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Review: Hercules

23 July 2014, 9:43am

Limara Salt posted by Limara Salt

It's difficult to feel sorry for Brett Ratner. After gaining recognition for Rush Hour and its terrible sequels he promptly broke nerd hearts with X-Men: The Last Stand and continued this unfortunate run by making ill-advised remarks that saw him axed from producing the 2011 Academy Awards. Stylistically he's been a bit Michael Bay-lite with his unoriginal mix of obvious humour, action and just a smidgen of loveable misogyny, but they're always watchable in a there's-nothing-better-to-watch way. Which brings us nicely to Hercules.

Review: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

16 July 2014, 9:26am

Neil Alcock posted by Neil Alcock

Turn the clock back five years or so to the announcement that the Planet Of The Apes franchise was to receive another reboot after Tim Burton's fairly disastrous 2001 "re-imagining". The new film would be saddled with the mouth-clogging title of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, and audiences braced themselves for another average blockbuster high on effects but low on substance. In 2011, they didn't get it. Rise was a critical and commercial hit; smart, witty, aware of its own inherent daftness and ripe for a sequel. Sadly, it's now time to take that anticipated disappointment out of storage: that sequel, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, is the very movie we thought we were getting three years ago.

After last year's relatively low-key action comedy Pain & Gain, Michael Bay returns to the comfort of a nine-figure budget this week with the $210 million rock 'em sock 'em blockbuster Transformers: Age Of Extinction. But like so many of today's biggest directors, Bay got his start in the considerably smaller domain of music video. Here are ten achingly cheesy videos from the back catalogues of Hollywood's directing elite.

Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2

3 July 2014, 12:18pm

Limara Salt posted by Limara Salt

In 2010 DreamWorks' hit-starved animation studio was finally gifted with How To Train Your Dragon, a film that satisfied older audiences as well as the many young fans of Cressida Cowell's best-selling book series. The movie came close to Pixar at its best with a memorable score, top-notch animation and an instantly loveable lead character, and while most sequels usually reek of money-hungry desperation, How To Train Your Dragon 2 not only continues the story of Hiccup and his toothless friend but gives us a totally new one.

I am untroubled by the fact that the Transformers franchise is an outlet for a man to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to watch things blow up. The co-opting of a children's toy line as an excuse to ogle women's bottoms is a stickier wicket, but more of that later. No, the real problem, as you might expect of a bunch of stories about alien robots that turn into cars, is its lack of humanity.

Virgin Movies: Best Of June 2014

30 June 2014, 1:51pm

Virgin Movies posted by Virgin Movies

The World Cup continues, but there are still great new movies available on demand: just look at this cracking selection from the last month! Click through to watch them online or select 'Catch Up & On Demand' then 'Movies' on your Virgin Media TV.

Review: Chef

20 June 2014, 1:45pm

Matthew Turner posted by Matthew Turner

Having kick-started the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the first two Iron Man movies and then come a cropper with high profile misfire Cowboys & Aliens, it's perhaps not surprising to find director Jon Favreau making a return to small scale personal pictures like his screenwriting debut Swingers. It's also next to impossible to avoid reading between the lines in this gentle feelgood comedy-drama, though that only adds to the enjoyment.

Jon Favreau may not be the most recognisable man in Hollywood, but he's enjoyed a consistent career both in front of and behind the camera for over 20 years. Director of big-budget blockbusters like Iron Man and Cowboys & Aliens, Favreau started small, writing and starring in cult Vegas comedy Swingers. His latest movie, Chef, sees Favreau get back to his roots, writing, starring and directing this story about a chef who... well, goes back to his roots. We spoke to Jon at the Soho hotel about growing old, selling out and making sandwiches...

Revisiting Chinatown 40 years later

19 June 2014, 3:12pm

Nathan Ditum posted by Nathan Ditum

Chinatown turns 40 this week, an anniversary worth marking for the sake of art and coincidence. The film is an inscrutable classic of the New Hollywood; a terse, stylish mystery that, through Jack Nicholson's detective Jake Gittes, interrogates the idea of Los Angeles through the intrigues and struggles that brought it into being. But there's also a dark fascination with the film's director, Roman Polanksi, who was also 40 when he made the film, and who just a few years afterwards became wrapped in the darkness of abuse and influence his film so deftly explores.

Review: Jersey Boys

18 June 2014, 11:08am

Chris Blohm posted by Chris Blohm

Jersey Boys is all spaghetti sauce and eyebrows. In places, it feels like a slipshod, sixth-form production of Goodfellas, the type of haphazard opus you can imagine Wes Anderson's nerdy hero Max Fischer mounting at the end of term in Rushmore. A chintzy disappointment, in other words.

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