release

Featuring at London's Frightfest at the end of August, British horror F hits cinemas nationwide this week, pitting the teachers of a school against the gang of murderous kids that have infiltrated the building during after hours. In light of it's release, i look back at some other recent flicks displaying the best in sadistic, psychotic teenagers.

Eden Lake (2008)

Us Brits truly do know how to shock. Proving that theory was James Watkins' Eden Lake, starring heroine Kelly Reilly battling a group of local deviants that gate crashed her romantic getaway with boyfriend Michael Fassbender (300, Centurion). Thieving their car and tying up her man with barbed wire, Jenny's fight for survival was one of the most extravagantly intense and nail-gnawing experiences of that year, with a surprising script by Watkins himself hurtling him into the limelight. The somewhat unexpected ending is shocking enough to leave you tightening your fists with fury - a very good sign that the film was entirely successful.

Them (Ils) (2006)

Based, partially, on a true story, Lucas and Clementine's night in their newly renovated, and predictably secluded, house in the French countryside is rocked to extreme proportions once awoken to hooded figures roaming the outside of their idyllic property. Once inside the house, reporting a breaking and entering charge is the last thing on their mind as the group show aggressive behaviour. A true pulse-pounder, with directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud able to built a truly unnerving atmosphere amongst the subtle, but highly simplistic, title sequences. Believable performances from the film's main stars also help! "You'll never feel safe in your home again", eek!

Funny Games (1997/2007)

German born director imprinted on the horror genre with his original house intrusion thriller Funny Games, then once again in 2007 with his same-titled, same-plotted remake. The story focuses on a family thrown off their vacation once two young, psychotic neighbours intrude on their weekend, holding the family hostage and force them to play a series of 'games'. Both films hold as perfect examples of how to shock audiences with as little gore as possible, with the supposed games setting you on the edge of your seat, intriguing and gripping you until the truly unexpected ending. Some may call Haneke's baby a masterclass in suspense, i would like to clarify that i agree.

The Children (2008)

Tom Shankland's Brit horror sees a group of children fall under some unexplained illness over the New Year at a holiday home, rapidly changing them from innocent, playful youths to crazed, murderous vessels hellbent on ridding the adults. A smartly written script pitting parents against their offspring, surprisingly with zero exceptions, allowing for a gory, frightening horror flick. A specific scene involving two of the young'uns closing in on a parent as troublesome teen Casey (Hollyoaks' Hannah Tointon) battles her way through a locked door is particularly chilling, building intensity at an agonizing pace. Fantastic!

Harry Brown (2009)

Hardly what i'd call a horror, but Daniel Barber's thought-provoking crime drama details the brutality in which some of today's youths are able to cause. Ex-military man Harry Brown meticulously tracks down and takes vengeance on the locals that murder his friend out of amusement and get off scot-free. A fantastically hard-hitting script, accurately portrayed youths and a stand-out performance from Caine himself. A brutal but necessary view on today's down-spiraling conditions regarding gang violence and injustice.

F is released nationwide September 17th.

Cinema Review: Going the Distance

Real life ex-couple Drew Barrymore and Justin Long pair up to enlighten 2010's romcom genre, with all intentions of raising it out of the slum the countless dreary excuses throughout the year have buried it in.

Recently dumped man's man Garrett (Long) bumps into newspaper intern and waitress Erin (Barrymore), leading to a night of drunken fun and setting off a six week city romance. Sadly, Erin must return to San Francisco, but attempts to maintain the strong connection with Garrett, testing both of their ideas towards long distance relationships.

First and foremost when dealing with a romantic comedy, the almighty weight that enables audiences to fully invest in the characters and the romance in which they fall so heavenly involved with is laid upon the shoulders of its stars. In this case, Going the Distance couldn't be more pitch perfect. With a clear connection, Barrymore maintains her adorable, zealous personality with a surprising raunchy spin, with Long proving charming and a predictable Knight in Shining Armor. Together, they act like two peas in a sweet, never sour, pod; genuinely delightful to watch, a power couple if you will that transcends into something entirely relatable. Inevitably, their emotions on-screen may have slight reflection on real life events, therefore making the outcome all the more heartfelt.

