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Next Goal Wins, Pompeii, Tarzan

Next Goal Wins tells the story of the football team from American Samoa and their campaign to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. They were at one time ranked lower than any other national team and their best claim to fame is that they were beaten 31-0 by Australia in a previous qualifying tournament in 2001. 

Next Goal Wins  

Rating 8½/10  15  98 mins

Next Goal Wins tells the story of the football team from American Samoa and their campaign to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. They were at one time ranked lower than any other national team and their best claim to fame is that they were beaten 31-0 by Australia in a previous qualifying tournament in 2001. Their story could have been treated like Cool Runnings – the story of the Jamaican bobsleigh team which entered the 1988 Winter Olympic Games – but this story isn’t played for laughs. Instead we are treated with a quite moving story of small successes and personal development. On of the most interesting aspects is that America Samoa is the first team to include a transgender player, Jaiyah Saelua, in a World Cup game. She was arguably the team’s best player and although, in her own words, she runs like a girl, she tackles like Roy Keane. Documentaries are rarely box office hits, but this one is well worth a look.

Pompeii 

Rating 7½/10  12A  104 mins

Pompeii tells the story of Milo, a gladiator (Kit Harington) drawn from a tribe of Celts who is taken from Londinium to Pompeii where he falls in love with the daughter (Emily Browning) of a local dignitary. Things take a turn when a Roman senator (Keifer Sutherland) and his sidekick arrive in town where they are recognised by Milo as the murderers of his mother when Milo was a child. Pompeii  shares something in common with Titanic in that you pretty much know what its going to happen in the end, but like Titanic you don’t necessarily know what will happen to each character. At times, the viewer could find themselves wondering who amongst the cast might escape the molten lava, because there is little here that is new. The gladiator scenes are not a patch on Gladiator and volcano eruptions have been done better too.

Tarzan 

Rating 7½/10  PG  99 mins

This is a new animated spin on an old story. The key components - Tarzan, the boy brought up in the jungle and Jane, his love interest - are all here and there is even a reference to Greystoke – Tarzan’s family name. As this is the 21st century, we have a plot that involves an evil multi-national pillaging the jungle, but other than that it’s pretty much Tarzan. The animation focuses on Tarzan’s balletic movements through the trees and realistic portrayal of the jungle animals. This is no Jungle Book. A worthy effort, but it’s hard to see adults enjoying it as there are a distinct lack of the jokes that are usually included to keep the grown-ups happy and, while older children might be a little bored, small children might be a little scared by some of the man-on-monkey violence.

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