Friday, 29 August 2014

As Above, So Below - review

The basis for this 'found footage' film is a quest led by a posh English Archaelogist Indiana Jane?) to find Nicolas Flamel's mythical Philosopher's Stone within the catacombs beneath the streets of Paris.

I don't know where she has got her information from because everyone knows that the Philosopher's Stone can be found at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft.

The trailer sells it as a horror but the majority of the film is more akin to Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade meets The Descent as the first person footage is used to ramp up the sense of claustrophobia once the group become trapped and lost within the catacombs.

As they descend further into the tombs and towards "the gates of hell", the film descends into the camcorder horror cliches of "what's that? Whip camera round, nothing there. Whip camera around again, there's something there!" jump scares.

Beyond the main character of Scarlett there is not much back story or characterisation for the others, with some just there to function as recording devices due to their head cameras thus the emotional impact is negligible when the merde hits the fan.

The quest becomes a Last Crusade for many of them and there was real potential with this story but in terms of creative filmmaking decisions, the writer-directors "choose poorly" resulting in an As Above, So Below score of 2 stars.

2 stars

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Two Days, One Night - review

Sandra (Cotillard) is a wife and mother who returned to work following a bout of depression to find out she is facing unemployment unless she can convince the majority of her co-workers to vote to give up their bonuses so she can keep her job.

After appealing the decision which saw a vote against her of 14-2, Sandra has the eponymous Two Days, One Night to visit and speak to her fellow employees to convince them to change their minds.

It is never explained why she left work and the reasons for her depression but it has left her at odds with her co-workers and the resulting fight to win back her job plays out like a modern day version of 12 Angry Men.

What follows is a series of emotionally charged confrontations powered by a blisteringly raw performance by Marion Cotillard who is utterly convincing as a woman driven to the edge by the pressure of the awkward situation.

It is a thought-provoking film that forces the audience to imagine what they would do if they were placed on both sides of a predicament that could be called One Angry Marion.

4 stars

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For - review

Wow. A lot can happen in nine years. Especially to a city. It can rise up to become a bustling metropolis or crumble and fall into a dilapidated wasteland.

Unfortunately for Sin City, it has become the latter.

When the original film came out in 2004, near the start of the of the current comic boo movie boom, it was one of the most faithful adaptations and Rodriguez captured its look perfectly so it made you feel like you were watching a comic book on screen.

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For might still have the look but some of the dialogue and performances are as flimsy as the dime store pulp novels that inspired these stories.

If you haven't seen the original film recently or read any of the graphic novels, A Dame To Kill For may prove to be every bit as confusing as trying to pick up Doctor Who having missed a couple of episodes.

Despite being a sequel, the majority of the stories take place before the events of the first film thus allowing Mickey Rourke's character Marv to return along with several others who have been recast for a variety of reasons.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Powers Boothe deliver two of the best performances, and are the most comfortable with the style and content of their story which is the only decent new addition to the canon.

Nine years on, and having done very little inbetween, Jessica Alba remains the weak link and is unconvincing as the stripper turned vengeance seeker. If she needed tips on how to play a convincing femme fatale, she only had to watch the sultry, salacious Eva Green who for the second time this year, walks away being the best thing about a sub-standard Frank Miller comic book movie.

"Walk down the right back alley in Sin City and you can find anything". Unfortunately it looks like they took a wrong turn as the result is a film that may look like a carbon copy but lacks the hard-boiled grit and impact of the original.

2 stars

Let's Be Cops - review

Since it stars Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr Let's Be Cops in a way feels like a prequel to New Girl, examining what Nick and Coach got up to before Jess came along.

It is an action comedy, similar to this year's Ride Along, where men approaching their thirties who are stuck in a rut try to gain a sense of confidence and responsibility be doing one of the most irresponsible things you could do... impersonating a police officer.

Inevitably, while showing off and abusing their new found powers, they attract the attention of some local bad guys and suddenly it is not just jail they are facing for their pretence.

