A fool off his guard could fall and fall hard for Disney’s surprisingly beguiling Aladdin (2019)

Aladdin 2019 Review

In terms of what you might be expecting, Disney’s live-action adaptation of their own animated take on Aladdin is much more than a diamond in the rough. Against the odds, and certainly expectations, Guy Ritchie and his likeable and talented cast have managed to deliver a cave of wonders which honours the original classic and … Continue reading A fool off his guard could fall and fall hard for Disney’s surprisingly beguiling Aladdin (2019)

And it seems to be, he lived his life burning candles at both ends. Rocketman (2019) Review

Rocketman Review

The real genius of “Rocketman”, other than Elton John and Bernie Taupin themselves, is the wonderful narrative conceit of framing the story as a rehab confessional. It allows the makers or this musical fantasy to dive deep into the unreliable narration of a man who may be willing to air the dirty laundry of his … Continue reading And it seems to be, he lived his life burning candles at both ends. Rocketman (2019) Review

Dumbo (2019) has a surprisingly metatextual moral for the House of Mouse

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

Bill Watterson boxes clever with quirky comedy horror Dave Made A Maze (2019)

Dave Made A Maze 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)

There’s no proxy for how much I love The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen (1989) 30th Anniversary Review

The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen 30th Anniversary Review

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

AssHat is happy to collude with Netflix for repeated viewings of Russian Doll

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

There’s no substitutiary for Angela Lansbury when it comes to giving Bedknobs And Broomsticks (1971) its locomotion!

Posted as part of Realweegiemidget's Adoring Angela Lansbury Blogathon Far better than the “Mary Poppins”-lite it’s often dismissed as, “Bedknobs And Broomsticks” takes the more famous nanny’s Disnified spoonful of sugar and stirs it into a shot of absinthe before knocking it back in one go and heading off to war. A curious and yet … Continue reading There’s no substitutiary for Angela Lansbury when it comes to giving Bedknobs And Broomsticks (1971) its locomotion!

The How To Train Your Dragon trilogy soars to a triumphant close with The Hidden World

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

Glass (2019) sets out to shatter the superhero paradigm.

*SPOILERS* Closer in tone and intent to “Unbreakable” than its immediate predecessor “Split”, “Glass” sees filmmaker M Night Shyamalan returning to the world of comic book super heroics, not to homage or reimagine them, but to deconstruct them -  especially their latest cinematic incarnations. With The Beast/ The Horde/ Kevin Wendell Crumb (McAvoy) still on … Continue reading Glass (2019) sets out to shatter the superhero paradigm.

Doctor Who: Resolution (S11E11) ends up a test of my Whovian resolve.

*SPOILERS* The dawn of a New Year can be a time for sober, objective deliberation. A contemplation of the year just passed; its triumphs – and its follies – and, most importantly, the chance to reflect, reconsider and refresh both yourself and your work. Not that you would glean this from the current Doctor Who … Continue reading Doctor Who: Resolution (S11E11) ends up a test of my Whovian resolve.

Mary Poppins Returns (2018) is an exercise in Lucasian poetry

Assembled more like one of Disney’s current ‘live action’ adaptations of their animated back catalogue than a genuine sequel to the 1964 original, “Mary Poppins Returns” brings back cinema’s premiere Nanny to answer another Banks crisis. In Depression-era London, a now-grown Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael Banks (Ben Wishaw), along with Michael’s three children, face … Continue reading Mary Poppins Returns (2018) is an exercise in Lucasian poetry

Aquaman (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

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-verse (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

Doctor Who: The Battle Of Ranskoor Av Kolos (S11E10) 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

Cinema continues to be barren ground for the seeding of new franchises. Mortal Engines (2018) 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

Sorry To Bother You (2018) Review

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

Robin Hood (2018) Review

Unnecessary? Yes. Historically inaccurate? Ridiculously so. Fun? Absolutely, you miserable bunch. 2018’s “Robin Hood” sets out to put a modern #OccupySherwood spin on the age-old tale of the redistribution of medieval wealth and taken on its own bonkers terms, there’s a lot of fun to have with this bombastic fast and feudal adventure yarn. Sent … Continue reading Robin Hood (2018) Review

