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The Lazarus Effect

Riveting Entertainment All The Way
The Lazarus Effect is a slice of horror served up piping hot. The 82 minutes run time is precisely the right duration to deliver what is an adrenaline-loaded romp into mad science meets hell. Contrary to popular commentary, the characters are well developed and the acting is solid. This horror story will not disappoint, and die-hard fans of the genre will be well pleased with this original foray into the horrors that lurk within a top-secret project. The main characters do a great job at bringing just the right mix of reality and cynicism into the plot. The movie is about re-animating corpses with a special serum. What happens behind closed doors is why this story is particularly unnerving. It is creepy, edgy and pulse-pounding entertainment. Do yourself a favor and see this flick; there are enough jump scares to keep you glued to the screen!


Dread & Horror
Oculus is certainly a cut above the rest. The film rouses your innermost fears and never relents. The supernatural story tracks a brother and sister who are trying to come to terms with what happened to their family back when they were little kids. Oculus is expertly crafted and surprisingly unbearable to watch. Such is the feeling of helplessness you feel, that it becomes painful to endure the torment taking place.

Clichés creep in from time to time, but they are superbly well woven into the screenplay. The dread ratchets up to fever-pitch levels until eventually you are left paralyzed with indecision, doubt and fear. The demonic entities in the film are omnipotent and menacing. The film neatly fixates on the characters - past and present - as it ties up all the loose ends in a roller-coaster ride of sheer mayhem. Expect the unexpected with Oculus and you will not be disappointed.

Schuks! Your Country Needs You

Vintage Leon Schuster with Lots of Fun
Leon is back in fine form doing what he does best- candid camera! This thrill-a-minute flick is a throwback to Schuster's earlier work and it is superb. There's plenty of new pranks to keep even the most discerning fan entertained. Great comedy all round and a definite must-see for all fans of the genre.

It's great to see Alfred Ntombela back with Leon in this comedy caper. The jokes are fresh and the humour is incisive. Leon may well have aged a little but his sense of humour is as sharp as ever. This flick may not be one of his big budget showpieces like Mr Bones or Panic Mechanic, but it's certainly a topnotch addition to his entertaining films.

Last Vegas

Drama Masked as Comedy
Last Vegas is at its heart a movie of profound sadness interspersed with uproarious humor. The juxtaposition of these conflicting emotions provides a hilariousness and heaviness in a fused ensemble. Robert De Niro is in sublime form and Michael Douglas shows yet again why he is going to go down as one of the all-time greats of Hollywood. Arguably the best performer in this comedy-drama is Morgan Freeman, who at 76 years old is in fine form. His character is central to keeping the heaviness out of the spotlight - and there is plenty of heaviness in this film. Last Vegas masquerades well as a comedy, but the profundity of the film rests in its message of growing old and wasting away.

The loneliness and isolation of a life once so beautiful and happening getting eroded away into sadness and despair. That is the central theme of all the characters - a weakening of the body, a dulling of the senses and the daily grind that becomes palpably unbearable. That is of course until Last Vegas - the bachelor party - becomes a reality. The film is superbly acted out by the heavyweights of Hollywood. Kudos to excellent direction, screenplay and acting talent.

Escape Plan

Unbelievable - Superb - Highly Underrated Film
Sly and Arnie bring their hustle and muscle to the screen in a thrilling spectacle.

Contrary to the lukewarm reception by critics, this film is solid throughout its running time.

Stallone shows why he has consistently defied the odds in an electrifying action movie alongside Schwarzenegger - another giant in the action arena.

These two heroes of the big screen must fight tooth and nail to escape from an undisclosed prison facility in the middle of the ocean.

The characters are supremely well suited to their roles and most everyone is in top form.

For a spellbinding and intelligent action thriller, Escape Plan delivers big time.


Gripping from Inception to Closing Credits
Sinister is the horror film of the year, perhaps the decade. It redefines the horror genre. This film merges edge-of-your-seat suspense and an intelligent script to provide a masterpiece of the macabre. Ethan Hawke shines as the true-crime novelist looking for his next NY Times Bestseller. The story eerily unfolds and before you know it, you're reeled into a world you can't escape from. What ensues is a plunge into the deepest, darkest depths of hell. The angst of each of the characters is palpable; the sheer horror to follow will have you digging your nails into your seat.The eponymous title aptly describes the essence of this chilling tale...

