The Shape Of Water (2018) Review

Guillermo Del Toro brings his trademark dark fairytale aesthetic to bear on this dreamy, beautifully realised tale, a tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme: beauty and the moist. Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute cleaning lady, found as an infant with mysterious scars on her neck works as part of the … Continue reading The Shape Of Water (2018) Review

Status Update (2018) Review

There’s not exactly a long and distinguished history of films based on mobile apps, but that didn’t dissuade the makers of “Status Update” from stepping into the cultural crater left by “The Emoji Movie” and having another try. When his parents separate and he has to move three thousand miles away from his Californian roots … Continue reading Status Update (2018) Review

Downsizing (2018) Review

Not the quirky high concept comedy the trailer promises, “Downsizing” instead sets out to suggest that no matter how small you make youself, the big problems – the really big problems – never really go away. Concerned by runaway population growth, Norwegian scientist Dr. Asbjørnsen (Rolf Lassgård) invents an irreversible process which shrinks a person … Continue reading Downsizing (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

Bright (2017) Review

There are times when you just need to take a step back and acknowledge that a paragon has been reached and there's absolutely nothing you can contribute, no new perspective or trenchant insight you can add to what's already been done that would move it even a nanometer closer to perfection. So it is with … Continue reading Bright (2017) Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) Review

There are two perennial tales we turn to at this time of year. One, The Nativity, may carry the self-righteous gravitas of religious dogma but it doesn’t really speak to the modern reality of Christmastime. For that, we turn to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol which, by its collection and curation of traditions, conventions and practical … Continue reading The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) Review

Justice League Of America (1997) Review

As long-time readers will be aware, I’ve not been overly impressed by the efforts of the DCEU thus far. What better way, then, to cleanse my cinematic palate before “Justice League” than by taking in the 1997 failed pilot “Justice League Of America”, a film that sets the bar so low, it buries it? When … Continue reading Justice League Of America (1997) 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

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Review

Seventeen films in, you’d forgive Marvel for resting on their laurels but there’s no sign of fatigue as Marvel closes out its Thor trilogy with “Thor: Ragnarok”. 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. … Continue reading Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Review

The Road To Ragnarok: Hulk Vs (2009) Review

Marvel has long lagged behind DC when it comes to animated fare, both in terms of features and TV series. This grudge match between the God of Thunder and the Green Goliath, forming part of a double bill with “Hulk vs Wolverine” (unfortunately, the three of them don’t get together to duke it out at … Continue reading The Road To Ragnarok: Hulk Vs (2009) 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 Monster Squad (1987) #MonthOfSpooks Review

As the years went past and cinematic tastes changed, Universal’s Monsters found a new home as beloved perennial TV favourites, gathering new generations of fans year after year and breaking out into popular culture through Saturday morning cartoons and reinterpretations. As the cinema reinvented and reinterpreted the creations, Universal’s pantheon continued to be the benchmark … Continue reading The Monster Squad (1987) #MonthOfSpooks Review

Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954) #MonthOfSpooks Review

For over a decade, Universal had been content to recycle and remix their roster of monsters in increasingly crowded crossovers, even matching them up with Abbott and Costello for a fun-filled romp but the world was changing, and with it the audience’s taste for terror. The full moon might have been setting on the gothic … Continue reading Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954) #MonthOfSpooks Review

Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) #MonthOfSpooks #Review

Having pioneered the 'shared universe' concept by producing a slew of crossover monster movies, Universal decided to go one meta step further and crossover movie genres as well. Tempting Bela Lugosi back to arguably his most famous role as "Dracula", as well as Lon Chaney Jr as "The Wolf Man" and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein's … Continue reading Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) #MonthOfSpooks #Review

The Wolf Man (1941) #MonthOfSpooks Review

Universal originally tried to introduce werewolves to its roster of monsters in 1935’s “Werewolf Of London” but the film flopped at the box office and it would be another six years before Universal would shoot for the moon once again. After learning of the death of his brother, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr) returns to … Continue reading The Wolf Man (1941) #MonthOfSpooks Review

The Invisible Man (1933) #MonthOfSpooks Review

There’s a real shock right at the start of Universal’s “The Invisible Man” as it proudly proclaims its membership of the NRA. Thankfully, it’s a reference to President Franklin D Roosevelt's National Recovery Administration of 1933 and not the politicised mass murder apologists of today. Good job too, because “The Invisible Man” needs no help … Continue reading The Invisible Man (1933) #MonthOfSpooks Review

Guilty Pleasures: My Stepmother Is An Alien (1988) Revisited

Court is back in session and first in the dock is jolly 1988 sci-fi romantic comedy “My Stepmother Is An Alien”. When a Klystron tube experiment conducted by Dr Steven Mills (Dan Aykroyd) runs out of control and sends a radar beam to a distant galaxy, the inhabitants send Celeste (Kim Basinger) on a secret … Continue reading Guilty Pleasures: My Stepmother Is An Alien (1988) Revisited

It (2017) Review

I remember when I first saw “Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone” in the cinema, it was one of the strangest cinema experiences of my life. I didn’t feel like I’d just watched a film of the boy wizard’s adventures, I just felt like I’d re-read the first book in two and half hours, so … Continue reading It (2017) Review