Doctor Who: It Takes You Away (S11E09) Review

*SPOILERS* Shirt watch: Blue This week, it’s Doctor wHomage as we get spooky and surreal and writer Ed Hime brings us a Whovian spin on some familiar horror tropes. Having arrived back in the present, the Doctor, Graham, Yaz and Ryan find themselves in Norway. Intrigued by a nearby cottage, the gang investigate only to … Continue reading Doctor Who: It Takes You Away (S11E09) Review

Suspiria (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

Doctor Who: The Witchfinders (S11E08) Review

*SPOILERS* Shirt Watch: Blue (I’m the only person doing shirt watch, aren’t I?) If last week’s episode was a move towards Doctor Who orthodoxy, “The Witchfinders” positively revels in Doctor Who tropery and it’s all the better for it. I found myself hunting for something to snark about and being thwarted at each turn by … Continue reading Doctor Who: The Witchfinders (S11E08) Review

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald (2018) Review

There’s a touch of vanity to the new Wizarding World logo which follows the Warner Bros shield at the start of “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Gindelwald”, equal in hubris if not in ironic overconfidence to the unveiling (and shuttering) of Universal’s Dark Universe at the star of “The Mummy”. The mission is clear: expand … Continue reading Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald (2018) Review

Doctor Who: Kerblam! (S11E07) 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

Doctor Who: Demons Of The Punjab (S11E06) Review

*SPOILERS* Shirt Watch: Red Previously, on “Doctor Who”: they not only recovered the TARDIS but also tangled with the Death-Eye Turtle Army (the alternate Season 11 that we’re not being shown sounds amazing). We now return to Yaz’ Gran’s birthday party already in progress... When Yaz receives a gift of an old, broken watch from … Continue reading Doctor Who: Demons Of The Punjab (S11E06) Review

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms (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

Doctor Who: The Tsuranga Conundrum (S11E05) Review

I missed watching “Doctor Who” live for the first time this series due to family fireworks commitments but having caught up now, I don’t regret my choice because there was precious little spark in this collage of half-developed sci-fi ideas and forced character moments. Injured and stranded in the wilds of a far-flung galaxy, the … Continue reading Doctor Who: The Tsuranga Conundrum (S11E05) Review

Doctor Who: Arachnids In The UK (S11E04) Review

*SPOILERS* The Doctor has finally managed to get her friends back to Earth (and has changed back into her blue t-shirt, which means we’re counting down to red shirt/ blue shirt significance conspiracy theories in 3...2...1...). It’s not the only conspiracy that’s on offer, though, as an invitation to tea leads to a conspiracy which … Continue reading Doctor Who: Arachnids In The UK (S11E04) Review

Doctor Who: Rosa (S11E03) Review

We’ve had the present-day introduction to the new TARDIS team and visited an alien world in the (presumably) far future. There’s only one place to go now to complete the ‘new Doctor starter pack’: the past. And whatever else you may be thinking of Chibnall’s tenure so far, you can’t accuse him of shying away … Continue reading Doctor Who: Rosa (S11E03) Review

Doctor Who: The Ghost Monument (S11E02) Review

*SPOILERS* There’s no face in the new opening titles and no cold open – although I guess we’ll have to wait for next week to find out if that’s just because of the cliff-hanger or if that’s the new normal. Given how prevalent her face was in the series’ advance marketing, it’s a little odd … Continue reading Doctor Who: The Ghost Monument (S11E02) Review

The Witches Of Eastwick (1987) #MonthOfSpooks 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

Doctor Who: The Woman Who Fell To Earth (S11E01) Review

*SPOILERS* Doctor Who has always been a progressive, social justice kind of show - hell the Doctor fought Nazi analogues in only the second ever adventure - but incoming Showrunner Chris Chibnall has decided - in his remarks and stated intent and the marketing of the series, to make the subtext text. In the current … Continue reading Doctor Who: The Woman Who Fell To Earth (S11E01) Review