The Amazing Spider-Man

Superb Storytelling and Spellbinding Entertainment
The Amazing Spider-Man doubles as a captivating dramatic ensemble, and a thrilling action-adventure story. Purists of the Spider-Man genre will be delighted with this work of art.

The inimitable tale of Spider-Man gets retold with poignancy; it's a masterful recount of the agony and wonder which brings this legendary Marvel superhero to life. The anguish that our hero labors through is palpable and his journey to manhood is fraught with difficulty.

Spider-Man is every bit the model of youthful exuberance and boyish fascination. Spidey oozes appeal in this pulse-pounding escapade through New York City. The script focuses almost exclusively on the pain that young Peter Parker endures and the growth and development of his character is sublime.

The journey of Spider-Man is explored in detail, at a pace that truly appeals to mature theater-goers. The action steadily gets turned up, until it's a full-throttle, action-adventure delivered at a blistering pace.

The Cabin in the Woods

Enter the Realm of 'The Cabin in the Woods
The Cabin in the Woods is not your average horror flick. Whatever preconceived notions you have of this film will quickly be turned upside down during the film's running time. Fans of the horror genre will do their nut with this selection, owing to the ubiquity of blood and guts, genuine scares and a bizarre supernatural finale.

The script appears formulaic, what with scantily-clad college gals, the jocks, the token black guy and the stoner. That's where this film turns convention on its head: it is not what it appears to be. The brains trust behind this film includes the likes of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (Fans of the horror genre may recall 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.')The stars of the show are Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth and Anna Hutchison.

The film kicks into high gear with expectations of the group of 5 college friends enjoying a weekend getaway in a remote locale. What happens there is beyond expectation. Horror fans will be perplexed throughout the film's duration and thoughts of 'The Truman Show' and 'The Ring' are likely to be conjured up. Banish them, because The Cabin in the Woods is nothing like what you're expecting. Prepare for sheer horror, because you're going to get it...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Just think, there's another one coming
Potter fans will do their nut, the rest of us will wonder what all the hype was about...

Just the other day I went to the United Artists theater to see a weekend screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I found it intriguing that so many millions have been made in ticket sales for what is essentially a mediocre film.

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter is the mainstay of this latest rendition of a story that has been stretched taut a long time ago. That they have been able to breathe new life into a 7th version of this claptrap is quite astounding.

Harry Potter #7 offers nothing new and its 2 hours + running time could be better spent enjoying Russel Crowe's Next Three Days or even Skyline. If it's value for money you're after then this is a little shy of the mark.

It's much ado about nothing really. Harry and co are searching for a magical sword and some funky amulets that need to be destroyed. That's it. The special effects are hardly noteworthy and this reviewer is already bored at having to do a write-up on this title.

Case 39

Terrifying and harrowing until the very end
Case 39 is certainly a deserving recipient of an edge-of-your-seat thriller award. The film has been a long time coming and it's strange that no distributors were willing to touch it since 2009. But it's here and it's piping hot. It stars the talented Renee Zellweger as a child services worker.

The overworked social welfare department has too many case loads to deal with. And when Case 39 is assigned to Zellweger, she immediately takes a personal interest in it. It's the sad story of a girl whose grades are slipping and whose home life is anything but benign.

The film does a 180' turn and soon the benevolence of Zellweger is greeted by a horrifying reality. This case is anything but benign. If you're prepared for horror, this is going to scare you witless...

Piranha 3D

A bloodbath awaits movie goers...
As far as scary movies go, Piranha 2d - the 3d equivalent less the effects - is superb. It's formulaic yes, it's predictable sure, but it's riveting entertainment. If you're a fan of gore and guts - much like myself - then you're going to love the high octane action that pulses through this movie.

Essentially the film's about a new underwater lake that opens up, owing to seismic activity in Lake Victoria. It's spring break and 20,000 college kids are shaking their asses with beer and parties galore. There's no character development to speak of but there are some well-structured scenes with high-impact entertainment.

