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  • Review: Alita: Battle Angel has one foot in the future, one in the past

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 13th February 2019

    Does James Cameron's name attached to a movie mean anything anymore? With the skidmark of Terminator Genisys refusing to fade from the collective pop culture underpant, and the inevitable Avatar sequel debacle still a few merciful years away, we have a new Cameron project to mull over in the meantime. Alita: Battle Angel, a live-action sci-fi epic based on a popular Japanese anime, has been on JC's to-do list since the early 2000s but he's finally delegated it off his plate, handing over his dusty old screenplay to best pal Robert Rodriguez. I don't like the phrase 'sloppy seconds', but, well, I've said it now, it's out there, and in actual fact, in saying it I've basically answered the question I set out in the first line, so here we are, the review has begun, strap yourselves in everyone.

  • Review: One Cut of the Dead proves there is life in the zombie movie

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 12th February 2019

    How do you watch films? For me it's a late evening treat after a long day busting my hump, slumped on the sofa, remote in hand scrolling Netflix for 5-45 minutes before picking a Nic Cage movie from last year nobody has ever heard of. But sometimes you already know what you want to watch, and thanks to a tip-off I'd heard One Cut of the Dead was suddenly available on Amazon Prime. The hype was intriguing: a tiny horror from Japan that had become a smash hit. The only thing left to do was convince my life/viewing partner, thus introducing the concept of The Sell. And how do you convince someone to willingly watch a quirky high concept Japanese meta farce? Could go either way - I mean we've all seen The Happiness of the Katakuris, right? In the end I told her it was a zombie film, which is kind of true, until it isn't.

  • Review: The Lego Movie 2 plays nicely but has no new surprises

    Movie Review | Ed Williamson | 10th February 2019

    My nephews were younger when the first Lego Movie came out. I mean, everyone was. But in 2014 they were five years younger; a lifetime when you're under ten. The elder one loved it; the younger probably not quite at the age where he could be relied on to sit through anything for more than ten minutes without chewing his shoes. They'll love this too, because they're still under ten and they're idiots, despite the older one being quite capable of comprehensively schooling me about dinosaurs. Me, I think maybe the magic has faded a bit.

  • Review: Velvet Buzzsaw paints a dark canvas but is worse than the sum of its p-arts

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 8th February 2019

    A few years ago I had a bit of an epiphany regarding my personal relationship with art (such as it is that the purpose and understanding of art as a human endeavour is the result of a complex mish-mash of evolutionary need and life experience resulting in a unique perspective held only to oneself imho). It was around the time of political unrest in a country - not going to say which one but it was one of those problematic countries you see on the news often, don't like the gays much - where a group of artists had collaborated to send a satirical message to their government which was more than likely going to see them turn up in a ditch. It was an act that made me question my complete self: would I, a comically stereotypical white man, ever do anything so profoundly brave with my creative output? I mean besides calling Nigel Farage a cock on Twitter? Probably not. I'll probably just carry on ascending to middle class via osmosis, stopping to tut whenever Netflix raise their prices by 20p so they can continue making mediocre originals.

  • Review: Cold Pursuit sees Mr Plow out for revenge in a temperate thriller

    Movie Review | Becky Suter | 7th February 2019

    Over the past decade, Liam Neeson has had an interesting evolution from Serious Actor to Tough Action Dad, exclusively playing single-minded individuals dispensing their own brand of vigilante justice. Since Taken, he’s developed his particular set of skills to work within the same template over and over again, becoming a one man wrecking crew in the likes of Run All Night, Non-Stop and then Non-Stop-But-On-A-Train, The Commuter. He’s even punched a wolf in the face. All batshit crazy, yet enjoyable nonetheless. But in a recent controversial interview, Neeson revealed he was once almost in his own version of American History X, contemplating taking a cosh to any “black bastard” who crossed his path to quench his own insatiable thirst for revenge. His telling of this story was probably intended to highlight how revenge never helps anyone, but instead highlighted that this is a reality for black men and people of colour, and attempts to rationalise these thoughts could be seen, at best, as attempts to normalise racism. And to think, my main concern before seeing the film was how many snow puns and Simpsons’ gags I could shoehorn into this review.

  • Review: Green Book is a road trip that takes Route 1

    Movie Review | Ed Williamson | 6th February 2019

    If racism can be solved in microcosm, film often likes to suggest, then can't we all just get along? Sure, except for all the massive systemic obstacles to that. The buddy relationship at the heart of Peter Farrelly's Green Book, one in which a white racist comes to accept a black man as a friend, wants us to believe that prejudice can be chipped away at through prolonged exposure to its object; that we only hate what we don't know. There's probably a broad truth in that. And yet social media has introduced everyone to people and cultures they'd otherwise never interact with, and Twitter in particular seems to make people even more determined never to change their mind. So is this any use?

  • Review: Vice shows Dick Cheney as a man with few virtues and ohhh, I see what you did there

    Movie Review | Becky Suter | 21st January 2019

    My knowledge of Dick Cheney pretty much started and ended with knowing him as the veep who shot a guy in the face whilst on a hunting trip. Had I bothered to actually watch all of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart episodes I've recorded over the years, I would have known that Cheney has always been the dark heart of American politics; a man rotten to his very core, which itself is a tiny black hole from which no joy or light can escape, who's been haunting the White House long before President Trump gleefully served McNugget BBQ sauce out of the Lincoln silver gravy boats to those footballers. Luckily, Adam McKay is here again to distil complex information to dummies like me, although newsflash - the political system is like, totally corrupt, you guys.

  • 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: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is a superhero spectacle bar none

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 29th November 2018

    Aren't we supposed to be bored of superhero movies by now? 2018 has been a vintage year for the costumed crowd: Black Panther, Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Ant-Man & The Wasp, Incredibles 2 and Teen Titans Go! To The Movies have all excelled, and early word even suggests that Aquaman - Aquaman! - is converting disbelievers. This Sony animation from producers Lord & Miller is the third triple-A Spidey property to see release this year, after Avengers and the PS4 exclusive videogame, but even considering those high benchmarks and such a crowded field of contenders, it makes a strong case for being the best of the bunch - Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is a sprawling, wall-crawling visual masterpiece that's boundless in its creativity, kinetic in its dynamism and authentic to its core. It's the movie that finally nails the nirvana found between the twin mediums of comic-books and cinema.