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.
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)
“Evil Aliens” is something of a Ronseal movie: it does exactly what it says on the tin. A gleefully grisly grindhouse indie sci-fi horror movie, it’s a shlockfest that revels in its sophomoric humour and vulgar splatter-movie aesthetic. Heavily – and obviously – influenced by Peter Jackson’s “Braindead” and Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead”, it … Continue reading Evil Aliens (2006) invades your eyeballs with shock and gore!
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
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 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
“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.
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
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.
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.
*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
*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.
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
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* 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
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
*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.
Continuing the irreverent, pop-culture saturated craziness of the first movie, Emmet, Wildstyle and all your favourites from “The Lego Movie” are back picking up mere moments from the end of the first movie as the Duplo aliens attack. With the previously harmonious world of Bricksburg transformed into the post-apocalyptic wasteland Apocalypseburg by the repeated invasions … Continue reading Not everything about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) is awesome but, as the movie itself is at pains to point out, that’s okay too.
*SPOILER* You’d be forgiven for wincing as this week’s episode begins because it brings back those pointy-clothed buzzkills from season one, the Klingons. Although it’s immediately apparent that something’s different. They’re more mobile, for one, and certainly more hirsute. And while they’re still speaking Klingon, it’s less stilted and Shakespearean now but they’re probably just … Continue reading It’s the return of the braidy bunch as the Klingons finally let their hair down on Star Trek: Discovery. (S2E03) Point Of Light Review
What if “The Happening” but actually, you know, pretty good? That seems to be the starting point for “Bird Box”, an apocalyptic horror from producer/ star Sandra Bullock and director Susanne Bier, adapted from Josh Malerman’s novel by screenwriter Eric Heisserer (“Arrival”, “Lights Out”). When a malevolent force manifests on Earth, it causes a wave … Continue reading It’s the blind leading the blind in Netflix’s post-partum apocalypse thriller Bird Box (2018) Review
Focussing in on the twilight of their illustrious careers, “Stan & Ollie” pays tribute to the beloved entertainers by taking an affectionate and bittersweet look behind the scenes at their last great collaboration: a music hall tour of the UK while trying to pull together one last motion picture deal. With the collective baggage of … Continue reading Coogan & Reilly disappear into Laurel & Hardy in the gentle biopic Stan & Ollie (2019)
Inspired by the true story of Mark Hogancamp who, having suffered a horrific attack, finds solace and support in an elaborate fantasy art installation, Robert Zemeckis sets out to convey a poignant story of the healing power of art and the dangers of the artist becoming too enraptured by the art itself but never once … Continue reading Zemeckis’ real life toy story lacks buzz. Welcome To Marwen (2018) Review
As Netflix continues to make its big push to become the new Hallmark, a slew of cookie-cutter Christmas movies have started appearing on the streaming network. “The Princess Switch” takes the well-worn tale of “The Prince And The Pauper” and dusts it with the seasonal covering of icing sugar in the form of a fictional … Continue reading The Princess Switch (2018) Review
Imagine, ten years ago, if someone had told you the future of the DC cinematic universe would rest on the shoulders of…Aquaman. Yeah, that Aquaman, the character who had only really made it into pop culture consciousness as a fish-wrangling joke. Fresh from the, if not triumph, then at least plummet-arresting crunching gear change of … Continue reading Aquaman (2018) Review
*SPOILERS* Shirt watch: blue. Well, here we are: the season finale, the capstone to the 13th Doctor’s first set of adventures. Time to find out what ‘the timeless child’ was all about, time to see all those dangling plot threads (racist from the future, Jack Robertson) come together, time to find out if the blue … Continue reading Doctor Who: The Battle Of Ranskoor Av Kolos (S11E10) Review
Despite an impeccable cast and an intriguing premise, “Mortal Engines” looks likely to follow in the tracks of “His Dark Materials” adaptation “The Golden Compass” and fail to thrive in the cinematic environment. It’s a shame, too, but it underlines the difficulties faced when adapting epic fantasy book series to the cinema, especially in the … Continue reading Cinema continues to be barren ground for the seeding of new franchises. Mortal Engines (2018) Review
You may think it’s a bit too early for a “Ready Player One” remake but Disney certainly don’t as they blend that movie’s exploitative nostalgia with a shameless approach to product placement so cynical, it would make “The Emoji Movie” blush. When Ralph (John C Reilly) accidentally breaks an important part of ‘Sugar Rush’, the … Continue reading Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018) Review
It takes nerve and vision to remake something as cinematically revered as “Suspiria” so there’s no doubting director Luca Guadagnino’s ambition and confidence. In reimagining the sacred, Guadagnino manages to take the bones of the original and reshape them into something disturbingly new and yet primally familiar. A darkness lurks at the heart of the … Continue reading Suspiria (2018) Review