Look out for old-school favorites in Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas/Adventures in Babysitting) and Back to the Future's Doc - Christopher Lloyd. Ving Rhames and Richard Dreyfuss also lend their weight to the flick. It's cutting Hollywood action right down to the bone - excuse the pun...

The Town

Hard hitting heist caper
Critics have slammed Ben Affleck in recent times, but their criticism is sorely misplaced when it comes to Affleck's latest blockbuster - The Town. Fresh off the success of his last venture, he has starred in and directed a masterpiece.

The Town is the story of Charlestown. A low-income neighborhood in Boston. The people coming out of this blue-collar town have rap-sheets stretching way back. But these gangsters and bank robbers are as savvy as they are violent.

Affleck's crew have one last heist to pull off before they throw the towel in. With the FBI hot on their tail and a budding romance in the works, this hard-hitting, gritty caper pulls no punches in delivering a KO performance.

From an entertainment perspective, it's absolutely riveting viewing. Two-thumbs up for Affleck and his star power.

The Expendables

Bank on Stallone
The Expendables is an exciting 80s throwback action film. It features a stellar cast of some of the hottest names in showbiz (from that era) and provides a dollop of on-screen chemistry between the main players.

Perhaps the best part of the movie is the opening scene where Somali pirates and the Expendables face off against one another. For all its shortcomings though - critics have found many - this film is a fitting tribute to the genius of rags to riches star, Sylvester Stallone.

The Expendables delivers on its promise of big action, big stars and big explosions - period. Even the violence in the flick resonates with an air of comedy - such is the nature of the movie. Stallone truly deserves a $100 million blockbuster as a tribute to his four decades of hard work as one of Hollywood's A-list actors.

The Karate Kid

Ralph Macchio Ruled this Role
Jaden Smith has big shoes to fill. His father is the hardest working actor in Hollywood and also just happens to be the highest paid actor at $80 million in earnings in 2010 alone. The Karate Kid is a remodeling of the 80s flick starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. Of course this rendition has been jazzed up some and now a Detroit mom and her son find themselves in China.

The storyline is unique, albeit implausible. A 12-year old American kid finds himself in the middle of schoolyard bullying and a budding romance. But his taunters are highly skilled Kung Fu students. As the story evolves, so we learn that the peppy kid must team up with his new mentor in Chan. Together they go through a process of healing, learning and training.

There's no wax on, wax off although viewers will quickly see parallels, but there is the famous fly and chopstick scene - with a comedic twist. The movie starts off very slowly and Jaden is for the most part out of his depth in this role. He is overwhelmed by a story that requires considerably more talent and insight.

But it's Jackie Chan who carries this story to its gripping conclusion. And the final kick of the contest is certainly worth the film's exaggerated running time.

The Kids Are All Right

Vintage Bening and Moore
As far as extra-low budget films go, this comedy-drama does superbly well. What it fails to capture in high-tech special effects and dramatic action scenes, it more than compensates for in its 1 & 1/2 hour running time.

The Kids are Alright tracks the story of a lesbian married couple with two children. The father of course - a sperm donor - is re-introduced into the fold. As fate would have it, he finds himself attracted to the character played by Julianne Moore - with surprising ramifications.

What started out as a comedy soon becomes a rather hard-to-swallow drama and all sense of light-heartedness evaporates in the blink of an eye. The film, for all its shortcomings - especially the rapid transition from comedy to drama - finds itself in a niche market of perplexed theater-goers.

If you're looking for vintage Ruffalo and a seasoned female duo of Bening and Moore then this is the tonic to pep you up.


Mediocrity at its most benign
Inception indeed sports a stellar cast and its ratings have been an unqualified success. However, in spite of such commendations, this film is at best mediocre. It reeks of the residue of the Matrix and has elements of other much-loved dream caper films such as the Nightmare on Elm Street series of yesteryear.

The special effects are mind-blowing, the acting is par excellence, but the concept itself - rather than being sublime, is in fact nothing spectacular at all. The gist of it is that Di Caprio's character is able to enter the minds and dreams of his subjects. He plants seeds to uncover data and everyone becomes interlocked in the same dream, with surprising twists and turns.

