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  • Shooting blanks – ‘The Gunman’
    Shooting blanks – ‘The Gunman’

    There has never been a better time to be an aging action star. We are in a geriatric golden age; whether you’re looking at the reinvigorated over-the-top stardom of guys like Stallone and Schwarzenegger or the reinvention of guys like Liam Neeson, the silver screen has seen plenty of old guys shooting guns and blowing stuff up.

    Apparently, Sean Penn decided he wanted to get in on some of that action despite not necessarily having a good understanding of what makes those movies work. “The Gunman” is the unfortunate result of that ill-informed decision.

  • The caste and the furious – ‘Insurgent’
    The caste and the furious – ‘Insurgent’

    Second installment a step backward for series

    It goes without saying that these days, franchises foot the bill in Hollywood. Big-budget multi-movie extravaganzas are the current watchword – and if they can be based on a preexisting pop cultural phenomenon, so much the better.

  • Glass (slipper) half full – ‘Cinderella’
    Glass (slipper) half full – ‘Cinderella’

    Live-action Disney film lacks surprises, still entertains

    Anyone who has been to the movies in the past 10 years can see that original ideas have gotten pretty thin on the ground in Hollywood. The writing is on the box office wall – it’s all about adapting existing properties or building franchises or mining the past (recent and otherwise); that’s the straightest path to the massive opening weekend that seems to be everyone’s primary goal.

  • Running on empty – ‘Run All Night’
    Running on empty – ‘Run All Night’

    Neeson’s latest action offering more of the same

    As actors get older, they have a tendency to settle into comfort zones. They have roles that they enjoy playing - that they have been successful playing – and so continue to take those sorts of roles. Some of it is typecasting, obviously; if something worked once, Hollywood tends to expect it to work again. But some of it too is complacency on the part of the performer.

  • ‘Chappie’ breaks down
    ‘Chappie’ breaks down

    Film fails to live up to promising concept, aesthetic

    Was it a case of too high, too fast for Neill Blomkamp?

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