There is huge irony in the film’s title, ‘Now You See Me’ and this is that the film disguises itself in an alluring and seductive trailer that promises to amaze and astound through intelligent and thoughtful storytelling, then ultimately delivers a mediocre and far from magical cinematic experience when watched in full. Directed by The Incredible Hulk’s Louis Leterrier, Now You See Me regrettably falls into the category of film that leaves no surprises to the imagination, mistakenly advertising arguably the best of the film’s climaxes in the trailer, ultimately leading to one inevitable outcome when experiencing the film in full for the first time: disappointment.
Author Zoe De Pasquale
Baz Lurhmann’s take on the definitive American novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald is yet another addition to the ever growing collection of The Great Gatsby book-to-film adaptations that now warrants its own genre due to the multitude of motion pictures inspired by the novel. However, unlike previous efforts, Baz Luhrmann brings his trademark stylish flair to this modern remake that indisputably translates the grandiose class and extravagance of the novel to the screen. With a cast as star-studded as the elaborately designed period dresses attired by its characters, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is a magnificently executed modern take on a popular classic.
The genre of Romantic Comedy is with no doubt well-trodden ground. If Hollywood isn’t releasing a film from a Superhero franchise, it is almost guaranteed that a Romantic Comedy is opening in theatres somewhere. In 2013 alone, we’ve seen the likes of This Is 40, I Don’t Know How She Does It and Hope Springs. I Give It A Year hardly strays from the boundaries set by numerous predecessors of the tired genre, despite being a British film. This highlights the universality of the genre’s conventions and the difficulty in breaking free of them, even across culture. Written and directed by Oscar-nominated Dan Mazer (Bruno, Borat), I Give It A Year promises to deliver a refreshing take on Rom-coms from a director who has previously demonstrated his understanding of comedic value, and yet the film falls short of this. It fails to meet expectations, not because of performances or directing, but by a weak and predictable script.
War Horse is, succinctly put, Steven Spielberg on top form. Based on the massively successful novel by Michael Morpurgo that later spawned a stage production, War Horse is a big-budget success with an authentic overtone, a well-crafted score by an experienced musical genius and simply astounding cinematography. The visual finesse is the film’s greatest accomplishment alongside its terrific cast; special praise goes to the scene-stealer of the film, The Horse! At times unwaveringly sentimental, War Horse is a touching but brutal depiction of war’s destruction and a stunningly enthralling epic that is an example of Spielberg’s finest work.
A sequel to 2010’s Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief was a rather unforeseen event; the film wasn’t particularly well received by critics nor did it make a huge dent at the box office upon release, or at least enough to warrant a sequel. It more than likely has something to do with 20th Century Fox cashing in on the up and coming Logan Lerman, a young star taking Hollywood by storm with his recent roles in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Three Musketeers and 3:10 to Yuma. Exclusive of even Lerman, the franchise has found a solid and receptive audience; unquestionably down to the hugely popular Percy Jackson book series coupled with its patent similarities to the mammoth-grossing Harry Potter franchise, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is undoubtedly another appeasement film to an audience that will more than happily lap up soulless teenage fiction film adaptation time after time and, ultimately, that is all it lives up to.
In 2010, Kick-Ass conceived the ingenious notion of collapsing the bridge between comic book adaptation and superhero parody to bring the two vastly different genres crashing together to form a modern cult classic. Its surprise success inevitably left a sequel on the cards and the demand for another violence-fueled, teenage superhero fest permitted its successor, Kick-Ass 2, to be born. With the titular character triumphantly returning, accompanied by a few of the hottest names in Hollywood, Kick-Ass 2 vowed to righteously follow in the footsteps of its victorious predecessor and maintain the distasteful distinctiveness that made Kick-Ass so uniquely brilliant. Unfortunately, it didn’t.
Kick-Ass first graced theatres in 2010 and, although failing to be an instant box office success, was met with generally positive feedback from critics and audiences alike. In an unusual blend of genre, comic book adaptation meets superhero parody in a head-on collision to form an explosive, Tarantino-esque thrill-ride with a hint of biting satire to not only propel the story forwards, but also keep the laughs in abundance. Described as ‘outrageous’ by some, the film’s graphic, stylized violence sequences in addition to the shocking but at times hilarious outbursts of profanity by certain characters bring a level of controversy to Kick-Ass that true fans of the genre will recognise as entirely necessary in order to stay faithful to the comic, a feat that Kick-Ass inevitably lives up to. With a vibrant cast complementary to a remarkable script, it’s not surprising that Kick-Ass has been deemed as redefining the comic book genre.
The Last King of Scotland brings the notorious Idi Amin’s presidency and regime to life disturbingly accurately. From the perspective of his physician, Amin’s true ruthlessness is exposed by his horrific displays of violence, thoughtless actions and his psychopathic persona seemingly devoid of any capacity for emotion or compassion. In a role that won him an Academy Award, Forest Whitaker becomes his character in a frighteningly uncanny depiction of the dictator to deliver a solid, believable and at times unsettling portrayal of a true tyrant.
Just when it seemed that there were no more action roles for Tom Cruise to take, Oblivion appears. Directed by TRON: Legacy’s Joseph Kosinski, Oblivion was the first major Sci-Fi release of 2013 and, with a budget of over $120 million, promised to be one of the year’s biggest. In the film, Tom Cruise steps into his first major Sci-Fi role since Minority Report to deliver yet another mediocre effort; once again, Tom Cruise is playing Tom Cruise.