Posted by Ali Gray
at 00:15 on 09 Feb 2018
One thing the Marvel Cinematic Universe does not need more of is white privilege. Tony Stark with his billion dollar problems. Captain America with his government sanctioned patriotism. Thor, the blonde-haired blue-eyed Norse God with claims to the throne. Peter Quill, the self-appointment Star-Lord, the so-called guardian of the galaxy. We're good for white dudes. Arriving far too late to the party is King T'Challa, a storied hero from Africa with a rich heritage who is finally breaking the unremitting streak of white heroes on the Marvel payroll. Without wanting to disservice the people of colour who have served the MCU well to date - Anthony Mackie, Zoe Saldana and let's not forget Samuel L motherfucking Jackson - Black Panther is the character that the Marvel universe, the movie industry and the entire world needs right now. It's hard to imagine a more righteous movie arriving at a more necessary time.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 13:45 on 18 Jan 2018
Every January, Liam Neeson is parachuted into the mid-awards season slump, his brand of no-nonsense, cut-and-dried-in-90-minutes action thrills the perfect antidote to sludgy Oscar bait and the subsequent melange of self-consuming hot takes. His enemies are not the vaguely Eastern European drug dealers and criminals he fights on screen; his real opponents are Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Greta Gerwig. We cannot overlook the importance of having trashy movies exist alongside important movies: films like The Commuter are crucial to balance out the cinematic chi. Though Neeson's latest run-and-gunner will come and go in a single weekend, leaving nary a trace until he releases the exact same movie next January, it is an essential addition to your awards season watchlist. The Commuter should not be Taken 4: Granted.
You think a Christmas movie where Michael Shannon is mistaken for Bigfoot sounds weird? You don’t know the half of it. And trust me, you don’t want to know the rest. Unless you do, in which case that’s cool, we’re all friends here. I’m being purposefully vague because, well you’ll see... Let’s just say the internet has a lot to answer for.
If I could have had a small, green, wise mentor teach me the ways of online film criticism, he probably would have instilled in me a respect for the balance between objectivity and subjectivity. He would have told me that uninformed criticism is what binds the entire internet and that I should always try to be mindful of hype. But, halfway through my training, I would have still no doubt run off unprepared to face what is easily my greatest weakness: Star Wars.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 23:30 on 19 Nov 2017
It wasn’t evil aliens that defeated the Justice League: it was facial hair.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 13:30 on 04 Nov 2017
If it wasn’t immediately obvious from the impenetrable wall of dialogue that looms over the opening scene, Molly’s Game was written by famed fast-talker Aaron Sorkin
. If it wasn’t immediately obvious he directed it too, the clues are there to be found: scenes that smash cut through shot lists like a machine gun play home to worldly and wise characters who spew dictionaries of insightful dialogue. Molly’s Game is adapted from the biography of a poker hostess who ran high stakes games for big game players, but the movie has more of Sorkin’s fingerprints on it than his own typewriter. Often if a writer-director can’t remove their own ego from the equation it can be problematic, but thankfully the story of Molly’s Game feels tailor-made for Sorkin’s style: though occasionally weighed down by sheer volume of dialogue, it’s nonetheless smart, slick and - thanks to a towering Jessica Chastain performance - more than a bit sexy.
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.