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  • Review: Wine Country is a waste of a great ensemble cast

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 17th June 2019

    One thing that fascinates me about film-making is not the how of how movies are made, but the when. We see stars grow in real time these days and very often, once their careers have developed enough, they become producers - meaning the shows and films we watch follow their whims. That explains why we get a glut of movies about having babies, followed by a wave of thirties singleton rom-coms, and these subjects mould the wider zeitgeist. And now we're entering what should be the most interesting phase, where all your favourite stars are burnt out and holding grudges: the mid-life crisis. Fight! Fight! Fight!

  • Review: Always Be My Maybe is almost definitely an okay film

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 11th June 2019

    I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Keanu Reeves' turn in Always Be My Maybe is as funny as you'd hoped, not just living up to his much-memed slow motion entrance in the trailer, but hanging around for a few more scenes and becoming part of the plot like he's some sort of jobbing actor or something. The bad news is most of everything else.

  • Review: See You Yesterday is a deft causality caper with a message

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 7th June 2019

    Confession: once at an old job I accidentally sent a test email campaign to a contact list of 40,000 people, with the subject 'Test XXX' and body content consisting of a single centrally aligned picture of a cartoon dog. The point I'm illustrating is that some mistakes can't be undone, leaving you with no choice but to live with the consequences. But hang on, you ask, why not simply travel back in time to stop yourself clicking 'Send' in the first place? Yeah sure I could take the easy route, but that small tinkering could change the man I am today. And besides, I've just seen See You Yesterday, which makes a strong case for leaving the past well alone.

  • Review: The Perfection dares to be shocking but doesn't have the chops

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 4th June 2019

    Part of the trouble with being extremely online is you see the entire gamut of opinions all at the same time. Take poor Godzilla for example - as soon as the embargo lifted on King of the Monsters every star rating possible flooded my timeline, which did nothing to help decide whether to see it or not. But for better or worse at least those reviewers arrived at an opinion about the big G's latest romp. Recent Netflix release The Perfection left me so unsure I committed the cardinal sin of reading other site's reviews before sitting down to write my own, so I take a lot of solace that nobody seemed to know what to make of it, because I'll be fucked if I do.

  • Review: The Wandering Earth seeks to save the planet but rings hollow

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 31st May 2019

    Think of the most outlandish thing you can think of. Now imagine it bigger. No, bigger than that. Think the Wright Brothers diving into the Trench Run. Bigger. Think Nikola Tesla wielding Mjolnir in a duel with Edison. Bigger! Elon Musk smoking weed on Mars in a mech. Bigger still, dammit! Ok, now take whatever mental image you've arrived at and multiply it by ten, then run into a wall to give yourself a concussion. Congratulations you are now somewhere close to the wild, inspirational, childish ambition of The Wandering Earth.

  • Review: Unicorn Store sparkles but doesn't shine or, er, something

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 23rd April 2019

    Hey everyone, it's the new movie starring Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson! You know, the one where she has to make a bunch of defining choices regarding her responsibilities in a fantasy setting! While making quips! Actually Unicorn Store was completed a few years ago but has only just been released by Netflix, in what is presumably a Captain America-style tactical decision to capitalise on Brie Larson's new-found Marvel fame. But don't read too much into this apparent dumping on a streaming service because while it's not exactly a Vision to behold and a bit low-key (Loki) on the life-affirming front, it's not a Hulking great mess either! Thanos!

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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: 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.