Posted by Ali Gray
at 23:00 on 08 Aug 2016
It should be abundantly clear now to anyone with even a passing interest in superhero movies that the concept of the "shared universe" should be feared. Credit to Marvel: they took a big risk, did their groundwork and built up their shared universe by releasing not one but four successful individual franchises, before bringing them together like a corporate executive doing an overbite and interlocking his fingers in the universal sign language for 'synergy'. Everyone else saw The Avengers
' box-office success and thought, 'Yeah, we'll have a bit of that. But sod all that hard work!' And thus, the very blueprint for superhero movies was torn up, sellotaped back together and plonked on the desks of finance departments throughout Hollywood.
It's hashtag-InternationalCatDay today, so what better time to publish our review of cat film Nine Lives - in which Kevin Spacey turns into a cat - as reviewed by a cat.
I have been trying to write a movie script for a few years now. Of course, I am under no illusion that it will be any good but, like all aspiring screenwriters I am hoping for two impossible things to happen: 1) it will be lauded as a magnificent piece of art, and 2) it will actually get made into a film. What Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates shows, however, is that if you care less about 1), there are some quick and easy ways to make 2) happen.
Here's something that shouldn't be a thing: any director, cast member or studio that says "we made it for the fans, not the critics". Now, I would say that I occupy a space somewhere in between those two clearly very unique and separate positions. I'm an occasional blogger currently writing a review (that, heaven forbid, will be listed on Rotten Tomatoes) but who particularly enjoys superheroes and comic-book movies. So where does the DC party line of 'fans not critics' leave me? I'll tell you where - in the same place as literally anybody else who sees this film: with an opinion, and only that. Obviously, it should be argued as objectively as possible, but for the sake of DC's stance in the matter, let me try to review this like a fan rather than like a clueless critic doing super-serious critiquing on Marvel's payroll
. With that in mind, Suicide Squad is a bit rubbs.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 16:50 on 31 Jul 2016
I was supposed to write a review for Finding Dory about a month ago, but I, er... forgot. Now, in the spirit of the movie's hopelessly forgetful protagonist, allow me to piece together what I can remember in an attempt to create some coherent thoughts. Please also forgive me if I use the same bullshit excuse when filing my Jason Bourne review in six weeks.
As a child of the eighties you notice as you get older that a lot of contemporary mainstream entertainment seems designed to take you back there. Now there's a distinctive crossover demographic: those of us in our thirties who went nuts for Spielberg and Star Wars at the time, and now have our own children whom we want to show the originals and take to see reboots. For my generation the prospect of Spielberg doing The BFG is an intersection in a Venn diagram where we hold each circle very dear, and there's only so bad it could possibly turn out. But it should've been better.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 23:30 on 21 Jul 2016
The things you remember from Star Trek Into Darkness: the theatrical dramatic pause before the shitty Khan reveal; Benedict Cumberbatch doing that weird over-enunciation thing he thinks makes bad dialogue sound better; Kirk kicking the warp core like a broken printer; the bit where Bones basically cures death; Tribbles; the platform game level at the end where Spock channels Super Mario. The things you don't remember from Star Trek Into Darkness: the good stuff, I guess? I don't recall it being a terrible film, quite enjoyable in the moment in fact, but a post-viewing breakdown revealed the story to have as much structural integrity as a piss-soaked newspaper. Star Trek Beyond, however, rights everything that Star Trek Into Darkness
put wrong. It may not be as polished or as ambitious as its predecessor, but it is far truer to the core themes of what Trek is all about; crucially, it's a film that looks to the future, not the past.
Like flamethrowers and tax rebates, sharks are undeniably awesome. They are vicious, yet magnificent predators wrapped in a mysteriously dumb, dead-eyed outer-shell. Like Vin Diesel, but with fins. So making movies about sharks is a no-brainer; with Great Whites growing to 20ft long and weighing up to 5000lbs, they can be a formidable foe. And the Great White - or Carcharodon carcharias
- of this film is every bit as terrifying as the ones in the many shark documentaries I have watched.
Things that ruin your childhood: discovering that your parents are the tooth fairy/Father Christmas. Learning that grandparents and pets can die no matter how much you love them. Jimmy Savile. These are actual things that leave a lasting mark. A remake of a film that you probably originally saw on TV three years after its release because you weren’t old enough to see it at the cinema when it actually came out will not “ruin” your childhood memories (I also had an extended metaphor about how I have continually enjoyed cheese toasties despite once eating an amazing one a few years ago but that doesn’t diminish the good one I had, but I think you get my point). The new rebooted Ghostbusters isn’t going to piss on the fact that you can remember things from a movie that’s over 30 years old. But before I have to hand in my "I was a child of the 80s" badge, I’m going to go out on a limb and say Ghostbusters 2016 is actually funnier and scarier than the original.