Johnson and Wayans Jr do have a good rapport, as one would expect having worked together for years on a TV show, but the material is weak and tired with not enough gags to make it a good buddy comedy.

There is also a lack of threat due to the East European main villain being played by Brit James D'Arcy, leaving an unexpected cameo to deliver the appropriate but all-too-brief menace.

Better call 911 because this film needs to be read its rights.

1 star

Deliver Us From Evil - review

Despite being based on a real life case of NYPD officer Ralph Sarchie involving demonic possession, there is nothing in this film the church would classify as "original" sin.

Sarchie (played by Eric Bana) has a gift for spotting trouble, his partner calls it his "radar", but it gets them in over their heads when a series of troubling cases become linked by a series of occult messages and a squad of soldiers who encountered something evil when on tour in Iraq.

He joins forces with an unorthodox priest (Edgar Ramirez) who make for an interesting team as they are both fighting demons (internally and externally).

It plays out like The Exorcist meets Se7en with creepy things happening as police officers and priests investigate dark places during heavy downpours.

It might not be original but Sinister director Scott Derrickson continues to prove he can make audiences jump by executing a well-timed scare in a darkened corridor or basement.

Small notes:

The Doors feature heavily in the movie including "People Are Strange". A premonition of what was to come in the form of Dr. Stephen Strange?

It's pretty much a given that Sean Harris will never appear in a movie as the warm, cuddly romantic lead will he?

It might Deliver Us From Evil but the film could have tried harder to deliver a fresher and scarier frightfest.

2 stars

The Unbeatables - review

Missing an open goal by arriving after the World Cup but sneaking in just at the start of the Premier League season, The Unbeatables was an incredibly Argentinian animation about fussball but unfortunately any sense of fun or enjoyment is lost in translation thanks to an English dub that rewrote the dialogue to fit with a British footballing perspective (despite the fact the town is undeniably Latin American).

Not only must fussball wizard Amadeo put together a team of Mighty Ducks-style misfits and magical fussball players (whose powers are unexplained beyond the tear of a child) to save the town in a football match against former bully-turned-Ronaldo-esque superstar Flash, but he must also try and win the heart of his first love Lara which is difficult when told that his rival has... and i quote verbatim from the film... Taken her with his chopper"! Talk about foul play.

An own goal of a film as lethargic and disorganised as Manchester United playing under Van Gaal.

1 star

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Lucy - review

*Warning - this review will go into some plot details from the end of the film so this is your SPOILER warning*

First thing's first, I love Lucy. But enough about my girlfriend, what about the film?

Scarlett Johansson continues her stellar 2014 which has already seen her appear four times in my Top 20 of 2014 thanks to performances in Her, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Chef and Under The Skin.

Tricked by her boyfriend into delivering a briefcase to some nefarious gangsters, Lucy is forced into becoming a drugs mule by having a bag of drugs sewn into her stomach.

I can only assume that it is Heisenberg's crystal meth as it is blue in colour and she is shipped to Europe which is where all the kids were going crazy for it.

Attacked by her kidnappers, the bag of drugs bursts and it seeps into her bloodstream thus increasing her brain capacity to exponential rates, unlocking areas of her brain previously unused which give her special abilities, which she uses to gain revenge on her captors.

At the same time, because she can multitask due to her powers (and being a woman), she is talking to a scientist (played by Morgan Freeman) about controlling her abilities and ways to preserve her increasing knowledge and intelligence.

As Lucy reaches 100% capacity, she attempts to achieve transcendence and uploads her consciousness to an artificial intelligence which makes the most enjoyable way to enjoy Lucy is viewing it as a direct prequel to Her in which she is the voice of the OS1 operating system.

Luc Besson has a great history in creating strong female characters such as Matilda in Leon and LeeLoo Dallas Mooltipass and Lucy is his most delightfully demented slice of Sci-Fi action since The Fifth Element in an episode one could call The Outer Limitless.

