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  • Review: Rocketman is a Bo Rhap glow-up... but then again, no

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 22nd May 2019

    Put Bohemian Rhapsody out of your head: this jukebox musical about a flamboyant rock singer directed by Dexter Fletcher is nothing like that jukebox musical about a flamboyant rock singer directed by Dexter Fletcher. In principle at least, Bo Rhap made sense as a tribute to the mercurial nature of the Queen frontman, a celebration of his musical genius and his tragic legacy. Rocketman, however, is quite different. For starters, Elton John (Tantrums & Tiaras, Kingsman 2, every other fucking episode of the The Graham Norton Show, apparently) is alive and well and executively producing his own vanity biopic. As a celebration of Elton's music, Rocketman delivers a satisfying and foot-stomping soundtrack of wall-to-wall bangers, but as an exploration of the man himself, it lacks any notable dramatic impetus outside of the generic rise, fall and rise template. It's less a movie, more a West End stage musical in search of a worthy hero.

  • Review: Game of Thrones bows out burning bridges, own fingers, everything

    TV Review | Luke Whiston | 21st May 2019

    So now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Game of Thrones are at an end - two of the most popular, costliest and consistently epic franchises to ever exist in film and TV - and we've chewed over when and how to talk about them online, are we at some kind of 'spoiler event horizon' or a 'spoiler singularity'? I don't know either, just wanted to say something that sounded clever. Tits and willies and dragons eh, cor!

  • Review: John Wick: Chapter 3 is a war on the senses - and on the balls

    Movie Review | Becky Suter | 17th May 2019

    We all know there are six basic story types: the fall, the fall then rise, the rise then fall, the rise from nothing, mismatched buddy cops, and stop that wedding. The third installment of the John Wick franchise delivers a seventh - the fall then rise then kick you in the bollocks, go to Casablanca, rise, then literal fall. The film's subtitle, Parabellum, translates to "prepare for war" - in this case a war on limbs, vital bodily organs, and your ability to stomach extreme violence, so you can't say it didn't warn you.

  • Review: Knock Down The House captures the highs and lows of hope

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 15th May 2019

    How can it be that every week feels like the series finale of America? The dumpster fire of Donald Trump's presidency that has engulfed our lives and timelines since 2016 can't be good for the collective psyche, and it's strange to think that a mere three years ago this constant gnashing background noise wasn't the norm. But US politics has measures in place to course-correct, namely a series of midterm elections whereby successful candidates can win a Senate seat, thus increasing their party's reach within Congress. At least that's what I understand from Wikipedia. I live in England, where we bow to whoever has the tallest top hat or the fanciest swan. Before today everything I knew about the American political system I learnt from The Simpsons.

  • Review: The Hustle is a like-for-like switcheroo

    Movie Review | Ed Williamson | 13th May 2019

    Now then, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was one of those I had on VHS off the telly and watched a lot as a kid, and believe it or not, I'm quite happy to allow a reboot without moaning on the internet about how my childhood has been stolen from me, as though MGM had coerced the 12-year-old me into confessing to a murder I didn't commit then used its corporate weight to lobby against my release and discredit the one witness who saw it all and could exonerate me, meaning I had to spend my teenage years in the big house, punctuated only by making recorded calls to the true crime podcast that was covering my case but whose final episode would end "Well, he's still in prison. Get 50% off your new mattress if you use the code DIAL-MGM-4-MURDER at checkout." I mean yeah, they haven't done that. What they've done is a bit weird though.

  • Review: Detective Pikachu ensures all this Pokémon shit hits the fans

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 10th May 2019

    I consider myself to be a passionate fan of many things: Star Wars, Marvel, the smell of fresh sea air on a bright summer morning, denim... all sorts. But I have no interest or investment in Pokémon. I’ve never watched the cartoons, never played with the cards, never walked into open traffic while using my phone to throw a digital ball at a pretend squirrel. And it turns out that Detective Pikachu is not made for people like me. It’s made for fans who will be happy at the sight of a Rainbow Monster, or a Clown Wolf or a Cock Otter or whatever. Disclaimer: the film does actually give the proper names for most of the Pokémon on screen, I just didn’t catch ‘em all.

  • Review: Guava Island has lovely sights but hums a dark tune

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 9th May 2019

    Donald Glover is a man of impossible talent and unparalleled style. At the age of just 35 he is already an accomplished actor, director, writer, singer and producer - both on TV and in the music world. So acclaimed is he, there is a lengthy Wikipedia page dedicated purely to his many awards and nominations in the arts. He is politically aware, incorporating challenging satire into his work, and often performs in aid of charities and causes. He has 2.43 million Twitter followers despite never having Tweeted. He was the only logical choice to play Lando Calrissian, the coolest man in the galaxy, in the Han Solo movie because he is in fact the coolest man in the universe. His entire being is infectious and we as a species should be thanking fortune, serendipity, providence, or whatever deity you believe controls time and space, that we are all alive under the same sky - a sky from which the stars look down upon him to learn how to shine. Yes, yes that's much better than my original opener: 'if Get Out was real I would save up for the guy who plays Troy in Community'.

  • Marvel's Cine-CHAT-ic Universe: Ant-Man (2015)

    Movie Feature | Ali Gray, Matt Looker, Becky Suter, Ed Williamson, Luke Whiston | 8th May 2019

    This is it. This is the one where the wheels finally came off. 11 movies deep into the Marvel's Cine-CHAT-ic Universe feature, Ant-Man marks the occasion where everyone has officially lost interest in the concept, due to us being five years and ten movies out of step with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We didn't spoil the Endgame, the Endgame spoiled us.

  • Review: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile is none of those things

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 7th May 2019

    About ten years ago, when I was making my first cautious foray into screenwriting, I came up with a concept for a slasher movie with a difference. The main protagonist, you see, would be the killer, but the audience don't see him as a deranged serial murderer, they see him as a mentally disturbed person being harangued by groups of sexy young teens who keep humping each other all over his abandoned summer camp or something. It was going to be very edgy with a shocking twist with a capital 'T'. Then one day I sat down and tried to write it and realised not only was it impossible to fully conceptualise, but the concept was also, in fact, terrible. Not to worry though: looks like someone eventually made a film out of my shit idea.

  • Review: Booksmart is all that was good about Superbad and more

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 6th May 2019

    The ten years since Superbad have passed in a heartbeat, that's a long time to leave between checking in with youth culture. I'm sure everything is still exactly as it was in 2009, right? [weakly] Fo' sho. Booksmart, the fantastic debut directorial effort from Olivia Wilde, is proof that while things change, they've very much stayed the same: today's high schoolers might be newly woke and progressive and tolerant, but they're still all about end of term ragers and macking with hotties. Kids still say all of those words, I assume? Am I so out of touch? No, it's the children who are wrong.