Dracula (1979) Dractober Review

Back in 1979, Universal dusted off its back catalogue and made plans to make a feature film featuring Dracula for the first time since 1948. And they didn’t even think to wrap a whole shared universe around it, dark or otherwise. Ah, those were the days! Shipwrecked off Whitby, Count Dracula (Frank Langella), the apparent … Continue reading Dracula (1979) Dractober 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

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society (2018) Review

If you’re not one for the intergalactic cataclysms of “Avengers: Infinity War”, then you might find your local multiplex a fairly unwelcoming place this coming week. But, amidst the plethora of showings of, admittedly, one of the best films of the year so far, if you look carefully you might just uncover this cunningly counter-programmed … Continue reading The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society (2018) Review

Love, Simon (2018) Review

A John Hughes movie for the 21st Century, Greg Berlanti’s adaptation of the novel “Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda” emerges as a romantic comedy-drama so utterly charming, it’s nigh-on impossible not to “Love, Simon”. High School senior Simon Spiers seems to have it all, but he’s hiding a big secret: he’s gay. When another student … Continue reading Love, Simon (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

Fifty Shades Freed (2018) Review

You like it rough? Then this is the movie for you. The acting’s pretty rough and the script’s sadistically punishing too. With the everyday, relatable trials and tribulations of courtship such as romantic misunderstandings, contractual disputes over sexual obligations and helicopter crashes behind them, Anna (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) settle contentedly into married … Continue reading Fifty Shades Freed (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

Dracula (1931) #MonthOfSpooks Review

Once again, What The Craggus Saw is joining in with TheMarckoGuy’s Month Of Spooks. Last year, it prompted me to finally get around to watching the classic Hallowe'en movie, “Halloween”. This year, I’ve used it as an excuse to go all the way back to where modern cinema horror began, exploring the original Universal Monster … Continue reading Dracula (1931) #MonthOfSpooks Review

Vampires Suck (2010) Review

I’m unapologetically fond of dumb spoof movies. I’m sorry, but that’s just how I am. Oh, I can embrace the abstract intellectualism of Jonathan Glazer or disdain the nihilistic art house pretension of Nicholas Winding Refn till the cows come home, but a little bit of me is forever the sniggering school kid who watched, … Continue reading Vampires Suck (2010) 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

The Big Sick (2017) Review

Sweet, funny and poignantly insightful, “The Big Sick” is a perfectly pitched romantic comedy semi-autobiographical memoir of how star Kumail Nanjiani met his real life wife. Kumail is making a living as an Uber driver as he tries to get his big break in stand up comedy. After a gig, he meets Emily (Zoe Kazan) … Continue reading The Big Sick (2017) Review

The Space Between Us (2017) Review

Taking the term literally, “The Space Between Us” gives a new spin on the star-crossed lovers trope in this amiably cheesy and uneven young adult romance. In the near future, charismatic Genesis CEO Nathaniel Shepard (Gary Oldman) is sponsoring the first colonisation mission to Mars. A few weeks into the journey Sarah Elliot, the lead … Continue reading The Space Between Us (2017) Review

The American President (1995) Review

Before the dignity and prestige of the office was befouled and irreversibly tarnished by a bloviating titian demagogue, there was a time when America had fallen madly back in love with their Commander In Chief and Hollywood was falling over itself to ingratiate itself with the occupant of The White House. 1990s films such as … Continue reading The American President (1995) Review

Dave (1993) Review

A sly and sparky twist on the age old tale of ‘The Prince And The Pauper’, “Dave” delivers a delightfully upbeat moral fable as a corrupt and callous leader is replaced by ‘an ordinary joe’. When President Bill Mitchell (Kevin Kline) arranges for a duplicate to make a public appearance to cover up for an … Continue reading Dave (1993) Review

Passengers (2016) Review

A surprise contender for ‘Most Divisive Film of 2016’, “Passengers” may not be the sci-fi action thriller the trailers might have led us to expect but there’s still a lot to enjoy in this literal and figurative star vehicle which teams current hot ticket stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Aboard the starship Avalon, a sleeper … Continue reading Passengers (2016) Review

