An amusing genre mash-up of horror and classic literature tumbles out of the one-joke, no-budget, B-movie drawer. The cast has a whale of a time turning Jane Austen into the Walking Dead with bonnets, but for all it’s knowing winks and attractive stars, it’s little more than an overstretched French and Saunders sketch.
If you’re in the narrow, venn diagram demographic of classic literature, period drama and bloody body-horror fans, you will appreciate the genre clash, but maybe not all the way to the creaky, Hammer-inflected climax. Continue Reading
This dour and violent DC Comics adaptation is mostly a cynical marketing pitch for a whole string of movie franchises that instead should be stepping up to meet Marvel Studio’s brio. Technically brilliant, it’s loo long and very, very dull. Very dull.
In the aftermath of the Kryptonian 9-11-like invasion of Earth, evil genius Lex Luthor ferments a war between DC’s two greatest superheroes. For two and a half hours. Which is about an hour too long. Did I mention it’s quite dull?
Maybe it’s just me, but Superman was always so overloaded with powers, so invincible he can survive a nuclear explosion (spoiler), that writers always had to come up with increasingly daft threats to put him in danger, usually alien, and/or Kyptonite. So it ever was, so it is now. Guess what director Zack Snyder and writing team resort to? Continue Reading
The A-team of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass return to the Bourne franchise to give us more of what we want. It may not be original, but it has grit, tension and that visceral quality that made Bourne the go-to spy-guy. That was then, what about now?
Damon matures well as the battered survivor Jason Bourne with the extreme espionage skills, although the extended origins plot is now getting a little thin. We go further back into Bourne’s family history, turning the whole Bourne franchise into an Inigo Montoya revenge tale. Continue Reading
Closing the series, this expensive YA sci-fi remains predictably hokey, as the increasingly bland Tris (Shalene Woodley) and action-eye-candy Four (Theo James) lead the Divergent crew into the wasteland beyond the city walls. If they’re unlucky, they’ll meet the Scorch Triallers coming one way and the Hunger Gamers coming the other. But it will all be fine in the safe hands of the gently benevolent Jeff Daniels (Looper). Won’t it? Continue Reading
Duncan Jones (Moon) almost pulls off a triumph in bringing the Warcraft online game to life. His stock fantasy world is fully realised, where even the Orcs can be good guys; there’s plenty of bash, crash and smash, griffons, golems, wizards, fell beasts, wargs and that bloke from Vikings getting all angsty. So it’s Paula Patton (MI4) who takes the honours as leather-bikini-clad Garona, half-orc warrior, acting the rest off-screen through a set of joke-shop fangs whilst painted green like one o’ them birds out of Start Trek TOS. Continue Reading
An Avengers movie in all but name, this shambolic sequel contains too many Marvel franchise promotional puffs, looks like a cos-play comic convention, has one ludicrous action set-piece too many, a superfluous Bourne car chase, and, as everyone in it points out, no Thor and no Hulk.
Whilst Chris Evans ups his acting game again, neither he, nor Downey Junior, nor the excellent Daniel Brühl (Rush) can save this civil ho-hum-trying-too-hard franchise behemoth. Continue Reading
Marvel’s audacious X-men/Wolverine spin-off-spin-off wants to have it’s cake and eat it: sweary, subversive and knowlingly parodic, it is also puerile, violent, gory and laughs too often at its own jokes.
Which is presumably why they got puerile, self-referential Ryan Reynolds in the lead, despite his dubious track record (Blade Trinity, Green Lantern). Continue Reading