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Review: Baywatch

Posted by Ed Williamson at 23:30 on 24 May 2017
Baywatch
One of the many wonderful things about living on the same planet as Zac Efron is that he knows when and how to take his shirt off. It is a rare talent to look like he does with his abs out, accept that directors are going to want him to get his top off at least twice a film, and then to do so with enough of a sense of self-mockery that you don't think he's an absolute bell-end. Self-awareness is what got him and his co-star The Rock where they are today, and so a riff on Baywatch, sending up how daft it was, feels like just the ticket. So why isn't it sillier?

Review: Miss Sloane

Posted by Ali Gray at 15:15 on 13 May 2017
Miss Sloane
You have to feel for anyone brave enough to release a political movie in this day and age, where even the 24-hour news cycle feels insufficient enough to get a handle on current events. Miss Sloane, from Brit director John Madden, is not explicitly about U.S. government per se - there are two ideologically opposing political parties though neither are named - but it is impossible to watch without viewing it through the lens of post-truth politics. Slick as it is, Miss Sloane is about a huckster lobbyist who can lie, cheat and talk her way out of anything - and she's the hero! However, if you can tune out the Kellyanne Conway-isms and mentally frame it as a romanticised throwback to political potboilers of old, when corruption was something that happened in underground car parks and not in broad daylight, then there's lots to enjoy.

Review: Alien: Covenant

Posted by Ali Gray at 20:30 on 11 May 2017
Alien: Covenant
By rights, the Alien franchise should be dead by now, all curled up on its back like a big dead spider, flambéed by the flamethrower of critical ire. How many other movie series would be allowed so many misses and still get invited back to the plate for another swing? Throughout its various iterations since the 90s - sequels, prequels, versus match-ups - the Alien franchise has succeeded only in corroding its own legacy. Even 2012's promising Prometheus, directed by franchise progenitor Ridley Scott, fell short of expectations thanks to its entire cast suffering total frontal lobotomies in the third act. Well, the rot stops here. In Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott has directed the best Alien movie of the past 30 years, and although that isn't exactly a glowing compliment, know this: not only does Covenant deliver a payload of short, sharp scares and atmosphere in spades, it course-corrects the franchise as a whole, retroactively making Prometheus feel like a better movie too.

Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

Posted by Matt Looker at 20:00 on 01 May 2017
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
While fans continue to squabble over the correct, surely-soon-to-be-official 'Ultimate Ranking of MCU films' (nearly there, guys! Seriously, you're doing great work), it's easy to overlook the fact that, at this stage, the Marvel movie-making model looks unlikely to ever produce a truly bad film. Sure, there have been Dark Elvish messes and Mickey Rourke-sized hiccups, but Marvel really has its mathematically-safe, formulaic shit together now and, as a result, always delivers an agreeable level of fun and action albeit without taking any real risks. That is, except for Guardians Of The Galaxy, the only property in the Universe that still feels like a gamble, sitting apart from the homogenised Avenger adventures to follow its own completely different set of rules. Which is why it's a shame that this sequel follows them too.

I've forgotten how to review movies and it's all The Boss Baby's fault

Posted by Ali Gray at 07:00 on 13 Apr 2017
I've forgotten how to review movies and it's all The Boss Baby's fault
I often look back at old articles on this site, and sometimes I don't recognise the man who ran it. Updates of such ferocious frequency! Four, sometimes five reviews a week! Regular features! Good ones! Critical assessments of films that weren't necessarily within my own sphere of interest! Who was this guy? (Spoiler: it was me). What happened to him? (Spoiler: he had kids).

Review: Aftermath

Posted by Ed Williamson at 07:00 on 12 Apr 2017
Aftermath
Arnold Schwarzenegger is in a film in which he plays a character who unaccountably talks like Arnold Schwarzenegger, so all's well with the world. But you begin to realise after a while that there's a reason why this isn't usually so much of a problem: it's that most of his films are a bit daft, and realism isn't why you turned over to ITV4, so you just shrug and go with it. But Aftermath isn't daft: it's dead serious. Oh heck.

Review: Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience

Posted by Matt Looker at 07:00 on 11 Apr 2017
Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience
In these politically fraught times, there has been a natural proclivity in the film press industry to relate even the most escapist of blockbuster cinema to current affairs. Reviews have been quick to call out, for example, that Fantastic Beasts promoted an immigrant-friendly multi-cultural society, that Kong: Skull Island championed the right to defend your home from foreign invaders and that The Purge is so real it doesn't even work as a joke any more. And yet sometimes it's just impossible to separate a film from its overtly political subtext. And that's what we have here: a movie so bound by a post-Trump, post-Brexit, post-truth agenda, it simply cannot be reviewed outside of a topical lens. And, of course, those that remember Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots know that this isn't even her first cinema experience, so it's all FAKE NEWS anyway...

Review: Fast & Furious 8

Posted by Ali Gray at 01:00 on 11 Apr 2017
Fast & Furious 8
The Fast & Furious franchise is not big on learning. It doesn't really care for consequences. It is of the moment. Always in the now. If it were a person, it would be the kind of person who sincerely believes in the motto 'If you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best'. Fast & Furious movies are wrongheaded and backwards but they don't care, because people vote with their wallets. They are Brexit. They are dumb. They make dumb look dumb. They are awful. They are brilliant. They are confusing and simple and ridiculous and serious all at the same time, somehow. Fast & Furious 8, a title and a number which give me great pleasure to say together, is all of these things and more.

Review: Ghost In The Shell

Posted by Ali Gray at 16:30 on 01 Apr 2017
Ghost In The Shell
'The only colour that matters in Hollywood is green,' he typed, pleased with himself, attempting to clumsily sidestep the whitewashing controversy that surrounded the movie. Okay, fine. Is Ghost In The Shell racist? I am here today to spectacularly ignore that important issue, not because it's not worth addressing, but because the answer is 'Yes, but only as racist as most other movies', which is not exactly a good point on which to start a healthy and balanced debate. Let's just get on with the review, shall we? This is already in my top five worst opening paragraphs.

Review: Personal Shopper

Posted by Matt Looker at 22:00 on 20 Mar 2017
Personal Shopper
"A brazenly unconventional ghost story" says Time Out's poster quote for this film, presumably because "A profound and intimate exploration of humankind's innate need for existential crisis" didn't do the right job. There’s no denying that Personal Shopper is a ghost story of sorts, but that hardly seems an adequate description. It may begin with some spooky fare about a haunted house and a terrifying manifestation, but this isn't a film of jump-scares and sudden bangs, it's a film that gives the audience the space and respect to ruminate on the very concept of an afterlife. These ghosts don't say "boo!", they say "who?" and indeed "why?" as well as "how does that make you feel? Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Let's talk about that." 
Out this week
+Alien: Covenant (15)
Our review | Related articles
+Miss Sloane (15)
Our review
+Jawbone (15)