3 stars

The Congress - review

Congress can be defined as "the action of coming together".

The US Congress is made up of two houses to grant legislative powers but the process can be messy and not always work out as originally planned.

Both of these descriptions accurately describe Ari Foldman's The Congress which features two very interesting and different film ideas but join together to make for an uneven end result.

The movie begins with a slightly fictionalised version of Robin Wright being pitched "the role of a lifetime" which involves being scanned into a computer so the studio can own the "character" of Robin Wright in exchange for a lot of money but the price of never performing in person again.

It hints at being a savage Hollywood satire, critiquing the way women (that aren't Meryl Streep) are treated once they reach a certain age and the reliance on CGI and motion capture in today's business.

It features one of the year's best scenes in which Robin's agent Al (Harvey Keitel) tells her the story of how he became an agent, both funny and sad, in order to elicit the proper emotions from her as she is scanned into the computer.

But just as it gets going, the satire is replaced with another plot where Wright attends 'The Congress' which is an animated hallucinatory haven where the film company Miramount are expanding into other novel ways of exploiting their film star commodities. Before you can say "Soylent Green is people!" they are marketing their last two stars, Wright and a male star who looks suspiciously like Tom Cruise, as consumable products like food and milk shakes.

Wright's reaction to this causes an uprising in the haven resulting in the majority of the world becoming addicted to a chemical which allows them to live their lives in the animated world of the truth.

It is a brave and bold segment which draws upon various animation styles including Ghibli and Tex Avery but feels like another movie altogether.

The Congress could have been a masterpiece but instead is a good movie that is less than the sum of its impressive parts.

3 stars

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Rover - review

David Michod's follow up to the excellent Animal Kingdom is set in the barren, dusty and dangerous Australian outback, ten years after "The Collapse".

It is not specified what the collapse was and what caused it but I would hazard a guess that it timed up with the moment The Inbetweeners set foot on Australian soil.

The Rover has a plot as simple as Robert Pattinson's character.

A group of hoodlums steal loner Guy Pearce's car and he does everything he can to get it back, including capturing R-Patz's character Rey who is brother to one of them and forces him to take them to their hideout.

Substituting car chases and action scenes for long, drawn out scenes of sparse dialogue, empty landscapes and moments of brutal violence, The Rover plays out like an art house Mad Max.

Pearce is excellent as the mysterious loner who slowly reveals his past but keeps us guessing to the Macguffin of why he needs his car back so badly.

Pattinson really does impress with another role following the likes of Cosmopolis that will put the death nail in the coffin of Twilight fans seeking out his post-franchise choices. If I was not aware of him as an actor, I genuinely would have believed him to be an actor on the spectrum or mentally disadvantaged.

The film, like the characters, slowly move towards a bloody showdown that is bound to split opinions.

Will I rewatch Michod's Rover? No never, no more.

3 stars

Hector And The Search For Happiness - review

Following an initial delay to Hector's journey due to the longest series of production company title credits I've ever seen in a movie (It honestly felt like five minutes passed as the film circumvented the globe getting money from every destination that Hector visits), finally begins a journey of self-discovery as every bit uncomfortable and insufferable as a round-the-world flight stuck in economy between a screaming baby and someone of poor personal hygiene it could have been called The Secret Life Of Walter Shitty.

I could have saved Hector a lot of time and effort because the answer to his search.

Happiness is a warm gun. A gun that Hector should use to end his "misery" if he can't be happy living in a luxury apartment overlooking the Thames with Rosamund Pike.

*mild spoilers*

It would probably come as no surprise that after travelling halfway around the world, cheating on his girlfriend the first chance he gets, receiving Pseudowaffle and psychobabble from a host of poor racial stereotypes that he discovers that he already had everything he needed to make him happy.

