Jeremy Bolt

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Pompeii Review


Like an ancient Roman version of 2012, this disaster epic is a pure guilty pleasure, sparking plenty of laughter along with the massive effects-based carnage. It also helps that the screen is packed with muscle men in skimpy skirts. The actors dive in with gusto, adding plenty of personality to the ridiculous dialogue, while director Paul W.S. Anderson shamelessly ramps up the action mayhem.

It begins in AD 79 Britain, where Roman Senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland) is on the rampage, slaughtering the entire Celtic community of young Milo (Kit Harington), who is taken to Londinium to become a gladiator. When he rises to fame, he's transferred to Pompeii, where he immediately catches the eye of young noblewoman Cassia (Emily Browning), much to the scowly disapproval of her politically active parents (Carrie-Anne Moss and Jared Harris). An outsider among the local slaves, Milo is befriended by tough guy fellow gladiator Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). And when Corvus comes to town to claim Cassia as his bride, Milo decides to take a dangerous stand for both revenge and the girl. Meanwhile, Mount Vesuvius is rumbling, getting ready to unleash plenty of movie-style havoc.

It's impossible to watch this without thinking of the cheesy, similarly styled TV series Rome or Spartacus, with their corny melodramas, excessive violence and bare flesh. Even though this is on a much bigger scale with seriously enormous 3D special effects, it's just as cheesy. And equally entertaining as well. Harington is terrific as the hunky hero, building much stronger chemistry with the honourable Akinnuoye-Agbaje than the distressed Browning. And seasoned veterans like Harris, Moss and Sutherland clearly have a great time chomping madly on the scenery as Pompeii burns.

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The Three Musketeers Review

Using the basic plot from the Alexandre Dumas novel, this film diverges wildly by adding anachronistic gadgetry and playing events more like pantomime farce than a 17th century swashbuckler. But the cast is likeable, and the duels are fun despite the ludicrous action set pieces.

D'Artagnan (Lerman) is a country teen who heads to Paris to join the musketeers, special officers loyal to King Louis (Fox) but not the manipulative Cardinal Richelieu (Waltz), who has a guard of his own headed by Rochefort (Mikkelsen). D'Artangan immediately falls foul of the three musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis (Macfadyen, Stevenson and Evans), then teams up with them to fight off Richelieu's goons. And soon they're involved in a devious plot by Richelieu and Milady (Jovovich) to spark a war between Louis and England's Duke of Buckingham (Bloom).

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The Three Musketeers Premiere - Arrivals

Chloe Simms Tuesday 4th October 2011 The Three Musketeers premiere - Arrivals London, England

Chloe Simms

Pandorum Review

An appalling script is only one problem with this loud, chaotic sci-fi thriller. It's also directed in such a deliberately confusing way that it's not only impossible to follow the action, but it's impossible to care about the characters.

In the spidery space vessel Elysium, which left Earth in 2174, Bower (Foster) awakens from hiber-sleep with no memory of who he is. The ship's in trouble, and when Lt Payton (Quaid) wakes up, he doesn't remember anything either. So Bower heads into the darkened ship to try to reboot the power supply. But he soon encounters viciously murderous creatures, as well as a few lost and desperate crewmen (Traue and Le). Meanwhile, Payton finds the mercurial Gallo (Gigandet), who seems to know more than admits.

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Event Horizon Review

After Paul W.S. Anderson unleashed the blockbuster Mortal Kombat, he could do no wrong in the eyes of millions of geeks. He was the fanboy's filmmaker, creating a video game movie that was as fun and trashy as the game itself. All the nerds had high, high hopes that Anderson would settle into a career as fandom's new hotshot. Boy were they disappointed. Somewhere along the line, poor Anderson went from the top of the heap to the bottom of the barrel. (Poor bastard's name is rubbed in the mud almost as often as Uwe Boll!) And most fanboys say that Event Horizon was Anderson's fall from grace. A shame really, because the film's better than most science fiction hokum. (And heads above his next pic, Soldier. Not to mention every... other... film.... after... that. Geez, guy just can't catch a break, huh?)

The plot concerns a scientific spaceship - the Event Horizon - that was sent into a black hole with a full crew. The ship, naturally, vanishes and reappears years later, empty and sulking in a space fog. A small rescue crew is sent out to rendezvous with the Event Horizon, comprised of all your traditional stock characters (stoic Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne), Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill), Med Tech Peters (Kathleen Quinlan), and the usual spacefaring grunts). Once onboard the desolate Event Horizon, all manner of bizarre things begin taking place, and it's quite clear from the outset that wherever the Event Horizon was, it didn't come back alone. We're not talking Alien territory here, nothing that tangible, but the residue of some otherworldly hell that has infested the hulk of the ship and imbued it was a hideous life of its own. Or perhaps, it really did go to the hell. It's a bit unclear.

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The Hole Review

When you were young and in boarding school, how did you like to spend your free time? If you're like the characters in the disastrous yet train wreck-compelling direct to video feature The Hole, you like to hang out for days at a time locked in an abandoned bomb shelter.

Or do you!?

Continue reading: The Hole Review

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