It (1990) Review

A lot of people have been going back to rewatch (or maybe watch for the first time) the 1990 TV movie adaptation of Stephen King’s “It” in anticipation of the forthcoming feature film remake. And why not? Dated as it is, there’s a lot to like but it’s almost solely renowned for one central performance: … Continue reading It (1990) Review

The Dark Tower (2017) Review

I’m a pretty big Stephen King fan, although admittedly I’ve been a bit lax in keeping up with the prolific author’s output since around “Cell”. The first time I read “The Stand”, I did it in one sitting, forgoing sleep to finish it sometime in the early hours of Sunday morning (having started it on … Continue reading The Dark Tower (2017) Review

A Ghost Story (2017) Review

Poignant, reflective and dreamily melancholic, "A Ghost Story" offers, at first glance, a simple story of a soul anchored in space but not time. When a musician (Casey Affleck) is killed in a car accident, he returns to the home he shared with his wife (Rooney Mara) as a ghost and must watch as time … Continue reading A Ghost Story (2017) Review

Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (2017) Review

As I hope #SharkWeak has proved, I’m a  huge fan of Shark movies, be they the prime cuts like “Jaws”, the gourmet burgers such as “Deep Blue Sea” or the dirty kebab van sustenance of SyFy original movies. I can tolerate wooden acting and look past the occasionally shoddy special effects (I grew up watching … Continue reading Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (2017) Review

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (2017) Review

Luc Besson’s Space Oddity opens with a suitably inspirational opening as the story of Alpha (the eponymous City Of A Thousand Planets) is told through an evolutionary montage which nods to both Kubrick and Zemeckis. En route to Alpha to begin his next mission, Agent Valerian (Dane DeHaan) experiences a vision of the destruction of … Continue reading Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (2017) Review

Avalanche Sharks (2014) #SharkWeak Review

“Avalanche Sharks” offers us a grab bag of plot elements as native American supernatural snow shark spirits come back to haunt the residents and visitors of a ski resort. The film does actually provide an avalanche but it’s not really that integral to the plot. Originally planned as a sequel to “Sand Sharks”, it’s another … Continue reading Avalanche Sharks (2014) #SharkWeak Review

Assassin’s Creed (2017) Review

The last collaboration between Director Justin Kurzel and Michael Fassbender left me feeling cheated that they’d cut too much out of the Scottish Play, rushing through it for the film adaptation, so it’s with not a little irony that I had the exact opposite experience with this polished but ponderously dull video game adaptation. For … Continue reading Assassin’s Creed (2017) Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Review

The previous “Amazing Spider-Man” movies showed us that Spider-Man’s most implacable foe was studio interference and while I personally enjoyed what Marc Webb and Andree Garfield were trying to do, there’s no denying “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” was a convoluted and overstuffed mess of studio-mandated world building which makes “Iron Man 2” look streamlined and … Continue reading Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Review

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone (2001) Review

Hello cupcakes, remember me?  I know, I know!!  It’s been a while… Anyway, now that I’m back I want to talk to you about “Harry Potter”. Twenty years ago today, Bloomsbury published “Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone”, so I thought it would be fun to go back and rewatch that first Potter film once … Continue reading Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone (2001) Review

Doctor Who: The Eaters Of Light (S10E10) Review

*SPOILERS* So…here we are, the calm before the storm; the deep breath before barrelling downhill towards the 12th Doctor’s finish line with only the two-part finale and a Christmas special to go. The last ‘ordinary’ episode of Capaldi’s era. And what better way to honour an era which has shown such reverence to the classic … Continue reading Doctor Who: The Eaters Of Light (S10E10) Review

The Mummy (2017) Review

Released in the UK the same day another leader saw plans to increase her power and turn the world to her will falter, “The Mummy” suggests Universal’s “Dark Universe” gambit will meet a similarly ignominious fate. Again. When solider-of-fortune Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) stumbles across an Egyptian tomb after an air strike, he unwittingly releases … Continue reading The Mummy (2017) Review

Wonder Woman (2017) Review

It’s hard to remember a movie making its debut under such pressure as “Wonder Woman”. Not just the pressure of expectations for a new superhero movie debut but also the white hot crucible of gender politics, unfair financial expectations and the absolute last-chance saloon necessity to salvage the DCEU from its own self-inflicted tailspin. With … Continue reading Wonder Woman (2017) Review

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017) Review

Dead men may tell no tales but dead horses are still ripe for flogging it seems as Disney cranks out yet another sequel to the surprise 2003 smash hit based on a veteran theme park attraction. When a down-on-his-luck Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) trades his precious magical compass for a bottle of rum, he unknowingly … Continue reading Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017) Review

King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (2017) Review

Guy Richie wears his influences on his sleeve in Galfridian geezer romp “King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword”. He’s clearly seen “The Lord Of The Rings”, kept up to date with “Game Of Thrones” and avidly watched BBC TV’s “Merlin”. He’s even found time to take in Queen’s classic “Radio Ga Ga” video. All of … Continue reading King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (2017) Review

