Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation (2018) 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

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Show Dogs (2018) Review

The littlest Craggling has something of a fascination for talking dogs, as the many hours I’ve had to sit through interminable ‘Disney Buddies’ movies can attest to, so its little surprise that when the trailer for “Show Dogs” started appearing, my fate was sealed. In order to bust a notorious animal smuggling ring, FBI agent … Continue reading Show Dogs (2018) Review

Sherlock Gnomes (2018) Review

Following in the footsteps of the Man Of Steel and Captain America, Gnomeo and Juliet become the latest characters to have their sequel hijacked by a bunch of different characters as the franchise tries to position itself as a vehicle to reimagine classic British literature, a sort of anthology of garden toy stories. When garden … Continue reading Sherlock Gnomes (2018) Review

Dark Disney: The Watcher In The Woods (1981) Review

As part of In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood’s Third Annual Bette Davis Blogathon, I’m taking a look at the 1981 family horror movie “The Watcher In The Woods” and kicking off my own mini-series looking at a strange period of movie history when Disney went dark. Towards the end of the 1970s, … Continue reading Dark Disney: The Watcher In The Woods (1981) Review

A Wrinkle In Time (2018) Review

Buckling under the weight of its own aspirations, Ava DuVernay’s ambitious but flawed adaptation of adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle’s perennially popular sci-fi fantasy occasionally dazzles but all too often trips over its own feet. Four years after their scientist father disappeared, Meg (Storm Reid) and her adopted brother Charles Wallis (Deric McCabe) are told he … Continue reading A Wrinkle In Time (2018) Review

Peter Rabbit (2018) Review

Sony have been responsible for many of the most egregious reboots and reimaginings of recent years and while “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle” spectacularly bucked the studio’s trend, this loose and cynical adaptation of Beatrix Potter sees them back to their tawdry, inept usual. It’s hard to think of any other film that’s so woefully … Continue reading Peter Rabbit (2018) Review

Monster Family (2018) Review

This Anglo-German animation, based on a 4D movie ride at UK tourist attraction Wookey Hole, should definitely give Disney, Pixar and Illumination pause for thought. Specifically, the thought that they can phone it in for their next movie because there’s zero threat to their crown on the horizon. When a lonely Dracula (Jason Isaacs) identifies … Continue reading Monster Family (2018) Review

The Greatest Showman (2017) Review

In the run-up to Christmas, I was very taken by the Sky Movies TV ad showing a mum and her daughter watching “The Sound Of Music” over and over again through the years. For me, it perfectly captured the sentimental sweet spot of Christmas, family and the magic of movies. I found myself wondering what … Continue reading The Greatest Showman (2017) Review

Ferdinand (2017) Review

Adapted from Munro Leaf’s beloved 1936 children’s book, Blue Sky Studio’s “Ferdinand” is also a remake of Disney’s 1938 Silly Symphony short of the same story. In light of the proposed acquisition of Fox by Disney, this movie offers an interesting example of the differences between the two studios. Ferdinand (John Cena) is different from … Continue reading Ferdinand (2017) Review

Paddington 2 (2017) Review

With the original having been an unexpected delight, anticipation for “Paddington 2” was sky high. Could the little bear from Peru pull off the ‘difficult’ second movie? The answer is an unqualified ‘yes’. Determined to get his Aunt Lucy a special present for her 100th birthday, Paddington (Ben Wishaw) sets his heart on a unique … Continue reading Paddington 2 (2017) Review

Pokémon The Movie: I Choose You! (2017) Review

In cinemas for an extremely limited theatrical run, the 20th Pokémon movie takes us all the way back to the beginning, retelling the origin of how Ash Ketchum, Pokémon Master bottler, and Pikachu, the world’s most powerful unevolved electric mouse came together. Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town wakes late on the morning he is due to … Continue reading Pokémon The Movie: I Choose You! (2017) Review

The Witches (1990) #MonthOfSpooks Review

Much as Ian Fleming did with “Dr. No”, Roald Dhal dismissed the film version of his novel “The Witches” as ‘utterly appalling’ and much like Fleming was, he’s was being far too harsh. When Luke’s parents are killed in a car accident, his Norwegian grandmother Helga (Mai Zetterling) accompanies him back to England, regaling him … Continue reading The Witches (1990) #MonthOfSpooks Review

Monster House (2006) #MonthOfSpooks Review

A family-friendly horror movie seems like an oxymoron, but it’s exactly what 2006’s “Monster House” is. It has all the hallmarks and ingredients you’d expect from a really good haunted house movie, it's structured exactly the way a 'real' horror movie would be, except you can watch it with your kids. When DJ, his best … Continue reading Monster House (2006) #MonthOfSpooks Review

