Movie Reviews

Beach Boys

Beach Boys' Brian Wilson depicted in full in Love & Mercy

Craig Mathieson The best thing about Love & Mercy, the fine new film about Brian Wilson, the musical genius who illuminated the Beach Boys in their 1960s heyday, is that it makes the creative process so compelling.

Yoga master

Awake: the life of a Yoga pioneer

Enlightening: <i>Awake: The life of Yogananda</i>.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Sandra Hall This documentary bio-pic is celebration rather than profile - a hymn in praise of Yogananda, the Indian guru responsible for yoga's spread westwards during the 1920s and '30s.

Golden years

Eden: Dancing to the endless track of youth

The characters in <i>Eden</i> are obsessed with the electronic music scene.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sandra Hall Mia Hansen-Love's Eden is set at the throbbing heart of the Parisian techno music scene.

Far from the Madding Crowd review: Carey Mulligan splendid as Bathsheba Everdene

Carey Mulligan as

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Paul Byrnes A new version of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd finds a worthwhile heroine in Carey Mulligan.

Intimate epic

Far From the Madding Crowd review: Carey Mulligan gets flirty in intimate epic

Carey Mulligan in <i>Far From the Madding Crowd</i>.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sandra Hall The latest version of Far from the Madding Crowd is classy and seductive.

Winning comedy

Inside Out review: ups and downs of adolescent girl's mind revealed

Joy, one of the personified emotions, is voiced by Amy Poehler.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Craig Mathieson Pixar ends its own difficult adolescence.

Scientology and secrets

Going Clear review: Celebrity and Scientology, the inside story

 <i>Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief</i> is a

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Paul Byrnes Acclaimed filmmaker Alex Gibney turns his camera on the church that came between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

Minions review: Despicable Me's yellow helpers get their own sweet, slapstick adventure

The minions.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Jake Wilson They were the breakout stars of the Despicable Me films. But can they hold the screen all on their own?

Inside Out review: An astonishingly good movie, not just a great animation

Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), the main and most important of 11-year-old Riley?s five Emotions, explores Long Term Memory in Disney?Pixar's

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Paul Byrnes Inside Out is another Pixar triumph, one of their most original and beautiful films in a long line of them.

Road movie

The Nightingale review: Fable pilgrimage has little excitement

Li Baotian and Yang Xinyi in <i>The Nightingale</i>.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Jake Wilson A Chinese fable for all ages about the generation gap, and the need to reconcile the old and the new.

Low-key drama

Tangerines review: thoughtful character study ponders the fruits of war

Tangerines: Mikhail Meskhi plays a wounded Georgian soldier forced to cohabit with a Chechen mercenary.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Philippa Hawker Estonian director Zaza Urushadze's low-key drama is set in a world in which military conflict seems both distant and pressing.

The Mafia Kills Only in Summer review: debut satire misfires

Alex Bisconti plays the younger Arturo (right) in <i>The Mafia Kills Only in Summer</i>.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Sandra Hall Like the politically inclined Russell Brand, the Italian comic Pif believes that ridicule is the best revenge.

The Emperor's New Clothes review: Russell Brand rails against the rich and powerful

Russell Brand is on a mission to expose injustice in <i>The Emperor's New Clothes</i>.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Sandra Hall British funnyman Russell Brand gets serious about social inequality.

Walking The Camino review: A documentary tracing the pilgrim's journey

Sam, in the documentary <i>Walking The Camino</i>.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Philippa Hawker American filmmaker Lydia B. Smith takes a camera along a road travelled by pilgrims for more than 1000 years.

Jurassic World review: a smart riff on the pitfalls of the prehistoric

Bryce Dallas Howard (from left) as Claire, Chris Pratt as Owen, Nick Robinson as Zach, and Ty Simpkins as Gray in <i>Jurassic World</i>.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Philippa Hawker It has been 22 years since Jurassic Park burst onto the blockbuster scene, and 14 years since Jurassic Park 3.

Shocking western

Slow West review: dreamlike saga with hidden humour and anti-gun message

Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee in Slow West.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Paul Byrnes A confident, risky and brutal film, Slow West hides anti-gun message behind violence and dark humour.

Murder trial

Face of an Angel review: sideways look at true crime Meredith Kercher murder

Deceptively straightforward: Daniel Bruhl and Cara Delevingne in <i>The Face Of An Angel</i>, Michael Winterbottom's fictionalisation of a real-life murder trial.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Philippa Hawker The Face Of An Angel begins as if it is going to be the story of a murder trial, and a filmmaker's attempts to make sense of it. This, however, is only a starting point.

Cameos galore

Entourage review: Too many cameos dampen bro-fest

Jeremy Piven in Entourage

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Philippa Hawker Entourage, the movie, takes the popular TV show about Tinseltown, temptation, bravado and male bonding to the big screen.

Rock meets quake

San Andreas review: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson to the rescue in not-so-dumb disaster flick

Ray of hope: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino at the surprisingly strong <i>San Andreas</i>.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Jake Wilson Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his day, Dwayne Johnson is both a macho hero and a frankly dorky family entertainer. He flexes both muscles in San Andreas.

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Movie misfire

Partisan review: Vincent Cassel fails to connect in aimless, earnest Australian film

Vincent Cassel looks the part but fails to convince in <i>Partisan</i>.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Paul Byrnes Oscar Isaac pulled out of this movie just before shooting began and French star Vincent Cassel jumped into the lead role, so that may account for some of the film's shortcomings, although it's...

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