Posted by Ali Gray
at 23:55 on 16 Jan 2018
Hugh Jackman has spent his adult life trying to make musicals happen. Remember when he hosted the Oscars in 2009 and proudly proclaimed “Musicals are back!” even though they weren't, in fact, back? Remember when his musical Las Vegas crime thriller Viva Laughlin got shelved after two episodes, and then when you subsequently realised *that* was the rage that was really driving Wolverine? Well, musicals are properly back thanks to La La Land
, which had nothing to do with Hugh Jackman, so now Hugh Jackman is doing a musical to prove to everyone that Hugh Jackman and musicals belong together. The Greatest Showman isn't as good as La La Land, obviously, even if it does share the same, uh [checks notes] lyricists, but it is good for one thing: a big, fat injection of industrial grade cheese into the bloodstream. Here are the best bits.
Over Christmas, my stepsister's husband tried to palm off on me two tickets for An Evening with Hollywood Comedy Legend Chevy Chase at the Hammersmith Apollo, which he could no longer use. He'd paid £65 each. Obviously I wasn't going to take them face value: there was a decent chance it was going to be awful. Then last week he offered me a buy-one-get-one-free deal and the chance to leave a relative out of pocket was too good to pass up, so I went along on Saturday. It disappointed in the most incredible way.
You think a Christmas movie where Michael Shannon is mistaken for Bigfoot sounds weird? You don’t know the half of it. And trust me, you don’t want to know the rest. Unless you do, in which case that’s cool, we’re all friends here. I’m being purposefully vague because, well you’ll see... Let’s just say the internet has a lot to answer for.
If I could have had a small, green, wise mentor teach me the ways of online film criticism, he probably would have instilled in me a respect for the balance between objectivity and subjectivity. He would have told me that uninformed criticism is what binds the entire internet and that I should always try to be mindful of hype. But, halfway through my training, I would have still no doubt run off unprepared to face what is easily my greatest weakness: Star Wars.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 23:30 on 19 Nov 2017
It wasn’t evil aliens that defeated the Justice League: it was facial hair.
It's time for a brand new installment of the feature we can't believe no one else is doing: talking about Marvel movies! After kicking off with Iron Man
and seriously questioning the format with The Incredible Hulk
, we're officially into sequel territory with Iron Man 2, the first movie that knew it was part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or should we say... Cine-CHAT-ic Universe? No. No we shouldn't. We should use the correct terminology.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 13:30 on 04 Nov 2017
If it wasn’t immediately obvious from the impenetrable wall of dialogue that looms over the opening scene, Molly’s Game was written by famed fast-talker Aaron Sorkin
. If it wasn’t immediately obvious he directed it too, the clues are there to be found: scenes that smash cut through shot lists like a machine gun play home to worldly and wise characters who spew dictionaries of insightful dialogue. Molly’s Game is adapted from the biography of a poker hostess who ran high stakes games for big game players, but the movie has more of Sorkin’s fingerprints on it than his own typewriter. Often if a writer-director can’t remove their own ego from the equation it can be problematic, but thankfully the story of Molly’s Game feels tailor-made for Sorkin’s style: though occasionally weighed down by sheer volume of dialogue, it’s nonetheless smart, slick and - thanks to a towering Jessica Chastain performance - more than a bit sexy.
Following on from 2015's A Bigger Splash, Luca Guadagnino continues his fascination with swimming pools, sultry Italian summers and dancing men with a heartbreaking coming-of-age tale set in 1983. It's a film so alluring and luminous it almost makes up for the fact I never experienced a holiday romance of my own. Who knows what could have happened had Armie Hammer's family ever decided to holiday during the late 90s at Rockley Park, Bournemouth's premier caravan park? While I lament the life that could've been, I'll have to content myself with this transcendental account of first love that is the very definition of bittersweet. It's seductive, sensual, and at one point someone ejaculates into a peach. It's got everything.
By now the central premise of Armando Iannucci's recent satirical output is clear enough, or has maybe just about been done to death: in politics, everyone's a chancer, making it up on the fly and looking out for number one. In The Death of Stalin there's an extra layer of irony, too: under Communism, there isn't supposed to be a number one to look out for. It's kind of the point.
There’s a lot that could be said about Taika Waititi being hired at this stage of the MCU. Is it a risk to give a giant special effects blockbuster property like Thor to a director known for off-kilter, low-budget comedies? Is it merely a cynical move in an attempt to mimic the quirkiness of the hugely successful Guardians Of The Galaxy
films? Can a unique creative tone even shine through within the confines of the strict Marvel model? And does Waititi’s brand of humour even translate to the big-budget world of EXCEPT IT TOTALLY FUCKING DOES AND YOU CAN FORGET ALL THESE THINGS BECAUSE THIS FILM IS SO MUCH FUN.