Geoff LaTulippe's script fuses a modern, understandable and often moving story with an adult comedy, channeling that of a Judd Apatow screenplay that utilizes the same dirty, explosively funny one liners. His story of the trials and tribulations involved with long distance relationships is universal; this is what relationships can be like. With the supporting characters -- the typical in-your-face, crude best friend(s) -- often straying into the hard to believe, the principle story is believable and grounded enough to succumb to, demonstrating that the simple affection between two lovers may not just be enough.

Under American Teen director Nanette Burstein's supervision, Going the Distance proves a little -- hell, a lot -- more successful than any other romcom this year, falling into the catagory that last year's (500) Days of Summer secured itself in. Barrymore and Long's flourishing, refreshingly R-rated, romance is bliss; enticing and entertaining enough without falling saccharine. With the bewitching sound of The Boxer Rebellion backing their romance, it's simply too hard not to drop to your knees.


Monday, 13 September 2010

Movie News: Second Poster for Hatchet II

We couldn't be more welcoming regarding Victor Crowley's return!

Adam Green's sequel to Hatchet, a horror film that boasted returning to the genres roots, is just around the corner. Its October 1st US release date even has me pumped up, with Green able to screen his baby in full unrated quality - unlike the first which was shot down by the MPAA and dumbed down by extreme proportions.

We follow Marybeth (Danielle Harris) as she escapes Victor Crowley, learns of his past and returns back to the swamp with another group of unlucky souls. Will she survive the clutches of one of cinema's most deranged, chaotic and downright batshit insane killers?

Cue another series of fantastically over the top, cringe-induced and preposterous death scenes, cheap, effective scares and a director with enough enthusiasm to re-ignite the dying horror genre.

This Week's DVD/Blu-ray Choice, September 13th

This week's biggest, and frankly best, DVD release is the Mike Newell directed Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Produced by blockbuster extraordinaire Jerry Bruckheimer, one of the most successful game-to-film adaptations hits shelves this week, with hunk Jake Gyllenhaal taking on the title role of Dastan, an orphan-turned-Prince accused of murdering his father, the King. Chased around the desert by his Uncle's henchmen, Dastan is accompanied by a rival princess (Gemma Arterton) and a magical dagger with the powers to turn back time. Spellbinding special effects, a quirky but rather loathsome couple and an adventure that works wonders. The entertainment factor is sky high, therefore vastly overpowers the negativities. Read my full review here!

Honourable Mentions:

Two of comedies most trusted treasures Steve Carrell and Tina Fey team up in Date Night, a high octane action comedy directed by Shawn Levy. A case of mistaken identity in New York City send a troubled married couple on an adventure to remember when they're chased down by a mob boss. While the laughs may lack in certain areas, the duo maintain a chemistry that is delightful to watch throughout. An enjoyable Friday night flick, with a hilarious set of bloopers during the credits!

Cinema Review: Resident Evil: Afterlife

Here we go again, writer director Paul W.S. Anderson returns to helm the latest Resident Evil in Afterlife, pitting the beefy babe Alice once again against the evil Umbrella Corporation.

With the world left ravaged after the unleashing of Umbrella's catastrophic T-Virus, Alice, a personal experiment to the companies leaders, continues her quest to find other survivors. Unfortunately for her, Albert Wesker, the head of the Japanese headquarters, is hot on her heels.

Opening the fourth in this publicly popular, but critically hated, game-to-film franchise, Paul 'can't write for shit' Anderson utilizes the 3D technology with eye-popping credits against the rainy backdrop of Japan, with a what feels like a half hour slow motion sequence, followed by an unimaginable amount of fellow slow-mos displaying Milla Jovovich's ability to kick ass, accompanied by a dozen clones, impressively staged fights and a terribly wooden Shawn Roberts as the evil Wesker. Six months later and our so-called story truly starts, with Alice fleeing the deserted 'safe haven' Arcadia and en route to the post-apocalyptic Los Angeles.

While Anderson fails to involve any remnants of originality, he borrows details from Dawn of the Dead, and well, any zombie flick, with Afterlife's story acting as simply an extended array of predestined subplots and rehashed 'get back at Umbrella' story arcs. With the exception of Jovovich's energetic on-screen presence, Anderson also under-develops every other character, including that of a continuing storyline of Claire Redfield (Final Destination's Ali Larter) and her brother Chris, a beefy, ex solider - a character previously seen in Capcom's Resident Evil 5. Another character to resurface from the game world is The Executioner. Disregarding where he came from and what he actually is, the ginormous, axe-wielding, sack-for-a-head super mutant is a grotesque, successful game-to-film character that works tremendously on the big screen.

