Following on from 2015's A Bigger Splash, Luca Guadagnino continues his fascination with swimming pools, sultry Italian summers and dancing men with a heartbreaking coming-of-age tale set in 1983. It's a film so alluring and luminous it almost makes up for the fact I never experienced a holiday romance of my own. Who knows what could have happened had Armie Hammer's family ever decided to holiday during the late 90s at Rockley Park, Bournemouth's premier caravan park? While I lament the life that could've been, I'll have to content myself with this transcendental account of first love that is the very definition of bittersweet. It's seductive, sensual, and at one point someone ejaculates into a peach. It's got everything.
By now the central premise of Armando Iannucci's recent satirical output is clear enough, or has maybe just about been done to death: in politics, everyone's a chancer, making it up on the fly and looking out for number one. In The Death of Stalin there's an extra layer of irony, too: under Communism, there isn't supposed to be a number one to look out for. It's kind of the point.
There’s a lot that could be said about Taika Waititi being hired at this stage of the MCU. Is it a risk to give a giant special effects blockbuster property like Thor to a director known for off-kilter, low-budget comedies? Is it merely a cynical move in an attempt to mimic the quirkiness of the hugely successful Guardians Of The Galaxy
films? Can a unique creative tone even shine through within the confines of the strict Marvel model? And does Waititi’s brand of humour even translate to the big-budget world of EXCEPT IT TOTALLY FUCKING DOES AND YOU CAN FORGET ALL THESE THINGS BECAUSE THIS FILM IS SO MUCH FUN.
You would think that a film about shrinking people down to miniature size would primarily be about doll houses and hilariously oversized pencils – and there is a lot of that here – but mostly Alexander Payne’s new 'short' film is concerned with socio-political issues and climate change. It’s a film that says you should be doing more for your fellow man and for the environment. Basically, it has the power to make you feel very small indeed.
Did you know you can kick a man’s head off? Like, clean off his shoulders? Or witness what a face looks like after it’s been stomped by a pair of size 10s? Have you ever seen a jaw literally, literally drop to the floor? How about enjoying funny guy Vince Vaughn in a prison movie with brains, but those brains are frequently splattered across the concrete ground? Before I saw Brawl In Cell Block 99, I wasn’t aware of any of these things. God, I was a different person back then. It is, as a colleague described it, the Citizen Kane of facial trauma movies. It’s Grade A Grindhouse. It’s V For Vaughndetta. It’s not like anything you’ve ever seen before.
Time was, you could get a bit of a reaction by saying Adam Sandler was a good actor. You'd be the toast of the cognoscenti, lauded for your brave and rare insight, or at the very least one of those professional contrarians who make film Twitter such a rich and challenging environment. These days the evidence is there and the idea's not controversial: everyone knows he can do it when he can be bothered changing out of his tracksuit. Maybe it's time to think of him a bit differently.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 14:00 on 12 Oct 2017
Murder mysteries exist in a weird sort of critical stasis while you're watching them, because any story that hinges on an explosive final act reveal floats in limbo until it has shown its hand. Such a reveal - a surprise identity, a killer motive, a shock twist - may cause you to reassess everything you've already seen. The best films of the genre do just that: they cleverly subvert what you think you saw, fill in plot gaps you didn't know were there and, like a smug serial killer, flaunt the fact that they've been one step ahead of you the whole time. Yeah, The Snowman does not do any of that. You watch attentively and wait patiently and cross your legs and twiddle your thumbs but come the crushingly disappointing final act, the only dawning realisation you have is this: The Snowman is a bad movie and it turns out it had been all along. Twist!
Posted by Ali Gray
at 07:00 on 11 Oct 2017
Following the world-building original and the Batman-fronted follow-up, the LEGO brand is now so well established in cinematic terms, the spin-offs don't need an additional brand in the title. The first movie in the seemingly boundless LEGO universe without a direct connection to the others, think of The LEGO Ninjago Movie as an expansion kit from the 2014's original pack. (*marketing voice*) The LEGO Ninjago Movie contains new and exciting characters and locations, including ninja weapons, robot mechs and limited edition dragon missile thrower! (Pathos and charm required from original LEGO Movie, not sold separately).
It's official: part two of this new feature means it definitely qualifies as a 'regular', although we haven't quite pinned down how often we'll be catching up with the Marvel movies - it basically comes down to when ITV2 get round to showing the next one. And as nobody came up with a better title, it's time to HULK SMASH the 'Read full article' button and enjoy the next chapter of (*winces*) Marvel's Cine-CHAT-ic Universe: The Incredible Hulk.
That annoying pop-up you received this morning on your phone was the new notification of our latest sporadic podcast episode, begging you for attention like an artificial life form desperate to have its own existence validated.