Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2013)

During an anti-terrorist SHIELD mission, Captain America becomes suspicious of the activities of his colleagues and learns that SHIELD is planning an ambitious Project Insight. When Nick Fury is assassinated by The Winter Soldier, Cap quickly finds himself on the run from the authorities and under threat from the very same assassin, a man with … Continue reading Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2013)

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Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Iron Man 3 (2013)

With the USA under siege by a terrorist known as The Mandarin, things get personal for Tony Stark when ‘Happy’ Hogan is injured in one of his bombings. Challenging the terrorists to come and get him, Tony is caught out when they do just that. Cut off and alone with a malfunctioning, prototype suit, Stark … Continue reading Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Iron Man 3 (2013)

Bait (2013) #SharkWeak Review

Well, this is unexpected. Often found lurking in bargain bins or the same ‘you may like’ suggestions as “Sharknado” and “Sharktopus”, “Bait” is actually a pretty decent film. The opening scenes feature a beach that actually looks like a beach (and not a scrubby waterfront). There’s actual cinematography and decent acting. I’m all in on … Continue reading Bait (2013) #SharkWeak Review

My Life In Movies (#ThisIsYourFilm)

So…with it being my birthday, I figured why not do a post around the Twitter hashtag #ThisIsYourFilm where you choose your favourite movie from every year you’ve been alive. Piece of piss, right? Won’t take that long. Oh boy, was I wrong. Even now, as I’m writing this opening preamble, I’m still second-guessing some of … Continue reading My Life In Movies (#ThisIsYourFilm)

Mud (2013) Review

Coming midway through Matthew McConaughey's Acting RenaissanceTM, "Mud" lovingly creates a nostalgic view of the American South, drenched in golden sunset hues. It's a gently paced coming-of-age drama telling the story of two young teenagers, Ellis and Neckbone, from DeWitt, Arkansas who have found a derelict boat stuck halfway up a tree on a small … Continue reading Mud (2013) Review

Skyfall (2012) Review

A major change* occurred in the Bond films when Daniel Craig took over and the impact of that change has been felt more and more in each subsequent film. As of “Casino Royale”, the films were no longer about Bond’s adventures and his mission, they were about Bond himself. Although each film contained the requisite … Continue reading Skyfall (2012) Review

Hit The Road: India (2013) Review

“Hit The Road: India” is a small scale independent travel/ adventure documentary chronicling the experiences of two friends, Richard Gazarian and Keith King as they participate in the Mumbai Xpress, a 12 day, 1,200 mile rickshaw race across India from Mumbai to Chennai. We’re introduced to Richard, our main narrator and ‘star’ (also an Executive … Continue reading Hit The Road: India (2013) Review

Blue Is The Warmest Colour (2013) Review

Blue may be the warmest colour, but the prurient gossip and rumour-mongering circulating the making of Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palm D’Or-winning movie has generated heat enough to obscure the truth of the film itself. But if you dismiss the salacious tabloid indignation and the leering, sensationalist headline-grabbing subject matter you’ll discover a work which is, at … Continue reading Blue Is The Warmest Colour (2013) Review

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014) Review

I’m not a fan of the growing trend for artificially prolonging a franchise by splitting the last instalment into two parts. There are reasons why trilogies evolved as a dominant storytelling structure rather than tetralogies, even though tetralogy sounds a lot cooler. The “Harry Potter” franchise just about got away with it (thanks to the source … Continue reading The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014) Review

21 & Over (2013) Review

Given writer/ directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore both wrote "The Hangover", it's easy to see "21 & Over" as the warmed-up leftovers from that idea given a teen-friendly topping and served up as a new "American Pie". When Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller) reunite to celebrate their old school friend Jeff Chang … Continue reading 21 & Over (2013) Review

Beautiful Creatures (2013) Review

After the dull and muddled disappointment of “The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones”, I was a bit reluctant to continue catching up with all the ‘young adult’ adaptations vying to be the next “Twilight”. Thankfully, “Beautiful Creatures” is quite a different beast: a kind of easy going, down-home, selectively antebellum gothic love story. In the … Continue reading Beautiful Creatures (2013) Review

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (2013) Review

Despite some handsome production values, and a game cast doing their best, it's hard to escape the conclusion that "The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones" is little more than derivative, uninspired fan fiction crammed with so much supernatural and romantic wish fulfilment that at times I felt I was watching 'Fifty Shades Of Octarine'. When … Continue reading The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (2013) Review

