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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." 

Review: The Love Witch

Posted by Matt Looker at 20:10 on 12 Mar 2017
The Love Witch
By all accounts, The Love Witch is a magical experience; a film that turns the clock back to champion a cult genre and offers a unique take on female empowerment at the same time. But as with all magic, there are always a few dissenters who have to point out the wires or, like those people that are deemed insusceptible to hypnosis, just don't seem willing to buy into it. I'm sorry everyone, but I think I’m one of those people. Not for want of trying - I was ready to be head over heels for this film, but there’s no denying it: I just haven't fallen under The Love Witch's spell.

Review: Kong: Skull Island

Posted by Matt Looker at 22:43 on 11 Mar 2017
Kong: Skull Island
There will surely be a time soon when the film industry decides that monster movies just aren't a good fit for modern cinema audiences. That we have developed a more sophisticated taste for storytelling and an appreciation for nuance, and that therein lies a problem for films that are essentially about giant rage-beasts smashing things up with their clumsy hoof-paws. Luckily, that time hasn't come yet and until it does we still have opportunities like this one to enjoy creature features that are as big, dumb and ridiculous as whatever enormous idiot monkey is causing all the destruction in the first place. That's right, this film is a gigantic fun monster - a stupidly thrilling buffoon baboon of a movie - and we shouldn't want it any other way.

Review: Elle

Posted by Ali Gray at 23:30 on 10 Mar 2017
Elle
As part of a sustained effort on my part to watch more films featuring female leads and more films in a foreign language (an effort which so far has resulted in me seeing zero of either), I found myself at Elle, the new movie from Paul Verhoeven. Given that it fit those two criteria (Isabelle Huppert? Check! French? Check!) I gamely plopped myself into the screening room chair, not knowing what it was about. Some two and a half hours later, I still wasn't sure. I was told this was an exciting and edgy new thriller from the director of RoboCop.

Review: Logan

Posted by Ali Gray at 21:10 on 09 Mar 2017
Logan
There only three things that are certain in life: death, taxes and the fact that someone is hard at work writing a sequel to the X-Men movie you're currently watching. Logan, the third Wolverine standalone movie after X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine, is the exception: it is the last in its series, because Hugh Jackman says so, and not just because they've run out of ways to name Wolverine movies. Buoyed by the success of 15-rated Deadpool and supported by Jackman's desire to leave a lasting legacy for his defining role, Logan is that rare superhero movie that feels like a full stop rather than a comma. Intentionally distanced from the rest of the X-Men universe and its frankly Gordian timelines, Logan stands alone as the best of the series: a bleak, bold and mold-breaking masterpiece of the genre.
Out this week
+Fast & Furious 8 (12A)
Our review | Related articles
+Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience (U)
Our review
+The Handmaiden (18)
+The Sense Of An Ending (15)