My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) Review

My Little Pony trots back to the big screen with a cinematic outing based on the wildly successful (and surprisingly cross-generational) ‘Friendship Is Magic’ incarnation of the toy franchise. As she is busy preparing for the Friendship festival, Princess Twilight Sparkle’s efforts are interrupted by the arrival of Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt), a broken-horned unicorn … Continue reading My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) Review

Descendants 2 (2017) Review

Stretching the definition of ‘Original’ almost to breaking point, Disney Original Movie “Descendants 2” takes us back to the world where all the Disney Classics have been reimagined and remixed into a glossy tween fantasy soap opera. As Mal (Dove Cameron) struggles to acclimatise to a life of being good, back on the Isle of … Continue reading Descendants 2 (2017) Review

My Little Pony: The Movie (1986) Review

It may seem hard to believe, but there was a time, not so long ago, when toy companies would licence out their IPs to animation studios to crank out a quick cash-in feature film, caring less for the quality of the end result than they do now. In 1986, having seen the success enjoyed by … Continue reading My Little Pony: The Movie (1986) Review

The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017) Review

The latest entry in the Lego feature film franchise is also its most blatantly cynical toy commercial, offering little in return for your forked over ticket money other than a needlessly starry cast, a weak storyline and a massive middle finger to fans of the original cartoon series. When evil Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux) launches … Continue reading The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017) Review

The Jungle Bunch (2017) Review

Based on a French cartoon series, “The Jungle Bunch” movie is a soft reboot of possibly the one kids’ property I’ve never encountered before. But if you’re bracing yourself for another artless animated cash grab like “Norm of The North” or “Robinson Crusoe”, you might be in for a pleasant surprise. When the evil koala … Continue reading The Jungle Bunch (2017) Review

The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature (2017) Review

Yet another in the bafflingly long list of animated films which didn’t deserve a sequel, the follow-up to 2014’s “The Nut Job” is now in UK cinemas. Here’s the surprising bit: it’s not that bad. When the Nut Shop is suddenly destroyed, Surly the squirrel (Will Arnett) is faced with the prospect of returning to … Continue reading The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature (2017) Review

Monster Island (2017) Review

Exclusive to Cineworld Cinemas in the UK (although I suspect the bidding wasn’t particularly fierce), “Monster Island” is running in their Movies For Juniors range as a school holiday time waster. When young Lucas transforms into a monster in front of his entire class at the coolest party of the year, he suddenly has a … Continue reading Monster Island (2017) Review

Despicable Me 3 (2017) Review

With the high point of “Minions” being Gru’s brief cameo at the end, “Despicable Me 3” offers the franchise a chance to get back to what works best: the adventures of the formerly despicable Gru. Then again, this is the third instalment of a trilogy, so, you know… When Gru (Steve Carrell) and Lucy (Kirsten … Continue reading Despicable Me 3 (2017) Review

Doctor Who: Extremis (S10E06) Review

*SPOILERS* After playing a blinder last week, what did “Doctor Who” have in store for us this time? Well, after the refreshingly straightforward run of episodes, it opened a can of vintage convoluted timey-wimey whoop-ass which has become the trademark of Moffat’s triumphs/ hallmark of his follies (delete as applicable). Opening with a flashback of … Continue reading Doctor Who: Extremis (S10E06) Review

The Boss Baby (2017) Review

Not since Disney/ Pixar’s “Cars” has an animated movie presented such an incoherent and illogical fictional world as “The Boss Baby” does. Facing an existential threat, Baby Corp sends an undercover operative (Alec Baldwin) to live with the Templeton family to find out what the Templeton parents know about Puppy Co’s plan to launch a … Continue reading The Boss Baby (2017) Review

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995) Review

At the height of their TV popularity, it was a no-brainer to bring the brightly coloured chop socky antics of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to the big screen. Tiring of Rita Repulsa’s continued failures to eliminate the Rangers, Lord Zed revives Ivan Ooze from his six millennia imprisonment. Ooze quickly destroys Zordon’s base, robbing … Continue reading Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995) Review

Beauty And The Beast (2017) Review

Did you ever watch Disney's 1991 animated classic "Beauty And The Beast" and think, 'wow, that script was really missing something'? The original, animated, Best Picture Oscar-nominated “Beauty And The Beast” had a running time of 84 minutes. This new live-action adaptation clocks in at 129 minutes and adds little but padding with the extra … Continue reading Beauty And The Beast (2017) Review

