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  • Review: The Two Popes entertains, occasionally enlightens

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 15th January 2020

    They're just two normal fellas, these guys. Sure they live in gigantic palaces and take part in rituals affecting the lives of millions of people based on doctrines written hundreds of years ago in the belief a giant bearded ghost man watches everything you do in the bathroom, but they like a pint just like you and I. Who cares if you're expected to bow and kiss their ring to show respect else you'll go to hell if they like to watch the big match? They're just two normal fellas. Two normal fellas in charge of a 2000-year-old nonce festival.

  • If 2020's Oscar-nominated movie posters told the truth

    Movie Feature | Ali Gray, Becky Suter, Matt Looker | 13th January 2020

    It's the tenth annual iteration of what's fast becoming our only feature - that's right, it's time for another round of 'If Movie Posters Told The Truth' with me, your increasingly cynical host! We'll be right back after these messages!

  • Review: Weathering With You is a big warm hug coming in from the east

    Movie Review | Becky Suter | 10th January 2020

    Three years ago, Makoto Shinkai’s wondrous debut Your Name was the 19th reason why 2016 didn’t totally suck. Life’s not really improved much since then, but at least the Japanese director has returned with a meteorological meet-cute that builds on what was so lovely about his first feature, and also crafts its own unique identity. As in Your Name, two teens come together against the backdrop of a natural disaster, and then have to contend with destiny conspiring to pull them apart, come rain or shine.

  • Review: Marriage Story battles for the high ground but risks sanctimony

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 31st December 2019

    Relationships are weird. You come to them as a pair of individuals, both trying to find common threads while maintaining individuality. Then you move in together and over time adjust to each other's idiosyncrasies, forming new habits based on a shared life, until one day you realise you're a completely different person. Later if you decide to wave goodbye to sleep for about fifteen years by having children it adds an adorable layer of walking on eggshells to proceedings. The only way to really make it work is to be totally open about your thoughts and feelings - keeping secrets is just asking for trouble - so if/when things fall apart and you're held to account for your part in the failure you get to gloat over that deceitful snake (just kidding, honey - L for Love!).

  • Review: Hail Satan? takes God-bothering to devilish new levels

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 24th December 2019

    I'm still not sure the subjects of Penny Lane's documentary Hail Satan? are taking themselves entirely seriously. But then again they've got nothing to lose, and everything to gain as they take their cause - recognition of The Satanic Temple as a valid religious entity - up against a system of governance entrenched with Christianity in America. Let's see how that goes shall we.

  • Review: Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is good, but conflicted

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 19th December 2019

    There’s no denying that Star Wars: The Last Jedi created a massive disturbance in the force, as if a million voices suddenly cried out in entitled outrage and were suddenly empowered to act like total asshats on Twitter. All Rian Johnson really did was evolve his film beyond the tropes, cliches and traditions that have become the hallmarks of every episode in the saga until that point. Bury the past - or literally burn it down - and move on. Forget the old and make way for the new, otherwise how can there be any progress? After all, "we are," muses Yoda, "what they grow beyond". But if that proved a divisive move, then what JJ Abrams does with this final instalment is equally controversial: ignore that new approach entirely and return to the safe familiarity of the old template. There’s important plot development, of course, but it is housed within a return to the brand adherence and fan service that The Force Awakens originally offered. Skywalker rises, but Episode 9 of 9 simply stays on target.

  • Review: Atlantics is a haunting ghost tale with real world origins

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 19th December 2019

    If there's one thing common across the various cultures that have emerged on earth since we became organised enough to herd ourselves into us and them, it's the screwing over of the little folk by their wealthy masters. The practice is a perfect underpinning for cautionary social tales, and has become a staple of storytelling, used to pass warnings about the corrupting nature of power down to successive generations. So obviously since these injustices have been well documented on cave walls, stone tablets, parchments and GeoCities websites throughout the annals of time, and we live in an enlightened era of instant communication with masses of knowledge at our fingertips, we're equipped to prevent this sort of thing happening ever again. Right? Oh.

  • Review: 6 Underground is Michael Bay at his Michael Bayest

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 16th December 2019

    The man, the dream. The man is Michael Bay; Hollywood's eternal manchild, able to somehow tap into the mind of a prepubescent boy. The dream is to blow up as much shit as possible, sending hot sparks flying over even hotter chics in lingerie as our hero flings another zinging retort into the bad guys like nasty little comedy bullets. It's not clever. It's not classy. He thinks it is. But it's bold and tough, and you will respect the awesome might of military technology, else be visited in the night by wicked-rad army ninjas in stealth Blackhawks. Bayhem is in session, sit up and pay attention, DAD!

  • Review: The Irishman is a slow burn deconstruction of mafioso mythos

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 14th December 2019

    I wonder if I'll live to be old, and if so, what secrets will I have accumulated by then? I don't mean secrets like things I ate that weren't mine; more like the sort of intimate knowledge that could change the course of history, sunk so deep it weighs down the soul of even the hardest immoral criminals. I guess that's why Martin Scorsese chose to make a three-and-a-half hour film about violent mob assassins involved in some of the most shocking conspiracies the world has ever seen, and not the time I took my girlfriend's Toblerone from the fridge and denied it because I was scared.

  • Review: Knives Out is a modern-age murder mystery that absolutely kills it

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 4th December 2019

    Traditional murder mysteries must be the hardest stories to write, because audiences are always second-guessing everything, desperate to work out the twist before the genius detective. Writers have to seed important details among their pool of suspects without giving the game away, whilst also offering red herrings that have to feel like they could still be relevant. Meanwhile their audience is constantly reading too much into everything, determined not to be outsmarted. So a film like this one is already at make-or-break point for each viewer. If they don’t guess the killer and the motive, and the reveal still makes sense, then they can be satisfied with the thrill of being outplayed. But if they solve the mystery before the end, it’s "Nah, that’s rubbish, mate. I saw it coming a mile off". And audiences are actively rooting for the latter. They’re the ones with the knives out.