Not Another Happy Ending (2013) Review

After “Doctor Who”, but before “Oculus”, Karen Gillan appeared in this modest, modern yet old fashioned romantic comedy about a novelist, her publisher and her screenwriter boyfriend. Although it didn’t really get a wide cinema release it’s available to rent or buy on DVD now. When a small publishing house run by French editor Tom … Continue reading Not Another Happy Ending (2013) Review

Snowpiercer (2013) Review

Infamously the best film that hasn’t had a proper worldwide release yet, Bong Joon-ho’s English language debut “Snowpiercer” has been a hit in his native South Korea and France and is well worth seeking out as and when it gets released wherever you are. Adapted from a French graphic novel, “Snowpiercer” is set in the … Continue reading Snowpiercer (2013) Review

Escape From Tomorrow (2013) Review

Filmed in black and white, with a deliriously off-kilter ambience, "Escape From Tomorrow" feels like a long lost episode of "The Twilight Zone" or "The Outer Limits", suppressed for years by Disney and only now coming to light. It tells the story of Jim White (Roy Abramsohn), a middle-aged father of two who learns he … Continue reading Escape From Tomorrow (2013) Review

2 Guns (2013) Review

Despite its very modern sensibilities and a tightly woven plot which piles double-cross upon double-cross in an accelerating game of bait and switch, there's something refreshingly old-school about "2 Guns". There's an easy chemistry between lead actors Denzel Washington and Mark Walberg which powers this lean action comedy and keeps it motoring along through its … Continue reading 2 Guns (2013) Review

Diana (2013) Review

There’s nothing in this flat, uninspired biopic which will change your opinion on the late Diana, Princess of Wales whatever it was: either a precious, much wronged saintly victim of a callous and cruel establishment or an arch-manipulator, all too aware of and willing to use the vast, unquestioning affection she commanded. This overly soapy film … Continue reading Diana (2013) Review

The Conspiracy (2013) Review

Conspiracy theories are strange beasts; intoxicatingly convoluted and designed expressly to explain events and phenomena which appear mysterious, secretive or exclusive. The conspiracy theorists’ need to believe in a hidden system of powerful interests controlling and manipulating everything behind the scenes shares belies a fundamental need to believe that there is something more at play … Continue reading The Conspiracy (2013) Review

47 Ronin (2013) Review

It’s hard to write a review for a mediocre film. Neither particularly good nor particularly bad, the lack of distinguishing features makes it hard to find a hook to hang the write-up on. Great films are easier, because the passion and enthusiasm they provoke make you want to share everything you loved about the experience. … Continue reading 47 Ronin (2013) Review

Craggus’ Trek Trek – Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Review

Now, I've already reviewed “Star Trek Into Darkness” but that review was written in the rosy afterglow of binging on the special effects and grand 3D IMAX spectacle of it all. It occurred to me a few days later that the plot didn't make a lick of sense and far from learning from his missteps … Continue reading Craggus’ Trek Trek – Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Review

R.I.P.D. (2013) Review

What to do you get if you cross “Ghostbusters” with “Men In Black” and add just a dash of “Ghost”? Well, you get the unholy mishmash of a movie that is “R.I.P.D.”. When crooked cop Nick Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) is double crossed and shot by his partner (Kevin Bacon) after they steal some gold discovered … Continue reading R.I.P.D. (2013) Review

Odd Thomas (2013) Review

  Adapted from a novel by Dean Koontz, “Odd Thomas” is a breezy action horror movie that plays out like the kid from “The Sixth Sense” grew up and grew a spine. As the film’s tagline goes: ‘I see dead people, but then, by God, I do something about it’. Part ‘Ghost Whisperer’, part ‘Equalizer’, … Continue reading Odd Thomas (2013) Review

Dom Hemingway (2013) Review

"Dom Hemingway" is a film which struggles to live up to the promise of its blisteringly funny, aggressive and chaotic trailer. It suggests a cracking, foul-mouthed crime caper with Jude Law having an absolute blast as crazy, charismatic hot shot safecracker Dom Hemingway while Richard E Grant oozes haughty insouciance as his loyal sidekick Dickie Black. Looking stylistically … Continue reading Dom Hemingway (2013) Review

Turbo (2013) Review

"Turbo" is the latest animated features to show that it’s not enough to have a cute and clever concept and a great voice cast if you haven’t really got a good story to hang the whole thing on. It starts brightly enough, with Theo the snail (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) dreaming of being the fastest … Continue reading Turbo (2013) Review