A United Kingdom (2016) Review

Handsomely staged and impeccably acted, “A United Kingdom” revisits and reveals a particularly shameful chapter of Britain’s post-war history and lays bare the callous brutality of 20th Century realpolitik. The film tells the true story of Prince Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) of Botswana (then Bechuanaland) who met and married Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) an English … Continue reading A United Kingdom (2016) Review

Allied (2016) Review

Despite its intriguing premise and impressive pedigree, “Allied” resembles nothing as much as a lavish big screen reimagining of “’Allo ‘Allo”. In 1942, a Canadian RAF spy encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission Vichy occupied Morocco. Later reunited in London, their relationship blossoms into love but as the war grinds on, … Continue reading Allied (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

Love (2015) Review

There’s a point near the half way mark in Gaspar Noé’s provocatively explicit romantic drama “Love” where its raison d'être is revealed and the movie sheds any remaining inhibitions of being anything other than a pseudo-autobiographical sublimation of Noé himself. It happens when our protagonist Murphy (Karl Glusman) tells Electra (Aomi Muyuck) that he has a … Continue reading Love (2015) Review

Trainwreck (2015) Review

Anyone who’s at all familiar with her successful TV sketch show “Inside Amy Schumer” would have had a good idea of what to expect from “Trainwreck”. What they might not be expecting is the unexpectedly sweet core of the movie as Amy tempers her provocative and anarchic comedy style with some genuine character driven romance … Continue reading Trainwreck (2015) Review

The Danish Girl (2016) Review

Adapted from David Ebershoff’s 2000 novel, “The Danish Girl” brings us a fictionalised account of the life of Lili Elbe, one of the first people in the world to undergo gender reassignment surgery. The film, like its source novel, is much less an exploration of the prejudices and societal attitude towards sexuality and transgender issues … Continue reading The Danish Girl (2016) Review

Man Up (2015) Review

Enjoying a cinema release in America today and available on home media in the UK right now, "Man Up" - like "I Give It A Year" before it - is a lightweight British Rom-Com seeking to tap into that early Richard Curtis 'Four Weddings' vibe. When Nancy (Lake Bell) accidentally steals someone else's blind date, … Continue reading Man Up (2015) Review

The Lobster (2015) Review

How do you begin to describe “The Lobster”? A twisted and surreal love story? A pitch black comic morality play? An absurdist fantasy on a theme of societal convention? “The Undateables: The Movie”? It’s all these and much more as director Yorgos Lanthimos takes us on a bizarre journey into an uneasy totalitarian future where … Continue reading The Lobster (2015) Review

Crimson Peak (2015) Review

Those going in to Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” expecting an out and out horror film are likely to come away disappointed. This isn’t even really a ghost story. It’s a story with ghosts in it. In “Crimson Peak”, del Toro has brought Gothic Romance to the screen in glorious style – a perfect match … Continue reading Crimson Peak (2015) Review

The One I Love (2015) Review

Available now in the UK on Netflix, quirky indie sci-fi romantic drama “The One I Love” is a difficult film to describe without giving away any of its surprises. Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss) are struggling with a marriage on the brink of collapse when their therapist suggests an unusual course of action. He … Continue reading The One I Love (2015) Review

Fifty Shades Of Grey (2015) Review

From the very first frame, “Fifty Shades Of Grey” positively drips with tension. Unfortunately, it’s not the sexual kind. There’s a palpable sense of nervousness and awkwardness in the opening scenes that has little to do with impossibly naïve and twee ingénue Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) or uncomfortably self-conscious billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan – … Continue reading Fifty Shades Of Grey (2015) Review

Blue Is The Warmest Colour (2013) Review

Blue may be the warmest colour, but the prurient gossip and rumour-mongering circulating the making of Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palm D’Or-winning movie has generated heat enough to obscure the truth of the film itself. But if you dismiss the salacious tabloid indignation and the leering, sensationalist headline-grabbing subject matter you’ll discover a work which is, at … Continue reading Blue Is The Warmest Colour (2013) Review

