A dark and profoundly bleak fairy tale set in the slums of modern-day Mexico, director Issa López deftly weaves together fantasy, horror and a merciless realism to create “Tigers Are Not Afraid”, a tragic yet beautiful story of lost innocence as five homeless orphans survive on the cartel war-torn streets. Estrella (Paola Lara) is at school … Continue reading Tigers Are Not Afraid (2019) is a horror movie of a very different stripe.
Disney’s Descendants movies are big deals in the Craggus household, at least in the under-10 demographic where this latest instalment has been awaited with an eagerness that was only surpassed by me in relation to “Avengers: Endgame”. And like that ultimate crossover, “Descendants 3” sees heroes and villains old and new come together to face … Continue reading Beneath its autotuned bubblegum pop Suicide Squad aesthetic, Disney’s Descendants 3 (2019) is packing a surprisingly pointed critique of Trump era politics
We’ve had the Joker as a cackling crook, cooking up deliciously devious heists. We’ve had the Joker as a gangland mob boss trying to take over Gotham City. We’ve had the Joker as an anarchist and most recently as a sadist with poor impulse control when it comes to tattoos. But now, for the bleakest … Continue reading Joker (2019) is a tale told by a clown shoe Scorsese, full of ‘A Society’ and furious viral marketing, signifying nothing.
As the members of a wealthy and powerful family gather at their stately home to celebrate the wedding of their firstborn son, bride Grace (Samara Weaving) is nervous about her new family accepting her. With the wedding service behind her, there’s only one more thing to attend to: a quaint family tradition of choosing a … Continue reading Wow! The Downton Abbey spin-off movie was way edgier than I expected. Ready Or Not (2019) Review
We all remember how exciting it was when you got to visit your mum and dad at work, right? James Gray’s thoughtful, introspective and quietly engrossing sci-fi meditation “Ad Astra” sets out to explore the bond between father and son when stretched onto an inhumanly cosmic scale. When a mysterious pulse from the edge of … Continue reading Ad Astra (2019) elevates ‘Take Your Kids To Work Day’ to a cosmic scale.
Adapted from the DC Vertigo comic book series, The Kitchen is unlikely to be the gritty, grounded comic book adaptation everyone is going to be talking about this year but at least nobody is getting all histrionic about the possibility of downtrodden housewives rising up and taking over their husbands’ businesses after seeing this movie. … Continue reading If you couldn’t stand The Heat, you probably won’t like The Kitchen (2019)
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Rambo - number five One, two, three, four, five If you harm Rambo’s niece you won’t stay alive When the drug lords come from south the border They think they can take John Rambo But ain’t ready for the slaughter Living life on a quiet farm Rambo makes sure his … Continue reading With apologies to Lou Bega…Ladies & Gentlemen, this is Rambo Number Five.
Inspiringly based on a true story, “Hustlers” gives us a sobering glimpse into the hideously entitled world of the so-called masters of the universe whose unbridled greed crippled the global economy a decade ago and whose actions still reverberate to this day. Writer/ Director Lorene Scafaria adapts New York Magazine’s article ‘The Hustlers at Scores’ … Continue reading Hustlers (2019) shows the so-called wolves of Wall Street as the mangy mutts they really are.
Exploring the ramifications of the fateful decision made by Maisie at the end of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, the new short film “Battle At Big Rock” from director Colin Trevorrow looks to whet the appetite for the forthcoming third instalment of the “Jurassic World” series and, at just over eight minutes packs in enough tension, … Continue reading Jurassic World: Battle At Big Rock (2019) will make you hunger for the third movie…
Twenty-seven years since they first faced off and defeated Pennywise, things are getting bad in Derry again and Mike decides the time has come to call the Losers back home, to come together and fulfil their vow. An advantage the 1990 adaptation had over the modern remake is that it was conceived and commissioned as … Continue reading It Chapter Two (2019) fails to pop and leaves me feeling a little deflated
Knowing very little of the original property, I didn’t know what to expect going in to “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark”. What I got was a competently made and good looking anthology film where the framing narrative – an interesting idea in itself – is constantly interrupted by the need to service fans … Continue reading Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (2019) is a bland, timid entry suitable perhaps for patients recovering from surgery.
There’s been a bit of Helen Lovejoy handwringing about the appropriateness of using young actors to anchor a crude adult-orientated comedy but while the language certainly isn’t entirely suitable for its young cast to watch, there’s nothing in the movie itself – swear words included – your average 12 year old hasn’t heard or used … Continue reading Good Boys (2019) isn’t nearly as transgressive as it wants to make out, but is still plenty funny
As the third movie in the franchise, there was a specific burden on “Angel Has Fallen” to whit it’s a franchise tiebreaker. Mike Banning’s strike rate was balanced on a knife-edge: on one side, the solidly entertaining “Olympus Has Fallen”. On the other, the egregious shit show that is “London Has Fallen”. Good news, then, … Continue reading Surely they can’t think the Butler did it? Angel Has Fallen (2019)
A little bit of “Toy Story”, a little bit of “Monsters Inc” and a whole lot of cynical box-ticking does not an animated classic make. In the adorable fabric world of Uglyville, the Moxy (Kelly Clarkson) yearns for the day when she will be chosen by a child of her very own to be loved … Continue reading UglyDolls (2019) ain’t got no alibi.
It’s said that the easiest way to tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile is whether you see them later or in a while. This may not help with multiplex-friendly monster movie “Crawl” though, because shortly after the headline critters make their literally scenery-chewing debut, they then abruptly disappear from the movie for … Continue reading What a croc! Crawl (2019) tries to run before it can walk.
Having successfully reinvented and reinvigorated itself, the “Fast & Furious” franchise seemed to be an unstoppable juggernaut, with even the tragic loss of one of its founding cast members failing to rob it of any momentum. A pity, then, that the one thing the franchise seemed unable to overcome was the competing egos of its … Continue reading Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) proves that Johnson and Statham can drive schtick
The Canadian stand-up comic Norm Macdonald tells long, densely packed, rambling stories that are liberally spotted with moments of surreal humour, bizarre non-sequiturs, killer mid-story punchlines and pitch-black darkness. One of his most famous gags goes something like this (not verbatim and much abridged, you understand, I’m just trying to give you a flavour): A moth walks into a podiatrist’s office and the podiatrist asks, “What seems to be the matter?” The moth replies, “Aww, man I’m not sure where to start, uh, I go to work for Gregory Illynovich and, honestly doc, I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore. I’m not sure even Gregory Illynovich knows what I’m doing, all he knows is that he has power over me and that seems to bring him happiness. I go home and climb into bed and there’s this old woman laying next to me and I think back to a…
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To paraphrase The Lego Batman Movie: Death…all great children’s stories start with death, or seem to. In the case of The Playmobil Movie, it’s the parents on the chopping block as they’re offed (offscreen) within the first ten minutes to clear the way for Marla (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her younger brother Charlie (Gabriel Bateman) to … Continue reading Go figure: Playmobil: The Movie (2019) toys with some good ideas but they don’t play out.
New from the creative minds (Seth Rogen and Garth Ennis) that adapted the dark, barbaric and satirical comic book "Preacher" for Amazon comes another bleak, cynical and darkly humourous tale in "The Boys". Based in a universe where superheroes walk amongst us, a sub-set of which are known as "The Seven" and are managed by … Continue reading AssHat finds himself in the danger zone of giving a perfect score after playing with The Boys (2019)
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