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)
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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
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
There’s a laziness to “Escape Room” that’s hard to shake off. From its cookie-cutter characters to its predictable checkbox approach to disposing of its cast, it can’t seem to find the will to try and differentiate itself from its obvious influences. When six strangers receive mysterious invitations to participate in an Escape Room, they quickly … Continue reading Escape Room (2019) will have you searching for the nearest exit too.
It’s someone disingenuous for something this uninspired to proclaim it's ‘inspired by a true story’ but that doesn’t seem to discourage notorious empty chair haranguer Clint Eastwood from making a film for reactionary old men who like to yell at clouds. It’s a wannabe “Sicario – The Greatest Generation”, or the demographic antithesis of “Black … Continue reading The law may be an ass, but The Mule (2019) is a real donkey.
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
In taking on the story of Dick Cheney, the apparently unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider turned Vice Presidential master of the universe, Adam McKay seeks to shed light on the breathtaking constitutional chicanery which saw the executive branch of the American government vastly increase its own power whilst at the same time enormously enriching those in … Continue reading Christian Bale piles on the pounds for Adam McKay’s The Waist Wing. Vice (2019) 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)
Taking a few liberties with the Libertine life and times of celebrated French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, “Colette” is a sumptuous and sensual but occasionally aimless and indulgent biopic that’s perhaps a little too interested in signposting the contemporary resonances than in providing a wider historical context to its subject’s life. After marrying the famous Parisian … Continue reading Colette (2019) sees Keira Knightly ghostwriting for Willy while enjoying fanny by gaslight.
Move over Bess (and, I suspect, pre-emptive apologies to Margot Robbie) there’s a new award-baiting Queen on the block: oft-overlooked 18th Century sovereign Queen Anne. England, 1708. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) occupies the throne, disinterested in matters of state and instead consumed by her various ailments and an ongoing quest for distraction and … Continue reading Yorgos Lanthimos brings a sense of Blackadder to the big screen in sumptuous art house comedy The Favourite (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
Three years after his noble loss to Ricky Conlan in “Creed”, Adonis Creed (Michael B Jordan) has put together a string of victories and defeats Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler (Andre Ward) to win the WBC World Heavyweight Championship. Engaged to be married, everything looks rosy for the new world champion until, that is, his father’s legacy … Continue reading Creed II (2018) boxes clever but it’s clear the franchise won’t make a 10 count…
Boots Riley’s absurdist, pitch-black satire may just end up becoming one of the most important and resonant films of our time. Not because its concerned particularly with the topical venality of Trumpism and the ongoing corruption of western political discourse but because it looks beyond these deplorable but ultimately transient phases at the bigger societal … Continue reading Sorry To Bother You (2018) Review
From the Bond-esque opening credits, it’s clear this soft reboot of the Millennium series is aiming for a more action-packed and adventurous take on the adventures of Lisbeth Salander than its beautiful but glacial predecessor. Contracted to steal the unstealable from the American Government, Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) finds herself caught up in an international … Continue reading The Girl In The Spider’s Web (2018) Review
Nerve-shreddingly tense, atmospheric and exquisitely crafted, “Possum” is an artisanal horror movie, the craft of both cast and crew shining through in every detail. When a disgraced children’s puppeteer is forced to return to his childhood home, he must confront his wicked stepfather and the secrets which have haunted his entire life, personified by his … Continue reading Possum (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
With the pedigree of talent behind and in front of the camera, you’d be forgiven for expecting “Widows” to be something very special. And you’d be right, too. Director Steve McQueen, sharing screenwriting duties with Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”) in adapting a 1983 British TV series by Lynda La Plante, creates a polished, compellingly multi-layered … Continue reading Widows (2018) Review
A blackly comic metafictional account of the making of “Nosferatu”, positing the idea that F W Murnau was prepared to go to any lengths in order to capture his masterwork, even turning a blind eye to the real-life vampire he has found to ‘play’ Count Orlok. Supported by a great performance from John Malkovich as … Continue reading Shadow Of The Vampire (2000) Dractober Review
You may be expecting a story of the notorious Singer whose controversial behaviour and alleged sexual predilections and hedonistic bacchanalia have become the stuff of rumour and innuendo legend, but we’re not here to talk about the Director, we’re here to find out what the movie is like. A rambunctious, mischievous and unexpectedly moving celebration … Continue reading Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Review
Amandla Stenberg swaps the future dystopia of “The Darkest Minds” for the present-day real-life dystopia in “The Hate U Give”, an adaptation of the hugely successful young adult novel dealing with the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer. Starr Carter (Stenberg) who lives in the black suburb of Garden Heights … Continue reading The Hate U Give (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
