If you thought Sony’s plan to create a viable cinematic franchise based around a popular recurring villain from another franchise with “Venom” was a bold new idea, then I’m here to exterminate your misconceptions with the news that Amicus tried it decades before. In the early sixties, Amicus’ founders American-born Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg … Continue reading Canon to the left of us, non-canon to the right, here we are stuck in the middle with…Who? Looking back at Peter Cushing’s Amicus Doctor Who for the 2nd Great Hammer-Amicus Blogathon
To the surprise of literally nobody, rising with an entirely unmerited sense of entitlement from the ashes of “X-Men: Apocalypse”, writer/ director Simon Kinberg has only managed to conjure a turkey from the flames. In the 1990s, the X-Men are enjoying a golden age of public and governmental approval. The President even has a brand … Continue reading X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) offers us the chance to dine on ashes while flipping us the bird.
Today, 31st May 2019, marks the 25th anniversary of the one and only screening of Roger Corman’s infamously unreleased “The Fantastic Four”. Tax write-off? Copyright obligation? Shits ‘n’ giggles? Whatever the reason, this million-dollar movie was apparently never meant to see the light of day, but then again if you want to find it, it’s … Continue reading It’s clobberin’ time for your eyes and ears: celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four (1994)
*SPOILERS*Having teased action in the previous two episodes, showrunner Alex Kurtzman finally blows his load (and his special effects budget and, later, his remaining credibility) on an impossibly messy, Jackson Pollock-esque space battle and gratuitous hand to hand combat scenes in a frantic attempt to cover for the fact that very little actually happens in … Continue reading With an abundance of sound and fury, Such Sweet Sorrow Part II confirms that Star Trek: Discovery is a tale told by idiots. S2E14 Review
*SPOILERS* The ultimate artifice of the showrunners is revealed when yet another of the Short Treks is referenced, this time, somewhat disingenuously, as part of the ‘Previously’ montage. It does all point quite obviously to the explanation why Discovery, its technology and activity has never been referenced in the rest of Trek and also raises … Continue reading Star Trek: Discovery reminds us time is the fire in which we Burnham. S2E13 Such Sweet Sorrow review
*SPOILERS* Kicking off what seems to be a loose three-part season finale, we start with a new episode of Michael Burnham’s ‘My Two Moms’ before we plunge right into the action and by action, I mean a meeting. Having decided not to join Georgiou in hunting for Ctrl+Alt-Leland, the crew of Discovery have turned their … Continue reading Yea, though I sat Through The Valley Of Shadows, I will hear no more of time crystals: for thou art peak Discovery; thy plot and thy writing staff they discomfit me. Star Trek: Discovery S2E12 Review
With their recent public ‘conscious uncoupling’ from Marvel, Netflix has had to use search for different source material to satisfy the public’s current thirst for superhero stories and characters. Their first attempt comes from former Good Charlotte emo goth leader Gerard Way in the form of “The Umbrella Academy”. On October 1st 1989, 43 women … Continue reading Ass-Hat enrols at The Umbrella Academy for Season 1
Creepy, disturbing and deliciously, irresistibly open to multiple interpretations, Jordan Peele’s follow up to “Get Out” brings us another mischievously deep dive into the shameful psyche of America with a psychological sci-fi thriller of identity politics through the looking glass. As a young child, Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong'o) wandered away from her parents on the … Continue reading If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make that change. Start with the man in the mirror. Us (2019) Review
*SPOILERS*After the tawdry torture porn of last week's denouement, we open with a flashback to Burnham’s happy childhood where this exceptionally gifted and inquisitive child was apparently completely oblivious to her parents’ line of work in their secret laboratory home. But it turns out it’s only a near-death experience for Burnham as she wakes in … Continue reading Mum’s the word on a tautologically titled episode of Star Trek: Discovery. S2E11 Perpetual Infinity Review
*SPOILERS* The episode opens with the funeral of cybernetically enhanced Lieutenant Airiam, which means that the crew did nothing at all to try to save her once she had been blown out of the airlock. Instead, in a collective attempt to exorcise any guilt over their inaction, we’re treated to not one but many eulogies … Continue reading It’s more meddling and a funeral as Star Trek: Discovery reveals the identity of The Red Angel (S2E10) Review
*SPOILERS* It's action stations on this week's "Star Trek: Discovery" as the crew prove their fugitive bona fides by immediately contacting a Starfleet Admiral and inviting her to their hiding place. Fortunately, it's our old friend - and notoriously bad decision maker - Admiral Cornwell, who brings news of a sort of Section 31 sponsored … Continue reading Let’s all meet up with Trek’s Hal-9000, won’t it be strange when a background character’s gone? Star Trek: Discovery S2E09: Project Daedalus Review
*SPOILERS* It’s a cute touch with this week’s ‘Previously On...’ recap which takes us back to the pilot and delivers the ultimate Trek re-cap from the very beginning. But before we get too nostalgic, we cut to our modern Pike and it’s impressive just how un-jarring the transition is. Anson Mount really is doing terrific … Continue reading If Memory Serves, I first suggested who the Red Angel could be last week, now I’m pretty sure I know. Star Trek: Discovery S2E08 Review
*SPOILERS* With confirmation the red angel is a ‘man in a suit’ from the future, there’s a renewed impetus to find Spock so Burnham requests permission to head to Vulcan because she believes her mother may know where Spock is. Meanwhile, the Discovery is tasked with remaining in orbit around Kaminar – not, as you … Continue reading Star Trek: Discovery S2E07 – Light And Shadows involves a space/ time anomaly which transports some of season one’s bad writing into the present day.
