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  • Review: 'Tracers' is a welcome change from the usual action movie

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    Cam (Taylor Lautner). (Shaw Organisation)

    Marcus Goh is a former Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He Tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes at marcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own.

    Secret ending? No.

    Running time: 94 minutes (~1.5 hours)

    "Tracers" is an action movie about the adventures of a parkour practitioner who finds himself embroiled in a sinister plot involving a skilled free running group in New York. The title is derived from the word "traceur", which is used to refer to a parkour practitioner. It stars Taylor Lautner (Cam), Marie Avgeropoulos (Nikki), and Adam Rayner (Miller).

    As far as action movies go, “Tracers” delivers, satisfying with action scenes that aren’t the run-of-the-mill combat stunts or fierce shootouts. It doesn’t veer into violent territory to impress, but relies firmly on human athleticism and grace to create its action. The stunts are a welcome change from the usual

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  • Review: "Focus" lacks focus

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    Nicky (Will Smith) and Jess (Margot Robbie). (Warner Bros Pictures)

    Marcus Goh is a former Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He Tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes at marcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own. 

    Secret ending? No.

    Running time: 104 minutes (~ 2 hours)

    "Focus" is a romantic comedy that also falls partially in the heist film genre. It centres around the exploits and relationship of a pair of con artists. It stars Will Smith (Nicky Spurgeon), Margot Robbie (Jess Barrett), and Adrian Martinez (Farhad).

    "Focus" is one of those movies that have you wondering why it was made in the first place. It doesn’t provide you with any fresh insights, it tells a dull and slow story, and it only serves to make its leads look like flawless deities. You might as well spend your time watching a fashion show - at least you’d have a better chance of watching something realistic there.

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    Jess meets up with Farhad

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  • Review: 'Dragon Blade' is awkward but strangely satisfying

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    Lucius (John Cusack) battles Hoi An (Jackie Chan). (Encore Films)

    Marcus Goh is a former Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He tweets/Instagrams atOptimarcus and writes at marcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own.

    Secret ending? No.

    Running time: 127 minutes (~2 hours)

    “Dragon Blade” is an action movie, inspired by ostensibly historical events. It follows the adventures of Silk Road protector Hoi An and his friendship with Roman General Lucius. It stars Jackie Chan (Hoi An), John Cusack (Lucius), Adrien Brody (Tiberius), Choi Si Won (Yin Po), Mika Wang (Xiuqing), and Lin Peng (Cold Moon).

    "Dragon Blade" is an interesting foray into bilingual movies - you need to truly understand both English and Mandarin to fully appreciate what’s going in the film. "Dragon Blade" does provide subtitles, but there are just too many of them at times, being both in English and Chinese. It still has its roots in Asian

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    Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). (Universal Pictures)  

    Marcus Goh is a former Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He Tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes at marcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own.

    Secret ending? No.

    Running time: 125 minutes (~2 hours)

    "Fifty Shades of Grey" (or 50 Shades of Grey) is a romantic drama that is an adaptation of the novel of the same name. It centres around the sadomasochistic relationship between two young lovers. It stars Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele), Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey), Eloise Mumford (Kate Kavanagh), Luke Grimes (Elliot Grey), and Rita Ora (Mia Grey). It is rated R21.

    "Fifty Shades of Grey" is one of the most anticipated movies for 2015, mainly due to the already legendary reputation of the book. It’s got good production values and adapts to the film medium fairly well, but whether the core story stands is

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  • Review: 'Black Sea' is a thrilling exploration of humanity and the sea

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    Robinson (Jude Law). (Shaw Organisation)

    Marcus Goh is a former Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes atmarcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own.

    Secret ending? No.

    Running time: 115 minutes (~2 hours)

    "Black Sea" is an underwater thriller that revolves around a submarine captain who goes on a quest for sunken treasure. But what is ostensibly a straightforward salvage mission turns out to be a far more dangerous trip than anyone can imagine. It stars Jude Law (Robinson), Scoot McNairy (Daniels), and Ben Mendelsohn (Fraser).

    "Black Sea" is not just a surprisingly good film, it could very well be one of the best films of the year. It gives us intense conflicts with physical and moral treasure hanging in the balance, and is grounded in fundamental human emotions. "Black Sea" shows us the worst that humanity has to offer, but contrasts it with the best traits of the

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  • Review: 'Shaun the Sheep Movie' will have kids and adults laughing

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    Shaun (Justin Fletcher) leads the sheep as they abscond with a sleeping Farmer (John Sparkles). (Shaw Organisation)

    Marcus Goh is a former Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes at marcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own. 

