The Mummy Review

Mummy

Much has been made, in the last few weeks of the marketing, of the fact that The Mummy is the film that’s meant to kick off Universal’s latest attempt at a shared cinematic universe featuring all their classic monsters. On this evidence, it’s a universe that deserves to be left on the scrapheap (as it very nearly was after the dreadful Dracula Untold), as not only is The Mummy a simply terrible film, it’s made far, far worse by its need to set up this ‘new world of gods and monsters’. A flavourless lump of exposition and repetition, it lacks all the charms of the ‘30s originals and the Brendan Fraser-led 1999 MummyContinue reading

Wonder Woman Review

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is a film of many firsts. It’s the first solo cinematic outing for its titular heroine. It’s the first female-led superhero film in the new era of the global dominance of the comic book movie. It’s the first time since 2002 that a female director has been handed a budget of over $100 million dollars, with Patty Jenkins leading the charge – soon to be followed by Ava DuVernay (with A Wrinkle in Time) and Niki Caro (Mulan). And, most importantly, it’s the first genuinely good entry into the critically battered DCEU, a blast of fun and sincerity that is ever so refreshing in a world of brooding cynics in capes and quippy murderous antiheroes.  Continue reading

The Other Side of Hope Review

Other Side Hope

Midway through The Other Side of Hope, experienced immigrant Mazdak (Simon Al-Bazoon) tells new arrival asylum seeker Khaled (Sherwan Haji) to not be sad, as ‘they send the melancholic ones back first’. There’s a worldly wisdom to the line, made more poignant by just how unfair it is. If writer-director Aki Kaurismaki’s version of Finland wants to get less gloomy, they’ve got a fair few natives to get rid of before they can even consider the immigrants. A nice, if slight, tale of glum but decent people trying to do the right thing, Hope gets across its timely and important message with levity and an old-fashioned style. Continue reading

Baby Driver Review

Baby Driver

If ever a filmmaker were to direct my daily life, I’d want it to be Edgar Wright. With his incredibly kinetic style, sense of constant exciting motion, and perfect cueing of music to elevate a scene, he could make even the dullest moment seem cool. Baby Driver, Wright’s first film since The World’s End and his quitting of Marvel’s Ant-Man, proves that his technical skill works just as well when taking itself seriously as it does in the highly stylised comedies that made Wright’s name. From cacophonous car chases to free-running escapes, Baby Driver’s music-fuelled action is frenetic and all but guaranteed to leave you grinning.  Continue reading

Alien Covenant Review

Covenant

If you thought Logan might end up taking the crown of 2017’s most violent blockbuster movie, then here comes Ridley Scott to re-prove who the king of fantastical gore really is. Alien Covenant is a vicious and gruesome sci-fi horror, incredibly effective in that aim, but also possessing far loftier ambitions that elevate what is already a brilliant thriller. Scott has already returned to the splendidly terrifying universe he created in 1979’s Alien, with the shaky 2012 entry Prometheus, but Covenant is his first true reunion with the monstrous Xenomorph that made his name nearly 40 years ago, and he clearly relishes every second.  Continue reading

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Review

Guardians 2 Mantis

With a subtitle of Volume 2, it should be immediately obvious that James Gunn’s follow up to his surprise smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy is not so much a sequel to the original’s story, but more a continuation and heightening of its mood. Doubling down on everything that made its predecessor such a unique and beloved blockbuster, from the jokes to the colour palette, it lacks the freshness of Guardians 1 but is still an absolute blast of a sequel that proves that the MCU is still more than willing to take risks as it extends its reach into the wider cosmos.  Continue reading

Heal the Living Review

Heal Living

It seems only right that a film about surgery of the heart should be so capable of breaking and mending that of its audience, which is exactly what Katell Quillevere’s utterly fantastic Heal the Living does repeatedly in its deftly weaved ensemble story of families, life, and death. With a story spiralling outwards following a tragic car crash that leaves 17 year old Simon (Gabin Verdet) brain dead, but with viable organs for transplant, his mum Marianne (Emmanuelle Seigner) has to make the impossible decision to turn off his life support so that another mother, Claire (Anne Dorval) can live on with Simon’s heart.  Continue reading