24/007: The Complete Craggus’ Bond Voyage

Every Bond movie retrospective, in release order, for your reading convenience. Click on Craggus' Bond Voyage at the end of each review to return here. *SPOILERS*                                                                        … Continue reading 24/007: The Complete Craggus’ Bond Voyage

Skyfall (2012) Review

A major change* occurred in the Bond films when Daniel Craig took over and the impact of that change has been felt more and more in each subsequent film. As of “Casino Royale”, the films were no longer about Bond’s adventures and his mission, they were about Bond himself. Although each film contained the requisite … Continue reading Skyfall (2012) Review

Arrow – Season 3 Review

Arrow - Season 3 Review*SPOILERS* For two seasons, “Arrow” had made a good living being a kind of viridian-hued, archery based homage to Nolan’s Batman, while still respecting the original source material of Green Arrow, albeit modernised for a CW audience. After season two’s triumphant and gripping story arc leading to the defeat of Slade … Continue reading Arrow – Season 3 Review

The Flash – Season 1 Review

*POSSIBLE SPOILERS* Released on DVD and Blu-Ray today, and with Season 2 approaching in a matter of weeks, let's take a quick look back at the debut season of "Arrow" spin-off/ companion series "The Flash". Originally seeded during season 2 of “Arrow” in the episodes “The Scientist” and “Three Ghosts” (S2E08/S2E09), “The Flash” would see … Continue reading The Flash – Season 1 Review

That Sugar Film (2015) Review

Generally, I’m not a fan of pejorative diatribes masquerading as documentary journalism like Morgan Spurlock’s self-aggrandizing “Supersize Me” so I was sceptical but hopeful that “That Sugar Film” would be more focussed on revealing an unexpected truth rather than triumphantly 'proving' the bleeding obvious. I wasn’t disappointed. Australian Actor Damon Gameau (here also writer and director) … Continue reading That Sugar Film (2015) Review

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 24: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

So here we are. The advent calendar has just one day left, and it’s time for the final film of Craggus’ Christmas Countdown. I like to think I’ve saved the best for last. “The Muppet Christmas Carol” isn’t just the last great Muppet movie, it’s also one of the best adaptations of “A Christmas Carol” … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 24: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 22: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

There’s an episode of “Friends” where Phoebe learns that many of her favourite films from childhood have scenes she wasn’t aware of because her mother always stopped them at a certain point, notably “Old Yeller”. I’m pretty sure “It’s A Wonderful Life” would also have made the list. The question is, at what point would … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 22: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 20: Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)

It’s a wonder it took so long for someone to attempt to make a film about Santa Claus being a kind of super hero. It’s less of a wonder that the people to give it a try would be the same people behind the ailing “Superman” franchise, whose most recent film “Supergirl” had been a … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 20: Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 19: A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011)

If stoner comedies are your kind of thing, crammed with inappropriate humour, festive dick jokes and gratuitously over the top antics, then Craggus’ Christmas Countdown has got you covered. Picking up six years after “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay”, this instalment finds the pair estranged and Harold established as a successful banking executive … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 19: A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 18: Rare Exports (2010)

Santa Claus is a being of immense and extraordinary power. He can visit every house on Earth in the space of one night, so has the ability to manipulate space and time. He is able to gain entry to any structure and knows whether you’ve been bad or good. He is near omnipresent and omniscient … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 18: Rare Exports (2010)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 17: Nativity! (2009)

Writer/ Director Debbie Isitt’s “Nativity!” is a bit of a curiosity. Although largely scripted, some of the scenes were improvised (an approach which was expanded in the sequel), which lends it a slightly meta amateur feel. Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman), a frustrated actor turned resentful primary school teacher, is tasked with producing his school’s Nativity … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 17: Nativity! (2009)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 16: Jack Frost (1997)

Psyche! If you were expecting a review of the ‘heart-warming’ Michael Keaton snowman comedy, you’re barking up the wrong yule log. However, if you’re finding all the holiday sweetness a bit much and the gathering family are getting on your nerves a bit leaving you pining for a bit of sharp holly amongst all the … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 16: Jack Frost (1997)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 15: A Christmas Carol (2009)

Robert Zemeckis returns to Christmas animation with his take on another popular festive tale. Thankfully, unlike “The Polar Express”, with “A Christmas Carol” he doesn’t feel the need to add a whole bunch of stuff that isn’t in the book to pad it out. It doesn’t stop him taking a “written for the screen” credit … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 15: A Christmas Carol (2009)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 14: Mrs Miracle (2009)