The twist in the film - let's leave that to the audience to uncover - is hardly worth the running time of the film and what it promises in terms of high-impact mind-blowing content falls short of films like The Sixth Sense and Fight Club. Overall, it's nothing more than a high-tech visual extravaganza of spectacular stunts and a seemingly LSD-induced storyline.

Robin Hood

Crowe Fails Miserably
Russell Crowe stars as Robin Longstride, an archer in the army of King Richard the Lion Hearted. It's the year 1199 and all is not well in England. The monarchy is in tatters; the royal court is the subject of ill respect and the French King has nasty designs on the English Crown. Enter Robin Longstride aka Russell Crowe and his band of merry men.

Firstly, this movie crawls along at a sluggish pace. Throughout its monotonous oozing, the audience was caught between trying to take it seriously and simply bursting out laughing with the comedic scenes and the faux set. Russell Crowe looks completely lost at sea. And this type of role sees him reprising a Gladiator-style presence that simply doesn't become him. The acting is poor, the action scenes are shoddy and this $200 million claptrap should be shelved in the B-movie archives.

Kevin Costner nailed this role almost 2 decades ago. Russell Crowe has just proved that he is unsuited to these roles at his age. He does not look the part, he does not act the part and he certainly has little screen presence - which sadly is what Robin Hood needs a great deal of. This is the story of a legend, not some low-key character with no charisma. If you want to be entertained with a truly exciting version of Robin Hood, then Kevin Costner's version is the one you simply have to see.

Iron Man 2

Super Action-Comedy from Robert Downey Jr.
The inimitable Iron Man returns in an exciting sequel and fans are going to roar with excitement There's a whole lot more to Iron Man 2 than meets the eye. Purists of the Iron Man Marvel Comics genre will no doubt find many elements of the film to their liking. Such was the mastery of combining humour, action and digital effects that the film was an unqualified success.

Tony Stark returns to the fold in his typical narcissistic style. In fact if egos the size of his were commonplace, the world would need several iron men. Robert Downey Jr reprises the role that he so perfectly portrayed since the first installment of the multimillion dollar series. He's witty, intelligent and noticeably a few years older! But weapons expert Tony Stark is also Iron Man and this alter-ego has a life-force all his own.The presence of Iron Man in the early parts of the stellar film is rather limited, but he soon rocks back into action and brings a roar of approval from the audience. There are scenes where the anticipation of Iron Man's arrival are like literal live-wires and it's great to see him restoring order.

Mickey Rourke expertly portrays Ivan - a physicist with a bent for Stark's destruction. He's heavily muscled, wicked beyond compare and his plan to destroy Iron Man is not without its merits. But can he team up with Hammer Industries to create an army of cyborgs to destroy the Iron Man? The film has many side plots such as the budding romance between Stark and his beautiful CEO - Pepper (Paltrow). Moviegoers will love Don Cheadle's side-kick role as an apt Iron Man tag-team star. And a cameo by several heavyweight Hollywood A-listers will do more than tickle a few taste buds.

The film has been accused of being unoriginal and while there are obvious overlaps with the first installment, the action is all-new and the humour is incisive. It's witty from beginning to end and it gives new meaning to the words 'tin grin.' The verdict: Do not miss the awesome action-packed superhero flick - Iron Man 2.

Brooklyn's Finest

A slice of yesteryear
Brooklyn's Finest explores the underbelly of police work in some of the most unbecoming neighborhoods. Three police officers who have no connection to one another are going through their own personal crises, until they end up at the same place, at the wrong time.

Richard Gere rehashes his police character role albeit in less than flattering circumstances. This time he's a cop without illusions. He's completing his 22 years on the job and has no expectations about his service or the life awaiting him after retirement. Perhaps his crowning glory is his achievement after retirement.

Don Cheadle another officer is deeply embedded in the drug world. He's being asked to do more than he's prepared to do and eventually he loses his sense of identity. There are only gray lines in this film; everything is marred by malfeasance, violence and scandal.

Ethan Hawke is a man on a path to destruction. His wife is sickly and about to give birth to twins. The house is too small and he can't provide for his family's needs on a cop salary. He takes on more dangerous drug busts and eventually is consumed by his own corruption.

