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  • Review: Hellboy (2019) is... nope, already forgotten it

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 15th April 2019

    In this social media driven age of bite-sized criticism and speedy reactions, opinions often get reduced to simplistic extremes. Fleabag is perfect. Bohemian Rhapsody is the worst. Paul Rudd is life. Liz Lemon is everything. Aquaman is honking bonkersness. Avengers: Age Of Ultron is the best film of the MCU. So it’s surprising when a film like Hellboy (2019) comes along and defies such snappy judgement. And it’s not because the film isn’t bad –it is, it's awful - but because it is neither entertainingly good nor entertainingly bad. It just plays out to dull, listless effect, utterly devoid of a single scintillating superlative that can be attributed to it. It’s a near-unremarkable, mostly forgettable, practically ineffectual film in almost every way. After first coming to the big screen 15 years ago to keep the theological peace, Hellboy has ended up confined to cinematic purgatory.

  • Review: The Highwaymen is your dad's new favourite film

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 11th April 2019

    I was reading an article today about the cartel leader El Chapo, who is currently in prison for murder, drug trafficking and money laundering, among other things. So beloved is El Chapo, and so cherished his image by the common folk of Mexico, he's been able to launch a fashion line from his cell. It's a curious feature of the human brain that we allow ourselves to be attracted towards these dark figures, hailing them as heroes despite the devastation their crimes have caused. I guess all it takes is a media-friendly mugshot and enough degrees of separation to empathise with someone who would do you harm if you ever crossed them. Back at the start of our modern press age, Bonnie & Clyde were like a prototype of the El Chapo phenomenon; shown a dose of forgiveness due to the romanticism associated with their escapades. The reality was they were killers who needed to be stopped - an inevitability due to the attention they'd brought upon themselves - and the job fell to two middle-aged men, sent criss-crossing endless dusty roads in an olde timey car. But just because there's nothing sexy about that story, does it mean it shouldn't be told?

  • Marvel's Cine-CHAT-ic Universe: Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

    Movie Feature | Matt Looker, Ali Gray, Becky Suter, Luke Whiston, Ed Williamson | 10th April 2019

    We have two weeks to go until Avengers: Endgame brings about the end of an 11-year-long story arc and changes the MCU as we know it forever. So what better time to revisit an old Avengers movie from four years ago? That's right, we're back with another instalment of our less-than-semi-regular Marvel movie email discussion feature, which might even have been a better title than 'Marvel's Cine-CHATIC Universe'.

  • Review: Pet Sematary is flatter than a run over cat

    Movie Review | Becky Suter | 5th April 2019

    The long list of Stephen King adaptations run from the great (The Shining, Misery), the so-so (original Carrie), to the just downright silly one where everyone gets alien bum worms called "Shitweasels" (Dreamcatcher). Following on from the passable remake of It, where Pennywise became a sewer daddy for thirsty millennials wanting to bang clowns, the latest of King’s books to be resurrected is a confused and uninspiring mess that proves, as one character helpfully puts it, sometimes dead is better.

  • Review: Isn't It Romantic is a pleasing trope inverter

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 3rd April 2019

    I don't have a problem with tropes. If you've had a long day and just want to unwind watching one of the Chrises drift a car or fight some pixels, a well-placed cliché can fill the gaps between any distracting thinky bits to keep the plot ticking along - allowing your eyes to glaze over as your body slowly powers down. Tropes are a useful form of cinematic shorthand. But imagine not being overwhelmingly tired all the time, and also wanting to be entertained while using your brain. What do you stick on? A sci-fi? Action-thriller? If I said there was a romcom that met all these needs you'd probably say "shut the hell up with that", to which I'd reply "Click through for the full review", and you'd say "Sir, this is a Burger King", then I'd say "Please like and subscribe." And then the police would arrive.

  • Marvel's Cine-CHAT-ic Universe: Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

    Movie Feature | Ali Gray, Matt Looker, Becky Suter, Ed Williamson, Luke Whiston | 28th March 2019

    It's the regular feature you assumed had been quietly abandoned - but we've got nothing else going on right now! We're back with another scintillating edition of Marvel's Cine-CHATIC Universe: this week/month/quarter, we're talking about James Gunn's Guardians Of The Galaxy, but also, very much other things too.

  • Review: Triple Frontier is quite literally a miserable slog

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 27th March 2019

    Grrr, men! All muscles and sweat, guns 'n' grit, sports and spunk. But sometimes emotions too. Manly men, rappelling from helicopters, growing a beard. Laying our souls bare to one another in a series of grunts. Real men can communicate using open palm hand gestures to navigate through the streets of life son. Drop and give me fifty no-scopes. Men are complicated contradictions: chiselled yet indefinable; poets and filthy bog creatures; an army of one yet no man is an army. Caps. The only thing that can understand a real man is an even more realer man. Grr! Bloody men!!

  • Review: Us is an iconic horror that doppelgängs up on our innate fears

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 25th March 2019

    Of all the books I read while studying English Literature at university, there are very few that I can say really stuck with me so much that I think about them on a near-daily basis. One that did is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe called William Wilson. If you’re not familiar, it’s a deeply sinister tale in which the narrator describes being tormented throughout his life by infrequent run ins with his doppelgänger, a figure that looks, acts and dresses exactly the same as him, until he is eventually driven mad. The story struck a chord mainly because my professor made a compelling case at the time for how this horror works on a psychological level, but also because he had us analyse the many thematic instances of ‘doubles’ throughout the text. This, he explained, includes William Wilson’s own alliterative initials, which are made up of two 'W's or, rather, 'double-you's. And it was at that point that I thought he was just really reaching.

  • Review: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind soars, is uplifting, etc

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 20th March 2019

    Q) What do Titanic, Zero Dark Thirty and The Last King of Scotland have in common? A) They all used real history to tell a story involving fictional characters. In the case of Jack and Rose they were avatars to illustrate class divide. Zero Dark Thirty needed a way to connect the hunt for Bin Laden from beginning to end so they made up a CIA agent. And who even knows what the author of The Last King of Scotland was smoking because I can't think of another story like that at all. It's like they made up a best friend for Hitler. Why would you do that? Honestly. Point is, when you want to stretch history for entertainment you have to be delicate with the facts, otherwise you risk misrepresenting what actually happened or offending those who were there. Although Billy Zane can do what he wants. The man is a gift.

  • Review: Behind the Curve lets us gawp but doesn't offer any insight

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 11th March 2019

    It's so sad to hear about Piers Morgan. Oh, nothing's happened to him. I mean just generally whenever he pops up it makes me feel sad that an adult would cultivate mock outrage in pursuit of attention. We should cut him off so he can disappear forever, but he's harmless really - a fart in the wind - and everyone sees the desperation in his tiny haunted eyes. And he's a coward. To properly grab people's attention nowadays you have to go down the alt-right route like Hopkins and Milo, baring your wretched soul fully in a self-immolating endgame; not have a dig at vegan pastries from the safe space of a colourful sofa. He's a rank amateur. What does this have to do with flat earthers? Well, they're the same thing as Morgan aren't they? Poor deluded fuckers confusing passing glances with validation, convinced they're part of the fabric of reality, when really they're touching cloth.