Relentlessly charming, funny and constantly surprising, “Dave Made A Maze” mixes comedy, horror and fantasy for a richly rewarding, stylistic treat. Dave, an artist who has yet to complete anything significant in his career, builds a cardboard box fort in his living room while his girlfriend is out and finds himself trapped within it. Despite … Continue reading Bill Watterson boxes clever with quirky comedy horror Dave Made A Maze (2019)
A notoriously chaotic and troubled production – not that that distinguishes it particularly in Gilliam’s oeuvre – “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” saw the idiosyncratic director coming off the back of a bitter but ultimately successful battle with Universal over the release and distribution of his previous film, “Brazil”. Once again, he found himself at … Continue reading There’s no proxy for how much I love The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen (1989) 30th Anniversary Review
Pity poor Marvel. Their greatest enemy isn’t Thanos, or the Red Skull, or Loki. It’s not even the whiny bitter minority who somehow take offence at the very idea of a female superhero, or at least one that hasn’t been Zack Synder-approved. No, their mortal foe is Kano and with every passing movie, his model … Continue reading Oh Captain! My Captain? Marvel’s Cinematic Universe re-begins in Captain Marvel (2019)
In a world of ever-increasing mining of existing properties for prequels and spin-offs, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine someone would set out to make a whole movie about the opening sequence of “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier”. Of course, that was fantasy and “Free Solo” is reality and although the climbing … Continue reading The best view comes after the hardest climb. Free Solo (2019) Review
Lightweight, superficial and oddly unfocused, this biopic of celebrated Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg might qualify as a legal brief but it fails to assemble a substantive case despite the abundance of available evidence. The film charts her rise from freshman law student at Yale, through her professorship and advocacy up to her pivotal … Continue reading On The Basis Of Sex (2019) fails to make its case
There’s a gently subversive streak to Netflix’s latest ‘original’ offering “Isn’t It Romantic” as it sets out to undermine the worn-out romcom tropes while simultaneously adhering to the framework of the genre in this bright and breezy comedy that reunites Rebel Wilson and Adam Devine after “Pitch Perfect 3” cruelly tore them apart. Having had … Continue reading Isn’t It Romantic (2019)? Yep, it’s also pretty damn funny.
Hardly the frozen “Taken” we were promised by the marketing, this remake of the director’s own 2014 film "Kraftidioten" has moments of sublime black humour but is too disjointed, derivative and haphazard to do justice to its cast or premise. Hard-working snowplough driver Nels Coxman (Neeson) is a pillar of the community of Rocky Mountain … Continue reading Cold Pursuit (2019) isn’t worth following
Long before John Keating inspired a wave of desk mounting defiance, another teacher was sticking it to the system and drawing their pupils into a beguiling and bewitching cult of personality. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, let’s go back to when a free-thinking, free-spirited and, admittedly, worryingly pro-fascist Miss Jean Brodie was in her … Continue reading There’s no school like this old school. The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) 50th Anniversary Review
Planting its tongue firmly in cheek, the sequel to 2017’s delightfully peppy “Happy Death Day” takes the timey-wimey slasher story and gives it a decidedly sci-fi twist that sees it play out like an over-caffeinated mash-up of “Back To The Future Part II” and “Russian Doll”. Finding himself trapped in a time loop on Tuesday … Continue reading Happy Death Day 2 U (2019) brings us a happy return to the big screen for Jessica Rothe
Opening with exactly the same set-up and opening thematic point as “Justice League”, Joe Cornish takes the idea of a country and a world which has lost hope and, with a keen eye for contemporary resonance, weaves a wonderfully affirmative and inspirational tale from the ancient cloth of legend and the modern social fabric of … Continue reading The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) pulls contemporary adventure from the stone of legend.
Posted as part of Realweegiemidget's Adoring Angela Lansbury Blogathon Far better than the “Mary Poppins”-lite it’s often dismissed as, “Bedknobs And Broomsticks” takes the more famous nanny’s Disnified spoonful of sugar and stirs it into a shot of absinthe before knocking it back in one go and heading off to war. A curious and yet … Continue reading There’s no substitutiary for Angela Lansbury when it comes to giving Bedknobs And Broomsticks (1971) its locomotion!