After the festive spirit-crushing of yesterday’s Christmas Countdown, warm, fuzzy feel-good salvation is at hand with today’s special Hallmark moment: “Mrs Miracle”. A made for TV adaptation of Debbie Macomber’s bestselling novel. Widowed architect Seth Webster lives with his boisterous twin sons in small town America. Overwhelmed, he tries to get a housekeeper to help … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 14: Mrs Miracle (2009)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 12: Love Actually (2003)

Richard Curtis’ “Love Actually” is often misunderstood as an ensemble romantic comedy, intertwining numerous criss-crossing plots in the run up to Christmas. It is, in fact, an avante garde adaptation of a grand British Christmas institution: “Love Actually” is the cinematic adaptation of a tin of Cadbury’s Roses (or Quality Street if you prefer, but … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 12: Love Actually (2003)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 11: Miracle On 34th Street (1994)

I know it’s not fashionable to praise or approve of remakes, but sometimes – every once in a while - they’re actually pretty good. Now I’m not saying that this is better than the original 1947 version but I put it to you that it’s every bit as good. John Hughes (“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 11: Miracle On 34th Street (1994)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 10: Home Alone (1990)

Like the previous year’s “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, “Home Alone” was written by the prolific John Hughes and although they’re set in different parts of Illinois, it’s a nice thought that the Griswolds and the McAllisters actually only live a few doors down from each other. When a power cut causes the family to oversleep … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 10: Home Alone (1990)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 7: Bad Santa (2003)

A Christmas movie to watch once the kids are safely tucked up in bed, “Bad Santa” is not for the easily offended. Billy Bob Thornton stars as Willie Soke, a washed up, bitter con man who spends his Christmases working as mall Santa so that he and his heist partner Marcus (Tony Cox) can rob … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 7: Bad Santa (2003)

Doctor Who: Into The Dalek (S8E02) Review

Oh look – they’ve done a remake of “Dalek” from series one.With the post-regeneration shenanigans of last week behind us, this was our first chance to see the new Doctor in business-as-usual mode. Unfortunately, what we got was a lot of set-up for the series (re-introducing Coal Hill School, introducing Danny Pink, a curious reappearance from … Continue reading Doctor Who: Into The Dalek (S8E02) Review

Craggus’ Trek Trek: From Motion Into Darkness (Omnibus Edition)

If you've only just discovered Craggus' Trek Trek or missed a few, to save you having to scroll through and search for the relevant posts, I've collected them here in one handy compendium. So here you are: twelve Treks, no waiting! STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE I guess I would consider myself a lapsed Trekkie (I … Continue reading Craggus’ Trek Trek: From Motion Into Darkness (Omnibus Edition)

Craggus’ Trek Trek – Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982) Review

While I’ve seen “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” more times than I would probably have chosen to, thanks to it being one of the few sci-fi titles available when VHS rental was starting to be a thing, any opportunity to watch “Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan” is always a delight. When Admiral Kirk’s … Continue reading Craggus’ Trek Trek – Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982) Review

Craggus’ Trek Trek – Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

I guess I would consider myself a lapsed Trekkie (I was never that bothered about the difference between Trekkie and Trekker), losing my faith somewhere between the last couple of seasons of “Star Trek: Voyager” and the launch of “Enterprise”. I loved, and still love, the original series and I was really into “Star Trek: … Continue reading Craggus’ Trek Trek – Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) Review

What are we now, nine films into the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Is there any other franchise where the ninth film can stake a pretty good claim to being the best one yet? While Warner Brothers and DC are fussing and fretting around their Batman focussed Superman ‘sequel’, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is Marvel Studios … Continue reading Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) Review

Marvel One Shots: All Hail The King (2014) Review

Not content with transforming the franchise-based movie making model, Marvel have also been revolutionising the home media experience by creating a series of shorts which not only tie into the Marvel Cinematic Universe but enrich and deepen the connections between the movies they support. Although they started by enhancing, re-cutting and adding to existing footage … Continue reading Marvel One Shots: All Hail The King (2014) Review

Under The Skin (2014) Review

From the moment the film begins with a discordant flurry of violins accompanying disturbingly abstract imagery, it's clear that Director Jonathan Glazer doesn't want "Under The Skin" to be a comfortable viewing experience. It tells the story of an alien (Scarlett Johansson) who arrives on Earth and assumes the identity of a young woman  in order to … Continue reading Under The Skin (2014) Review

