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  • Widows

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 16th October 2018

    Steve McQueen’s dramatically weighty take on the heist movie genre starts with a blistering opening scene. We see masked robbers fleeing their crime mid-pursuit, but only from inside the back of their getaway van. With a fixed position looking out through the transit’s rear, its broken doors scraping and sparking on the road as police cars and traffic crash and pile-up in the trail of the gang’s escape, we cut to each of the members in moments of domesticity from earlier that day - Liam Neeson passionately kissing Viola Davis in bed, Jon Bernthal prodding at the black eye adorning Elizabeth Debicki’s face, kisses goodbye, arguments in stores - until finally a chaotic shootout leaves the gang and their van exploded in flames. McQueen’s intent is clear: from the physical chaos on the roads to the emotional distress at home, these robbers are leaving a lot of devastation in their wake.

  • Halloween (2018)

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 11th October 2018

    I've always thought of slasher franchises like DIY chemistry sets. Once your hypothesis has been proven - that's your murderer, your motive and your gimmick - subsequent tests should be relatively simple to assemble: all of your elements are still available for use and you're aiming for the same reactions, but you can have a little fun in how you put them all together - experimentation is the name of the game! This Halloween revival, set 40 years after the John Carpenter original and discounting the entire subsequent sequel lore of Michael Myers, had the potential to be an interesting experiment, but it's carried out with all the zeal of someone joylessly following the instructions to build a sturdy IKEA bookcase.

  • Mandy

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 10th October 2018

    Another year, another London Film Festival, another annual peruse of the festival programme choosing films that sound fascinating in theory without really knowing what to expect in practice. Take Mandy, for example, which the programme describes as “a film so singular, perverse and beguiling, it’s almost impossible to define”. Ok... maybe try though? “Think of the most exquisitely nightmarish LSD trip imaginable, then multiply it by ten”. Hmm, I have no idea how to do that, but it sounds interesting. Ok fine, I’ll see it. “Don’t just see Mandy, experience it”. WHAT IS THIS IS IT EVEN A FILM.

  • Venom

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 3rd October 2018

    Let’s get something clear: it’s not grey-faced film snobbery, it’s not misunderstanding why a villainous antihero deserves his own movie, it’s not bad memories of Topher Grace, and it has nothing to do with Lady Gaga fans trying to help A Star Is Born top the box office chart. The reason why critics have felt their shitey sense tingling in advance of Venom’s release is because it has always looked terrible. The trailers showcased a comic-book movie from a bygone decade in which superpowers were fuelled by cheesey dialogue, bad CGI and maddening plot holes. We’ve all been standing downwind of this turd for quite some time, so low expectations are entirely justified. Ok, maybe it’s a little bit because of Topher Grace.

  • First Man

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 28th September 2018

    I am from a generation who never had a Moon landing, and it’s probably just as well. I suspect 9/11 is to be our defining shared collective experience, one that united us in terror instead of awe, huddled as we were around TVs and computer screens to watch the world change forever, just not for the better. My generation would be unable to process a positive event of such magnitude without cynicism: if the Moon landing happened in 2018, the memes would be played out by breakfast, the conspiracy theories would be in effect by lunch and the astronaut who stepped off the spacecraft would be Milkshake Ducked by dinner (reminder: we couldn’t even enjoy the fact that scientists landed a probe on a fucking COMET because one of the engineers was wearing a sexist shirt). We deify Elon Musk, we don’t deserve a Moon landing. Watching First Man is probably as close as my generation is ever going to get to watching the human race extend its reach beyond the stars: it is a refreshingly old-fashioned, unashamedly straightforward account of mankind’s headiest achievement, and even speaking for a generation who are generally numb to this brand of back-patting throwback bio, I found its bald-faced nostalgia quite moving.

  • A Simple Favour

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 22nd September 2018

    Imagine being Paul Feig. You’re a talented director with a charming comedy disposition who consistently dresses like a flamboyant uncle at a wedding. Then you dare to reboot a beloved 80s franchise and cast it with actors who have one more X chromosome than the original actors. Suddenly the Horrible Part Of The Internet hates you. It doesn’t care that you made Bridesmaids, because suddenly it hates that too now, just because. Trolls make your life hell for a couple of years. They no longer find it endearing that you dress like a recently widowed old man celebrating his anniversary one last time before taking his own life to join his beloved. Instead they send you death threats because you reimagined their favourite pretend ghost hunters from 30 years ago as women. What do you do now?

  • The House With A Clock In Its Walls

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 18th September 2018

    Ugh. September. The worst month by some distance. Nothing good has ever happened in September. I checked history, which verified and confirmed: September is a dud. All the blockbusters are a distant memory, the big Christmas movies are too far away (see also: Christmas) and even the tiresome slog that is Oscar season has yet to get underway. That just leaves shitty geriaction movies where Denzel Washington kills people, horror movies that are too crap to save for Halloween and oddball movies that genuinely don't fit in anywhere else in the calendar. Mercifully, that last sub-genre occasionally yields surprising results, which is where The House With A Clock In Its Walls chimes in: it's not quite enough to salvage the September cesspool, but it is a fun kids' fantasy that does just about enough to distract you from the backslide into the arse end of the year.

  • Christopher Robin

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 14th August 2018

    If you hadn’t realised it from the twee, plinky-plonky marketing, Christopher Robin is a movie aimed more at large adult sons than it is small children - the kind of film that insists the key to happiness and the secret to being a better man, husband and father, is to be more childlike. That’s kind of Disney’s whole thing right now; the studio seems intent on arresting the development of adults around the world with superhero universes and space sagas and glitter-flecked versions of the movies they loved as children. But hey, if there’s any character that’s going to cut through corporate cynicism, it’s Winnie the Pooh, a bear after my own heart, living my trouserless dream, who is so loveable he could tell me he just disembowelled and stuffed the other residents of the Hundred Acre Wood and I’d still let him bumble around my house, stuffing his adorable face with £13-a-jar Manuka.

  • The Meg

    Movie Review | Becky Suter | 11th August 2018

    To borrow a phrase from Love Island, on paper The Meg has it all: Jason Statham is on the hunt for the biggest shark ever known, tracks it down and then probably punches it in the face or something. But as we all know, what's good on paper doesn't necessarily translate to real life (see: Dr Alex). Lacking any sense of plot, direction or tasty big shark action scenes, The Meg is lost at sea and sinks faster that a decomposing cetacean carcass. We're going to need a bigger boat.

  • Ant-Man And The Wasp

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 18th July 2018

    How do you follow an epic tragedy in which the world’s biggest A-list stars traverse the universe facing the most dire of movie stakes? How do you continue after the bummer-cliffhanger of seeing an all-powerful despot succeed in his plan to mercilessly wipe out half of the entire universe? You bring the LOLs! It serves as welcome respite, but essentially Marvel has followed its most consequential movie with its least.