    Secret ending? Sort of. Stay till the end to find out!

    Running time: 85 minutes (~1.5 hours)

    "Shaun the Sheep Movie" is an animated feature film based on the popular "Shaun the Sheep" cartoon series. It follows the adventures of the partially shorn sheep Shaun, as he embarks on a quest to rescue the Farmer from the Big City. It stars Justin Fletcher (Shaun the Sheep), John Sparkles (Bitzer, Farmer), and Omid Djalili (Trumper).

    "Shaun the Sheep" has virtually no dialogue (just some grunts and singing, but you wouldn’t consider that dialogue now, would you?) but still manages to tell a touching and convincing story. That’s some pretty strong

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  • Review: 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' is nostalgic spy fun

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    Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and Eggsy (Taron Egerton) enter their base. (Twentieth Century Fox)

    Marcus Goh is a former Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He Tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes at marcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own.

    Secret ending? No, but there’s a mid-credits scene.

    Running time: 129 minutes (~2.25 hours)

    “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is an action comedy that revolves around the exploits of the secret spy organisation known as the Kingsmen, and their efforts to foil a wealthy megalomaniac’s schemes. It boasts an impressive cast list of Colin Firth (Harry Hart), Taron Egerton (Gary “Eggsy” Unwin), Samuel L. Jackson (Richmond Valentine), Mark Strong (Merlin), Michael Caine (Chester King), and Sophie Cookson (Roxy). It is rated M18.

    "Kingsman: The Secret Service" is a nostalgic throwback to the Sean Connery era of James Bond films, what with its larger-than-iife plots and

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  • Review: 'Still Alice' provides strong emotional resonance

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    Alice Howland (Julianne Moore). (Golden Village Pictures)

    Marcus Goh is a former Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes atmarcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own. 

    Secret ending? No.

    Running time: 101 minutes (~1.75 hours)

    "Still Alice" is a dramatic film that is an adaptation of the novel of the same name. It follows Alice, an ambitious and successful linguistics professor, as she develops Alzheimer’s disease and struggles to hold on to her life, as everything collapses around her. It stars Julianne Moore (Alice Howland), Alec Baldwin (John Howland), Kristen Stewart (Lydia Howland), and Kate Bosworth (Anna Howland-Jones).

    To be honest, I entered “Still Alice” expecting a dry, artsy chick flick, only to find that it was actually a pretty fast-paced story filled with many genuine, relatable moments. It’s a touching tale that’s supported by an amazing cast that

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  • Review: 'Jupiter Ascending' lets you down terribly

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    Caine Wise (Channing Tatum). (Golden Village Pictures)

    Marcus Goh is a former Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He tweets/Instagrams atOptimarcus and writes atmarcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own. 

    Secret ending? No.

    Running time: 127 minutes (~2 hours)

    "Jupiter Ascending" is a science fiction film about how a seemingly ordinary Earth woman is drawn into a raging war of inheritance between three feuding alien heirs. It stars Mila Kunis (Jupiter Jones), Channing Tatum (Caine Wise), Eddie Redmayne (Balem Abrasax), Douglas Booth (Titus Abrasax), Sean Benn (Stinger Apini), and Tuppence Middleton (Kalique Abrasax).

    "Jupiter Ascending" seems to have everything going for it — an interesting concept, excellent effects, and a strong team helming the project. Unfortunately, it falls short in the most important aspect of all — the story — and this results in a colossal mess of a film.

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    Jupiter Jones (Mila

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  • Review: 'A Most Violent Year' is intense and thought-provoking

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    Jessica Chastain is Anna Morales. (Shaw Organisation)

    Marcus Goh is a former Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes at marcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own. 

    Secret ending? No.

    Running time: 125 minutes (~2 hours)

    "A Most Violent Year" is a gangster film about the life of oil company owner and immigrant Abel Morales as he tries to keep his company afloat amidst crime, criminal charges, and the treacherous streets of New York in the 1980s. It stars Oscar Isaac (Abel Morales) and Jessica Chastain (Anna Morales).

    It’s difficult to pin down the genre that “A Most Violent Year” falls in - while there are elements of crime, it’s hardly enough to qualify it as a crime show. The tension isn’t high enough to make it a thriller, but it most definitely has enough twists and turns to be a drama. What does it impart is a sense of of the honourable gangster, which in turn

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