One Chance (2013) Review

"Once Chance" is a Simon Cowell production. Like all Simon Cowell productions, it’s superficial, sentimental and predictable. Not content with ramming contestants’ sob stories down his dwindling viewership's throat, he's branched out into the ‘sob story: the movie' business. Now, not only will he manipulate the public into supporting and voting for his pre-selected winner, … Continue reading One Chance (2013) Review

Drinking Buddies (2013) Review

"Drinking Buddies" is a modest slice-of-life indie film that boasts a disproportionately starry cast and may draw in more than a few people expecting big laughs and high concept comedy. However, this largely improvised story of the life and loves of a pair of brewery workers and their partners is unlikely to do more than … Continue reading Drinking Buddies (2013) Review

The Heat (2013) Review

Looking at the ingredients, "The Heat" looks like a recipe for success. It has a talented cast, a good director and a unique selling point. Its unfortunate, then, that the execution fails to make the most of the resources available and ends up flat, irritating and occasionally boring. The plot deals with uptight, by-the-book FBI … Continue reading The Heat (2013) Review

Bad Milo! (2013) Review

This comedy horror about one man fighting his inner demons takes the metaphor quite literally while elevating toilet humour to a different level. Ken Marino plays Duncan, a stressed out accountant at an investment firm run by sleazy bully Phil (Patrick Warburton, for once playing against his usual simple buffoon type) who lives with his … Continue reading Bad Milo! (2013) Review

Safety Not Guaranteed (2013) Review

In the September 1997 issue of Backwoods Home magazine, a publication aimed at rural California, a mysterious classified ad appeared in the 'Wanted' section: Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box XXXX. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. … Continue reading Safety Not Guaranteed (2013) Review

Escape From Planet Earth (2013) Review

It’s taken just over a year for “Escape From Planet Earth” to open in the UK after its debut in the USA but has it been worth the wait? It’s the first theatrical release from Canadian animation outfit Rainmaker Entertainment, the studio behind “Beast Wars: Transformers” and those interminable straight to DVD “Barbie” movies. The … Continue reading Escape From Planet Earth (2013) Review

Trance (2013) Review

"Trance" is an edgy, complex and stylish psychological thriller with a twisty turny plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Or at least it wants to be, and you know what? I think we should let it, because it tries so very, very hard. So hard. Starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel … Continue reading Trance (2013) Review

A Haunted House (2013) Review

I've a real soft spot for spoof and parody movies. I enjoy the idea of taking movies, which I love and am passionate about, and holding them up to a fun house mirror to magnify and tweak their foibles.  I'm always willing to give them a shot whether they're works of genius ("Airplane!", "The Naked … Continue reading A Haunted House (2013) Review

The Last Stand (2013) Review

There’s something reassuringly retro about Arnie’s comeback film, his first starring role since 2003’s forgettable “Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines”. “The Last Stand” goes right back to basics, with Arnie playing a small town sheriff whose sleepy little community just happens to be on the escape route being used by an escaped drug dealer … Continue reading The Last Stand (2013) Review

Her (2013) Review

Set in the near-future, from the first moments of "Her" it's clear that two significant changes have occurred in society. The first is that the much anticipated Singularity has occurred and the second is that Simon Cowell has won the argument over the height of trouser waistbands. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a writer going … Continue reading Her (2013) Review

12 Years A Slave (2013) Review

The fact this is a true story is heart-breaking and horrifying. As American cinema continues its raw and painfully cathartic recognition of the nation's past, in "12 Years A Slave" it has produced its most unrelenting, brutal and uncompromising pieces of cinema yet. Gone is the scholarly detachment of "Lincoln", the polemic hypocrisy of "The … Continue reading 12 Years A Slave (2013) Review

You’re Next (2013) Review

I’ve a confession to make: sometimes I can be a bit of a wuss when it comes to horror films. It all stems from a time when I was 12 years old and my cousins decided it would be fun to show me the original “A Nightmare On Elm Street”. I spent that night sleeping … Continue reading You’re Next (2013) Review

After Earth (2013) Review

I’ve previously suggested that 2013 was a pretty good year for sci-fi, but it wasn’t all Romulan Ale & Triffids (okay, you come up with a better sci-fi version of wine & roses). In amongst all the good stuff, we also got this indulgent, ill-conceived monstrosity: a testament to ego and self-indulgence starring Jaden Smith, … Continue reading After Earth (2013) Review

Toy Story Of Terror (2013) Review

Released on DVD to coincide with the half term holidays and exclusive to Sainsbury’s, Pixar’s 2013 animated short “Toy Story Of Terror” reunites Buzz, Woody, Jessie and the rest of Bonnie’s toys for a spooky and well observed pastiche of horror movies in general and slasher movies in particular. The plot itself is a mix … Continue reading Toy Story Of Terror (2013) Review