Beyond the Hallmark card messages of hope ("Happiness is the freedom to love more than one woman at the same time"), the biggest obstacle to anyone leaving this film happy is the central character of Hector.

He is a complete arse. Ungrateful of all that he has, which is much more than most people, and his reasons for the trip are awful e.g. He wants to find out how poor people are happy, yeeesh!

Last year, Simon Pegg successfully managed to get audiences on side with his character in The World's End despite him being a selfish, obnoxious oaf but he fails miserably here which leads me to wonder if it is only Edgar Wright who can bring out his true talent as a leading man.

Hector may have found some small modicum but for everyone else, best keep searching because happiness will certainly not be found here.

1 star

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Wakolda - review

X-Men: First Class featured a scene where Magneto tracked down former Nazi officers to a remote region in Argentina to exact revenge.

While that movie might be classified as science fiction, it is a fact that many Nazis escaped to Argentina after the war to avoid prosecution for war crimes and Wakolda is based on the true story of how the "Angel of Death" Josef Mengele integrated himself into the lives of one Argentinian family and continued to pursue his research and experimentation by using the children, in particular the young and innocent Lilith (an excellent Florencia Bado).

Mengele himself is played with a quiet, eerie calm and charm by Alex Brendemuhl, who portrays him as a man rather than a monster.

It is effectively directed and filmed in a style reminiscent of films like The Lives Of Others and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy but is let down by some rather clumsy metaphors (the father who produces unique handmade dolls is persuaded to manufacture identikit figures) and a final scene which is incredibly over-scored and out of place with the rest of the film.

Very nearly "the Reich stuff".

4 stars

All This Mayhem - review

In this modern age of having every single detail of an upcoming film spoiled and analysed on the internet before its release, it is a great feeling when you watch a film you know very little about beyond the trailer and emerge at the end genuinely surprised and thrilled by the end result.

This is how I felt watching All This Mayhem.

I went into it expecting a talking heads documentary about the skating rivalry between the Pappas brothers and Tony Hawk but what I got was something much deeper, darker and more disturbing than I had imagined.

I didn't recognise the names Ben and Tas Pappas from my skating experience (which amounted to playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater on the PS2) and to film goes onto to show exactly why that would be the case.

The Pappas brothers took the Vert skating scene by storm, first in Australia and then the US, beginning a long rivalry with Tony Hawk, continually trading places in the Top 3 in competitions with Tas becoming World Champion in 1996.

The Pappas boys embraced the rock n roll lifestyle that went along with that world and their loud, brash style both on and off the track and like the fabled 900 trick, it resulted in both of them crashing and burning on a public stage.

There are hints and signs early on as to where the story is headed but it takes more twists and turns that one of Tony Hawk's links.

Tas makes for a refreshingly candid, entertaining and honest interviewee as he looks back over that turbulent time.

Not only is it interesting to see how the skating scene and tricks have evolved over the years but also, rather amusingly, the increase in quality of the recording equipment to capture these events.

You do not need any prior knowledge of the skateboarding world in order to enjoy this film which makes it accessible and worth a watch by everyone because at no point are you ever board and it never skates around the darker aspects, instead ramping up the tension to deliver a terrific documentary amid All This Mayhem.

4 stars

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Finding Vivian Maier - review

In the Sixties there was a film called Blow Up where a photographer played by David Hemmings believes he has captured a crime on camera and sets out to solve it.

Finding Vivian Maier is a documentary that features a similar mystery at heart but it isn't trying to solve a crime captured in a photograph but one man's search to discover who took a photograph.

John Maloof bought a box of negatives from an auction in Chicago and discovered a series of amazing photographs from a woman called Vivian Maier.

The only problem was that neither John nor anyone on google had seemed to heard of this photographer. Maloof sets out to find out who she was and why she hadn't become a famous artist.

He discovers she had died shortly before he found the negatives and Maier worked for most of her life as a nanny and took thousands of photos whenever she could thanks to a camera she seemed to permanently keep round her neck.

