Latest Movie Reviews

Sort by: Most Recent | Most Popular     Movie Reviews A-Z
  • Review: Project Power hits the right beats but offers nothing new

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 26th August 2020

    Netflix is an odd one isn't it. In order to operate they need to attract a certain amount of subscribers, so cast a wide net of shiny mid-budget fare with no pretension the films don't exist to reel in the dollars. It's pure returns-driven broad entertainment, designed to appeal to as many people as possible but that leaves little cultural footprint. Other studios do this, of course - it is a movie industry after all - but the frequency of ho hum numbers generated by Netflix does nothing for their reputation as a production line serving up gruel, and the next announcement always comes with a twinge of doubt. Anyway I just watched this new Netflix film called Project Power.

  • Review: Host is a techno-horror that dials up the scares

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 19th August 2020

    31st October 1992. I am 11 years old and about to become part of a very special club: children who were accidentally allowed to stay up late for BBC's Ghostwatch. For the uninitiated; Ghostwatch was billed as a fun live spook hunt from a haunted council house, which spiralled out of control as the pipe-clanging spirit of a disfigured paedophile assaulted Saturday morning kids TV hosts Sarah Greene and Craig Charles, apparently killing a number of the crew, before beaming itself into a television studio and possessing the UK's common sense uncle, Michael Parkinson. It was terrifying. The ensuing furore in schools and media ensured the broadcast was shelved for years. But the damage was done, scars were formed - and the next Ghostwatch has been sought out ever since.

  • Review: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is low on laughs but makes a bold statement

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 13th August 2020

    I hate the Eurovision Song Contest. I hate the blinding shiny lights and the garish tackiness - it's what I imagine dropping acid in a Claire's Accessories would be like. I hate the awkward jokes and the hosts bumbling their way through, clearly wishing they were anywhere else. I hate the smugly sly politicisation, even if it is often an accurate and honest representation of feeling towards us and our continental neighbours. I hate the forced laughter. I hate the constant smiling. But most of all I hate the songs. Yes, I hate it. I hate the Eurovision Song Contest because I hate myself and can't admit that it is in fact FUCKING BRILLIANT!

  • Review: The Aeronauts is an uplifting ode to the spirit of discovery

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 26th March 2020

    There's something compelling about a singular premise. Gravity and The Martian both made good use of theirs, squeezing every second of tension out of a sequence of continually escalating nightmare scenarios, all in service of one outcome. What those films have in common are protagonists who want to survive not just through a desire to see their efforts validated, but also as avatars of a very human need to prove we can overcome the challenges of nature as a species able to shape the world around us. It's affecting, connective stuff, and rings true on a fundamental level. But whereas Matt Damon's character in The Martian mostly concerned himself with potatoes, if I've learnt anything from The Aeronauts it's to always carry a knife.

  • Review: Spenser Confidential is a bad film so I wrote a bad review

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 20th March 2020

    This is going to be one of those reviews that mostly just describes what happens in the film, with no real insight into the plot or themes - not that there are much of either - but it's the only way I can think to get across how monumentally idiotic Spenser Confidential is. Another way would be telling you it's a direct-to-Netflix action movie starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Peter Berg and letting you make up your own mind, but I had to suffer through it and now so do you.

  • Review: Color Out of Space is high on promise but lands with a bump

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 13th March 2020

    Richard Stanley is a tantalisingly distant figure in filmmaking. His filmography reeks of such pure talent you wonder why he's not a bigger name. The answer to that lies in the documentary Island of Lost Souls, which recalls Stanley's involvement in the ill-fated big budget 1990s take on The Island of Dr. Moreau. To say it didn't go well is an understatement, with everything from the elements to his erratic star Marlon Brando working overtime to derail things. Subsequently Stanley left the mainstream under a cloud (literally a cyclone), which is why Color Out of Space is being bandied as 'The Return of Richard Stanley' - given a fresh chance to bring a H. P. Lovecraft short story to life with Nicolas Cage in the lead. With such a dizzying rider it can't possibly live up to the hype, can it?

  • Review: Miss Americana attempts to separate popstar from person

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 10th March 2020

    Can you believe the Taylor Swift-Kanye West "I'mma let you finish" VMA awards show incident happened more than ten years ago? That's TEN years. Ten. T-E-N. Taylor Swift was a mere 17 at the time and had already accomplished more with her life and career than most of us ever will, but what's happened in the decade since? The tl;dr answer is she kept on writing songs and performing, eventually conquering the music industry by establishing herself as an independent woman of considerable talent and business acumen. And then she was in Cats. The longer answer is contained within this new documentary, Miss Americana.

  • Review: The Invisible Man offers dark, intense thrills, sight unseen

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 4th March 2020

    If you stop to think about it for a minute, the very idea of an invisible person raises some questions and almost all of them are: what happens when they eat or drink or bleed or, yes, shit? At what point does something external to the person start or stop being ’also invisible’? There are a couple of different cinematic approaches to the science: Memoirs Of An Invisible Man takes a cue from H. G. Wells’ original novel and shows food filling a suddenly materialised stomach before being vomited back up again, while Hollow Man just er... never really mentions it. In a similar vein to that creepy, invisible stalker movie, this new film ignores the biological questions altogether because the title character’s vanishing act is achieved with a special suit made of... optics? Cameras? It looks like it probably works a bit like the invisible car in Die Another Day. So that’s just really clear. Good, simple logic. No questions, your honour.

  • Review: Girl on the Third Floor builds a solid foundation, oozes potential

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 2nd March 2020

    I'm glad this film came to Netflix because it's given me a chance to talk about one of my obsessions: house sizes in American horror movies. They're so huge! Are all houses over there that big? They all seem to have a basement that goes on forever, and a loft you can stand up in with floorboards and windows. I mean they're perfect for horror - lots of spooky corners for ghosts to jump out of. Here in the UK our houses are tiny and the walls are thin; if you so much as put your cup of tea down too loudly you can hear the people next door tut. So why are American houses so big? Is this what happens when you get to choose between having a larger house or living with a debilitating illness?

  • Review: Parasite delves into the darkest recesses of humanity

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 27th February 2020

    Donald Trump gets mentioned way too much on these pages considering his contribution to cinema consists of a handful of production credits and cameos, including the one in Home Alone 2 where he checks out Kevin's bum. But for once the Incurious Orange may have done some good with his big racist gob. By launching a scree against South Korean-set Parasite for having the audacity to win a Best Picture Oscar in a language he can't understand - no doubt due to his brain shrinking down his neck in fright at the thought of reading subtitles - Trump has accidentally made Bong Joon-ho's class examination a talking point outside of Film Twitter. I bet he feels really silly now.