A screeching, graphic howl of incendiary exasperation, “Assassination Nation” adds its voice to the growing chorus of furious condemnation of a society dominated by toxic masculinity, religious hypocrisy and venal depravity overseen by the ever-present spectre of a pussy-grabbing enabler-in-chief, showing in no uncertain terms what will happen when pussy grabs back. The town of … Continue reading Assassination Nation (2018) Review
Prematurely Christmassy – and I don’t mean that in a Grinchy way – Illumination’s take on “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” is as warm and sweet and comforting as a hot mug of cocoa that’s mostly marshmallow. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it definitely feels like this is a movie that will find … Continue reading The Grinch (2018) Review
In the build-up to D-Day, Private Boyce (Jovan Adepo) and Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell) believe they’re the only survivors of an ill-fated paratrooper mission behind enemy lines to knock out a radar jamming post so the Allies can provide air support for the beach landings. They eventually meet up with a few more survivors of … Continue reading Overlord (2018) Review
“The Nutcracker And The Four Realms” is chocolate box art lavishly brought to over-saturated, over-sugared, overly decorated life on the big screen. And, like the contents of that box of chocolates, there are moments of sublime deliciousness, a few over-sweet gooey confections and even the occasional nut. It’s hard to resist all the tempting treats … Continue reading The Nutcracker And The Four Realms (2018) Review
There’s something inherently funny about the idea of an individual as famously permatanned as George Hamilton portraying the notoriously sun-shy Count Dracula but it’s not quite enough to lift this dated and lightweight comedy above the ordinary. Evicted from his ancestral Castle by the Communist government of Romania who plan to turn it into a … Continue reading Love At First Bite (1979) Dractober Review
Seeing as I first watched and reviewed the original 1978 “Halloween” for last year’s #MonthOfSpooks, it makes sense that I’d pick up this one for this year’s, especially as I still haven’t got around to seeing any of the other “Halloween” movies so this franchise timeline – the fifth so far – is the only … Continue reading Halloween (2018) Review
Absolutely not a film to be judged by today’s neo-puritan standards, “Vampira” (released as "Old Dracula" in the US to cash in on the recent success of "Young Frankenstein") is steeped in the saucy, cheeky and, yes, casually racist and sexist humour of the early seventies but taken on its own terms, it has a … Continue reading Vampira (1974) Dractober Review
Previously on Dracula... Having thoroughly bested the Count in his own library, Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) takes his leave of Castle Dracula and ten years go past (because we’re ignoring the Dracula-less “Brides Of Dracula”. The locals still cling to their fear of vampires and Father Sandor (the excellent Andrew Keir) prevents them from disposing … Continue reading Dracula: Prince Of Darkness (1966) Dractober Review
Dractober’s keeping it in the family as we follow up “Dracula’s Daughter” with another story in a filial vein. Swapping the mountains of Carpathia for the swamps of the Deep South, Count Alucard (Lon Chaney Jr) arrives to visit Dark Oaks, the plantation owned by the wealthy Colonel Caldwell (George Irving) and his two daughters, … Continue reading Son Of Dracula (1943) Dractober Review
Two days into Dractober, and we’re still waiting for the man himself to appear. Picking up exactly where “Dracula” (1931) left off, “Dracula’s Daughter” sees the mysterious Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden) seek out the assistance of Dr Jeffrey Garth (Otto Kruger) to cure her of the curse of vampirism, bequeathed to her by the … Continue reading Dracula’s Daughter (1936) Dractober Review
An unexpectedly family-friendly detour from gore-meister Eli Roth, the spookiest thing about “The House With A Clock In Its Walls” is that there’s a Jack Black-starring “Goosebumps” sequel coming out this year and this isn’t it. Instead, it’s an adaptation of the novel by John Bellairs telling the story of Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) who, … Continue reading The House With The Clock In Its Walls (2018) #MonthOfSpooks Review
Last Christmas, a friend of the family gave us four tickets for the touring show “Forever Jackson” featuring Michael Jackson impersonator Robin Parsons, because Mrs Craggus has long been a fan of the ‘King Of Pop’. The show’s a lot of fun and Parsons pretty much nails his Jackson impersonation (as long as you don’t … Continue reading Moonwalker (1988) Review
Colin Combes (Scott Brindle), 42-year-old gardening journalist, is staring down the barrel of a locked and loaded mid-life crisis. He’s starting to suspect his wife, Freya (Angelique Fronike) still has feelings for her ex, the aging pop star Gordon ‘Midge’ Midgely (Rob Marsden) and as if that wasn’t enough, he’s due for a colonoscopy to … Continue reading Any Major Dude (2017) Review
Legendary animator Genndy Tartakovsky returns for a third time to bring us the further adventures of Dracula and his growing family. Although he’s often spoken about stepping away from the series, we should be thankful he’s stayed onboard because it’s his involvement that keeps this amiably undemanding series from sliding inexorably towards mediocrity. Mistaking her … Continue reading Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation (2018) Review
Disney’s latest live-action reinterpretation of its hallowed back catalogue is also easily one of its most muddled, despite the fact it's treading a very similar path to the one “Hook” forged nearly thirty years ago. All grown up, Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is married with a daughter yet spends all his time at work, under … Continue reading Christopher Robin (2018) Review
The thing I love about sharksploitation movies is they’re generally fun. Fun is a big part of the appeal, even when – or maybe especially when – they’re bad. “The Reef” is not a bad movie, but it's also definitely not a fun movie. When a group of friends find themselves stranded on a capsized … Continue reading The Reef (2010) #SharkWeak2 Review