Doctor Who: Knock Knock (S10E04) Review

*SPOILERS* The past looms large in “Knock Knock” as “Doctor Who” plunders horror tropes for an uneven but effective and emotional episode. When Bill and her friends are offered the rental property of their dreams, they sign up as quickly as they can. The Doctor’s happy to help her move in but once he sets … Continue reading Doctor Who: Knock Knock (S10E04) Review

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Review

The weight of expectation resting on the follow-up to 2014’s “Guardians Of The Galaxy” is a testament to just how spectacularly Marvel’s big gamble paid off. But like “Avengers Assemble” before it, the challenge of following up a nearly flawless success is a daunting one. After a spot of mischievous larceny by Rocket angers their … Continue reading Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Review

Doctor Who: Smile (S10E02) Review

Our second outing of Season 10 opens in media res, or at least feels like it and I’ll admit I rewound the live TV just in case I’d blinked and missed a few vital seconds. I hadn't. After a brief and pointed reminder from Nardole regarding the Doctor’s ‘Oath’ to protect whatever’s in that vault, … Continue reading Doctor Who: Smile (S10E02) 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

Kong: Skull Island (2017) Review

In an age of shared blockbuster universes which take themselves terribly seriously, “Kong: Skull Island” is a breezy and brazen breath of fresh air. Preposterous in its premise, it's not afraid to embrace its silliness and, as a result, is more fun than any of its Hollywood kaiju predecessors. In the early 1970’s, an expedition … Continue reading Kong: Skull Island (2017) Review

Logan (2017) Review

Much has been made of “Logan” being a hard-R superhero movie and it’s certainly in a hurry to prove its adult credentials, opening with a sequence which is almost custom designed to make a certain class of comic fans jizz their pants. There’s even an unnecessary shot of breasts within the first fifteen minutes. For … Continue reading Logan (2017) Review

A Cure For Wellness (2017) Review

There’s no denying Gore Verbinski’s “A Cure For Wellness” oozes forebodingly Gothic style. It starts conventionally enough, picking out the theme of the callous emptiness of the rat race and a mysterious Swiss ‘wellness’ clinic which offers respite and rejuvenation in its secretive mountain retreat. When amoral and ambitious young executive Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) is … Continue reading A Cure For Wellness (2017) Review

The Great Wall (2017) Review

“The Great Wall” is an epic Chinese fantasy adventure film unfortunately compromised by the token addition of a pair of western actors in an attempt to increase its box office potential. Set in the time of the Song Dynasty, the Great Wall Of China is one of the wonders of the world, but its true … Continue reading The Great Wall (2017) Review

Underworld: Awakening (2012) Review

After the slightly tedious and unnecessary detour to the dim(ly lit) and distant past that was “Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans”, normal service is resumed as Beckinsale squeezes back into the corset and catsuit for “Underworld: Awakening”. The world has woken up to the presence of Vampires and Lycans and the humans are hell-bent on … Continue reading Underworld: Awakening (2012) Review

Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans (2009) Review

Commissioned at the same time as the sequel “Underworld: Evolution” – before the original “Underworld” had even been released – “Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans” takes us back into the history of the Vampire/ Lycan conflict to explore a moment which had been fully and satisfyingly explained in two minutes of flashbacks in the first … Continue reading Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans (2009) Review

Underworld: Evolution (2006) Review

Ol' blue filter's back! That’s right, we’re back running with the night as we pick up with Selene (Kate Beckinsale), Michael (Scott Speedman) and all our other toothsome chums as we plunge back into the ongoing war between the Vampires and the Lycans. Picking up directly where “Underworld” left off, Death Dealer Selene and vampire/ … Continue reading Underworld: Evolution (2006) Review

Underworld (2003) Review

It’s ironically appropriate that a film so concerned with the purity of various bloodlines is itself a shameless hybrid of “Blade” and “The Matrix”. There’s an undeniable appeal to the idea of a war between the eldritch creatures of the night but the film is so taken with the cleverness of its idea that it … Continue reading Underworld (2003) Review

La La Land (2017) Review

There’s nothing Hollywood likes more than love letters to itself, and “La La Land” is a love letter of such passion and affection for the glamourous halcyon days of old Hollywood that it almost makes you willing to overlook the slightly weird effect CinemaScope has on the actors’ faces in the close-ups. In modern day … Continue reading La La Land (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

Swiss Army Man (2016) Review

There’s more than a faint echo of “South Park” in “Swiss Army Man”, the feature debut from writer/director duo Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. And like “South Park”, its sharp insightfulness has been unfairly obscured by a focus on its deceptively juvenile sense of humour. Hank (Paul Dano) finds himself marooned on a tiny pacific … Continue reading Swiss Army Man (2016) Review

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (2016) Review

Marvel movies are notoriously not allowed to use the ‘m’ word and you’ll find it curiously absent from Miss Peregrine’s… even if it feels like an “X-Men” story co-written by J K Rowling and Roald Dahl. When his grandfather dies in mysterious circumstances, Jake (Asa Butterfield) decides to visit the children’s home that featured in … Continue reading Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (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