Movies reviewed this week: Assassin’s Creed, La La Land, The Great Wall and Long View: Swallows and Amazons (Starring: Rafe Spall and Andrew Scott).
Based on the popular video game franchise, Assassin’s Creed is being panned by critics around the world. Despite an impressive cast – Michael Fassbender as hero Callum Lynch, Jeremy Irons as Alan Rikkin and Marion Cotillard as Rikkin’s daughter Sofia – and some very cool special effects and fight scenes, the plotline requires the audience to suspend reality.
But then again, that’s pretty much the template behind video games. There are not many video games that have successfully made the transition to the big screen – Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is perhaps the exception – and asking the audience to believe that we can unlock the memories of our ancestors via DNA is, perhaps, a little far-fetched.
And that’s where we pick up the story: Lynch channels the adventures of his ancestor Aguilar in Spain during the 15th century, discovering along the way that he is a descendant of a mysterious secret society known as the Assassins.
His adventure allows him to build up some incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organisation in the present day. The best scenes of the movie are based around Lynch’s adventures in the past, which is where he should have stayed. As he flips between the present and the past, it does become a little tiresome but without the link to the present, audiences would be lost. For die-hard gaming fans only.
Review by Felicity Glover
A beautifully shot, old-style movie, La La Land is a musical romance that is sure to bag a number of awards as we move into the season for the Golden Globes, for which it has received seven nominations, and the Oscars. Starring Ryan Gosling as Sebastian, a jazz pianist, and the wonderful Emma Stone as Mia, an aspiring actress working as a barisita in Los Angeles, La La Land breaks out into song and dance numbers à la the 1940s and 1950s as the two meet and fall in love. But as their success grows, they are faced with decisions that start to threaten their romance. Also starring J.K. Simmons, this is one of the must-see movies of the year.
Matt Damon is mercenary warrior William Garin, who is imprisoned inside the Great Wall by the “Nameless Order”, a group of elite fighters. Set in ancient China and with a budget of more than US$150 million (RO57m) The Great Wall is an epic-style film directed by China’s Zhang Yimou. In what is being described as the biggest Hollywood-China movie production in history, we see Garin transform from mercenary soldier to unlikely hero as he joins forces with the Nameless Order to fight mythical creatures to protect the Great Wall. An interesting plotline, it also stars Tian Jing and Willem Dafoe. Worth watching.
Based on the classic children’s novel of the same name by Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons is an enchanting adventure film set in 1929. When four children go on a summer holiday to Britain’s Lake District, they head off to a little island in their boat, the Swallows, where they run into a rival group of children who own another boat called, you guessed it, the Amazons. But a mystery soon presents itself and it’s up to the rival gangs to put aside their differences and work together to solve it. Starring Rafe Spall and Andrew Scott, this is definitely a must-see for children and adults alike.
Oman release date: January 26