There’s a prominent poster in the support group scene in “Avengers: Endgame” which poses the question: ‘Where Do We Go Now That They’re Gone?’ and in many ways, that’s the exact question Peter Parker is wrestling with in “Spider-Man: Far From Home”. As he struggles to come to terms with the loss of his mentor … Continue reading After the epic and emotional Endgame, Marvel lightens the mood with N̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶a̶l̶ ̶L̶a̶m̶p̶o̶o̶n̶’̶s̶ Spider-Man’s European Vacation. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Review
“Deep Blue Sea 2” is a movie that poses a lot of questions. Not just the obvious ones like what? or why? But also 'what if the raptors from “Jurassic World” but sharks'? And what led Warner Bros to value this IP so lowly they rented it out for this generic, cheap sharksploitation flick? But … Continue reading Deep Blue Sea 2 (2018) #SharkWeak3🦈 Review
Star names are no rarity when it comes to bad shark movies, but there are two distinct styles the genre adopts. Some, like say Kirsty Swanson in “Swamp Shark” are in the movie for the long haul whereas others, like Michael Madsen in this movie, were obviously filmed in a couple of hours one morning … Continue reading Megalodon (2018) #SharkWeak3🦈 Review
Having consulted Google Maps and confirmed that, yes, a shark in the Ozarks in technically possible, let’s dive head first into not horror fiction, but horror fact as a family vacation to the Ozarks takes a bloodthirsty turn when killer sharks invade the picturesque waterways. “Ozark Shark” doesn’t start well. The initial bloodless shark attacks … Continue reading Ozark Sharks (2016) #SharkWeak3🦈 Review
Many shark movies focus on making the sharks big. Very big. But what happens when you make the sharks really, really, really small? That's the plan behind a government-funded project to develop tiny sharks but when weaponization turns out to be problematic, the project turns to selling them to fill the aquariums of New York’s … Continue reading Piranha Sharks (2016) #SharkWeak3🦈 Review
Behind every terrible shark movie, there is a great shark movie being ruthlessly strip-mined. With “Frenzy” (or “Surrounded” – neither of which adequately describe this cinematic cloud of squaline egesta) that film is “The Shallows”. When a group of ‘extreme adventure travel’ vloggers are stranded by the most unconvincing CGI plane crash you’ll ever have … Continue reading Frenzy (2019) #SharkWeak3🦈 Review
There are great shark movies. And there are bad shark movies. And then there are great bad shark movies. Opening this year’s Shark Weak 3, we take a look at a forthcoming movie that definitely falls into that latter category. Reminiscent of Shark Weak 2’s winner of the coveted and totally not made up ‘Golden … Continue reading Bad CGI Sharks (2019) #SharkWeak3🦈 Review
This week, I was a guest on The Movie Bunker Podcast's Episode 42 - talking about how life, the universe and everything is better for having "Superman III" in it. The Movie Bunker Podcast is a podcast dedicated to reviewing the most critically panned movies. Is there a diamond in the rough? It's unlikely, but … Continue reading The Movie Bunker Podcast: Superman III
“Toy Story”, “Toy Story 2” and “Toy Story 3” remain one of the finest movie trilogies ever brought to life on the big screen. “Toy Story 4”, on the other hand, feels like one of those reunion specials that seem to be so in vogue right now, getting the whole band back together only to … Continue reading For fork’s sake – Toy Story 4 (2019) asks Game Of Thrones to hold its juicebox.
As the dad of a 12-year-old boy who will imminently turn 13, there was an element of “Brightburn” which struck a chord as Tori and Kyle Breyer (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) watch their beloved little dude turn into a sullen, moody and downright malevolent young man almost overnight. Of course, the wrinkle here is … Continue reading Brightburn (2019) brings us Batman’s worst nightmare
For a franchise which has often been plagued with a sense of déjà vu (indeed its first sequel was an almost note for note remake of the first film and its second was themed around the redoing historic events), the most disappointing aspect of “Men In Black: International” is how familiar it all feels, despite … Continue reading Men In Black: International (2019) offers self-neuralyzing entertainment
If you thought Sony’s plan to create a viable cinematic franchise based around a popular recurring villain from another franchise with “Venom” was a bold new idea, then I’m here to exterminate your misconceptions with the news that Amicus tried it decades before. In the early sixties, Amicus’ founders American-born Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg … Continue reading Canon to the left of us, non-canon to the right, here we are stuck in the middle with…Who? Looking back at Peter Cushing’s Amicus Doctor Who for the 2nd Great Hammer-Amicus Blogathon
Unjustly denigrated by fans, unfairly disowned by its creators, “Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom” has long had to fend off more than its fair share of criticism. Now, on its 35th Anniversary, it’s time this neglected middle child of the Indiana Jones saga got the praise it’s due. That rare sequel which doesn’t … Continue reading Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984) deserves far more fortune and glory on its 35th Anniversary
Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten more and more into American Late Night talk shows. Not the vainglorious onanism of James Corden but the biting satire of the more political shows like “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (the host of which cameos as himself in the … Continue reading Late Night (2019) wants you to stay tuned for these important messages.
