Ice Age drama, spies on the run, a fairytale missing its magic: Movie reviews
This is a survival thriller with a difference. Alpha is set 20,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age, and follows the ordeal of a young hunter (Kodi Smit-McPhee) struggling home across a wintry wilderness after an accident separates him from his tribe.
He chances upon an injured wolf-dog, nurses him back to health and the two stumble on together. The interaction between the man-boy and the animal is subtle and evocative.
Throughout, the hostile surroundings are stunningly realised by cinematographer Martin Gschlacht. Filmed primarily on location in Canada (credibly doubling for a bygone European era) this is one film that deserves to be seen in IMAX 3D.
Albert Hughes’s direction is delicate and effective. The skirmishes with a herd of bison, hyenas and other wildlife are staged with a great deal of excitement.
Intriguingly, the use of an invented pre-civilization language necessitates English subtitles. Overall, Alpha is a stirring top-tier adventure.
Arguably the first film from the Ukraine to be released here commercially, the animated The Stolen Princess… is squarely targeted at viewers in the single-digit age group. Accompanying grown-ups will likely be itching to leave soon after it’s begun.
Unaware that the young woman he has fallen in love with is royalty, an aspiring actor sets out to rescue the damsel in distress from the clutches of a scheming sorcerer.
The action that ensues is numbingly ordinary, old-fashioned (and far too brightly coloured). The narrative flails its way through a series of contrivances and feeble attempts at humour, before winding down in a happily-ever-after resolution.
In a welcome change, the English dubbing isn’t too jarring. Sadly, everything else about …Ruslan and Ludmila is.
The fourth collaboration between director Peter Berg (Patriots Day) and his go-to actor Mark Wahlberg is a misguided assault on the viewer’s senses.
It’s business as usual for the loose-cannon intelligence officer (Mark Wahlberg) tasked with escorting a mysterious informant-cop (Iko Uwais, the one-man demolition army from The Raid) out of a fictional South-East Asian country.
Since the double agent seems to be the only man on the planet with access to the code for a stolen radioactive thingamajig, a battalion of baddies is determined to consign him to kingdom come.
The mindless mayhem quickly becomes tiresome. The camerawork and editing are so frenzied, you can expect mild motion-sickness.
The supporting ensemble, which includes old-timer John Malkovich as the leader of the elite paramilitary task force, is uniformly one-note.
Mile 22 is a confounding, overly violent actioner that will leave you feeling fatigued.