With the game itself fading from the zeitgeist at an ever-increasing rate, this somewhat unexpected sequel to 2016’s first movie sees the Angry Birds launch their bid for cultural immortality by trying to grow beyond its limited roots. As Red and Leonard the pig trade blows in an ongoing prank war, they are unaware of … Continue reading Birds of a feather flop together? Not quite: The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) Review
When 15-year-old Cassandra (Alexa Mechling) awakens to find herself on display in a casket under the vigil of her elder sister Clara (Ava Psoras) in their home. As a weak Cassandra tries to communicate her desperate attempts to be seen and heard are perceived as terrifying supernatural occurrences by her sister, forcing her to consider … Continue reading Occurrence at Mills Creek (2019) Short Film Review
The original run of the “Horrible Histories” TV series was one of those lightning-in-a-bottle shows, a perfect match between writing and casts and while this big-screen spin-off unfortunately doesn’t have any of the series main cast, it does manage to get closer to the anarchic edutainment fun of its roots than any other project has … Continue reading Veni, vidi, risi: Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans (2019) Review
Reassuringly hagiographic for baby boomer Beatles fans, Richard Curtis’ latest rom-com is a slight musical fantasy that succeeds thanks to the warmth and likeability of its leads. Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a struggling musician who’s just about ready to call time on his ambitions when he’s involved in an accident during a mysterious worldwide … Continue reading Yesterday (2019) will make all your troubles seem so far away for a couple of hours at most
There’s something giddily pure about Gurinder Chadha’s “Blinded by the Light,” a coming-of-age story about a young Pakistani Muslim boy growing up in late eighties Luton. With the country experiencing the economic and social turmoil of Thatcherism, Javed (Viveik Kalra) and his family must endure not only financial hardship but the hostility and bigotry of … Continue reading Javed learns to live with what he can’t rise above in Springsteen-powered musical dramedy Blinded By The Light (2019)
There’s probably a very good reason William Shakespeare didn’t turn to the flora and fauna of Africa when originally staging “Hamlet” and my money is on the inability of big cats to emote properly because that’s one of the biggest problems with this ‘live-action’ Lion King has. Oh, it's still a great story, competently told … Continue reading Disney’s reanimated version of The Lion King is Hakuna Meh-tata
Although it opens like “America’s Next Top Model: The Movie”, Luc Besson’s latest action-fest plays out more like a poor carbon copy of last year’s “Red Sparrow”. It’s certainly more fun than “Red Sparrow”, but that’s not a particularly high bar to clear. Anna (Sasha Luss) is a KGB honey trap agent working in Paris … Continue reading Luc Besson’s lacklustre spy thriller Anna (2019) offers little more than a vanilla Villanelle knockoff
In following up on “Hereditary”, Ari Aster’s sophomore effort “Midsommer” was almost predestined to become the latest yardstick by which that most rarefied strata of cinephiles would embrace to prove their bona fides. A pity, then that he has delivered a glacial two-and-a-half-hour Instagram filter with ill-founded pretentions of psychological profundity. A group of friends … Continue reading Ari Aster’s Swedish folk horror Midsommar (2019) combines the existential terror of a trip to IKEA with the crushing tedium of a trip to IKEA
I’m not the biggest fan of zombie films, especially when they’re by-the-numbers brain-eating gore-fests, or tired re-treads of ‘humanity is the real monster’ trope (looking at you, “The Walking Dead”) so I’m pleased to say that Jim Jarmusch has avoided all of those tired clichés with his trademark mischievous wit. As the end of the … Continue reading The Dead Don’t Die (2019) brings us the most laid back end of the world ever.
There’re so many problematic aspects to “The Queen’s Corgi” it’s kind of baffling it ever made it to cinema screens. A cute cartoon fable about the Queen’s beloved pets may seem like a slam-dunk for the Saturday kid’s club crowd and, if you’re determined to see it, it’s definitely worth waiting for it to reach … Continue reading The Queen’s Corgi (2019) Review
After the copy and paste approach to an underwhelming second season of the Duffer Brothers 80s sci-fi homage, a new tactic was desperately required to freshen up Netflix’s major USP to prevent stagnation. The good news is that the show’s creators haven’t rested on their laurels and delved into their magical sack of science fiction … Continue reading ʍǝıʌǝᴚ 3 uosɐǝS sƃuıɥ⊥ ɹǝƃuɐɹʇS
The Queen’s Corgi is a story about a little Corgi called Rex who lives at Buckingham Palace. The movie isn’t very good but Rex is very cute. Rex gets into trouble and then gets sent to a Dog Pound! In the Pound, he meets other dogs and there is a mean dog called Tyson who … Continue reading The 6 Year Old Review – The Queen’s Corgi
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
I’ve always had an odd kind of relationship with stage musicals because, like a baby bird hatching from its egg, I tend to imprint on the first version I see or hear and then never really get on with other versions. This is especially true when I’ve seen the film first and then see a … Continue reading Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at The London Palladium 2019 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
In 1961 Joseph Heller published a book that became the satirical bible for all armed forces regarding the futility of war and the rules applied to it. Over the years many studios have attempted and failed to adapt this previously ‘unfilmable’ novel. In 1970 a mediocre version was released but it took a further 49 … Continue reading AssHat discovers that if he requests a break from reviewing TV, that’s all the proof I need that he’s fit to keep going so here’s his take on George Clooney’s Catch-22
“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
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.
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
“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.
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.
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!
A couple of years ago, a Twitter #ThisIsYourFilm was making the rounds where you had to choose your favourite movie from every year you’ve been alive. Well, it's come back round again so here, revised and updated, are my favourite movies from every year I've been alive. At least it’s still favourite movies and not … Continue reading Favourite Films From Every Year Of My Life (Revised And Updated)
*SPOILERS*Having teased action in the previous two episodes, showrunner Alex Kurtzman finally blows his load (and his special effects budget and, later, his remaining credibility) on an impossibly messy, Jackson Pollock-esque space battle and gratuitous hand to hand combat scenes in a frantic attempt to cover for the fact that very little actually happens in … Continue reading With an abundance of sound and fury, Such Sweet Sorrow Part II confirms that Star Trek: Discovery is a tale told by idiots. S2E14 Review
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.
*SPOILERS* The ultimate artifice of the showrunners is revealed when yet another of the Short Treks is referenced, this time, somewhat disingenuously, as part of the ‘Previously’ montage. It does all point quite obviously to the explanation why Discovery, its technology and activity has never been referenced in the rest of Trek and also raises … Continue reading Star Trek: Discovery reminds us time is the fire in which we Burnham. S2E13 Such Sweet Sorrow review
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
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
*SPOILERS* Kicking off what seems to be a loose three-part season finale, we start with a new episode of Michael Burnham’s ‘My Two Moms’ before we plunge right into the action and by action, I mean a meeting. Having decided not to join Georgiou in hunting for Ctrl+Alt-Leland, the crew of Discovery have turned their … Continue reading Yea, though I sat Through The Valley Of Shadows, I will hear no more of time crystals: for thou art peak Discovery; thy plot and thy writing staff they discomfit me. Star Trek: Discovery S2E12 Review
With their recent public ‘conscious uncoupling’ from Marvel, Netflix has had to use search for different source material to satisfy the public’s current thirst for superhero stories and characters. Their first attempt comes from former Good Charlotte emo goth leader Gerard Way in the form of “The Umbrella Academy”. On October 1st 1989, 43 women … Continue reading Ass-Hat enrols at The Umbrella Academy for Season 1
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