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
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
*SPOILERS*After the tawdry torture porn of last week's denouement, we open with a flashback to Burnham’s happy childhood where this exceptionally gifted and inquisitive child was apparently completely oblivious to her parents’ line of work in their secret laboratory home. But it turns out it’s only a near-death experience for Burnham as she wakes in … Continue reading Mum’s the word on a tautologically titled episode of Star Trek: Discovery. S2E11 Perpetual Infinity Review
*SPOILERS* The episode opens with the funeral of cybernetically enhanced Lieutenant Airiam, which means that the crew did nothing at all to try to save her once she had been blown out of the airlock. Instead, in a collective attempt to exorcise any guilt over their inaction, we’re treated to not one but many eulogies … Continue reading It’s more meddling and a funeral as Star Trek: Discovery reveals the identity of The Red Angel (S2E10) 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)
*SPOILERS* It's action stations on this week's "Star Trek: Discovery" as the crew prove their fugitive bona fides by immediately contacting a Starfleet Admiral and inviting her to their hiding place. Fortunately, it's our old friend - and notoriously bad decision maker - Admiral Cornwell, who brings news of a sort of Section 31 sponsored … Continue reading Let’s all meet up with Trek’s Hal-9000, won’t it be strange when a background character’s gone? Star Trek: Discovery S2E09: Project Daedalus 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)
*SPOILERS* It’s a cute touch with this week’s ‘Previously On...’ recap which takes us back to the pilot and delivers the ultimate Trek re-cap from the very beginning. But before we get too nostalgic, we cut to our modern Pike and it’s impressive just how un-jarring the transition is. Anson Mount really is doing terrific … Continue reading If Memory Serves, I first suggested who the Red Angel could be last week, now I’m pretty sure I know. Star Trek: Discovery S2E08 Review
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
*SPOILERS* With confirmation the red angel is a ‘man in a suit’ from the future, there’s a renewed impetus to find Spock so Burnham requests permission to head to Vulcan because she believes her mother may know where Spock is. Meanwhile, the Discovery is tasked with remaining in orbit around Kaminar – not, as you … Continue reading Star Trek: Discovery S2E07 – Light And Shadows involves a space/ time anomaly which transports some of season one’s bad writing into the present day.
*SPOILER* Despite the Admiralty-mandated joinging of forces, there’s a distinct lack of urgency to the search for Spock in this episode. Instead, we’re treated to the origin story of Saru as the first Kaminarian superhero; their Daredevil: the Kelpian without fear. With Saru pondering what the loss of his threat ganglia means for him and … Continue reading That ominous rumbling in the distance is some of Star Trek: Discovery’s bad habits rolling back into town. The Sounds Of Thunder (S2E06) 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.
For many years Netflix has desperately sought out a “kooky” dark comedy that is smarter than the sum of its parts and with “Russian Doll” the company has finally succeeded. Created by the exceptionally talented duo of Amy Poehler and Natasha Lyonne, who also stars as the show’s main protagonist; Nadia Vulvokov, comes a tale … Continue reading AssHat is happy to collude with Netflix for repeated viewings of Russian Doll
*SPOILER* Picking up where we left off last week, the episode opens with Burnham doing her best Tom Cruise impression, sprinting down to the lab after learning that Tilly is missing, presumed mushroomed (but not, hopefully, in a “Hannibal – ‘Amuse-Bouche’” sort of way). Despite one of their shipmates being up shiitake creek without a … Continue reading Just when you thought there wasn’t mushroom for more drama on Star Trek: Discovery, the Saints Of Imperfection (S2E05) come marching in!
With our current appetite for true crime documentaries set to ravenous, the chefs at Netflix have served up another mouthwatering main course with "Murder Mountain". This six-part 40-something minute episode documentary charts the rise and fall of the illegal weed farming community of Humboldt County Northern California from its meteoric rise from a hippy commune … Continue reading It’s ‘peak’ AssHat as he returns with a review of Netflix’s Murder Mountain
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