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Michael Fassbender

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Here are some notes on Assassin's Creed from a plane, the only acceptable place to watch it

Posted by Ali Gray at 23:00 on 13 Jul 2017
Here are some notes on Assassin's Creed from a plane, the only acceptable place to watch it
Hello there. I am on a plane as you read this. At the time of writing, I am somewhere over Winnipeg. I'm talking to you via the wonder of £25.99 WiFi. I've been very lucky to be invited to cover the Disney D23 Expo in California over the weekend, and although I wouldn't dream of humblebragging my way through this post, it does promise to be very exciting, and I think you'll all agree that, yeah Ali, relax, you deserve this guy, great job. Anyway, before that, I have an 11-hour flight to sit through. Eleven! That's like… four movies! I'm not going to watch four movies. But I did just sit through Assassin's Creed.

Review: Alien: Covenant

Posted by Ali Gray at 20:30 on 11 May 2017
Alien: Covenant
By rights, the Alien franchise should be dead by now, all curled up on its back like a big dead spider, flambéed by the flamethrower of critical ire. How many other movie series would be allowed so many misses and still get invited back to the plate for another swing? Throughout its various iterations since the 90s - sequels, prequels, versus match-ups - the Alien franchise has succeeded only in corroding its own legacy. Even 2012's promising Prometheus, directed by franchise progenitor Ridley Scott, fell short of expectations thanks to its entire cast suffering total frontal lobotomies in the third act. Well, the rot stops here. In Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott has directed the best Alien movie of the past 30 years, and although that isn't exactly a glowing compliment, know this: not only does Covenant deliver a payload of short, sharp scares and atmosphere in spades, it course-corrects the franchise as a whole, retroactively making Prometheus feel like a better movie too.

Review: X-Men: Apocalypse

Posted by Ali Gray at 22:46 on 19 May 2016
X-Men: Apocalypse
Forgive me for sounding like I'm on the company payroll, but have Marvel movies ruined superhero movies for everyone else? I fear they have. The Marvel Cinematic Universe made its own space in the superhero sphere; it owns the area marked 'fun'. DC, as a countermeasure to all the lousy fun everyone was enjoying, staked their claim on the 'serious' space; heroes with grim faces carved out of rock, pre-tantrum lip-wobble expressions lashed with rain. Where does this leave the X-Men? I'm sure I don't know anymore, because X-Men: Apocalypse attempts to be all things to all people and ends up being neither overtly fun or remotely serious, just entirely ridiculous. It feels like a superhero movie back from when no one really knew what that was supposed to mean, or, as a friend of mine put it so perfectly: "It's like a shit superhero movie from the nineties".

Review: Steve Jobs

Posted by Ali Gray at 13:00 on 05 Nov 2015
Steve Jobs
Was Steve Jobs a genius? Was he a revolutionary? Did he change the world? Or was he just an egotistical asshole? Danny Boyle's Jobs iOpic, powered by word processor Aaron Sorkin, doesn't so much pick a side as it does tick all the boxes. Michael Fassbender's Apple guru is at once exhilaratingly wise and exhaustingly obstinate; a complex man with fearsome drive but fundamental flaws; a man who doesn't deserve a glowing biopic or a Hollywood hatchet job. Boyle's portrait of the Cupertino legend is a fizzing, lively affair that certainly has you convinced of one man's genius, although we're guessing that man wasn't supposed to be Aaron Sorkin.

Review: X-Men: Days Of Future Past

Posted by Matt Looker at 09:00 on 13 May 2014
X-Men: Days Of Future Past
Have you seen all of the X-Men films? Including the First Class prequel and both Wolverine movies? AND all of the mid-credits and post-credits stings that were tagged on to the end? Good. Then you may proceed. Welcome to X-Men: Retcon. I hope you've been paying attention.

Review: Frank

Posted by Ed Williamson at 15:15 on 09 May 2014
Frank
For all you hear about makers of independent film having now migrated to TV, you still get some belters. In just the last fortnight we've had the masterfully tense revenge thriller Blue Ruin and now Frank, a gleefully nuts music movie based on Jon Ronson's experiences playing keyboards for Frank Sidebottom. When you can convince a star like Michael Fassbender to wear a huge fake plastic head for a role, you can probably say with some certainty that indie film's not dead yet.

Eight astonishing things on the new X-Men: Days Of Future Past poster

Posted by Ali Gray at 23:10 on 24 Mar 2014
Eight astonishing things on the new X-Men: Days Of Future Past poster
The X-Men don't historically have a lot of luck when it comes to cool poster designs - who could forget 9/3/11? - and that trend continues with this mental new one-sheet for X-Men: Days Of Future Past. Featuring: ALL OF THE THINGS.

Observations on Cormac McCarthy's screenplay for The Counsellor

Posted by Ali Gray at 07:30 on 19 Nov 2013
Observations on Cormac McCarthy's screenplay for The Counsellor
It has been 10 days since I saw The Counsellor, and despite it being an obviously flawed, frustrating film, there's something about it that clings to your subconscious, like recalling the remnants of a nightmare in the cold light of day. Ridley Scott's editor is clearly a goddamn American hero, because he was tasked with cutting down Cormac McCarthy's insanely verbose script for the screen; now, having read McCarthy's original, complete screenplay, I'm happy to share with you a few things I've noticed when comparing page to film.

Review: The Counsellor

Posted by Ed Williamson at 08:00 on 14 Nov 2013
The Counsellor
'Exciting on paper' is a bit of an oxymoron. Nothing's exciting on paper. Books aren't exciting, unless you throw them at passing cars to make them crash. Cormac McCarthy is a man who writes these so-called 'books', and he's said to be very good at it. And so The Counsellor, his first original screenplay, with a first-rate director and cast, is tremendously exciting on paper. Trouble is, paper and film are very different things.

Aha! 2013's weirdest cameo revealed

Posted by Ali Gray at 23:00 on 08 Nov 2013
Aha! 2013's weirdest cameo revealed
So there I was watching The Counsellor, balls deep into Cormac McCarthy territory and attempting to decipher the reams of dialogue being exchanged between Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender, when who should appear but Linton Travel Tavern's very own receptionist Susan aka I'm Alan Partridge actress Barbara Durkin. I should also mention the scene took place in a travel tavern, although there weren't any upset zombies around. Odd.
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