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!
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.
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
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
*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
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)
A notoriously chaotic and troubled production – not that that distinguishes it particularly in Gilliam’s oeuvre – “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” saw the idiosyncratic director coming off the back of a bitter but ultimately successful battle with Universal over the release and distribution of his previous film, “Brazil”. Once again, he found himself at … Continue reading There’s no proxy for how much I love The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen (1989) 30th Anniversary Review
*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)
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
Long before John Keating inspired a wave of desk mounting defiance, another teacher was sticking it to the system and drawing their pupils into a beguiling and bewitching cult of personality. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, let’s go back to when a free-thinking, free-spirited and, admittedly, worryingly pro-fascist Miss Jean Brodie was in her … Continue reading There’s no school like this old school. The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) 50th Anniversary Review
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.
*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!
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
Powered by a heartfelt and deeply human central performance from Melissa McCarthy and enlivened by a gregariously louche turn from Richard E Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” delivers a plaintive plea for clemency on behalf the embittered, the flawed and the dismissed. There’s not much about author Lee Israel (McCarthy). She’s stubborn, cantankerous and … Continue reading Accept no substitutes. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2019) is the real deal.
Knowing nothing of the original Manga on which it’s based (the closest I can claim is that I quite enjoy the 2009 animated movie “Astro Boy”, which shares a surprising amount of story with this film), “Alita: Battle Angel” still held a strong appeal thanks to the names behind and in front of the camera. … Continue reading Alita: Battle Angel (2019) slices, dices and occasionally surprises.
Delivering a satisfying conclusion to one of cinema's most touching and genuine friendships, “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” sees Hiccup and Toothless take their place alongside Buzz & Woody at the pinnacle of animated movie history. As Hiccup nears achieving his dream of a peaceful dragon and Viking utopia, he realises that … Continue reading The How To Train Your Dragon trilogy soars to a triumphant close with The Hidden World
There’s nothing like a good panto to chase away the January blues and in Mountbatten Players’ “Jack And The Beanstalk”, 2019 got off to a glittery, toe-tapping start. The sheer scale of the story of ‘Jack And The Beanstalk’ is such that even the most ambitious of theatrical productions must rely a great deal on … Continue reading Mountbatten Players’ Jack And The Beanstalk defies the January blues with some fe fi fo fun!
It may seem something of an oxymoron, but “Bumblebee” is a genuinely good “Transformers” film. Now, I’m happy to admit I’m heavily biased, having grown up loving and watching and reading the Gen 1 toys, cartoon and Marvel comic series but my tinted glasses just make the rosy nostalgia of “Bumblebee” even rosier. With the … Continue reading Bumblebee (2018) Review
Bringing the multiverse to your friendly neighbourhood multiplex, Sony have finally captured lightning in a bottle for the second time and created a great Spider-Man movie. With (literally) dazzling animation, a breezy and effervescent story and engaging character work, “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” delivers the first evidence that, with the right talent behind the camera, … Continue reading Spider-Man: Into The Spider-verse (2018) Review
*SPOILERS* Shirt Watch: Blue I’ve never been a fan of the chaotically turbulent TARDIS travel that’s become a hallmark of the revived Doctor Who. It makes sense when the Doctor is trying to get the TARDIS to do something extreme, such as hopping dimensions or crossing its own time tracks or if the ship is … Continue reading Doctor Who: Kerblam! (S11E07) Review
Posted as part of Moon In Gemini's 'The Greatest Film I’ve Never Seen Blogathon'. I’ve been meaning to watch “Young Frankenstein” for years. When I was younger - and more foolish – I think I was put off by the fact it was in black and white. Given how much I loved “Blazing Saddles”, “To … Continue reading Young Frankenstein (1974) Review
Twenty years before “Black Panther”, Marvel partnered with New Line to release a black-led superhero movie which would see them help kick-start the current superhero boom as well as changing the course of their movie adaptations to that point. Born as his mother was dying from a vampire attack, Blade (Wesley Snipes) possesses all of … Continue reading Blade (1998) 20th Anniversary Review
