This altogether grown-up last outing for Hugh Jackman’s be-clawed anti-hero is bloody, sweary, extremely violent and shamelessly hammers home its’ Western roots, not only quoting from, but playing the finale of Shane. Jackman’s Wolverine, however, is stamped from the same Clint Eastwood mould as Unforgiven, and is his best performance in years.
With Patrick Stewart (X-men) in superb form as the ailing Professor Xavier, the trio of fugitives is rounded out by astonishing newcomer Dafne Keen as a ten-year-old mutant killing machine with claws…
On the run from assorted military bad guys, it’s an existential road trip to consider life, love, guilt, family and above all, redemption, as director James Mangold (3-10 to Yuma, Knight and Day) casts an Indie cloak over a comic-book juggernaut. Continue Reading
Dino-franchise Jaws-with-Claws continues to repeat itself with a basic remake of Jurassic Park on a grand scale. You can more or less tick off scene-for-scene as the excuse for ever more spectacular CGI dino-porn trumps any attempt at wit or originality. No mistake, the technical achievement of life-like dinosaurs is stunning and you get an awful lot of dino for your money – which is all this thing is interested in – your money.
It’s a well-worn formula of Irwin Allen dino-disasters in the dino-resort gone horribly wrong, yet again, as two adults and two kids try not to get eaten by the escaped, genetically modified uber-rex. Some wag decided in a script meeting to give a character the pitch-line for the movie “we need more teeth” as actual dialogue… Continue Reading
Video game adaptations vary from adequate to awful; who are they aimed at? The players? They’re playing. The non-players? It’s just another production-line action movie to us. There’s no question Justin Kurzel’s (Macbeth) Assassin’s Creed pulls off a technical tour-de-force, using live action where possible to render the rooftop, parkour set-pieces; and the action is top-drawer. But as a story, is it any good?
Assassins versus Templars in a time-spanning tale of genetic memory across five hundred years, with the worst McGuffin in movies, it’s all an excuse for run, jump, dive, kick, punch, stab, stab, stab, stab, stab; and repeat. Only the star power of Fassbender and Cottillard treating it like their earlier MacBeth collaboration keep it on the rails. Continue Reading
2016’s Best Picture Oscar winner is a well-executed, if rather old-fashioned, rendering of the real-life Boston Globe campaign to expose abusive Catholic priests. A top-notch cast does its’ best to breath life into a well-worn trope; crusading journalists chasing down an elusive story in the face of an institutional conspiracy of silence in the heavily Catholic ‘village’ that is Boston.
It’s a fine contemporary (2010-12) ensemble drama that feels like a 1970’s period piece in tone and style. Unfortunately the script never quite delivers on the promise of an All the President’s Men to become something altogether more pedestrian. Continue Reading
Three movies into the J.J. Abrams reboot and the Enterprise crew is finally comfortable in their own skins; boldly going where everyone’s gone before, this is old-school Star Trek, ‘a bit episodic’ (© Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk, now sounding more like Shatner); stranded in an abandoned quarry – sorry, alien planet – with a mandatory British villain (Idris Elba – Prometheus, Thor).
The motivation of space pirate Krall (Elba) doesn’t matter, so long as there’s plenty of CGI mayhem on a grand scale; space battles, crashes, boarding parties, treachery and outstanding heroism in the most ridiculous high-rise, zero-G circumstances.
The dialogue sparkles, it’s hopelessly self-referential to the Star Trek canon, nostalgic in the extreme, but unlike the previous two outings, this Star Trek is actually fun. Continue Reading
Kate Beckinsale (Total Recall) returns as vampire assassin Selene in yet another Underworld Y-A action-horror-snoozefest. It wants to re-invent itself from Blade via Resident Evil to Game of Thrones, but really…?
The cast is an almost all-British affair in the ongoing war between vampires, other vampires, some more vampires and a bunch of scruffy hairy blokes – the werewolf Lycans – with everyone looking for the Corvinus line’s magic blood of invincibility to top the arms race and deliver victory.
With an underwhelming script rehashing more or less everything we’ve seen in the previous four, with added mystical vampire codswallop linking repetitive sword fights and gunplay, it’s hard to get excited about anything but Beckinsale’s buffed leather catsuit and corset. Continue Reading
An exellent sci-fi drama is undermined by its’ own dubious sexual politics, an unecessary thriller-disaster movie twist and the box-office prerogative of leering at leading lady Jennifer Lawrence.
Thirty years into a hundred and twenty year interstellar journey, everyman Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) awakes from hibernation to find himself the only one of five thousand passengers awake on a vast colony ship. Unable to re-enter hibernation, he becomes Robinson Crusoe, a lone, lost soul surrounded by humanity but condemned to die alone – with only the company of a robot bar tender.
Until he commits the selfish act of waking a female passenger Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), condemning her to the same fate; stealing a life equates to murder. The initial romance turns sour when she finds out. But all that goes on hold when the colony ship starts to break down. Like they do… Continue Reading