Unarguably, Afterlife is a pointless sequel. It continues the streak of Anderson's less than ambitious resumé, proving once again how boisterous and contrived he is. Still, with a franchise that never truly promised a lot, the latest offering is undoubtedly the most entertaining. Cramming as many electrifying, action-packed scenes in as possible, Afterlife is what i would call a film made with style, but sadly lacks the substance to stimulate those who're new to the franchise.


Saturday, 11 September 2010

Movie News: Trailer for Eastwood's Hereafter

I'll be the millionth to admit that acclaimed director Clint Eastwood's surprising turn to develop Hereafter, a supernatural thriller, into his next epic was entirely unexpected. Still, with the surfacing of the trailer for said eerie pulse-pounder, i couldn't feel more gratuitous towards the man.

Matt Damon stars as George, a man whose intriguing connection to the afterlife will cross his paths with three unfortunate hopefuls that find themselves struggling with the upsetting circumstances that have befell upon them. Each life will be changed with what they believe might lay in the hereafter.

Clearly heartfelt and inevitably powerful, Damon and Eastwood's pairing may test the Oscars once and for all, allowing for something different to walk away with something special.

The film has been given an official release date of October 22nd.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Cinema Review: The Last Exorcism

German director Daniel Stamm thrusts himself into the limelight with the Eli Roth produced docu-horror The Last Exorcism, proving a little more successfully than most other possession-related flicks.

A distinguished but doubtful minister agrees for a documentary team to film his last exorcism. Heading to the middle of nowhere, teen Nell shows signs of possession, but is it down to a troubled upbringing, or the Devil himself?

Hamming it up instantly, renowned Minister Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) tells stories of his childhood, his family line and, surprisingly, how much he disbelieves in the fad revolving around certain beliefs involved in exorcisms. A light and downright comedic opening is unexpected, but enough character development is given for Cotton to enlighten; arrogant and overconfident yet sufficiently entertaining, maintaining intrigue throughout.

Overly trusting, Cotton is invited to the Sweetzer farm where Nell (Ashley Bell), her father (Louis Herthrum) and brother reside. Curious animal killings set off a string of predictably eerie incidents, with Stamm's brilliantly constructed scenes growing all the more intense and nauseatingly distressing. Bell's uncorrupted, sinless character is cute, understanding and most importantly relatable, making certain sequences painfully horrifying to watch. While Nell never truly turns Regan-like, her experiences aren't all too original. Similarities to courtroom drama The Exorcism of Emily Rose will undoubtedly be made, but it's the build up Nell, Cotton and the rest of our characters go through, and the make-or-break ending that will split audiences.

When submerged in darkness, the docu-horror aspect proves most successful. Creeping around the distinctly unnerving farmhouse, Cotton and his team brave teen angst that only the Twilight gang could dream of. Tightly-wound yet cautiously paced thrills are steadily dotted throughout Stamm's feature, leading up to the ambitious ending, leaving more to the imagination than most are guaranteed to expect. Fresh and entirely unforeseen, the events unfolding trail into Blair Witch territory, with the facts blurred and the outcome unsure. Satanic entities, cults, possession and pure evil. Nothing is certain, but here's hoping the uneasiness of the ending isn't spoilt with a no-good, clichéd sequel.

Stamm's nail-biter will leave you nattering away with the conclusion. Whether positive or negative, this slyly written, faux documentary is chilling, fiendish and an admirable addition to the collection of handheld horrors and possession flicks.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

DVD Review: Frozen

Starring: Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers

Directed by: Adam Green

Plot: Three friends find themselves trapped upon a chairlift at a renowned ski resort. With everybody unaware of their whereabouts and the ski resort closed until the following week, the three must chose to either stay put and inevitably freeze to death, or make potentially life-threatening decisions and find a way off.