Coming off the back of the Oscar-winning “Moonlight”, director Barry Jenkins returns to the big screen with his adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel “If Beale Street Could Talk”. In 1970's Harlem, Tish (Kiki Layne) is in love with a young sculptor, Fonny (Stephen James), the father of her unborn child. When Fonny is falsely accused … Continue reading If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) conveys its most powerful messages without using words
Powered by a heartfelt and deeply human central performance from Melissa McCarthy and enlivened by a gregariously louche turn from Richard E Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” delivers a plaintive plea for clemency on behalf the embittered, the flawed and the dismissed. There’s not much about author Lee Israel (McCarthy). She’s stubborn, cantankerous and … Continue reading Accept no substitutes. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2019) is the real deal.
Continuing the irreverent, pop-culture saturated craziness of the first movie, Emmet, Wildstyle and all your favourites from “The Lego Movie” are back picking up mere moments from the end of the first movie as the Duplo aliens attack. With the previously harmonious world of Bricksburg transformed into the post-apocalyptic wasteland Apocalypseburg by the repeated invasions … Continue reading Not everything about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) is awesome but, as the movie itself is at pains to point out, that’s okay too.
Knowing nothing of the original Manga on which it’s based (the closest I can claim is that I quite enjoy the 2009 animated movie “Astro Boy”, which shares a surprising amount of story with this film), “Alita: Battle Angel” still held a strong appeal thanks to the names behind and in front of the camera. … Continue reading Alita: Battle Angel (2019) slices, dices and occasionally surprises.
There’s a laziness to “Escape Room” that’s hard to shake off. From its cookie-cutter characters to its predictable checkbox approach to disposing of its cast, it can’t seem to find the will to try and differentiate itself from its obvious influences. When six strangers receive mysterious invitations to participate in an Escape Room, they quickly … Continue reading Escape Room (2019) will have you searching for the nearest exit too.
Delivering a satisfying conclusion to one of cinema's most touching and genuine friendships, “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” sees Hiccup and Toothless take their place alongside Buzz & Woody at the pinnacle of animated movie history. As Hiccup nears achieving his dream of a peaceful dragon and Viking utopia, he realises that … Continue reading The How To Train Your Dragon trilogy soars to a triumphant close with The Hidden World
It’s someone disingenuous for something this uninspired to proclaim it's ‘inspired by a true story’ but that doesn’t seem to discourage notorious empty chair haranguer Clint Eastwood from making a film for reactionary old men who like to yell at clouds. It’s a wannabe “Sicario – The Greatest Generation”, or the demographic antithesis of “Black … Continue reading The law may be an ass, but The Mule (2019) is a real donkey.
*SPOILERS* Closer in tone and intent to “Unbreakable” than its immediate predecessor “Split”, “Glass” sees filmmaker M Night Shyamalan returning to the world of comic book super heroics, not to homage or reimagine them, but to deconstruct them - especially their latest cinematic incarnations. With The Beast/ The Horde/ Kevin Wendell Crumb (McAvoy) still on … Continue reading Glass (2019) sets out to shatter the superhero paradigm.
What if “The Happening” but actually, you know, pretty good? That seems to be the starting point for “Bird Box”, an apocalyptic horror from producer/ star Sandra Bullock and director Susanne Bier, adapted from Josh Malerman’s novel by screenwriter Eric Heisserer (“Arrival”, “Lights Out”). When a malevolent force manifests on Earth, it causes a wave … Continue reading It’s the blind leading the blind in Netflix’s post-partum apocalypse thriller Bird Box (2018) Review
In taking on the story of Dick Cheney, the apparently unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider turned Vice Presidential master of the universe, Adam McKay seeks to shed light on the breathtaking constitutional chicanery which saw the executive branch of the American government vastly increase its own power whilst at the same time enormously enriching those in … Continue reading Christian Bale piles on the pounds for Adam McKay’s The Waist Wing. Vice (2019) Review
Focussing in on the twilight of their illustrious careers, “Stan & Ollie” pays tribute to the beloved entertainers by taking an affectionate and bittersweet look behind the scenes at their last great collaboration: a music hall tour of the UK while trying to pull together one last motion picture deal. With the collective baggage of … Continue reading Coogan & Reilly disappear into Laurel & Hardy in the gentle biopic Stan & Ollie (2019)
Jason Reitman’s dull but dutiful checkbox biopic rakes over the long-dead ashes of the run-up to the 1988 US Presidential election but fails to find anything to really say beyond a milquetoast critique of the current personality politics which dominates American public life. Charting the rise and fall of charismatic Colorado Senator Gary Hart (Hugh … Continue reading The Front Runner (2019) stumbles right out of the gate.