So influential and so ingrained in movie legend now, it’s hard to remember there was a time before “The Matrix” was a pop culture touchstone. Itself a synthesis of 20th century sci-fi and anime tropes it blended high-minded spirituality with gritty cyberpunk noir and – still – breathtakingly innovative special effects and fight choreography to … Continue reading Take the red pill and revisit The Matrix (1999) on its 20th Anniversary.
To the surprise of literally nobody, rising with an entirely unmerited sense of entitlement from the ashes of “X-Men: Apocalypse”, writer/ director Simon Kinberg has only managed to conjure a turkey from the flames. In the 1990s, the X-Men are enjoying a golden age of public and governmental approval. The President even has a brand … Continue reading X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) offers us the chance to dine on ashes while flipping us the bird.
The most horrifying thing about this lukewarm all-filler, no-killer thriller is how much on-screen talent is wasted in telling its flaccid, predictable and profoundly stupid story. When Maggie (Diana Silvers) is moved back to her mum’s hometown, she’s quick to make new friends and starts hanging out with them outside the local liquor store, hoping … Continue reading Ma (2019) doesn’t need to spike your drink to put you to sleep.
Adorable, authentic and aspirationally acerbic, “Booksmart” is a comic triumph that skewers the high school graduate experience and forms the impudent middle chapter of a loose thematic coming-of-age trilogy which starts with “Eighth Grade” and segues into “Lady Bird”. On the eve of their high school graduation, Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) – … Continue reading P-A-R-T-Y? Because you oughtta! Booksmart (2019) Review
Typical. You wait five years for a monster to show up and then four come at once. Following the events of “Godzilla”, secretive megacryptid management organisation Monarch has been working diligently to discover, catalogue and contain the various Titans which slumber across the globe but when eco-mercenary Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) gains control of the … Continue reading They mostly come out in murky light. Mostly. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019) Review
Today, 31st May 2019, marks the 25th anniversary of the one and only screening of Roger Corman’s infamously unreleased “The Fantastic Four”. Tax write-off? Copyright obligation? Shits ‘n’ giggles? Whatever the reason, this million-dollar movie was apparently never meant to see the light of day, but then again if you want to find it, it’s … Continue reading It’s clobberin’ time for your eyes and ears: celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four (1994)
If you were born between the 1970s and 1990s, it’s almost impossible to imagine a world without “The Muppets”. From “Sesame Street” to “The Muppet Show”, they formed one of the cornerstones of childhood pop culture and while they have endured, they’ve yet to recapture the dizzying heights of their late 1970s/ 1980s dominance. That’s … Continue reading It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights, it’s time to raise the curtain on The Muppet Movie’s 40th Anniversary tonight!
Infamously, in 1993 Marvel signed a deal to produce a movie version of their popular comic characters “The Fantastic Four” and for reasons known only to a few – which this winningly frank documentary sets out to uncover – the decision was made to give the job to well known low-budget producer Roger Corman. While … Continue reading The story behind the story you never got to see…Doomed! The Untold Story Of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four (2015)
“Wonder Park” isn’t short of ambition but all it really ends up proving is that what Pixar do isn’t anywhere near as easy as it looks. When June’s mum falls ill, it seems to spell the end of their imagined theme park, a model of which has taken over their house but when June suddenly … Continue reading Wonder Park (2019) will have you wondering where you parked and whether anyone will notice if you nip back to the car.
Until, at least, “2012” came out, “The Day After Tomorrow” was the undisputed holder of the critical-existential-threat-to-all-life-on-Earth-trivialised-by-hysterical-pseudo-science movie championship (the trophy is enormous) and while it may have added fossil fuel to the fires of ignorance over the conceptual dissonance of global warming and climate change, it also managed to tap into not just environmental … Continue reading Fifteen years ago today, or two days from now, The Day After Tomorrow (2004) was released, which made scheduling this anniversary review somewhat tricky.