Featured at multiple horrorfests around the globe, Adam Green (breaking his way into the limelight in 2006 with the horror homage Hatchet) writes and directs his latest, Frozen. With a magnitude of followers after his breakout feature, he makes a swift turn from full blown horror to something a little more chilled.

Opening the feature with an introduction to our trio of characters, Green stabilizes their friendship with hammy dialogue and forced acting, hardly setting the scene for a film that attempts to surpass his previous. While quirky in places, their quarrelesome attitudes are simply charmless. Thankfully, once stranded over the mountains, Green's pace and idealistic behaviour towards the perfect set-up falls into place.

The two settings in which all characters' attitudes seem to be placed on - bickering and whining - are understandable under the obvious circumstances, with Green's writing exuding sheer professionalism when it's focused on elements gearing towards terror. Racketing the tension in by the buckets, scenes upon the chairlift are instantly nail-biting, successfully building up each unfortunate move with a concentrated, and agonizing, intensity.

The claustrophobic and incredibly harsh, frosty setting works tremendously with the film Green has written, but everything would have undoubtedly fallen into shit creak without the likes of the film's stars. Putting aside familiar faces Kevin Zegers and X-Men's Shawn Ashmore, the true talent is partial newcomer Emma Bell - whose fame will undoubtedly come in the next Final Destination installment. At first, predictably written, but somewhat grows due to the tragedy her character is succumbed to. Distressing and at times horrendous, a balance is made with the ill-fated getaway and the grim, relentless surroundings itself, with the warmth between the remaining characters proving some of the most memorable scenes.

Similarities can be made with shark flick Open Water, a fellow horror that looked more docu-dreadful than docu-horror. Delightfully straying from its faults, Frozen tends to thrive as a character-driven thriller, with Bell's especially becoming all the more relatable.

Despite failing to surpass his previous entry, Green's attempt won't go unnoticed. An unrelenting, chilling and ferociously terrifying survival horror that essentially works as a sadistic sister act to Hatchet.


Frozen is released theatrically in the UK September 24th, and on DVD/Blu-ray in the US September 28th.

Movie News: Arterton In Talks With Ridley?

The hottest piece of news on every movie-goer's tongue today is the supposed meet and greet between British babe Gemma Arterton (St. Trinians, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Clash of the Titans) and renowned director Ridley Scott.

The leaked piece of news is surprising, as the news of Ridley Scott directing another Alien flick was surfaced only a few months ago but, with the original standing flawless, i, and many, were expecting Twentieth Century Fox draw the film out as long as possible.

Rumour has it that Tamara Drew star Arterton will be in talks to star as the film's strong female lead, which frankly baffles as most were expecting the latest Alien to be a prequel, not a remake. With news released previously that *possible spoiler* the news of the Alien race may be used as a government weapon *end of possible spoiler* was what the film was leading on, i'm left in a fit of confusion.

Here's hoping Scott doesn't screw up the chance to reinvent the franchise.

Monday, 6 September 2010

This Week's DVD/Blu-ray Choice, September 6th

Without a single doubt, the reigning champion of the releases this week is ballsy action comedy, Kick-Ass.

Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust) astounded audiences worldwide with his undoubtably genre-defining take on Mark Millar's renowned graphic novel. Nowhere Boy star Aaron Johnson stars as Dave, your typical geeky teen whose curiosity surrounding super-heroes gets the best of him. Adopting a new identity, Kick-Ass, he attempts to fight crime, no matter how little the problem. With no training or powers, real super-heroes Big Daddy and Hit-Girl are the ones that attract attention from crime kingpin Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong). One of the best of '10, Kick-Ass is brilliant violent, with Jane Goldman's script proving to be one of the most refreshing of the year. It has to be said; the film kicks ass.

Honourable Mentions:

The second of this year's Nicholas Sparks adaptations is The Last Song, the teen drama starring Hannah Montana's Miley Cyrus. While many dissed the film plainly for starring the teen star, i was personally surprised at how much she didn't suck every inch of air out of Julie Anne Robinson's poignant teen drama. Rebellious Ronnie (Cyrus) heads to her father's beach house for the summer, unintentionally repairing the bonds they once had whilst flaring up a relationship with a local (Liam Hemsworth). Typically Sparks, but the film is an easy watch and a guaranteed weeper for the tweens that worship Cyrus' music.