Film Review: Ready Player One

I’m a big Spielberg fan. This perhaps isn’t such a controversial statement. Saying that I like the work of the director of Jaws, ET, Jurassic Park, and Schindler’s List – to name but a few – isn’t really putting myself out there. Added to this is the fact that the world seems to be undergoing…

Film Review: The Mercy

The Mercy is one of those movies that you probably didn’t catch. It was in the cinemas briefly and with little fanfare, and then it wasn’t. Maybe it will show up on TV sometime, or perhaps you’ll dip into it on Netflix. The film hasn’t quite got all of the awards recognition that it was…

Black Panther: valiant but flawed

Black Panther seems to have received nothing but praise. It seems to be universally accepted as a great movie and a great step forward. It seems churlish to argue with this seemingly universally held opinion, but for me the film stumbled slightly. Black Panther is perhaps the most morality compromised Marvel film to date, and…

Film Review: 12 Strong

There seems to be a strange feedback loop at play between the US military and its onscreen persona. Actors have long drawn from the macho personas of the military to inform their performances, and soldiers in turn have watched these these slightly jingoistic, alpha-led performances and sought to emulate their onscreen idols. Every squaddie wants…

The Post: Awards bait with subtlety

I had sat down to watch the post with a degree of cynicism. It is Oscar time and we are to be exposed to a stream of ‘worthy’ cinema, as it courts awards approval. The film is much billed as Streep-Hanks, a coming together of two great acts; much like the film Heat brought together…

The Last Jedi – please come back George

The Force Awakens relaunched the Star Wars franchise. It was a typically smooth JJ Abrams soft reboot. Visually spectacular and occasionally conceptually ridiculous – I’m talking ludicrous mega-Death-Stars – it set the scene for the two that were to follow. This was to be the long awaited final trilogy of George Lucas’s extended saga. A…

Justice League: A DC coming of age story? (Part one)

DC properties have suffered in the past from a kind of pushy parent syndrome. Fans and critics alike have all had very clear ideas about exactly where past DC cinema has been deficient, and exactly how it might be improved. Their films have been said to lack levity. They have been said give a distorted…

Thor: Ragnarok – is Taika Waititi bound and gagged at Mavel studios?

Each director has brought something of himself to the Thor franchise. Kenneth Branagh brought a little of the theatre, Alan Taylor seemed to enhance that sci-fi element, and now Taika Waititi brings a touch of his indie comedy sensibility. Thor isn’t quite the hot property of – say – the Spiderman franchise, it has to…

Film Review: Blade Runner 2049

I sat back in the cinema digesting everything I had just seen. Urban vistas spanning to a seemingly limitless horizon, while the abrasive electronic soundtrack swelled to painful proportions. The pace was steady. Issues were raised, unpackaged, and reorganised in a satisfyingly unresolved origami. The original Blade Runner had used synthetic, or replicant, humans to…

Film Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

The original Kingsman movie combined a slightly grungy urban reality with the fanciful world of international espionage. It was in essence a kind of Great Expectations yarn of a man with limited prospect elevating himself beyond his immediate surround, aided by a generous benefactor. It was that age-old tale with the addition of as much…