Taking a few liberties with the Libertine life and times of celebrated French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, “Colette” is a sumptuous and sensual but occasionally aimless and indulgent biopic that’s perhaps a little too interested in signposting the contemporary resonances than in providing a wider historical context to its subject’s life. After marrying the famous Parisian … Continue reading Colette (2019) sees Keira Knightly ghostwriting for Willy while enjoying fanny by gaslight.
Move over Bess (and, I suspect, pre-emptive apologies to Margot Robbie) there’s a new award-baiting Queen on the block: oft-overlooked 18th Century sovereign Queen Anne. England, 1708. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) occupies the throne, disinterested in matters of state and instead consumed by her various ailments and an ongoing quest for distraction and … Continue reading Yorgos Lanthimos brings a sense of Blackadder to the big screen in sumptuous art house comedy The Favourite (2019)
Inspired by the true story of Mark Hogancamp who, having suffered a horrific attack, finds solace and support in an elaborate fantasy art installation, Robert Zemeckis sets out to convey a poignant story of the healing power of art and the dangers of the artist becoming too enraptured by the art itself but never once … Continue reading Zemeckis’ real life toy story lacks buzz. Welcome To Marwen (2018) Review
The 1988 Michael Caine/ Ben Kingsley movie “Without A Clue” asked what would happen if Holmes was actually an idiot and Dr Watson was the genius but "Holmes & Watson" dares to ask what if they were both imbeciles, in a crass and witless farce? The answer is excrementary, my dear reader. When the trial … Continue reading Holmes & Watson (2018) Review
Assembled more like one of Disney’s current ‘live action’ adaptations of their animated back catalogue than a genuine sequel to the 1964 original, “Mary Poppins Returns” brings back cinema’s premiere Nanny to answer another Banks crisis. In Depression-era London, a now-grown Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael Banks (Ben Wishaw), along with Michael’s three children, face … Continue reading Mary Poppins Returns (2018) is an exercise in Lucasian poetry
It may seem something of an oxymoron, but “Bumblebee” is a genuinely good “Transformers” film. Now, I’m happy to admit I’m heavily biased, having grown up loving and watching and reading the Gen 1 toys, cartoon and Marvel comic series but my tinted glasses just make the rosy nostalgia of “Bumblebee” even rosier. With the … Continue reading Bumblebee (2018) Review
As Netflix continues to make its big push to become the new Hallmark, a slew of cookie-cutter Christmas movies have started appearing on the streaming network. “The Princess Switch” takes the well-worn tale of “The Prince And The Pauper” and dusts it with the seasonal covering of icing sugar in the form of a fictional … Continue reading The Princess Switch (2018) Review
Imagine, ten years ago, if someone had told you the future of the DC cinematic universe would rest on the shoulders of…Aquaman. Yeah, that Aquaman, the character who had only really made it into pop culture consciousness as a fish-wrangling joke. Fresh from the, if not triumph, then at least plummet-arresting crunching gear change of … Continue reading Aquaman (2018) Review
Three years after his noble loss to Ricky Conlan in “Creed”, Adonis Creed (Michael B Jordan) has put together a string of victories and defeats Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler (Andre Ward) to win the WBC World Heavyweight Championship. Engaged to be married, everything looks rosy for the new world champion until, that is, his father’s legacy … Continue reading Creed II (2018) boxes clever but it’s clear the franchise won’t make a 10 count…
Bringing the multiverse to your friendly neighbourhood multiplex, Sony have finally captured lightning in a bottle for the second time and created a great Spider-Man movie. With (literally) dazzling animation, a breezy and effervescent story and engaging character work, “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” delivers the first evidence that, with the right talent behind the camera, … Continue reading Spider-Man: Into The Spider-verse (2018) Review
Despite an impeccable cast and an intriguing premise, “Mortal Engines” looks likely to follow in the tracks of “His Dark Materials” adaptation “The Golden Compass” and fail to thrive in the cinematic environment. It’s a shame, too, but it underlines the difficulties faced when adapting epic fantasy book series to the cinema, especially in the … Continue reading Cinema continues to be barren ground for the seeding of new franchises. Mortal Engines (2018) Review
Boots Riley’s absurdist, pitch-black satire may just end up becoming one of the most important and resonant films of our time. Not because its concerned particularly with the topical venality of Trumpism and the ongoing corruption of western political discourse but because it looks beyond these deplorable but ultimately transient phases at the bigger societal … Continue reading Sorry To Bother You (2018) Review
