The final instalment of the X-Men reboot is an unruly tangle of belonging, family and identity with plenty of CGI mayhem and big action set-pieces. Stuck with the mis-casting of Fassbender and MacAvoy, it relies on Sophie ‘Mahogony’ Turner stepping up as the empathetic core and she’s just not that kind of actress. Blown away by Jessica Chastain’s icy villain and Jennifer Lawrence’s too-short stint as Mystique, Turner is the weak nail in the wall from which the whole thing hangs. Continue Reading
The top box office movie of 1968, this Boy’s Own Adventure, behind-enemy-lines, WWII jaunt has Richard Burton slumming it alongside Clint Eastwood in an original script by novelist Alistair Maclean. Continue Reading
If you look down my list of reviews, you’ll see I don’t do stars or ratings. That’s all very superficial and reductive. I just give opinions based on my own subjective experience. I’m not an influencer. I don’t suppose most of the time anyone cares what I think, but I’ll say it anyway. I watch a lot more than I ever write up. If I have an agenda it’s either to give praise where it’s due, abuse where it’s due, or to undercut the hype generated by marketing departments chasing a fast buck. Sometimes a movie is so egregiously bad, it gets a red cross. Continue Reading
The easy labelling of Wash Westmoreland’s twisty adaptation of Susanna Jones’ novel as Hitchcockian may be praise too far, but Netflix’s Earthquake Bird is a tense, bilingual, multi-layered drama.
From the first frame, Alicia Vikander’s stranger in a foreign land is clearly a broken soul, travelling the crowded streets and subways of Tokyo in bleak isolation. When she becomes involved with creepy street photographer Teiji (Naoki Kobayashi), and they try to wheedle out each other’s many secrets, you’re wondering if this is another Michael Powell Peeping Tom, or a darkly subdued Basic Instinct.Continue Reading
You may have worked out from the long silence since Avengers: Endgame that things have gotten a little hectic; aside from some odds and ends of TV, I’ve seen nothing and had no time to write up any previous releases. So for the second time (making it a tradition?), I’m calling an intermission for the Summer, while we deal with events, builders, actual book publishing, some travel and some visitors.
Catling on Film will be back at the end of August or sporadically when time for write-ups allows.
Catching up with the first of the franchise: the remarkably simple character animation contrasts wildly with the over-cranked, bonkers action sequences to create a family adventure that is everything Ready Player One should have been. With a non-stop conveyor of genre-subverting satire, one-liners, sight-gags and pop-culture riffs, everything is indeed awesome. Continue Reading
The final release poster for Alita: Battle Angel is out and she’s holding some weirdly unidentifiable, but cool-looking sword. A 26th-century cyborg still needs a sword.
Cue Hellboy reboot and in the poster, the guy who carries an unfeasibly large calibre revolver is holding… a sword. As is… Transformer‘s own Optimus Primus Stove, a thirty-foot alien robot from another planet last seen wielding a dirty great sword, which presumably transforms into, I dunno, a roofer’s scaffold tower? 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
No spoilers, but when you already know the ‘who’ in the ‘whodunit’, what’s left is the style and the (ahem) execution and whether or not you believe that such a moustache sported by Ken Branagh’s Poirot can even exist. Yes, it’s that much a distraction that even an ‘all star cast’ such as this has trouble competing. Continue Reading
Eye In The Sky will tie you up in ethical and moral knots with no right answers and certainly no easy ones.
Examining the protocols behind high-tech drone warfare, Gavin Hood’s (Rendition, Enders Game) is a fine political thriller that ratchets up the tension, choosing to compress a worldwide mission to a few isolated people in closed rooms, as they struggle to make a life-or-death decision that ultimately comes down to the life of one child. Continue Reading