Picture the scene: Illumination writing room, circa 2017. Plans are well underway for the TV spinoff of “The Secret Life Of Pets” and the team have broken down around a dozen shorts to fill up the schedules when suddenly the word comes down that the studio have decided they want a theatrical sequel instead. Writer … Continue reading The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (2019) is three Saturday morning cartoons mashed into one.
In terms of what you might be expecting, Disney’s live-action adaptation of their own animated take on Aladdin is much more than a diamond in the rough. Against the odds, and certainly expectations, Guy Ritchie and his likeable and talented cast have managed to deliver a cave of wonders which honours the original classic and … Continue reading A fool off his guard could fall and fall hard for Disney’s surprisingly beguiling Aladdin (2019)
The real genius of “Rocketman”, other than Elton John and Bernie Taupin themselves, is the wonderful narrative conceit of framing the story as a rehab confessional. It allows the makers or this musical fantasy to dive deep into the unreliable narration of a man who may be willing to air the dirty laundry of his … Continue reading And it seems to be, he lived his life burning candles at both ends. Rocketman (2019) Review
In a cinema in the dark there sat a Craggus. Not a nasty, dirty, fleapit cinema, filled with the ends of hotdogs and a sticky floor, nor yet a dry, threadbare cinema with lumpy seats to sit down on or only stale popcorn to eat; it was a multiplex, and that means comfort. What is … Continue reading Two wasted hours about the author of The Two Towers: Tolkien (2019) Review
Elevating high concept to dizzying new heights, director Chad Stahelski returns us to the world of John Wick exactly where he left us last time: having broken the assassins’ creed, Wick (Keanu Reeves) faces excommunication from The High Table, with a bounty large enough to tempt every assassin between New York and Timbuktu to have … Continue reading John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (2019) is the Ming vase of action cinema
Have you seen “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”? If you have, then you’ve pretty much seen “The Hustle”, a good-natured, luxuriously indulgent but unnecessarily faithful remake of the well-liked Steve Martin/ Michael Caine remake of 1964’s “Bedtime Story”. Running out of boob-job funding rubes to fleece in New York, low-level grifter Penny Rust (Rebel Wilson) heads to … Continue reading The Hustle (2019) delivers comedy iron pyrite
When police detective Harry Goodman is apparently killed in a car crash, it's up to his son Tim (Justice Smith) to find out what happened. Luckily, Tim will have the help of his dad’s Pokémon partner, a wise-cracking Pikachu who only Tim can understand. Together, the two best friends find a world they must defend … Continue reading Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) Review
Like its subject, “Vox Lux” is demanding, pretentious and self-congratulatory, although the film takes these traits to the point of cinematic onanism. Occasionally arrestingly shocking, it almost feels like, having grabbed your attention, it doesn’t really know what to do with it beyond hitting you over the head with its achingly obvious allegory for American … Continue reading Vox Lux (2019) kinda sucks.
Long before "Movie 43", there was... “The Kentucky Fried Movie”, a zany, madcap collection of irreverent, puerile and often tasteless skits and sketches from David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker, who would go on to bring us “Airplane!”, “Top Secret” and “The Naked Gun”. It would also launch the career of legendary director John … Continue reading The Kentucky Fried Movie (1979) offers a bargain bucket of bawdy comedy
Heavily leaning into the tone of Netflix’s “Making A Murderer”, Joe Berlinger’s shallow but still absorbing biopic of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy places us firmly into the perspective of Bundy’s long-time girlfriend Liz Kendall (Lily Collins) by using all the tricks and tropes of the ‘innocent man accused’ documentary style to constantly confound the … Continue reading Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile (2019) is extremely well acted but shockingly superficial
Eleven years. Twenty-one movies. All leading up to this. In the wake of Thanos’ victory, the remaining Avengers regroup to figure out how to live up to their name. But there are no easy paths to setting things right and its only through the unexpected return of Ant-Man that an opportunity presents itself – one … Continue reading It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for. Avengers: Endgame (2019) Review
An utterly implausible B-movie thriller transformed into an effective thriller by the power of its cast, “Greta” just wants to be liked and will go to any lengths to do it. When Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) finds an abandoned handbag on the subway, she resolves to return it to its owner, Greta Hideg (Isabelle Huppert) … Continue reading Greta (2019) is a dark urban feminist fairy tale masquerading as a B-movie potboiler.