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)

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) Review

A clash of cultures and culinary artistry lie at the heart of this warm and witty comedy drama, bolstered by gorgeous cinematography and some great performances. While food is undoubtedly at the core of the movie, adapted from Richard C Morais' novel, it's more to do with what food means to us as individuals, as … Continue reading The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) Review

What If (2014) Review

There’s something undeniably self-satisfied about “What If” (originally titled "The F Word"), a trait which would be alienating enough if it weren’t already an awkward mix of ‘Friendzoned: The Movie’ and the combined efforts of the Toronto and Dublin tourist boards. Revisiting the well-worn trope of ‘can men and women ever just be friends?’, the film … Continue reading What If (2014) Review

Beautiful Creatures (2013) Review

After the dull and muddled disappointment of “The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones”, I was a bit reluctant to continue catching up with all the ‘young adult’ adaptations vying to be the next “Twilight”. Thankfully, “Beautiful Creatures” is quite a different beast: a kind of easy going, down-home, selectively antebellum gothic love story. In the … Continue reading Beautiful Creatures (2013) Review

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (2013) Review

Despite some handsome production values, and a game cast doing their best, it's hard to escape the conclusion that "The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones" is little more than derivative, uninspired fan fiction crammed with so much supernatural and romantic wish fulfilment that at times I felt I was watching 'Fifty Shades Of Octarine'. When … Continue reading The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (2013) Review

Not Another Happy Ending (2013) Review

After “Doctor Who”, but before “Oculus”, Karen Gillan appeared in this modest, modern yet old fashioned romantic comedy about a novelist, her publisher and her screenwriter boyfriend. Although it didn’t really get a wide cinema release it’s available to rent or buy on DVD now. When a small publishing house run by French editor Tom … Continue reading Not Another Happy Ending (2013) Review

Walking On Sunshine (2014) Review

You only need to look at the poster to know that the makers of “Walking On Sunshine” (released in cinemas Friday 27th June) saw “Mamma Mia!” and thought ‘that looks really easy – I bet we could do that’. But where “Mamma Mia!” is a carefully crafted jukebox musical based on Abba’s phenomenal back catalogue … Continue reading Walking On Sunshine (2014) Review

Diana (2013) Review

There’s nothing in this flat, uninspired biopic which will change your opinion on the late Diana, Princess of Wales whatever it was: either a precious, much wronged saintly victim of a callous and cruel establishment or an arch-manipulator, all too aware of and willing to use the vast, unquestioning affection she commanded. This overly soapy film … Continue reading Diana (2013) Review

In Your Eyes (2014) Review

The second production to come from Joss Whedon’s Bellwether Pictures (following last year’s “Much Ado About Nothing”), “In Your Eyes” is a modest, sweet, gently paced romance which may ultimately be more interesting as an experiment in motion picture production and distribution than for its storyline or performances. Not that both the story and performances … Continue reading In Your Eyes (2014) Review

Her (2013) Review

Set in the near-future, from the first moments of "Her" it's clear that two significant changes have occurred in society. The first is that the much anticipated Singularity has occurred and the second is that Simon Cowell has won the argument over the height of trouser waistbands. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a writer going … Continue reading Her (2013) Review

The Adjustment Bureau (2011) Review

Have you ever stopped to wonder what would have happened if you’d not missed that train, or if you’d gone to a different coffee shop on a whim, or decided to stay in instead of going to that party? And what if those decisions weren’t actually made by you, but were made on your behalf? … Continue reading The Adjustment Bureau (2011) 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

Warm Bodies (2013) Review

A clever spin on the largely played out zombie craze, “Warm Bodies” delivers an enjoyable, surprisingly gentle comedy horror. Despite being stuck with the duties of the narrator, Nicholas Hoult is brilliant as recovering zombie ‘R’ and uses the inner monologue of our hero to turn the role into something special. The engaging and intriguing … Continue reading Warm Bodies (2013) Review