Bad Milo! (2013) Review

This comedy horror about one man fighting his inner demons takes the metaphor quite literally while elevating toilet humour to a different level. Ken Marino plays Duncan, a stressed out accountant at an investment firm run by sleazy bully Phil (Patrick Warburton, for once playing against his usual simple buffoon type) who lives with his … Continue reading Bad Milo! (2013) Review

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Review

Quirky with a capital Q (in the Archer font, of course), Wes Anderson’s latest is a refreshingly bold and surreal murder-mystery-comedy-drama bursting at the seams with wit, charm and vibrant performances, all rendered in a beautifully dreamlike palette of pinks, purples and greys. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” will not be the film to convert any … Continue reading The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Review

A Haunted House (2013) Review

I've a real soft spot for spoof and parody movies. I enjoy the idea of taking movies, which I love and am passionate about, and holding them up to a fun house mirror to magnify and tweak their foibles.  I'm always willing to give them a shot whether they're works of genius ("Airplane!", "The Naked … Continue reading A Haunted House (2013) Review

Non-Stop (2014) Review

With awards season winding down, the world’s multiplexes are once again opening up to a broader range of movie as we start the slow, inexorable march towards the summer blockbusterpalooza. It’s time for an action movie, and cometh the hour cometh the man. Liam Neeson adds another troubled tough guy to his action hero CV in … Continue reading Non-Stop (2014) Review

The Last Stand (2013) Review

There’s something reassuringly retro about Arnie’s comeback film, his first starring role since 2003’s forgettable “Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines”. “The Last Stand” goes right back to basics, with Arnie playing a small town sheriff whose sleepy little community just happens to be on the escape route being used by an escaped drug dealer … Continue reading The Last Stand (2013) Review

Caprice (1967) Review

There are some motion pictures which are special to me for purely nostalgic reasons that have nothing to do with the movies themselves. “Caprice” is one such film. I remember, in a non-specific and probably rose-tinted way, watching it with my grandparents and it falls into a fuzzily-defined group of films that I know I … Continue reading Caprice (1967) Review

You’re Next (2013) Review

I’ve a confession to make: sometimes I can be a bit of a wuss when it comes to horror films. It all stems from a time when I was 12 years old and my cousins decided it would be fun to show me the original “A Nightmare On Elm Street”. I spent that night sleeping … Continue reading You’re Next (2013) Review

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011) Review

There are some films where you can clearly detect the studio production meetings in the finished product. “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy” is such a movie. Originally intended as a vehicle for Vince Vaughan, leading man duties eventually fell to Jason Sudeikis. Arguably, that could be considered an improvement but with the rest of the … Continue reading A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011) Review

After Earth (2013) Review

I’ve previously suggested that 2013 was a pretty good year for sci-fi, but it wasn’t all Romulan Ale & Triffids (okay, you come up with a better sci-fi version of wine & roses). In amongst all the good stuff, we also got this indulgent, ill-conceived monstrosity: a testament to ego and self-indulgence starring Jaden Smith, … Continue reading After Earth (2013) Review

Toy Story Of Terror (2013) Review

Released on DVD to coincide with the half term holidays and exclusive to Sainsbury’s, Pixar’s 2013 animated short “Toy Story Of Terror” reunites Buzz, Woody, Jessie and the rest of Bonnie’s toys for a spooky and well observed pastiche of horror movies in general and slasher movies in particular. The plot itself is a mix … Continue reading Toy Story Of Terror (2013) Review

Europa Report (2013) Review

2013 was a pretty good year for proper, grown-up sci-fi. In amongst the blockbusters and true stories, we were treated to the astonishing “Gravity” and the faithfully-made but underperforming “Ender’s Game”. Overlooked in all the folly and grandeur of a great cinematic year was a little gem of a movie called “Europa Report”. A smart, … Continue reading Europa Report (2013) Review

John Dies At The End (2013) Review

The word ‘unfilmable’ is a bit of a cliché when it comes to describing novels being adapted into movies. David Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’ was thought to be unfilmable, although I thought the Wachowskis did a pretty good job; “Ender’s Game” was also described by its author Orson Scott Card as unfilmable (although I wouldn’t recommend … Continue reading John Dies At The End (2013) Review

About Time (2013) Review

"About Time" isn't quite your typical Richard Curtis fare - it feels a little different from "Notting Hill", "Love, Actually" and "Four Weddings And A Funeral". It's more a romantic fantasy than a comedy and although some of the Curtis archetypes are present - kooky vulnerable sibling, curmudgeonly morose cynic, quirky bumbling relative - they're … Continue reading About Time (2013) Review

