Hurricane Season (2009)

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I came across Hurricane Season by chance looking for some fresh basketball themed material. A solid cast headed by Forest Whitaker in the lead and with a unique premise; High school coach refuses to give up on his team after Hurricane Katrina decimates his community, uses the sport to unify it – it looked worth a shot. Of course, this is based on a true story and even though I’m sure some of the “facts” are tinkered slightly, it’s heart is certainly in the right place – some brief footage of the real coach and team before the closing credits is a nice touch too. The choice to show the characters significantly before the disaster (but not the hurricane itself) helps build a solid foundation that keeps you watching. That and Forest Whitaker.

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Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

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Despite it being 30 years since the release of Beyond Thunderdome – the third, mediocre instalment in the Mad Max saga, George Miller’s franchise remains iconic and still capable in 2015 of generating rabid passion, gigantic anticipation and millions of dollars from film geeks and action junkies alike. It’s ironic that the Tina Turner/Mel Gibson blockbuster was such a misfire because (not surprisingly) Fury Road does borrow a little from its predecessor, though more obviously from the ground breaking and inspiring chapter before that; The Road Warrior. But this is no reboot or remake and you’d be stretching to call it a sequel even.

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Chappie (2015)

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Unfortunately, Chappie will never earn a decent amount of supporters. It is far from a disaster, but it drops the ball too often with brushed over techie plot holes, failed tonal shifts, being too light handed with its social commentary and most unfortunate of all, it kind of fails at moving us and at the end of the day, this is what it wants to achieve the most. It is not totally devoid of emotion or message, but for “serious” film watchers, it will never be embraced because of these short comings. Short comings that seem to plague director Neil Blomkamp with each film. Chappie is simply another version of Robocop, Short Circuit or District 9. It has humour, violence, a trainload of f-bombs and some nice ideas about artificial intelligence, but ultimately it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table besides its superb computer animation.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

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I’ll just get it out of the way and say that if you grew up as a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you probably should indulge this film at least once. If you’re a film fan who didn’t, it is pretty average to poor and offers little, even for a summer blockbuster. This has Michael Bay-isms all through it (banal scripting, video-game sheen, blatant sexism and product placement – the movie is basically a Pizza Hut ad at times) and even if he didn’t direct it, he might as well have. And, if you’re a kid (specifically a boy aged 10-15), you should definitely lap this cgi-fest up just as Bay planned. If you fall into neither of those categories, there is no reason what so ever to watch this movie even in the context of a kids/family action film.

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