J-Law’s dominating screen presence only deepens the question: is Red Sparrow a feminist triumph or an ’80’s video nasty exploitation flick? Whichever it is, under the skin this is a remarkably old-fashioned Cold War espionage caper with only one twist in the switched female perspective and a cliché-o-meter that goes off the chart. Continue Reading
2011’s Real Steel is a Rocky-style Disney/Dreamworks family robot-boxing movie of a Matel plastic tabletop game (Battling Robots) that is so clichéd and daft that it shouldn’t work. And for all those elements, it works so much better than 2018’s Pacific Rim 2: Stupifying. So I’m reviewing Real Steel instead.
In one of those ‘near futures’, ex-prizefighter Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) builds ramshackle, low-end boxing robots for the new hi-tech sport of… robot boxing. Continue Reading
Kiwi Western The Stolen boldly goes where The Searchers, The Missing and Lonesome Dove have gone before, and despite a couple of good tense set-pieces, plods like a flat TV filler.
When her husband is murdered by ex-convict workers who then kidnap her baby, genteel British immigrant Charlotte Lockton (Alice Eve – Star Trek), goes in pursuit to wild frontier Gold Town. Cue general misogyny, battery, violence and abuse on gold-rush New Zealand’s wild frontier. Yep, it’s that kind of Western. Continue Reading
The latest franchise re-boot sees a ripped Alicia Vikander take on Lara Croft in a ‘stripped back’ origins story in the mode of Casino Royale. Far too angsty in it’s Daddy-abandonment issues, the first act ‘prologue’ drags painfully until the real tomb raiding starts. Ditching any ‘realism’ in acts two and three, it still feels like a warm-up to a main feature… Continue Reading
Cinema’s most polite ursine hero returns in an entertainingly inventive sequel that is sheer delight from start to finish. In a fantasy version of London that doesn’t bat an eyelid at a talking bear, Paddington’s latest caper is treasure hunt, prison break and steam train chase – with plenty of marmalade sandwiches. Continue Reading
Three months in and I’ve finally seen something released in 2018! A superb ensemble cast marshalled by black director Ryan Coogler (Creed) delivers a fresh take on a Marvel superhero movie – well, we’ve not seen armoured rhinoceros’ before.
After an impactful debut in CA – Civil War, Chadwick Boseman gets his own show as T-Challa, the titular Black Panther – or as I see him, Africa’s Iron Man – and, for all his shining everyman integrity, is nearly sidelined by the talent around him. Continue Reading
An adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower fantasy-western-sci-fi-horror series so perfunctory that four hours after I watched it I’d forgotten what I’d seen; generic fantasy with a high gloss finish that reduces the King novels to a mercifully brisk genre romp with good performances and no new ideas to speak of.
Young Jake Chambers has nightmares of a dark tower, a gunslinger and a Man in Black, while New York suffers increasing earthquakes. Except they’re not nightmares, and the Man in Black is a sorcerer trying to destroy the actual Dark Tower that keeps the demons from our universe. And the gunslinger is… a gunslinger. With six-guns made from Excalibur. No, really. Continue Reading