Movies reviewed this week: Office Christmas Party, Sing, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Long View: Into the Forest.
It has to be said that bringing together a range of talented comic actors should equal a recipe for success. Unfortunately, Office Christmas Party, which stars the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon and T.J. Miller, fails to live up to its ambitions as a festive hit despite its big-name cast.
Aniston is Carol Vanstone, an uptight CEO of a Chicago-based tech company who is under pressure to bring down costs or face going under.
A modern-day Scrooge, if you will, who has the unenviable task of putting the kybosh on office festivities to save money.
But then there’s her slacker brother Clay (T.J. Miller), a party animal branch manager at the same firm. Clay decides to throw a massive party to win a client and save the company, with the help of his right-hand man Josh (Bateman).
Predictably, the party gets way out of hand. The jokes are sporadic, there’s a lot of swearing, drinking and bizarre violence while most of Chicago ends up at the party thanks to one employee sharing it on social media. Basically, it’s everything we are warned not to do when the work Christmas party rolls around each year.
But like all movies of this genre, everything turns out all right in the end despite its patchy storyline and occasional amusing scene, which are few and far between.
And that’s a shame because there’s not much choice for Christmas-themed movies this year, which could mean a night in with Netflix watching some festive classics, such as The Grinch, Home Alone, Scrooged and Love Actually.
Review by Felicity Glover
On a lighter note, at least on the surface, we have Sing, the latest animated offering from Illumination Entertainment, which has also produced Hop, Despicable Me and Minions. Think X Factor, with a nod to the brilliant Zootopia as it’s all about animals but that’s where the similarity ends. Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) is a koala who owns a struggling theatre and decides to hold a singing contest to boost his flagging business. We meet a host of animal characters; some good, some not so good but all of them have one ambition in common: to win the sing fest. It’s a fun movie that rolls out a host of top 10 hits – and that should be enough to keep the kids happy.
Felicity Jones has been receiving rave reviews for her gritty role in the latest offering in the Star Wars franchise – and it’s easy to see why. Combining old-style Star Wars themes with slick 21st century CGI, it’s clear that British director Gareth Edwards is taking audiences in a whole new direction, which sees a group of ordinary people band together to steal the plans to the Death Star – the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. Also starring Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen and Forest Whitaker, Rogue One should appeal to long-time fans as well as younger film fans. Worth watching.
Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by American author Jean Hegland, Into the Forest is an edgy “end-of-the-world” drama set in the near future. Sisters Nell (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) live in a house in the middle of the woods in California with their father, Robert (Callum Keith Rennie). But their peaceful existence is shattered when there is a country-wide power cut. And when it becomes clear that they will never get electricity again, it becomes a fight for survival as each day becomes more challenging. The treacherous new world they find themselves in is frightening, and the sisters must find a way to work together to survive the threats from the outside world.
Oman release date: January 12, 2017