*SPOILER* Despite the Admiralty-mandated joinging of forces, there’s a distinct lack of urgency to the search for Spock in this episode. Instead, we’re treated to the origin story of Saru as the first Kaminarian superhero; their Daredevil: the Kelpian without fear. With Saru pondering what the loss of his threat ganglia means for him and … Continue reading That ominous rumbling in the distance is some of Star Trek: Discovery’s bad habits rolling back into town. The Sounds Of Thunder (S2E06) Review
Planting its tongue firmly in cheek, the sequel to 2017’s delightfully peppy “Happy Death Day” takes the timey-wimey slasher story and gives it a decidedly sci-fi twist that sees it play out like an over-caffeinated mash-up of “Back To The Future Part II” and “Russian Doll”. Finding himself trapped in a time loop on Tuesday … Continue reading Happy Death Day 2 U (2019) brings us a happy return to the big screen for Jessica Rothe
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
*SPOILER* Picking up where we left off last week, the episode opens with Burnham doing her best Tom Cruise impression, sprinting down to the lab after learning that Tilly is missing, presumed mushroomed (but not, hopefully, in a “Hannibal – ‘Amuse-Bouche’” sort of way). Despite one of their shipmates being up shiitake creek without a … Continue reading Just when you thought there wasn’t mushroom for more drama on Star Trek: Discovery, the Saints Of Imperfection (S2E05) come marching in!
Knowing nothing of the original Manga on which it’s based (the closest I can claim is that I quite enjoy the 2009 animated movie “Astro Boy”, which shares a surprising amount of story with this film), “Alita: Battle Angel” still held a strong appeal thanks to the names behind and in front of the camera. … Continue reading Alita: Battle Angel (2019) slices, dices and occasionally surprises.
*SPOILERS* “An Obol For Charon” begins, as have all season two’s episodes with a Spock-tease as Number One (Rebecca Romijn) visits her Captain to provide an update on her investigations into the unfolding mysteries surrounding Spock’s bizarre behaviour since the red bursts occurred and also grab something to eat. It’s a fun and intriguing preamble … Continue reading I’ll buy that for a drachma! An Obol For Charon (S2E04) buys us Star Trek: Discovery’s best episode to date
*SPOILER* You’d be forgiven for wincing as this week’s episode begins because it brings back those pointy-clothed buzzkills from season one, the Klingons. Although it’s immediately apparent that something’s different. They’re more mobile, for one, and certainly more hirsute. And while they’re still speaking Klingon, it’s less stilted and Shakespearean now but they’re probably just … Continue reading It’s the return of the braidy bunch as the Klingons finally let their hair down on Star Trek: Discovery. (S2E03) Point Of Light Review
*SPOILERS* As this season’s grand over-arching plot continues to intrigue, the ‘story of the week’ is so resolutely Roddenberryian that it almost collapses under the weight of its own pure Trekness to form a super-dense Star Trek singularity as science and faith square up for yet another title match. When another red burst is detected … Continue reading Warning! Star Trek: Discovery S2E02 – New Eden may contain more than 200% of your recommended daily allowance of Trek tropes.