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (2016) Review

A few years back, having brought the “Harry Potter” series to a successful conclusion, Director David Yates boldly declared he would be making a new “Doctor Who” movie, with a new actor in the role and a new continuity, separate from the long-running TV series. Then showrunner Steven Moffat shut that shit right down and … Continue reading Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (2016) Review

Trolls (2016) Review

With its DayGlo aesthetic and unashamedly sunny disposition, “Trolls” may prove to be too sugary a confection for some viewers. If, however, you’re a fan of silliness, cuteness and jukebox musicals, “Trolls” is an unabashed delight. Having escaped from the dreaded Bergens long ago, the Trolls are living happily in their hidden forest home. But … Continue reading Trolls (2016) Review

Kubo And The Two Strings (2016) Review

Breathtakingly beautiful, Laika’s latest stop motion animation is a dazzling, inspired medley of Japanese and Chinese folklore and a joyous celebration of the power and importance of storytelling. A young boy named Kubo must find and reclaim his father’s lost armour in order to battle and defeat a vengeful enemy who will stop at nothing … Continue reading Kubo And The Two Strings (2016) Review

To Paraphrase The Romulans…

Matters more urgent caused my absence. Now, witness the result: blog posts abandoned, expansion of Pokémon GO meme posts everywhere. Yes, I have indeed been negligent, dear reader, but no more. I...am back. A couple of months ago, I got a new job (in the video game industry woot woot) with a longer commute than … Continue reading To Paraphrase The Romulans…

Swallows And Amazons (2016) Review

There’s something cosy and comforting about “Swallows And Amazons”, the latest adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s celebrated novel of swashbuckling childhood adventure. An impeccable production combined with a wonderful cast give this film a timeless quality and watching it for the first time feels brand new and like revisiting an old favourite simultaneously. When the Walker … Continue reading Swallows And Amazons (2016) Review

Nine Lives (2016) Review

I think we can safely say that whatever deal with the Devil Kevin Spacey made to have such a glittering career, his tab has been called in. “Nine Lives” is a film which feels about thirty years out of time, inspired by a much more recent phenomenon. When driven billionaire Tom ‘Fire’ Brand prioritises his … Continue reading Nine Lives (2016) Review

Pete’s Dragon (2016) Review

Disney’s hot streak of adapting their animated back catalogue into live action movies shows no signs of abating with this deeply poignant reimagining of the 1977 musical comedy. As the local logging company moves ever more aggressively into the forests of the Pacific North West, they disturb the home of Pete, a ten year old … Continue reading Pete’s Dragon (2016) Review

The BFG (2016) Review

Shining like the most gloriumptious bottled dream, “The BFG” bestrides the lacklustre summer blockbuster season like a magical Colossus of Rhodes. A welcome big screen return for the wonderful imagination of Roald Dahl and an even more welcome return for the Spielberg of old, the master of childlike wonder and spellbinding fantasy. When orphan Sophie … Continue reading The BFG (2016) Review

Ice Age: Collision Course (2016) Review

There’s a tendency among long running movie series – especially those which have no business being there – to launch into outer space. And so, in its fifth and conspicuously tired outing, the “Ice Age” franchise looks to the heavens for salvation. When Scrat (the spiritual descendant of Wile E Coyote) accidentally reactivates a buried … Continue reading Ice Age: Collision Course (2016) Review

The Secret Life Of Pets (2016) Review

If you were to make a movie about the secret life of my family pet, our cat Rufus, it would probably have to be set at night because what he does during the day is sleep. However, given he’s sometimes turned up at the back door in the morning with everything up to and including … Continue reading The Secret Life Of Pets (2016) Review

Alice Through The Looking Glass (2016) Review

While 2010’s “Alice In Wonderland” may have left critics unimpressed, audiences embraced its restless, kooky energy as Lewis Carroll’s mastery of the absurd and impossible was filtered through the dark kaleidoscope of Tim Burton’s vision. Six years later, “The Muppets” & “Muppets Most Wanted” director James Bobin has been tasked with delivering a sequel. Alice … Continue reading Alice Through The Looking Glass (2016) Review

Ratchet & Clank (2016) Review

Veterans of more than a dozen video games, Ratchet and Clank are the latest pixelated characters to find the leap from platform pleaser to popcorn powerhouse is more than any double jump or button mashing can easily manage. When the galaxy is threatened by Chairman Drek and his fearsome Deplanetizer, it’s up to a plucky … Continue reading Ratchet & Clank (2016) Review

The Jungle Book (2016) Review

A reimagining of a beloved classic film. An all-CGI environment. An all CGI cast except for one role to be played by a child actor making his acting debut. It’s not a recipe which inspires confidence, is it? All the more credit, then, to Director Jon Favreau, Cinematographer Bill Pope and the rest of the … Continue reading The Jungle Book (2016) Review