Interviewing the people she worked for and looked after, Maloof begins to piece together the puzzle of who Vivian Maier was whilst simultaneously building an archive of her photographs and showcasing her work around the world.

Maier would in death find the fame she never had in life but it is clear that it is not something she would have necessarily wanted or enjoyed.

What she did enjoy however, and predating the current camera phone trend by 50/60 years, was taking "selfies". So many in fact, that she could have even coined the term.

Unlike the majority of her photos, Vivian Maier's background and personality was certainly not black and white but this film does its best to add some colour and shade to this unique character.

4 stars

The Expendables 3 - review

The Expendables line up features John Rambo, Rocky Balboa, The Terminator, Conan, John Matrix, Ivan Drago, Indiana Jones, Han Solo, Martin Riggs, Mad Max, El Mariachi, Blade and, err, Frasier Crane.

What do the action stars made famous by playing these characters have in common?

Sadly it is that in terms of modern day box office, they are expendable.

None of them have been able to generate a box office hit on their own in quite some time and even with their powers combined they still can't generate that much of an audience.

Much of the "plot" of The Expendables 3 can be seen as a reaction to Hollywood's treatment of the action genre (it begins with rescuing Wesley Snipes from prison for "tax evasion", Stallone decides his team is "getting too old for this shit" and replaces them with a bunch of new kids).

The problem with the film is that instead of rallying against the changes, it embraces them.

The first two films were not very good but at least they were unashamed in their attempts to bring back the hardcore, ultra-violent action films of the Eighties and early Nineties where you would kill a man in cold blood then throw out a cool one-liner.

Here the cast recycle and shoehorn in tenuous links to old catchphrases (Arnie shouts "Get to da choppa!") and the (financial) decision to cut the film for a 12A/PG-13 has completely neutered the action sequences.

Back in 1985, at the climax of Commando Arnold Schwarzenegger single-handedly dispatches 81 people in typically bloody Eighties fashion.

During the final shoot out in The Expendables 3, this body count is probably eclipsed but due to the lack of blood and injury detail instead of being an exciting coherent fight scene is turned into a spectacle that is as ridiculous as the scene in Hot Shots Part Deux where a shoot-out keeps a running total of it exceeding the body count from various movies.

This is compounded by an issue that has been growing ever since the first film and this involves minor *spoilers*.

The biggest irony of The Expendables group is that despite the name, none of them have actually been "expended". No wonder the group is so old, Stallone has never had to replace anybody. Even if someone is shot and injured, the audience fully expects them to turn up at the end to share drinks with the crew. There is just no tension or suspense in the fight scenes.

Recent films like The Raid, The Raid 2 and Snowpiercer have show that it is possibly to make quality (if not commercially successful) R-Rated action movies and the action flows so much better when you are not having to cut out blood or breaking limbs every two seconds.

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks and Stallone should have known better than to try and reinvent the franchise wheel. Terrible as an action film but worth seeing if only for the moment when Stallone managed to say "I Am The Hague" with a straight face... then again it could just have been the effects of Botox.

2 stars

The Inbetweeners 2 - review

With the transfer to the big screen, The Inbetweeners are fast becoming the UK's answer to the American Pie movies; successfully combining gross-out comedy with an underlying sweetness. A film to make you go eeeeeewwwww and awwwwww in equal measure.

Having previously lived it large in Magaluf before heading their separate ways to University, this time round the boys head out to Australia for four weeks to visit Jay who is on a gap year.

Jay's letter home where he bigs up his Australian adventure (by way of a string of absolute horsesh*t is brought to life in an impressively edited one-shot sequence that shows genuine ambition on the parts of the filmmakers to make this more than your standard "Brits abroad comedy".