What if “The Happening” but actually, you know, pretty good? That seems to be the starting point for “Bird Box”, an apocalyptic horror from producer/ star Sandra Bullock and director Susanne Bier, adapted from Josh Malerman’s novel by screenwriter Eric Heisserer (“Arrival”, “Lights Out”). When a malevolent force manifests on Earth, it causes a wave … Continue reading It’s the blind leading the blind in Netflix’s post-partum apocalypse thriller Bird Box (2018) Review
*SPOILERS* So although “Star Trek: Discovery” and I didn’t part on the best of terms after Season 1 limped to a close, I have to admit I was looking forward to this new season. That’s due in part to the excellent “Short Treks” but also due to the fact the series had, at least, ditched … Continue reading Star Trek Discovery returns having given itself a soft reboot up the backside. Star Trek: Discovery S2E01 Review
There’s something very metatextually Harry Mudd about “The Escape Artist” once you learn that it not only stairs Rainn Wilson but was directed by him too. Although, given the treatment he gets during the first ten minutes or so, it’s a relief to find it wasn't written by Wilson too otherwise, you’d begin to wonder … Continue reading Rainn Wilson writes the theme tune, sings the theme tune of the fourth Star Trek: Short Treks – The Escape Artist Review
*SPOILERS* The third Short Trek brings us a pre-USS Discovery glimpse into the life of one of the series’ standout characters: Saru (Doug Jones). In doing so, it brings to light the weird contradictions in the species’ origins, especially in the Star Trek universe. On the planet Kaminar, Saru feels unfulfilled by Kelpien life, living … Continue reading Star Trek: Short Treks – The Brightest Star reminds us Kelpians are friends, not food.
*SPOILERS* Where “Runaway” felt like an abandoned draft of a promising “Discovery” episode, “Calypso” feels like it could be the pilot for a whole new series of its own. Stretching the format of Short Treks, it tells what might be canon Trek’s most futuristic adventure, set some thousand years after the time of Discovery. After … Continue reading Discovery’s crew shortages reach their apogee in Star Trek: Short Treks – Calypso Review
*SPOILERS* Finally available on Netflix UK (although buried away in the ‘Trailers & More’ section of “Star Trek: Discovery”), Star Trek: Short Treks are intended, apparently, to give the franchise room to explore beyond the realms of its current single incarnation, something I’m sure they’ll get to even if the first crop seem to be … Continue reading It’s alienated vs predator as Tilly battles an invisible menace in the mess hall. Star Trek: Short Treks – Runaway Review
*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.
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
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
*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
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
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
No one would have believed in the early years of the 1980s that young me would have been listening to this prog-rock concept musical adaptation of H G Wells’ tale of the timeless worlds of space. No one could have dreamed I would scrutinize the album’s artwork as someone with a microscope studies creatures that … Continue reading Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds (1978) 40th Anniversary 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
*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
*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
It’s been a quarter of a century since “Demolition Man” first blew us on screen, licking our ass and matching our meet with its blend of high-octane action and surprisingly prescient sci-fi. With only 14 years to go until Simon Phoenix and John Spartan are thawed out, it’s time to celebrate the movies 25th anniversary, … Continue reading Demolition Man (1993) 25th Anniversary 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
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
If “Battleship” is a dumb remake of “Independence Day” (itself a dumb remake of “War Of The Worlds”) then “The Core” is the dumbest possible reimagining of Jules Verne's “Journey To The Centre Of The Earth”, combining ludicrously inaccurate science with terrible characters and stupefying dialogue (“Hack The Planet!”) and yet, it’s a film I’ve … Continue reading The Core (2003) 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
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
*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
*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
The most puzzling thing about “Venom” is that if Sony was determined to make this film, this exact story, they already had a movie they could call it a sequel to without pissing away yet another of their Marvel IPs (which look increasingly like hostages rather than assets). I’m talking about “Life”, and it would … Continue reading Venom (2018) Review
The Predator franchise hasn’t had as much bad luck as its studio stablemate the Alien. Sure they both clashed in a pair of adequate/ terrible movies but at least our favourite extra-terrestrial trophy hunter hasn’t appeared in anything as aggressively stupid as “Alien: Covenant”...until now, that is. When a renegade Predator crashes to Earth, hotly … Continue reading The Predator (2018) Review
“Empire Of The Sharks” scores an early win with a mention of ‘trained ninja sharks’, a formidable weapon on a post-apocalyptic, flooded ecosystem. A biosphere covered entirely in water. An oceanic globe. An aquatic planet. Hmm. If only there was an easy way of saying it... On a future earth where 98% of the surface … Continue reading Empire Of The Sharks (2017) #SharkWeak2 Review
There’s no denying the ambition of this frankly barmy entry in the sharksploitation oeuvre, opening as it does with an ominous montage of underwater scenes intercut with Cold War newsreel footage and Robert Oppenheimer quotes. It’s the closest we get to a real explanation of how the shark became nuclear, so just go with it. … Continue reading Atomic Shark (2016) #SharkWeak2 Review
A 3-headed shark suddenly attacks a group of partying teenagers, killing all of them except one who was on a buoy while the rest of the teens were at the beach. The shark then proceeds to attack the Persephone, an underwater research facility studying the Pacific Garbage Patch. Some of the research personnel manage to … Continue reading 3-Headed Shark Attack (2015) #SharkWeak2 Review