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Review: Vacation

Posted by Ed Williamson at 09:00 on 19 Aug 2015
Vacation
Online discourse being what it is, the announcement of a reboot or remake is usually greeted with dread and resentment. It's sacrilege. Why can't they just leave it alone? How can a woman possibly carry a proton pack? But this ignores the recent evidence that Hollywood has now got the cheat codes for 'repurposing'. Jurassic World, Godzilla, The Equalizer: respect the original property but make something of its own hue. You have nothing to fear from reboots except a Kevin James Uncle Buck, so make your way with confidence to see Vacation.

Review: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Posted by Matt Looker at 14:00 on 12 Aug 2015
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The action hero has come a long way since the 60s. Once calm, unobtainable specimens of perfection have gradually morphed into tough, emotionally closed anti-heroes, and then into testosterone-fuelled musclemen, and now they're flawed and troubled characters in touch with their - ugh - feelings. Superheroes are forever in search of their own life purpose (the clue is in the word 'superhero', guys), lone wolf cops have money worries, even Tom Cruise is now contractually obligated to have his character make at least one mistake in his movies. And James Bond cries now. He actually cries. So call it an adaptation, a rehash, another unoriginal concept in a Hollywoodland bereft of creativity, or whatever - The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is still one of the most refreshing action films you'll see this year.

Review: The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Posted by Ed Williamson at 08:30 on 07 Aug 2015
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Bel Powley is a very arresting and idiosyncratic actor, so expect to see her playing a superhero's girlfriend pretty soon. For now though, here she is in a fairly straightforward yarn about a teenage girl who has a bunch of sex. It has some good visual ideas and does a nice line in chiding you for forgetting the seediness of its main relationship, but none of this quite elevates it above a decent watch.

Review: Fantastic Four (2015)

Posted by Matt Looker at 07:00 on 06 Aug 2015
Fantastic Four (2015)
The old Fantastic Four films from 10 years ago are an embarrassment, aren’t they? All kid-friendly colours and CGI slapstick; they might as well be cartoons. It’s great then, that this – say it with me – gritty reboot finally aims to give comics’ First Family the big-screen outing they deserve. A film that treats Stretchy Man, Rock Guy, Fire Boy and Invisi-Girl with due reverence and respect. A film that takes a realistic approach to dimension-hopping science and explores the seriousness of.. oh god, no, I can’t do it. Come back, Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and, yes even you, Michael Chiklis’ foam fatsuit. All is forgiven.

Review: Pixels

Posted by Matt Looker at 10:30 on 30 Jul 2015
Pixels
One of the many questions that spring to mind while watching Pixels - such as "Why doesn't any of this make any sense?" and "What would it take for Adam Sandler's tired Deputy Dawg face to register an iota of genuine emotion?" - is: Who is this film supposed to be for? As a PG movie packed full of fairly obscure 80s references, you can only assume that its core audience is nostalgic parents who won't mind it when, on the journey home afterwards, their child takes a brief pause from unpacking the latest expansion kit for their favourite immersive online RPG to ask: "What's a Donkey Kong?"

Review: Inside Out

Posted by Matt Looker at 20:00 on 26 Jul 2015
Inside Out
We've all seen the list of Pixar's story concepts throughout the years, right? 1995: What if toys had feelings, 1998: What if bugs had feelings, etc until we get to the Inside Out punchline: What if feelings had feelings? It's an apt joke, not just because you can imagine that this formula for success was actually decided years ago in a boardroom somewhere, but because Inside Out really does feel like the ultimate Pixar film. In terms of fun, emotion, gags and - yes - cries, Inside Out meets the very best of what the studio has done to date, and it does so within a simple, lovable realisation of an incredibly complicated abstract concept. This really is Pinnacle Pixar.

Review: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Posted by Ali Gray at 16:00 on 24 Jul 2015
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Mission: Impossible is the only movie series that's got the measure of franchise fatigue. Some elements remain omnipresent - the star, the stunts, the self-destruction - but with each new M:I instalment helmed by a new director bringing a fresh flavour, it has Bond beat in terms of shelf-life. Rogue Nation, however, is the first entry in the franchise to play it relatively safe, offering a slick and entertaining adventure but one that doesn't feel different enough from Ghost Protocol - perhaps inevitably, given its predecessor's lofty ambitions, Rogue Nation couldn't ever hope to hit the same heights.

Review: Ant-Man

Posted by Matt Looker at 20:00 on 08 Jul 2015
Ant-Man
More than any of its other movies to date, it seems that Marvel has been really savvy with this film. After all, it has completely turned around our expectations. Remember when we were outraged at Edgar Wright leaving due to “creative differences”? Remember when we sharpened our caps-lock ready for whatever half-assed generic borefest followed? Slowly, but surely, Marvel have won us all over with some neat trailers, some fun marketing and the sheer force of Paul Rudd’s lovable charisma. If that wasn't proof enough that Marvel just know exactly what the fuck they are doing with what they have, the finished movie also happens be rather ace. And that is no small achievement.

Review: Minions

Posted by Ali Gray, Arthur Gray at 18:40 on 05 Jul 2015
Minions
I hold a special kind of contempt for people who indulge themselves in reviewing things that are blatantly not meant for them to enjoy; people who take pleasure in sticking the boot into something that is clearly aimed at a different demographic. I'm thinking the petulant one-star reviews of Kanye West's Glastonbury set, or Mark Kermode secretly enjoying giving the Entourage movie a kicking - everyone knows Kermode would rather stay at home watching The Exorcist with one hand in a pot of pomade and the other down his pants. You wouldn't send a Danny Dyer fan to review a Michael Haneke film, so why is the opposite true?

Review: Ted 2

Posted by Matt Looker at 14:00 on 03 Jul 2015
Ted 2
10-20 years from now, future generations will look back on this decade and cringe at how their parents and grandparents belly-laughed at the offensive, nonsense humour of Seth MacFarlane, in much the same way as we do now at old sitcoms from the 70s. Clips of Family Guy's most near-knuckle gags will be shown in TV documentaries that explain how the 2010s were a less civilised era, before society learned to behave like better people. Luckily, we are already on the cusp of more progressive times as the tide has started to turn against the squeaky-faced MacFarlane’s now-familiar string of stoner/racist/pop culture/left field references. 2015 is truly a cornerstone year as MacFarlane Fatigue has firmly set in and, on the basis of Ted 2, it's easy to see why.
Out this week
+The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (12A)
Our review
+Pixels (12A)
Our review | All articles
+Trainwreck (15)
+Absolutely Anything (12A)
+Mistress America (15)