Matt Looker

News, Reviews & Features
  • Review: Glass is a fragile follow-up with wasted promise

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 17th January 2019

    No one knows the importance of a good ending like M. Night Shyamalan. He has built his entire career on them. He knows that many film flaws can be forgiven along the way if, right before the credits roll, he can suddenly wow an audience so that they leave only talking about that ending. It’s a circus approach to storytelling, saving the big top narrative stunt for the final act, but it works. In the case of Split - an otherwise divisive film - it worked so well that the ending itself manifested a whole sequel. But no one should be in any doubt that it’s a cheat. A big last-minute reveal teasing a forthcoming crossover might be an original way to have a shock twist, but it doesn’t automatically make for a good ending to what came before it. Just as it doesn’t automatically make for a good beginning for what comes next.

  • Review: Colette is the literary period drama biopic that 2019 needs right now

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 9th January 2019

    Did you know that Keira Knightley hasn’t appeared in a single film that’s set in the present day since Love Actually? Now, that isn’t remotely true, but it feels like it could be, doesn’t it? For most of her career, Knightley has been marked out as the go-to lead actress in Brit period dramas, even though her résumé includes recent memorable ‘modern’ roles such as those in um… Collateral Beauty, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and, well, Red Nose Day Actually. If ever you worried that favouring stuffy corseted roles means that Knightley struggles to stay as relevant as she would be if she played, for example, a kick-ass assassin, a Transformer or Thor, then you’d be wrong. Colette proves that a period biopic can still offer a refreshingly modern story that’s surprisingly pertinent for these times. And – probably through no coincidence – it is Knightley’s best performance in years.

  • Review: Ralph Breaks The Internet, but is that what kids even want?

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 28th November 2018

    Due to what I'm sure were very important reasons, we never got round to reviewing the recent Suspiria remake here, so apologies for that. It is, however, a truly exceptional film that chills to the bone and slowly builds to a darkly disturbing crescendo of menace and gore. Its only major problem is that there is an early scene so horrifying, so deeply, core-shakingly terrifying, that nothing afterwards can match it for sheer horror. It is truly nasty beyond reproach and is hands-down the most repulsive film scene of 2018. I mention this because, against all odds, Ralph Breaks The Internet contains a sequence that comes a close second.

  • Review: Possum is a horrifying nightmare to make Marenghi proud

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 22nd October 2018

    "Who am I? Perhaps you have met me twixt sleep and wake, in the penumbra of uncertainty you call 'unconsciousness'," the great Garth Marenghi once said. "Or perhaps you've met me at a book signing." While the basic set-up of Marenghi creator Matthew Holness' directorial debut could have easily been cooked up by the horror writer/dreamweaver himself, there is no follow-up punchline in sight here. Possum is all demented nightmare fuel filtered through mental instability and emotional repression. Its business is 'chill', impure and simple.

  • Review: Cam teases a great premise but just can’t deliver the goods

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 19th October 2018

    The internet is wonderful. Just the other day I traced my family history, recovered a lost set of IKEA assembly instructions and watched a monkey fuck a frog in the mouth. But there’s a dark side. There are areas of the internet that encourage horrible behaviour, such as giving racists a platform for their hate speech, or letting nerds have a place to argue about Transformers or whatever. And then there’s the murky morals of online sex stuff, which this film sheds a light on. It’s a thriller set in the world of ‘cam girls’, who are participants in ‘pornographic’ materials. These are images and videos of ‘nudity’ and ‘sexual acts’, none of which I knew existed online before, and I have several blank Incognito windows open on my computer to prove it.

  • Review: Happy New Year, Colin Burstead is all drama, no fireworks

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 18th October 2018

    No one has ever had a good New Year's Eve party. It has never happened. Not once in the entire history of years ending has anyone ever satisfyingly celebrated this annual acknowledgement of time's passage. You might think you had a great NYE party once, but really it was just you having a good night with friends that just happened to occur on 31st December and coincidentally ended with some backwards counting. New Year's Eve did nothing to contribute to your fun. New Year’s Eve parties are always, to some degree, crushing disappointments, because the occasion itself is too much pressure for our species to handle; we are fundamentally ill-equipped to properly mark it with the right sense of importance. We are all too bogged down in stupid, normal human shit to ever go wild to the degree that NYE deserves. We still end up spending half the night in the kitchen, munching on hula hoops and taking it in turns to ask each other "So how's work?". We're all too pedestrian for New Year's Eve. And now Ben Wheatley has captured this exact feeling of rote celebration, but through the eyes of a dysfunctional family. A dysfunctional family that also happen to be a bunch of complete and utter Bursteads.

  • Review: Widows delivers an effective, grief-stricken social drama with thrills

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 16th October 2018

    Steve McQueen’s dramatically weighty take on the heist movie genre starts with a blistering opening scene. We see masked robbers fleeing their crime mid-pursuit, but only from inside the back of their getaway van. With a fixed position looking out through the transit’s rear, its broken doors scraping and sparking on the road as police cars and traffic crash and pile-up in the trail of the gang’s escape, we cut to each of the members in moments of domesticity from earlier that day - Liam Neeson passionately kissing Viola Davis in bed, Jon Bernthal prodding at the black eye adorning Elizabeth Debicki’s face, kisses goodbye, arguments in stores - until finally a chaotic shootout leaves the gang and their van exploded in flames. McQueen’s intent is clear: from the physical chaos on the roads to the emotional distress at home, these robbers are leaving a lot of devastation in their wake.

  • Review: Mandy is a hypnotic nightmare of blood, drugs and damnation

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 10th October 2018

    Another year, another London Film Festival, another annual peruse of the festival programme choosing films that sound fascinating in theory without really knowing what to expect in practice. Take Mandy, for example, which the programme describes as “a film so singular, perverse and beguiling, it’s almost impossible to define”. Ok... maybe try though? “Think of the most exquisitely nightmarish LSD trip imaginable, then multiply it by ten”. Hmm, I have no idea how to do that, but it sounds interesting. Ok fine, I’ll see it. “Don’t just see Mandy, experience it”. WHAT IS THIS IS IT EVEN A FILM.

  • Review: Venom is a toothless throwback to the worst era of superhero movies

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 3rd October 2018

    Let’s get something clear: it’s not grey-faced film snobbery, it’s not misunderstanding why a villainous antihero deserves his own movie, it’s not bad memories of Topher Grace, and it has nothing to do with Lady Gaga fans trying to help A Star Is Born top the box office chart. The reason why critics have felt their shitey sense tingling in advance of Venom’s release is because it has always looked terrible. The trailers showcased a comic-book movie from a bygone decade in which superpowers were fuelled by cheesey dialogue, bad CGI and maddening plot holes. We’ve all been standing downwind of this turd for quite some time, so low expectations are entirely justified. Ok, maybe it’s a little bit because of Topher Grace.

  • Review: A Simple Favour is a fabulous new look for Paul Feig

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 22nd September 2018

    Imagine being Paul Feig. You’re a talented director with a charming comedy disposition who consistently dresses like a flamboyant uncle at a wedding. Then you dare to reboot a beloved 80s franchise and cast it with actors who have one more X chromosome than the original actors. Suddenly the Horrible Part Of The Internet hates you. It doesn’t care that you made Bridesmaids, because suddenly it hates that too now, just because. Trolls make your life hell for a couple of years. They no longer find it endearing that you dress like a recently widowed old man celebrating his anniversary one last time before taking his own life to join his beloved. Instead they send you death threats because you reimagined their favourite pretend ghost hunters from 30 years ago as women. What do you do now?