The film is high quality, albeit unrealistic. It glorifies the handgun and over-emphasizes several themes, but it does a good job at captivating viewers' attention


Not Worth the Price of an Admission Ticket
The hype around Kick-Ass was immense. The delivery of this film was shocking. There is precious little to review here - every concept explored in this movie was trite, monotonous and lacking humor.

A kid wants to be a super hero, but he has no skills, no strength and no fancy gadgets. Somehow Nicholas Cage and his teeny-bopper daughter appear on the scene - armed with Batman-style wizardry and superhero abilities.

The film devolves into a bungling morass of absolute junk. With Superbad potential, it became an absolute shocker. Do yourselves a favor and stay home.

Couples Retreat

Mindless comedy that borders on the pathetic
Couples Retreat pits the comedic talents of Vince Vaughn and a capable cast against one another. The storyline is as tired as old leather, but there are just enough witty remarks to keep this trite comedy drifting along.

A group of friends decides to go to a heavenly tropical island resort named Eden, to repair their failing marriages. Eden is everything and more - with idyllic settings, sparkling waters and some of the most gorgeous staff.

But what goes on at Eden stays in Eden - because these couples have a lot of fixing up to do.

If you're interested in mindless action, little suspense and total predictability in a holiday-season caper - then Couples Retreat is your overdose of inane, draining comedy.


Few films in the history of special effects, high-octane action thrillers can come close to the cinematic genius of Avatar. This masterful slice of storytelling tracks the explosive action on the planet Pandora.

A paraplegic marine is sent in to learn the ways of the local creatures on the planet. For this mission a team of scientists create a genetic being intimately linked to his human form. This Avatar can eat, breathe, sleep and adapt to the harsh conditions on Pandora.

But Jake Sully doesn't anticipate what is about to follow and neither does Neytiri - his love interest - of the Na'vi clan.

For the humans, it's about stopping at nothing in their quest to mine the rich minerals on Pandora. But this is a sacred world where the creatures are at one with one another and God.

With Cameron's direction the heroes of this story take the viewer on a ride of a lifetime in arguably the greatest special effects film of all time. This is true movie genius and Cameron deserves all the praise that is being heaped on him.


Scares You Silly
America of the not-to-distant future is dead. Quite literally that is, because most of the human inhabitants have been turned into drooling, mindless, disease-ridden zombies.

In and amongst this mayhem is a group of 4 people who find one another. One is a geeky character with a penchant for obsessive behavior, another is a rooting-tooting ass-whooping cowboy and then there are 2 sisters who will do anything to survive.

The wit is searing, the sarcasm is already bubbling over, and the humor is rollicking! For a good laugh and some moments of tension-filled dribble - enjoy Zombieland


Terrifying and Ambitious
The world as we know it, is about to come to an end. 2012 is the date that it all happens. Catastrophe the likes of which are completely unheard of - on a global scale - is going to strike.

When a geologist receives confirmation that gigantic solar flares have had a 'microwave-like' effect on the earth's core, all hell breaks loose.

The earth is melting from the inside out and the crust cannot maintain its integrity any longer. Giant earthquakes, catastrophic destruction and absolute mayhem result.

Enter the realm of terror - shifting magnetic poles, volcanoes, tsunamis and carnage the likes of which cinema-goers have never seen before.

This is the world of 2012 - it's terrifying to the last moment.

A Christmas Carol

Superb 3-D film making
Enter the world of Victorian England. A miserly old man by the name of Ebenezer Scrooge trods around his neighborhood bearing ill-feeling towards the good folks of his town.

His disposition is anything but pleasant and his crass mannerisms and disregard for common courtesies have made him a deeply despised fellow indeed. But it's Christmas Eve and everyone in town is getting ready to celebrate the festive season.

Everyone that is except Mr. Scrooge. After the death of his business partner Marley, Scrooge retreats ever deeper into his miserable shell of loathing and ill-will. But come Christmas Eve and three ghosts are about to take him on whirlwind ride to uncover the truth.

This is Charles Dickens at his very best. A story so superbly crafted, both in animation and dialogue that it is deservedly worthy of praise. Two thumbs up for Robert Zemeckis and Jim Carey on a superb piece of animated film making - in 3D.

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