In the pantheon of superb directorial debuts, you’d be hard pressed to find a more unexpected and delightful entry than “Eighth Grade”. Directed by YouTube comedian Bo Burnham, he has fashioned an achingly authentic, poignant and emotionally resonant coming of age story for the 21st Century, grasping the truth of growing up in the 21st … Continue reading Eighth Grade (2019) will make you remember what it’s like to be 14 again – and very glad you’re not!
When hot-headed young singer Rose-Lynn Harlan (Jessie Buckley) is released from prison, she reluctantly returns to her mother’s house to be reunited with her two young children. Nursing a grudge against the world and a burning ambition to make it as a country singer, she struggles to reconcile her dreams with her reality. It’s a … Continue reading Whether or not you’re a fan of country music, Wild Rose (2019) will work hard to win you over.
Available now on Amazon Prime, “Guava Island”, the latest Childish Gambino project, is a joyous, beautiful, bittersweet gem of a movie, balancing a carefree joie de vivre with a pointed, if slightly heavy-handed, critique of the ultimately self-destructive nature of capitalism thrown in for good measure. Guava Island is a paradise but those who live … Continue reading There may be trouble ahead, but while there’s sunshine and music and love and romance…let’s watch Guava Island (2019) and dance.
Hellboy (2019) is notably the movie Ed Skrein got the best notices of his entire career for – and he’s not actually in it. Unfortunately, it’s probably going to be the only good reviews this botched, bad-faith reboot is likely to get. During the Arthurian age, Nimue the Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) is betrayed just … Continue reading Well I’ll be damned. Hellboy (2019) is a special form of purgatory.
Perfectly charming and, as ever, exquisitely animated, the latest offering from Laika Studios (“Kubo And The Two Strings”, “The Boxtrolls”) is nonetheless feels like the lesser of their efforts so far. While it’s acknowledged inspirations include “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” and the stories of Sherlock Holmes, there’s no escaping it’s an almost complete lift … Continue reading Missing Link (2019) is certainly lacking something.
Handsomely produced and atmospherically shot, this re-adaptation of Stephen King’s powerful exploration of grief serves to underline the key message of the original novel: it’s best to let dead things rest. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), a doctor from Boston, moves to the small town of Ludlow in Maine to enjoy a quieter life and spend … Continue reading Pet Sematary (2019) just goes to show that when it comes to certain stories, sometimes read is better.
Years and years ago, when Mertmas was a newborn, we’d always be on the lookout for something to watch during those early morning feeds. We’re talking way before the advent of on-demand entertainment although we did have Sky+ so we could watch previously recorded stuff but thankfully we didn’t have to. For some reason, the … Continue reading The live action Kim Possible (2019) ends up more two-dimensional than the animated original
BEHOLD! I am the Craggonder and I have scoured time and space to gather together 128 of the finest Super Hero Movies Earth has to offer. Here, in my Battle Blog, they will fight each other until only one emerges triumphant – but which movie that may be...will be up to you! My Super-Movie Secret … Continue reading Behold! The Super-Movie Secret Wars are about to begin!
Starting with arguably one of the darkest openings of any DCEU film to date, it initially looks like “Shazam!” is charting a path back to the bad old grimdark days of the DCEU but, it’s not too long before someone says the magic word and a brilliant bolt of magical lightning illuminates the path to … Continue reading The Shazam! (2019) movie is the Billy Batson of the DCEU
Creepy, disturbing and deliciously, irresistibly open to multiple interpretations, Jordan Peele’s follow up to “Get Out” brings us another mischievously deep dive into the shameful psyche of America with a psychological sci-fi thriller of identity politics through the looking glass. As a young child, Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong'o) wandered away from her parents on the … Continue reading If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make that change. Start with the man in the mirror. Us (2019) Review
There are nice nods to the twee opening of the original “Dumbo” as we’re treated to knowing shots of storks flying across the sky to portend the less romanticised arrival of baby Dumbo but in nodding to the animated classic so soon, this live-action remake tips just how weak its hand is. When circus impresario … Continue reading Dumbo (2019) has a surprisingly metatextual moral for the House of Mouse
The film which saved Disney Animation Studios (it would go on to need saving again, cyclically, in the future) after the unprofitable indulgences of “Fantasia”, “Dumbo” - released in 1941 mere weeks before the United States would find itself dragged into the Second World War – is a charming if slight fable of exceptionalism, a … Continue reading There’s no ignoring this elephant in the room. Dumbo (1941) Review
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