At a time when every superhero, toy, 80s cartoon character, board game and emoji are fighting for enough space at the box office to create their own movie 'universe', J.K. Rowling's work is already done. Her wizarding world of Harry Potter is well established and still ripe for further exploration, which is pretty much the perfect environment in which to churn out money-making tie-in movies of lesser returns. And yet, instead, a far greater challenge has been undertaken: birthing an entirely new franchise of films set within the same universe. Somehow, audiences are going to have to get invested in a new story that - we can assume - will never be as important as the one we have already seen. So those beasts had better be pretty bloody fantastic.
Trouble with all boxing films: they aren't Rocky. Rocky not only set the benchmark, but the template, out of which no one's really managed to break: guy has to overcome adversity, the other boxer is a metaphor for his life, and his real opponent is himself. True-lifer Bleed For This is a bit different. But not that different.
In times of crisis, look to Hanks. America's on its arse and what it needs now more than ever is a man whose Twitter account is dedicated to finding gloves on the streets of New York, not making baseless claims of voter fraud. Inferno got it wrong, but Sully understands better what sort of hero Hanks can be: the kind who manages to land a malfunctioning aeroplane but afterwards just wants everyone to stop going on about it.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 23:05 on 28 Nov 2016
It seems quaint that there was an ever an outcry about the 'death' of traditional hand-drawn animation when you watch a movie with such beautiful artistry as Moana. John Musker and Ron Clements did more than most to keep that medium alive, with classics like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin on their resumes - they even tried to bring back 2D animation with 2009's The Princess And The Frog, a good-intentioned throwback to the old ways. But when the sun sets on Musker and Clements' jaw-droppingly beautiful CG adventure Moana, no one will be mourning those outdated techniques. It is a film so vibrant and luminescent and immersive that it is impossible to argue that the future of animation isn't in good hands. Though its storytelling is a touch too familiar to qualify as a true modern classic, Moana is nonetheless a relentlessly entertaining spectacle that's rooted in authenticity and has a talent pool so deep you can swim in it.
When a film is deliberately
trying to outrage, does that make it more acceptable? Is bad taste really just a matter of taste? Is it problematic that the IMDB Parents Guide for Bad Santa 2 lists warnings for violence, alcohol/drugs/smoking, frightening/intense scenes and sex & nudity (“There are close-ups of genitalia featured, but they are contextually justified”), but says nothing about the overtones of misogyny, racism and whatever you call being rude about little people? Surely it’s this kind of selective oversight that makes this a world in which Trump can become president. (*evacuates the area from the topical bombshell he just dropped*)
Brad Pitt, I have decided, is too handsome. My reaction to more or less anything he does on screen these days is instinctively: "Yeah, but this character wouldn't look like that. No one does." In Allied, which is fine and all that but a bit daft, he marries Marion Cotillard while looking amazing then grows suspicious she is a spy while looking amazing, and I can't shake the feeling that all of this looking amazing is part of a comfort zone out of which he's unprepared to step.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 22:10 on 07 Nov 2016
It may not surprise you to learn that I have seen Jurassic Park
before. In fact, I've seen it a multitude of ways. I've seen it at the cinema. I've seen it in 3D. I've seen it in IMAX. I've seen it on VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray. I've seen it in a big field. I've seen it projected in a pub basement in London Bridge on a stag night (okay, on my
stag night). I've seen three-quarters of it in Italian on a hotel room TV set. I've now seen it at the Royal Albert Hall with a live score from the Royal Philarmonic Concert Orchestra. I can confirm that the last way I saw it is definitely the best. Way better than the Italian hotel room version (although, to be fair, I never saw the ending).
Posted by Ali Gray
at 20:15 on 03 Nov 2016
Considering the X-Men movies can't even stay consistent one movie to the next, it's a minor miracle the Marvel Cinematic Universe remains a cohesive whole, 8 years and 14 movies after Nick Fury first asked Tony Stark to join his professional LinkedIn network. We've had men of technology, beasts of rage, Gods from other realms and soldiers forged in war, all now reading from the same script. The latest recruit to the MCU is Doctor Strange, who heralds the arrival of the world of magic, but - like Arrested Development's Gob Bluth and his Alliance of Magicians - demands to be taken seriously. Disbelief is being suspended at a comfortable level by now: if you're cool with purple space tyrants and talking raccoons, chances are the addition of sorcerers, supreme or otherwise, isn't going to upset the apple cart.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 20:45 on 30 Oct 2016
It's the latest internet picture sensation! Can you work out which man is in the photo: actor Tom Hanks or actor Bill Murray? Sounds like fun! Because it is! So come on then! Fucking have a go!
Adding itself to the long list of films that are about the least dynamic occupations known to man - alongside The Postman and The Constant Gardener - The Accountant belies the real nature of the job by having a musclebound, autistic Ben Affleck punch and shoot people in his spare time. We all know, however, that accountants are only good for trawling through an overly complicated mess of information to try to simplify everything and make sense of it all. Which is, coincidentally, exactly the kind of accountant that this film really needed.