Europa Report (2013) Review

2013 was a pretty good year for proper, grown-up sci-fi. In amongst the blockbusters and true stories, we were treated to the astonishing “Gravity” and the faithfully-made but underperforming “Ender’s Game”. Overlooked in all the folly and grandeur of a great cinematic year was a little gem of a movie called “Europa Report”. A smart, … Continue reading Europa Report (2013) Review

John Dies At The End (2013) Review

The word ‘unfilmable’ is a bit of a cliché when it comes to describing novels being adapted into movies. David Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’ was thought to be unfilmable, although I thought the Wachowskis did a pretty good job; “Ender’s Game” was also described by its author Orson Scott Card as unfilmable (although I wouldn’t recommend … Continue reading John Dies At The End (2013) Review

About Time (2013) Review

"About Time" isn't quite your typical Richard Curtis fare - it feels a little different from "Notting Hill", "Love, Actually" and "Four Weddings And A Funeral". It's more a romantic fantasy than a comedy and although some of the Curtis archetypes are present - kooky vulnerable sibling, curmudgeonly morose cynic, quirky bumbling relative - they're … Continue reading About Time (2013) Review

We’re The Millers (2013) Review

“We’re The Millers” is an old fashioned road movie with a liberal sprinkling of modern comedy sensibilities. For a film so prominently featuring drugs, sex and money it’s actually quite sweet and innocent. Yes, there are risqué moments and a few coarse jokes, but it’s pretty vanilla when it comes to really pushing boundaries although … Continue reading We’re The Millers (2013) Review

Big Ass Spider! (2013) Review

“American Hustle”, “Captain Phillips”, “The Wolf Of Wall Street”, “Dallas Buyers Club”; I’ve watched many fine movies recently. Important, critically acclaimed, superbly acted and stylishly directed movies. I’ve been dining on the cinematic equivalent of chateaubriand in Béarnaise sauce. The trouble is, no matter how succulent that steak may be, sometimes you just really, really … Continue reading Big Ass Spider! (2013) Review

Dallas Buyers Club (2013) Review

Is there any other actor who has achieved the kind of credibility comeback that Matthew McConaughey has in the past couple of years? Okay, maybe Ben Affleck, but he had to step behind the camera to do it and the recent "Batman" furore shows that while he’s carved out a respected reputation as a director … Continue reading Dallas Buyers Club (2013) Review

The Butler (2013) Review

For some reason, despite my not infrequent visits to the cinema, I’ve no recollection of ever seeing a trailer for “The Butler” and as a result, my expectations were formed mainly by the poster and the few snippets of information I’d been unable to avoid (I was particularly intrigued by the idea of Alan Rickman … Continue reading The Butler (2013) Review

Grudge Match (2013) Review

“Grudge Match” is pretty much the film you probably think it is. If you approach it with that in mind, the chances are you’ll have a good time with it. More of a comedy drama than the out and out comedy the trailers suggest, it’s a solidly put together but gentle exploration of aging, regret … Continue reading Grudge Match (2013) Review

Lovelace (2013) Review

The film “Deep Throat” came out before I was born but it’s still the origin of the phrase I knew first. Before I’d heard of the Watergate Scandal and way before “The X Files”, I knew of its existence as a porno movie. I’d probably heard of it before I really understood what a porno … Continue reading Lovelace (2013) Review

Red 2 (2013) Review

With a likeable veteran cast, “Red” was something of a pleasant surprise when it was released in 2010. Like a more refined version of “The Expendables”, it brought together a classy group of actors to kick butt in a lightweight, fun and action packed spy caper involving the obligatory high level conspiracies and long buried … Continue reading Red 2 (2013) Review

The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013) Review

"The Wolf Of Wall Street" is a big, ballsy movie. It's loud, brash and gets right in your face. It's obscene, profane and gratuitous in every possible way and might just be the best film I've seen in the past twelve months. Incredibly, it's based on a true story: the memoirs of the real Jordan … Continue reading The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013) Review

Captain Phillips (2013) Review

When I first saw a trailer for “Captain Phillips”, I wasn’t bowled over. I only had a passing familiarity with the real events the film was based on, and the lacklustre title combined with an underwhelming trailer gave me the impression of a Discovery Channel special with talking heads and stagey reconstructions, stretching out thirty … Continue reading Captain Phillips (2013) Review