It’s been a quarter of a century since “Demolition Man” first blew us on screen, licking our ass and matching our meet with its blend of high-octane action and surprisingly prescient sci-fi. With only 14 years to go until Simon Phoenix and John Spartan are thawed out, it’s time to celebrate the movies 25th anniversary, … Continue reading Demolition Man (1993) 25th Anniversary Review
If Hammer House Of Horror had produced “Spaced”, the result could have been a lot like “Slaughterhouse Rulez”. A common room home brew of British Boarding School classics like “If….” and “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (the 1969 version specifically) mixed with “Ghostbusters” and dash of “Harry Potter”, this intoxicatingly lowbrow comedy horror offers a novel spin … Continue reading Slaughterhouse Rulez (2018) Review
There’s no rest for the Tenacious as Jack Black finds himself back amongst the spooky goings-on, although this time around, it’s Slappy calling the shots. When Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and Sam (Caleel Harris) find a magic book that brings a ventriloquist’s dummy to life, their Halloween horror is only just beginning. The dummy is … Continue reading Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween #MonthOfSpooks Review
“Bad Times At The El Royale” sees “Cabin In The Woods” writer/ director Drew Goddard indulging his inner Tarantino as he sets up this lurid, pulpy neo-noir tale of deceit, desperation and death in a faded motel, still trading on its glamorous past and novelty location. In 1959, a man arrives at the El Royale … Continue reading Bad Times At The El Royale (2018) Review
Opening with Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) test piloting an X-15 rocket ship so high you fear he may crash in to the orbiting Universal Logo which went past mere seconds before, Damien Chazelle’s quietly absorbing biopic is something of an antithesis to the usual stars ‘n’ stripes bombastic heroic portrayal the US space program usually … Continue reading First Man (2018) Review
Approaching this, I expected an uncomfortable relic, a tastless punchline to a joke that’s long since worn out its welcome, so it came as a pleasant surprise that, despite its Blaxploitation anachronisms, it’s actually a pretty solid vampire flick in its own right. In 1780, a massively racist Dracula welcomes an African prince and his … Continue reading Blacula (1972) Dractober Review
Loosely based on the John Updike novel of the same name, George Miller’s sly satire of the gender wars brings a dusting of dark magic to the hollow lives of a sleepy New England town of Eastwick. Alexandra (Cher), Jane (Susan Sarandon) and Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer) are close friends who support each other through the … Continue reading The Witches Of Eastwick (1987) #MonthOfSpooks Review
Actually, Dracula has defrosted from the freezer and he conspicuously has a reflection at a key early point in the movie, but they’re minor grumbles as Lee thaws out old fang face and Hammer horror really start to make the character their own. We’ve crept into the early 20th century and but we’re still in … Continue reading Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1968) Dractober Review
Hammer Films brought Dracula bang up to date by going back to the story’s roots, adapting Stoker’s novel – with a few twists – and bringing the famed Count back to life in all his technicolour glory. When Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) accepts a position as Librarian at Count Dracula’s castle, his subterfuge is … Continue reading Dracula (1958) Dractober Review
Beset by production difficulties, it’s a wonder that “The Addams Family” movie exists at all. The fact that it’s great is a minor miracle. Marking Barry Sonnenfeld’s directorial debut after Tim Burton passed on the chance to helm this big screen reboot. Famously creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky, the movie takes the twisted gothic, … Continue reading The Addams Family (1991) #MonthOfSpooks Review
A landmark of cinema, a touchstone of German expressionism and one of the oldest surviving horror movies ever made, F W Murnau’s “Nosferatu” may not terrify as it once must have done but it still mesmerises thanks to Murnau’s stunning use of light and shade and Max Schreck’s instantly iconic Count Orlok. When mysterious Transylvanian … Continue reading Nosferatu (1922) Dractober Review
“Crazy Rich Asians” may open with some awful British racism, but it’s an effective shorthand way of introducing fearsome matriarch Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeo) and putting us firmly in the Young family’s corner. And it’s a necessary step too because we’re about to embark on a visually lavish exploration of the trials and tribulations of … Continue reading Crazy Rich Asians (2018) Review
I seem to be getting into the habit of watching horror movies at the cinema, so when the fifth instalment of arguably the 21st century’s second most successful cinematic universe gave me an opportunity to start the story in chronological order (I haven’t yet seen any of the Conjuring movies or spin-offs, it was time … Continue reading The Nun (2018) Review
There’s a deep-rooted discomfort at the heart of “BlacKkKlansman” and it’s the fact that instead of being a historical, true story poking cautionary fun at the ignorance of the past, it instead feels like a howl of furious irony at the recidivism of modern-day America. In 1979, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), Colorado Springs’ first … Continue reading BlacKkKlansman (2018) Review
