“The film we need now” has become a familiar refrain since the start of the year: anything romantic, feelgood or uplifting gets the label. Rays of sunshine amid all the current uncertainty. But what about films that come closer to capturing the current...
Sometimes having low expectations of a film is no bad thing. There’s always the chance of a pleasant surprise. The Great Wall has been taking something of a buffeting – references to banging your head against a brick one and the like – and when...
“The film we need now” has become a familiar refrain since the start of the year: anything romantic, feelgood or uplifting gets the label. Rays of sunshine amid all the current uncertainty. But what about films that come closer to capturing the current tone, our worries about the changes surrounding us? They’ve been noticeably in the minority, but now we have a mutant – and a hero – to redress the balance. Logan. The third and, so it seems,... Read more
“I believe in God, family, and McDonald’s. And in the office, that order is reversed,” said Ray Kroc – the mastermind behind the multi-billion dollar fast food monopoly that is McDonald’s – and the central subject of John Lee Hancock’s new film, The Founder. Every person upon this planet knows those Golden Arches, but perhaps are unaware of their installation, and the messages they represent. This pedestrian, paint-by-numbers... Read more
Suffice to say, last week’s episode of Taboo – the midway point of this introductory season – was a mess. A largely moronic, unintentionally funny mess. The transatlantic offering from the BBC and FX has consistently struggled with tone and narrative clarity throughout, but last week things looked pretty hopeless as we press onwards to the final stages. It left a numbing throb in one’s mind, and almost put me off continuing... Read more
Movies like Rings are what give the horror genre a terrible reputation. This beautiful, mysterious, atmospheric and pure format of filmmaking has become inundated with soulless, cash-absorbing sequels, prequels, and remakes which lack any of the dignity or excellence of their predecessors. But what makes director F. Javier Gutiérrez’s latest even more unfathomably terrible is that it doesn’t even warrant the ‘horror’ label.... Read more
Toni Erdmann isn’t a film that likes to make life easy for itself. The toast of Cannes is a German comedy, words not often seen together in the same sentence. It runs for nearly two and three quarter hours. And its two central characters aren’t especially likeable. So why is this the film tipped to win just about every major award this year for a film not in the English language? There’s good reasons, but let’s get something out of the way... Read more
Video game adaptations have had a hard run of it – many artists have tried to replicate the magic from the keyboard or console but to mostly disappointing results thus far. Last Christmas, Assassin’s Creed tried its luck with a hugely promising artistic group of director Justin Kurzel and actors Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons. The results, yet again, were underwhelming. But one franchise, Resident Evil, has been flying... Read more
Taboo is one frustrating watch. For every moment of excellence is a sequence of idiocy, and as we reach the halfway point of its introductory series, we are served up the show’s most ludicrously overcooked and maddening hour, which struggles to retain a sense of order and clarity. That isn’t to say the fourth episode of the BBC and FX-collaborative period drama wasn’t somewhat enjoyable, because it was, but a descent into pantomime... Read more
The shared subject of two very different films in quick succession, director Antonio Campos’ dramatisation of Floridian television news reporter Christine Chubbuck, who in 1974 committed suicide live on-air, is a heartbreaking and startling work indeed. Unlike the particularly peculiar docu-drama Kate Plays Christine, this recollection of Chubbuck’s final months beautifully and unflinchingly taps into the insidious cycle of depression... Read more
Netflix are the undisputed kings when it comes to small screen entertainment. The same however cannot be said for their cinematic offerings, which are inconsistent to say the least. Their latest Original Movie offering is iBoy, a tecnho-charged crime thriller set against a neon-sodden, yet harsh and unforgiving London suburb. Paired with a high-concept character narrative, fine young casting in Bill Milner and Game of Thrones‘ Maisie Williams,... Read more
Muscular, visceral, yet distinctly old-fashioned, Mel Gibson’s bravura return to the director’s chair is simply superb. Hacksaw Ridge is tour de force filmmaking; dextrously balancing character design, emotional weight, and cinematic spectacle, in addition to paying dignified respect to perhaps the most fascinating story of heroism you’ve never heard of. Andrew Garfield delivers a career-best (and quite rightly Academy Award-nominated)... Read more