“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
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
Literally bringing small screen drama to the big screen, social media POV thriller “Searching” may be the most slyly political movie of 2018. To say much more than that would be to spoil the story’s twists and turns and while they’re all Who knew that your search history would be the key to finding someone … Continue reading Searching (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
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
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
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
It’s always prudent, if you’re going to copy ideas from other films, characters and books, not to have your characters discuss those very stories right while you’re pilfering them. It doesn’t take a ‘green’ to figure that out. When a mysterious virus afflicts the children of the world, killing nearly 98%, the survivors are viewed … Continue reading The Darkest Minds (2018) Review
Too short to be a miniseries but too long, really, to be a movie, this Hallmark production weighs in at a whale shark-esque two hours and forty minutes, which is a long time to endure a bad shark movie, so it’s a good thing this one is – believe it or not – actually halfway … Continue reading Shark Swarm (2008) #SharkWeak2 Review
A tiny bit of a step down from the glossy multiplex-friendly “Deep Blue Sea”, this 2003 TV movie may dial down the star wattage somewhat but it doesn’t turn the lights out completely: Lou Diamond Phillips! Kristy Swanson! Coolio! I mean, come on – what more could you want? Down-on-his-luck boat owner John Sanders is … Continue reading Red Water (2003) #SharkWeak2 Review
The lure of a life of freedom on the open ocean is an easy one to understand, at least when the sea is a beautiful blue expanse, stretching out to an endless horizon. But the romantic picture postcard ideal doesn’t last long for Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin) when their trans-Pacific … Continue reading Adrift (2018) Review
It’s impossible to view “Sicario 2: Soldado” in isolation from the current real-world events along America’s southern border. Indeed, the film finds itself cruelly separated from the comfort of director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins' reassuring presence. Also discarded is Emily Blunt’s FBI agent Kate Macer and with her any shred of conscience “Sicario” … Continue reading Sicario 2: Soldado (2018) Review
With something as pure and innocent as the adventures of Winnie The Pooh, you’d be forgiven for thinking the story of their creation would be equally as heart-warming and uplifting. But, as Simon Curtis’ absorbing biopic reveals, the truth is anything but. “Goodbye Christopher Robin” tells the true-life story of how one of the world’s … Continue reading Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017) Review
Following on from the events of the first season, the trajectory of the second season of Netflix’s High School drama series charts a disappointingly similar course to its predecessor, with a sprinkling of new ingredients that neither improve nor detract from what’s come before. We have a few new students to focus on who mostly … Continue reading 13 Reasons Why – Season Two Review
After the expertly curated, nerve-shredding trailer, I went into “Hereditary” with a great deal of trepidation (I’m a little bit of a horror wuss) but of all the myriad emotional states I was nervously anticipating, I never expected to be bored. Following the death of her estranged mother, Annie (Toni Collette) is forced to confront … Continue reading Hereditary (2018) Review
With the World Cup kicking off in Russia today, what better time to review that great footballing drama “United Passions”? Inspired by actual events but mendaciously crafted to launder the true story and, quite probably, create an opportunistic "The Producers"-style tax write off, “United Passions” is such a bald-faced work of propaganda that you almost … Continue reading United Passions (2015) Review
One day Clay Jensen arrives home from Liberty High School to discover a curious package on his doorstep. Upon opening the box he discovers seven audio cassettes that serve as an explanation for his close friend Hannah Baker’s recent suicide. Over the course of listening to the tapes, Clay discovers the cause of Hannah’s gradual … Continue reading 13 Reasons Why – Season One Review
Tom Delaney is a successful British surgeon who was recently widowed, leaving himself to bring up his two daughters who are becoming increasingly distanced since the tragic loss of their Mother. When Tom’s eldest daughter Jenny goes missing, whilst assisting Police in their search he discovers an intricate and tragic secret that may hold the … Continue reading Safe – Series Review
Charting the origins of Osama Bin Laden and the formation of al-Qaeda from the 1990s through to the tragic events that unfolded on September the 11th, “The Looming Tower” is a real-life historical “Homeland”. It peers behind the intelligence curtain and reveals the internal squabbles and intense rivalry between the FBI and the CIA that … Continue reading The Looming Tower Series Review
It’s the late nineteenth century in New York and delinquent children are starting to go missing. Future President and newly appointed Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty)contacts criminal psychologist Dr Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Brühl) and illustrator John Moore (Luke Evans) for help to solve the case. When Dr Keizler and Mr Moore realise that the … Continue reading The Alienist Season Review
The three Baudelaire children (Malina, Louis and baby Sunny) become orphaned when their parents perish in a mysterious fire. Too young to take care of themselves, the bank that manages their fortune puts them into the care of distant relative Count Olaf; an eccentric failed actor who is penniless. What becomes apparent to the children … Continue reading Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events Season 1 Review