That ambition however doesn't follow through to the screenplay which is full of your standard jokes and gags about sex, penises, sex, tits, sex, arseholes, sex, top bunk wankers, sex, Australians, sex, Australia, sex, the differences between the UK and Australia and it is all for banter, or "bantz" as they say in an effort to make one of the most awful words currently in use in modern language even worse.

Despite the reservations at the unoriginality in the lewd, crude and very, very rude humour, the fact is that at times it is actually very funny.

There are several set pieces where it is that cringe-inducing level of comedy that invoke a guilty feeling at laughing but you really just can't help it. Whether it is a campfire rendition of 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' or a race down the rapids at a water park, the laughter is as uncontrollable as Neil's IBS.

I normally end my reviews with a summing up paragraph where I shoehorn in a few bad puns about the film's subject but this movie already used the majority of them so I'll just say it gets a thumbs up rather than a thumb down under (which Jay would approve of I'm sure).

3 stars

Into The Storm - review

Into The Storm is essentially just Twister done in a found footage style minus Bill Paxton.

It combines two recorded story threads (storm chasers trying to document tornados and two brothers tasked with filming the local graduation ceremony) although apparently edited into a "documentary", at times it is difficult to know who filmed certain moments and how they got footage from cameras that must have damaged during the storms.

Putting aside those technical implausibilities, the main problem with the film is not the effects which are adequate (although why they didn't release it in 3D is beyond me. Surely an ideal candidate for conversion), but characterisation.

The people threatened by the tornado are completely one-note. They include "dad who lost his wife and has difficulty bonding with kids", "boy who secretly fancies girl", "single mom who left daughter behind at Grandma's to chase storms and money", storm chaser who will stop at nothing to get the shot" and "teenager who won't stop filming despite impending doom approaching".

They all feel like cardboard cut-out characters so it is no surprise to see them get swept up and carried away with the wind, which is more than the audience will be.

The film ends with what the reporters refer to as "the biggest storm ever recorded" but in cinematic terms, Into The Storm will amount to little more than a storm in a teacup.

1 star

Monday, 4 August 2014

Planes 2: Fire & Rescue - review

This review starts with a small disclaimer. I have not seen any of the previous Cars or Planes films and I must admit that I could not fully invest in the story of a champion racer who suffers an injury and trains to become a firefighter because I could not fathom the logic of this world.

I know that might be harsh to the Pixar/Disney franchise, especially when I have no problem with a world of talking bugs or toys that come to life when the kids aren't in the room but the idea of a world populated by nothing but talking cars and planes? Too much.

Perhaps the genesis of this world was explained in one of the previous films but for this reviewer, there are just too many questions created by this scenario.

For example who makes the cars and planes?

Do the vehicles get together and procreate, spawning Minis?

Do they assemble each other? If so, how? They do not possess the opposable thumbs required for the manual labour involved in building a complex piece of machinery.

If they are assembling each other, it then leads to the question, why?

There is a world populated by vehicles designed to transport humans but there are none. Is this some weird dystopian future where humans have died out, leaving behind artificially intelligent vehicles?

If it is, then what killed them? How did they die out? Can't have been from a lack of fossil fuels as there still seems to be enough petrol, diesel, etc to power and entire planet full of planes and cars. And who exactly is mining and refining these fuels?

These are just a few of the questions that came to mind and found infinitely more interesting that the film going on in front of me.

No need to call 999 because it sure isn't plane sailing for this turgid animation as there isn't even a spark to start a fire here.

1 star

What If - review

Daniel Radcliffe has continually impressed in his choices and performances since leaving Hogwarts and his turn as Wallace in romantic comedy What If provides further evidence that he will be able to forge a successful career out of the shadow of "he who shall not be named".

Wallace is single. He meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan perfectly playing the smart, sassy cute pixie girl) at a house party where they have an instant connection. Just one problem. She has a boyfriend who is a UN Lawyer (in copyright law) played by Rafe Spall (refreshingly playing him as likeable and un-douchy).

