Movies reviewed this week: X-Men: Apocalypse, Ratchet & Clank, Our Kind of Traitor, The Nice Guys and Bollywatch: Sarbjit.
The trouble with sequels is how to move the saga on while keeping the customers satisfied.
Despite the worldwide success and critical acclaim of the first three X-Men films, director Bryan Singer has fallen a bit short this time.
While boasting a terrific cast of characters and layers of suspense that Alfred Hitchcock would be proud of, the film never really catches fire. The quick-fire tufts of wit that peppered its predecessors has waned just a tad and it’s all beginning to look a bit samey. That’s what happens when money-hungry movie moguls want to milk a lucrative franchise. Some old faces are here along with some new ones.
With the emergence of Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe; Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must save mankind from complete ruination. Some of the action scenes are splendid but it all feels just a little hard-going at times. It might not be the best in the X-Men saga but it still offers better-than-average entertainment value for your box office buck.
Review by Nikita Lobo
Ratchet & Clank
Two unlikely heroes Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor) and Clank (David Kaye) are struggling to stop a hideous alien named Chairman Drek (Paul Giamatti) from destroying all the planets in the Solana Galaxy. In this animated movie, all the scenes are awash with colour and unfold with a vibrant energy. It’s a delightful (if not particularly memorable) adaptation of the much-loved PlayStation series.
Our Kind of Traitor
Perry (Ewan McGregor) and Gail (Naomie Harris) are a couple who find themselves going through a rocky patch. When Perry, a lecturer, meets Dima (Stellan Skarsgård), a gregarious if mysterious Russian, he soon ends up getting caught up in an international web of danger and deception; the murkiness of which goes far beyond the safety of his academic milieu. It’s smoothly done and involving, as you’d expect from an adaptation of a John Le Carre novel. However, there are more nagging holes in this than a Dutch cheese, which, with this cast, must count as something of a disappointment.
The Nice Guys
Licensed private eye Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is hired to find a young woman called Amelia (Margaret Qualley) who has mysteriously disappeared. Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe), is a hit-man-for-hire who hurts people for living. The two end up being thrown together to find Amelia, only to discover that there are darker, even less principled parties out to find her. Pretty soon, the unlikely duo have to dig deep, work fast and dodge more than bullets to pull off this job. This is slick on the action, with enough brutality for realism.
Bollywood is clearly entering the era of the biopic. After Azhar and Neerja comes this effort, based on the life of Sarabjit Singh (Randeep Hooda), a farmer who was mistaken for a spy by the Pakistani courts and sentenced to death. Dalbir Singh (Aishwarya Rai) is the doughty sister out to prove her brother’s innocence. The film is bit sloppy and appears to be out to play with the audience’s emotions while trivialising a true-life story. More depth and sincerity wouldn’t have gone amiss. Still, an excellent portrayal from Hooda while Rai turns in a nuanced performance.