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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About - Stephen Romei DS SR

Apoca­lypse is the name of the vile vil­lain, played with phys­i­cal and men­tal men­ace by Os­car Is­sac ( In­side Llewyn Davis). It is worth not­ing the Aus­tralian pres­ence in this Mar­vel Comics block­buster. Kodi Smit-McPhee is ter­rific, glo­ri­ous Rose Byrne re­turns and — in 10 min­utes or so that are alone worth the price of ad­mis­sion — Hugh Jack­man’s Wolver­ine goes berserk. This film has an M-rat­ing but the violence is su­per­hero-movie style rather than hor­ror-story gory and there’s also a lot of hu­mour. The weak­nesses are the shal­low­ness of the con­flict, the one-di­men­sional na­ture of the vil­lains and the sheer cast of char­ac­ters. But over­all it’s an en­joy­able movie about mu­tants in all their mys­tery.

Highly Strung (M) Scott Hicks’s film about the Aus­tralian String Quar­tet and the re­cent cri­sis it went through is well ob­served if a bit dif­fuse. The most in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter is Ade­laide arts pa­tron Ul­rike Klein, whose ded­i­ca­tion to Aus­tralia’s mu­si­cal cul­ture oc­cu­pies a sig­nif­i­cant part of the film.

An­gry Birds (PG) I laughed more dur­ing An­gry Birds than I have at any movie for a while. This film is based on the glob­ally suc­cess­ful Fin­nish smart­phone game that won fans young and old. It’s the first-time fea­ture of di­rec­tors Clay Katis and Fer­gal Reilly, both long-time stu­dio an­i­ma­tors. And that ex­pe­ri­ence shows: the an­i­ma­tion is ex­cel­lent, down to the de­tail of the birds’ feath­ers. The game ba­si­cally in­volved fir­ing birds from a sling­shot to de­mol­ish build­ings oc­cu­pied by pigs. That cer­tainly comes into play in the high-stakes cli­max, but the di­rec­tors and screen­writer Jon Vitti have cre­ated an in­ter­est­ing story first. The ac­tors be­hind the birds are Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride and, in an awe­some bit of cast­ing, a gruffly silent Sean Penn. There are also a few cin­e­matic spoofs for older view­ers, such as a brief riff on Stan­ley Kubrick’s The Shin­ing, but I laughed more at the ju­ve­nile jokes.

Xanadu the Mu­si­cal Some­times all you want is a hit of sugar, an over­load of some­thing that couldn’t be called good for you but pro­vides an in­stant rush of en­ergy. Xanadu prom­ises that. The slen­der sto­ry­line has one of the nine muses, Clio, com­ing to Earth to in­spire frus­trated artist Sonny Malone. Clio dis­guises her­self as Kira, an Aus­tralian (a pleas­ing touch; Olivia New­ton-

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