What if “Ice Age” but the human kid’s a lot older and it’s not played for laughs? What if “The Revenant” but, you know, good? Delayed for over a year, “Alpha” is finally in cinemas and it’s a real treat, if not exactly what the multiplex crowd may be expecting. Left for dead after an … Continue reading Alpha (2018) Review
Back in 1989, Kylie Minogue released a single from “Enjoy Yourself”, her second studio album, called "Wouldn't Change A Thing". It perfectly encapsulates how I felt when I learned "Nailed It" was coming back for a second season: If I had to do it all again I wouldn't change a single thing There's no questioning … Continue reading Nailed It! Season Two Review
This post is published as part of Realweegiemidget Reviews and Angelman's Place's Lee Grant Blogathon. Arguably every bit as topical and important now as it was when it was released, “In The Heat Of The Night” tells the story of a black Police Detective, Virgil Tibbs (a superb Sidney Poitier) who finds himself pressed into assisting … Continue reading In The Heat Of The Night (1967) Lee Grant Blogathon Review
Released as their 20th movie, in their 10th Anniversary year, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that “Ant-Man And The Wasp” is reassuringly reliable entertainment, exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What may be unexpected is how well this tale works as a palate cleanser after the universe-altering … Continue reading Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018) Review
Perennially underrated, often unfairly maligned (even by Schwarzenegger himself) as his first real failure, ironic action movie masterpiece “Last Action Hero” is twenty-five years old this year and way overdue for a reappraisal. Danny Madigan (Austin O'Brien) prefers the movies to the trials and tribulations of real life, especially the adventures of his all-time favourite … Continue reading Last Action Hero (1993) 25th Anniversary Review
Picking up mere moments after the first film ended, “Incredibles 2” wastes no time in re-treading the same ground as its illustrious predecessor. Brad Bird had been reluctant to make a sequel to his superhero magnum opus until he figured out the right story. It turns out, the right story was pretty much the one … Continue reading Incredibles 2 (2018) Review
On November 13th 2015, ISIL orchestrated a multi-cell attack using a variety of methods that ended the lives of 130 people in the space of a few hours. With support from the French government, mobile phone footage from witnesses and interviews with survivors and first responders, this three-part Netflix documentary (in French with English subtitles) … Continue reading 13 November: Attack On Paris Review
This post is published as part of Realweegiemidget Reviews and Return To The 80s' Kurt Russell Blogathon. “Sky High” was released in 2005, when the superhero movie boom was beginning to look like a flash in the pan. The output hard turned mediocre (“The Fantastic Four”, “Constantine”*) to poor (“Elektra”, “Son Of The Mask”). “Batman … Continue reading Sky High (2005) Kurt Russell Blogathon Review
Recently, the littlest Craggling has been tentatively spreading her cinematic wings beyond the admittedly lush and verdant shores of Disney, Pixar, Illumination and exploring other options. We’ve watched Wes Anderson’s “The Fantastic Mr Fox” and, recently, “Kiki’s Delivery Service” so when we saw a trailer for “Mary And The Witch's Flower”, she was smitten. One … Continue reading Mary And The Witch’s Flower (2018) Review
Rereleased to celebrate its 40th anniversary, “Grease” takes us to a nostalgia-fuelled retro-dystopia where middle-aged adults are forced to attend high school and endure the trials and tribulations of adolescent life, no doubt the forfeit of some Faustian pact or “Lost”-style purgatorial atonement. After being drowned by a freak wave during a weekend getaway to … Continue reading Grease (1978) 40th Anniversary Review
As he prepares to ascend to the throne of Wakanda, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) wrestles with his nation’s history of isolation and what that means in the modern world. But T’Challa’s troubles are compounded by the sins of his father whose actions decades previously have set in motion events which will culminate in a battle for … Continue reading Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Black Panther (2018)
Driven by recurring dreams of the destruction of Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) allows himself to be captured by fire demon Surtur in order to pre-empt and prevent Ragnarok. Returning to Asgard, Thor forces Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to reveal himself and confess to where Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is being held. But Odin’s absence has and Loki’s … Continue reading Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Following his adventure with the Avengers in Germany, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) finds himself back in Queens, New York, balancing his school days with nights spent patrolling the neighbourhood as Spider-Man. Mentored by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr), Peter’s reluctant to return to the small-scale crime fighting he’s confronted with in his own neck of … Continue reading Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)