Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

After a slight stumble with Thor: The Dark World, Marvel’s ambitious cinematic universe project gets back on track with this robustly entertaining follow-up to Captain America: The First Avenger. By upping both the political and action stakes, and giving plenty of time to each of the various supporting characters, directors Anthony and Joe Russo have …

Review: Under the Skin (2014)

Say what you like about Under the Skin (and it certainly isn’t for everybody), it at least has the courage of its convictions. In its daring attempt to mount an ambitious, abstract and experimental science fiction tale, it easily surpasses most other recent offerings in a genre now stuffed to the gills with comic-book adaptations; …

Review: 300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

‘Dumb fun’ broadly describes 300: Rise of an Empire, and boy, it doesn’t get much dumber than this. Following closely in the footsteps of its predecessor, this belated follow-up tries to be prequel, sequel and sidequel by embellishing and expanding upon the original story, and on its own limited terms it just about succeeds. But …

Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

The late Tom Clancy’s most famous character is dusted off and rebooted once again in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, an entertaining if rudimentary assembly of familiar espionage plot devices and characters. Those who remember the previous Ryan films – in particular the original trilogy of The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and …

Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Director Peter Jackson took a risk when he decided to break up his epic prequel to The Lord of the Rings in to three parts rather than the originally-planned two. After all, this was clearly never going to be a simple page-to-screen adaptation of The Hobbit, and it threatened to stretch an already slender plot …