Unnecessary? Yes. Historically inaccurate? Ridiculously so. Fun? Absolutely, you miserable bunch. 2018’s “Robin Hood” sets out to put a modern #OccupySherwood spin on the age-old tale of the redistribution of medieval wealth and taken on its own bonkers terms, there’s a lot of fun to have with this bombastic fast and feudal adventure yarn. Sent … Continue reading Robin Hood (2018) Review
You may think it’s a bit too early for a “Ready Player One” remake but Disney certainly don’t as they blend that movie’s exploitative nostalgia with a shameless approach to product placement so cynical, it would make “The Emoji Movie” blush. When Ralph (John C Reilly) accidentally breaks an important part of ‘Sugar Rush’, the … Continue reading Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018) Review
Opening with a somewhat harrowing sequence showing the arrival and separation of a father and son pair of illegal immigrants – unhinted at by the happy-clappy trailers – “Nativity Rocks!” quickly settles down into the twee, ramshackle charm of a school nativity play given big-screen licence we’ve come to expect from the franchise. While the … Continue reading Nativity Rocks! (2018) Review
It takes nerve and vision to remake something as cinematically revered as “Suspiria” so there’s no doubting director Luca Guadagnino’s ambition and confidence. In reimagining the sacred, Guadagnino manages to take the bones of the original and reshape them into something disturbingly new and yet primally familiar. A darkness lurks at the heart of the … Continue reading Suspiria (2018) Review
From the Bond-esque opening credits, it’s clear this soft reboot of the Millennium series is aiming for a more action-packed and adventurous take on the adventures of Lisbeth Salander than its beautiful but glacial predecessor. Contracted to steal the unstealable from the American Government, Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) finds herself caught up in an international … Continue reading The Girl In The Spider’s Web (2018) Review
Nerve-shreddingly tense, atmospheric and exquisitely crafted, “Possum” is an artisanal horror movie, the craft of both cast and crew shining through in every detail. When a disgraced children’s puppeteer is forced to return to his childhood home, he must confront his wicked stepfather and the secrets which have haunted his entire life, personified by his … Continue reading Possum (2018) Review
A screeching, graphic howl of incendiary exasperation, “Assassination Nation” adds its voice to the growing chorus of furious condemnation of a society dominated by toxic masculinity, religious hypocrisy and venal depravity overseen by the ever-present spectre of a pussy-grabbing enabler-in-chief, showing in no uncertain terms what will happen when pussy grabs back. The town of … Continue reading Assassination Nation (2018) Review
There’s a touch of vanity to the new Wizarding World logo which follows the Warner Bros shield at the start of “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Gindelwald”, equal in hubris if not in ironic overconfidence to the unveiling (and shuttering) of Universal’s Dark Universe at the star of “The Mummy”. The mission is clear: expand … Continue reading Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald (2018) Review
With the pedigree of talent behind and in front of the camera, you’d be forgiven for expecting “Widows” to be something very special. And you’d be right, too. Director Steve McQueen, sharing screenwriting duties with Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”) in adapting a 1983 British TV series by Lynda La Plante, creates a polished, compellingly multi-layered … Continue reading Widows (2018) Review
Posted as part of Moon In Gemini's 'The Greatest Film I’ve Never Seen Blogathon'. I’ve been meaning to watch “Young Frankenstein” for years. When I was younger - and more foolish – I think I was put off by the fact it was in black and white. Given how much I loved “Blazing Saddles”, “To … Continue reading Young Frankenstein (1974) Review
Twenty years before “Black Panther”, Marvel partnered with New Line to release a black-led superhero movie which would see them help kick-start the current superhero boom as well as changing the course of their movie adaptations to that point. Born as his mother was dying from a vampire attack, Blade (Wesley Snipes) possesses all of … Continue reading Blade (1998) 20th Anniversary Review
It’s been a quarter of a century since “Demolition Man” first blew us on screen, licking our ass and matching our meet with its blend of high-octane action and surprisingly prescient sci-fi. With only 14 years to go until Simon Phoenix and John Spartan are thawed out, it’s time to celebrate the movies 25th anniversary, … Continue reading Demolition Man (1993) 25th Anniversary Review
Prematurely Christmassy – and I don’t mean that in a Grinchy way – Illumination’s take on “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” is as warm and sweet and comforting as a hot mug of cocoa that’s mostly marshmallow. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it definitely feels like this is a movie that will find … Continue reading The Grinch (2018) Review