Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Film Bites: Is Drive the best movie of the year?

Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan star in Drive. Photo / Supplied
Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan star in Drive. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand filmgoers get a chance to check out one of the year's most hyped films this weekend when Drive hits cinemas.

Starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, Drive is a stylised and slow-burning thriller that follows a stunt man who also doubles as a getaway driver for the mafia.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn is already winning accolades for his film, winning the best director award at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Read's four-star review here and check out the film's 79 per cent approval rating on Metacritic here.

Check out the trailer for Drive:

When it comes to shapeshifters, nothing can top John Carpenter's 1982 The Thing - a movie that terrorised audiences thanks to its disgustingly vile alien lead that could take on any human form it chose.

The 2011 follow-up is actually a prequel to Carpenter's classic, and follows a group of scientists to Antarctica where they uncover alien beings encased in ice. Predictably, all hell breaks loose when they start running tests on the corpses.

Reviews for The Thing haven't been great, with the New Orleans Times-Picayune calling it "derivative" and The Miami Herald saying, "stick with the genuine 1982 article and skip this elaborate act of mimicry".

The Thing stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Eric Christian Olsen, Joel Edgerton and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.

Check out the trailer for The Thing:

If you're hanging out to wear some giant black frames for a 3D film, there's always Marcus Nispel's new take on Conan the Barbarian.

The reincarnation of the Arnie classic, with hulking giant Jason Momoa in the lead, has had a troubled history on its way to the big screen and, unfortunately, the results haven't been worth the wait with just a 36 per cent approval rating on Metacritic.

"The few good elements are dwarfed by a generic, nonsensical plot and shoddy storytelling," said Reelviews reviewer James Berardinelli.

You have been warned.

Check out the trailer for Conan the Barbarian:

If that's too much masculine aggression for you, Sarah Jessica Parker has a new romantic comedy out.

Parker plays Kate, a frenetic working mum in I Don't Know How She Does It who is trying to keep her career on track while accommodating the demands of her husband and young family. Then Pierce Brosnan shows up.

Based on the book of the same name, you pretty much know what you're getting with I Don't Know How She Does It and the poor reviews reflect this fact.

"Occasionally veers so far into absurdity that it manages to make its central character look like a nitwit," says the Boston Globe's Hayley Kaufman.

In other words, avoid at all costs.

Check out the trailer for I Don't Know How She Does It:

Helen Mirren's spy thriller The Debt has fared far better with the critics, thanks to her portrayal of former Mossad agent Rachel Singer, who's secret mission to bring a notorious Nazi war criminal to trial is now the stuff of legend.

"Bristling with dangers both corporeal and cerebral, The Debt is a superbly crafted espionage thriller packed with Israeli-Nazi score settling," said Los Angeles Times reviewer Betsy Sharkey.

The Debt is based on the film Ha-Hov by Assaf Bernstein and Ido Rosenblum.

Check out the reviews here.

Check out the trailer for The Debt:

Other films released this week include Shakespearean drama Anonymous, which could make a good double bill when paired with Henry VIII (Shakespeare's Globe).

And if you're an Andrew Lloyd Webber fan, Phantom of the Opera: 25th Anniversary is a must-see.

- Herald online

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