Cue a funny, well acted but completely unoriginal take on the question everyone has asked since the time When Harry Met Sally, "Can a man and a woman really be friends or does sex always get in the way?".

Radcliffe and Kazan's appealing chemistry leads to the question What If they had been given more original material to work with, as this could have been a rom-com to go the distance rather than a quick rebound fling as you continue to search for the next (500) Days Of Summer.

3 stars

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Mistaken For Strangers - review

Fans of The National looking to find out more about their favourite band by watching a documentary about their world tour should look for a different documentary because Mistaken For Strangers is not actually about The National but instead a documentary about two brothers and their relationship.

The National are the epitome of the phrase a Band Of Brothers, with two pairs of siblings and lead singer Matt Berninger. Matt decides to invite his younger brother Tom on tour to act as a roadie. It soon becomes apparent that Tom is more interested in filming the tour and living the rock n roll lifestyle than he is doing the job he is actually there to do.

Cue the awkwardly funny moments when Tom gets in trouble for ordering extra booze for him to drink, not realising the band pay for the rider, or when he misplaces the guest list leaving Werner Herzog outside for 45 minutes.

Tempers fray which leads to an argument between the brothers:

"People are acting like I'm only here because you're my brother"
"You are only here because I'm your brother!"

During the editing process the film has evolved from a behind-the-scenes documentary about the band and becomes a film about a guy learning about his brother's life as a famous rock star and how it has affected their sibling relationship.

Some home truths from mom and dad hint at Tom's lack of drive and commitment and it becomes a mission to complete the film and finally succeed at something.

They say that truth is stranger than fiction, and often it can also be more entertaining too, as make no mistake, Tom delivers one of the most unique music docs of recent years.

3 stars

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Nut Job - review

The Nut Job is an animated heist movie where a squirrel is constantly trying to stuff its cheek with enough nuts to last until winter whereas the audience is forced to endure 85 minutes of a screenplay which tries to stuff as many jokes and puns based on the various meanings of the word nut down our throats.

The end credits reveal that it was financed and produced in part by South Korea which sort of explains why the film features two uses of Gangnam Style and a CGI Psy which really capitalises on the song at the height of its popularity. Wait it isn't 2012 any more!

This is one nut that isn't worth shelling out money for.

2 stars

Step Up: All In - review

Five movies in and you really do start to wonder about the art of street dance and whether or not there is some sort of unwritten code within that world that if you are defeated in a public "battle" that you automatically have to disband and live with the humiliation. For one, it never really clear what the rules are and who decides who has won.

But this is exactly what happens to The Mob from Step Up 4: Miami Heat when they are beaten by a group called The Dirt Knights in a nightclub following a string of unsuccessful auditions in Hollywood.

Stubborn group leader Sean throws a strop and decides to stay in LA while his troupe head back to Miami. He creates a new crew in order to enter an America's Got Talent style competition to win a 3 year dance show contract at Caesar's Palace in Vegas Baby, Vegas!

His new crew is comprised of a super group of dancers from the previous films (with the notable exception of Channing Tatum) and they make the finals but, surprise surprise, in order to win the contract they will have to face off against...

Can you guess? Of course you can because these films are more formulaic than... But you don't come to a Step Up to see War and Peace or Romeo And Juliet. You come for the dance sequences and that is ultimately what the film will be judged, just like the groups in Vegas.

Although their use of 3D is still some of the very best in the business, similar to the judges of Britain's Got Talent, there is a feeling of indifference and over saturation setting in over dance groups and for the majority of the film it fails to deliver anything new and exciting that greatly differs or builds upon what has gone before. There are so many times that people can "pop and lock", "robot" and revisit the breakdancing of the Eighties.

It is only the final performance that really "brings it" and delivers a show-stopping Vegas-worthy dance show that features fire and ice and other elemental forces.

So while the final dance-off doesn't put a foot wrong, the series has taken a misstep and perhaps its time to hang up the boots, or tights, or leotard.

2 stars