Tinker Bell And The Secret Of The Wings (2012) Review

I wasn’t particularly generous the first time I encountered one of Disney’s straight-to-video (although released theatrically in the UK) “Tinker Bell” movies. No, I wasn’t enamoured of “Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy” at all. My main complaint was how shoddily Zarina (the titular pirate fairy) was treated because she was so fascinated with science, … Continue reading Tinker Bell And The Secret Of The Wings (2012) Review

Goosebumps (2016) Review

Although I’m aware of the franchise, I was too old for the “Goosebumps” books when they first came out. I earned my reading strips devouring the adventures of The Hardy Boys (the very first book without any pictures I read was “While The Clock Ticked”) and Alfred Hitchcock And The Three Investigators. When I got into … Continue reading Goosebumps (2016) Review

Snoopy And Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie (2015) Review

Returning to the big screen for the first time in thirty five years, “Snoopy And Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie” sees the gang brought to vivid, three dimensional computer animated life by Blue Sky Studios, the studio behind animated hits “Ice Age” and “Rio”. When a little Red-Haired Girl moves into his neighbourhood, Charlie Brown … Continue reading Snoopy And Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie (2015) Review

The Good Dinosaur (2015) Review

Given its troubled route to the big screen, it probably won’t surprise you to hear that “The Good Dinosaur” isn’t Pixar at its very very best. However, we’re nowhere near the nadir of “Cars 2” here and any talk of “Inside Out” being merely a blip after the lacklustre “Brave” and “Monsters University” is wide … Continue reading The Good Dinosaur (2015) Review

Pan (2015) Review

Unnecessary. That’s the inescapable word that plagues “Pan” throughout its hefty 111 minute running time. It saddles the impish, carefree character of J M Barrie’s timeless tale with a hackneyed chosen one narrative so crushingly unsubtle that the characters actually use the phrase ‘chosen one’ near constantly. Abandoned on the steps of an orphanage as … Continue reading Pan (2015) Review

Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015) Review

If you’re a little surprised that “Hotel Transylvania” got a sequel you’re not alone. The makers themselves seem a little bit taken aback. Even the title card of the movie itself has the ‘2’ only appearing after the ‘Hotel Transylvania’ has faded from the screen. Like they’re saying, ‘I know, right?’. Picking up from the … Continue reading Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015) Review

A Dozen Summers (2015) Review

Opening at selected UK cinemas today, microbudget indie comedy “A Dozen Summers” offers a quirky, sweet and ambitiously off-the-wall coming of age story of two 12 year old girls, Maisie (Scarlett Hall) and Daisy McCormack (Hero Hall) who hijack a passing film crew and use the tools and tricks of cinema to explore and make … Continue reading A Dozen Summers (2015) Review

Minions (2015) Review

I saw “Minions” accompanied by Mertmas and four of his friends as part of a 9th Birthday treat, so here’s their perspective: “Minions” pretty much hits its target market spot on. The Minions themselves retain their goofy adorability and their mix of slapstick comedy and inferred verbal repartee still amuses, as do moments of potty humour. Although … Continue reading Minions (2015) Review

Thunderbirds Are Go! (2015) S1E01 Review

You know what? That was pretty good. Not great, but it’s definitely got potential to grow into a good series. The CGI Tracy brothers are much less creepy and dead-eyed than they appeared in the publicity images and even the updated and bulkier Thunderbird 2 (all right thinking people’s favourite ship) looks good. Thunderbird 3 … Continue reading Thunderbirds Are Go! (2015) S1E01 Review

Shaun The Sheep Movie (2015) Review

It’s unlikely the target audience of the latest family friendly stop motion feature from Aardman will be as bothered by the grammar of the title as I am (not the “Shaun The Sheep Movie” or “Shaun The Sheep: The Movie”, just “Shaun The Sheep Movie”. Huh?) but if you’re looking for something to keep your little … Continue reading Shaun The Sheep Movie (2015) Review

Big Hero 6 (2015) Review

Continuing their recent strong run, Disney Animation Studios have dipped into the more obscure corners of corporate stablemate Marvel’s back catalogue and picked out a winner. But before we even get to the main event, we’re served up another treat as Disney continues its adoption of Pixar’s habit of including a supporting feature. “Feast” is … Continue reading Big Hero 6 (2015) Review

Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb (2014) Review

“Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb” is a curious beast. After the popularity and success of the previous instalments a third sequel is hardly a surprise. What is surprising, and perhaps a little disappointing, is that this third instalment is so thin on plot that it seems to exist merely just to let … Continue reading Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb (2014) Review