Peter Jackson protegé Christian Rivers turns in an instant Steam-punk classic; a CGI-spectacular of world-building in a post-WWIII, Mad Max landscape with traction cities, airships, and Frankenstein’s Terminator, rendered as a live-action Miyazaki/Studio Gibli flight of fancy.
As Y-A dystopias go, it’s more appealing than various Divergents and Maze Runners, but less charming than City of Ember. Faithfully adapted from Philip Reeve’s four-book cycle, you have to ask where can it go next? Then there’s that honking Empire Strikes Back moment… Continue Reading
Feeling like a difficult middle episode of a trilogy, CoG does a grand job of world-building in JK Rowling’s Potter-verse prequel, without ever feeling like a stand-alone movie. Which may or may not be just what you want. Continue Reading
Black Swan‘s Darren Aronofsky delivers an imaginatively unhinged, Mad Max version of Noah’s Ark in Middle Earth with big Russell Crowe (Robin Hood, State of Play) giving it the full Old Testament, self-righteous, religious zealot treatment. Somehow our Russ makes every role a difficult man to like…
With CGI galore, stone angels, and Ray Winstone as the scenery-chewing Daddy of the Cain Raisers, it’s down to Jennifer Connelly and the kids to steer this portentous Biblical behemoth toward Little Boat on the Judgement Day Prairie; but it’s Emma Watson who quietly steals the entire show. Continue Reading
Stop press! Disney delivers! This family-friendly adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s much-loved children’s book may be a throwback to more innocent times and more innocent movies, but with glorious visuals, top performances by adults and children alike, and a stripped-down, quest narrative, it’s all about family, innit! And nobody gets shot, stabbed or set on fire. Y-A dystopias take note.
Ava DuVernay’s heartfelt direction and multi-racial cast turns a cliched plot (three misfit children go it alone across the universe to seek a missing parent) into something deeper. There’s genuine threat and genuine joy and the running time flies by. Continue Reading
Disney’s accountants cook up another unwanted and unneeded origins movie filled with Star Wars porn designed to keep the cash registers tinkling instead of moving the Star Wars universe forward; Solo is no different. The alleged ‘space western’ is nothing of the sort, despite various speeder chases, train robberies, and a lengthy and gloriously daft effort to explain a throwaway line from 1976 about the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs. They really shouldn’t have bothered. Continue Reading
Next up on the big franchise conveyor belt; another wearisome and unwanted slice of pointless dino-porn.
Once again, some greedy half-wits decide to go back to the dino-disaster-park and bring back specimens in the most reckless, half-assed and incompetent way possible. I’ll give you one guess what happens next. Continue Reading
The long-delayed third and final instalment of the franchise arrives like a late guest turning up as everyone else at the YA-dystopian party is going home.
As the zombie virus and assorted paramilitaries chase down the survivors in the wastelands, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and the crew take on the wicked WCKD one more time; it’s a heist movie, it’s a puzzle game movie, it’s (barely) a zombie movie, it’s partly a Mad Max/Resident Evil movie; it’s a YA movie written by middle-aged white blokes with way too many guns, explosions, chases and honking moral choices that adds up to a lot of heat and noise but not much else. Continue Reading