Big Ass Spider! (2013) Review

“American Hustle”, “Captain Phillips”, “The Wolf Of Wall Street”, “Dallas Buyers Club”; I’ve watched many fine movies recently. Important, critically acclaimed, superbly acted and stylishly directed movies. I’ve been dining on the cinematic equivalent of chateaubriand in Béarnaise sauce. The trouble is, no matter how succulent that steak may be, sometimes you just really, really … Continue reading Big Ass Spider! (2013) Review

Lovelace (2013) Review

The film “Deep Throat” came out before I was born but it’s still the origin of the phrase I knew first. Before I’d heard of the Watergate Scandal and way before “The X Files”, I knew of its existence as a porno movie. I’d probably heard of it before I really understood what a porno … Continue reading Lovelace (2013) Review

Red 2 (2013) Review

With a likeable veteran cast, “Red” was something of a pleasant surprise when it was released in 2010. Like a more refined version of “The Expendables”, it brought together a classy group of actors to kick butt in a lightweight, fun and action packed spy caper involving the obligatory high level conspiracies and long buried … Continue reading Red 2 (2013) Review

Devil’s Due (2014) Review

It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a really good supernatural horror film. And my wait continues. “Devil’s Due” isn’t a horror film, it’s just a horrible film. Guilty of every tired cliché of the increasingly played out 'found footage' genre, this is an intriguing premise stripped of any sense of suspense or fear … Continue reading Devil’s Due (2014) Review

The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013) Review

"The Wolf Of Wall Street" is a big, ballsy movie. It's loud, brash and gets right in your face. It's obscene, profane and gratuitous in every possible way and might just be the best film I've seen in the past twelve months. Incredibly, it's based on a true story: the memoirs of the real Jordan … Continue reading The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013) Review

Captain Phillips (2013) Review

When I first saw a trailer for “Captain Phillips”, I wasn’t bowled over. I only had a passing familiarity with the real events the film was based on, and the lacklustre title combined with an underwhelming trailer gave me the impression of a Discovery Channel special with talking heads and stagey reconstructions, stretching out thirty … Continue reading Captain Phillips (2013) Review

The Lone Ranger (2013) Review

Director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp have conspired to deliver a wildly inventive take on the Western which simultaneously honours the traditional hallmarks of the genre while cleverly and irreverently tweaking its foibles as well. Brimming with witty dialogue, colourful characters and a richly realised world, the result is an impressive and entertaining triumph. … Continue reading The Lone Ranger (2013) Review

Walking With Dinosaurs: The Movie (2013) Review

1999’s “Walking With Dinosaurs” was a ground-breaking and spectacular six part BBC nature documentary using state of the art film making techniques and special effects to give dinosaurs the full natural history documentary treatment. Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, it was serious, scholarly and also immensely entertaining. Imagine, then, such a bold, principled approach being revisited … Continue reading Walking With Dinosaurs: The Movie (2013) Review

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (2013) Review

I’ve never been a huge fan of Ben Stiller. Of course, I’ve enjoyed films he’s been in, and even films he’s headlined. “Zoolander”, “Dodgeball”, “Mystery Men”, “Tropic Thunder” and “Starsky & Hutch” are all fun and enjoyable movies, but I just can’t warm to the guy. He’s also one quarter of the least appealing voice … Continue reading The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (2013) Review

The Harry Hill Movie (2013) Review

Most films I go and see because I want to, some I go and see because they’re important or hyped or I feel a sense of duty to you, my dear readers and finally, some I go and see only because The Mertmas really, really wants to see them. “The Harry Hill Movie” is such … Continue reading The Harry Hill Movie (2013) Review

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013) Review

Did you enjoy “Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy”? Yes? Then the chances are you’re going to enjoy “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”, even if parts of it feel  a little familiar. “Anchorman 2” is a funny sort of hybrid creation: part sequel, part remake with just a little bit of reboot thrown in. The … Continue reading Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013) Review

Saving Mr Banks (2013) Review

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, or so the song goes. And while there’s certainly liberal sprinklings of sugar throughout “Saving Mr Banks”, director John Lee Hancock and star Emma Thompson ensure there’s sufficient bittersweet complexity that the whole mixture avoids becoming cloying or syrupy. The film splits its narrative in two, … Continue reading Saving Mr Banks (2013) Review