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  • Review: Last Christmas has everything she wants if you watch without prejudice

    Movie Review | Ed Williamson | 12th November 2019

    What's it going to be for George Michael, then? The Bohemian Rhapsody-style rock biopic? The Rocketman stylised musical? The Yesterday excuse to bump the songs up the list on Spotify a bit? Well, none of the above, really. Last Christmas is something a bit different: a festive romcom where his songs are there but largely non-diegetic, even though he himself is present in the form of posters on walls and in characters' conversation, so more of a tribute that informs a story. It's an affectionate and funny one too, and the kind that you recognise a fair bit is wrong with, but gosh-darn it, everyone's singing and having a lovely time, and it's Christmas, so just pour yourself a nice tall glass of mulled shut-the-hell up juice and go with it.

  • Review: Doctor Sleep feels like a lot of work for very little play

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 11th November 2019

    There’s a lot to be said about the context surrounding Doctor Sleep. About the impossibly high benchmark set by The Shining, about the challenge of reconciling Stephen King’s vision and Stanley Kubrick’s execution, and about choosing which source material to honour most. But honestly, ignoring all of that for now, my biggest takeaway from this film is... fuck, it spends a lot of time driving in a car. Every pre-set-piece scene is spent hauling across road for hours and every post-sequence respite is spent hauling back again, usually at night-time, usually while someone is asleep in the passenger seat. I have spent more time in cars while watching this film than I have on actual road trips. It seems Danny Torrance simply swapped one purgatory for another. Come drive with him. Forever... and ever... and ever...

  • Review: Dolemite Is My Name is a rose-tinted celebration of flawed ambition

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 5th November 2019

    Is Eddie Murphy back? Judging by the last few months he's made a great deal of effort to distance himself from his 1980s sexism-laced standup routines, so he's definitely trying to come back. You can be cynical about it and say this is housekeeping in an attempt to reinvent his image for the new age of woke comedy, or you can accept he's genuinely trying to make amends and move onwards and upwards together into Liberal PC Heaven, where there are no guns and all the Pokemon you can catch. Whatever it is I'm not sure the best way to do it is via a celebration of blaxploitation; a genre laced with sexism.

  • Review: Terminator: Dark Fate can't bear to suffer an Arnie-less future

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 2nd November 2019

    It's hard out there for the Terminators. You hate to see it. For three whole sequels - Rise of the Machines, Salvation and Genisys - the all-powerful killer robots from the future have suffered embarrassing losses in increasingly shitty movies, to the point where you wonder why they keep trying to enslave us at all. The Terminators, bless their hearts, must have done some serious soul searching, because they're back for more punishment, perhaps inspired by their motto (I am imagining "Absolutely do not stop ever until they are dead" written in "live laugh love" style wall-print cursive) and with a brand new plucky underdog status that it only earned through repeated failure. In a victory of sorts, Dark Fate manages to scrape an above average grade by clinging closely to the Terminator tropes with the kind of white-knuckled death grip that only three failed sequels can inspire.

  • Review: Fractured won't exactly change your world, but has a good try

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 29th October 2019

    One of my favourite subgenres of horror is the one where there's a huge build up to something tragic, and then you tag the 'sad trombone' sound effect on the end, rendering it hilarious. Like at the end of The Mist when Tom Jane euthanises a car full of survivors because they think the monsters are coming and there's no escape, but when he steps outside it's the army rumbling down the road to rescue them. Sad trombone dot mp3! Fractured is like that but every scene.

  • Review: El Camino is a familiar dose that goes down easy (drugs)

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 27th October 2019

    It would make absolutely no difference to anything whether Breaking Bad spin-off movie El Camino existed or not. If in a few years' time show creator Vince Gilligan responded to a fan question at a Comic Con panel with his plan for Jesse instead, the cultural impact would be much the same. That said, Gilligan can direct the hell out of the world he created and this re-visit is a reminder of the show's absorbing style, and of one of the central tenets of Bad: how much chaos can one person cause?

  • Review: The Laundromat is a quick spin with spotty results

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 24th October 2019

    It sucks that there are people in the world whose only goal is the pursuit of wealth without any thought for the human cost, and that these people live lives of fabulous opulence we could only imagine while poverty exists, but that's the natural result of a society based on capitalism. I mean, we're all like it to some extent - we've got to pay the bills and put food on the table, and the goose game on Nintendo Switch isn't going to buy itself - but those who possess the ability to hoard more money than they could ever spend are equipped to rise to the top of the heap at our expense. It's a maddening situation, although if pushed I'd say I was more angry about geese right now. That seems like a problem I could solve. Forget billionaires; we need to kill all the geese.

  • Review: Too Old To Die Young wallows in neon-soaked misery

    TV Review | Luke Whiston | 22nd October 2019

    "It's been 84 years..."
    I gaze out upon the tundra, the sun slipping over the horizon as a bitter wind blasts ice shards across the landscape. I'm reminded of the seasons which have preceded me in the days, weeks and months now consigned to the past, and of the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice on this arduous journey, of which I am the sole remaining survivor. We lost our captain early, driven mad by the unerring stillness. Five crew perished recovering a password. The first mate ventured outside searching for spare HDMI cables some days ago, never to return. But I write this final entry with a note of triumph in my heart - final, because once my frost-bitten hands have rested my pen I too shall be taking a stroll into the darkness, but not before making one last entry: I did it. I finished watching Nicolas Winding Refn's Amazon Prime Original series Too Old to Die Young.

  • Review: In the Tall Grass is a creeper but it won't make you soil yourself

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 14th October 2019

    "This is like one of those rubbish Stephen King film adaptations" I blurted out not long after In The Tall Grass had started - which was fine because I was watching it on Netflix at home. A few minutes later while checking out the film's IMDB page on my phone - again, fine - I saw it actually was a Stephen King adaptation, that also happened to be rubbish. Maybe if I'd been paying more attention the film would have seemed less rubbish. Or maybe if it was less rubbish I wouldn't have been tempted by my phone, despite being a near-40-year-old adult who should know better. Maybe cinemas should be cheaper. Maybe Netflix shouldn't exist so I'm forced to go to a cinema and concentrate. Basically whatever makes it someone else's fault except mine.

  • Review: Between Two Ferns: The Movie justifies its own existence... just

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 11th October 2019

    There are a few hurdles to clear before getting on board with Between Two Ferns: The Movie. Firstly, the idea of a fairly one-note sketch show stretched to feature length is inevitably going to require padding. Secondly, stars playing wacky exaggerated versions of themselves gets tedious real quick. And thirdly, celebrities being pranked yet are clearly in on the joke because they'd never have agreed to appear otherwise is a bit, y'know, shit. I guess if you're able to separate yourself by a few degrees then you stand a chance of being entertained by the quasi-meta comedy on offer. But if you can't do that then, well, you're screwed really. It's hard work enjoying films these days.