Green Zone/ Shutter Island/ The Blindside/ Clash of the Titans

Prepare for wah-fare in Matt Damon’s latest grimy war flick, Green Zone (March 12). 

Set during the U.S occupation of Baghdad in 2003, Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Damon) and his team of Army inspectors are dispatched to find weapons of mass destruction believed to be stockpiled in the Iraqi desert. Rocketing from one booby-trapped and treacherous site to the next, the men search for deadly chemical agents but stumble instead upon an elaborate cover-up that inverts the purpose of their mission. Oh no! 

Miller must traverse faulty intelligence and battle endless ‘hostiles’ for answers (and WMDs) before reaching some bland conclusion about the truth being the most powerful weapon of all. Shocker!

Released the same day is Shutter Island (March 12), a tense thriller starring baby-faced supermodel-shagger, Leonardo DiCaprio.

Set in the ‘50s, DiCaprio plays U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels who’s sent to investigate the disappearance of a murderous patient from Boston’s Shutter Island Hospital. Within minutes of arriving, Daniels realises all is not as it seems and becomes evident that the hospital’s doctors – whose treatments range from the unethical to the downright barbaric – have a hidden agenda for bringing him to the island. 

As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland and the puzzling, improbable clues multiply, Teddy begins to doubt everything – his memory, his partner, even his own sanity.  

Next up is The Blindside (March 26), a heart-warming like tale to assist with the Spring thaw. 

Based on real-life events, the movie follows well-to-do suburban family (with Sandra Bullock as Mom and Country singer Tim Mc Graw as Pop) as they adopt an oversized homeless ghetto urchin Michael (played by newcomer Quinton Aaron) and try to turn his life around. With the family’s help, support and most importantly, love, Michael thrives and realises a natural gift for American Football. Mawkish and saccharine perhaps, but an entertaining ride nonetheless. 

Also hitting cinemas this month is a remake of the 1981 swords ‘n’ sandals epic Clash Of Titans (March 26). 

This remake tells the tale of Perseus (Sam Worthington) who volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to the Underworld to defeat Hades (played by Ralph Fiennes, in all his hammy glory) before he can seize power from Zeus. The original movie, considered a tour de force of stop-motion animation, has aged hideously – even worse than the portrait Madonna has hidden away in her attic.

That said, the re-make promises more muscles than 300 and more garbled dialogue than an episode of The Hills. Perfect! 


Water for Elephants/ The Hangover 2/ X Men: First Class

Do you like circus-centric, romance movies full of poorly pachyderms? If so, you’re in luck because first up this month is stylish rom-com Water For Elephants (May 4).

Water for Elephants is the story of trainee vet Jacob (played Robert “Yes I’m in other films apart from Twilight” Pattinson) who meets and falls in love with Marlena (Reece “I’m surprisingly diverse” Witherspoon), star performer in the circus where he works.

Everything is all hearts and flowers and horse tranquilizers until Jacob realises that Marlene is his evil boss’ wife. Will love triumph? Or will R Patz’s expressionless face drive the audience out of the cinema before the movie reaches it’s climax? There’s only one way to find out!

Next up is The Hangover 2 (May 27). Was there really any need to make a sequel to The Hangover?

I mean, did the first film posit so many intriguing questions that it demanded exposition in the form of another movie?

Anyway, cinema-goers hoping to get their fix of the nerd, the ‘cool’ guy and the creepy sex-attacker-ish fat guy will be well satisfied as the gang once again embark on a night of drinking with hilarious consequences. Well, not hilarious exactly, more extremely repetitive as this film is basically the first one only set in Bangkok. Oh, and there’s a monkey instead of a tiger. And this time the nerd gets a facial tattoo instead of a cracked front tooth. Ingenious!

At least The Hangover 2 effectively replicates the experience of a real hang-over: it’s nauseating, faintly depressing and makes you question the elemental nature of human existence.

Finally this month is the cripplingly disappointing X Men: First Class (May 30), a prequel to the first three movies.

Set during the 1960s against the backdrop of the Cuban missile crisis and the civil rights movement, this is much of the same as before: mutants are persecuted and disdained but a small group nobly band together to save a world that utterly despises them.

Alas, First Class is no X1, X2 or even X3 (which I seem to be alone in considering the greatest of the three). Although the pedigree of the cast is excellent (Jennifer Lawrence, Calab Landry Jones, James McEvoy etc.,) they never seem to come together as a cohesive unit. And despite his acting skill, Michael Fassbender is no Ian McKellan – he conveys the anger of Magneto, but none of the nuance. As a result the film comes out totally…meh.

This is one of those movies that was so sagely-awaited and over-hyped before its release

Disappointment, thy name is X Men: First Class!