Dracula’s Daughter (1936) 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

Christopher Robin (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 Darkest Minds (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

Hulk (2003) 15th Anniversary Review

Not to be corny, but today marks the 15th anniversary of the not-so-jolly green giant’s big screen debut, Ang Lee’s underappreciated “Hulk”. It also probably marks at least ten years since I last watched it and I’d always considered it the lesser of the two Hulk movies but it really isn’t. Revisiting it now, at … Continue reading Hulk (2003) 15th Anniversary Review

Happy! Season One Review

Former Detective Nick Sax is an alcoholic loner who relies on narcotics to fill his life with meaning and interest, in turn relying on his skills as a gun for hire to provide for his habits. However, after having a near death experience he is visited by Happy, a small blue flying unicorn which only … Continue reading Happy! Season One Review

The Best Of Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Fifteen years ago, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” aired its final episode “Chosen” on Sky One here in the UK (some three weeks or so after its US airdate), so it’s the perfect time for Sweetie G – the person who introduced me to Buffy – and me to sit down and agree our Top Ten … Continue reading The Best Of Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) Review

Not that long ago, in a studio not too far away... Turmoil has engulfed the once peaceful and proud Lucasfilm franchise. It is a period of [not so] civil war as a small band of separatist fans, feeling betrayed by “The Last Jedi”, lay siege to the latest “Star Wars” offering. Meanwhile, there is unrest … Continue reading Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) Review

Every Day (2018) Review

Adapted from the novel by David Levithan, “Any Day” may, at first glance, look like your run of the mill young adult schmaltzy romance but lurking behind that façade is a sweet and surprisingly affecting sci-fi romance built around the charismatic performance of lead Angourie Rice. It also marks the resurrection of Orion Pictures, the … Continue reading Every Day (2018) Review

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Review

There was an idea: to bring together a group of remarkable franchises, to see if they could become something bigger. So when we wanted more, they could bring us the battles we never could’ve believed we’d ever see on the big screen. The Mad Titan is finally making his move and first to feel the … Continue reading Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Review

Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

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)

Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Doctor Strange (2016)

Arrogant and gifted neurosurgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is sailing through life, aloof from the world around him until he suffers a catastrophic car accident which permanently damages the nerves in his hands. Seeking a cure of last resort, Strange travels to Tibet where he encounters The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who opens his mind … Continue reading Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Doctor Strange (2016)

Dark Disney: Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) Review

Suitably Autumnal, with Halloween overtones, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” sets out to create and then subvert the Norman Rockwell archetypal small American town. The story cuts right to the heart of the fragility of the American dream and the constant paranoia that somehow, their self-evident utopian land of the free and home of the … Continue reading Dark Disney: Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) Review

Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Thor (2011)

After an disastrous assault on Jotunheim, the home of the Frost Giants, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is banished by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) for his recklessness. Exiled to Earth while his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) stages a coup, Thor’s only chance of returning to Asgard is to prove himself worthy to wield the enchanted hammer Mjölnir which … Continue reading Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Thor (2011)

Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Iron Man 2 (2010)

Revelling in his new-found fame, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is hiding a secret: the very thing which saved his life and powers his suit is killing him. Seeking to secure his legacy in the face of ambitious rivals and a suspicious Government, Stark's behaviour grows ever more erratic and unpredictable as his penchant for … Continue reading Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: Iron Man 2 (2010)

Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

When his cover is blown thanks to an accident in a bottling plant, Doctor Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) returns to the United States to seek the help of a mysterious ‘Mr Blue’ who may hold the key to undoing his Gamma poisoning. But General Ross (William Hurt) is hot on his trail, along with Emile … Continue reading Craggus’ Countdown To Infinity: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

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

Annihilation (2018) Review

The latest in a growing line of Netflix movies where the merits of the film risk being overshadowed by their path to the network, “Annihilation” gives the streaming giant arguably its highest profile ‘original movie’ to date. When a meteor crashes to Earth on the south coast of the United States, its landing site and … Continue reading Annihilation (2018) Review

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