Divergent

This film brought home the point to me that flaws in print are more easily overlooked visually, providing that the look of the movie is well-conceptualised and put together.

Concepts that make little sense – dividing people based on a single quality (I mean, really?) – are easier to digest with good costuming and excellent sets. The fact that you only have to suspend your incredulity for 139 minutes also helps.

If you’re unaware of the Veronica Roth book this movie is based on, Divergent is yet another young adult dystopian future action-cum-romance story.

Heroine Beatrice “Tris” Prior’s (Shailene Woodley) “failure” in her aptitude test marks her as a dangerous Divergent within a society that requires strict conformity.

Already having such a huge secret, she then spurns her birth faction of Abnegation (i.e. selflessness) to join the brave protectors, Dauntless. There, she faces many physical challenges, and exchanges many confused looks with her hot instructor, Four (Theo James).

And of course, there’s an evil villain aiming to take over the entire society in the shape of Kate Winslet’s Jeanine Matthews (of Erudite, i.e. brainiacs).

Overall, an entertaining watch, although some may find it a bit long. Tan Shiow Chin (3/5 stars)

Magical Sisters Yoyo & Nene

You know you are in for a treat when the first thing you see is a huge pink monster that shoots jets of blue from its mouth. Then a girl with green hair zooms past on her broom, leaving purple in her wake.

The trippy descent into the human world that comes next should leave no doubt that this is going to be one colourful anime. The story revolves around two sisters who work as “cursers” (despite how it sounds, they are the good guys) in a fantasy world where magic is common. Chaos erupts when a huge tree springs out of the ground with skyscrapers from another world tangled in its branches.

The green-haired girl ventures into this giant tree to investigate and is transported into the world of humans (a one-way ticket, gasp!). Horror of horrors, she discovers that there’s something changing people into little monster blobs.

The absurdities and wild rides come hard and fast in this feel-good movie that is rounded out quite nicely with a happy tune or two, a cat with a rotating head, and walking on rainbows. Rouwen Lin (3/5 stars)

Mr Peabody & Sherman

You know it’s a story when a dog adopts a boy, even if said dog is a Nobel Prize-winning, genius gourmand Olympic medallist.

Mr Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) has been educating adopted son Sherman (Max Charles) through his time-travel machine, the Wabac (pronounced way-back).

But at seven years of age, it’s time for Sherman to start school. Like many cinematic nerds, it doesn’t take him long to make an enemy, Penny Peterson (Ariel Winters), and get into trouble.

When Mr Peabody invites the Petersons home in an attempt to smooth things over, Sherman manages to lose Penny in ancient Egypt after revealing the Wabac to her. A series of unfortunate incidents, which include side trips to Leonardo da Vinci’s (Stanley Tucci) workshop and the battle of Troy, causes a rip in the space-time continuum, which only our intrepid duo can resolve.

Fast-paced enough for today’s easily-distracted young ones, this movie is great edutainment. Adults will also find the many puns hilarious. Definitely an excellent option for a family outing. TSC (4/5 stars)

Tarzan

My issue with Tarzan isn’t that the plot is riddled with clichés (it is), or that the animation is at times painfully plastic (it is), or even that the character development is virtually non-existent.

The problem I have with this movie is that it should have never been shown on the silver screen at all. Cinemagoers have a certain level of expectation for the price of a ticket, after all.

Here’s the thing: Tarzan isn’t entirely bad. Specific scenes look realistic enough for it to be mistaken for a DreamWorks production, but the quality control is so inconsistent that whatever good bits there are, get drowned out by the bad. Clarissa Say (1/5 stars)