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Review: Bleed For This

Posted by Ed Williamson at 23:30 on 04 Dec 2016
Bleed For This
Trouble with all boxing films: they aren't Rocky. Rocky not only set the benchmark, but the template, out of which no one's really managed to break: guy has to overcome adversity, the other boxer is a metaphor for his life, and his real opponent is himself. True-lifer Bleed For This is a bit different. But not that different.

Review: Sully: Miracle On The Hudson

Posted by Ed Williamson at 23:30 on 29 Nov 2016
Sully: Miracle On The Hudson
In times of crisis, look to Hanks. America's on its arse and what it needs now more than ever is a man whose Twitter account is dedicated to finding gloves on the streets of New York, not making baseless claims of voter fraud. Inferno got it wrong, but Sully understands better what sort of hero Hanks can be: the kind who manages to land a malfunctioning aeroplane but afterwards just wants everyone to stop going on about it.

Review: Moana

Posted by Ali Gray at 23:05 on 28 Nov 2016
Moana
It seems quaint that there was an ever an outcry about the 'death' of traditional hand-drawn animation when you watch a movie with such beautiful artistry as Moana. John Musker and Ron Clements did more than most to keep that medium alive, with classics like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin on their resumes - they even tried to bring back 2D animation with 2009's The Princess And The Frog, a good-intentioned throwback to the old ways. But when the sun sets on Musker and Clements' jaw-droppingly beautiful CG adventure Moana, no one will be mourning those outdated techniques. It is a film so vibrant and luminescent and immersive that it is impossible to argue that the future of animation isn't in good hands. Though its storytelling is a touch too familiar to qualify as a true modern classic, Moana is nonetheless a relentlessly entertaining spectacle that's rooted in authenticity and has a talent pool so deep you can swim in it.

Review: Bad Santa 2

Posted by Matt Looker at 13:00 on 28 Nov 2016
Bad Santa 2
When a film is deliberately trying to outrage, does that make it more acceptable? Is bad taste really just a matter of taste? Is it problematic that the IMDB Parents Guide for Bad Santa 2 lists warnings for violence, alcohol/drugs/smoking, frightening/intense scenes and sex & nudity (“There are close-ups of genitalia featured, but they are contextually justified”), but says nothing about the overtones of misogyny, racism and whatever you call being rude about little people? Surely it’s this kind of selective oversight that makes this a world in which Trump can become president. (*evacuates the area from the topical bombshell he just dropped*)

Review: Allied

Posted by Ed Williamson at 19:30 on 21 Nov 2016
Allied
Brad Pitt, I have decided, is too handsome. My reaction to more or less anything he does on screen these days is instinctively: "Yeah, but this character wouldn't look like that. No one does." In Allied, which is fine and all that but a bit daft, he marries Marion Cotillard while looking amazing then grows suspicious she is a spy while looking amazing, and I can't shake the feeling that all of this looking amazing is part of a comfort zone out of which he's unprepared to step.

Review: Doctor Strange

Posted by Ali Gray at 20:15 on 03 Nov 2016
Doctor Strange
Considering the X-Men movies can't even stay consistent one movie to the next, it's a minor miracle the Marvel Cinematic Universe remains a cohesive whole, 8 years and 14 movies after Nick Fury first asked Tony Stark to join his professional LinkedIn network. We've had men of technology, beasts of rage, Gods from other realms and soldiers forged in war, all now reading from the same script. The latest recruit to the MCU is Doctor Strange, who heralds the arrival of the world of magic, but - like Arrested Development's Gob Bluth and his Alliance of Magicians - demands to be taken seriously. Disbelief is being suspended at a comfortable level by now: if you're cool with purple space tyrants and talking raccoons, chances are the addition of sorcerers, supreme or otherwise, isn't going to upset the apple cart.

Review: The Accountant

Posted by Matt Looker at 07:00 on 28 Oct 2016
The Accountant
Adding itself to the long list of films that are about the least dynamic occupations known to man - alongside The Postman and The Constant Gardener - The Accountant belies the real nature of the job by having a musclebound, autistic Ben Affleck punch and shoot people in his spare time. We all know, however, that accountants are only good for trawling through an overly complicated mess of information to try to simplify everything and make sense of it all. Which is, coincidentally, exactly the kind of accountant that this film really needed.

Review: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Posted by Matt Looker at 07:00 on 20 Oct 2016
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
I still maintain that the first Jack Reacher is a decent action film, and one that has fun with tropes and clichés of the genre. Obviously, not everyone agrees with me, but I think ultimately I've been proved right. And in that sense, the original controversy surrounding Tom Cruise’s casting as Reacher didn’t make sense to me. As I’m not beholden to the source material in any way, Cruise seemed perfect as the all-star action guy with the charm and wit to carry through the self-aware humour. But, as there’s none of that here, this might just be the first instance of an actor being miscast in his own sequel.

Review: Inferno

Posted by Ed Williamson at 23:30 on 18 Oct 2016
Inferno
By now you'll have heard that Inferno is awful, not that your hopes were high, and you don't need me to confirm it. Maybe the books make terrible source material, but come on, it's Hanks and Howard: how bad could it be? Well, not as bad as The Da Vinci Code, to be fair, but still pretty darned bad.

Review: LFF 2016: Free Fire

Posted by Matt Looker at 21:00 on 16 Oct 2016
LFF 2016: Free Fire
Remember that sequence in Spaced, where Tim gets out of a bind by initiating a pretend shootout with finger guns, safe in the knowledge that no one in the near vicinity can resist joining in? Ben Wheatley's new trigger-happy triumph plays out exactly like that, complete with stylised slow-mo, only with real guns, real bullet wounds and with it all carrying on for a real long time.
Out this week
+Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (12A)
Read the review
+Queen Of Katwe (PG)
+Keeping Up With The Joneses (12A)
+Ouija: Origin Of Evil (15)
+I, Daniel Blake (15)
+Trolls (U)